A Patient Man

a.k.a., Emmett Forrest and the Return of the Bunny Suit.


Emmett Forrest was an extremely patient and understanding man, even by his own admission. He prided himself on his gentlemanly quality and conduct. Surely, there was no better test than having to see the girl you like ogle at the kind of guy you'd been competing with for nearly your entire life to prove it. Rich, good-looking, perfectly non-chipped shoulders, with everything he could want at the tip of his fingers—oh yeah, that was Huntington the Third, all right. There were so many of him around campus, some with a friendly nod for Emmett as they headed off to class, but walking with that distinct swagger of a carefree rich boy who could never really know what it was like to struggle.

So when he met Elle, he didn't really give her a second thought, albeit admiring, for a few seconds, her very attractive physique. He was rather astonished to find her so absolutelyclueless…Well, he couldn't just let her stay that way, especially since he knew what would happen if she did from first-hand experience. Anyways, he had a strong feeling she could get back her boyfriend, prove everyone wrong, and be a star.

It came as quite a surprise, therefore, that when she began to prove him right, he felt more and more sure that he did not want her to get Warner back. Well, why should that be a surprise? he asked himself. It even surprised him how long he lasted. Their friendship had grown, and he had grown accustomed to having an extremely attractive girl for a friend. Even in their study sessions, when she would brighten and give him a radiant smile, he would think first of how beautiful she is and second of how proud he was to share this joy with her.

Hey!—stop accusing. He was a guy, too. Not like she noticed or anything. So when that comfortable friendship started making him rather uncomfortable and feeling rather funny, one had to admit that Emmett Forrest really was a good guy.

It was safe to say any other guy would have cracked, but not him. He was extremely understanding, after all, and he understood perfectly that, in the end, the perfect girl always got the perfect guy. And sure enough, Perfect was waiting for her after the trial. Emmett understood that, too.

But barely two minutes had past after he left her there alone with Warner, as he was walking down the courthouse steps, that he heard that fast clicking of her heels and felt that electric touch of her arm linking with his.

"Treat me to ice-cream," she said, easily. For that he had even bought her sprinkles on top. Patience had been rewarded.

He should have suspected something. Red flags should have gone up immediately.

He should have suspected something when Elle had told him her Delta Nu sisters were staying in the East Coast for a few days to celebrate Elle's spectacular defense. Paulette had been excited too, calling Serena, Margot, and Pilar her little "Greek Chorus"—huh?

He should have suspected something when the trio greeted him at that night's celebration with a "Hey, Emmett!"—in unison, in the freaky way only girls can—and then promptly dissolved into giggles.

Then again, on further inspection, Elle really should have suspected something. Paulette had been in on it, too.

The Greek Chorus had confidently knocked on his apartment door at eight o'clock sharp two nights later. He needed not to reiterate how scary it is to see three sorority girls grinning like the Cheshire Cat at his doorstep at night.

"Hey, Emmett," they sang in unison, again.

"Uh, hi. Uh, listen Elle's not here—"

"—We know," said Pilar, cutting him off.

"Really, sweetheart," Serena followed, "what's wrong with just us stopping by?"

By then, their grins were twice as large.

"Yeah. Besides, we know where Elle is, anyway," finished Margot. "We just wanted to give you you're present a day early!"

"My present?" He definitely didn't get them anything.

"Oh we know you didn't get us anything, hun. It's gift from us to thank you for taking care of our friendless Sister in our stead." The way Margot said that alarmed him.

"A thank-you phone call will suffice", said Margot, as she pushed past him to step inside the apartment, "Elle's got our cell."

"Anyway, we're leaving a day early," Pilar said, doing the same. "Kate, the girl who helped Elle with her LSAT, just got herself a catch! So we're throwing her a party!" she squealed in delight.

"Andrew is such a hottie," Margot agreed, "It's like brainy is the new sexy or something…Maybe I should go to med school?"

Pilar and Margot began to chatter amongst themselves and Emmett just stared, baffled. Serena sighed.

"Hey, uh, girls…Girls…Girls, shut up!"

Pilar and Margot straightened. "Whoops. Sorry."

"Thank you." Serena nodded to her friends, and then gave a sly wink to Emmett. "Your present, Mr. Forrest…"

Margot yelled from behind him, "Okay, Paulette!"

"Coming!" he heard the stylist say from down the hall, and as he heard them approach, he also heard the sound of a distinct voice quietly protest.

"Come on, Elle. You want to surprise him, don't you?" Paulette wheedled, and Emmett felt his heart leap. He turned to the girls beside him, and only Margot had an angelic look on her face, while the others tried their best to hide a wicked gleam in their eyes.

"Girls—," he started to say but stopped.

"Paulette, no," he heard Elle protest. As he turned back, he was struck speechless.

Elle. In front of his door.

As a Playboy Bunny.

Oh, shit.

Granted it was the same costume he had seen a while back, but hell—now it was all for him. It better be.

With a nudge, Paulette pushed an unsuspecting Elle into him, and as he caught her, he saw the girl turn as pink as her costume and a glazed, almost drunken look come into her eyes. He suddenly felt blood rush down his body.

