INSOMNIA – The whole story…
Summary: They are not hours gained; they are hours lost. Insomnia!
Disclaimer: My only claim is to this plot. This story is rated M. It has adult themes, including M/M slash.
If you are here to read the story in it's entirety maybe it's because you don't like drabbles. I hope you enjoy the story as a one chapter post.
If it's because you missed the original daily postings, then please consider reading the original 'drabble' entries and letting me know some of your guesses as you go along. Under the story title, Insomnia. Seeing how readers interpret the mystery is fun—come play.
I put this as a separate post because new readers weren't aware of its existence at the end of the 100 drabble chapters. IT IS NOT A SEPARATE STORY!
It's that moment of coherence. That moment when your mind finally focuses and makes a connection with your body, and then all of a sudden you're awake—wide awake.
Damn! I am so late. Fuck!
I jump out of bed and rush straight to the bathroom, pulling my pajamas off as I run and discarding them on the ground. There's no time for a shower. I barely have time to brush my teeth and comb my hair. If there's one saving grace, it's my anticipation of this moment, and my preparation the night before for this exact scenario—thank god!
I do this to myself every damned day. I know I'm a masochist, and yet I continue to allow myself to be put in this position of weakness.
I glance at my wrist as I run; I need to make that train. I've pushed my chances once too often and if I'm late one more time… Oh, crap. I hate to think about it. I am totally fucked if I lose this job. I don't want to lose this job. I'm good at this job. Actually, I'm fucking brilliant at it. I just need to convince my boss of that.
I make the train, but only because it's running late. As I find a seat, and proceed to collapse into it, my mind echoes with the piteous thoughts of 'why me?' Why do I feel like I have a humungous boot kicking me in the ass all the time? Am I really that pathetic that Mistress Karma has deemed me as her personal punching bag? I'm a good guy—I really am. I'm no saint, but then, I really don't think there are many twenty-eight year-old guys that are. I actually consider myself quite ordinary. Yep, that's me, Mr. Ordinary!
I hurry from the station, even though I know it's a waste of time. I'm late anyway, so why I'm bothering to bust a gut is beyond me. I know that the meeting room door will be closed, as it is promptly done every Wednesday morning at nine am. And I will not risk another burst of public ridicule by opening it, even if I'm only minutes late. I'll wait until ten when they break, make my excuses, and hope to hell he's in a better mood this morning than he is every other day. As if that will happen.
I'm fine-tuning the project I finished last night when the door opens at ten-fifteen and Mike and Tyler walk out. When they see me at my desk I can nearly feel the 'Where the fuck have you been?' look that passes over both their faces. The following 'You are in deep shit!' needs no words either.
The voices from the room drift my way now that there is no physical barrier, and I listen intently as Rosalie tries to calm him, offering excuses for me that I either do or don't deserve.
Fuck this, I think, as I stand up.
"So look who has graced us with his presence." The glare I am given leaves no doubt as to his dissatisfaction. "So very nice of you to join us," he continues his diatribe as he turns to Rose. "Would you excuse us please, Miss Hale, we," he looks pointedly in my direction, "need to speak privately." She starts to walk for the door, smiling sympathetically at me, as he adds, "Close the door behind you, please."
I decide I'd best get comfortable—this is going to be long and very painful—and take a seat, earning myself yet another glare.
I don't even bother to offer excuses. He's heard them all before. He knows my… problem. He also knows that all of those hours were spent doing this… I hold up the printouts I carried in with me. I need to remind him that my dedication is not in question.
He sighs and leans back against the table. "You don't need to remind me that the work has been done, I know it has, but that's not the issue here and you know it. We've just spent an hour of each of those people's time discussing your project—without you."
"Why don't you set an alarm?" he asks, like it is the simplest solution in the world.
"I don't understand."
"Nor do I."
The ironic thing is that this statement is the truth. I'm not trying to be a smart-ass; I truly don't understand, and that's the problem. I don't understand why my life's in the turmoil that it's in. I don't understand why my body chooses to do this to me.
His stare meets mine. "I'm not sure how much longer I can carry you on this."
I'm surprised by his resigned tone—and his deep sigh.
"Surely we can change the meeting time." I state emphatically. "Or you can be more forgiving if I'm a few minutes late."
"But you weren't a few minutes late." He taps his wrist reminding me of the time.
"It was only a few minutes when I got here." I don't stand down; our eyes are locked. "Three to be exact."
"So why are we having this conversation now. Why in the hell didn't you come in to the meeting?"
I just stare, refusing to answer his ridiculous question. How quickly he forgets.
"So?" he prompts incredulously.
"Are you kidding me?"
I narrow my eyes, holding his gaze. I can't believe he has forgotten the last time I was late. Or maybe he hasn't forgotten at all, maybe he just chooses to ignore it. I certainly remember; I doubt I'll ever forget.
It seems like minutes but I know it's just moments when he finally breaks the silence. "Am I kidding you?" He throws the question back at me. "As you are well aware, I rarely joke."
"Isn't that the truth," I mumble under my breath, quickly realizing his brief show of compassion from before is now long gone.
The words stop as quickly as they began.
Shaking his head, he moves to sit down.
My doubts and nervousness from earlier are gone, replaced by a new resolve.
If I shirked my responsibilities I might understand—but I don't—I work long, hard hours. I complete all my work. He refuses to be accommodating, not wanting to hear my reasons or consider solutions.
We have reached an impasse.
I decide to remind him that he can make my life as difficult as he wants, but the final decision won't be his to make.
That in itself is an issue.
"Why won't you work with me on this?" We are now seated across from each other; our gazes again locked as I ask the question.
"You think I'm being difficult?"
"Because I expect punctuality from my staff?"
