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The crowded bar was dark and noisy; the music loud enough that my two best friends and I had to lean in closely just to carry on a conversation. Around us the table was littered with empty beer bottles; from across the table my friend Rhiannon shot me a wide grin. “Thank God you could come tonight, Lilly; Girls’ Night just isn’t the same without you.”
I returned Rhi’s toothy smile before sending the next one in Adele’s direction. The three of us had been friends forever, since our freshman year at university. We’d weathered a lot together in the last decade: boyfriends, graduation, career changes, and one wedding and subsequent divorce (Adele’s experience, not mine — thankfully!)
“I’m so glad I could be here too. I feel awful for missing the last few.” My job as a journalist kept me busier than I’d like to admit and deadlines had lately prevented me from attending the weekly ritual. “I just don’t feel the same if I don’t get to see you two on Friday night.”
Adele leaned in closer as the DJ switched to another song, this one full of deep bass and wailing vocals; the empties skipped across the table to the beat. “Well you didn’t miss much, Lil. Just Rhi talking about her newest conquest.”
“The younger guy?” I dredged my memory for anything the voluptuous brunette might have mentioned about a new guy; nothing came to mind.
“No,” Rhiannon waved her half-empty beer bottle with graceful nonchalance. “He’s long gone. The new one is better.”
“Better than the gorgeous twenty-three year old?” I laughed and shook my head. Rhiannon was famous for her boyfriends; she managed to always find the most interesting men.
“Well, maybe he’s not as cute. But he’s much better in bed.”
Adele and I leaned in even closer, my shoulder-length red waves mingling with her short blond ringlets as we strained across the table to hear what Rhiannon had to say. My own sex life had been lacking of late, and living vicariously through my free-spirited friends was the best I could do.
“Tell,” Adele prompted with a giggle. We both had our eyes trained on Rhiannon, whose porcelain features gave away nothing, although the mischievous spark in her brown eyes told the truth.
“Well, Ladies: I think I’ve finally won Man Bingo.”
Adele and I went off into peals of laughter which drew curious glances from the tables around us.
“Rhi, you say that every time,” I chided when I regained my breath. Man Bingo was an expression we had somehow devised in our wild university days and it was an inside joke which had never died between us. I foggily recall it being Rhiannon’s expression first, and it stemmed from that instant when you first see a guy with his pants off; hopefully your reaction to his endowment can be summed up with one word: “bingo!” I hadn’t felt like I’d won Man Bingo in years. Mind you, I was starting to feel like I hadn’t seen a naked man in years either.
“Honestly though,” Adele teased, tucking a wayward honey blond curl behind her ear. “How big can he be?”
Rhiannon laughed. “Big.”
“Like regular-big or porn-star-big?” I asked with a giggle; the beer had kicked in and I could feel the weeks of work stress slipping away. Beside me Adele squirmed impatiently on her bar stool.
“Like I’ve-never-seen-anything-like-it-before-big.” Rhiannon’s smile was sly over the lip of her beer bottle. Adele’s mouth dropped open. I arched a sceptical eyebrow. “No, really,” the brunette laughed at our dubious expressions. “It’s fabulous. I was almost scared of it the first time.”
I laughed loudly; I couldn’t help it. “Rhi, you’ve seen more dicks than a doctor; how could you be scared of one?”
“Trust me, you would have been too. I was a little worried it wouldn’t fit.”
“But it did?” Adele giggled and blushed.
Rhiannon’s smile was Cheshire-catlike. “Eventually.”
“I wish I had a penis,” Adele laughed. “Wouldn’t it be great?”
I shrugged. “Maybe temporarily.”
“What would you do first if you had a penis for a day?” Rhi asked with a smirk.
“Get a blow job,” I replied automatically. “I’ve always wondered why guys like them so much.
“I’d jerk off,” Adele added, unable to keep from blushing. “Or get a hand job, those seem popular too.”
“What about you Rhi?” I asked hesitantly; I knew her answer wouldn’t be run-of-the-mill.
“I’d fuck as many girls as I could, just to see if there really was a difference between them.”
Adele and I laughed.
“Of course there’s a difference,” Adele scolded teasingly, “each dick is different; why shouldn’t each pussy be different as well?”
I signalled the waitress to bring another round; my beer was almost empty and I was feeling the need for a little liquid reinforcement. Our conversations kaçak iddaa occasionally swayed in the direction of the ribald, but I never thought I’d picture the day we were discussing what we would do with imaginary penises.
