"Barter System"

READ the first three chapters of "The Barter System" (some of the formatting will not be exact).

CHAPTER ONE – The Dissertation
Last week of August…

Riya O’Connell perused the profiles of each man she’d chosen, reviewing the data she’d gathered from them as well as her own carefully performed background checks.  A photo accompanied each file and she felt as if she already knew them.  Strange since she’d never met them or even spoken to any of them on the phone.

The applications submitted to her website The Barter System had originally numbered more than thirteen thousand before the deadline at the end of May.  In the last two months, she’d trimmed the list to five hundred, then one hundred, then thirty.  Those prospects had been painstakingly narrowed to the final eight just two weeks ago.  The best selections for one reason or another.  The ones that meant her overall success or failure. 
Sean                  Age 37             Internet Entrepreneur, Orlando, FL
Victor               Age 31             Fisherman, Savannah, GA
Joshua             Age 22             College Student, Austin, TX
Lucas                Age 42             Rancher, Billings, MT
Ricardo            Age 32             Police Officer, Los Angeles, CA
Micah & Max  Age 34             Financiers, Manhattan, NY
Bobby                Age 27             Musician, Boston, MA

There was nothing left to do.  She’d said goodbye to her few friends and family.  They had no idea what she was undertaking.  The people who loved and cared about her would have at least a thousand questions and even more warnings.  Therefore, they knew what she could tell them and no more.  They thought she’d be visiting college campuses across the country, studying the sexual habits of young men coming into adulthood.  It had been implied - though not exactly stated - that she’d be doing no more than conducting interviews.  And for the sake of argument, she would indeed be interviewing her subjects. 

Only one person, her best friend Tawny, knew just how extreme her research was and to what lengths she was going to gather it.  Tawny knew everything about Riya but no one else knew anything about her website or her other…hobbies. 

She took her time scanning her handwritten notes into her laptop, making sure she didn’t miss a single piece of information or a letter received through ‘snail mail’.  She didn’t want to have to worry about searching for details later.  There wouldn’t be time for that. 

Everything she needed for the next three months fit snugly into a large canvas duffle bag.  Her backpack protected her laptop and few research supplies. 

She updated her blog Always the Fucking Good Girl and posted a few comments while she was online.  This site wasn’t linked to anything else she did and she was careful to ensure no one knew she was the woman behind the scenes.  The blog was an online diary she’d kept since her senior year of high school.  She’d catalogued her limited sex life, experiments with toys, been honest about her short addiction to porn, talked about things she wanted to try one day, gave voice to her forced celibacy over the past couple of years as a test of her willpower, and wondered if there were any men out there who could ever live up to her ridiculous expectations. 

Lots of men offered to be her guinea pig and she always turned them down gently.  Women wrote in with suggested reading.  Some wrote in with suggested men.

It wasn’t long before her own books started showing up as suggested reading by her subscribers.  Riya wrote steamy erotica for women.  Initially, it started as a way to purge her surprisingly naughty thoughts.  It gradually changed into a valid way to keep from ever touching her trust fund.  Eventually, it was an outlet to express her ideas because she enjoyed the possibilities of sex, though she hadn’t had much personally.  She certainly hadn’t had any worth using as a plot but she was still hopeful.

The next morning, she would leave South Florida, traveling a set itinerary around the country until she reached her final destination in Boston.  It was the end of August.  She estimated she’d arrive to her final destination right around Halloween.  Her mode of travel was already arranged and her stops had been coordinated.   She was ready.

This was primarily research for her psychology dissertation but perhaps just as much for her secondary degree, and personal passion, in creative writing.  The fact that she was curious as a woman didn’t technically figure into the equation.  She’d been compiling her data for the past year of graduate school and anticipated the end eagerly.  There was no fear of the unknown but she wasn’t completely without a little nervousness.

Sex for most women was intrinsically linked to their emotions.  If you believed popular media, the recognized view of men when it came to sex was much less emotional and more juvenile.  How men were typically portrayed, and her own less-than-stellar experiences could not be all there was.  It was the cornerstone of her dissertation as well as the driving force behind her erotica work that men and women were not so different after all. 

She scanned the last documents and backed up her files to the server maintained by Tawny who hosted multiple websites and kept her data secure.  There wasn’t a hacker alive who could infiltrate the complex network.  Anyone who tried found themselves, and their own systems, falling down a rabbit hole of epic proportions.  When it came to hacking, Tawny had no mercy.     

Her best friend was also her emergency contact in case of trouble.  Riya doubted she’d have trouble, but that’s why they were called ‘emergencies’.  Tawny was scared for her but kept it well hidden, knowing doubt only pushed her lifelong friend further toward her goals.  Each of the women had a throw-away phone that would be their only method of communication if there was a problem.  Riya would upload data direct to the website while in the field, but nothing else could impact her research.  She had phone numbers for local cab companies in each location, hotels, and airlines. 

Her father, Archer, had been warned she’d essentially be on ‘radio silence’ until further notice.  This fact had made him very unhappy.  She was the only family he had with exception of Tawny and her mom and he was fiercely protective.  That he hadn’t locked her away until he could ‘talk sense into her’ was both a surprise and a blessing. 

She placed the hard copies she’d scanned into her file box and returned it to the spare room, taking a final look around to make sure she’d remembered everything.  She’d lived here for two years.  Riya owned half of a duplex right on the water in Deerfield Beach.  If she stepped out her back door, she stepped onto sand.  Archer often told her she was ‘slumming’ and offered to buy her a high-rise condo on the water.  She always rolled her eyes and ignored him.  He totally loved when she did that.

Turning off the lights, she left the envelope for Tawny on the kitchen counter.  She’d also be keeping and storing Riya’s few valuables until she got back.  She’d already called her dad again to say goodbye.  Her regular cell phone was now in the envelope.  Her few bills were paid.  Her trusty 1998 Toyota Corolla was at her dad’s place in the garage, the rental parked out front, gassed and ready to leave. 

She had one credit card with no limit and access to cash if she needed it.  But she wouldn’t, or rather, she shouldn’t need it.  If she did, the entire project was pointless, after all. 

She went into her small bathroom and took a long look at herself in the mirror above the sink.  She was pretty, but didn’t consider herself beautiful.  Long brown hair almost to her waist that tended to curl, greenish hazel eyes set in a heart-shaped face.  Her body was well-proportioned, fit, and golden-tanned from the sun and her mother’s Brazilian roots. 

Her ex-boyfriend during her freshman year of college had described her as “just right”.  Enough curves to please without becoming a caricature.  Neither tall nor short, standing five-six in bare feet.  She assumed she generically appealed across a broad range of men, symbolizing the ‘girl next door’ which would work to her advantage over the next couple of months.   

Riya was confident about her ability to complete her research, but she wasn’t arrogant.  There was a nervous knot in her stomach.  Her dissertation and her fictional writing were the main things she’d been focused on for so long.  She wasn’t a virgin but she wasn’t promiscuous either.  In most things, she considered herself very average. 

Years of work, months of planning, and it was time to get on with it.  She brushed her teeth and ran her fingers through her hair before pulling it into a loose braid that fell down her back.  She laid down on her bed and thought about tomorrow.  She stared at the ceiling for a while before drifting off to sleep, the sound of the ocean behind the house singing a lullaby.  Her sleep was dreamless as if her subconscious knew a blank slate was necessary. 

The dawn arrived warm and humid.  She took her run like she did every morning, watching the sunrise over the ocean and people-watching. Five miles up the beach and back had her soaked with sweat as she stretched on the sand before heading inside to shower and dress.  Today was the beginning of the last phase. 

It was already ninety degrees as Riya loaded her duffle bag and backpack into the car her father had insisted she rent for the drive to Orlando.  Tawny stood next to the driver’s side door, doing her best not to show the stress she was feeling. 

“Is there anything I can say to convince you to call me every couple of days?” She asked.  Her accent was a sing-song of her mother’s heavy Irish brogue and her late father’s Georgia drawl.  “Just so I know you’re okay?”  The pleading look in her bright green eyes almost convinced Riya to reconsider but she hugged her friend tightly instead. 

“You know I can’t.  No matter how much I’ll want to.  It would influence my research results if I had an outside opinion…and you know you can’t keep from giving your opinion.” She squeezed her again before letting go.  “I’ll miss you so much.  We’ve never been apart this long.  Remember our disastrous attempt at separate summer camps when we were thirteen?” 