"No." I shake my head. "Because you know the circumstances here and refuse to accommodate them."
"I don't treat my other staff any differently."
"No. No, you don't. If indifference was the issue then I would agree with you, but do any of your other staff have my problem?"
He doesn't answer; it would be unethical for him to do so.
Not that it matters, because I know the other members of my team, and none of them have my problem. I decide to answer my own question. "I know they don't."
"And your point is?"
I take a long deep breath. I feel like we're going around in circles here; I decide to change tack.
"Why are you so reticent about this. Is it because I have the support of higher management than you, or is it because of something else?"
I see a change in his demeanor. He does have a problem with me—I wonder what it is.
"Well, if I'm honest, I'd prefer for us to be able to work this out between us and not have relentless pressure put on me from above by your cousin." He tips his head as he looks at me; his expression reads like an open book. "I don't like my authority, and my team, being undermined."
For the first time, I begin to understand how he must feel. I've been so focused on feeling sorry for myself and being frustrated with him that I've failed to realize the far-reaching effects of my problem.
This really isn't just all about me.
He's frustrated. I would be too if the circumstances were reversed.
Why didn't I see this before?
"I don't want special treatment, just fairness. I don't feel that's what I get."
"How can we solve this?"
"Could we start by having an afternoon rather than a morning meeting?" I look at him cautiously.
"That's certainly a possibility."
"As long as I'm achieving everything I need to achieve, can you accept that there are mornings I'm going to be late? Unfortunately, it's unavoidable."
"This is where the problem lies. I still don't understand." His tone has changed. "Explain it to me."
"I'll try," I say with all sincerity. I hardly understand myself sometimes—not sure I'll be able to adequately explain it to someone else.
I take a deep breath, trying to sort my thoughts before I start. He's watching me expectantly, his long legs stretched before him, his look, pensive.
I'm just about to begin, when there is a knock at the door and his assistant, Alice, enters.
"Sorry to interrupt, Mr.—"
He cuts her off before she has a chance to continue. "It's okay, Alice. That meeting—I'd forgotten. I'll go up now."
He looks to me. "Sorry."
"I really need to get to my meeting; it's with your cousin actually," he mentions, "but I'd like to continue this conversation, soon."
"Okay." I stand and move toward his desk, placing my presentation there. "I hope this is what you were after. Just give me a yell if you need to discuss it before the team gets together again."
He's distracted, readying himself, but he nods and I leave.
"Well, you're not dead, so I assume that wasn't too bad." Emmett's siting at my desk when I get back—his brow's raised.
I laugh. "No, it wasn't—this time."
"So what happened?" Emmett asks. I don't need to fill him in on too many details; we've been best friends for years. He knows all about my problem.
"Not a great deal, really. He seems… I'd go as far as to say 'open' to some possibilities for change. Apart from a snide remark when I first walked into the room, he was actually quite civil." Emmett raises his brow at me in a surprised stare. "I may have Rose to thank for some of that. I think she was placating him before I walked in."
"That's my girl." He smiles.
"Yep, we're both lucky to have her," I affirm. Emmett nods his agreement.
"You weren't in there long."
"No. He has a meeting." I point up, and he nods.
"So? Did you finish what you needed to talk to him about or not?"
"Not. He wants me to explain my situation to him, so that he'll 'understand'."
He chuckles at that. "I wouldn't mind being a fly on the wall when you have that conversation."
I roll my eyes. "I wish I could be on that wall with you. At least then it would be someone else telling the story."
I'm lying on my bed; darkness surrounds me.
My mind is racing with a cacophony of thoughts. None of them are focused enough to become a solution. They just twist and turn, jump and spin.
My body is tired. I can feel the weariness in my limbs. It wants to sleep, but my mind fights with it every step of the way.
I roll over—yet again—and look at the clock. I know I shouldn't. It doesn't help; it just makes me more anxious.
It's only twelve minutes since the last time I looked.
It feels like hours.
Damn! I am so late. Fuck!
The repetitive blast of sound from the alarm's snooze function finally awakens me to consciousness.
I look at the time—7:45—I've slept through the alarm again.
I jump out of bed and rush straight to the bathroom, pulling my pajamas off as I run and discarding them on the ground. There's no time for a shower. I barely have time to brush my teeth and comb my hair. If there's one saving grace, it's my anticipation of this moment, and my preparation the night before for this exact scenario—thank god!
There's no way I can make the 8:00 train. I'll just have to try for the 8:15.
And there's no way I'll make it to the office by 8:30.
I may have taken steps forward with him yesterday, but today I'm running backward—fast.
How can I expect him to take me seriously if I can't even organize myself to be there on time on the very next day after we've spoken?
I run my fingers over my stubble, contemplating the best way to approach him. I should take the first step today and try and make this right.
Alice's eyes follow me as I walk up to her desk. "Is he in?"
"No, actually. He has a meeting across town this morning. He should be back just before lunch."
I can't help the deep relieved sigh that escapes my lips at her words. I've dodged a bullet.
As much as I'd like to pretend like this morning never happened, this is the perfect opportunity to help my own cause.
"Alice, could you please call upstairs and see if Esme is available?"
"Sure. I'll try now."
I wait as she chats animatedly with Esme's assistant.
"You can go up."
I enter the plush office on the top floor of the building.
"Hi there, gorgeous," she says as I walk in, standing and coming toward me.
"Hi, Es. Thanks for seeing me at such short notice."
"You know I'm always here for you."
"I know you are." I smile and walk into her arms when she holds them out to me. "I know I can always count on you, Es."
"Yes, you can. Always." She looks at me questioningly. "What's this about?"
I breathe deeply. "I think I need for you to be 'less' there for me."
"Oh… I see."
