“So, Radha... to what do I owe the pleasure?” he asked.
She gave herself some time to prepare her nerve-racking reply. “I like you. I've liked you for a long time. And I knew you did this kind of thing.”
“Okay.” He took a sip of tea. “Tell me what it is you're looking for.”
“Just....” If you can't even say the words, how can you go through with it? “Something casual. Everything but romance.”
To that he nodded. His lack of response made her nervous, so she filled in his blanks for him. “I'm just trying to change. I thought something like this might be good for me. Put a new perspective on things. If you'd rather not, that's fine.” Part of her wanted him to dismiss her. Oh, Jesus, I hope you don't, though.
“I think I rather would,” he said. “You just have to be up front to me about everything. Tell me when I'm going too far. Tell me what you want. What you don't want. How you're feeling. Be honest when I ask you what you're thinking. That's all I need. Sound good?”
Somehow she felt like she was agreeing to a job she wasn't entirely qualified for. She gave a shaky nod and took another gulp of tea to wash down the lump in her throat.
He smiled. “So would you rather just talk tonight, or are you interested in sex?”
She spilled some of her tea on her top. “Crap!”
Ian was up and halfway to the kitchen before she could even think to ask for a towel. He came back with one, half dry, half wet, and handed it to her. “Thank you,” she said with a grumble, dabbing at the stain and patting it dry with the other end.
“I'll get you a shirt to wear,” he said, then disappeared down the adjacent hall to his room. Radha froze and stared in his direction. Her heart started to pound.
Deep end. Better than toe-dipping. No cold feet.
She stood on shaky legs, put the towel on the coffee table, and followed after him.
He was returning to the living room, shirt in hand, when she reached his doorway. They almost bumped into each other, but neither backed away. She allowed herself for the first time to really look at him: he had a very unnoticeable birthmark just above his bellybutton to the left, a bit of hair on his chest, and a slight bend in his nose like it had been broken once, but not badly. There was a rather large scar mostly hiding just underneath his eyebrow—she reached up to trace it. “Where did you get that?”
He did not smile. “Run-in.”
“You should see the other guy.”
She cracked a smile that faded quickly when he leaned in. “Do you want to put this off?”
Her eyes stayed locked on his lips. They were red, thin, soft-looking. His breath made her skin tingle. “No.”
At first he simply brushed his lips over hers. Instantly she felt it between her legs, then her entire body tightened. Still he refused to complete the kiss, just hovering at the threshold. So she took the initiative and leaned in by a modicum.
He sighed against her, dropped the shirt, and slowly wrapped his arms around her middle. Not sure where her hands belonged, she held them at his hips, slowly hooking her thumbs in the belt loops as he began to nibble on her bottom lip.
This is actually happening. She really didn't think it would—getting into a friends with benefits arrangement or getting into one with Ian. Ian. Those were his hands grabbing at the hem of her shirt, his tongue that was subtly massaging her lip. Her jaw opened of it's own accord and a moan she didn't know she was holding slipped past her. He kissed differently than she was used to—he was gentle yet a touch forceful, and he navigated her in ways that never even occurred to her. As she returned his enthusiasm, he slowly lifted her shirt.
He broke the kiss as he reached the underside of her bra. “Don't want to keep you”—a feathery kiss—“in these wet clothes”—another peck—“do we?”