They both smiled as they remembered their pleading to be switched to the other’s camp.  Eventually, their frustrated parents brought them home.  They’d spent the rest of the summer swimming and laughing like idiots at the beach.  “I thought our moms were going to flip out when you threatened to hitchhike from Georgia to North Carolina to be with me.” 

Their moms had been best friends, raised together in New York City.  Tawny’s father died of a heart attack when she was six, and Riya’s parents had helped Margaret raise her daughter.  When Riya’s mother died in a car accident her senior year of high school, it almost killed Tawny’s mother along with the rest of them.  Now she loved and looked after Riya like she was her own, repaying a debt only she thought she owed for all their help with Tawny. 

“Mom keeps questioning me about where you’re going.  Will you have enough to eat, will you be around people you don’t know.  That kind of thing.  While you’re here, she isn’t being too persistent, but I shudder to think about how bad things will get before you resurface.”  She paused, watching two elderly women power-walking down the beach.  “What if she gets it out of me?”

“Simple, if you tell her what I’m really doing, I tell Aunt Maggie about those piercings to your kitty and your nipples I held your hand through a few months ago.”  Riya said mischievously.  Tawny would be subjected to withering glares and ‘are you on drugs’ questions from her old-school mom if she ever knew.  Her friend had to laugh despite herself. 

“We’re all worried, of course.  I’m going to ask once more and then I won’t be a mother hen anymore…much.  Are you sure you’re going to be okay, Riya?”

Riya placed her hands on Tawny’s shoulders, slightly lower than her own.  “I promise to be careful.  The phones have a built-in GPS so if I go too long without uploading data, you’re allowed to check on me, but please don’t worry.  I’ll see you in Boston for our celebratory ‘chick weekend’ around Halloween and we’ll road trip back together.” 

She hugged her once more, took a final look at her little beach place, and got in the car.  She’d rolled the windows down to remove some of the sweltering humidity and the AC was cooling things down a bit.  When she turned on the stereo the CD player was blasting one of Tawny’s mixes.  Riya smiled and said, “You made me a compilation.”  All her friend did was nod and held back the tears shimmering in her eyes.

She leaned out the window and said, “I’m a clever girl and I won’t let anything happen to my best friend’s best friend.”  Putting the car in reverse, blew her a kiss and added, “See ya, Tee.”

She pulled away and allowed herself one final glance in the rearview mirror, then wished she hadn’t.  Tawny dropped her face in her hands and cried in the driveway.  She was soon out of sight and Riya was relieved to be on her way.  Much more ‘memory lane’ and she might have begun to question her motives.

She got on the interstate and headed north toward Orlando.  Tawny’s mix was a selection of hits popular in Florida to remind her of home.  Flo Rida, T-Pain, the Bad Boys soundtrack, and Will’s Smiths “Miami” thumped through the speakers and had her singing along. 

The drive took three hours, counting the stop on the turnpike for gas, a shake, and a bathroom break.  She’d purposely made the first leg of her journey close to home.  This was her first face-to-face exposure to one of her subjects and she didn’t want to be too far away to turn back.  She kicked herself for the self-doubt that had necessitated this safety net, but felt she’d made the right decision all the same. 

When pooling her research, she’d automatically weeded out the web liars.  Men who said they were a certain age, income level, etcetera but were something else altogether.  She was admittedly discriminating about looks but not race, religion, status, or age.  If someone lied about the little things, they were more likely to lie about the big ones.  She needed truth if the data was going to be accurate.  All the rejected applications were numbered and comprised the first fifty pages of her research.  Nothing would be wasted. 

Each of the chosen eight had agreed to complete surveys for her research.  All had signed releases to use their anonymous data for her dissertation.  Of course, it wouldn’t be a one-way street.  They would get what they wanted just like her.  This was the first experiment of its’ kind to her knowledge. 

Entering Orlando around noon, she took her time finding the house she was looking for.  Traffic here was always congested because of the various theme parks, but most of the houses were lovely and the people generally friendly.

She found the street and kept going, stopping at a convenience store to freshen up.  It wouldn’t do to arrive looking like a wayward traveler.  She brushed her hair and teeth then added fresh deodorant.  Once she was certain she was ready, she got back in the car.  She pulled the file and read the correspondence between herself and her first subject.  Her standard acceptance email had been sent to each subject, with approximate dates of her arrival.

To:      sean@bellsouth.net
Subject: Your Application Has Been Accepted

Attachment:  SurveyOne.doc

Good afternoon, Sean:
I’m pleased to tell you that your application has been accepted.  I’m due to arrive one week from tomorrow.  I look forward to finally meeting you in person. 

Please remember the following terms, as outlined in our signed agreement:
·         I will arrive on a Friday morning and stay a minimum of one (1) week.
·         You are expected to cover all expenses during my time with you, up to and including non-typical clothing for occasions requiring more than casual attire.
·         You must have Internet access in your home throughout the duration of my stay.
·         You will provide safe transportation, of your choosing, to my next destination.
·         Sexual intercourse must include the use of condoms at all times.  There are no exceptions. 
·         A current physical and blood work, dated no more than three days prior to my arrival, showing a clean bill of health should be emailed to the above address. 
·         Sexual preferences will be accommodated as long as my personal safety is not at risk at any time.
·         You agree to complete two surveys.  The first is to be completed before my arrival.  The second is to be completed at the halfway point of my time with you and will be audio recorded.

Let me know if you have any additional questions.  I’m sure our time together will be mutually beneficial.  I’ve attached the first of the surveys to this email.  Please get it back to me before Thursday of next week.

Kind regards,

From:    sean@bellsouth.net
Subject: RE: Your Application Has Been Accepted

Hi, Riya:
I look forward to meeting you, too!  I understand and accept the conditions in both the contract and your email.  I’m very curious to meet you in person and think we’ll get along great. 

I’ll take very good care of you while you’re here and can’t wait to see what your other survey includes.  The first one is included in this email.  Wondering how I did.  I’ve always been rather good at tests. =)

See you next week!

Subject Name       Sean
Subject Age        37
Subject Career     Internet Entrepreneur
Marital Status     Divorced
Children (Y/N)     N
Annual Income      $95-$150K
Location           Orlando, FL
What was your primary motivation for applying to this study?  I was intrigued when I found your site and was convinced by an old Army buddy to apply.   
What do you hope to gain by your participation?  More knowledge about the "investigator" (not just carnal) and maybe myself.  
What is one thing you wish the investigator to know about you?  I don't overcomplicate things but I take life seriously.    
Do you have any negative assumptions regarding this study?  There being either NO emotional impact or TOO MUCH.   
What is your most secret sexual fantasy?  Experiencing that "chemistry" I hear people talk about.  Being on the water with a willing partner who isn't looking over her shoulder or asking for constant reassurance about sharks.  
Have you ever told anyone else about this fantasy?  Yes, but no one gets it. 
Have you attempted to realize this fantasy in your daily life?  Not yet.  I rarely take women out on my boat - never for sex. 
How have you utilized the Internet in your sexual life?  Light porn.  I tried online dating three times and regretted it almost immediately.   

Looking once more at his online profile and the photo he’d mailed as part of their arrangement, she decided it was time to quit stalling.  She returned to the bungalow style home on a quiet residential street a couple of miles from the gas station.  The yard was well manicured and the house in good condition.  There was a white Ford Explorer parked in the driveway and she pulled in behind it. 

Taking a deep breath, she opened her door and made her way up the stone walkway to the front door.  She lifted her hand to knock when the door was thrown open wide and she was embraced in a strong hug.  Caught off guard, she inhaled sharply and evaluated the mixture of scents that assailed her.  Clean cotton, a hint of cologne, and a light aftershave.  Nice.

She hugged him back and then leaned to the side for a good look at Sean.  Late-thirties, strong build, about 6’, friendly gray eyes and a bright smile.  Dark hair cut short in military style with a scattering of silver at the temples.  Dressed in khaki cargo shorts to the knee and a clean white polo, ratty canvas sandals on tanned muscular feet.

Riya realized she wasn’t the only one looking, and felt a light blush creep up her neck and face.  His eyes traveled from her shining hair, loose down her back, to the ultra-soft pale pink cotton shirt and linen mini skirt.  Her leather sandals highlighted her coral polished toes.  Her legs were tanned and smooth. 

