Living in a frat-life college town, graduated a few months ago, can't seem to get a decent paying job in interior design. Having a degree in fine arts should make me more marketable, right? Actually degrees, plural. Nope, no one gives a shit. They all want someone with experience, but how can you get experience if you can't get a job?
My parents offered me a position at their realty firm—they'd pushed for me to go for business—but that would require change. And change is hard, not to mention... uncomfortable.
Anyway, I'd been content working in the same little off-campus coffee shop, and it's paid the bills up till now, so why not? Did the whole college thing. It was a good time, but lately, I've just felt like I needed more. This same old song and dance isn't as fun as it used to be.
"You like that?"
"Mm-hmm..." I study my nails with an absolute and shockingly obvious disinterest—not in my nails, those bitches desperately need a manicure. Pale pink paint chipping slightly at the corners. I really need to do better with the whole self-care thing.
Balancing on all fours, well, knees and elbows, the scorching Arizona sun casting beams of light all over the room, making me feel itchy. Why's it always sunny here!? Internally, I groan, taking in the obsessive and orderly state of his room. Not my boyfriend, because he doesn't like labels.
"How 'bout this?" he asks, pretending as if it's a question, like he's waiting for some sort of approval. No. He's asking... saying it out loud, probably thinking, that's hot!? He more than likely has a premium subscription to some porn site, and he's legit just speaking the scripted words.
Don't get me wrong, dirty talk or what have you, could be sexy, I'm sure. But I think that depends on the partner.
Here's the thing. I have yet—and I'm embarrassed to admit this at twenty-four—to have an orgasm from just the physical anatomy of a man. I mean it. Finger, tongue... nada.
But anyway, not that I haven't ever. Of course, I have. Got all sorts of power tools to help with that, and the feeling is incredible. But from sex or even foreplay—batteries not included? Nope. Never.
Talk about a fucking buzzkill.
A sharp—and obviously not reading the audience—palm connects with the skin of my bare ass. A shockwave, rushing straight up to my brain, screaming at me—what the hell are you doing!?
"Feels. So. Good." Austin lets out annoying breathy gasps in time with the words, delivering pounding thrusts like some energizer bunny.
Okay, no to the rabbit jokes, have heard those annoying shits my entire life.
"Maybe for you," I say, smacking my hand over my mouth. Wait, was that out loud? I stay frozen on the white comforter, military-style corners tightly tucked under the sides of his mattress.
"Huh?" His confused voice cracks out from behind me.
"That's nice," I reply, quickly recovering from my momentary filter dysfunction.
No. A hot cup of coffee early in the morning, a bouquet of flowers, a new outfit—that shit's nice. This is fucking blah!
Herein lies the problem.
I'm the only child, born into a prominent family. My parents, well-known socialites, and fairly high up in the real estate industry—at least back home. They constantly reminded me I was representing them. All of my choices and decisions would reflect, and have a potential negative impact on the family business.
Formally raised as a well-bred show pony, if you will. Trained to look together, to be on my best behavior, to always slap a polite smile on my face, and be extra with the please and thank you's. Honestly, this shit is for the birds. I've been dying to say the crazy things that run through my mind, out loud.
It's been years of this, my entire life, and sadly, the soft and mostly kind nature of the people I've come into contact with, in the southwest—not that I fault the zen attitude—has done very little to help me break out of my shell.
So my—that's nice—is more or less a much tamer and socially acceptable alternative to saying; Go fuck yourself.
I continue studying the chip of polish on the corner of my middle finger, thinking about the events from earlier today. Liz, my employer, told me they were shutting down, couldn't compete with the monster companies that swoop in and eat up all the unique and incredible local businesses.
Anyway, I came over here to talk to him about it, to vent. And what did he do? What he always does. Turns the convo into something about himself and enjoys the comfort of my obedient nature—on the outside. How'd we end up in here? Because I'm a push-over. I've let myself fall into the same routine, becoming well... a doormat.
I wanted to confide, to share my frustration with Austin. Yes, Austin, last name, fucking Powers. And he is definitely not making me horny.
Anyway, get out that solid laugh, I know I have wanted to on multiple occasions. Can you imagine? I mean, it's not like his parents knew. He was born way before that shit came out.
We've been dating for the last two years. Why? I don't know? He is decent on the eyes, was smart in college—brains are a plus—hot body. Looks good on paper. We can keep ticking off the checklist. If I'm being honest, he's a mega douche. No wonder my best friend can't stand him.
Turns out, if you haven't already gotten this memo, I'm a vastly different person in my head than I am in actual life. And you should all say a silent prayer about that fact. It's true, though. The filter has been on for... well... forever.
My body shakes with each pound into me, and honestly, I'm not sure how much more jarring I can take.
Okay, so back to fucking Austin. Well, not fucking, Austin. But, technically, I suppose...
"You love it like this, don't you?" His hard breaths pant out, heating through the fabric of my top. Yup, kept that on, went straight for the kill.
Would you go down a water slide that wasn't wet!? You can thank Google for that one. No, you fucking wouldn't.
Foreplay is a thing, it's fairly important. You don't just go out and start an engine in twenty-degree weather and expect that baby to purr. Hells no!
Sadly, Austin, the guy who shags me—okay, I'll stop—definitely doesn't know how to handle the cat.
I'm not sure what thing is the exact nail in the proverbial coffin, but the second I feel a twitch, another one starts, in my eye. Like a time-bomb, just waiting to explode.
Is it the revelation that I'm fed up, never saying the things that I want to? Putting on this perfect show? The fact that my favorite coffee shop is closing down—that's probably the front runner. As he shudders, shakes, and thank God, finishes this irritating—both mentally and physically—wham bam, something snaps.
