The First Time is Always Awkward

Mai slapped her forehead as she watched Zuko pace her bedroom, walking from the window to the sofa to her bed and then back again over and over. If only she'd kept her mouth shut about that stupid war meeting. His mood had gone from playful and sweet to brooding and sour in the blink of an eye.

Even going back to the palace and confronting Azula did nothing to ease her boyfriend's frazzled emotions. He needed to calm down and he needed to do it immediately, before his already fragile mind exploded into bits right in front of her.

She took the initiative as she often did in their relationship; Mai grabbed him by the shoulders, pushed him gently on to the plush red sofa and straddled his legs so that he couldn't move.

"What are you doing?" the Fire Nation prince asked irritably.

His beautiful gold eyes flared with anger and his lips twisted with an all too familiar scowl.

"I'm sitting on your lap, idiot," she replied and then placed her thin lips firmly against his.

He resisted for longer than she figured he would, but eventually gave into the charms of her warm mouth. Reaching upward, she pulled his dark hair loose, throwing the scarlet flame shaped hairpiece aside. His hair felt good in her fingers, smooth and soft. Mai dragged her unpainted nails along his scalp and down through the dark strands. Zuko hissed, sucking in his breath for a moment. Mai kissed harder and tugged on his hair, eliciting another intake of breath.

Despite the bulk of his robes, Mai felt his arousal against the inside of her thigh. She wriggled a bit and Zuko bit off a moan. His own kissing became more vigorous, more intense and he began to grow warmer. His hands on her back felt almost hot and Mai reveled in the sensation of his fingers dancing up and down her spine.

This, right here, was as far as they had ever gone before, with intimacy that is. They were young and they were healthy and they definitely loved each other but something always stopped them from moving beyond kissing and touching. She protected herself with regular doses of contraceptive herbal tea in case they ever did actually make love, so the fear of pregnancy wasn't it. Maybe it was the fear of being awkward and fumbling around like the pair of inexperienced lovers they were. Whatever the case, the couple had an unspoken agreement to stop when things reached a certain level of intensity.

"Zuko," Mai stated as she pulled her swollen lips away from his. "I think I'm ready and I think you need, well, to relax even more."

His undamaged eye widened in panic and his fingers gripped the fine material of her outer tunic. The knife thrower stroked his cheek with her hand, running her delicate fingers along the rough edges of his scar.

"You'll be fine," she whispered. "I'll be fine. Don't you want to make love to me?"

"You know I do," he replied emphatically.

Zuko gripped her waist tightly and adjusted Mai's position so that she sat directly on top of his groin. He thrust upward, hard, and she felt the firmness and heat press against her own groin.

"Mmmmmmm," Mai moaned. "Feels good."

"What if I can't, I don't know, satisfy you? What if I'm a terrible lover?"

"Oh, Zuko, I think the first time for everyone is awkward and probably not that great."

"But we need to have a first time so that we can have a much better next time," the prince smirked, finally getting into the spirit of things.

"Exactly," Mai agreed with her own matching smirk.

"So, um, what do we do?" the prince asked.

Both knew the basic mechanics of sex, but neither knew the finer points. Mai hesitated briefly and then stood up. She slowly took off her outer tunic, the sleeveless burgundy one she wore over her traditional reds, and placed it over the back of the sofa.

"Your turn now," she stated mischievously.

"Um, um," Zuko stammered and then got up from the couch.

He peeled off the ornate dark red cape like affair that covered his shoulders. They took turns until both were standing in only their undergarments. As more and more of Mai was revealed, Zuko grew more and more tongue tied. He had seen her bare shoulders and abdomen on Ember Island and had even briefly caressed the soft white skin when they snuck away for some private kisses, but he had never seen so much of her at once. Her beauty took his breath away and he wondered just how he would survive seeing all of her bared.

Hesitantly, he ran one finger along the length of her collarbone. It felt sharp and hard beneath the pliancy of her pale flesh. Reaching her shoulder, he drew the finger downward toward her wrist and then moved over to her stomach. He traced a line upwards and stopped just below the gentle swell of her bound breasts. He looked down at the floor and breathed in deeply.

"Don't stop," Mai ordered.

Raising his head, Zuko looked into her eyes and moved a trembling finger upwards just a bit. He moved slowly over the mound, stopping when he found her nipple, exploring how it felt beneath the fabric of her bindings. Mai closed her eyes briefly. Little sparks of sensation shuddered through her body and she wanted more.

"I'm taking these off," she announced and began to expertly unwind the white cloth.

Her chest was bare within seconds and all Zuko could do was stare and then blink rapidly as the sight of her overwhelmed him.

