The Pucking Wrong Guy: Chapter 9


A few days had passed since my afternoon with Ari, and we hadn’t spoken since then.

I’d realized after he’d dropped me off at my apartment…he didn’t even have my number.

Which was probably for the best.

I totally hadn’t watched his two games since then either.

Okay, that one was a lie. I had watched them, jealous the whole time that Charlotte was there cheering on Soto.

She hadn’t invited me, and that was also probably for the best. Every second I was around Ari made it harder. It was like he was my personal kryptonite and he got things out of me way too easily.

Things I’d never even told Clark. And he’d seen me at my very, very worst.

I examined myself in the mirror, my reflection an unsettling reminder of the choices I’d made. Doubt gnawed at the edges of my conscience. Clark had been my savior, my rock, the one who’d held me together when I was falling apart. He’d been there when no one else would have stuck around, and he’d saved me, literally.

My blood chilled at the memory of that one dark night.

He was flying in for the party tonight though, and I was considering it a chance for a new beginning. A fresh start, I thought, as I examined the Catwoman suit that clung to my figure. I adjusted the sleek fabric and sighed, wishing I could look in the mirror just for once, and be happy with what I saw there. I eyed the toilet, thinking of the protein shake I’d drank at lunch. Maybe…

No. I wasn’t going to go there. Plus, it would bloat my cheeks…and there would be cameras out front for sure.

I worked on applying some red lipstick and tried to push down my nerves about the upcoming night. Maybe this party would mark a turning point in our relationship, a chance to rekindle how he’d made me feel.

Doubt crept in though, and it had everything to do with Ari Lancaster. Because once you felt what it was like to burn…did you ever forget?

I was starting to think the answer was no.

Cold water. My heartbeat slowing. The world going dark…

I shook my head. Clark deserved my loyalty, my commitment. He’d been my lifeline, and I owed him everything. The pull of temptation was strong, but I had to resist. Tonight was about rekindling something real… something I couldn’t afford to lose.

The Halloween party tonight was legendary in L.A., hosted by one of the big tequila companies. It was the kind of event where everyone who was anyone would be in attendance, dropping all of their plans to play dress up for the night. My agency had managed to score invitations for a bunch of their models. Dress to impress, they’d said, and I’d done my best.

One more glance at my reflection, and then I sent off a text to Clark, just making sure one last time everything was good for tonight. He was supposed to be there as Batman. Clark was more of a Superman, lacking the dark magic of Batman, but at least we would be a matching pair.

Ari’s energy would have matched Batman though…

Shut-up, Blake, I snarled to myself.

I walked out to the living room where Charlotte was buzzing around the room with a vodka bottle in her hand. She was going as something akin to a sexy vampire, complete with dramatic makeup and a corset that left little to the imagination.

She surveyed my outfit and smacked her lips. ‘Girl, I don’t think that could get any tighter,’ she commented. There wasn’t enough inflection to know if that was a compliment…or not.

I hesitated, self-doubt settling in like an unwelcome guest. ‘Yeah, is it okay?’ I replied, my voice betraying the insecurity creeping in.

Before she could say anything either way, our conversation was cut short by a honking from outside. She screeched and held up the bottle, drops of vodka falling to the carpet.

“Let’s do this, bitch,” she cried as she threw open the front door.

I knelt down and put my forehead on Waldo’s. “Be a good boy. Mommy will be home soon,” I crooned, and he licked my face and whined. “Nope. None of that. I took you on two walks today!”

He just snorted, like he thought I was ridiculous.

My heart swelled up with love as I gave him one last pat and then headed outside where a sleek black limousine was waiting, courtesy of the agency. It was packed with other models, all dressed to the nines in a dazzling array of costumes. As I took my place among them, the atmosphere inside the limo buzzed with anticipation. Chatter filled the air, conversations ranging from excitement about the party to speculation about which celebs might make an appearance.

With each passing moment, my anxiety continued to rise. The thought of facing the crowd and having that many people staring at me…

I grabbed my phone, fingers trembling slightly, and sent a text to Clark. I needed the reassurance one more time that he would be there, a familiar anchor in a sea of strangers.

