He won’t tell me where we’re going. Just waltzed in the condo, catching me mid-bite, on the white leather couch in the foyer, the couch I’m not supposed to eat near, a Dorito filling up my mouth, Coke balanced precariously on the sofa’s arm. He shot the soda a bemused glance and reached out, grabbing my hand and pulling me to my feet, the bag of Doritos dropping to the floor. “I want to show you something.”
And now we are driving. Out of downtown, taking the freeway east, toward the ocean. I crack the window slightly and let a burst of fresh air inside, Stewart promptly rolling the window back up. I sigh, watching as the exterior stills and the car makes a slow turn into a residential area.
“Are we visiting someone?” Stewart and I don’t socialize outside of business functions. We don’t have friends or acquaintances. We exist, in our own bubble of two, our time too short to waste making small chat with strangers.
“Just be patient.” He pulls out his phone, checks an email, then looks up. “Look for Palm Drive.” The car slows and he rolls both windows down, squinting into the darkness.
“Right there.” I point ahead. “To the left.”
We turn, he looks at his phone again, and then we make the final, undercarriage-scraping turn into the driveway of a one-story bungalow, Spanish-style white, blue shutters framing its front windows. He puts the car in park and I wait, confused, glancing out at the dark house, no lights on inside. An empty driveway.
“Let’s go in.” He unbuckles his seat belt and opens the door.
We step into darkness, the front door opened with a key Stewart produces from his pocket. He walks through, leaving me in the foyer, lights flipping on as he moves, warm lights illuminating marble floors, a chef’s kitchen, a fireplace built into the far wall. My sense of unease grows until he finally reappears, standing before me and spreading his arms proudly. “So? What do you think?”
I step toward him, glancing around. “I’m a little confused. Are you moving?” I know he’s not. He can’t. The ten-minute commute would drive him crazy – thousands wasted in those precious minutes spent on something as trivial as transportation.
“It’s for you.” His smile falters slightly at my expression. “Don’t you like it?”
“But I already have a house.” With Paul. The words that don’t need to be said.
“You rent a house. In a section of town that has the crime rate of Compton.” His tone irritates me.
“I like where I live.” And whom I live with. Paul would move, but only to make me happy. He wouldn’t want to live in this manicured neighborhood of picket fences and paved drives. Twenty minutes from the water, from our lives as we know it. “I’m right by work now.”
“You’d be closer to me here. And this is nicer, ten times nicer than where you live.” He is right, though he has never been to my house. For all he knows, it has twelve-foot ceilings and five bathrooms.
I try to breathe, try to stay calm. “Have you closed on this?”
“No. It’s closing in ten days. Sooner if you’d like.”
No. I would not like. “Stewart, this is a very kind gesture, and I really appreciate the thought...”
“But you don’t want to move.” His face is unreadable, and I step forward, wrapping my hands around his neck.
“No. I don’t want to move. Can you pull out of the sale?”
He sighs, his hands sliding around my waist, slipping under the top of my jeans and he squeezes the skin there. “It’s gonna be hard.” He pulls me forward, pressing the length of my body against him, my breath catching as he lifts up with his hands, pulling me tight to his pelvis.
“How hard?” I breathe.
His mouth curves beneath my lips and he leans forward, taking a deep taste of my mouth before pulling off. “Why don’t you get on your knees and find out?”
I think it hurt his feelings, my refusal of his gift. But it was too much. Not the gift of the house—I’m not too proud to accept a million dollar piece of real estate. But the life change. I love my time with Stewart. But the everyday with Paul? Waking up next to his warmth, in the house that creaks under our feet and has hosted our sex in every counter, bathroom, and floorboard? I love that part of my life. And all of it would change if we were to move into a house of Stewart’s. The entire dynamic of our lives.
Sex smooths over his hurt. Sex heals his ego, and he earns every ounce of it back. Making me scream his name, my body bent over, gripping the granite countertop, his hard c**k claiming me from behind. On my back in the master, my legs spread before him, his hands lingering over my skin as he f**ked me to a second, then—legs flipped over and my body on its side—third orgasm. We finished on the back deck, the night air cool on our hot skin, his breath labored as he kissed the length of my skin, his hands following his mouth, making a final exploration of my body, pushing me down to my knees.
We christen the hell outta the house, despite my lack of future inside it. Then we turn out the lights and Stewart locks the door with one last, regretful look inside. “You sure you don’t want to sleep on it? Nicole will be so disappointed, she thought you’d love it.”
“Then you can buy it for her,” I tease. “But no.”
He turns the key, snagging my arm as I turn, and presses me against the door, taking one more possessive, full-body taste, his mouth aggressive as his hands take a long survey of my body. When he finally releases me, I stay against the door, looking up into his face, partially in shadow, his looks no less devastating in the dark. “Thanks, baby. For thinking of me.”
“I love you. I want you to be taken care of.”
I smile. “I am. I don’t need a house for that.” I stick out my tongue playfully, and the serious moment is broken. He tugs at my hand and we return to his car. And then to his condo. Which we christen also—just for the hell of it.
A normal person would ask themselves who they prefer. If both men were standing on a cliff, and I had to push one of them off, who would it be?
But I’m not normal, and neither are they. Eventually, one of them will tire of this relationship, will want more. Will want a full-time girlfriend or mother to his children. And then I will ask myself if that is what I want. If I can be happy with one man. And if the answer is yes, then I will go that path. It seems strange but, despite their differences, there is a bit of each other in these men. And even if I leave one, I will always have part of him in the other.