Through his Elle-induced euphoria, he registered the girls give each other a high five. Out of the corner of his eye, Margot pulled a small box out of her purse and pushed it in Emmett's hands. He was still dazed and numbly held it.

"Stay safe, you two! Remember to lock the door!" He looked down at his hand. Condoms. Dear God.


Elle looked up from where her head had been buried in his shirt and pulled away. She looked absolutely adorable…and really, really sexy.

Oh, he meant really sexy, because Elle always was. He'd have to follow the pool-boy's example not to be affected, and Emmett was quite sure he couldn't magically become gay anytime ever.

"Sorry…about that," Elle was mumbling. As mortified as she was, he kind of liked her that way—rosy cheeks and all. "They like to go a bit overboard."

"You mean you've done this before?" he asked lightheartedly, and inwardly trying not to think of all the guys she must have dated. She wasn't a virgin, he knew, as she had confessed in her elation at making the internship, but the thought of her even holding hands with some jerk with a penchant for arm candy bothered him. Hell, he could easily put that in the Repulsive category right along with Callahan.

"No!" she said loudly, horrified, and it was then he noticed her eyes seemed rather glassy.

"I'm sorry," he said immediately, startled at her reaction. Emmett cursed himself. He didn't mean to imply she could be the type of girl who'd be so loose. He knew Elle was someone who was very passionate about all his or her relationships. Anyone could see her dedication from the way she would chase a guy all the way to Harvard Law. "I didn't mean to imply—"

Elle shook her head. "It's stupid," she said, "I don't even know why I'm—"

"Yeah, you do," he said, stepping up in front of her and placing a hand on her back, leading her to the couch. "Tell me why."

"I've never done this before," she said, gesturing to her body, which Emmett took a brief second to admire. "But I'm not a virgin and I…I don't want you to think that I'm a…a skank, really."

He opened his mouth to reassure her of his full support, but she continued through her sniffles.

"I'm not even sure I would have done something like this for any guy before I met you…You're not like Warner or anyone else. And I don't want you of all people thinking that I'm just…that I'm just…"

"Elle," Emmett said, handing her the box of tissues from the coffee table. "Elle."

God, was it possible to be enamored by this girl even more?

"Let me get this straight: I have in front of me a girl who went from flunking "C minus" Calahan's class to acing it in one semester; who one-upped her ex in front of the entire class; who revealed, not one, but two witnesses guilty of perjury; and who single-handedly won a very public trial involving the head of the biggest fitness empire since tai-bo—and you think I'll think you're easy because your friends dress you up in a—"

Emmett paused; he had to. In a deliciously sexy, form-fitting, pink, and—God help him—just as easily removable—Playboy bunny suit?

Gah! He couldn't find a replacement description.

He gestured to her body instead.

And Elle—dear, dear Elle!—minutely nodded, looking at him with big, wet, pleading eyes.

"You're an incredibly intelligent woman, Elle," he said simply. And beautiful. And leggy. And soft. And in a damn bunny suit.

"Really?" It was a genuine question. The things she did to him.

"Yes, really. You might be a bit clueless, though," he admitted. He took her hand and gave it a squeeze as her face fell.

"Elle," he said again, breathily. "You're amazing but I…I'm a guy, too, you know."

He left it at that and closed his eyes. Emmett Forrest was going to hell for being aroused by a crying woman. In a pink bunny suit. Okay.

But when he risked looking at Elle again, he found that simple sentence was quite disarming to her. She blinked…and slowly…slowly, looked down. At his thighs.

Damn. Damndamndamndamndamn.

The effect was profound: she grinned. Like a Cheshire Cat. And then, she inched closer.

He took a breath and exhaled slowly, meditatively.

"You're a guy, too, huh?" she asked, playfully.

And then, moving quickly, she put her hands on his shoulders and straddled him. Automatically, despite his surprise, Emmett's hands moved to her hips.

And then, she sat.

"Fuck." The expletive was soft and breathy—the gasping last words of a dying man. And damning still, Emmett—involuntarily, he swore—thrusted. And bless her, Elle's breath hitched.

"You know, Mr. Forrest, I might be clueless," she said, in a slightly less-than-composed voice, "but I'm also an extremely fast learner."

And pushing him away, Elle subjected him to further tortures of the most pleasurable kind, which were, Emmett was proud to say, repaid in kind throughout the rest of the night.

And finally, his patience had been rewarded.

At least, it was, until the morning after, and Elle "couldn't possibly wear it throughout the entire day", referring to the suit that Emmett had so intensely removed, though he had asked her to reconsider. She hadn't brought a change of clothes with her.

"I hope you don't mind if I borrow a few clothes."

She meant his old tee, and more specifically, only his old tee. Elle stretched, and it rode up; Emmett swallowed.

"Um…my underwear drawer is right below the—"

"No, thank you."

He pulled her close and kissed her roughly—touching, teasing.

Emmett Forrest was an extremely patient and understanding man, even by his own admission—outside the bedroom, at least. He had been tormented long enough.