"And I still have my underwear to remove," Mai quipped as she gave her boyfriend a friendly poke.

"You're, you're….."

The knife thrower grabbed his right hand and placed it over her breast. Zuko was very alert very quickly. Mai's breast felt soft and smooth in his hand. It was small enough to fit but big enough to spill over his fingers just a bit; perfect. Daringly, he raised his left hand and cupped her other breast, running a hand across her pert pink nipple. Mai's breath quickened as Zuko continued to explore.

The prince removed his hands and replaced them with his mouth. Moving from one to the other, he kissed the breasts tenderly, almost reverently. His tongue flicked outward, skimming over a nipple. Growing bolder, Zuko bit down on the pink bud and Mai gasped. She grabbed hold of his head and pulled him upward, placing a searing kiss on his lips.

"My turn," she reminded him.

She ran cool hands over his firm chest, enjoying the feel of his well defined muscles, earned from years of training. Not satisfied, she moved her hands downward and tugged at the drawstring of his black silk underwear. She knelt down before him, appreciating the irony of the situation, and yanked the cloth until it pooled around his ankles.

Mai had felt him before but that was nothing compared to seeing Zuko in all his glory. His member stood up proudly from its nest of tight black curls and she couldn't resist giving it a playful tug. Zuko growled deep in his throat and she took that as an indication that he was pleased. Giggling, Mai ran her fingers up and down its length, using a smooth, gliding motion until Zuko's eyes had rolled back in his head. She gave the tip a cheeky kiss and then stood up.

"Why did you stop?" he asked petulantly.

"I'm not undressed yet," she reminded him and his eyes popped open.

Seductively, Mai removed her own silk underwear, and stood naked before him. Once again, Zuko was speechless as his eyes roamed over her entire body. He stood there looking for a full minute before he stumbled forward and took his own turn at kneeling. He kissed impossibly smooth inner thighs and then, aroused by her scent, caressed her folds with warm fingers, finally pressing one inside her and feeling her heated depths. Mai twitched and jerked as her body reacted to Zuko's touch.

"Kiss me," she demanded. "Down there."

The prince didn't hesitate. He covered her sex with kisses, then removed his finger from inside her and replaced it with his tongue. His girlfriend's moans inspired him further; gone were the feelings of doubt and inadequacy, replaced with the simple, pure desire to make Mai happy. He felt for that special little spot Uncle had told him of during one of those frank and embarrassing talks they had. The prince knew when his roaming fingers found it; Mai almost jumped out of her skin.

He stopped for a moment and looked up at her. She was slightly flushed, a beautiful pink glow covering her soft, pale skin. Her hair was loose now. 'When did she do that?' Zuko wondered. He approved greatly. Her thick black tresses hung down her chest and around her face, sticking to the thin film of sweat on her skin and giving her an almost wild look.

Zuko let impulse take complete control. He picked her up off her feet and carried her to the bed, stumbling a bit before placing her on her back and covering her body with his. Mai didn't protest. The prince kissed her everywhere and her entire body felt as though a fire were raging through it. She grabbed hold of his behind and pulled him in closer, close enough for his member to slide along her wet folds.

"Mai," he groaned. "I can't wait anymore."

"Don't then," she replied.

Her voice was rough and raspy and excited Zuko even more. Awkwardly, he grabbed hold of himself and tried to guide his member inside. He remembered suddenly that a woman's first time hurt (another lesson from Iroh) and hesitated, getting up on his knees. He leaned down and kissed Mai, whispering apologies in her ear.

"Zuko, it's okay. It's not your fault. Please, just do it."

"Are you sure?"

"Do you want me to beg?" Mai asked and began to rub herself.

Zuko's mouth hung open as he watched Mai's fingers. Ready to burst, he hesitated no longer. Swatting her hand aside, he lined himself up and pushed all the way in. He watched Mai's face carefully and murmured more apologies when she flinched. Zuko pulled out slowly, gauging Mai's reactions. She pulled him flush against her again and he began a steady stroking rhythm. Neither lasted very long and they came together in a mix of grunts and moans and gasped names.

They lay like that, unmoving and a bit bewildered, for a long time. Zuko's weight felt good. His warm breath against Mai's hair and his slurred words of love felt even better.

Finally she gave him a gentle shove and he rolled off, curling up beside her. Zuko looked drowsy and spent and Mai imagined that she looked the same.

"Zuko," she said softly.

"Mmm, what?" he asked.

"If that's our version of awkward, and we can only get better….."

"We're in for some great sex," the prince finished and placed a kiss on her nose.

To be continued in 'The Second Time is Always Better'