He nodded once in satisfaction and smiled again.  “Even better than your photos, I have to admit.  I’m impressed.”  He cupped the back of her head with a large strong hand and pulled her in for a kiss.  It started light but his exploration of her lips and tongue soon took on an urgent quality.  Fresh breath, slightly salty tang on his sensually firm lips…and very good at kissing.  When he raised his mouth from hers, he murmured against her skin, “Much better than I expected.” 

They stepped away from one another and he looked at her car.  “Do you have a bag?”  At her nod, he took her hand casually and led her back to the driveway.  He waited as she unlocked the doors then reached in for her duffle, the perfect gentleman.  She grabbed her backpack and Tawny’s CD from the front seat and locked the car.  He made sure she was ready and led the way into the house. 

Her initial impression of the house as a bungalow was carried through on the inside.  There was a beautiful lake view behind the house, and the open floor plan brought an abundance of light into the rooms.  The living room was essentially a ‘man cave’ with a leather sectional, big screen television and plenty of electronic equipment.  Classic movie prints in matching frames adorned the pale mocha colored walls.  Very few knickknacks other than some black and white photos of people Riya figured to be family and friends. 

Sean carried her bag down a short hallway.  He paused in the doorway, showing signs of uncertainty for the first time.  “I…well, I wasn’t sure if you wanted the guest room or if you’d rather…share space…while you’re here.  I didn’t want to assume.  I made up the guest room if you prefer it.”  He glanced quickly at her then away. 

Hmm.  She decided to go with what he obviously preferred, the entire point of her being here.  “I’d like to share space with you.  I think it’s important to spend as much time together as possible while I’m here.”  It sounded much different when she spoke her thoughts aloud.  “I mean, there is a lot to do together.”  No better.  Lots of innuendo. 

He smiled and seemed to regain his footing.  “Excellent.  I’ve cleared space in the dresser and closet.” That confirmed his preference, she thought. “There’s an empty top drawer in the bathroom, right through there, if you need it.”  He placed her bag on the bench at the end of the bed and turned to go, “I’ll give you some time to get settled while I make drinks.” 

At the door, he stopped and turned back to her, “I’m glad you’re here, Riya.  And not just for the obvious reasons.  I feel like I kind of know you after all our emails back and forth.  I think this is going to be very interesting.  I’ll be in the kitchen, straight down the hall and on the other side of the living room.”  One last smile and he was out of sight. 

Riya pulled her backpack from her shoulder.  As she set it beside her duffle bag, she released a relieved sigh, so far so good.  Sean was good-looking, charming, and an excellent host subject.  She really couldn’t wait to get started with him.  “I’m just dropping innuendos all over the place,” she muttered to herself and laughed.  She took her toiletry bag to the bathroom, placing it in the drawer he’d considerately cleared for her.  She glanced at herself briefly, deciding she was still in decent condition.  She removed her laptop and typed a few initial impressions before closing it and heading to the kitchen. 

Sean was blending fruits and alcohol when she entered.  He was comfortable in his space and it showed.  He dropped freshly chopped pineapple into the blender and she found a seat at his bar so she could watch him. 

“I know you mentioned you’re a lightweight so I’ll go easy on you.”  He chuckled at her expense and she smiled.  “I’ve mixed my own concoction, there’s a little vodka in this first batch.  Not trying to get you drunk, I swear.”  He added coconut milk while he talked, “I’m nervous, I’ll admit it.  To actually have you sitting in my kitchen is rather surreal.”  He blended a moment longer before removing the carafe and pouring the frosty mixture into two tall glasses.  “This drink is more for me than you.”  They toasted over the bar and Riya took a sip. 

“This is delicious.  I can’t even taste the alcohol!”

He nodded seriously, “Those are the ones that knock you on your ass.  Be careful.  Want to sit out on the patio?”  She nodded and slipped off the stool to follow him outside. 

The deck was Mexican tile and there were two chaise lounge chairs in the shade.  He pulled one around so they could see one another.  She stretched out and waited for him to sit.  The breeze off the lake was fantastic and privacy fencing almost to the shoreline prevented her from seeing the houses on either side of Sean’s. 

They sat in silence with one another for a few minutes, and it was surprisingly comfortable.  Finally he said, “I’m not asking anything about anyone else, but there was one thing I was curious about…how many applications did you receive?  Overall, I mean?” 

She couldn’t help but laugh, “Total?  Hmm, more than I thought I would.  More than thirteen thousand…” His eyes widened in shock, “I know, right?  It added months to my deadline just to go through them all.”

“Whoa.  I am so much more flattered than I have any right to be.”

Riya shook her head, “Not to put too fine a point on it, but I got rid of almost ten thousand liars and perverts in the first few weeks.  My proposal was…unorthodox.  It brought out some pretty scary people.”  A small shudder passed through her, “There are some truly unbalanced people in the world.  It was the remaining three thousand plus that were harder.  That took me the longest.”

“Can I ask why you chose me?”  He seemed truly interested.  Almost as if he didn’t quite believe he had been chosen.  Riya found the modesty endearing.

“You were one of the first I chose, actually.  Physical attributes have something to do with it, I hope you understand.  That’s human nature.”  She was warming to her topic and he smiled with a certain degree of male satisfaction.  “Then, I split everyone into age groups, then ethnic, then field of industry, then smaller things like preferences on my looks, my race, my religion…that kind of thing.  I had one guy tell me I’d be perfect if I got a boob job and colored my hair.  Since I’m the control, I couldn’t start changing myself.  Physicality was the easiest.  You found me attractive, I found you attractive…one marker down.”  She laughed at herself, “All very scientific…kind of silly when I say some of this stuff out loud.” 

“I don’t find of it silly.  I find it fascinating,” he replied honestly.

They talked for a couple of hours, getting to know one another.  Riya felt more at ease with every moment.  He asked what she was thinking on her drive to Orlando.  “I was nervous, but got it under control.  You were the closest person to me, and my best friend insisted you be my first subject…I’m sorry, that sounded horribly cold and impersonal.” He shook his head and she continued.  “I tend to be conservative, but the subject matter interests me, even if it’s outside my personal comfort zone.  Maybe because it is.  This is what I’ve worked for.  I have a lot of time and effort invested in it.” 

“This is very enthusiastic for a first venture.  How do you think it’s going to change you?” She realized she was doing a lot of talking to someone she’d known for a few hours and reminded herself to document her open reaction to her first subject.

“I think it will open my mind.  I was sheltered regarding men and honestly I’ve just not had time to really deal with them much until now.”  She laughed, “You don’t have to look quite so surprised, Sean.  I’m no vamp and most men bore me.  I’ve had two long-term boyfriends.  I’m not complaining.  It gives me a unique perspective most women in my age group are sorely lacking.  I focused on myself first, able to take or leave men in general, and now I feel more equipped to handle what I put in place for my dissertation.”

“I have to say I’m more impressed by the moment, Riya.”    

She insisted they talk about him.  They discussed his business on the Internet.  His company facilitated research and resources for small companies without the capital to hire their own teams.  He dabbled in just about everything, from databases to security to marketing. 

When she asked about his divorce he shrugged, “There are no hard feelings or anything.  I was in the military for too long and she just got tired of sleeping alone.  We didn’t have kids or property.  She had her own family and business interests.  When she made the decision, she was just gone.  There was no drama or tears.  We still talk if we run into one another.  She’s remarried with babies.  She was a nice person.  I figured it was time to settle down.  Turned out I was wrong.”

“How was your sex life?” Riya asked bluntly.

He laughed, “I’m enjoying myself so much I really forgot why you were here.  Our sex life was fairly vanilla, I suppose.  When I was home on leave, we took care of a need but there was nothing overly exciting.  Nothing kinky.” He winked at her, “Not that I have a problem with kinky.” They both laughed.  “The freakiest person I’ve dated was about your age, into some Goth crap that scared the hell out of me.  Wanted to tie me up and drip candle wax on my dick.  I like my dick, and wish him only good things.  He wasn’t into it so I deferred to his choice.  I also wasn’t letting someone I didn’t trust tie me up.”

“Would you let me tie you up?  I’m just curious,” she asked him. 

“You know what?  I think I would.  It’s weird, and don’t take offense, but you’re so much more normal than I thought you’d be.  You seem so honest and, well, sweet.” Riya laughed, not sure if that was the reaction she needed from her subjects. 

