I have to go. If I don’t leave now, he’ll get under my skin and I’ll be stuck with the “What If’s.” What if he’s actually a good person and only comes off as an asshole? What if—
I sit up and say, “I have to go.”
He reaches for my arm, but I stand up before he can take it. “No round two?” he says with a lazy smile.
Round two sounds amazing, and that body … it’s like something out of a painting. Something sculpted by an Italian master. I could probably go for a second round.
Nope. Not going to happen.
I get dressed. “I have things I need to do.”
“What’s funny?” I ask as I slip on my shoes.
“Ditching after a one-night stand is usually the man’s move.”
“Looks like I’m getting off easy.”
He raises an eyebrow. “Well, you did get off pretty easy.”
I smile. He’s right. He knew exactly what he was doing and I loved every minute of it.
“Okay, well, bye,” I say.
He opens his mouth like he might tell me not to leave again, but I’m gone before he gets a chance.
I take a shower when I get home and try not to think about the somewhat irksome but entirely gorgeous man I just left behind. The hot water rolls over my shoulders and I think about Max’s hands all over me, the way he kissed my spine, the way my entire body shook uncontrollably after each orgasm. Damn it, I should’ve stayed for round two. Now I’m turned on again.
After my shower, I throw on a robe and grab a bottle of wine and a glass. I go back outside on my front porch and sit at the table. The sun is setting. Kids’ laughter from across the street fills the neighborhood with happy sounds. I’m at war with my emotions at the moment. On one hand, I’m on cloud nine after my fun time with Max, and on the other hand, I’m sick with nervousness about what’s coming next on the bucket list. I want to just open them all at the same time and get it over with so I know what I’m getting myself into.
But I can’t cheat. I know Kia would expect me to. That’s just me. I hate surprises, but I have incredible self-control when it’s needed.
Staring down at envelope two, I’m afraid to open it. What could be next? Will each thing be bigger than the next? I’m sure there are plenty of things more terrifying than sleeping with a stranger, but at the moment, I can’t think of anything.
I wrap my robe tighter around my shoulders and take a deep breath. Here goes nothing.
I open the next envelope and let the breath seep slowly from my lungs.
Welcome to the next step on my bucket list. I wish I could see your face right now. If you are reading this, it means you slept with my dream man and probably loved every second of it. You did, didn’t you? Of course you did. I bet he has a big … Well, anyway. Since you took a big step and slept with a beautiful stranger, I’m going to take it easy on you this time. The next thing on my list is reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I’ve always wanted to read this book, but never found the time. Sometimes a person needs to just slow down and relax with a glass of wine and a good book.
I look at the glass of wine in front of me. She knows me so well. I have always wanted to read Pride and Prejudice—I could have sworn Kia was the reason. For some reason, I remember her telling me I should because she loved it so much. I guess I’m wrong. Ever since I heard about the story, I’ve wanted to read it but could never find the time to sit and have a moment to myself. I’ve been complaining about never having the time for years. I guess now I don’t have a choice. I’m not sure when I’ll find the time, but I will, for her.
The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is go to the book store. As I’m weaving through the aisles I pass a book about the history of tattoos and think of Max. It’s a really cool book, the words embossed with gold leaf on the cover jacket. It’s full of images of tattoos around the world from traditional American to Japanese bodysuits to Polynesian. Yesterday had been such a frenzy with him that I hadn’t taken the time to really look at his ink. His arms, legs, chest and back were covered in tattoos. There was little left in the way of blank skin. I found those bits of skin just as intriguing as what was covered in ink. I want to explore it all.