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I look at myself in the mirror and break out in a nervous sweat.
“Becca! There is no way I can leave the house like this. I look…”
“Sexy?” Becca suggests helpfully.
“Really? I was thinking more like… exposed.”
Turning in front of the mirror, I smooth the sequined mini dress over my curves and pull the bodice up higher watching in dismay as it springs back into place – framing my cleavage, rather than covering it. The dress is certainly eye catching but a nervous prickle of fear twists through me as I imagine wearing it out to the club.
“Definitely sexy,” Becca says as she stands behind me. “I told you I’d help find you a boyfriend, this dress is just the first step.”
“Maybe I don’t want a boyfriend,” I say softly. “What if I meet someone and he turns out to be just like Arthur? Besides, I kind of like spending Saturday nights at home.” My eyes wander to the books stacked high on my bedside table begging me to snuggle down deep in the covers and become immersed in their pages. Compared to my date with Arthur, a night with a hot novel sounds so much more appealing.
“Come on, that was one date over a year ago. You need to get over it.”
“Becca, he licked my face. It wasn’t just the worst kiss in the history of mankind, he actually licked my face. Like a dog. What if the next guy is even worse?”
“Trust me, it will get better. You just need to get out of the house and stop spending all of your time at school studying or in bed reading. You’re 20 years old, not 50! You should be snuggled between your sheets with a boy, not with a book. You don’t even know what you’re missing out on. If you wimp out on me and stay home again tonight I’ll have to resign as your best friend or something. No offence.” She grins at me and I laugh despite myself.
“Oh of course not, that’s not at all offensive.”
“Listen, you have a great body, this dress just highlights it. We’ll find you a better guy, one that knows how to kiss properly. Maybe even someone who knows how to French kiss…” she wiggles her eyebrows suggestively. “Mesh, is supposed to be wicked hot. I mean, how lucky are we that the trendiest club in Melbourne opened up just around the corner? We’ll have some drinks, dance, meet some boys. It’ll be fun, no pressure.”
“It’ll be fun,” I repeat it to myself like an affirmation and take a deep breath. I move to adjust the dress again but as I reach for the fabric Becca stops me with a look and walks behind me to straighten the bodice. Soft hands smooth the material down my sides, easing the wrinkles over my hips, my thighs. Her breath whispers against my legs as she straightens the seams and my body thrills under her touch. Maybe I do need a night out, I think to myself. Even my best friend’s hands are starting to seem erotic. I clear my throat and step away from her quickly.
“OK. I’ll trust you on the dress, but it’s freezing outside. I’m wearing something over the top of this,” I warn and open my wardrobe to pull out a short black college style blazer with white piping and slip it on over the dress.
Becca’s starts laughing as I turn around and she sees what I’ve chosen.
“What’s so funny?” I pout.
“I give you my sexiest dress and you make it look like a uniform! Fine, keep the blazer on. It actually looks kind of cute on you.”
“Thanks,” I pull at the hemline one last time, trying to wish a few extra inches onto it.
“Don’t worry you’ve made that dress look positively decent. Here, let me do your face for you.” Becca picks up my makeup bag and gestures for me to sit on the edge of the bed.
“How is it that you can make the word ‘decent’ sound oh so wrong? Are you sure you don’t think the dress is too short?” I ask as she loads the brush with eye shadow.
“Hello, look at who you’re talking to,” she gestures to her own skirt which leaves even less to the imagination than my own. “We’re going out to a club, not the library. What you’re wearing is great, you’ll fit right in. Don’t worry so much.”
“Sorry, I’m just nervous.”
“Ok, hold still,” she warns. I close my eyes as she applies a nude eye shadow and dark liner to my lids and hold my breath as the soft scent of powder wafts over me. Running the blush softly over my cheeks once Becca stands back with her head cocked to the side looking at me critically. “Why Ella, I do believe you are looking positively smoking,” she smirks.
I glance in the mirror and smile at my reflection. My carefully curled hair trails over the collar of the blazer and the sequined dress sparkles beneath it. My make up is understated but highlights my wide brown eyes and full pink lips. I look like a different version of myself. She’s right, I do look kind of hot. Like the kind of girl that goes to clubs and flirts with boys. My pulse swells with anticipation, beating with the promise of dark pleasure and whispers of desire.