They finished their drinks and Sean came back with a refill when he asked, “So, how long do I get to keep you?”  He looked at her with interest.  “I’ve got a lot of activities planned.  I don’t want to waste a moment.  My mother wants to meet you.”   At her gasp, he chuckled, “No worries, Riya.  I go up to Rock Springs every couple of weeks to check on her now that my dad is gone and she’d already heard about the project from my younger brother, or The Traitor, as I like to call him.  I filled her in on the basics and she was amazed at your ingenuity.”  He smiled sardonically, “She was the original flower child and judges no one.  I think she may even be a little jealous she never thought of the idea.  I told her I would mention it but I wasn’t making any promises.”

Riya was surprised.  In all honestly, for all the noble conversations they’d had, she figured they’d spend most of their time inside, either working on her part of the bargain or his.  “I’m not worried about meeting your mom, Sean.  It actually might add another element to my research.  I’m just concerned you went to so much trouble.  I didn’t expect anything.”

He laughed, “You wouldn’t.  You are so young in person.  Twelve years age difference never seemed as much as it does right now.  Though I admit my thoughts have gone native with everything I want to do to you physically, I’m not eighteen anymore.  You’re a guest and I’ll be treating you with dignity and respect.”  He sipped his daiquiri and set it on the small table before adding, “Though I can’t promise not to be male, I will struggle to be a well-behaved male.”

Riya placed her drink next to his and leaned across the narrow space between them.  Her hair blew across her face and over Sean’s forearm.  His quick intake of breath told her he was more physically aware of her than he wanted to admit.  The knowledge pleased her.  Their agreement was built on the assumption of give and take.  She would get her research, he could have, well, whatever he wanted.  If he’d taken her at the front door, she would have been surprised but not offended.  A deal was a deal, after all. 

She reached up to place a palm along his face.  “I appreciate that, Sean.  You’re more than I expected, too.”  She leaned closer and placed her lips against his.  His response was immediate but controlled.  He leaned into the kiss but allowed her to lead.  She tasted his lips delicately.  There was slight stubble on his jaw, though she was sure he’d shaved earlier.  She rubbed her cheek against it.  She nuzzled his ear, ran her lips along his throat, and inhaled deeply where his collarbone stood pronounced against his shirt. 

He was utterly still and after a few moments, she pulled back and met his gaze.  The raw need she saw there was like nothing she’d experienced before.  No matter what, this was a man not a boy.  “Why aren’t you moving?”

There was a tightening around his eyes and mouth, “The truth?  I’m afraid to move, Riya.  You smell fantastic, you look fantastic, and I don’t want to screw this up or scare the shit out of you.”  His blunt honesty was refreshing.

“Thank you.  Now you can stop worrying.  I’d like to satisfy your curiosity and get the initial awkwardness of ‘what sex together will be like’ out of the way.  Then we can talk and go wherever you’d like.  I don’t want the wondering to overshadow our time together.  Truthfully, I’m just as curious as you are.  What do you say?”

He paused for just a moment before swinging his legs between the chairs and scooping her into his lap.  “Done.”

Riya didn’t have time to breathe.  She didn’t have time to think.  All she could do was feel.  And everything felt unbelievable.  She’d gone without this for so long and it had never felt remotely like this.

Sean’s lips raked lightly across hers before trailing down her throat.  She dropped her head back to have his lips on more of her skin, the light breeze welcome against her overheated skin.  His hands kneaded along her back, up and down, testing the feel of her.  One hand moved behind her knees and he lifted her with little effort, carrying her into the house to his bedroom. 

He allowed her to stand long enough to pull his blue comforter back from the bed, laying her on the cool sheets as he slipped off her sandals.  Kicking off his own sandals, she smiled as he lay down beside her.  Warm hands moved to caress her sides, pausing at the hem of her shirt and glancing at her, seeking permission which was quickly granted, before pulling it carefully over her head.  One finger traced along the waistband of her skirt. 

Riya’s skin was already flushing with desire.  She felt it so Sean must see it.  He flipped open the button, slid down the zipper, and pushed it down her legs with the flat of his palm leaving an anxious warmth along the tops of her thighs.  He slowed down, taking in the appearance of her in nothing but a white lace bra and panties.  When he came back to lie beside her, he rested his head on his hand as he moved two fingers over her shoulders, her neck, her chest, her stomach, and her hip before reversing direction and doing it again. 

She reached to pull his shirt over his head, taking stock of very well defined shoulders, arms, and chest.  Cut but not bulging.  There was the tiniest bit of hair on his chest.  She tugged at his shorts and he lifted so she could push them away, leaving boxer briefs taught over narrow hips and well-muscled thighs. 

She tested the feel and texture of Sean’s upper body and he returned to kissing her.  The kiss was much deeper this time, more demanding.  There was a slight flutter in Riya’s stomach that she almost took for fear or nervousness until she recognized the foreign emotion as excitement and embraced it.

Her fingers dug into his shoulders, pulling him tightly against her.  Sean came willingly and wrapped her waist in the vice of his arms as he devoured her lips and tongue.  Teeth nipped at her lips, then his tongue followed over to soothe.  The time and attention to detail he showed in his kisses, lazily exploring her lips and mouth, made her breathless. 

She wasn’t completely inexperienced, but obviously Sean had learned a lot in his extra twelve years about taking care of a woman sexually.  His mouth tasted like the pineapple from their drink and a faint trace of alcohol that was pleasant.  He moved to her neck and shoulders, paying close attention to every inch of skin along the way with gentle open-mouthed kisses. 

A warm, slightly rough tongue skimmed along her collarbone, raising goose bumps along her arms and causing a small moan to escape her.  Over the tops of her breasts and the hollow between them.  More kisses to her flat stomach and around her belly button before dipping inside.  Gradually working his way down her body, learning her, noting what pleased her. 

Sean braced his knees on either side of her hips and pulled her into a sitting position, reaching behind her to unclasp her bra.  He lowered her back to the bed as he pulled it away.  He looked at her with appreciation, cupping the taut mounds in his palms, saying roughly, “I can’t imagine you ruining these beautiful breasts with any damn surgery.” 

He bent to take a pebbled nipple in his mouth, sealing her to the top of his mouth as he laved the underside with his tongue.  He released her with a gentle scrape of his teeth.  She moved her hands to the back of his neck, wanting to keep him close to her.  He took the other nipple in his mouth, kneading the other damp tip between his thumb and forefinger.  Her body arched to meet him of its’ own accord and she could tell it pleased him.       

Her hands never stopped moving over him, exploring what she could reach.   She wondered at his patience, his restraint.   She was ready for him, wet for him, more quickly than she’d known her body to be in the past.  She wanted him now.  Right now.  Sean’s fingers began making lazy circles over the lacy triangle of her panties.  Rational thought fled, restraint a thing of the past.  Grinding into his hand, trying to get more contact, whimpering at her failure to do so.

The presence of his hand left her and caused her eyes, which she hadn’t realized had drifted closed, to pop open in disappointment.  There was a knowing smile on his face as he stripped her panties slowly and provocatively from her, raising his eyebrows when he found her pussy bare.  “Very nice, Riya.  Very edgy.  Damn.”

Two thumbs in the waistband of his briefs and they were gone.  It was Riya’s turn for appreciation.  “Well, Sean, I concur.  Damn.”  He was completely erect and bigger than either of the men she’d been with, long with a healthy width.  Her mouth was watering, she was shocked to realize.

He stretched out again and slid his hands between her swollen breasts, over each one, and kneaded them for good measure.  As his palms traveled over her taut abs, he raked his nails over the skin, causing her thighs to clench together automatically. 

“You’re a very tactile person, Riya.  Your body likes to broadcast exactly what you like and I like that very much,” he whispered.  “For instance, your eyes are half closed, but very bright now.  Your skin is flushed, light areas of pale pink over your pretty tan.  Your nipples are so hard, like baby strawberries, only better tasting.  Your arms and legs are covered in goose bumps.  And of course, you are very wet…very ready.” 

She was ready to come just from him talking like this.  “Sean, I…”  Did that husky whisper belong to her?

“Yes, Riya?  Tell me what you need, baby.  I’m only interested in your pleasure.”  She was writhing against him as his fingers traced her hip bone, across her low abdomen, to the other hip bone.  “Hmm, or perhaps I should guess.”  He trailed his hand over the outer lips of her pussy, barely skimming them.  She bucked toward him.  “Oh yes, I believe I may be on the right track here.” 

