I was confused.
Okay, that wasn’t entirely accurate. The word wasn’t quite strong enough to convey how fucked up I felt.
I was head-spinning, ass-backwards completely baffled. Perplexed. A plethora of synonyms. Each one ending in a giant question mark.
The last three weeks had been insanely weird. First, I drank so much that I passed out, stole a horse and was tossed in jail. That led to my father, the esteemed Benjamin Franklin Westmore Sr., deciding that if I didn’t fix my mess of a life – live the way he wanted me to live – I would be heading toward my thirties with no money, no place to live, no car and no inheritance. Part of “straightening up” involved getting married.
And that’s how I – Blayne Westmore, committed lifetime bachelor and man whore – found myself standing in my penthouse kitchen with my wife.
Livie Dusek was a breathtakingly beautiful twenty-three year-old Czech immigrant who I’d met after leaving my parents’ disastrous attempt at an arranged marriage. Through an odd set of circumstances, Livie and I had become engaged and then married within a week of her hauling my drunken ass home.
It had been set up as a business arrangement, of course. I would pay her to stay married for the three years my father insisted on and she’d added her own condition: no sex. No physical intimacy at all, actually. I hadn’t minded, though she was hot enough to make me think twice. But then good ole daddy had added a little addendum to our agreement. Monogamy. Sleeping with anyone other than Livie violated my father’s sense of propriety. In his mind, arranged marriages were okay, but fucking outside that arranged marriage was not. Stupid, I know.
Monogamy presented a whole new set of problems since Livie had been adamant about no touching outside of what was required for keeping up the ruse. No way in hell could I endure three days let alone three years of forced celibacy.
None of this was the reason for my current state, however. My latest dilemma was due to the gorgeous former model I was married to standing at the stove, looking at me as if I’d grown two heads. I’d met her last night at a club so we could talk about how we were going to deal with three years of sneaking around to have sex with other people. After we’d set up the guidelines, however, things had turned into something other than business.
To my surprise, she’d been all over me and we ended up having sex.
Here’s the thing. It wasn’t just ‘not bad but I’ve had better’ or ‘this is going to be awkward because it wasn’t that good’ sex. No, we’d had ‘come hard enough that I’d seen stars’ sex. I supposed it was possible she’d faked her orgasms, but I doubted it. I’d slept with a lot of women and it wasn’t just about the sounds. I’d felt her pussy contracting around my fingers and my cock. Possible to fake, but not something I thought she’d done. Maybe it was just the ego talking, but I was pretty sure she’d enjoyed herself as much as I had.
Again, not the confusing part. No… that had come not more than a minute ago when I’d tried to kiss her, hoping for a little early-morning action. She’d pushed me away and acted like I was infringing on her personal space. She even looked appalled. When I asked her what had changed since last night, she’d looked at me like I was crazy. I’d had to spell it out for her, and then she’d dropped the bombshell…
“…we did not have sex last night or ever.”
I stared at her. I wasn’t one for sentimentality or dwelling on the past, but the sex last night was pretty unforgettable in my opinion. So much so that I wanted more and that wasn’t normal for me. Usually, I was a one and done kind of guy; more than that made girls clingy. With Livie though, I could still see those caramel-colored curls spread out on my bedspread, her dark green eyes full of desire. I could feel her soft skin, the weight of her breasts. I could still taste her for shit’s sake.
And now she was saying we hadn’t had sex? I mean, I understood having second thoughts, morning-after regrets. That was when people had awkward conversations or snuck out for a walk of shame. Since we were married and living together, the second option wasn’t a possibility. I’d anticipated some weirdness. Maybe a conversation about how last night had been a huge mistake. How we shouldn’t do it again. That would’ve made sense and I could’ve argued against it.
I just couldn’t wrap my head around complete and total denial.
It wasn’t even like she’d said it in a tone that implied she accepted what had happened, but didn’t want to think about it or discuss it. No, this was the rebuff of the century. So much so, even my cock was embarrassed.
Maybe it was just a language barrier. That had to be it, right? Maybe she’d phrased things wrong, chosen a wrong word.
“There is extra bacon in the pan.” It took a full two minutes for the words to register. Livie had turned her attention back to the stove as if our ‘I did not have sex with that man’ conversation hadn’t happened. “You are welcome to it.”
“Liv, we need to talk about what happened last night.”