“Ready to go find us some boys?” Becca asks with a sly smile. Tucking a stray hair behind my ear, I pick up my keys and wallet and mobilbahis güvenilir mi for the first time tonight I think that I just might be looking forward to this.
Mesh is packed when we arrive, a line snakes out of the doorway curving along the street. After flashing some cleavage and working her flirt Becca gets us past the line and before I know it we’re walking through a velvet curtain into the heavy thud of dance music.
The air is hot in the club and sweat prickles along my skin beneath the blazer as we work our way through the crowd. Scanning the room eyes meet mine, male eyes dark with intent and my breath catches in my throat as my body tightens with anticipation. Will tonight be the night I get my first proper kiss?
Becca grabs my hand and leads me to the bar working our way past the couples kissing on low couches and guys swigging beer, making lewd hand gestures with hoarse laughs. Eyes caress my bare skin and I clutch my blazer tighter, suddenly nervous despite the growing excitement curled deep in the pit of my stomach. We stop abruptly and I tumble into Becca to find myself in front of the bar in the centre of the club. Blue lights flicker along a steel mesh counter, the mohawked bartender is rushed off his feet but finds time to spare a smile for Becca as she orders us two shots of tequila.
He slides two glasses over to us but won’t take our money. “On the house,” he winks and I blush as he looks in my direction.
Taking our glasses to the stools at the end of the bar Becca bends down to whisper in my ear “How about him? He’s pretty hot!”
“Umm… maybe not,” I frown wrinkling my nose. Somehow I can’t see me and Mr Mohawked Tattoo guy having much in common. The guy works in a club and has hundreds of gorgeous girls flirting with him every night. Even with the extreme haircut he looks too handsome, not quite real. Luckily Becca is already distracted, looking over to the dance floor and back at me grinning.
“Dutch courage!” she cheers, clinking her glass against mine before downing the shot. My throat burns as the tequila traces my throat and I feel the heavy warmth seep through my stomach.
“Time for step two,” she yells in my ear. “Let’s dance!”
I look over to the dance floor where girls are executing elaborate moves and the guys are moving close to thrust their hips against them in the guise of dancing. My nervousness overtakes my earlier excitement and I feel myself start to panic. “There is no way you’re going to convince me to dance while I’m still sober.” I shrug off my blazer and plant myself back down on the stool. “Why don’t you go dance and I’ll stay here and try my luck at the bar?” I smile with a confidence I wish I felt and wave her over to the dance floor.
“How about I go dance for a bit and bring some cute boys back with me for you to meet? Don’t have too much fun without me,” she blows a kiss over her shoulder and starts moving her hips in time to the music as she walks out onto the dance floor.
With Becca gone I start to feel exposed sitting alone at the bar so I order a vodka and lemonade, thrusting my money quickly into the bartender’s hand, and take it over to a group of lounge chairs in the corner of the club. I take a long gulp of my drink and lay my blazer over my lap as I try to get a lay of the land. Most of the guys are young and slightly dishevelled, with designer stubble, tight jeans and skinny ties. It looks like we’ve infiltrated the latest hipster hangout. I can see Becca on the dance floor. Her ass sways to the music, the tight lycra of her skirt barely covering her ass. Her thin cropped tee offers a tantalising view of her cleavage and it’s no surprise that there are already a few guys circling her, moving closer as her body sways with the music.
I’m quickly mesmerised and watch curiously at the way she charms them. The subtle crook of a finger as she beckons one of them closer, the pout of her lips when they can’t keep up with her… I’m surprised when I hear a soft cough behind me and a low male voice asking “Can I get you a drink?”
I turn to see a brawny guy with a mop of oily hair clinging to his forehead looking down my cleavage. It looks like he’s been dancing and the strong scent of his body odour threatens to suffocate me. Repulsion fizzes in my gut as I imagine kissing him, somehow I don’t think he’ll offer any improvement over Arthur’s face licking.
“I already have a drink,” the ice tinkles as I shake the glass at him and look back at the dance floor hoping he’ll take the hint.
“You look really sexy in that dress” his finger reaches forward to tug at the strap of my bodice.
“I’m just waiting for a friend” I pull the blazer from my lap, struggling to get my arms through the sleeves quickly before he can touch any more of me.
“I can keep you company while you wait…” he offers and presses closer to me, his fingers moving to walk up my thigh.
“Please don’t.” I brush his fingers away and smooth mobilbahis my dress down around my thighs, I knew this dress was too short.
