***Hey all. So, I’m feeling a little better and have decided to ease into regular posting. For now, it’s this post for this week, next week will have two, and the week after will return to regular posting. Thank you for all the kind comments before they were really sweet and alleviated a lot of stress for me. And also, just letting you all know now starting September 27th my book will go on a short Countdown deal where you get percentage off the original price! I’ll remind you again later. And to the person who bought my book, thank you and I hope you’re enjoying it! See you all soon; and I hope you enjoy! Soul xo***
After a long-ass week of non-stop work, pushing mister I’m-so-entitled’s potential out to the world with as much dignity as he can muster, I yearned for the weekend and a good break. The summer air was thick with heat, but I managed keeping my cool knowing I was coming home to Daniel. Only thing is his air conditioner is broken so we’ve been sweating it out like crazy lately. And that doesn’t even include the sex because it’s still non-existent. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Daniel and I still haven’t had sex even after his cast is off. Oh right, in really fortunate news, Daniel’s cast is off his leg and now he can walk without support. I’m so happy!
The weekend feels like it was a long time coming. Friday evening had the sun ricocheting off reflective buildings and creating halos and stars of light off crevices. I always feel like New York is calmer in the summer. I mean, the people seem more tranquil. I so rarely have the opportunity to use that word, ‘tranquil’, but now it seems so perfect. So fitting. Anyway, tranquil is the side of New York many people don’t seem to remember. And which, despite the heat, I love.
I travelled straight into the elevator and treasured the moment of calm heat trickling off my skin. I skipped out and ran to Daniel’s door, inserting my key and pushing the door, only to find myself hitting a block, the gold, rusty chain of the door stretched out and worrying me.
“Daniel?” I knocked on the door, moving my head from side to side to get a better look inside. “Daniel are you in there? What’s going on?”
I heard movement on my last question and then Daniel’s soft voice. “Hey,” his hand unravelling the chain and he opening the door only a sliver enough for me to see his form. He peered down and then his eyes met mine. Lazy, hazy, and I didn’t know if it was the heat taking a toll on him or not.
I cinched my brows upwards in stress. “Are you okay?”
Daniel sighed, his shoulders slumping down. “We need to talk.” He gestured his head backwards and opened the door wider, allowing me to enter…
“Sex?” Daniel asks Dr. Shaw after the awkward silence.
Dr. Shaw nods. “Yes, sex.”
My eyes darted between the two like I was watching a tennis match.
Daniel chuckles, meeting my eyes and returning his attention back to Dr. Shaw, stopping short. “Oh, you’re serious?”
“Are you comfortable with talking about it?” Dr. Shaw asks.
“Sure,” Daniel shrugs, “it’ll be a short conversation, though, but sure.” He laughs again, this time at his joke.
My forced, closed-mouthed smile lifted by the twitch of one cheek seemed more contorted into pain than ease. We’ve only been here a few minutes and already things appear a little rocky.
“How’s the sex life between the two of you?” This time, Dr. Shaw points at the both of us.
I smile politely. “It’s okay.” Daniel looks at me. I shrug. “I mean, we don’t really have much sex lately.”
Daniel looks down at his leg pointedly. “It’s a little difficult with a certain obstacle.”
Dr. Shaw nods. “Mmm, I understand. What about the romance?”
Daniel and I steal each other’s looks, trying to figure out if the other knows what she’s talking about. Neither of us do.
Dr. Shaw uncrosses her leg and leans in. “You can have sex without romance; you can have romance without sex; and you can have both together. The best part about sex is the giving of one another. It involves more trust than people think. Daniel, tell Anna what you’d like her to do during sex, and what you already do like that she does.”
Daniel lifts a brow, looking on his way to be as pale as he was in the cab before we got here. “’Scuse me?”
Dr. Shaw nods encouragingly. “Sure,” she urges, “go on. Look at her and tell her. Start with the sentence, ‘I like it when…’.”
Daniel gulps and then turns his body halfway to me. He considers the question in his mind first and almost blushes a pink hue. “Anna, I like it when…” I take his hand in mine and he smiles and clears his throat. “Anna, I like it when you are determined to finish me off,” he laughs, “but also, that you pay attention to my hands. I love it when you kiss my palm, my fingertips, and put them in your mouth. I find that romantic, but there’s not enough of it that it drives me insane.”
We both laugh and I notice that I’m lost in a fire he ignited.
“Good work, Daniel,” Dr. Shaw commends. “Now you Anna.”
“Daniel, I like it when you kiss my ear and neck while you—” I look at Dr. Shaw and back at Daniel. He gives me a slight nod to let me know he knew what I was about to say— “but I also like it when you surprise me. Especially when you surprise me with how much control you have over me. I really love being taken over by you.”