"Can I ask what has brought this on?" She moves away and walks over to the white leather sofa in the corner of the room, sitting down and patting the seat next to her. I sit and she takes my hand, grasping it tightly.
"I need to work this out by myself with him," I tell her. She doesn't need more explanation than that; she also knows the situation.
"I understand, I do, but our relationship is what it is and I don't mind helping. I wouldn't do it if I didn't think you were worth it—personally and professionally."
"Put yourself in his position, Es. If you were there, where he is, suffering my idiosyncrasies on an ongoing basis, how would you deal with it?" She begins to answer but I stop her. "And, remember in this "scenario", you don't know me."
"Okay, I know what you're saying. If truth be told I'd be coming down hard on you too."
"Now add an overzealous person from upper management to the scenario who's trying to usurp your authority."
"Yes, I know, but—"
"Okay. I'll lay off." I smile at her acquiesce. "Problem is: I do know you."
Two hours later, I'm sitting at my desk when he returns to the building.
I'm surprised to be met with a smile rather than a scowl when he walks past my desk. He doesn't say a word and I'm left gawping at his back as he enters his office. Luckily, I'm sitting down, because I'm quite overcome by the change in his attitude.
I can't help but rack my brain at this sudden change. What the hell has happened? Surely, Esme hasn't spoken to him—not that I think she'd planned to anyway.
Maybe, it's just a freak good mood?
The day continues and I don't see him again until late in the afternoon. He comes out of his office and stands talking animatedly with Alice for a while.
I discreetly watch their interaction and realize something. He seems perfectly happy to chat and laugh with her, and I don't know if it has always been that way or if it is just a bi-product of his good mood.
My mind scans recent interactions he's had with most of the people in our team, and in our department, and I'm alarmed when it hits me.
It really is only me.
I have totally been a pain in his ass and I begin to understand.
I understand why he's had so little patience with me. I understand why he's been so ready to shoot me down at every opportunity that's arisen. I understand that my relationship with the power's that be, has put added strain on us being able to resolve this problem.
I understand that I have been a completely narcissistic prick.
As I'm processing all of these 'understandings', I don't notice someone's standing directly in front of me until I hear a cough.
"We need to talk."
I sit down across from him at his desk. He smiles before standing again and offering me a drink, 'considering it's the end of the day anyway'.
"That would be great. Thanks."
"Whiskey?" he asks, holding up a bottle.
"Okay?" I'm hesitant. "If you think it's not too early."
"It's not too early for me, and I don't think it's too early for what we need to talk about." He smiles. "It might be just what you need."
"Maybe it is?" I joke and it earns me a laugh.
"I had a talk with Esme about you."
"Did you now?"
"I'm sure she didn't enlighten you with anything you haven't heard before," I say.
"No. But it did remind me that it's been very hard going for you recently."
"So things haven't improved at all?" I can see the concern in his blue eyes.
"Not much, no."
"Still struggling with sleeping?"
He lifts his glass to his lips and takes a few mouthfuls of the amber liquid he's holding. I mirror him, feeling the heady burn as the alcohol runs down my throat, and I can't help but wonder if it will help me sleep tonight?
Then I shake my head and laugh to myself. If it were that easy, I'd have been fixed years ago.
"I take it from that reaction that the whiskey won't be helpful later?"
"Only if I write myself off, and I really have no intention of doing that." I shrug. "That only brings added complications I definitely don't need."
"I take it that you've already tried obliteration as a solution."
"Desperate times lead to desperate measures."
Of course I've tried drinking myself into slumber. The resultant hangover and restless sleep has in no way ever been better than the problem.
I've also tried drugs—both legal and illegal—meditation, hypnotherapy, and acupuncture. All to no avail.
Exercise before bed only works to pump me up, not tire me out, so I know from experience that it's not the easy fix.
I eat a regimented diet, ensuring certain things don't pass my lips after 5pm, and alcohol, of course, is kept to a minimum.
Only one thing's ever helped, but that's not a possibility right now.
"So what do you see as the solution here?" He takes another mouthful of his drink. "Tell me."
And I do, for the next hour.
I return to my desk, confident that I now have the opportunity to move forward, at least in a professional sense.
The office is quiet. Everyone on this floor seems to have gone home.
I know Carlisle has gone, because he left for the elevator with Esme.
I sit and close my eyes as I take a moment to mentally organize myself. I have a presentation due tomorrow—the one I spent most of last night and this afternoon working on—and all's good there.
I'm pulled out of my ponderings by a noise behind me and turn quickly.
I'm surprised he's still here; I thought everyone had gone. His door is closed so I turn back to my desk, listening for sounds from his office.
I feel nervous for some reason and I'm not sure whether it's from the whiskey or because I know I should use this opportunity to speak with him.
The decision is made for me when only moments later he opens his door and walks through.
"Oh, hi." He's obviously startled. "I thought everyone had gone home."
"Yeah, so did I."
"Why are you still here?"
"I've been imbibing with Carlisle."
"Oh." He nods.
"Alice said you left with him." I'm not sure if he's angry that I didn't get his permission or not.
"Sorry, I should've said something. It's just that he came to my desk, and I didn't think I'd be lo—"
He interrupts. "That's fine, don't worry about it. It's not like he needs my permission to meet with any of his employees."
I sense he's still frustrated and try to redirect the conversation. "Are you leaving now?"
"Yeah, I'm starving. I'm gonna grab some food." He narrows his eyes in contemplation then asks, "Would you like to join me?"
You could knock me over with a feather, and unsure of how to reply I stammer, "Ummm… Yeah… Sure…"
"Sorry, forget it." He hastily tries to backpedal. "You're probably busy. I shouldn't have assumed—"
I can see how uncomfortable he is and decide I don't want him to be. "No. You just took me by surprise."