He scooted further down the bed.  “I’m going to get a closer look,” he said in an impersonation of an Australian wildlife journalist observing lions in the desert.  “Here we have the elusive jungle cat, Riya.  She is a fierce creature, determined to rule the desert on her terms.  Let’s see if we can approach without attack.”  Despite her body’s tension, Riya laughed breathlessly.

He nudged her thighs apart and settled himself between them.  His fingers traced from her knees, up her inner thigh, and along her pelvis bone.  Then he dragged two fingers from the top of her mound slowly to the entrance of her pussy.  All teasing disappeared, “Oh, Riya, you are so wet, baby.”  He used his fingers to separate her and bent his mouth to her clit.  “And delicious.  Fuck.” 

He settled in to lick, suck, lap, and nibble while gently slipping two fingers into her pussy, stroking steadily.  Her entire back was off the bed, fists in the sheets as she moaned his name.  The only sound she could hear was the pounding of her heart and the moans she couldn’t control.  He’d bring her up and withdraw, taking her to the edge again and again. 

Only when she growled in frustration the third time did he curl his fingers inside her, scraping his short nails against her G-spot.  The orgasm exploded out from her womb and clenched every muscle in her body.  She felt her own come dripping from her and he continued to lick until the shudders wracking her body began to ease. 

Riya went limp as he kissed his way up her body.  When he got to her lips, she cupped the sides of his face, pulling him closer for a kiss and tasting her own essence on his mouth.  The eroticism sent another shudder across her skin.

Suddenly inspired, she flipped him to his back, surprising him with her strength.  Straddling his body, Riya worked her way from his face, kneading the muscles of Sean’s neck and shoulders, and nipping her way over his chest and hard abs.  She licked his belly button and the defined line along both hips that led to his fantastic cock. 

She knelt between his thighs, and he murmured, “Oh shit…” before going up on his elbows to watch every move she made.  Bowing over him, her dark hair fell forward, framing her face as she licked him from base to tip.  His already tight muscles reacted instantly, and Riya mused she could likely bounce a quarter off Sean’s abs. 

Taking the head in her mouth, her fist circled the base, teasing him with tiny sucks.  Moving back slightly, he watched a small smile play over her lips a moment before she took him to the back to her throat.  His heels dug into the bed, his fists clenched in the sheets as he struggled not to thrust instinctively deeper and harder into the heaven she offered.  Silky strands of hair drifted across the skin directly above his cock and his groan echoed through the room. 

She set a rhythm, pumping him with her tight hands and sucking him firmly into the heat of her mouth.  If she felt him about to come, she tightened her fingers around the root and held him back, denying release until he was ready to beg. 

Sean’s control was almost shot when one of her hands slipped lower and cupped his balls firmly in her palm.  He felt his balls drawing achingly tight against his body and a thick moan was dragged from him, “Riya, I’m going to come baby…you have to stop.  Pull back, honey.  I can’t…Riya…oh fuck, baby.” 

Ignoring him seemed to be a great idea.

He came hard, the orgasm clawing through his low back into his balls as hot come splashed the back of her throat.  “Oh, Riya…damn.  Yes, oh god yes, that feels so good.”  When he was able to peel himself off the ceiling, he exhaled hard and his body went suddenly lax into the mattress. 

She cleaned him thoroughly before glancing up and meeting his gaze with a smile.  Resting her cheek on his inner thigh, she played over his warm skin as she considered.  “Not bad for my first time, if I do say so myself.”   

He was quiet for a long moment before he managed, “Riya do not ever tell a man he’s your first anything…that has side effects.”  Sure enough, his cock hadn’t softened completely and was already hardening to full strength, ready to play.  She glanced at it and then at Sean’s face.  And licked her lips.  “Oh my God, you’re thinking about more practice!  Hell no, I need to be inside you.”  He pulled her up and set her to his side so he could grab a condom. 

“Allow me…” Riya said, rolling up on her knees and taking it from his hands.  She ripped the foil with her teeth and rolled the condom over him.  Then she sat back on her heels and waited.  He gave her a deep kiss and lifted her, guiding her arms around his neck, her legs around his thighs. 

“You’re the perfect height for this and you don’t weigh much.  I always wanted to try this with someone I could fully lift.  I hope you don’t mind.”  A swift shake of her head and he grinned, “Riya, you don’t know what I’m going to do yet, baby.”

One shoulder lifted in a delicate shrug, “It seems promising.”

With that, he carried her easily away from the bed and went to the empty wall near the door.  When her back was flat against it, he began to make short thrusts to enter her gently and give her time to adjust to his size.  She was very wet but very snug.  “God, Riya, you feel so good.  I need to take it slow.” 

“Sean, I’ll be okay.  I need you all the way.” She said against his neck.  He pulled back to meet her eyes and she could tell he didn’t want to hurt her.  “I’m stronger than I look.  Please?” 

Her innocent expression was so sweet he couldn’t believe it when a hard blast of lust crashed through him.  He surged inside, burying himself to the balls in her pussy, their mutual gasps of surprise and pleasure surrounding them.  Her walls clenched around him like a fist and he dropped his forehead against her shoulder. 

After a moment she asked, “Not good?”

“Oh, Riya…very, very good.  I’m enjoying the feel of you flexing around me.  You’re so fucking tight.  I can feel how wet you are, and so hot.  Our bodies connected like this is…hell, I’m relishing the moment.”  He sighed. 

One hand on his jaw, Riya ordered, “Move.  Hard.  Now.”  His wicked smile was her only warning before he began to slam his cock in and out of her body.   A hard palm gripped her ass, the other went up her back to clutch her shoulder.  It was the perfect position to hold her immobile and get the best leverage. 

Sean was kissing her face, her shoulders, and the tops of her breasts.  Riya kept her legs crossed over his low back, focused on everything he was making her feel.  The friction against her clit was driving her fast toward her climax.  The sheer power of the man holding her and her complete lack of control was nothing she’d ever tried before and she was dizzy from physical stimulation. 

When he leaned down to take a nipple in his mouth, she tightened around him and came hard, “OhmygodOhmygod…Sean, I’m coming.  Don’t stop, please don’t stop.”  Her entire body arched to him as the waves rocked through her.

“Oh baby, that was beautiful to watch.  I think I’d like to see it again, Riya.”  He redoubled his efforts, increasing both speed and strength.  His strokes were steady, pulling almost all the way out of her before surging to the hilt again.  She could feel him using his strong legs to power into her with every thrust. 

When she noticed movement to her right, she turned her head and realized they were reflected in the closet mirror.  “Oh fuck that is hot.”  She whispered and came again. 

He glanced to the side and smiled, meeting her eyes in the mirror.  “Holy shit, I’ve never noticed the view from here.  Look at how tight your legs are gripped around me.  How your breasts bounce with each thrust, damn I like that.  Your gorgeous hair is everywhere, wild around you.”

Riya looked at him and smiled.  “Really?  Because I’m kind of focused on the serious muscles flexing in your legs, back and ass right now as you drive your cock into me.  And the bicep holding all my weight is so defined.  That is the body of a man who takes care of himself.  A physical specimen to be respected.”  Then she leaned forward and whispered, “Why don’t you come for me, baby?” 

Sean entire body went harder, pumping again and again, her screams signaling another climax before he shouted to the ceiling and shot everything he had into the condom, stroking into her until he had nothing left.  Both of them had to get control of their breathing before they could consider moving or speaking.  Minutes later, he lifted his head and smoothed her hair away from her damp face.  “Riya, shit.  Just…wow.”

“I second that.”  She said weakly.  “There is no way in hell I can stand up.  Not to sound like a weak girl or anything, I’m pretty sure my legs have the consistency of marshmallows.”  Smiling slyly, she added, “No one has ever fucked me so hard I couldn’t stand up before.” 

His head snapped up from her shoulder and he returned her smile with a predatory one of his own.  “Then I’ll have to make that my goal every time.” 

He pulled away from the wall and stumbled across the room, following her down on the bed.  Very gently he pulled out and went to dispose of the condom.  She heard him clean up and he came back with a damp washcloth.  When he pressed it against her, she jumped.  “Easy, Riya, fucking like that will hurt you if you don’t soothe the muscles after.  Let me take care of you…you took such good care of me.”