Flipping over on the bed after I let the words slingshot out of my mouth, I catch a glimpse of him staggering backwards, a confused look screwing up his face.
Austin's head jerks to the side, running a hand over his buzzed—high and tight—dark hair.
"It fucking sucked," I reiterate, a solid emphasis on the last word. Scooting to the edge of the bed, grabbing his discarded shirt, I do a quick swipe, before throwing it at him. Okay, that's kinda nasty. Whatever.
"Babe, are you alright?"
"No," I reply, finding my underwear and jeans—of course, folded up neatly on the chair in the white-walled room—pulling them on in a hurry. I'm done being quiet. I'm done being bored. "But I will be."
"Did I do...?"
I feel like a tiny crack in a windshield, barely visible, and suddenly it's splintering, spidering, extending to every corner in a rapid rippling effect. Time to shatter this mother fucking glass!
"You ignore me half the time." I zip up my fly. "You only wanna have sex, which by the way, is never good. You don't listen to a word that comes out of my mouth." He stands there in a daze. I'm done being compliant. I wipe the dark strands of hair from my face. "You sleep around with other women. And I should have told you this a long time ago, but I was being... nice."
"Am I missing something? Are you... are you seriously going to walk out on me?"
"You know what, Austin? I am. I'm walking out on you. I'm walking out on this town. I'm sick of holding in the shit I feel like saying. I'm through doing the right thing all the time." I let out the longest and most relieved breath of my life.
"You fucking bitch."
I raise my brows as I walk over to the door, quickly darting my eyes around the room to make sure I haven't left anything here. Wait... I'm a bitch? Okay, maybe in my head, but up till now, nah... don't think so.
Turning to face him, my hand squeezing tighter around the doorknob, I feel my nostrils flare. No, I don't feel them, I can see them. My eyes narrow as I clench my teeth. Austin glowers at me. "You won't find anyone as good as me," he snarls, the corner of his lip turning up in an arrogant smile.
I wasted two years with this fucknut?
"I don't know." I shrug, smiling to myself, knowing exactly who I need to call. Who will accept me for who I actually am. The only person who I've ever let hear the crazy things that float around in my head, come out of my mouth. "You set the bar pretty low."
Leaving him standing there, jaw dropped, I just can't help myself because if I'm gonna let this freak flag fly, I'm not half-masting it.
Sticking my head back in the doorway, I deliver direct eye contact. "Just a tip," I begin, as his face turns a deeper shade of red. "If you have to ask a woman if they've had an orgasm"—his fists tighten at his sides—"the answer is always no!"
And with that last bit... I'm fucking out!
Deuces Phoenix. This town ain't big enough for the both of us!
I step out of the airport, breathing in a rush of oxygen that finally feels like home. Just kidding, it's New York City, not quite home, but getting warmer. I'm legit jam-packed next to people, shoulder to shoulder. Inhaling a large quantity of smog and exhaust fumes. Giving and receiving dirty looks and a heaping dose of go fuck yourself eyes. Ah, there's that home feel.
When I made the swift decision to leave, I didn't know exactly what to do, but I knew I had to get out of there immediately. I told my parents that I was accepting their offer because let's face it, I need a fucking job. My mom said she had a perfect rental for me in the city, safe neighborhood, walking distance to the office—a must. She was relieved when I told her Austin and I broke it off, stating that on the few occasions she had met him she never liked that young man. Coulda voiced that sooner, Mom. Not like I would have gotten a backbone.
I needed a minute, more like a week, to get my head on straight. Okay, that's a lie. I needed a few days to unwind. I needed to be around someone else who lived fairly unfiltered. I packed up my tiny apartment and booked a ticket.
"Well, look who it is?" The voice calls out, I almost double-take at the head to toe professional attire. Finding a sense of calm in the blaring horns and chatter of the crowded arrivals area, along with that familiar face.
"You know you missed me." I flash a smile, taking in the widening green eyes at my new me appearance.
That's right, I figured if I was developing a don't give a fuck attitude, then I better dress the part. Tight jeans, tiny tank, leather jacket—thank God it's a little chilly, September can be unpredictable.
"You look amazing, Bri." A huge grin spreads over his lips, uncrossing his arms from the front of his suit, standing up straight from some blacked out SUV.
"I missed you!" I don't even fight the squeal as Chaz, my ride or die, wraps his arms around me, lifting me up, spinning around.
"I'm sure you did," he jokes, putting me back onto the sidewalk with his typical cocky grin. "You look..." He blows out a long breath, running a palm through his hair. "You look"—he flashes blindingly white teeth—"hot."
"Gross." I crinkle my nose—he's like my brother. Shaking my head as he grabs the suitcases from the ground, handing them to his driver. "Fancy," I remark, as he does a little shoulder lift.
"I'm rich as fuck now, remember?"
"Right, right. Anyway, look at you, Mister Wall Street."
"The Wolf of Wall Street."
"More like the Wolf of what the fuck."
Letting a few breathy laughs escape his nostrils, rolling his eyes, Chaz opens the car door, sliding in next to me.
"So, you're okay? This is kind of unexpected..." Throwing his hands up after he buckles, eyeing me up as I feel the smile curling the corners of my heavily glossed lips.
"I'm great," I reply. "And I'm ready to live it up."
He nods. "So you sowed your wild oats?" Raising a brow with an amused look, smirk on full tilt. The driver, weaving through the insane amount of traffic. I let out a single hah, my ponytail whipping behind me as I turn to him. His mischievous grin matching my own.
"I'm just getting started."