"I thought it might give us a chance to finish yesterday's conversation in a more neutral setting."
"You want to finish it?"
"Yeah," he nods his head, "I do."
"Didn't Carlisle discuss me with you yesterday?" I'd learned this earlier.
He smiles. "Yes."
If he's willing to make an effort, then I suppose I should too.
"Okay, I'm in. Where are we going?"
He laughs. "Not that I want to make the decisions out of the office as well, but I was thinking of Jake's."
"Sounds perfect. Great food, cold beer, and it's only a block away. Let's go."
We walk the short distance, making small talk along the way, and I'm surprised to find that he's very easy to chat with.
When we arrive we're seated quickly and it's not long before a flirty, but very pretty, brunette waitress takes our order.
The waitress returns and again fawns all over him. He doesn't seem to be interested but that doesn't stop her. When she leans over the table to reach for the already full ketchup bottle, I can't help but snicker when she pushes her enhanced cleavage right under his nose. His body physically reacts, but not in the positive way she might have been hoping for, instead he shrinks back and away from her. He looks toward her chest, but not at her breasts; his eyes zone in on the name badge on her blouse.
"That will be all thanks, Bella."
"She's not your type?" I can't resist asking the question, although it's obvious she isn't.
"Very pretty girl… and obviously very into you."
"That may be the case, but she's… let's just say, 'lacking something'." He lifts his beer and has a long drink.
Interesting? I try to remember whether he's married and look at his hand. There's no ring. A girlfriend? He came alone to the Christmas party. A boyfriend? That makes me smile, but it makes me realize how little I know about him on a personal level. How little I've cared to learn about him.
I study his face.
I'd guess he's a few years older than me. He's definitely attractive—gorgeous even. I've always realized this—it would be hard not to notice—but I've been so caught up in being angry with him that I haven't allowed myself to appreciate his 'assets'.
His vibrant eyes seem to pierce through me as he studies me back.
We talk fervently about the things we find we have in common, but as the hours pass, I realize we haven't yet discussed my tardiness.
Maybe it's best to build this relationship; then the rest might fix itself.
We laugh over some humorous anecdote of his that he remembers from a college frat party. He's hilarious and I find myself almost in tears. I don't feel anger toward him anymore; in fact, I believe we could be friends.
Our conversation moves from general—where we went to school, and whether we prefer dogs to cats—to more personal. He asks how long I've struggled with sleeping, and I tell him it's been years.
He surprises the hell out of me when he says, "It must be hard for your partner to have to live with it as well."
"My partner!" I blurt out, shocked at his statement.
He looks confused. "I'm sorry. I was under the impression you didn't live alone."
"Why would you think that?" I shake my head and narrow my eyes as I contemplate his assumption.
"Honestly, I don't know." His face reddens with his embarrassment, and rather than angering me, I find it endearing. "I obviously misinterpreted something I heard."
"It's okay, honestly. Don't worry about it." I smile hoping to ease his mood and create some calm. "I'm certainly not."
"Thanks. I just feel a bit stupid." He laughs now. "So, you're single?"
Again I'm not bothered by his candor, which is strange, because I usually get annoyed when someone pries into my personal life.
"I am." His eyebrows rise and he nods in response. "How about you, anyone special in your life?" I ask, lifting my glass and finishing my beer.
He's about to respond when Bella returns. Ignoring him, she flirts blatantly with me this time. "Can I get you anything else tonight?" She bats her eyelids and smiles lecherously. I know if I could hear her thoughts I'd want to throw up in my mouth. The woman has no shame.
I look to him, effectively ignoring her, and ask, "Should we have another drink?"
He looks at his watch and then back to me. "I'm game if you are."
"Sure." I find myself reluctantly dragging my gaze back to her. "Two more of the same thanks." She huffs and walks away, mumbling something. I look back to him. "So, you were about to say."
He chuckles. "I didn't think you'd let that slip."
"Definitely not." I hold his gaze. "You certainly know more about me than I know about you."
"That is my job."
"We're not at work now. Spill."
He smiles a sexy lopsided grin. "I am without a doubt, single."
For some inexplicable reason this makes me extremely happy and I reply, "You just haven't found her yet?"
He smirks at my words. "Oh, I definitely haven't found her."
The inflection he uses on the feminine pronoun isn't missed, and I counter quickly, "Him?"
"No, not yet." I swallow the lump that has formed in my throat and struggle to find a reply. It doesn't matter when he adds, "But I'm always looking."
He picks up his glass and finishes his drink; his eyes not once leaving mine.
Bella returns with our drinks and places them on the table. She has one last attempt at flirting; first with me and then with him.
I'm just swallowing my first mouthful of the cold beer when he says to her, "Sweetheart, you're wasting your time."
"What do you mean gorgeous?" she asks, shimmying her shoulders again.
"You know exactly what I mean, Bella." His direct stare is menacing. "We bat for the other team."
I actually spit out my drink at his words. Luckily, I have only just started my second mouthful and am able to turn my head away.
This time her words are clear as she walks away. "It's always the freaking hot ones."
I chuckle at her indignation and look across the table. "Ouch!"
He laughs heartily this time. "She was annoying me," his laughter stops, "and I've had just enough beer to not give a fuck."
Who is this man? He in no way resembles my boss and I just stare at him as I consider my next words. "I think I like your alter ego."
"Well, I definitely like yours."
The intention of his words is unmistakable and I'm sure I blush at hearing them.
He quickly changes the conversation; obviously deciding that now is the time to discuss what we came here for. "As you know, when I had to leave in the middle of our chat yesterday, it was for a meeting with your cousin."
"Hmmm." I nod.