She laughed, “Um, I’m pretty sure you have that backwards.  You did all the work and I am not complaining.” 

Chuckling, he told her, “I need to feed you but I’m going to collect myself for a bit first.”  With that, he stretched them both out and pulled the comforter over them.  She was pulled to the crook of his shoulder, finding she liked that very much.  They settled into a comfortable silence.

After a while, she said, “Seriously though, thank you, Sean.”

“For what?” he asked sincerely.  “I haven’t done anything you haven’t returned and then some.  I feel better than I have in forever.”

“For not scaring me.  For being part of my dissertation.  For being a gentleman.  For being such a considerate and fantastic lover and ending my dry-spell with fireworks.  Just…thanks.”     

He didn’t say anything for a moment, stroking his fingertips along her bare shoulder.  “You’re welcome, Riya.  Thank you for being here.  And being so much more than I could have imagined.  You’re a seriously cool woman.” She glanced up at him and smiled.  His hazel eyes were lovely and bright.  When she’d met him, she’d sworn they were more gray, but now they seemed green.  “I really should feed you, sweetheart.” 

Sean placed a kiss on her lips before getting up and padding into the closet.  She was very appreciative of the view as he roamed around naked.  He came back with a button down shirt and told her to throw it on while he made lunch.  She took it with a smile. 

He pulled on an old pair of basketball shorts and headed to the kitchen.  She climbed from the bed, resisting the urge to lie back against the cream sheets.  In the bathroom, she washed her face, pulled a brush through her hair, and cleaned up before pulling Sean’s shirt on and following him. 

He’d turned on the stereo and The Eagles were just beginning Take It To The Limit.  The song certainly was fitting, she thought with a smile.  She stood in the doorway of the kitchen, watching him for several moments before he became aware.  He was barefoot, bare-chested, and his hair was ruffled.  He was cracking eggs into a bowl and there were already two piles of diced ingredients on the cutting board.  He grinned at her when she entered and watched her as she took a seat on the opposite side of the counter. 

She asked him a few questions as he cooked and it didn’t seem to distract him at all.  “How has dating been since your divorce?” 

He sent her a half-smirk before replying, “I’ve had dates…sometimes I think too many…but I haven’t really dated since my divorce.  There’s a difference.”

“You’re saying you’ve had sexual relationships without commitment.  May I ask if that was a conscious choice?  Did the women you dated feel the same way?”  She watched the conflict play out over his face.  “No judgment, Sean.”

He cleared his throat, suddenly slightly uncomfortable.  “I don’t lie, ever.  I suppose there were a few women along the way who thought they could change my mind, but I didn’t lead them on.  I didn’t want them living with me, I discouraged overnight stays, I didn’t rearrange my schedule for them…that kind of thing.”  Riya found that hard to reconcile with the man who’d asked her to sleep in his bed, cleared a drawer for her, and for all intents and purposes, would be spending time with her alone the majority of the next seven days. 

“My turn.”  He tossed diced ham over the eggs he’d scrambled and poured into the frying pan.  “Tell me how you got to this, your dissertation.  I’ve been curious about your inspiration since I found the website.”

“Tawny keeps asking me that.  Generally, I come up with some story about an ex-boyfriend, trying to understand men as a separate species and all that.”  He set a glass of iced tea in front of her.  “The real reason is my dad.”  He gave her a strange look and she shook her head, “And that is why I never really explain my motives.” 

She sipped from her glass before continuing.  “My mother died almost eight years ago.  When I say I was lucky, I’m not kidding.  My dad is fantastic, my mom was strong but feminine.  Everyone loved her and took her death hard.  But my father, he absolutely fell apart.  His health suffered, his shipping business started slipping, and he couldn’t bounce back.  My mother’s best friend stepped in and held everything together.  An old neighbor, two years after she passed, told me she didn’t understand it because men weren’t emotional like women.  Why didn’t he just get back up on the saddle and find someone new?  It infuriated me. 

“First, because she had always had a thing for my father and I guess she was irritated she hadn’t been slipped into the role of his second wife.  Second, because my father wasn’t some callous person who could just ‘get over’ twenty years of marriage and the sudden and painful death of his wife.  When his drinking started, I wanted to know how to help him.  He deserved help…he needed empathy not stereotypes.  He eventually started carefully inserting himself back in the world.  It sucked for all of us.  At first, he thought there was a chance of replacing Mom.  He’d bring home women he thought were ‘perfect’ and none of those closest could see the draw. 

“Then, when the cold reality hit home he wasn’t going to find another Mom, he brought home younger women to satisfy the physical – and very real – need he had without committing anything emotional to the bargain.  He’s a good looking man.  Successful in life and business.  He satisfies the only true need he still has, to his way of thinking.  He’s the perfect gentleman, he doesn’t lie or date more than one at a time.  Some thought they were going to stay, but I could usually tell which ones would last a night or a week.  Never usually longer.”

Sean added cheese, folded the omelet, and turned to face her.  “I’m most like your father, aren’t I?  It’s why you chose me.”  His look was grim.  “I don’t know if I’m flattered or insulted.”

“Before you jump to conclusions, let me say this: my father is the single most wonderful man I’ve ever met in my life.  He’s kind, funny, loyal, and true.  There are few better to be compared to, I can assure you.  The sexual drive in men is considered more pronounced than in women.  I want to understand where that stereotype comes from and in what way emotions affect the sexual habits of the typical man.  The general opinion is that men can’t bear to go without sex while the majority of women need an emotional component involved.”

One eyebrow arched, “You already used yourself as a subject, didn’t you?  How long did you submit to self-enforced celibacy?”

“Far too long.  Where most women probably would have been fine, I suffered.  My last sexual relationship was almost three years ago.  I’m telling you it hurt.  At first, it wasn’t intentional.  I broke up with the college boyfriend and decided to take a break.  After six months, I was going through serious withdrawals and thought about a casual hookup.  Then I had the idea to use my current single state as part of my dissertation and it made the situation worse…once I denied myself sex, it was all I thought about.  But I did it.  I had chances and I let them just slip away.  I bought every toy and DVD sold online and hoped it would pass.  I was scared I’d forget what little I knew.”

A sharp exhale and a small shake of his head before he murmured quietly, “No. Issue. There.  You are phenomenal.”  Sean plated the food and set it on the bar, coming around to join her, forks in hand.  He stopped as if he’d hit something.  She instinctually looked behind her before she realized he was staring at her. 

“Let me paint you a picture, Riya.   You’re sitting in my kitchen, the sliding doors behind you giving you a backdrop of sun and water, your hair is tousled and everywhere…down your back and over your shoulders, you’re wearing my shirt with only three buttons done…giving a gorgeous view of the slope of your breasts and tight abdomen, and though your lovely legs are crossed like a perfect lady, I can see the tiniest section of your mound above your lap.  It is heart-stopping.  Like a fantasy come to life.” 

He seemed to will himself to move, setting her fork next to her plate.  He cupped her chin in his hand and stared deep into her eyes, “But I’ll tell you the absolute sexiest part…you aren’t even trying.”  He bent and kissed her gently before perching stiffly on the stool next to her. 

Riya wasn’t sure what to say.  She adjusted the shirt so it was a little more decent and a blush blazed up her cheeks.  “Eat…please,” was all he said.  He finished his food in record time, moving to clear and clean as he waited for her.  Keeping himself busy - and distracted, which proved difficult - so she could enjoy her food. 

She was keyed up and halfway through her omelet when she said, “I can’t even remember how to chew.  Can we…?” 

The question trailed off but he practically leapt the bar to get to her.  He pulled her off the stool and into his arms, her legs curling around his waist.  He shed the gym shorts impatiently and laid her back on the low counter.   

He was almost inside her when he remembered the condoms with a colorful curse.  He carried her through the house and back to the bedroom, kissing her and nibbling her the entire way.  He destroyed the package trying to get the rubber out and over his throbbing dick.  When it was in place he yanked her up to him again and entered her fast and hard.  He sat on the bench at the end of the bed, her in his lap with her legs wrapped behind him.  Seated so deep in her body Riya thought she could feel him in her heart.  Hands were all over her, she wasn’t being shy about touching him either, as he lifted her up and down, impaling her on his cock from beneath.

