chapter 2

The following Sunday, I stopped in the mom-and-pop health food store a couple blocks from my building.

I’m not a health nut, but I do have a certain fem-lib street cred to keep up, so I buy all the organic shit I can get my hands on, and then make sure to eat it at work and in public.

However, when I’m in a strangerhood, I totally rock the Sonic Hamburger No. 2.

I was feeling “at one” with humans in general, so I graciously accepted when a patchouli-infested hippy teen offered me a sample of stone ground wheat cracker with cheese made by happy grass-fed California cows.

Or something similar, I wasn’t actually paying attention, which is probably why I dropped said C on C sample when someone bumped into me.

Ready to create new orifaces for this fucker, I turned to find myself face-to-face with the hottest fucking guy I’d seen outside of a Multi-Million Dollar Vampire Book Franchise.

His face was chiseled and angular with a smattering of rusty hair in all the right places. He had pale but rosy cheeks and a smile, which was a little self-conscious, that inched its way up one side of his face as I watched.

I really couldn’t help but stare, because his cat-eyes were boring holes in my brain with…I don’t know…some kind of intensity. The wheels were turning in my head, but all I could come up with was arousal.

That couldn’t be right.

I must have also been gaping at him because he smirked at me and then opened and closed his mouth in a condescending gesture of, here, let me show you how!

I discovered that my mouth was in fact open.

Quite a bit.

“Sorry,” he said.

That voice.

Where have I heard it before? I scrunched my brows as if that would help.

Finally, I managed, “S’OK,” my voice seeming to come from someone else.

He smiled sheepishly and nodded, and brushed past me to the beer and wine aisle.

Fuck, that was a hard body.

I watched him move away and filled my eyes and brain with as much well-toned ass in tight jeans as I could manage before he was out of sight.

“Probably gay,” the helpful teenage snack peddler said.

“Do they pay you extra to give relationship advice?”

“No,” he said.

“Then shut the fuck up,” I said, and grabbed two more tasty treats from the tray, shoving them in my mouth before heading to the checkout.

-^O^-

I’d had a particularly brain-shattering week. Every time my boss stopped by my desk, she acted like she wanted to inquire about my general happiness, but left me with a list of shit she needed ASAP.

And I just couldn’t say “No.” It’s like, I step into the place, and I forget that “no” even exists.

Anyway, after four sixteen-hour days, and one eight-hour day with a “Fuck it, I have an appointment to keep” chaser, I must say my nerves were a bit frazzled as I entered the spa.

The sound of the bell over the door hit my eardrums like spears, and I put my hand in my purse instinctively searching for Advil. I really hoped Jessica’s emergency wouldn’t keep her from taking my session.

I mean, not that I wanted to get Edward in trouble…but I just knew I couldn’t handle having his hands on me again.

Well…I think I could handle it if he would—

“—Ms. Swan!” the receptionist…uh…Heidi? Yes, that was it…said as I stepped up to the desk.

“Yeah, hi Heidi, is Jess back?”

“Oh, no! Did you not hear?”

“Hear what?” I asked…as if I cared.

“She’s on bed rest…something about an, um…Oh, yeah! She has an incompetent cervix.”

“So…” what’s the intelligence-level of her anatomy have to do with anything?

“So, Ed’s taking over her clients,” she said.

“He’s new,” she whispered conspiratorially.

“Yeah, that actually makes sense,” I whispered back, tapping my fingernails on the reception desk. “Anyway, it’s not big deal. I can just, um…”

“Ms. Swan?”

I snapped my head up at the sound of my name said in that voice.

Oh, fuck me hard against the reception desk.

It was Grocery Store God…

And my mouth was agape. I closed it quickly, just before he looked up from my chart.

“Oh! It’s you!” he said with a smile.

“Um…Hello, Edward.”

And the smile was gone. Shit.

It was replaced by a tight-lipped frown that reminded me of a petulant three-year-old.

I think. I actually have no clue how old kids are when it’s no longer socially acceptable to be petulant.

My personal preference would be T-minus nine months, give or take.

“Are you ready for your massage? I can show you to the room,” he said with zero enthusiasm.

“Sure,” I said, and then followed him down the hall.

His demeanor had changed, too. The relaxed, hot body I watched in the grocery store was replaced with a piano string tight ass, meeting only minimum courtesy standards.

Once I was inside, he mumbled a quick, “I’ll be back in five minutes.”

This time, I kept my panties and bra on.

I got under the blanket and pulled it up over my shoulders.