"You were part of that discussion."
"Yes, he mentioned that this afternoon when I was in his office."
"He didn't fill me in on your personal details, but he did ask that I look at our… situation, objectively."
"Weren't you being objective before?" I can't resist teasing, but there is no fire in my tone.
"No, I don't think I was."
"If I'm honest, it grated on me that I had the boss's cousin in my team, and because of this, I felt pressure to make exception for something I wouldn't tolerate in anyone else."
"But that's not really fair. You didn't discuss it with me you just—"
"I know," he interrupts. I can tell by his expression that he is genuinely apologetic. "I didn't deal with it well. In saying that, you didn't come to me to explain that there would be issues related to your sleeping that would impact our team."
I can't help but smile at his use of 'our', and it reminds me that we are a team and I've been a very selfish player in it, more concerned with 'woe-is-mes' than finding solutions.
"I have to confess something." He lifts his glass again and nods for me to continue. "I was late this morning."
"Always. She is very loyal."
I chortle at that. "Well, I have one of those too, and I've asked her to rein in the hounds."
"Carlisle may have been one step ahead of you there. His wife is definitely a dynamo."
We decide to make some adjustments and take each day as it comes. With better planning and improved communication we both feel we'll be able to be productive again. It seems so easy and I shake my head at the realization that this could have been the way from the beginning if only we'd been more open with each other.
"Now that we've got that sorted, where were we?" His stare is piercing and I am drawn into it.
I feel bolder than I have in a very long time and reply, "Where would you like for us to be?"
He doesn't answer immediately; he just studies me. I can tell he's choosing his words carefully. When he finally speaks he's hesitant.
"I'm feeling very confident right now, but regardless, I'm not sure I should answer that question."
I understand where he's going with this. The tension is thick between us—you could cut it with a knife. We're about to cross a line—one we can't redraw—and I appreciate the important decision he's trying to make.
We've gone from absolute disdain to complete visceral attraction very quickly. If we move forward we'll be explosive, but at what cost?
"I want whatever this is." He gestures with his hand between us. "More than I've wanted anything for a very long time."
He's so intense, and I feel drawn to him. I understand exactly what he's saying because I want it—no, him—too, but I realize the risks.
"I think we need to take a step back."
As much as it pains me to agree, I do. "Yes," I reply.
"If we feel the same, after we've had time to think and without the influence of alcohol, then maybe we could see what happens." His beautiful smile is hopeful.
There's nothing left to be said tonight. He beckons Bella over and settles the check.
We walk out of the bar, but before we leave the entry he turns to me and cages me against the wall with his arms. "Don't think that because we're leaving here separately now that I don't want you." His gaze burns into mine and then he leans into me and kisses me full on the lips. His body is so close and I can feel his arousal hard against me.
I watch, breathless, as he jumps into a taxi, and then he is gone.
I know I have a stupid grin on my face but I can't help it. He has me mesmerized. I also can't help the hand that strokes my cock in the shower when I get home. I've been hard for the last three hours and know if there is any chance of sleep tonight I need to find some relief.
I do. To images of his hair and his eyes and his gorgeous mouth. And when I come hard against the tile, it is his name I cry out.
I look at the clock as I fall into bed—12:15.
The sound of the alarm wakes me from a pleasant dream where vibrant eyes stare into my own and luscious lips kiss along the hollow of my throat.
As I'm about to leap out of bed to start my morning routine of madness, I look to the clock and gasp when I read the display. It's 7:00 and the alarm has woken me at the time it was supposed to. I feel rested and relaxed and realize I've slept since not long after I got into bed.
I fall back against my pillow and take a deep breath.
It takes a few minutes for the fact that I have just had close to seven hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep to sink in. It's been such a damn long time since it's happened; maybe I'm still dreaming?
My mind replays the events of last night and I can't help but smile. I reach up and run a finger along my bottom lip; I can still feel his lips against mine and my dick rises to the memory.
I have some time to spare so I grasp myself again, continuing last night's fantasy and the possibility of what's to come.
When I walk in ten minutes early, I don't miss the surprised stares from the likes of Mike and Tyler. Not that I blame them. Early is not a word that usually equates with me.
I sit at my desk, coffee in hand, just as I hear his voice greet Jessica, the receptionist. I want to look around and find him, but I hold back, knowing that now is not the time. My heart beats a rapid tattoo and I pray that my fantasies from the night before are not one-sided.
He walks past, our eyes meet, and he smiles.
The hours pass slowly. I can't concentrate and I seek him out at every opportunity. We haven't spoken today, yet I'm aware of his every move.
I feel his distance when he leaves for a meeting, and I sense his proximity nearly an hour later when he returns.
I'm enamored by his easy rapport with the others in our team, but I'm not envious. I've been privy to this side of him now and I crave more.
No one questions me working as they say good night. It's only the knowing look I get from Alice that causes me pause.
She knows something, I think after she leaves the room. I wonder what he might have told her, or maybe he didn't tell her anything at all. She's always been very perceptive. If that look was purely because of her observations, then I'll have to be more careful. I know I've been distracted today, but I can't have people jumping to conclusions.
"What are you musing over today?" I hear the question and look up at the inquisitive voice. I smile when I see not one, but two happy faces looking down at me.
"Did you come to say goodbye?"
"We did," Esme answers, turning and smiling at her husband, who smiles lovingly back at her.
"The car is out front, but we wanted to see you before we left," Carlisle says.
"You didn't have to do that, but thanks. You guys are too good to me," I answer, touched that they'd think of me on the eve of such a momentous occasion.
"We love you, sweetie." Esme moves close and kisses my forehead and then whispers, "And I wanted to check that you'll be okay with…" she nods her head toward his door, "…in charge."