“Ah, Riya, you’re going to be the death of me.  We need to keep hydrating.”  They laughed together.  Then she tucked her knees on either side of his thighs and started riding him.  His laughter dried up and he gritted his teeth as she made circular motions with her hips.  After three minutes of a slow, sensual ride Sean moved them to the bed, lying her on her back and following her down, his cock still inside her.  His strokes slowed even further, pulling back, taking himself all but completely out of her, stroking in all the way to her womb.  Slow and easy until she was in an agony of want. 

“Sean, that feels amazing…almost painful it feels so good.”  In answer, he repeated the circular motions she’d used on him.  Riya’s eyes went wide with surprise.  “I’m going to come, Sean…I’m coming!”  She dug her nails into his ass and gripped him with her entire body. 

Maintaining a steady rhythm until she came again, their bodies glistening with sweat.  He was running his hands from her neck to her hips, taking in the feel of her, the texture of her satin skin.  Studying every contour and hollow accessible.  The sensation of his own orgasm was built slowly, torturing himself.  When he couldn’t hold back another moment, he pumped several times hard and fast and came with a growl at her neck.

Eventually, Sean recovered enough to lift himself to his elbows and look down into her eyes.  She glanced between their bodies, her breasts plastered against his hard chest and smiled.  They were both sweaty and smelled like sex…unusual she wasn’t finding that gross.  “I probably need to shower.  I’m a mess.”

He ran his palm down her throat, over her shoulders, and across her collarbone.  He kissed the tip of her nose and pushed the damp hair away from her face, scooping it from the back of her neck and fanning it out above her.  She sighed in relief.  “You have a lot of hair.  I imagine that would be hot.” She nodded sleepily. “I think you may be perfect.  I’m going to get you some towels and let you shower.  Neither of us would be pleased if I gave myself a heart attack.”  Her snort of laughter made him smile smugly then he kissed her again and bounded from the bed. 

Sean was more fit than most men half his age with a high energy level and many interests keeping his brain active.  After several hours spent in his company, she already had pages of data.  She couldn’t have asked for a better subject.  She experienced a slight moral twinge when she thought of her dissertation.  In a few days, she’d have to move on to the next leg of her journey.  No way in hell was there going to be any chickening out now.  She’d been working toward this for too long.  She simply had to maintain detachment. 

He put extra towels in the bathroom and said he was going to put on more music.  She stretched and felt soreness in her muscles and joints.  Her lower body, far too accustomed to her celibacy, felt tender.  Nothing would work out the kinks like a hot shower, and perhaps, she thought with a smile, a little ‘hair of the dog’. 

In the bathroom, she turned on the jets and allowed the water to warm, listening as Fleetwood Mac filtered through the house.  Gathering her toiletries, she stepped under the spray and sighed.  She didn’t need to shave, having undergone laser hair removal on her legs, bikini, and underarms with Tawny.  She washed then conditioned her hair and scrubbed her skin down.  The room was enveloped with the smell of grapefruit.  She was rinsing the last soap from her body when there was a tap on the shower door.  She peeked out and saw Sean standing in shorts with a garment bag in his hand.

At the questioning look in her eyes, he said, “I’m taking you out for dinner.  I think I estimated the sizes right.  I called my assistant, Alyssa.  Had her pick up a dress I had The White House hold for me and I’m hoping to god you like it.”  He looked so nervous she had to laugh.  “There are accessories but I had no idea what you liked so I had her get a lot.”

“Thank you, Sean.  I’ll be out in five minutes…unless you’d like to join me?”  She did her best to look as though she had no ulterior motives but she doubted she was remotely convincing.

“I would love to, but I have to give Alyssa some files before she heads back to my office.”  He looked her over from head to toe in obvious appreciation.  “We’re going to avoid nakedness and being in close proximity for three hours.  I refuse to act like a barbarian who dragged you to my cave for sex.”

The pout she gave him wasn’t even faked, “Ah but I like wild caveman sex.”  She turned off the water and took a towel he held out to her.  Once it was securely wrapped around her, she began drying her hair.  He hadn’t moved and she was getting self-conscious. 

“Your every movement is so sensual.  So casual and unintentional.  Very hot.”  With that, Sean left the room.  She heard a woman’s voice in the living room and peeked around the door to see a very pretty blonde about her age gazing at Sean like an ice cream cone she wanted to lick.  He was bent over signing papers.  He said something and she jumped, worried he’d notice she’d been distracted.  “Thanks, Alyssa.  I really appreciate you running errands.  When I get back to the office next week, I’m sending you on vacation for a couple days to the spa.  I know you have one you go to with your sister.  I won’t forget.  You’re a lifesaver.”

She carefully cleared her throat, “Your…guest will be gone so soon?”  Riya slipped on her robe and smiled.  Before her stood a woman head over heels in love with her boss. 

Sean nodded, “Yup, I’ll have to go back to the real world next week.  We’ll go to lunch and catch up on all the goings-on the day I get back.  I don’t know what I’d do without you, Alyssa.” 

The poor woman looked like she was going to pass out from pleasure at the compliment.  “I’m always happy to help you, Sean.  With, you know, anything you need.”  At that, she grabbed up the files and her laptop bag and headed for the door.  “I’ll bring all the checks by for you to sign tomorrow, will that be alright?”  Good girl, gauge his schedule, Riya thought.  Feel out the situation.  At Sean’s distracted nod, she smiled and left. 

Sean headed straight for the bathroom and reached into the shower.  Riya noted it was solid cold.  He climbed in, gasping loudly.  Riya peeked through the still open door and asked, “Why on earth did you do that?”

Sean began soaping himself quickly, “Because I feel like I did when I first realized I had a dick and pretty teenage girls who smelled like shampoo made it necessary for me to carry my books in front of me for an hour.”  He ducked his head beneath the cold stream and emerged with his teeth chattering, “I have no idea what happened to my famous control.”   

“Interesting…that pretty young woman has you very worked up.  Why aren’t you dating her?”  She wasn’t surprised when Sean went still. 

His eyes met hers and he said carefully, “It is shockingly bad manners for me to discuss another woman after the way we spent our afternoon, Riya.  I…I’m ashamed to have even had a reaction.  My apologies.”

A wave of a delicate hand, “Please.  Alyssa was around before I was.  You’re a man and a virile one at that.  I’m not the least bit offended.  Wondering if she notices?  She doesn’t, likely thinks it’s completely one-sided.”  Propping her hip against the bathroom sink she added, “Two people attracted to one another usually feel like things are one-sided, don’t they?   So…why are you not dating her?”

He shook his head and washed his hair, “Because she’s so young.  I’m way too old for her, Riya.  I’d probably break her heart and never forgive myself.  Or take the best years of her life before she realized it and resented me for it.”

“Whoa, you’re not the insecure type, which means she’s important.”  She leaned into the shower, “You’re totally hot.  You have the body of a twenty-year-old and the maturity of an older man.  Women don’t want boys, Sean.  She’s probably my age, which doesn’t make her too young to appreciate…everything you have to offer.”  She ran her gaze over his cock and quirked her eyebrow.  “I get you this week only because I called dibs…next week, go after her hard.”

He shrugged noncommittally but closed the door laughing.  Riya grabbed her bag and moved into the bedroom to dress.  Sighs at what appeared in the open garment bag couldn’t be helped.  It was a flowing white dress with delicate beadwork and an empire waist.  Just under her breasts, the delicate material dropped gracefully to her mid-thigh.  She slipped on a new white thong and dropped the dress over her head.  A bra would be unnecessary.  As it settled over her body to just above her knee, she actually spun in front of the mirror to catch all sides.  It was gorgeous. 

Wait, he mentioned accessories.  Oh goody. 

She began pulling items from the Neiman Marcus bag.  Generally, designer clothing and shoes didn’t even register, though Tawny was an expert.  But she knew pretty.  These were strappy and classically feminine, about three inches high and they went beautifully with the dress. 

Slipping her feet into them, she took off for the second bathroom off the living room to dry her hair and dash on some lipstick.  She left her hair loose, with two tiny braids pulling the hair back from her face.  There was a beautiful amber bead necklace that fell delicately into her cleavage, picking up the color of the tiny beads on the bodice of the dress.  A matching clutch would hold her ID and emergency items.  By the time she was finished, she heard Sean’s footsteps in the kitchen.  Suddenly shy, she practically tiptoed from the bathroom and turned off the light. 

They caught sight of one another at the same time.  He was wearing black slacks, a cream button-down shirt, and black dress shoes.  There wasn’t a woman alive who could help being impressed.  In return, he simply stared for a moment before coming over to take her hand and twirling her in a circle as he stood still watching.

