I’d been looking forward to this weekend all month. I finally had the apartment all to myself, and there was no way I was putting on pants.
My roommate, Max, was going to a wedding with his girlfriend, Whitney, which meant I’d finally be able to relax without being pulled into their drama. They had been in the process of breaking up for the past four months.
When I first rented Max’s spare bedroom, I thought I’d struck gold. The rent was cheap for the neighborhood, and Max was funny and easy on the eyes. I even thought, if only for a brief minute, that there might be a spark between us. But I soon learned that Max had a penchant for dating high maintenance blonds. For the sake of our domestic peace, I tucked away that glimmer of a spark and refused to revisit it except on especially unimaginative nights alone in my bedroom.
Whitney was the worst of the women Max had brought to our apartment over the past year. She was a drama carousal, and she was always looking for someone to pull along for the ride. She’d even accused Max of having a secret nerd crush on me. I didn’t mind being a nerd. But I didn’t like being relegated to a lower level of crush because of it.
Anyway, I’d started holing up in my bedroom and avoiding common areas whenever Whitney was around. I even went out on the weekends just to avoid getting caught in the slow moving volcanic runoff that was the end of their relationship.
Which is why I intended to take full advantage of their absence this weekend. First, I blasted Nora Jones through the speakers in all her mellow, angsty glory. Second, I opened a bottle of Pinot Noir that I found in the back of the pantry. Third, I grabbed an armful of regency romance novels and stacked them beside the sofa.
The Duke Wins a Lady did not disappoint. But why was it that every time I imagined the duke, he looked exactly like Max? Max was not the man I wanted to fantasize about at that moment. He was the man I wanted to forget. But the way the duke teased Lady Jane mercilessly, and his statuesque figure, and his all-knowing stare, and his blunt interpersonal style all reminded me of Max. So, is it any wonder that my brain kept projecting Max’s face on the duke’s character?
Two glasses of wine and half a book later, right before the slow-burning lust that the author had been building for twelve chapters came to a steamy climax, the front door clicked open and the duke walked into my living room.
I mean Max. I mean the duke. Fuck. No. It was definitely Max.
Max stood there in his full wedding attire not three feet away, blurring the lines of my fantasy and reality so irrevocably that I might never recover.
I dropped the book on my face, knocking my glasses off-kilter, and removed my hand from my panties.
Max loosened his tie. Maybe my brain was smut-washed, but I swear his eyes smoldered as he looked at me. I swear he took me in from head to cunt with a slow sensual ache as though he’d been holding back for months and couldn’t keep his eyes away any longer.
“Did I just walk in on you masturbating?” Max said.
As though he hadn’t seen it clear as day, as though my panties weren’t drenched. But what kind of bastard would call me out for it? Did I call him out when I heard Liberace coming from his bedroom at two a.m.? I think not.
My fight or flight instincts kicked in. But because I’d never grown my wings, I boxed myself into a tiny ball on the sofa, tucking my knees into my chest and crossing my legs. I turned my body into a wall as impenetrable as a turtle shell.
My first defense in this battle was to pretend that the whole moment had never happened.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Max. This is how I relax.”
“By masturbating on our sofa? You are not normal.”
“I’m completely normal. I wasn’t masturbating on our sofa like some kind of voyeur with no respect for the unspoken rules of roommate-hood.”
He ran his fingers through his hair.
“Fuck, Evie. The way you look right now, I can’t hear a word you’re saying.”
“Let me go grab some shorts.”
I tried to make a run for it, but Max grabbed my ankle as I pivoted off the sofa and the heat of his touch made me blush like a 19th century woman—all innocence and repressed sexual desire, no impulse control. I swooned back to my corner of the sofa.
“No. This is your weekend. I know you’ve been looking forward to this … whatever it is you’re doing.”
“Is this what women do when they say they need me time? They masturbate all day? If I’d known that …”
“If you’d known that then what?”
Max looked over me slowly, swallowing hard before answering. Max—the king of cool—was nervous. Was I winning the battle? Was he about to retreat? Did I just need to own up and pull a Sheryl Sandberg to seal my victory?
“If I’d known that, I’d never leave you alone,” he said.
“That is deeply patriarchal. I can masturbate whenever and wherever I want, Max. I’m a grown woman, and this is my home too.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
I blushed because I knew that wasn't what he meant but I was too embarrassed to admit any other interpretation.
“And I wasn’t doing it all day. Just the last four hours or so, off and on.”
“That must be some book.”