If only she knew.
"Esme," Carlisle chastises softly.
"It will be fine, Es," I tell her. "We spoke yesterday, and I think we've come to an… understanding."
"Just make sure you remind him that I—"
I quickly interrupt. "That won't be necessary." I look between her and her husband. "Now go, enjoy your special holiday." I stand and move between them, placing an arm around each of their waists, and usher them into the elevator. "I love you but I don't want to hear a thing from you for two weeks."
I reach in, press the button for their floor, and wave goodbye.
"I was hoping they'd hurry up and go," he says from behind me as I stand and watch the closed doors for a moment. My breath hitches at the sound of his voice. This is the first time I've heard it directed at me today, and my heart pounds at its sexy tenor.
I want to turn and look at him, but I'm nervous to do so. What will he see in my eyes? Will he see the passion I feel for him at this moment? Will he see the desire I've felt for him all day? Will he care?
"This room has eyes," he reminds me. "I'm going back into my office now." His steps retreat; his voice is low, projected away from me, when he adds, "I'll be waiting for you."
I move back to my desk and sit, wanting to collect my thoughts before I even consider going in there.
I can visualize him: jacket removed and draped over his chair; tie loosened, but still around his neck; the top button of his shirt undone, exposing the long neck that I want to lick.
Taking a deep breath, I push my chair back and stand.
I've no sooner stepped through his door, than I am pushed back against the wall. His lips are immediately on mine, punishing in their assault, but I give back as good as I get until we are breathless and panting, gasping for much needed air as we rest our foreheads together.
His hands support his weight against the wall, and mine move into his hair, gripping it tightly, anchoring him to me.
I want there to be no space. I want to feel every inch of him against me. He must feel the same because his body moves toward mine.
"I want you so bad," he murmurs. "You're all I've thought about all day."
His words make me bold and I use my grip on his head to angle him and I take control this time. I force my tongue into his mouth, demanding in my need to possess him, to have him possess me.
He counters perfectly. We are in sync, like we've done this a million times before. His taste is a drug, the perfect aphrodisiac. I can't get enough. I could kiss him all night—just like this—but I need more.
It seems he does too.
Adjusting his stance, he straightens. His hands move from the wall to my neck and he watches me intently as he undoes my tie, letting the ends hang over my shoulders. Then he moves to my chest, where he starts to undo my buttons.
My breathing is ragged. His movements are too much but not enough. He is torturously slow—or is it just that I am so eager?
I am hard in my pants, but he knows this; he is standing pressed up against me.
"I take this to mean that we've both thought about it."
"Oh, yes. Definitely."
My buttons are all undone now and my shirt is pushed open. His lips blaze a hot trail over my skin, igniting the fire that burns inside me. His hands, now free to work on something else, move to my pants, unclasping the fastener and opening the zip.
My moan of pleasure when his hand ghosts over my erection causes him to glance up at me, but he doesn't stop. He leans in to kiss me again, and as he does I feel the tips of his fingers as they move along the waistband of my briefs, teasing me mercilessly.
He leans back and looks at me intently. "I wasn't quite truthful earlier."
His statement confuses me. His words belie the emotion of the moment, but his actions—his proximity and his hands—say more. "You weren't?"
"No." His smile's beguiling. "I said I'd thought of you all day, but that isn't exactly the truth."
"It isn't?" My heart skips a beat at his words.
"The truth is that I've thought of you every," he kisses my neck, "single," sucks on my collarbone, "minute," and pushes his hand below the band of my briefs, "since I left you last night."
His hand pushes down; his knuckles caress the skin of my abdomen, causing the pads of his fingers to graze my erection. When his thumb rubs across the top of my glans, dipping into the moisture leaking from my slit, I gulp in air.
"You want me," he affirms.
"God, yes," I pant out.
"And you're going to have me," his thumb continues to rub slow, maddening passes over my sensitive skin, "but first, there's something I need to do." He moves his hand, dragging his expert fingers slowly up my torso, before sucking his thumb into his mouth.
Him tasting me like that is the hottest thing I have ever seen. He kisses me then, pushing his tongue into my mouth. I can taste my flavor, it's faint but there, and it's not enough. Nothing is enough with him.
My hands, which since falling from his hair have been useless at my sides, reach around to his clothing to start to remove it.
"No." His eyes are intent and commanding and I do pause, waiting for I'm not sure what. "I haven't finished with you yet."
"What more did you have in mind?"
He drops to his knees.
When the moist heat of his mouth suddenly engulfs me, I nearly come from that one movement alone. The anticipation of the last twenty-four hours has been the most intense foreplay imaginable and I'm teetering so close to the edge. I don't want to embarrass myself with my eagerness but at the same time I couldn't care less. I want him to know what he is doing to me—understand it.
When he looks up at me, submissive from his vantage point on the floor, yet clearly the dominant one here, I am done for.
He swallows everything I give.
I'm unable to move, exhausted from the ferocity of my release, and luxuriating in the sensations of his lips placing light kisses across my stomach. When his hands move to lift my briefs and re-fasten my pants, I halt him. Threading my fingers into his locks and tilting his head to look at me.
"I think you're going in the wrong direction. Shouldn't they be coming all the way off?"
He smiles, and I melt a little at the image.
"As much as I want you naked now, this isn't the place for more." He stands. "Come home with me?"
I know he's right—this isn't the place for more—and I get excited at the prospect of what we can do in a more intimate setting.
"Yes," I answer.
Now that he is eye-level with me, I kiss him again. This time my taste is strong in his mouth and I nearly drown in the memory of what he was doing to me only moments before. I want so badly to reciprocate, to taste him.
My hands move down his body and grip onto his taut round cheeks. I pull him closer, instantly reminded that he is incredibly aroused.