There’s a silence in the air, and for the moment, Daniel and I only see each other.
“Alright. Good work,” Dr. Shaw says, snapping us out of our reverie. “Here’s an exercise I’d like for you both to work on. Focus on the romance. With that spark, things will come gradually. Another thing I’d like for you both to think of is a project.”
“A project?” I ask.
Dr. Shaw smiles. “Yup, a project. One in which you are both invested in. It doesn’t have to be grandiose. Just something you both can start and finish together. It forms as the continuous contribution to the romance, almost like a conditioning of sorts. Besides, it’ll bring you both closer together. Sound good?”
I breathe in. “Okay. Yeah, sounds good.”
“Good?” she asks Daniel.
He nods. “Good.”
“Good. I want to see you both in two weeks’ time this time. It’ll give you both enough space for this romantic evolution.”
We both laugh awkwardly with her. More like romantic revolution. What if we arrive at the end of two weeks with nothing?
“What’s the problem?” I walk into Daniel’s apartment searching for signs of distress and alarm.
There are pots on the stove of the kitchen, there are vegetables and salads on the counter, and as I move closer to the centre of the room, Daniel slowly following behind me, I notice place mats and white plates lined navy blue on the rims. Empty wine glasses; a corked bottle of red wine; napkins folded into rectangles; a red rose bouquet on the coffee table and petals only close around it.
I turn around and find a smirking Daniel. So proud, the grin from ear to ear. “Who’s singing?”
“More, the theme from Mondo Cane by Sergio Franchi. Do you like it?”
I scoff. “Do I like it? Daniel, what…what…”
“Come,” he held out his hand.
I laugh and took it. We danced our way into the centre of his apartment, Franchi singing to me in the background with the most amazing deep and projecting voice. The music reminiscent of old-timey class.
“This is pretty great,” I said. “But what’s the occasion?”
“I’ve been thinking a lot about what Dr. Shaw said. I wanted to romance you. So I started thinking—” he dips me and I giggle— “how do I romance my beautiful girlfriend with a busted leg?”
“It’s not busted anymore,” I note, paying attention to the shackles of a cast and broken bones free from his leg.
“Well this was when it was busted. Anyway, I decided that I wanted to transport you to one of the most romantic cities in the world: Italy. And thank God we live in New York City because we can get delivery-anything here. I didn’t have the wine and roses, but cooking was all me.”
I drop my hands down by my sides and stopped dancing. “No.”
“Yes.” He wraps a hand around my waist and pulls me in hard. “Bread and salted butter as our starter, muscles for entrée, pasta for main with meatballs and grated parmesan cheese, and gelato for dessert.”
“Oh, Daniel,” I gasp, throwing my arms over his shoulders. “I can’t believe you did all of this…” for me! “You are incredible.”
“That’s not all,” he says with a glimmer of deviousness in his eyes. “Go into my room. I’ll go get the food ready in the meantime.”
“What’s in there?”
“You’ll see,” he slaps my ass and I yelp. “Just go.”
I hop into his bedroom without looking back, rubbing my ass. Suddenly, the heat and lack of air conditioning were the last things on my mind. I thought I was going to have to spend a little while looking for whatever it was that was waiting for me. But as soon as I laid my eyes on it, I knew it was for me.
I lifted my brows and called out. “Daniel.”
“As soon as I saw it, I knew it was for you!” He called back. “Put it on!”
A picked up the white shift dress from off the bed. It had a round neckline and was sleeveless. The detail that was the most eye-catching was the gold-toned embroidery panelling its way down the middle of the dress. The shoes matched the dress perfectly; a metallic gold leather Jack Rogers sandal with interwoven detail and a little heel. It seemed so simple and yet all so detailed and flawless. Perfect for summer; perfect for Italy!
“Do you like it?!” he asked.
“I love it! I’m putting it on now!”
And it fit perfectly!
I put my dark hair up and retouched my eye make-up using my Bobbi Brown eyeliner in black and Diorshow mascara. My two must have essentials.
“How do I look?” I ask, popping out of his room just as he was placing cutlery on the table.
He did a double-take on me and I giggled. “Wow,” he says, gulping and taking off the towel from his shoulder. “You look…a lot sexier than I had imagined.” He laughs nervously.
I walk up to him and am instantly cradled in his embrace. “It’s a great dress,” I say.
Daniel shakes his head. “No, not the dress.” He grabs my waist and pushes me up against the table. “It’s you.”
What little light left there is gallivanting through the window is obscured by Daniel towering over me, bringing a soft darkness I do care to welcome. Daniel leans lower and lower until finally, he presses his lips on mine. Pushing eagerly through my mouth, lips quivering frantically over mine.
