I kind of forgot about this exercise. This whole releasing AMAL into the world, tossing out all of her pieces and kind of seeing where they land.
So far I have no idea where that might be. I guess that’s kind of the point of all of this, non? Figuring shit out. Or even if I don’t do that, at least editing AMAL, returning to my trio here and there, thinking on them every so often.
Anyway, the last time I posted, Andrew spied Amal at the party, came up behind her, and asked something quite dirty. Because sometimes he gets like that. And when he does, it’s all kinds of sexy.
Then again, I love Andrew. I think almost everything he does is all kinds of sexy.
CHAPTER FOUR – AMAL
Like sandpaper rubbed along a curve of wood to smooth out the creases and cracks and make everything beautiful, his voice, low and rough, curled around my throat, kissed my secret spots, and made my insides explode.
But I played it cool.
“Not that it is any of your business,” I replied with a smile. And for a second, I forgot who I was, where I was, and who I was with, and spoke in tones so low Mr. Downtown had to remain in my personal space to hear my words meant for his ears only. “But no, I have not fucked my professor.”
“Then David Andersen is a bigger idiot than I assumed,” he said with a laugh. He was pleased about something he intended to keep to himself as he continued to verbally fuck me from behind. “Because if you were in my class.”
“You are assuming he rejected me,” I interrupted as I turned his way, an eyebrow cocked in his direction, my intent to dress him down for his false impressions. My reality wholly different as I lost my breath in the face of his rugged beauty. The dark eyes, sun-kissed skin, stubble-covered jaw, full mouth. All of it, in combination on him, was too much. I gasped low as my lungs heaved, my capillaries constricted, and my breath tangled around itself in an effort to escape my parted lips.
That’s what he did to me.
“Fucking god, you are perfection,” he settled in beside me, a polite distance between us, but close enough I could feel his heat, his breath when he neared, his everything. And it was heaven. And although Jackson and I were perfect together, the closest of friends, the most intimate of lovers, something about this man, this particular man with a voice that did things to me and a smirk that made me want to kiss it right off, made me reckless and restless and yearning for wickedness I had no idea I desired.
I didn’t care about the party or who was watching us or much of anything besides him, this alluring, sensual, dirty-mouthed Mr. Downtown. He studied my parted lips and licked his own, the first time his body seemed to betray his cool exterior, then sucked in a breath and hissed, “goddamned perfection.”
“Do not try and distract me with your pretty words, mister,” I teased in an effort to diffuse some of the tension between us.
“But they elicit such sensual sounds,” he came back at me, his voice liquid sex and again my breath caught and I sighed.
“See? Just like that,” he said, and he grinned because he was so very bad and he was so very right – all of his words did things to me.
“As I was saying before you so rudely interrupted,” — although there was nothing rude about anything he did — “Professor Andersen did not reject me, mostly because I haven’t even offered myself.” And I paused and he watched my mouth and waited and good lord, he looked like a man starved. “Yet.”
He tore his gaze from my mouth and met mine and I don’t know what he saw but whatever it was, I sensed he liked it.
“Taking your time, are you?”
“I am,” I said and cocked my head to the side and smiled.
“Reeling him in?” he asked.
“Something like that,” I replied.
“Teasing him a little here and a little there,” he said as he leaned close and all of him looked delicious. And dangerous. “And then before he knows it, our studious David Andersen is little more than a raging hard on every time he contemplates anything remotely related to you.”
“And that beautiful ass.”
My cheeks heated and a sheen of sweat glistened above my upper lip as the words beautiful and ass jumped off his tongue and entered the space between us. I touched my throat and his eyes rested on my hand and suddenly every inch of my skin was aflame, so much I wondered whether in the dim light of the loft he could see the flush and feel my heat.
“Yes,” I finally gathered myself and agreed. “I like to offer a taste, some temptation tinged with a promise, to keep his mind racing and his thoughts focused on me.”
“And my beautiful ass.”
This time it was his turn to groan. I heard it and he knew I heard it.
He rubbed his jaw and his sleeve fell back to reveal intricate designs that disappeared down his arm and I found myself wanting to peel back all of his clothes and learn every line of ink on his body and just like that, I shook my head and righted myself. I had to stop this.
I was Amal Warrier Naipaul and yes, I wrote hot romance and wild sex, but that was fantasy. No where in my reality was there mention of a dashing stranger with a voice like sex coming along to flip my carefully constructed perfect existence on its head. And yet.
I glanced around the room in search of that gorgeous brown skin and deep silk voice, the pristine hair, the white teeth.
Where the fuck was he?