Then I realized that I would be embarrassed if he asked me if he could move my bra strap—not that he would, but why make that an issue? I figured I could be modest and topless, surely.

I got up and pulled the bra off.

I started to climb on the table when I heard a knock at the door.

Followed immediately by a door opening.

“Shit!”

“Oh, fuck, I’m sorry again!” he said, putting my entire chart in front of his face, but not closing the fucking door.

“It’s OK!”

“It is?” Then he started to move the chart.

“No! Close the door, damn it!”

I had grabbed the entire set of sheets, including what was laid over the table, and pulled it around myself, à la burrito.

“I’m just going to leave again and, uh…not open the door after knocking until you say it’s OK. OK?”

“Sure, sure,” I said.

Fucker.

Maybe he just wants to check out your hot bod.

No way. Even if I did believe my evil head buddy, there is no way that being naked while he was fully clothed was going to be anything but creepy.

That’s just a rule.

Unless you’re with your gyno…no, that’s pretty creepy, too.

Hm.

Or married?

Or, I guess, in a serious committed relationship.

Oh! Or, what if you’re doing some kinky BDSM shit? I started imagining a scene with my new masseuse and a different kind of table, one with straps and knots and vibrators and…a different voice, perhaps deeper and more commanding—

“—Ms. Swan, are you ready, yet?”

Fuck. I did it again.

“No.”

I heard the responding sigh over the ocean music and through the closed door.

I struggled to make up the table, but the sheet wasn’t fitted, and I had no idea how to do that shit anyway. I mean, my bed at home looks like I have regular “so hot we pull the sheets loose” kind of sex, and I’ve often woken up on a bare mattress.

Oh, and when I was a kid, I would ask my mother to make up my bed to show me how, and then I’d sleep on top in my sleeping bag for a month, until it came loose on its own.

Rinse. Repeat.

I finally said, “Fuck it,” and left the sheet untucked, pulling the rest of the mess over my body.

“OK!” I yelled, then hid my red face in the head rest.

“OK, that was totally my fault,” he said, closing the door.

“Yes, it was,” I commented.

“I’m new here, and sometimes I forget that some clients are actually unclothed.”

“You mean you have clients that keep their clothes on?”

“Yeah, actually. Quite a few do that.”

“Oh,” I said, suddenly feeling like a perv for getting a naked massage last week…And every week for the past several months.

“But, there are several who, um…you know,” he said awkwardly.

“Right,” I said.

“What did you do with the sheets?” he asked.

“Um…”

I felt him tug at the cotton trapped beneath my legs. The sensation of the elasticed edge pulling away from…um, places…made me…

You know.

He fixed the sheet quite well, even with me lying on top of it, and got right to work, with no more conversation.

If I thought it was going to be difficult before, it was nothing complared to how I felt after my indirect-direct stimulation. I found it almost impossible to be still and not think of him naked, even worse to pretend that having his hands on me wasn’t the most sensual thing, ever.

And then he got to my lower back.

I had been proud of myself up that point, because I only moaned a couple of times, and I totally did not move my body after his hands when he pulled them off of me.

OK, just the one time.

But when he folded the blanket down to the top of my panties and pushed his thumbs down my back and brushed against the fabric…I know the tension was palpable, because he stopped.

My eyes snapped open. I stared a hole in the floor, and waited for him to either acknowledge the boundary, or just act like it didn’t happen (I was hoping for the latter).

“Um, sorry,” he said. “I didn’t know you’d, um…be…never mind.”

I didn’t say anything.

His hands continued to graze the elastic band, but he just acted like it wasn’t there.

I guess. He certainly didn’t mention it again.

I, however, was so thoroughly aware of exactly how close his hands were to my ass, that I practically willed him to push my panties out of the way on each pass.

Of course that didn’t happen.

He finally slowed and put the blanket over my back and shoulders, chastely resting his hand at the top of my left shoulder blade.

“Ms. Swan, I forgot to ask if there were any other places I should focus on, today, and with the, um…delay…I owe you a few more minutes. Is there anything else that needs work, or would you like to add fifteen minutes to your next session?”

“Was it fifteen minutes?” I asked…Like an idiot who complains that her free gift with purchase isn’t the right color.

“No,” he said, laughing, “but, I feel very bad about what happened, and I’d like to make it up to you…um, somehow—but not, um, in an unprofessional way—”

“—No, I understood,” I said, but was inwardly disappointed that he didn’t want to get a little “unprofessional” with me on the massage table…hm…clearly I’d had about as much touching as I could take today.

“How about next time?” I said.

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