"Let's not waste any time, lead the way." My voice is gravelly with need as I straighten my clothes, watching intently as he does the same.
We hastily make our way out front to the car and driver that wait—a perk of his temporary position. I see the questioning look pass over Paul's features, but he is professional enough to not make comment of why I am here as well.
"Good evening, gents, where am I taking you tonight?" He opens the door. "Shall I drop you off first, Mr. Cullen, your house is closer, or you, Mr. Whitlock?"
"Actually Paul, we'll both be going to my house thanks," he says. His voice is so sure and confident, leaving no room for query.
We climb in and the door is closed behind us; I can't help but notice that the privacy screen has been raised.
"Well, that was interesting. I'm sure he has a million questions running through his head at the moment."
"I'm sure he does. Aren't we lucky he is faultlessly discreet?"
"We certainly are."
I feel the car begin to move forward and turn, dropping to my knees on the floor between his legs.
Sated, he watches me intently as I do up his trousers, just as we feel the car pull to a stop at his house. I steal a kiss and then sit back into my seat—my timing perfect—only seconds before Paul opens the door for us.
"Here we are. Would you like me to wait for you, Sir," he asks looking at me.
"No thanks, Paul. I'll organize my own way home. We have a lot to do tonight." I may be mistaken, but I'm certain he knows exactly what will be going on here tonight.
"Certainly, Sir. Goodnight."
I watch the car drive away, and as soon as its lights are out of sight I round on him, pushing my free hand into his hair and clasping it tightly as my mouth meets his. We stand there on his driveway, with only the starry night sky to light us as we kiss, and then I am walking him backward toward his front door. When we reach it, I mirror his earlier movement and cage him against it. It's my turn now to show him how much I want him. My endeavors in the car were just the start.
Briefcases and coats find their way to the ground, freeing our hands and allowing us full access to each other. Fortunately, his doorway is private, and when I rip the buttons off his shirt in an attempt to get it open, no one would be the wiser.
The exposed skin of his neck and chest is mine for the taking, and my hungry lips trace frantic patterns all over it.
His accompanying moans of pleasure spur me on, exciting me into frenzy. I want him naked, here and now, and would do it if not for his words.
"Hurry," I demand as he reaches into his pocket, searching for his keys. I haven't let up my attack and he fumbles, once… twice… before he is able to successfully get the key into the lock and open the door.
We practically fall through as the door crashes open, bouncing off the wall behind it. The noise is huge in the stillness of the night, matched only by our groans and sighs, and I laugh at the absurdness of the image we must portray.
His amused eyes meet mine before he reaches out, grabs my tie, and pulls me inside.
"Oh, crap," he proclaims, kissing my lips before rushing back outside, returning only moments later with both our briefcases and coats. They don't stay in his hands for long, because as soon as he has cleared the doorway he puts them down and kicks the door closed behind him.
I take the brief reprieve to catch my breath, but it is fleeting because he is back and in front of me in mere moments.
"I want you so damned bad," he says as I rip at his shirt, trying to remove it entirely as he does the same to mine.
"Nearly as much as I want you, I'm sure," I tease as I attach my lips to his long neck just under his ear, brushing a few soft and errant strands out of the way, before making a line of sucking kisses to his Adam's apple, where I bite gently.
"Is it a competition?" he pants. His question causes his throat to vibrate under my lips, turning me on even more—if that's even possible.
I pull back and look into his eyes. His stare is intense with a fire that burns only for me.
"Only if we both win."
I have no doubt that we're both going to win here tonight.
In fact, if how I feel now is any indication of how I'll feel later, or even tomorrow morning—supposing everything goes just the way I hope it will—then we've already won.
That small moment of reflection has given him the upper hand, and I start when I hear the rip of fabric and then the ping of buttons as they bounce across the tile floor of his entry.
I only care for a moment though, because when his mouth closes over my nipple, nothing else matters.
"Uhhhn," I can't help but moan as a hand mirrors his mouth, flicking a thumb across one peaked nub as he licks and sucks on the other.
"Can't... wait... any... longer..." His words alternate with his kisses as he pays equal attention to both sides of my chest.
I reach up, sliding my hands under the shoulders of his shirt, pushing it off his body.
One minute we're torn shirts and desperate hands; the next we're standing there, facing each other—naked.
My eyes rake his body. If I have ever seen perfection, then this is it.
He is it.
He is beautifully proportioned, with long lean muscle defining his slightly taller than my physique. And even though I have had it in my mouth, felt it in my hands, his cock… Jesus. His cock deserves its own altar.
I need more of it… Now!
Our hungry bodies move together again. The feel of his hard torso and even harder cock pushing against me, spurs me on. He's not the only one who can't wait any longer.
"Bedroom. Now," I demand.
He pauses, a brazen yet amused look on his face. "I wouldn't have taken you for being so… vanilla."
He spins me around and I find myself flush to the wall again. This time though, it's my chest pushed hard against it as his body shadows mine from behind.
He holds my arms diagonally up and my hands palm-flat against the deep burgundy colored walls, our fingers entwined. I can just picture the contrast in our tones with the deep hued wall—red and blond: a perfect juxtaposition.
His mouth, which hasn't stopped its assault, abuses the back of my neck and shoulders. Lips that are rough and teeth that nip catapult me into the most delirious of pleasures.
As his length pushes between the cheeks of my ass and his mouth continues its wet attack, my body reacts, pushing back into him. His hands hold me tight, but still I move, still he moves.
"More," I moan.
"Here? In my entry?" he teases, bringing his face close to my ear.
"God, yes." I don't care where we are; I just want more—so much more.
He nips at my earlobe then whispers, "Stay here. Do not move an inch."