She gave me a scathing look. “It is Livie, please.”
My eyebrows shot up. “Sorry. Livie.”
She sighed and turned around to face me, the expression on her face one of patient tolerance. “I apologize. I do not usually shorten my name.”
I nodded. “I’ll try to remember that.”
I wasn’t sure why it was a big deal. People had pet names for their significant others. It was probably something we should consider since it wasn’t only my father watching to see if our marriage was a scam. The INS would be involved at some point, I was sure. Trying to get one over on them had some serious consequences, but this wasn’t the time or the place to worry about nicknames giving things away. I had something more important in mind.
“Livie, we need to talk.”
“Blayne, I do not know why you are insisting on having a discussion about a night that didn’t happen.” She put some bacon on a plate with toast. “Are you sick?” She looked at me and I shook my head. “Do you wish to know where I was and what I was doing? I do not mind sharing with you if you are concerned about appearances, though it is not terribly exciting. I was working in my room.”
She turned toward me, holding up the spatula in a way that reminded me of the cook at Dad’s house when she’d smack my knuckles for trying to steal cookie dough.
“Perhaps we should discuss boundaries regarding what we are required to share with each other. If you feel you need to know where I was, then I shall need to know where you were and who you were with.”
She walked past me without a second look. I, however, could only stare. I knew what that firm, tight ass felt like and it made me hard just looking at it. I didn’t understand why she was trying to pretend that nothing happened. Did she get a concussion from where I rammed her into the headboard a little too hard?
Still stunned, a million questions went through my head.
Had it not been good for her? Was my radar that off? I supposed it was possible. Or was it worse? Did she feel that I’d taken advantage of her? I didn’t think she’d been that drunk, but I supposed anything was possible.
Wouldn’t she have been angry at me if that had been the case? I couldn’t see Livie being the type of person to take something like that lightly. She was more of a punch-a-guy-in-the face kind of gal.
Had she been drunk? No. I was usually really good at knowing if someone was too drunk to consent. I’d had a couple clingy girls complain after a night together, but it had been obvious they’d just been after money. I’d never taken advantage of a woman, and I was certain I hadn’t done so last night.
I walked over to the stove and took her up on her offer of bacon she’d made. I hadn’t even been aware that we’d had anything here to make breakfast. My idea of home cooking consisted of reheating take-out or putting frozen meals in the microwave. I could count on one hand the number of times I’d used my oven for anything other than keeping food warm.
As I started to put together breakfast, I realized that there were groceries in the cabinets and refrigerator. Livie must’ve gone shopping yesterday before coming to the club.
I frowned as I grabbed an energy drink. I still didn’t get it. Even if she had been so drunk that she didn’t remember the two of us sleeping together, she’d remember meeting me at the club, right? Why would she want to deny that?
Everything before the kiss had followed her previous ‘rule’ about physical contact. In fact, the things we’d discussed had only set up a few guidelines about living together. I would’ve thought she’d want to remember that part, especially considering her recent parting comment about boundaries.
I sighed as I sat down at the table. I’d spent a good part of my life since I was fifteen hitting on women, charming them. I’d never had a hard time figuring out what they wanted. Most men acted like women were so complicated, but I’d never found them to be. Focus on one at a time. Or two, if they were okay with sharing. Buy them expensive drinks and occasionally offer expensive gifts. Take them to exclusive clubs and hard-to-get-into restaurants. Let the paparazzi snap a couple pictures. That’s all they wanted. Nice shit and fame.
Then there was Livie. She’d been upfront about wanting the connections I could offer as she worked on her clothes design business, but she’d made it clear that she wasn’t going to ask me to pull favors. She wanted to leverage my family name to help get a business loan, but didn’t want my help paying it back. She didn’t ask for gifts and had even been reluctant to accept the engagement and wedding rings I purchased. She hadn’t wanted to buy anything on our honeymoon either. I’d had to convince her that it would make our marriage more believable.
I didn’t get her at all.
She was kind and intelligent, but didn’t let anyone close. When she needed something, she was clear and honest about it and anything she kept to herself wasn’t used to manipulate me or anyone else. The woman didn’t have a deceitful bone in her body. Or at least I hadn’t thought so. Not until now.
Yet one more way her reaction didn’t make any sense to me.
I munched on the bacon and leaned back in my seat. Women. Go figure.