“You know how it’ll feel, Sam.”
I did know. I knew how his hands would feel on my skin. I knew how wildly he would kiss me. I knew how tight he would hold me. There would be that explosion of heat coursing through me, like fire. And if just having him kiss me and touch me would make me feel that, what would the rest be like? My clit was throbbing just thinking about it. Oh God I really needed to step away from him. Right. Now.
Did my body move? No.
“I’ll get rid of them, Sam. I told you I will, I meant it. All you have to do is admit that you want me.” He brought his lips to mine and spoke against them, “Just admit it. Tell me you want me and I’ll get rid of them.”
Suddenly every single fibre of my being was sizzling with alertness and desire and anticipation. Yeah, he was a sod and, yeah, he was sexist and, yeah, he’d rejected me last night and, yeah, there were probably more reasons than that why I shouldn’t want him. But at this point I’d had enough of fighting myself on this, enough of running away. All I wanted now was to feel that fire again. To have his hands on me again. To have him finish what he started weeks ago. My body was supportive of that idea. My body also sensed the but...Yes, there was a but. I just found it way too hard to believe that he would get ditch his consorts just to shag me no matter how many times he was hoping to do it or how much he wanted me.
“Just tell me you want me, and I’ll get rid of them,” he repeated.
Cloaking my hypersensitivity to him, I smoothed out the collar of his jacket and spoke against his lips, “Get rid of them, and then I’ll tell you I want you.” He didn’t tug me back to him this time when I stepped away. His smile hadn’t fallen but frustration – sexual frustration, mostly – filled his expression. And his pants.
There was also respect in his gaze; a gaze that was exploring my body again. Exploring it so closely that I was tingling all over. I wondered if I’d made him even worse by holding back. He seemed to appreciate a challenge more than most. “Alright,” said Jared, smiling. No one should have a smile that sexy. “You don’t think I will, do you?”
He came toward me. “I can promise you that when I come for you tomorrow night to leave for Connelly’s gathering I’ll be consort-free...and ready to make you scream as soon as we get back from there.”
“Oh is that right?” I giggled.
He nodded and then seized my eyes with a gaze so heated that it scorched my entire body. “And I can’t wait to hear that husky voice you’ve got calling out my name.”
“Sorry, I don’t call out anyone’s name. It’s nothing personal.”
His smile was now almost stretched from ear to ear. “You will for me. You will for me.”
In the interest of not having the people in the neighbouring apartments gossiping – Sam liked her private business very private, she said – I teleported her to her apartment so she didn’t have to leave through the door. I was so close to just snagging a kiss before I left but I held everything I was feeling in reserve. I meant what I’d said just as seriously as I’d said it: I wanted her to admit that she wanted me before I touched her. Twice we’d kissed before and twice she had backed away full of excuses. This time there would be none, and no one would be backing away. I’d make sure of it.
And I’d make sure she called my name.
Before any of that was going to be possible, there was something I had to do first.
It was Daniela who answered the door when I went to the apartment. As usual, the inside was a mess: open tubs of nail varnish on the table, clothes hanging over the sofa, shoes here there and everywhere, empty NST bottles on almost every surface. All three of them were, in a word, slobs. They were so bad that the maid had gone on strike.
“Jared, hi,” said Daniela, reaching out to me with those weirdly long acrylic nails. “I’ve missed you.”
I avoided her touch and advanced further into the apartment. Joy and Tammy appeared from the kitchen within seconds, both glowing and ready to start their usual seduction techniques. I held up my hand as a signal to them to stop in their tracks. All three girls were now looking at me with confusion and wariness flashing across their face, glancing briefly at each other. No matter how I phrased what I was about to say, their reactions would be the same. As such, I didn’t see the point in creeping around the issue. “I’m relieving each of you of your consort position.”
There was a brief moment of silence. Shock echoed within it.
“You don’t want us anymore?” asked Daniela after a minute or so.
“What did we do?” Tammy was doing her hands on hips thing.
I glanced at the three of them as I explained, “My decision is not something that any of you should take personally, I -”
“You’re replacing us,” said Joy sharply. She had the look of someone who was considering how to do the perfect murder.
Tammy gasped and then shot Joy a scowl. “If he is, we all know who’s to blame.”
“Yeah,” spat Daniela, glowering at Joy. “It’s your fault for being so heavy on him all the time, following him around.”
Joy’s hands balled into fists. “I wasn’t being ‘heavy all the time’” – oh she was – “it’s not my fault if I’m the favourite and he likes having me around.”
None of this was unexpected. We’d been through something similar before when I almost added another consort. All of them suddenly became insecure and repeatedly asked what they had done wrong, if I was punishing them. Daniela became whiny. Tammy became full of questions. Joy became snappy and couldn’t let the issue go. Then they all turned on each other. With that in mind, I knew that this could go on all night long. Time to cut it short and rip the Band-Aid right off.
Before I could speak, Joy turned back to me and spoke, “Who’re you replacing us with?”
“I don’t need to explain myself to any of you. My decision has been made, that is all you need to know. You have a week to find alternative accommodation.”
Ignoring their noises of protest, I proceeded to leave the apartment. I might have let them keep it if it weren’t for the fact that it would look to others, more importantly to Sam, that I was still using them as consorts. I’d originally thought that since I’d had consorts so long it would be weird to suddenly have none. But it wasn’t.