#34 Did I die and go to heaven?
All the curtains are closed, the only light coming from the candles that are literally everywhere. On the windowsills, the coffee table, the kitchen counter, the dining table… And there is a string of fairy lights strung across the table, which Khiêm flips on as I walk in. It’s beautiful.
“Welcome home,” he says, smiling at me sweetly. “Dinner will be ready in a moment.”
I tear up and rush over to him, careful not to knock over any of the candles. “This is so sweet!”
He hugs me close to me and kisses me softly, smiling against my lips. “I can’t take you out on a date in this town, since someone might see us and Marcus could find out, so I figured I should find a way to make you feel special in our own home.”
Seriously… did I die and go to heaven?
“You are so sweet,” I whisper, a few tears spilling out, totally ruining my make-up. “You didn’t have to do all this. You always make me feel special.”
“I want to date you, lovely,” he says, squeezing me tightly before letting go. “That means candlelit dinners and roses delivered to your doorstep for no particular reason, and me being a complete and total cheeseball. I’m warning you right now, I’m a sappy fuck when I try to woo a girl.”
“Consider me wooed to the max,” I say as he leads me to the table and pulls out my chair. “Seriously, stop making me cry. Wait… did you cook?”
He gives me a pointed look. “Don’t sound all disappointed. I can cook.”
“No, you can’t,” I shoot back, smiling.
“Okay, fine…” He rolls his eyes. “I ordered us something. All I had to do was put it in the oven. But it’s pretty fancy with cashew nuts and all that shit, and it was quite expensive, so you should still be impressed.”
“Oh, I am. And really fucking happy that you didn’t attempt to cook.”
He takes the fancy dish out of the oven and loads up two plates, carrying them over to the table. It’s something with fish, nuts and peaches, and to be honest… it looks disgusting. I don’t even like fish. But no way am I going to tell him that after all the work he put into making me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I can brave through it.
I sip the champagne he just poured me, and smile at him across the table. “This is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me.”
“I’m not sure if I should be sad about that or happy because the assholes before me set the bar so low,” he jokes, winking. “Okay, dig in. I’m starving.”
We both take a bite of the food, and I wish it tasted good, I really do, but the different flavors just don’t match, and I feel like spitting it back out. I swallow and take a swig of champagne to get rid of the horrid taste in my mouth. How am I going to keep down a whole plate of this atrocity?
“Ugh,” Khiêm grunts, grabbing a napkin to spit his food into. “God, that’s horrible. Why the fuck would anyone want to eat that? Am I just not fancy enough to appreciate truly good food, or is this the worst thing you’ve ever eaten as well?”
“Oh thank God,” I breathe, pushing my plate away from me. “It’s horrible.”
“You swallowed it!” he exclaims in horror. “Oh God, you must really be into me. If you had made this for me, I wouldn’t have been so sweet to swallow a single bite. Fucking hell, that’s bad.”
I laugh at his shocked expression. “You can’t cook, and now it turns out you can’t even order decent food. It’s a good thing you’re so sweet and sexy, or I wouldn’t know what to do with you.”
He grins at that. “I have a few ideas about what you could do with me, but first… I need to feed you. And since I was supposed to do the grocery shopping today but spent all day decorating the apartment instead, I’m afraid all we have is whatever’s left from when you last went to the store.”
“Wow, how did you ever manage to survive on your own?” I can’t help but ask, making my way to the fridge with my glass of champagne in my hand. “I can whip something up. Won’t be fancy, but at least it will be edible.”
Khiêm gets up as well and attempts to help me make dinner, but the guy can’t even chop a tomato without almost cutting off his fingers, so I shoo him away and tell him to just sit down and look pretty.
“I’m really good at that,” he says proudly, taking a weird pose as he sits down at the table, giving me what I think is supposed to be a seductive smile.
“Yes, you’re very pretty, baby,” I agree, chopping vegetables for a quick stir fry. I’m ravenous, so need to get this done in twenty minutes or less, otherwise I might go hangry on poor Khiêm, and he doesn’t deserve that.
We chat about our day while I cook, and I love that he’s utterly unconcerned about the fact that part of our date night was just ruined. If it had been me, I’d have been so disappointed in myself for not managing to get the food right, but he’s perfectly happy with both himself for arranging this surprise and with me for cooking for us. He’s not easily rattled, and I love that about him.
“Do you need to stream tonight?” I ask as I hand him the plate of food.
He grunts. “Yeah, sorry. Can’t take off another night after the break I took when Marcus and Jagger got here.”
“I get it, it’s your livelihood,” I assure him.
His smile is a little tense now. “My last girlfriend broke up with me because of my work hours, partially. We had other problems as well, but the main thing was that she wanted me to drop everything for her when she got home or was feeling like spending the night cuddling on the couch, and I just can’t do that too often or will lose my sponsors, my viewers, my contracts…”
I never thought about it like that. He streams less than lots of other streamers do, because he’s got other sources of income as well, but he still has to be online a lot to keep making money from streaming his gaming sessions.