I glance up to see him smiling, enjoying my discomfort and I shudder. No way in hell is this guy getting any closer to me. This boy with his sticky hands and beer breath will not be going anywhere near my lips or my panties. I want a man with strong arms and the scent of his cologne swirling around us as he ravishes me. Is that really too much to ask for?
“Ella, you sly thing you…” Becca sidles up to me, a cute boy with designer stubble and tight jeans trailing behind her.
“This is the friend I was waiting for.” I look at the guy pointedly and he finally takes the hint and leaves.
“Not your type?” she asks and picks up my drink, swilling it back in one long gulp. “I was going to bring some guys over to meet you but it looked like you got all loved up on your own. He seemed very attentive.”
“Trust me, I don’t want that kind of attention.” She looks up at me with a look of sympathy before turning to introduce me to the guy behind her.
“Ella, this is Justin. Justin invited me back to his place, I was thinking about going but if you’re still looking I’ll stay here with you.”
“Don’t be silly, I’ll be fine. You two go and have fun.” I smile while calculating how long I’ll need to wait before running out of the club.
“You are such a great friend. He’s such a cutie isn’t he?” she stage whispers. “You should get out on the dance floor, lots of hot guys,” she licks her lips suggestively and I punch her arm in mock admonishment as she turns to leave.
I wait until Becca is out of sight, count to ten, then slink out of the club.
The autumn night feels cool against my hot cheeks and I gulp deep breaths of relief as I stand on the street, shivering slightly in my thin blazer. People pool out of the club onto the footpath and I move out of their way while I get my bearings and that’s when I see it. A bookstore, open at 10pm on a Saturday night. I feel myself drawn to the warm glow from the door like a moth to a flame.
The door creaks as I push it open, a bell ringing dimly in the distance and I stand reverently at the entrance breathing in the alluring scent that all good bookstores seem to have. I breathe deeply and the soft smell of paper and dust slides into my lungs as I run a finger along the book spines drawing me further into the store. It’s one of those bookstores that sells both new and second hand books and I’m soon enmeshed in the science fiction section finding alternative printings of long lost favourites and reading blurbs of shiny new books that beckon tantalisingly from the shelves.
My arms are straining under the weight of new purchases before I know it and I’m contemplating adding one more to the growing pile when a low male chuckle sounds from beside me.
“Do you need a hand with those? Looks like you’re reaching your limit there.”
I look up into dark blue eyes and my breath catches in my throat, all thoughts of comparing Arthur to every man I meet suddenly disappear. “I-I’m fine. Thank you. Hi, I’m Ella” I introduce myself and smile warmly, trying not to scare off the most attractive man I’ve met all night. He’s tall and broad shouldered under his suit jacket with dark hair and those beautiful eyes. Kind of imposing but he seems kind and when he looks at me I feel my body begin to warm and my heartbeat sounds loudly in my ears.
“I’m David,” he smiles back. “You have good taste,” he comments, running a finger down the spine of one of the books and I shiver, imagining those fingers running along other places.
“Thanks, I’m on a bit of a sci-fi kick at the moment,” I struggle not to think dirty thoughts and peer over to see a reference book on tax law cradled in his hands. “I’d say the same to you but I’m not very well versed on tax law. Intellectual property however…”
“Wow, smart and beautiful”
“And with an unfortunately obsessive reading habit,” I steady the books in my arms as the one on top threatens to topple.
“Are you parked nearby? It looks like you’re going to have your hands full carrying that lot.”
“I live just around the corner, over on Flinders Street. I was planning to just carry them home.”
“I could help you carry them if you like? I was heading that way.”
“Oh, you don’t have to. I wouldn’t want to put you out.”
“Now what kind of gentleman would I be if I didn’t help you carry those home?” he winks.
“Why, you’d be no kind of gentleman at all. And you know, I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers,” I flutter my eyelashes at him in mock impression of Blanche Du’Bois, feeling only slightly ridiculous as I wonder if this counts as flirting.
“Get on with it” he slaps me cheekily on the ass as I walk toward the counter. “I don’t have all night.”
I feel a thrill of anticipation, my skin tingling where he touched me. If it feels like that when we’re just playing mobilbahis giriş around what would it feel like if he touched me on purpose?
We make our way onto the street together and I fall into step beside him, matching my stride to his trying to calm myself. Just taking a walk with a handsome man, nothing out of the ordinary going on here.