I turned back to Mr. Downtown even though I knew I shouldn’t. He was nothing more than six feet four inches of wiry fuckable trouble. And I watched him speak the word “breathe” and for some reason I did. I breathed and I listened and I calmed and what had been racing a million miles a minute, slowed to a more manageable pace, something I could exist within and without and feel somewhat again, myself.
“And then answer for me,” he continued and I waited and wondered, what would he do to me next. “Are you always such a control freak?”
Just like that all the sexy and lust and desire that floated in the air between us and waited for us to do something with it, all of that disappeared. Because unbeknownst to Mr. Downtown, that one phrase – control freak – irked me like no other.
“Why don’t you stop being so controlling and maybe your brother wouldn’t hate you?” Jackson tossed my way as he moved around the kitchen that day, opening cabinets looking for cumin until I finally got up, reached into the cabinet to the right of the stove, and fished out the blue topped bottle he sought. “See? Like that. I didn’t ask you to find the cumin for me,” he said as he shook his head and laughed, not amused at all. “But you just couldn’t help yourself, could you Amal?”
“I was helping you,” I explained through gritted teeth. He stopped what he was doing and shot me a look. The look. The one that told me without saying a word that I was full of shit.
“You were not. You were helping yourself maintain control of this kitchen, just like you help yourself maintain control of your brother’s life, just like you help yourself maintain control our relationship.”
“Bullshit, Jackson,” I growled. “Don’t turn my brother’s inability to make a sound decision for himself into some treatise on your feelings of emasculation because I like to make decisions for myself.”
“For yourself, Amal?!” he asked, his voice tinged with shock. “Is that what you call it? Because it’s funny how every decision you seem to make for yourself intimately affects me. You are a control freak, I don’t care what you say or how you sugarcoat it, you are and you know it.”
Jackson watched me fume that afternoon in the kitchen. He knew his words struck a sensitive chord, he intended them to. And as I seethed, he softened and his eyes that flashed so dark and angry quieted and appeared almost sad.
“Isn’t it exhausting, Amal, to always have the last word, to always be in charge?”
What Jackson didn’t know and I couldn’t bring myself to tell him, because by the time I realized it myself, it was too late, our relationship roles were set and there was no going back to redefine the parameters, was that I hated being in charge. I detested and abhorred it.
I didn’t always want to be the leader, I fought against having to take the reins on everything and from everyone. I never asked to be in charge and for real, I just wanted someone to step up and stake their claim.
Funny thing was, no one ever did.
Not my brother, or my best friend or my aunt or even Jackson.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I stared ahead and refused to meet Mr. Downtown’s gaze, my voice like ice and all of me wanting him gone.
“I think you know exactly what I’m talking about, hotness.”
“The way you’ve perfectly planned your seduction of that asshole Andersen,” he growled real low and I could tell he hated the idea of me and that professor almost as much as I hated being called controlling. “Every step of the seduction outlined and mapped, plotted and played out. You’ve left little to your imagination because it’s all been worked over a million times in your mind, so much that it’s no longer something sexy but rather another task for you to add to your list of things to do.”
I hurled daggers at him, my eyes full of silent fury, my fingertips itched to hurt him, shatter him and his bullshit truths. I didn’t even want to fuck that smug bastard Andersen, that bullshit intellectual – I was flirting for god’s sake. With him! In the goddamned bookstore. And now he wanted to use that nonsense to conduct some sort of psychoanalysis of me? Fuck that.
Jackson caught a glimpse of my fury from across the room and shot me a look as he studied Mr. Downtown. I could tell he wondered if his assistance was needed, but he was Jackson, the gentleman’s gentleman. He would wait for me to seek his help. I declined his unspoken offer with a slight nod, and he paused and watched Mr. Downtown for a beat before returning his attention to me and mouthing “I love you”. I shot him a tight-lipped smile and Jackson glanced once more at the stranger by my side, sized him up, calculated all of the hows, whys, whats and whens before he returned to his conversation, and left me to mine.
It was his chance to take control of a situation for me, step up, and handle my shit. But Jackson knew I could do it myself – of course I could, I always did – I could deal with the stunning stranger in the perfectly fitted suit and wicked gleam in his eye, the man who stood a little too close to me, spoke a little too low. I could and I would.
Oh Jackson, my soul sighed for him, for me, for us. I contemplated my beautiful partner for a few seconds more, the man I loved like a madness, the person to my person. Then collected myself, turned to Mr. Downtown and hissed, “fuck you.”
Andrew and Amal, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Of course, we’re not there yet, but it’s gonna happen, right? It has to.