“You look positively stunning, Riya.”  His sincerity was obvious and so good for her ego.  “Does everything fit comfortably?”  At her nod, he added, “You’re almost the same size as my little sister.  I hoped…I’m glad it fit.” They smiled at one another.  “Tonight, I’m wining and dining you.”

Riya laughed, “You really don’t have to go to so much trouble.  Honestly.  I feel like I’ve completely disrupted things for you.  Also, I don’t usually leave the house without Tawny holding me at knifepoint.  I’d love to say I’m kidding about that but if you met her, you’d understand.”

He answered solemnly, “I take my position as host seriously.  Besides, I’m enjoying myself much more than I anticipated.  It floors me that you rarely go out, don’t date, and haven’t had sex in three years…do you have mirrors in your place?”  She laughed and didn’t bother to answer any of it.

They left the kitchen and entered Sean’s garage.  Sitting in the dim light from the kitchen door, Riya laid eyes on the most stunning black 1964 Corvette Stingray she’d ever seen.  She stepped closer and peered at the more distinguished interior details of this model as well as the split rear window.  “I can’t believe you have the ’64.  Most people prefer the later 60’s but this year is my favorite.  How long have you had her?”

Sean was watching her, surprise on his face.  He said, “Well, this is definitely a surprise.  Are you a Corvette enthusiast or classic cars in general?”

“I love all the classic muscle cars thanks to my dad, but have a special place in my heart for the ’64 Vette and ’69 Camaro SS.”  She glanced longingly at the car behind her, “Please tell me you’re driving to dinner in this.”

He burst out laughing and stepped forward to open her door.  “If I hadn’t planned to, the look on your face would have changed my mind.”

The garage doors lifted quietly and Sean turned the key.  The sound of the engine revving gave Riya goose bumps.  He reversed onto his street and smiled at her reaction, driving around aimlessly for longer than it would have taken them to get to the restaurant, listening in amazement at the questions his passenger posed about the car, the engine, and the restoration. 

When they eventually arrived at the restaurant, Sean came around to open her door, offering his hand to help Riya out.  He handed the keys and a healthy tip to the valet with a quiet pleading to be careful.

Their reservations ensured them a quiet table looking out on another Orlando lake.  Candlelight flickered between them as they drank their iced teas.  Both of them chose steaks and settled back into conversation the moment the waiter turned away.  They talked about their childhoods and families, never hitting the awkward silence both had expected.  When the food arrived they continued talking between bites.  Sean ate a lot and happily finished the rest of the steak she couldn’t manage. 

It was as if they’d known one another for years.  They laughed and flirted, holding hands as they returned to the car.  As he held the door for her, Sean said, “I’d originally planned to take you to a concert, but I think a drive would be better.  What do you think?” 

“The longer we’re in this car, the happier I am.”  They drove with no particular destination in mind, talking and listening to music.  He was thrilled Riya loved classic rock.  “Should you listen to anything else in a car like this?”  They sang along to the Rolling Stones, both admitting laughingly they shouldn’t. 

When he stopped for gas, she got out to stand beside him.  “What does this baby get, like eight miles to the gallon?” 

“More like seven but it is so worth it.  When it comes to this car, I forget the environment for just a little while.  I try to make up for it by using all eco-friendly products in my house and business.”  He looked at her and smiled, “You even look good in flourescent lighting…at a crappy gas station in the middle of nowhere.”

Her blush gave her away immediately and she cursed it.  A quiet “thank you” was all Riya could manage. 

“You must be exhausted, its been a long day.  How about we head back to the house and watch a movie?”  At her nod, Sean capped the gas tank and both of them got back in the car. 

It was very late when they pulled into his garage and he cut the engine.  She leaned to kiss him.  “Thank you for such a lovely evening.”  He pulled her head closer and fell into the kiss.  Before he could react, she climbed over the center console to straddle his lap and kissed him hungrily.  The knowledge he was already hard for her gave her a sense of feminine power. 

She leaned back to stare into his eyes, surprised at how bold she felt.  “I considered sitting beside you in the restaurant, but didn’t want to be tempted to misbehave under the table.  I thought about blowing you while we were driving, but was afraid we’d wreck your beautiful car.  But now we’re here and I want you.  Is that alright?”

His answer was yanking her hard to his mouth as he slipped his hand roughly under the dress bunched around her hips.  Tracing the lines of her thong and using both hands to knead her ass, the panties were soon a memory as he tore them away and dropped them on the passenger side.  Sliding the zipper on the dress down just enough to loosen the bodice.  Pulling the material away from her breasts, he took one nipple in his mouth and played with the other, rolling it in his fingers.  The suction sent a frision of feeling straight to her womb.  She was wet and overheated, her own need ratcheting up with each touch.

There was a moment of awkwardness as she wiggled Sean’s pants away and he rolled on the condom from his wallet.  When she lowered onto him, taking him inside her pussy as quickly as she could, his head collapsed against the leather.  She braced her hands on the back of the seat and took her time, setting a rhythm she liked and watching him. 

Watching him under her, sweat on his brow and both of them fully dressed, she whispered breathlessly, “Oh my god, I didn’t do this when I was a teenager…I had no idea this would be so hot.”

In a voice little more than a growl, he returned, “Riya, I did do this as a teenager and it was never this hot.  Watching you ride me like this is making me even harder.”

Riya was unfamiliar with being aggressive, taking what she wanted from a sexual encounter.  Her previous two lovers hadn’t been interested in her pleasure and usually sex had been over before she could examine how she felt about it.  This was different.  Sean’s entire approach to sex was new to her and he was obviously comfortable letting her take the lead.

Fully involved, participating on a level never allowed her before, she reveled in her freedom.  His dick was hot and hard inside her, hitting deep within her body.  After fewer than a dozen thrusts she was at the brink already, every muscle in her body coiled and expectant.  Deliberately prolonging her climax as long as she could, Riya wanted to watch him. 

Being in the car heightened every sensation, especially when the windows starting fogging up.  The interior smelled of sweat, leather, and sex.  There was tension in his muscles, his hands gripping her hips as she rode him.  His eyes stayed on hers, seeming to see more than anyone had before.  Sensual male lips parted and he leaned forward to take a ruched nipple into his mouth without breaking his gaze.  They were both breathing hard, Riya wondered if her heart sounded as loud as it felt. 

Clamping his teeth carefully around her nipple, she couldn’t hold back the groan of pleasure and he watched as her orgasm ripped free of her control and rocked through her.  She moved her hands to his shoulders as her head fell back with the force of feeling.  Tightening his hands on her and suckling her more firmly, he thrust up into her twice more and came with a loud groan.   

It seemed like a long time before either of them could move or speak.  At last, she lifted her face and smiled at him.  His answer was a possessive kiss, his hand clutching the back of her head to keep her trapped against his mouth.  When they broke away, able to breathe again, Sean opened the driver’s side door and helped Riya climb out first, giving him an unintentional glimpse of her bare ass before the dress settled around her again.  She shrugged the delicate material from her shoulders and stepped out of it gracefully.

When he stepped from the car, he tossed the used condom in the trash.  Sean toed off his shoes and left them with his socks on the garage floor.  She turned to walk into the house, dropping the lovely dress on the kitchen counter, wearing nothing but the strappy heels as she crossed his living room.  Never in her life had she allowed her inner self free like this.  Her heart was pounding and she fought down her natural shyness.  Knowing he was watching her walk naked through his house was like nothing she’d ever experienced.

He pulled his shirt off and threw it over the back of the couch.  Pants and briefs were shed down the hall and he never took his eyes off the view of Riya’s naked ass in front of him.  He stalked her like an animal ready to mount its’ mate.  By the time they reached the bedroom, he’d removed his heavy dive watch and had another condom in his hand.  The bathroom light cast ambient shadows through the connecting door.

Riya walked to the side of the bed and placed her palms on the mattress as she bent over invitingly, glancing over her shoulder.  Sean stopped to stare at her taut body, dark hair falling around her, shapely legs ending in high heels.  He didn’t know if he’d ever been so hard before.

She looked at him seriously and said, “This time, I am trying…is it working?”


Unknown said...

When can we read more?

John Foulks said...

OMG, Just read chapter three. I need a cigarette. (and I don;t smoke...)