Stripped Read online

Page 20

And then he challenges me again. He moves my hand, tangled in his, to my clitoris, and we stimulate me together, and that’s the most erotic thing I can imagine, until he takes his hand away and watches me. Both of his hands are tweaking and pinching my ni**les, and I’m moaning, and now I—oh…oh—I touch myself and with him buried deep, I can touch myself in a way that even he can’t. I feel a rhythm inside me, matched to some nebulous pattern inside me, a slow-to-fast rhythm all its own that has me too breathless to scream, hoarsely moaning and arching forward, and I feel Dawson watching me touch myself, and I know it makes him crazy, so I touch myself all the more vigorously.

  I don’t recognize myself.

  I’m on top of a man I’ve only known for a matter of weeks, and I’m in love with him, and he’s in love with me, and his c**k is buried to the hilt inside me, and I’m touching myself as he rolls my thick pink ni**les between his thumb and forefinger. I’m chanting his name and he’s murmuring mine, and we’re lost to each other.

  It’s heaven…

  …but I don’t recognize myself.

  He explodes. Dawson calls my name, shouts my name, and I cry his, and he comes. And I come again. His hands clutch my br**sts, and then one hand is on my hip, crushing me against him with every desperate thrust, and our voices are a song together, our bodies are moving in a dance, synchronized beauty, perfectly matched motion.

  Who is this woman doing this? Making love with such wild and desperate sensuality?

  I can almost see us, see myself as if from above. My br**sts bounce and jiggle with each thrust of the man beneath me. His hands paw and claw at me, and I shove my chest into his touch, because I love his touch. And me…my own hand is between my thighs, touching my privates. My other hand is up behind me, grasping at Dawson’s face and neck. His eyes watch me, watch my moving hand, watch my bouncing br**sts.

  “God, I love you,” he whispers as he comes.

  Who am I? Who am I, that this man loves me?

  I’m not a film student, I’m not a stripper, I’m not a dancer, I’m not anyone. I’m just Grey Amundsen. But this glorious man, this near-deity…he loves me.


  What am I, that he feels so strongly about me? What do I offer?

  Page 56


  I don’t know the answer to that, but I know he does.

  So why don’t I ask?

  Because my throat closes and sticks. He might see the panic on my face, but he’s behind me, rolling to one side, still buried deep, still thick, still pulsating with the aftershocks. I’m still quaking, too, still shuddering and shivering uncontrollably in wave after wave of post-orgasm earthquakes. Some of the shudders are from panic, though. He doesn’t see. He slips out of me, out of bed and into the bathroom. I hear him wash his hands, and then he comes back and sidles up behind me and presses against me. His manhood is still slightly turgid, and he buries it between the globes of my backside. Even in my panic, I love that feeling.

  And loving that sets off more panic. I just sinned. I had sex with a man. Three times, I had sex with him. Well, twice. I’m not sure if making him orgasm with my mouth counts as sex, but it definitely counts as sin. And letting him do the same, more times than I can count? He made me orgasm so many times. I never even bothered counting.

  Does that multiply my sin?

  I’m not married to him. Not even engaged. I’m not even positive of his middle name. I don’t know where he went to high school.

  In the darkness of predawn, it’s easy to feel the condemnation. I haven’t thought of my father, really thought of him, in months. But now I remember him telling me I’d fall into a life of sin. And I have. Look at the life I’ve been living. He was right. Oh. Oh, god. God, forgive me. He was right. I hear and feel Dawson fall back asleep, and so he misses the single sob that escapes me. I shudder, and his arm tightens on me, tucked just beneath my br**sts. I can’t breathe. Can’t…breathe.

  What have I done? What have I let happen?

  Exactly what I knew would happen, right from the first moment I saw him. I knew I would fall and lose myself in him, and I have. I fell in love, fell into sin.

  I try to rationalize my way out of it: It’s not sin. I love him. He loves me. And I don’t even really believe in any of that anymore, do I? No. I don’t. I didn’t just have sex; I certainly didn’t f**k. I made love, mutual love, to a good man. A wonderful man who’s never done anything but try to take care of me and protect me and give to me. I’m not a pastor’s daughter anymore. I don’t go to church. I don’t believe in God. So I haven’t sinned.

  Have I? Or doesn’t it matter whether I believe?

  I once heard Daddy—my father—telling a man in his congregation who was caught in adultery that it doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or sin; He believes in you, and will judge you regardless of whether you choose to believe or not.

  My head is spinning crazily, whirling, throbbing.

  Other parts of me throb, too.

  I worm my way out of Dawson’s grip, leaving him in the bed, clutching a now-empty space. He’s so peaceful, so beautiful. I can’t help but just stare at him, and for the briefest moment, my worries vanish under the weight of the sheer rugged masculine beauty of the man and the tumultuous, tempestuous storm of emotions he incites in me.

  Then they are back with a vengeance.

  I walk to the bathroom, although hobble is a more appropriate word. My privates throb, ache, and twinge. My thighs tremble and hurt. Everything down there aches, but the memory of how that ache came about is sugar-sweet. Even through my guilt, I can’t regret doing it. I regret my guilt, regret my upbringing that I can’t just enjoy the love of Dawson.

  God, I’m so confused. I’m overwhelmed to the point of breathless pain by the guilt and shame of what I just did, but at the same time a part of me is contented and self-satisfied and smug and in total bliss. The guilt, the Baptist shame, tells me the smug satisfaction is the seed of sin.

  After using the toilet, wash my hands, and find my clothes in the darkness. I dress quietly, facing away from Dawson. Even my bra chafing my ni**les now feels sensual, arousing, because it reminds me of Dawson’s fingers and lips there. And my underwear, too, brings Dawson to mind, the way his tongue speared into my folds…I almost fall in and drown in that rapturous memory, but Dawson stirs and I’m shaken into moving.

  I’m creeping out, watching Dawson return to sleep, and then stealing down the stairs, out the front door with my purse over my shoulder and the keys to the Rover in my hand. I don’t know where I’m going, except away. I’m too confused, and I can’t think around Dawson because I’ll just want him all over again, and I already do want him. Even sore and aching, each step making my core throb, I want him. I want more.

  I leave the neighborhood, carefully navigating away from the overstated grandeur of Beverly Hills. I find myself in the long-term parking lot of LAX, at the Delta counter. I don’t even know where the ticket I just bought will take me, and I don’t care. Nothing sticks in my awareness. I’m on autopilot, struggling against the current of guilt, against the thunderstorm of warring thoughts, needs, fears, guilt, desires.

  I shouldn’t love him.

  But I do. And why not?

  It was sin.

  It was the greatest pleasure I’ve ever known, and I’ll spend every moment of the rest of my life wanting and needing more.

  He loves me.

  But he barely knows me, and what if he finds someone else? Someone prettier? Someone more experienced? What if he has to do a love scene and I can’t handle it? There’s no if there; I couldn’t take that. It would ruin me.

  But I’m already ruined. No longer a virgin.

  That’s not ruin, that’s beauty. The ache between my thighs is a reminder of love. Of the fervor of his desire.

  My internal struggle runs on a continuous loop and it makes me dizzy. I make my disoriented way to a gate somewhere in the depths o