I fanned the edges of the book under my thumb as he kept standing there, expecting something.
"So, what did you mean?” I asked.
“About never leaving me alone.”
Max pulled his tie over his head and popped the top button of his collar. He sat at the opposite end of the sofa and sighed.
“You really don’t know?”
“The effect you have on me, Evie.”
My wheels spun so fast the hamster in my head could’ve powered a rocket ship to space.
“Is that Nora Jones? And my expensive Pinot?”
His questions pulled me back to earth. I fumbled for my phone and turned off the playlist.
“I was going to replace the wine.”
“By replace it, do you mean refill it with your Yellowtail red blend?”
“You know about the wine exchange club?”
“Well, I don’t have a palette of a fish, so, yes.”
“Why didn’t you ever say anything? I thought you never noticed.”
“Seems like there’s a lot of things we never said to one another, Evie. But we both always noticed, didn’t we? Every look, every accidental touch.”
“What happened to the wedding? And Whitney?”
He refilled my wine glass and took a swig.
“It’s over with Whitney. It didn't make much sense for me to attend the wedding after we broke up.”
“I’m not. It should’ve never started. I was only with her because …”
“Because I was trying to distract myself. I’m sorry for bringing all her drama home. She’s not my usual type.”
“Do you think we met yesterday? Whitney is totally your type.”
“Only since I met you.”
“What are you saying, Max? My freckle-faced, curly brunette locks sent you running for the Insta-blonds?”
“I don’t know why they bug you so much. They don’t have anything on you.”
“Yeah, sure. Just a perky rack and legs for days and perfect teeth and frizz-free hair and 20/20 vision. But other than those things, they’ve got nothing on me.”
“You don’t understand anything, do you, Evie?”
“I understand plenty.”
I tapped the stack of romance novels on the floor.
“Maybe you understand, but you’re too afraid to act on it when it’s sitting right beside you.”
“The only reason you’re not afraid to act on your attractions is because you’ve never been laughed at for misreading some guy’s signals who was totally baiting you to get you to pay for two boxes of Taco Bell burritos for him and his buddies.”
“That sounds like a very specific and deeply painful high school experience.”
“It wasn't just high school. I'll have you know that also happened to me in college. And three years ago.”
Max reached across the sofa for my feet and pulled my legs until they were fully outstretched. He slowly dragged me toward him. My oversized t-shirt rolled up my back as he brought my feet across his lap. He slowly looked up my legs, over my breasts, until he met my eyes. He had never looked at my body with that kind of leisure, that level of privilege. I crossed my arms over my chest.
“You should really stop eating at Taco Bell, Evie. It obviously hasn’t been good to you.”
“What are you doing, Max? Because if you’re trying to lead me on right now, you’re even worse than the burrito bandits.”
"You don't have to hide it, Evie."
"How hard your nipples get when I looked at them."
"I'm not hiding."
He reached for my arm and lowered it to my side. His breath got heavy and I'll be damned if that didn't make my nipples harder.
"This is a natural reaction. I was in a state of hyper arousal when you arrived. Don't take it personally."
“You know, this place never felt like home to me until you moved in.”
Why did those words make me ache? Maybe because I’d never felt at home until I moved in with Max. That feeling of home was about a heck of a lot more than his cheap and chic apartment. It was about who he was, who he'd become to me.
I couldn’t deny how I perked up every time I got home alone after a long day at work. Or how warm and right it felt when he’d watch ridiculous anthropomorphic penguin movies with me until three a.m. because I couldn’t sleep.
I tucked my hair behind my ears but the curls popped in my face. Max reached over and secured the lock behind my ear.
“So, we’re just going to ignore that comment about you never leaving me alone?” I said.
“Yeah, kind of like we’re ignoring the permanent stain you’re leaving on our sofa. No matter how much we want to stick our noses in it, we're going to leave it alone. Aren't we, Evie?”
I grabbed a throw pillow from behind my back and crushed threw it at him. He caught it and placed it over his lap. I hadn't dared to look down and read his body's reaction.
“Will you read that book to me?”
“I don’t think The Duke Wins a Lady is something you’ll enjoy.”
“Seems like it did it for you.”
“This book is kind of off the deep end on the romance spectrum, you know?”
“You mean sexual?”
I nodded, “Explicitly so.”
“Read it to me, and I’ll tell you if I enjoy it.”
“Aren’t you curious … if I’ll enjoy it?”
“You swear you’ve broken up with Whitney?”