“I’d fuck both of you if it means anything,” Rhiannon smiled brightly.
I buried my head in my hands and shook it in disbelief. Beside me Adele was laughing loudly.
“Oh don’t be such a prude,” Rhiannon admonished. “I would. I think you’d be great in bed; you’ve got fabulous tits and such nice curves. And Adele is so tall and slim; she could just wrap her legs around me. You’re both hot; I’d fuck you both if I had a cock.”
“At the same time?” Adele asked with a giggle.
“Oh my God,” I cried, too embarrassed to look up at either of them. “Can we just go back to discussing something normal?”
“Like the size of Rhi’s new man’s dick?” Adele shoved my arm teasingly.
“Yes, please!” I cried. “Anything!”
“What do you want to know?” Rhiannon asked archly.
Adele leaned closer to Rhiannon and invited me to do the same. “Exact dimensions?”
I couldn’t help but laugh; before the divorce Adele had been with Harry for seven years, yet despite her limited experience she seemed much more open to all things sexual than I was. We both watched Rhiannon expectantly.
Rhiannon leaned back on her bar stool and tossed her long brown hair carelessly over one perfectly tanned shoulder before gesturing with her hands.
I could feel my jaw drop. “Oh my God,” I cried, throwing up my hands in defeat. “I give up, you always win Man Bingo! What about me? When’s it my turn?”
Adele patted my arm reassuringly but said nothing; she was still recovering from her recent divorce and hadn’t been dating much either. Mind you, my single status wasn’t by choice; I just hadn’t had any luck with a man in ages.
“I’ll lend him to you, if you want,” Rhi teased. “Except he’s not your type.”
“What’s my type?” I asked wryly.
“Intelligent,” Adele replied instantly.
“Boring,” Rhi chimed in.
“Ha, ha,” I quipped dryly, trying to make my scowl genuine.
Adele looped an arm around me in a hug. “She has a point, you know Lilly. You always date the safe guys. The accountants of life, so to speak.”
“There was only one accountant!” I cried defensively.
“And a politician, a banker, a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, a laboratory researcher, a computer programmer…” Rhiannon ticked each off on a perfectly manicured finger. “You always go for the smart, career-driven men. Maybe you need to start thinking differently.”
“I don’t want to date some slacker bum,” I muttered into my beer, resenting that the girls knew me well enough to speak the truth; it usually hurt less when they didn’t.
“They don’t have to be a bum,” Rhiannon admonished with a smile. “Just try someone you wouldn’t normally consider.”
“Like who?” I asked incredulously; trust Rhi to make it sound easy.
“Like that guy over there,” Rhiannon motioned towards the bar area. “He’s been checking you out all night.”
I shook my head and pushed my red hair out of my eyes at the same time. “No, Rhi; he’s probably been checking you and Adele out all night. I’m the ugly duckling of the group, remember?”
“You’re not ugly,” Adele cried, “you’re adorable. So you’re shorter than us, who cares? If you’d put some makeup on once and awhile you’d feel better about yourself, trust me.”
“Yeah, I spent an hour getting ready for tonight,” Rhiannon added teasingly. “And if only you’d show a little cleavage now and then. You have the best tits.”
I buried my head in my hands again with a groan. “Look, I love you both, but I’m not going to get all slutted up just to go out with the two of you.”
Rhiannon eyed my button up cardigan with mocking distain. “What do you have underneath that thing anyway? A chastity belt?”
“Fuck off,” I muttered with a laugh. “It’s a tank top if you must know.”
“Lose the sweater then! It’s hot as hell in here anyway.” Rhiannon encouraged. “And then you’re going to go put some lipstick on and go over and talk to that guy.”
I chanced a casual glance over my shoulder at said guy and balked. He was most definitely not my type and all the lipstick in the world wouldn’t change that fact. Tall, slim, dark haired, pierced, and tattooed; he didn’t look a day over twenty-five and I was a little more than a year away from thirty. He also didn’t look like he’d shaved in days.
I shook my head vehemently. “No,” I cried as Adele leaned close to tackle the buttons which fastened my sweater closed. “This is crazy.”
“No it’s not,” Adele countered while Rhiannon fished about in her ridiculously small handbag for lipstick. “It’s brilliant. kaçak bahis You need a man, Lilly. And he’s really cute.”
