Sunday, January 01, 2006

Excerpt: Losing It

“How much pain is there when you lose your virginity?”

In the bathroom where he was laying tile, Ben Hayden fumbled. With a wild juggling motion, he caught the float just before it clattered into the tub. The splattered grout dribbled down the unfinished wall, but Ben just stood there, frozen, listening hard.

Although he knew it was wrong to eavesdrop, he hadn’t bothered to remind his client, Charlotte that he was still working in the bathroom. After all, she and her sister Kerrie were only discussing seating arrangements for Kerrie’s wedding. He’d expected to hear them chatter about cake toppers or menu choices.

Unfortunately, the bride-to-be had something less mundane on her mind.

“I mean, what if it hurts so bad I cry or something?” Kerrie asked. “You know how bad I am with pain. If I cry it could ruin everything.”

Despite the risk and his disapproving conscience, Ben leaned toward the open doorway. He was curious to hear what Charlotte had to say, because on and off over the past couple of months, he’d often considered crossing the line between contractor and client. Something about the way she used her hands seriously turned him on. She had this graceful way of manipulating things that mesmerized him, whether it be turning the pages of a book or buttoning a sweater. It didn’t matter what she was doing, her hands drew his attention and had him thinking sexy thoughts in no time flat. Thoughts about what those hands would feel like splayed over his back as he kissed her, or clutching his butt as he thrust into her.

Ben blew out a silent breath and glanced at his watch. Today he’d lasted forty-five minutes before fantasizing. Sometimes he didn’t even get past the front door before his imagination dove into the gutter. Good thing he always wore loose canvas pants to work.

“You won’t cry,” Charlotte assured her sister. “It’ll be wonderful. Now, let’s get back to business. We have a wedding reception to plan.”

“On a scale from one to ten, then,” Kerrie insisted. “One being a paper cut and ten being … oh, I don’t know … decapitation.”

Ben smothered a laugh, but Charlotte’s reply sounded strangely off-hand. “Oh, somewhere in between, as I recall.”

“Well, is there anything I can do to alleviate it? Any certain position? Should he go in slow or just push real fast and get it over with?”

Crap. That did it. Glancing at the door, Ben decided to make a run for it.

“Kerrie, please!” Charlotte said, clearly exasperated. “I really don’t want to discuss the thrusting velocity of your future husband!”

“I can’t help it!” Kerrie sobbed, and to Ben’s great discomfort, she started crying. “Please, I love Michael so much. I don’t want him to be disappointed.”

With the utmost care, Ben set the float down and took a slow-motion step out of the tub. If he made it to the hall, the front door was only a couple of yards away.

“Look,” Charlotte said, “the truth is, I can’t help you because…”

He took another cautious step toward the door

“…because I’m a virgin, too.”

Ben stopped, mid-stride. Charlotte was a virgin? A smile dawned on his face as his mind did a half-gainer back into the gutter for an erotic free-for-all, celebrating the idea of introducing Charlotte to the wild, wet, and wonderful world of sex. He was busy imagining her panting under him, shuddering through her first man-induced orgasm, when he realized something wasn’t quite right. The delicious sexual scenarios he’d been imagining scattered as he listened and noticed that—Jesus Christ—there was now a chorus of crying: Charlotte and Kerrie, both of them in tears, two virgins whimpering together over their chastity.

Could things get any worse?

Yes, he thought, they could. Because if they found out he’d been listening, they were going to rip his ears off.

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