Max reached into his pocket and tossed his wallet and the spare key to our apartment on the coffee table.
“It’s over, Evie. She's not coming back here.”
“What if things get weird between us after this?”
"After I ... read you my book ... That is what we're doing here, isn't it?"
"That's part of what we're doing."
"And the other part?"
Max caressed the arch of my foot.
“Because if I wait another day, I might lose the nerve. And a day becomes a month becomes a year."
"So it does. How do I know you're serious about this?"
Max pulled the pillow off his lap. His cock tented his pants.
“George doesn’t lie.”
“You did not name your cock Curious George.”
“It was either that or The Man with the Yellow Hat.”
“Max, I’m really nervous about this. I don’t want to be your rebound.”
"Are you talking to Max or George right now, because your mouth is saying Max, but your eyes are saying George."
"Shit," I peeled my eyes up.
“You’re kidding, right? About being my rebound?”
“No. I’m serious. I don’t want to throw away cheap rent in a safe neighborhood with you for something that’s going to explode in my face in two hours.”
“Explode in your face?”
“Poor choice of words.”
“You’re not my rebound, Evie. You’re my inside shot.”
“Don’t use basketball metaphors if you can’t follow along.”
“Fuck, were you always that big?”
“I grew for you. Does it make you nervous?”
“It’s just more than I imagined.”
“You imagined it, then?”
“Of course, I … you know I did.”
“Evie, I intend to live in your bubble of weird for as long as you’ll let me. Understand?"
“I want you to read your book to me now.”
And so, I start to read. As I read, Max kicked off his loafers and unbuttoned his shirt. I paused to watch.
“Continue, I’m just getting comfortable.”
Max started massaging my feet. He had magic hands. He knew I couldn’t resist his massages.
“’Are you still afraid of me, my lady?’ the duke asked.
‘Irreparably, your grace. I may never be able to look you in the eye after what you have proposed.’
‘Have I proposed something?’
‘You would make me say it? How you asked me to prepare myself for you? For shame, your grace.’
‘I want to hear you say it, my lady, and I want to watch the blush on your cheeks spread down your bosom as you do, the way it colored you when I first spoke it. If you want me to take you, as I know you do, you will not deny me these little pleasures. What happens in the boudoir is between a gentleman and a lady.’
‘You may be a duke, but you are no gentleman, your grace.’
The duke moved closer and took Jane’s hands in his.
‘Nonetheless, I beseech you to say it.’
‘You’ll lose all respect for me if I say it.’
‘I’ll lose all respect for myself if I don’t pull those words from your lips this very instant.’
‘I have prepared myself, your grace, exactly as you requested.’
‘Good. Now tell me how you have done it, or you will go to your bed chambers alone tonight.’
‘I have broken myself in with the wooden instrument you provided.’
‘Broken yourself in? Are you a mare that you have been broken in?’”
I paused as Max’s massage moved up my calves.
“Is this alright?” he asked.
I consented in such a high pitch hum that he chuckled.
“Keep reading, Evie.”
"‘You asked me to take it into the bath and slide it between my legs.’
‘No, that is not where I asked you to slide it.’
‘You told me to slide the wooden instrument into my c-c-c—’
‘Because your instrument is so large.’
‘You mean my cock. Say it.’
The duke walked to Jane and rolled her hand to the firm line of his pants.
Max shifted onto his knees as his massage moved up my thighs. My sex was pounding against my panties so loud, I swear a whole percussion section had taken up residence between my legs. I crossed my legs to silence it as though Max could hear all my inner drums.
Max slid his hands between my knees and spread them apart.
“You need to touch yourself, Evie.”
I shook my head. He lightly ran his palm over my pussy. I looked over the top of the book. His eyes were lust laden.
“Keep reading. I’m going to take care of you, okay?”
I took a deep breath and nodded.
“’Cock,’ Jane said.
‘God, you are pretty when you say it,’ the duke said.”
Max’s fingers slid along the fabric of my panties. I whimpered but wouldn’t look at him. I couldn’t. If I did, it would ruin everything. He’d see my entire hand, know all my cards. He would know that I'd been in love with him since the first day I walked into this apartment. I buried my nose in the book and continued.
“‘You said that because your cock is so large, you needed to know that I was stretched enough so you could take your pleasure without hurting me. Because the first time you take me, you won’t be able to hold back.’
‘And did you feel pleasure when you drove the wooden instrument into your cunt?’”