“He looks like a juvenile delinquent,” I squealed as Rhi sprayed my cleavage with cold perfume. I felt naked without the sweater on; my white cotton tank wasn’t much coverage and despite what Rhiannon had said there was a definite chill in the air.
“He’s hot. And I think he’s just what you need. I’m willing to bet he’s an amazing fuck and I haven’t been wrong yet.” Rhiannon lectured while helping me to apply the lipstick. “Now what the hell are you wearing on your feet?”
“Black flats, why?” I asked tentatively.
“Not good enough. Take my heels,” Rhiannon slipped her shoes off and we traded. The heels felt alien on my feet but fit perfectly; I guess it was a small blessing we had the same size feet, since Rhi would have made me wear her shoes regardless.
“You can’t wear heels with jeans!” I countered.
“Yes you can, I do it all the time. It’s sexy. Now go make nice with the cute boy.”
I shook my head, pushing Adele away as she tried to straighten my wavy red hair into some semblance of order. “I can’t do this guys, I’m not like you. I can’t just go up to some strange man and introduce myself.”
Rhiannon patted my arm reassuringly. “Of course you can, I do it all the time. You’re cute, you’re smart, you’ve got great tits; what’s not to like?”
I could feel the pit of my stomach churn uncertainly. “What do I say?”
“Just go up, lean on the bar beside him, and order a beer from the bartender. Trust me, he’ll do the rest, he’s been staring at you all night.” Adele smiled.
“What if he doesn’t?” I could feel the panic rising within my, my hands shook.
“You’re fuckin’ hot in that tank top Lilly, he’ll say something,” Rhi assured me. “Then just smile, flirt, and let him buy you a drink. The rest will follow.”
The rest will follow? Yeah, right. I didn’t pick men up in bars, and they certainly didn’t return the favour. One glance at my two best friends told me there was no way they were going to let me off the hook. Rhiannon looked threatening, Adele hopeful.
“Fine,” I sighed, taking the last swig of beer in my bottle; it was warm and flat. I grimaced. “But if this blows up in my face I’m blaming you two.”
Rhiannon nodded. “We’ll watch your back; goodness knows you’ve done it for me often enough. Go forth and multiply.”
I crossed the room laughing, all the while feeling the girls watching me expectantly. There was a space at the bar beside the cute guy which was just wide enough for me to slide into. I ignored the heat of his gaze for a moment while I ordered another beer. My heart beat so furiously I was sure he could hear it.
He was taller up close, and I instantly got in the impression that he was leaning over me while I waited for the bartender to get my drink. My hand trembled as it closed around the ice cold bottle of Moosehead beer; I reached into my pocket for change.
“Put it on my tab, please Shaun.” The tall stranger’s voice was low-pitched and smooth; a shiver ran up my spine. The cute bartender nodded in agreement and melted back into the darkness behind the bar.
“Thanks,” I managed to squeak out.
“No problem.” The stranger leaned in even closer and I could feel the warmth of his presence to my toes. I gulped nervously before tilting my head upwards to meet his eyes and knew instantly that I’d proverbially bitten off more than I could chew.
This guy wasn’t just cute, he was downright breathtakingly gorgeous. His eyes were a brilliant emerald green even the dark bar couldn’t dim, there were wonderful laugh lines around them which hinted that he was older than I’d first suspected, and still somehow the silver eyebrow ring didn’t seem out of place. But it was his smile which worried me the most; it made my insides melt into scalding liquid. My knees wobbled slightly as I tried to return his smile with confidence I didn’t feel.
He held out a long, finely sculpted hand; each finger looked perfect. A dark tattoo of swirling lines crawled up the length of his bare forearm. “I’m Adam.”
I took his hand automatically, gasping out loud as our flesh made contact. “Lilly.”
“Like a flower?” He had to shout over the music and I had to stand on my tiptoes to hear his deeply timbered voice.
“Yeah,” I shrugged. “I guess so.”
“I like it, it suits you.” Adam did nothing to hide the approving gleam in his green eyes and I wondered if I was able to hide my panic at being in over my head.
“Thanks.” My reply was short, almost curt; but it was all I could manage under the circumstances. My stomach was aflutter with nerves.
“So what do you do for a living, Lilly?” Adam’s smile illegal bahis grew slowly.