I take off his shirt and kiss his collar bone, leaning on the table. He slides his hands down to my thighs and lifts me up on the table, parting my legs for him to enter, his dark jeans closing in on me. And even through the thick material, I could feel him hardening.
“Daniel,” I breathe, “wait, wait.”
He’s moved to my breasts at this point. The dress completely unzipped on the side exposing me for him to take as much of me in as he wants. He grips one of my breasts and suckles on the other, attempting to fit the whole of it in his mouth.
He looks up, unable to remove his hand. “What? Wait for what?”
I had imagined this moment a lot differently. In bed really, much more romantic than on the dining room table, or wherever this takes us. I had imagined more of night, with the moon and stars somehow making its way through our window. I had imagined not Italy, but New York.
I realised, then, that this is romantic. It’s a grand gesture, even if he doesn’t think so, it is to me. And I can’t keep imagining the perfect scenario for starting up our sex life. It’s not supposed to be planned in advance or mulled over until the picture is worn out. It’s supposed to be this: us two in love, making love, horny as hell, wanting each other to come with so much pleasure our eyes will roll back.
I smile. “Your hand is kind of tight on my thigh.”
“Oh,” he loosens his grip. “Sorry. Better?”
I nod and pull him closer with my legs. “Fuck me Daniel,” I say calmly.
“With pleasure, baby.”
We kiss while I disrobe him until he’s completely naked. Then he pushes me back slightly and I find myself lifting my legs and his head in between my thighs, lapping me up. It’s a work out trying to keep my legs up in this awkward half-up-half-down angle of mine that I grab Daniel’s hair and pull him up. He’s kissing streaks along the way, passing my stomach and onto my breasts again.
“God I’ve missed these,” he purrs hungrily as he sucks on my nipples and licks the sides.
I push Daniel back and pick myself off the table. I don’t remove my hand from his chest as I make him walk backwards until finally plonking onto the couch. I take off the entirety of my new dress and throw the cotton on one of the arm chairs. The heat in the apartment and our sex has made our bodies glistening with sweat, and we look hot. Daniel looks hot.
As I kiss Daniel, I curl my hands around his hard penis and pull the thickness inside of me. I gasp as he fills me up and Daniel grunts, watching as I hop up and down on the couch.
“Oh! Ooohh!” I moan, getting louder and louder.
“Argh, don’t stop, baby! Don’t stop till you come.”
I lean back and place my hands on his knees for support. He braces me with his hands at my back and I drive into him. He takes one hand away and begins thumbing my clit.
“I’m gonna come,” I say. “I’m gonna come!” I scream right as I come the second time I say it.
“Oh, wow,” he says. I look down from the ceiling to see what he’s fascinated by and see him staring at the spot where we connect.
He pushes me up at the back and kisses me. The kiss tastes salty and wet, as we do; Daniel manoeuvres my body to the side and lays me on my back on the sofa. I squeeze his ass when he starts thrusting into me hard. The momentum picking up and his drive all the more eager. I bring my lips up to his neck and kiss him tenderly, the moment of which slows his thrust for a split second, only to pick up with full force again as he comes inside of me, moaning fully-fledged.
Daniel drops his body onto me, and we rest, panting stronger than ever before. And Sergio Franchi serenades us into the night.
“Soooo why was I putting on that outfit?” I ask in Daniel’s arms, both our stomachs rumbling since we haven’t moved from the sofa.
Daniel’s chest rose and dipped abruptly as he chuckled. “We were meant to go for a little walk on the riviera,” he says, stroking my arm. We switched positions mid-way just for the sake of switching. “I’m glad you like the outfit. All from Saks by the way.”
I lift my head in shock. “Really?”
Daniel nods. “Yup. Have I satiated your addiction?”
I laugh and rest my head back onto his chest. “Never.”
I’m obsessed with Saks, but the prices are way too high for a girl on an editorial assistant’s salary who happens to be living in New York. It’s not so bad, but I do have to be smart with my expenses. But I suck at shopping too, so when I see Daniel buying something affordable from Saks, where I think it’s impossible, it makes me question my shopping skills.
“Sun’s gone down,” Daniel says.
I look up to see through the dark window and into windows of tall buildings lighting up; the lampposts glow orange beacons; the long roads to anywhere. Suddenly, I’m transported back to New York.
“Mmmm,” I grumble, shifting and holding Daniel’s naked body tighter, “take me back to Italy.”
Daniel uses his fingers to move the hair away from my neck, airing it out. “For you, I’ll take you anywhere.”
I start pecking his chest, right below his pec. “Did you ever hear about the definition of happiness?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I don’t know where I’ve heard this from, but the definition of happiness is when you don’t want the moment to end. You’re happy to be stuck in this one moment for the rest of your life so much that you want time to stand still.”
