"Do you want some wine or something?" I asked Richard.
He dug his hands in his pockets. "I don't need it. But if you do...."
Uh, yeah. I needed wine.
There was another reason I was delaying the inevitable—nerves. The stakes were high. Richard and I had been building to this moment for eight months and on top of it, we're friends. It's my personal opinion that it's easier to get naked with a guy you barely know than it is to get naked with a guy you actually like as a person. It puts so much more pressure on the big reveal.
I went into my kitchen and found an open bottle of white in my fridge. I grabbed it and shut the door, almost shattering Pinot Grigio all over the floor when I turned around to find Richard right behind me.
"Jesus Christ," I gasped. "You snuck up on me like a vampire."
Richard took the bottle out of my hands and placed it on the counter. "A vampire?"
"Yeah, you know. On TV shows and stuff they're always silently sneaking up on girls and standing there all cool and measured, waiting to be noticed."
"I don't watch crap TV," Richard said.
"Watch your filthy mouth when you're talking about my Vampire Diaries."
"Yes, ma'am," Richard mumbled, cupping his hands around my face and kissing me.
He kept kissing me as he moved out of the kitchen, forcing me to walk backwards into my room. When we got to the foot of my bed, he started unbuttoning my shirt.
"Wait, wait." I put my hands on his chest, stopping him.
Richard smiled. "Yes?"
"Nothing. Sorry. Argh!" I covered my face with my hands. "This is so weird! It's so weird, right? I can't believe we're doing this."
"It's not that weird," Richard said.
"No! Not that weird. But a little." I accidentally let loose a manic laugh and covered my mouth with my hand, horrified. "Oh my God, I'm sorry. I'm just nervous."
"Why? Do you have a third boob or something?" Richard held up his hands. "I won't judge you, I swear."
I punched his chest. "I told you. I'm just nervous."
Richard stroked my cheek and leaned over me. In my ear, he whispered, "You should be. Because you're about to get it so good."
He gave me a push and I yelp/laughed as I ended up on the bed. Richard pulled off his shirt and climbed on top of me. This time, I didn't stop him when his hands went for the buttons on my shirt...or my jeans...or the clasp on my bra....
Right before THE BIG MOMENT, Richard paused and laughed into the crook of my neck.
"What?" I asked. Did I have a third boob?
Richard looked down at me and brought his hands to either side of my head. His thumbs brushed away the hairs strung across my face. "Nothing," he said, softly. "Just that I'm a little nervous now."
I reached down and checked. "You don't feel very nervous."
I'd said it to provide a little comic relief, but Richard didn't laugh. He lowered his head and kissed the spot right beneath my ear lobe. "I just love you, you know?"
The shock only fell away from my face when he was inside of me, and it felt so good that it was the only thing I could focus on.
I woke up to my alarm shrieking at me.
"Noooo," Richard grumbled. "Make it stop."
I rolled over and silenced my phone. Pushing back the covers, I crawled out of bed, but Richard grabbed my ponytail and pulled me back in. "Richard!" I gasped.
He rolled on top of me and started kissing my neck. "I'll be quick, I promise."
"Oh my God." I rolled my eyes but his lips felt like hot lava on my skin. There was no way I was telling him to stop.
Just as it was getting good, my phone rang.
Richard groaned. "I thought you turned that off."
"I did." I reached out and felt along the floor. "It's not my alarm. Someone's calling me."
Richard said, "Why would you"—but I clamped my hand over his mouth, shushing him. I showed him the screen. "It's William," I hissed. "Be quiet." Richard nodded obediently.
I brought the phone to my ear. "Hello?"
"Did I wake you?" William demanded, his voice so booming it could crack your skull in half.
"No," I said, "I'm up. But what are you doing up?"
William sighed, irritably. "About to meet my fucking masochist trainer."
"You have a trainer?"
"Ouch," William said, "you hurt my feelings."
"No, I didn't."
William's laughter crackled through the line. "What? I need a reason to harass my assistant at 7 in the morning?"
Richard was still on top of me, and when he saw my eyes go wide he mouthed, What?
I cleared my throat. "Your assistant?"
"The official offer's coming in today. Congratulations."
"That is fantastic news," I gushed. "Thank you so much, William."
"No need to thank," William said. "You did this all on your own, girly." I heard a commotion in the background. "Christ. My trainer is coming at me with some sort of torture device. Got to go."
I held the phone to my ear a few moments after William hung up, just savoring the news. Richard gave me a little shake. "What?"
I smiled up at him. "I got the job."
Richard gave me a long, muscle melting kiss. "Congratulations," he said, when he pulled away.
I squealed and kicked my feet. "I'm so excited!"
Richard laughed. "You should be. This is a big deal."
My giddiness subsided a little when I realized that meant I had to give my notice to Frank. "Quitting is going to suck though."
Richard shrugged. "Hey, it happens. It's preferable to being fired." He raised his eyebrows at me, meaningfully.
"True," I said. Still, Frank had been good to me, and I hated the idea of disappointing him. "I should get going," I said. "I don't want to be late."
"You just got a sick new job," Richard said. "Who cares if you're fifteen minutes late." He pressed his hips against me and I felt his mouth, warm and delicious, on my neck.
"I care." I tried to make it sound authoritative, but the words came out thick and labored, giving away how much I wanted him.
"I think," Richard said, his mouth moving lower, to my collarbone, "this deserves," he moved even lower, to my stomach, "a celebration." And then he disappeared between my legs and work was the furthest thing from my mind.
I showered in record time. Richard doesn't have to be at work until 10—oh, the world of online advertising—so while I threw myself together, he made coffee.
He brought a mug into the bathroom for me. I accepted it while crushing my eyelashes with a curler. "Why, thank you dear."
"You are welcome, dear."
"By the way," he said. "That picture on your fridge? Of you in an ugly Christmas sweater?" He raised his eyebrows. "Hot."
"Oh my God," I laughed. "That's from the ugly Christmas sweater party my parents always throw on Christmas Eve. It's so much fun."
I saw Richard smile behind me in the mirror. "Sounds it."
I turned around, one eye still obscured by my eyelash curler. Fun fact about me: I curl my eyelashes for exactly twenty seconds each. "Do you...um...do you want to come?"
Richard brought his hand to the back of his neck and scratched his head. "Nah. I don't want to intrude."
"Richard, you are not intruding. What are you doing for Christmas anyway?"
Richard sipped his coffee. "I always just stay here."
I gasped. It was the saddest thing I'd ever heard. "Are you serious?"
"If you knew my parents, you would understand why it is the much more attractive option."
"I'm not letting you stay in the city all by yourself on Christmas," I said.
"What the hell is that thing anyway?" Richard pointed at my Shu Uemura eyelash curler, accusingly.
"Just my most prized possession." I tossed the offending contraption into my make-up bag. "And don't try to change the subject. You are coming home with me."
Richard took a step forward and wrapped his arms around my waist. He buried his head at the place where my neck met my shoulder. "You're the boss," he murmured, and goosebumps prickled to the surface of my skin. He smelled like warm, nutty coffee, and I would have stayed there all day if I didn't have some major moves to make.
Note to readers: I will not be posting regularly over the next two weeks (I'm sorry!). I've taken time off for the holidays and it is the final push on my book, so I don't want to commit to my regular Tuesday/Thursday 2PM schedule when I'm not sure I can stick to it. I will try to pop in with an update here and there, because a lotta good stuff is about to go down! No matter what, things will return to normal on Tuesday, 1/8.
Happy holidays to all of you!