“I’m a journalist with the Standard. You?” He smelled so good up close I could have swooned.
“I’m a chef.”
“Really?” I sounded disbelieving, but I couldn’t help it.
His grin was broad and cocky. “Yeah, really.”
“Sorry,” I smiled bashfully. “You don’t look much like a chef.”
“Haven’t seen many chefs then have you?” Adam asked roguishly.
I paused to think. “No, I guess not. Just on T.V. Why?”
Adam’s deep chuckle reverberated in my chest. “Well, let’s just say I’m pretty mild compared to most. The general public would be shocked by the appearance of a majority of the people who prepare their meals; we’re an odd bunch.”
I laughed. “I think you’d have to be; I imagine it’s pretty crazy in a restaurant kitchen.”
Adam nodded, leaning down closer as the chatter around us increased; I hadn’t noticed the growing crowd, all my attention was focussed on Adam.
“Out with your friends tonight?” he asked warmly. “It looks like you’re having fun.”
“We always do,” I laughed.
“What were you talking about over in that corner? I could hear you laughing from here.”
I took a step closer to him as an impatient gaggle of college girls pressed up to the bar and put a hand on his arm to steady myself as they jostled. “Sorry,” I apologized automatically before attempting to withdraw my hand from the intense heat of his skin. Adam chuckled and moved swiftly to hold my hand in place against his forearm; when he moved his hand away again I left mine resting lightly against his solid arm.
“Not to worry,” he said smoothly. “I don’t mind.”
My mouth went dry instantly. There was a spark in Adam’s green eyes which I recognized instantly and which terrified me beyond all reason. He wanted me and if I asked him to I knew he would take me home. I’d never done that before; I wasn’t sure I could. I tried to clear the fog of arousal his nearness caused and address myself to the question he had asked.
“Just girl talk,” I teased, trying not the blush. I was hardly going to admit to the exact topic of conversation.
“So men, huh?” Adam flirted back.
I laughed loudly. “Yeah. But I’ll have you know that it wasn’t my idea.”
“Was this your idea?” Adam asked, running a finger across my glossy red lips; the shock of the contact froze me in my tracks. “Lipstick? You don’t seem the type.”
“I’m not,” I confessed with a shaky laugh. “But you know.” I shrugged. “When in Rome…”
Adam handed me a napkin from the bar. “You don’t have to keep it on for me.”
I wiped at the sticky red mess on my lips with a laugh. “Thank God.”
Adam ran a finger again over my lower lip once there was no makeup to dull the sensation and make a mess; I could feel the heat between my legs flare instantly at the feathery light touch. “That’s better,” he admitted huskily.
I closed my eyes for an instant, desperate to keep my wobbling knees and ragged breathing under control. For a moment I felt like I was standing outside of myself, watching this unbelievable thing happen to some other girl, like it had a million times before. I wasn’t the pretty one who got picked up by the hot, mysterious stranger at the bar; that was Rhiannon’s domain. I was the shorter, curvier wallflower who quietly drank her beer and went home alone at the end of the night to her empty apartment and pet cat.
“Are you okay Lilly?” Adam asked lowly.
Another jostle of the crowd around us forced me to take an additional step closer to him, and I fitted myself easily between Adam’s widely braced legs; my hand was still on his arm and I could feel it flex beneath my touch.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I replied, chancing another glance into his handsome face. “It’s just a little warm and crowded in here.”
The instant the words were out of my mouth I regretted them; I knew what they sounded like, I’d heard Rhi say them a million times before.
“We don’t have to stay here,” Adam suggested with a purr.
I hesitated and knew I wasn’t imagining Rhiannon and Adele’s stares from across the room. I could almost hear them encouraging me to take the next step; to think outside my usual boundaries; to do something unexpected for once.
I smiled slowly at Adam, pleased to be rewarded with an answered sexy grin. “That would be great. What did you have in mind?”
Adam curled one long hand into the curving span above my hips, fitting the slender length of his fingers around my waist until they almost touched my spine; I shuddered at the intimate contact but said nothing as he studied me intently before he leaned down to whisper lowly in my ear. “The same thing you do, Lilly.”
His hot breath against my neck made me shiver with promise. I ran my hand down the dark, swirling tattoo on his arm to his free hand and fitted my small fingers into his. “Let’s go,” I whispered.
To be continued…
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