“I’m sure we’ll manage,” I assure him, taking his hand in mine across the table. “I know I can be a little difficult sometimes, but I swear I’m not high maintenance.”
“You’re not difficult,” he objects right away.
“You don’t know all my little quirks yet,” I warn him. “Trust me, I can be quite difficult.”
“I honestly don’t believe that for even a second.” He takes a bite of his stir fry. “Give me an example.”
“I’m bitchy when I’m on my period.”
He rolls his eyes. “That’s all you’ve got? If I would bleed from my penis every month, I’d be a freaking nightmare too.”
“I don’t have my period every month.” Oh God, Nia, why are you talking about this? “I’ve got an IUD, and only every few months or so I get a surprise period. Lots of cramps, not much blood.”
“You sound less and less difficult, sunshine.” He’s not even the slightest bit fazed about me talking about bleeding from my vagina while we’re having dinner. Guess that’s what happens when a guy has three sisters. “What else?”
“I need a lot of sleep or I get crabby.”
“I already knew that, lovely,” he says with a small smirk. “You’re okay once you’ve had coffee though. What else?”
“When I’m around my brothers, I tend to be really loud, foul-mouthed, and I flip someone off every ten minutes or so.”
He laughs really had now. “That sounds fun. How is that difficult?”
Hmm. Maybe he has a point. “Can I ask you something?” My mind goes back to what I was thinking about at work earlier, and this seems a good a time as any to bring it up.
“Anything,” he replies right away.
“Are we… I mean… I really like you, and I want to see where this goes, and I don’t want anyone else, and I guess I was just wondering…?”
His eyes light up. “Are you asking me if we’re exclusive?”
“I guess,” I say shyly. “I’ve never had this conversation before. Not since high school, and things were a little simpler back then.”
“I like you, you like me, and neither of us wants to kiss or fuck anyone else,” Khiêm states with a bright smile. “Sounds pretty simple to me. I think the term for that is exclusive, yeah.” He rubs his foot against my leg. “Ahw, you look so happy now. You didn’t seriously think I was going to date anyone but you, right?”
I shrug. “I don’t know. Not really, but I didn’t want to risk misjudging what this is what we’re doing.”
“I’m yours, you’re mine, until one of us decides it’s not working,” he says like it’s not a big fucking deal. Getting a guy to commit to me like this… That’s never happened before. Like… truly never ever.
After dinner, we stay at the table, and when I put my feet in his lap, he starts rubbing them, kneading his thumbs into the soles of my feet. I moan softly and sip my champagne, listening to him ramble on about nerdy things that I don’t quite get, something about new editing software, I think. Even though I don’t understand everything he says, it’s nice to listen to him, and I can’t stop smiling.
“Fuck, I need to be live in five minutes, and I haven’t even cleaned up after us,” he says all of a sudden, looking around us at the dirty dishes, all the candles, and the rose petals on the couch and floor.
“I’ve got it,” I assure him. “You go stream. When are you done?”
“Midnight, just like every night.”
“Okay, see you at midnight then.”
We kiss for another minute, but then he really has to rush to his studio. I put on some music as I start cleaning up, blowing out candles and sweeping rose petals into a corner so I can easily pick them up and throw them out. This truly was the sweetest thing ever, even with the horrible food and him rushing off to work. It feels so natural between us, it’s insane.
As I do the dishes, I realize something. He said that first night that he wanted to make me feel special by taking me on a date before sleeping with me.
This was a date.
I feel pretty damn special.
Does that mean…? I rush through the last of the clean-up, so I can spend the rest of the night plucking, shaving and waxing every stupid hair off my body, showering, styling my hair, moisturizing, and picking out lingerie.
By the time it’s midnight, I’m pretty fucking nervous. It makes no sense whatsoever, because I’ve had sex many times before, but this isn’t like all those other times. This means something. What if our tastes in the bedroom are different? What if I can’t satisfy him? What if I misinterpreted things and he doesn’t want to sleep with me tonight after all? Oh God, what if he finally sees me naked for the first time, only to realize I’m truly so skinny you can count my ribs, that my breasts are even smaller than they seem when I’m fully clothed, and he isn’t into that?
I take a few deep breaths, refusing to panic. This is Khiêm we’re talking about. It’ll be fine. He won’t make me feel awkward. He got hard each time I flirted with him before, and it’s pretty obvious he wants me. Pull it together, Nia.
Deciding to force myself to make a bold move, I enter his bedroom, where I’ve never been without him before. I sit down on his bed, trying out a few poses, but they make me feel so silly that I just slip under the blankets instead.
“Nia?” he calls out ten minutes after midnight, the sound of his footsteps moving to the living room. “Where are you?”
“In here!” I call.
“What are you-” He shuts up when he walks in and I pull back the covers, revealing the skimpy red thong and matching bra I’m bearing. “Holy fuck,” he breathes. “Wow, wow, wow.”
I smile a little, motioning him over. “I was hoping date night meant that you wanted to… erm…”
“Yes,” he rushes out. “I mean, only if you want to. You don’t have to-”
“I want to.”