And then he's gone. I hear him run up the stairs, but I don't move.
Not a single inch.
He's moving quickly, because I hear his footfalls as he pounds through the house.
The word teases me as I think about it, but I don't have long to do so because he is back so fast.
"Did you miss me?" He's immediately behind me again.
"Maybe? I'm wounded." His lips begin to taunt me, moving slowly down the ridge of my spine. "I must have been doing something wrong."
"Believe me… you've… you've been doing everything right." I manage to stay coherent as I feel him kneel behind me.
"Good. I hope I can keep it up."
The double entendre isn't lost on me. "I can assure you it's… up."
He pulls my hips back and then reaches around to grasp me firmly in his hand. "Yes, you certainly are." His hand hardly moves, but the tight pressure of his grasp is fucking incredible.
His lips kiss the cheeks of my ass all over and then he starts with the nipping again. Fuck!
I hear him chuckle; did I say that aloud?
He hasn't let go of my erection; he just retains his firm hold. Then his free hand is inside my knees, edging my legs apart.
"What are you doing to me?" I moan out when his free hand grasps one cheek of my ass, squeezing it and opening me up. I don't mean this literally, I'm asking figuratively. My body is putty to him.
"Whatever you want me to do."
His mouth is on me again. Laving trails all over the sensitive skin of this most delicate of places. He has me totally distracted and I don't even realize that he has slicked his fingers until I feel one push against me—slowly but with determined pressure—and then he is inside me.
One finger, becomes two… three… It's exquisite.
Still his hand grips my length, yet it doesn't move.
He's standing again now; his body slightly off-center to mine. He uses his leg to push my knee up, bracing it between him and the wall. His chin's on my shoulder; he murmurs how hot I am, how much he wants me, as he pushes his insistent fingers in and out… in and out of my body. His words are interspersed with licks and pecks from his glorious mouth.
As he feels my body reach its crescendo, the hand on my cock moves…
"Ungh…" I keen as my orgasm rocks through me, overwhelming me with its power. His lips suck my neck, his hand pumps my dick, and his fingers fuck my ass as he coaxes every last drop of cum from my body.
"Oh my god, oh my god," I chant, unable to even calm my breathing.
"You liked that, beautiful?"
"Fuck, yes. What wasn't there to like?" Turning my head, our lips meet and he kisses me ardently.
I pull back and just look at him as my heart rate settles. "You'll wear me out."
"Oh, you'll sleep tonight. I promise."
"Interesting… That's a promise is it?" I tease as I turn my whole body to face his, grasping his remarkable face in my hands, and pulling him close. His eyes pierce into my soul and I melt a little.
"I'd hate to disappoint you, but you really are pushing for a tall order."
"I have my ways," he says, running the backs of his fingers over my chest.
I push my hips toward him, feeling the hardness that has yet to be satisfied. "Yes, I think you might. Come with me." His eyes close and he takes a deep breath.
My hand takes his and I walk, bending down quickly to pick up the supplies he got earlier. It's easy to find the lounge room, and I lead him to a large leather sofa.
"Sit," I say, and he does, but he doesn't let go of my hand and our gaze doesn't break.
"Hmm… Not so vanilla after all."
I lean over him, bracing myself on the back of the sofa and kiss him once more before kneeling in front of him for the second time tonight.
"Let me take care of this for you."
"God, yes. Please."
I lavish his cock, playing him like a concerto; bringing him to the edge over and over. His unique taste, coupled with the effect I seem to be having on him, has me hard again almost immediately.
When I remove my mouth and sheath him with a condom, he moans, but when I crawl up onto him and straddle his hips, he groans—loudly.
"You are so fucking beautiful," he tells me, pulling me tightly into his arms, and kissing me deeply.
I reach back, grasping him firmly in my hand; guiding him to where I need him to be.
I take my time easing onto his length, allowing the pleasurable pain to consume me; relishing in the intensity of the moment.
With our foreheads touching I pause as my body adjusts. And then I lead, my hands gripping his shoulders as I ride him hard, before the sensations become too much and I support myself just high enough for him to take control.
He clutches my hips; his thrusts are strong and purposeful.
"You feel so good," he moans into my ear, his breathing labored.
"So good," I return, reaching to take myself in hand as my climax approaches.
We peak together, a chorus of moans and heated words filling the room around us.
"I knew it would be good, but…"
"I know," I reply, studying his face, amazed by the expression shrouding it. It's more than just satiation.
He slips from my body. The sense of loss I immediately experience is something I don't quite understand, prompting me to crash my mouth to his. The impassioned kisses that ensue build us up faster than I could have ever imagined possible.
"Can't get enough… need more…" He struggles with the words. "Need you… God, I need you inside me."
I waste no time, hurriedly climbing off him and reaching for the lube as he turns to kneel, legs askew and arms braced on the sofa's back.
I prep us quickly, my need's as urgent as his, and it doesn't take long before he is begging me to enter him, which I do with a reverence never felt before.
He chants my name as I push into him again... and again... and again.
"Fuck, yes. Oh, … yes," I cry out as yet another intense orgasm rips through my body.
It's not the last time I scream his name tonight.
"Mornin', beautiful," I hear whispered, as I feel warm lips kissing my shoulder and soft hair tickling my skin.
As my eyes open and I awaken, my mind focusing on the images before me, I can't help but absorb the perfect picture I'm a part of.
I'm lying in a bed that isn't my own, but that doesn't matter, because for the second night in a row I've slept better than I have in months, years even, and it is because of the man behind me.
I roll over and look into his blue eyes.
"Mornin' to you, too, Jasper."
Thanks for reading.
If you enjoyed this, come and read Jasper's story in Early Bird.