Daniel smiles and bends his body forward to kiss me. I prop myself up to give him space to move using my hands. “I’m happy, too, Anna.”
He squeezes my thighs again, only tightening his grip. I find myself grinding into him and feeling him become harder. And we have sex a second time.
“Cool, I’m starving!” I rub my hands together.
After our encore, Daniel and I both got dressed—he in his boxers and I only in a camisole and underwear—and set up the table to finally eat our food. While he was placing pots on the table I was checking my Blackberry and found two missed calls and three texts from Adam.
‘Are you busy?’
‘Pick up. I want that explanation.’
I roll my eyes and place the phone down. I sigh when I realise time started up again. That brief moment with Daniel was only for taunting purposes I suppose.
“What’s that expression all about?” Daniel asks.
I look up and he mimics my face. A mixture of frustration and exhaustion.
I laugh. “It’s nothing.” Then I sniff. “Mmmm smells good.”
My phone starts ringing again and I notice it’s Adam. I let it go.
“Are you going to get that?” Daniel asks from the kitchen.
“No, I’ll call them back later. After we eat.”
Daniel brings the last pot, pours us both wine, and settles in the chair opposite me.
“Well alright,” he says, “let’s dig in!”
The mussels were smothered in a white wine and thyme broth that enhanced the flavours. He must have slow cooked them or something because the mussels were tiny as much as a fingertip. Crème fraiche was on the side but I hardly touched it.
Next was the pasta and it was just all about the sauce and the meatballs. Daniel loves chilli, so he doused his pasta with chilli flakes. I like spice too, but not that much.
“You have an unusually high tolerance for chilli,” I noted.
Daniel only smiles and throws a huge glob of everything into his mouth, spilling at the sides. We both laugh and I laugh harder when I see him trying to refrain from spitting everything out.
“So, I wanted to tell you something else,” Daniel says after he practically breathes in another meatball.
“Yeah?” I muffle through pasta.
“That project Dr. Shaw was talking about…”
“Ugh,” I roll my eyes, disappointed, “I haven’t thought of a thing.”
“Well, I kind of have.”
I stop eating and look up. Blinking twice, impressed. “You have?”
Daniel nods and stands to rummage around in his room, bringing back a large folder. “I want us to make a photo album.” I have no words so he goes on through my awe. “I’ve always wanted one, you know,” he shrugs, “I just think it’s a cool idea. I regret not taking pictures when I was younger, especially with my mother, and I just think I’ll regret it with you too. I’ve been thinking about it a lot actually, way before Dr. Shaw suggested anything, and I just didn’t know when the right opportunity was.”
“Now is the perfect freakin’ time,” I burst.
Daniel laughs and sighs in relief. “Oh, good, so you like it? Good, good.”
“I love it. I love you,” I stand to kiss him.
“I love you, too. I also…” he suddenly remembers, hopping back into his room and pulling out a camera, “bought a Polaroid camera. Ready for our first picture?”
He holds the camera out in front of us and kisses me on the cheek. When the snapshot comes out, I’m looking away and smiling as if he’s telling me a wonderful secret. I love it.
“Alright,” he slaps his hands together and then rubs, “gelato time.”
“Yes! We are in need,” I say.
We sit close on the sofa when Daniel comes back, the television low in the background and the each of us sucking on our spoons full of creamy, icy goodness. Then, Daniel gets up silently.
“Going to get some more?”
“Nah, your phone’s ringing again.”
“Oh,” I say absentmindedly. Then, when I realise who it may be, my heart thuds and I turn back a fraction wide-eyed. “Oh,” I groan.
“Adam?” Daniel reads confusedly. The screen lighting up in his face in this darkness.
“Yeah, about that…”
Daniel smiles, but I see a hint of restraint at the corner of his lips. “About what?” he asks casually.
I sigh and explain to him what happened between Adam and I; I just couldn’t bear the thought of hiding this from Daniel. It’s not something I was doing consciously before, but it seems more appropriate now considering Adam’s return to my freakin’ phone, hounding me for an explanation.
“You should meet up with him,” Daniel finally says after he listened patiently to every word I said.
I turn my ear towards him. “What?”
Daniel laughs. “Look, all I’m saying is, I understand his position. If a girl I liked, deeply, kissed me and without explanation just got back together with her boyfriend, I’d want to know what happened.” He shrugs, “I think it’s a courteous thing to do.”
“So,” I pause, furrowing my brows in confusion, “you’re not mad?”
“I’m…a little of something that’s below mad, but I’m okay. Anna,” he catches my attention, stroking my arm, “talk to him. It’s the right thing to do.”
Daniel must still be in Italy.