Max rubbed the lips of my pussy together, urging me to lift into his palm. He wanted me so bad, his restraint, our restraint, hurt.
“Keep reading,” Max said.
“‘At first, there was pain,’ Jane said.
‘And now? I presume you have left it the way I told you to.’
‘Show me that you are ready. Show me that you have prepared yourself exactly as I have asked.’
Jane lifted her skirts and exposed herself to the duke. He fell to his knees.
‘Very pretty, love.’
He gripped the wooden instrument between her legs. Jane squealed and lifted onto her tiptoes as he pushed the probe deeper.
‘Now, I’m going to show you the difference between an instrument and a cock.’”
Max slid a finger into the fabric of my panties, right against my sex, and I wanted nothing more than for him to tear through that fabric and slide into me. I kept the book firmly above my face so he couldn’t see how much I wanted it.
“I’m enjoying the hell out of this, Evie.”
“Put down the book and look at me.”
I closed the book and held it to my chest but shut my eyes tight.
“Don’t you want to see how much I enjoy it?”
Max circled his fingers around the material in such leisurely laps that I could feel myself about to release. I couldn’t orgasm like this. I couldn’t come before he’d even properly touched me. So, I thought of everything I could to pull myself back down.
“Large spiders, Taco Bell, Insta-blonds, burrito bandits.”
Max's lips slid between my thighs.
“You're trying to talk yourself down, but it's not going to work. You're too close."
“This is so embarrassing. Can I excuse myself for a minute?”
“Right in the middle of you and me time? I don’t think you should.”
“Don’t put them together like that. You and me time is way too close to us time.”
“Open your eyes, Evie.” He lowered his voice to a whisper, “I want you to let yourself go with me, please.”
I opened my eyes. His eyes were fire heating the surface of my skin. I lowered my gaze down his chest to his cock. Just that quick glance and bright stars were floating in front of my vision. I groaned and shut my eyes again.
“You look way too much like the duke. I’m sorry, Max. I can’t.”
"Is that so?"
I could hear the smirk in his voice.
"So you were thinking of me the entire time you were getting yourself hyper aroused earlier?"
Max took my hand and placed it on his face.
“Fuck, indeed. I’ll be your duke, Evie, if you’ll be my lady.”
“Who says lines like that?”
Max slipped his fingers under my panties and explored me in ways that made me feel seen and known and wanted. So wanted.
“What are you doing to me, Max?”
“I interrupted you time, so the way I see it, I owe you one.”
“That’s not what I mean. What is this?"
“Attraction, Evie. You can’t see it if you have your eyes closed, but you can still feel it.”
Max lifted my hand to his face. His hot breath filled my palm as I traced his lips. I lowered my hands down his neck, under his shirt, feeling his abs tighten and twitch.
I needed to feel him, all of him. I ran my hands along the seam of his pants and just feeling the tip of his cock under that rim made my sex flutter along his fingers.
“So that’s how I make you feel,” Max said.
He pecked along my jawline.
"Don't you want to know how you make me feel?"
“Unzip me," Max said.
I shook my head. He lowered his hips to mine and rolled his length along my panties. I felt him from tip to balls. That was it for me. I gripped his hips and opened my eyes. All my worry melted into a radiant smile.
"Oh Christ. Oh Christ. I'm right there, Max."
“Again?” he asked.
I nodded and thrust my hips along his length. He slid two fingers inside of me and as soon as his balls hit against my entrance, I started to come.
I wrapped my legs around his hips and pivoted against his girth hard and fast, orgasming so hard that I couldn’t breathe. I tore through my tightening chest, my shallow breath, until a deafening roar released from my lungs.
I collapsed to the sofa. Max’s fingers were still stroking me.
“I’ve never heard you come like that before.”
“You’ve heard me?”
“I listen for you sometimes from my bedroom.”
I bit my lower lip. He eyed me so seductively that I couldn’t hold back. I clawed at his zipper the same moment that he clawed at my shirt.
His cock was so large, I gasped. He grabbed a condom from his wallet and slipped it on.
“Are you ready for another, Evie?”
I groaned, “Only one more?”
"Let's see if you can survive the one before we talk about the next."
Max slid my panties to my ankles and positioned himself between my legs. As soon as his cock touched my sex, I tried to pivot to get him inside. He pressed a hand on my hips and pushed me to the sofa.
“Did you prepare yourself like I asked, my lady?” he smirked.
“You know that I did, your grace,” I smiled.
“Good, because now I’m going to show you the difference between a book and a cock.”