The Verdict

Another Exciting Adventure in … THE GRIND
(Act I: All Wounds)
(Act II: The Status Quo)
(Act III: Covet thy Neighbor)



Ten years ago, when Heather, my first kiss, my first sexual encounter, and my first love, became my first devastating heartbreak, I went on a dating spree, which really hasn’t come to an end. With that kind of quantity, it only stands to reason that not all of these dates were successful.

But none of them went as poorly as this one. The weird part was that we’d already engaged, repeatedly and with vigor, in third-date-style activities, if you know what I mean.

So what happened to that wild animal I’d spent most of last night tasting and feeling? Where were the throaty giggles and that unbelievably focused, blue-eyed stare? Where was that woman?

And then I saw her. She was strutting out of the restroom in that turtleneck I should have been yanking off of her torso; that miniskirt that needed to be pushed up to her waist; those gray-stocking-covered legs that belonged wrapped around me; and those fingernails running through those cinnamon-colored curls, both of which would be better served tickling my naked chest. There was that crooked smile that melted me, and it was flirting with some bridge-and-tunnel doofus at the bar. It was then, as she left him and headed back toward me, all enthusiasm fleeing her body, that I had my idea.

But first thing’s first: “Give it,” I demanded.

“Give what?”

“His card.”

She handed it over, and I tore it to pieces while she growled.

“Fair’s fair,” I said, referring to the way she’d disposed of the phone number the cute waitress had given me earlier. Okay, so I had rescued it, but it was the spirit of the thing, right?

She pouted. “You know, this is such a disaster, anyway. I don’t see why you had to go and make it worse.”

“Em, I need you to listen to me very carefully.”

“Don’t call me Em.”

“I think it’s safe to say that we have no business dating each other.”

She folded her arms.

“And I’m betting that you’re interested in being with someone you actually like, but dating is not particularly easy, especially in this town; the reason being that you’re trying to be sexy when you’re not actually sure you are.”

“Speak for yourself.”

“Don’t jerk me around, Em.”

“My name’s not Em,” she snapped.

“And about the only time you’re that positive you’re sexy is when you’ve just had sex.”

“Oh, come on!”

“I told you not to jerk me around, Em.”

“My name is Emma.”

“I was watching you talk to that jackhole over there, and you were hot.”

“Too little, too late, dude,” she told me.

“Yeah?” I told her right back. “Then how did you get that guy’s number after ten seconds? And how did I get cute little Dakota’s attention just now without even trying? It’s because, at this particular moment in time, we both knew that we drove someone so crazy that, less than eighteen hours ago, they ripped our clothes off.”

“Keep talking,” she breathed.

“The only thing you and I have in common is that we enjoy fucking each other’s brains out.”

She smiled a little. “All right, I’ll give you that.”

“There are just some days when you really need to get laid, and handling it yourself just isn’t going to cut it. Now, I’m not saying that we become one another’s sex toy…”

“Dude,” she told me, “that’s exactly what you’re saying.”

“I guess it is.”

She took a long look at the doofus at the bar. “I was hot, wasn’t I?”

“We made it this far without talking.”

There was that crooked smile again. “For a condescending asshole, you make a lot of sense.”

“For a childish, superficial nerd, you have great taste in sex partners,” I replied.

Emma threw enough cash to cover a half-bottle of wine onto the coffee table in front of us. “I’m going to talk to the jackhole.”

I grabbed her arm, and a current shot through me, telling me I needed to find a nearby solid surface right away and bend her over it.

She gasped, leading me to surmise that she needed to find the same solid surface.

I noticed that I’d been holding my breath for quite a while, and so I let it out.

She yanked her arm away from me and swallowed a lungful of air. “What?”

“What what?”

“Why did you grab my arm?”

“Like this?” I reached out, because, right now, my body craved that current with more urgency than the most powerful of nicotine fits.

She dodged me and whispered, “The deal.”

“I’m just grabbing your arm.”


I blinked the lust out of my eyes. “Right.”

“Later, dude,” she said and strolled away toward the bar.

I called after her, “What about the deal?”

“The deal was that you and I don’t sleep together tonight,” she said. “We said nothing about other people.”

“Yeah, we did.”

“Our own beds, remember?”

She growled. “Promise me, then, that you’re not coming back for that little girl with the corkscrew.”

The number I’d planned to call later burned secretly in my pocket. “I promise you that I will not return to this bar to pick up Dakota.” I wasn’t being totally dishonest.

She eyed me with little-to-no trust, which was a perfectly legitimate reaction to me. “Let’s go, then.”

Our cab ride was short and quiet, but excruciating, since we were overly conscious of the space between us. The merest touch would probably lead to the deal being broken, and we couldn’t have that–though I wasn’t sure why anymore.

When we finished climbing up four stories to our respective doors, she beckoned me with a sexy finger.

I drifted over cautiously. “Yeah?”

She wrapped her arms around me and stared deep into my eyes.

“Hey, now,” I said.

“Shush,” she replied.

My mouth went dry, and all the warmth in my hands and brain headed straight below my belt. Her hands caressed my back, sliding lower and lower, over my waist, and into my back pockets.

“Oh,” I said, resigned to the obvious.

Behind me, I heard her fingers tearing the waitress’s number to confetti.

She leaned closer to my ear and whispered, “Fair’s fair.” Her hair left burning trails across my cheek as she withdrew her head, her arms still around me. When I whimpered, she just gave me that same smug look she’d used last night to seduce me.

Since I was here anyway, I kissed her hard and slammed her against the nearest wall. She moaned, and her fingers stayed in my pockets and dug in. My hands gripped her face, until one crept down her neck, past her collarbone, and found its way to her breast.

That’s when we both snapped out of it and pushed each other away.

“Deal,” she panted.

I gulped. “Right. Deal.”

She struggled to fish her keys out of her purse and dropped them to the floor. The sight of her bending over to pick them up anchored me there. She caught me looking, and she too froze.

“Deal,” I said.

“Deal,” she agreed.

I unlocked my door and forced myself inside. From there, I charged straight for the mattress on my floor and masturbated furiously.

From what I could hear on the other side of the wall, she was doing the exact same thing.

to be continued…

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