“So after all of that intellectual property talk I’m guessing you’re a lawyer,” he says.
“Close. I’m a law student but I work as a receptionist on the weekends. Real estate,” I mime a shudder.
“So you’re planning on heading into property law then,” he chuckles.
“I’m thinking corporate law. Mergers, acquisitions, IP, that sort of thing. How about you?”
“I own a little software development company, industry based software solutions mostly. It’s all very technical and rather boring I’m afraid.”
“It sounds fascinating, if I wasn’t studying law I’d be an entrepreneur. Starting something from the ground up, building it into something amazing from nothing, it’s incredible.”
“You almost make it sound sexy,” he teases.
“Maybe you’ve just never realised how sexy it actually is,” I grin and notice his muscles flexed under his jacket as he carries my books and a flicker of guilt passes through me. “You really didn’t have to carry my books home for me you know,” I gesture to the heavy bag he’s carrying.
“I know, I just wanted an excuse to talk to you.”
I feel myself blushing and almost walk past the entrance to my apartment building, the smell of doughnuts brings me back to reality and I stop suddenly, completely lost for words. This gorgeous, successful, kind man wanted an excuse to talk to me? Maybe this dress is lucky…
“This is me,” I gesture awkwardly at the building feeling suddenly shy.
‘You live in a doughnut store?” he asks quizzically.
“I wish,” I laugh. “No, my apartment is just above the shop. There’s an entrance around the side. Would you like to come up? Maybe, you know, talk some more?” I ask nervously.
“I’d like that.” I lead him around the corner and he opens the door for me, as I glance up at him I feel the heat building between us.
The stairwell suddenly feels cramped and I smile back at him shyly hoping I don’t seem like the inexperienced idiot that I really am. Alcohol, I think to myself. Alcohol will make everything better.
I walk through my front door, only fumbling with the keys once which I write off as a minor victory, and gesture for him to leave the books on the coffee table.
“Nice view,” he says placing the books down gently and walking over to the window to look at Flinders street station lit up in gold against the night sky.
“I’ve always liked it,” I blush “and it is awfully convenient.”
He starts to move toward me and I freeze, unsure what to do next. It’s not every day I invite a strange man into my apartment.
“Would you like a drink?” I blurt out suddenly, running into the kitchen for some Dutch courage.
“A drink would be lovely.”
I find all of the alcohol in the back of the cupboard – a bottle of whisky, vodka and some green cocktail flavouring and place them all on a pretty metal tray that Becca and I bought last year at the market in Fed Square. Plucking two crystal tumblers from the cupboard I arrange them in front and carry it out into the lounge room where I find him sprawled out on the couch inspecting my purchases.
“I haven’t seen this one before,” he says, tapping the cover of the book he’s holding as I slide the tray onto the coffee table.
“Yeah, I was so excited to find some of them. It’s so hard to find a good bookstore these days.”
“You don’t buy them all online? I thought that was the thing to do with your generation.”
“My generation? Just how old are you anyway?” I grin.
“I’m 30, but don’t hold it against me.”
“No, 30’s a good age. I’d like to be 30.”
“Well, I like you just the age you are,” he bumps my arm playfully with his shoulder and I duck my head shyly.
“Can I pour you a drink?” I sit beside the coffee table and move the tumblers around on the tray.
“Whisky would be good.”
I unscrew the lid on the bottle and pour the amber liquid into the glass carefully, trying to look suave and sophisticated.
“Thanks,” he cradles the glass between his hands and I notice how big they are, almost engulfing the glass.
I pour a glass of vodka for myself and gulp it down quickly trying not to think of his hands engulfing other things, like my arms, my wrists, my thighs…
I fill the glass back up and join him on the couch, folding my legs under me while trying to keep the dress around my thighs rather than around my waist.
“Sorry, I don’t normally dress like this,” I apologise as I struggle to cover a stretch of thigh.
“Don’t apologise. It looks good on you. Sweet yet sexy,” he thumbs the edge of the collar on my blazer and smiles, his hand moving up to cup my cheek.
“Thanks,” I lean into his caress and feel my breath catch in my throat. “You know, you have gorgeous eyes,” I say starting to feel like I may be slightly more drunk than I first thought. I lean forward to get a closer look at the silvery flecks scattered across the dark blue of his iris.
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