My phone buzzed with his reply, and I felt a little bit of relief as I read it. He’d be there. I wouldn’t be alone.

The limo glided through the streets of Hollywood, the city transforming into a mesmerizing array of lights and sounds now that the sun was down. The bustling streets that had been teeming with people during the day now took on a whole new life. Bright signs flickered to life, casting a vibrant glow on the sidewalks below. Cars blared their horns in a bustling urban medley, forming a discordant blend that possessed its own unique tempo.

Skyscrapers stood tall, their windows illuminated with a myriad of colors, forming a breathtaking tessellation that stretched up into the night sky. Each building seemed to compete for attention, vying to outshine its neighbors with its unique display of lights. From the top floors the cityscape looked like a sea of stars that had descended to Earth.

Kind of like the amazing view at Ari’s place.

Don’t think about that…

The girls started throwing back shots to gear up for the party. Coke made its rounds, and when Charlotte offered it to me, I declined. She shrugged and snorted some off the back of her hand with a rolled up dollar bill. I wasn’t phased in the least bit.

Cocaine and the New York socialite scene went hand in hand. I’d never been particularly tempted by it.

I had too many issues to give up much control during social situations.

I did decide to take a shot though, just to take the edge off. I winced as the tequila slid down my throat, leaving a fiery trail in its wake.

The loose warmth that spread through my limbs was almost as good as the first pass of a razorblade.


The limo finally came to a stop, and the excitement inside the vehicle reached a fever pitch. Doors swung open, and we spilled out onto a blood red carpet, bathed in the glow of cameras and flashing lights. As we moved along the red carpet, the air filled with the hum of celebrity names and fashion praises. I kept my composure, going into my “plastic mode” as I’d called it in New York, when my sole purpose was to smile for society cameras. Just like there though, I couldn’t help but feel like an imposter in my skin, like any minute someone would shout, “she doesn’t belong.”

The entrance to the party was a spectacle in itself, a surreal transition from Charlotte and I’s cramped apartment. The party organizers had morphed the historic Hollywood mansion into something straight out of a chilling Gothic novel—a haunted mansion designed to send shivers down your spine, complete with the imposing presence of a wrought-iron gate, its intricate details crawling with contorted, ominous vines.

Past the gate, a cobblestone path had been set up. It twisted and turned, guiding guests toward a grand, ancient-looking door adorned with sinister motifs like haunting gargoyles and demon figurines with mouths stretched into a sharp-toothed scream. Dim lanterns, sheltered in ornate wrought-iron sconces, flickered erratically, casting an uncertain light that played tricks on your senses.

Right as our group got to the entrance, a sudden, chilling gust of wind swept through—movie magic at its best—rustling the fallen leaves that littered the path. The heavy door, with its hinges groaning ominously, swung open slowly.

We stepped inside, and I was…immediately impressed. Gargantuan spider webs adorned with sparkling faux jewels stretched across the grand entrance. Pumpkins, meticulously carved with intricate designs, lit up the hallways, casting dancing shadows.

Celebrities and industry insiders mingled under the soft glow of chandeliers draped with cobwebs. Elaborately costumed guests swept past, their outfits rivaling any cinematic character. The walls were adorned with creepy paintings, and the floors were covered in red, rich, velvety carpets that silenced our footsteps as we navigated the maze of rooms.

A massive dance floor beckoned on one of the floors, pulsating with music that seemed to reverberate through the very foundations of the mansion. DJ booths disguised as haunted houses overlooked the revelry, while performers in elaborate, otherworldly costumes entertained the crowd.

Cocktail bars offered spooky concoctions, from ‘Witch’s Brew’ to ‘Vampire’s Kiss,” and the aroma of gourmet food stations wafted through the air.

It didn’t take more than a few minutes for the group to disperse. Charlotte was the last one to stay with me, but after one drink she ducked away, claiming she “would be right back.” Spoiler alert, both of us knew she had no intention of coming back.

So there I was, navigating the crowded venue in a vast throng of unfamiliar faces. I stood in the corner, Hollywood’s version of a wallflower. I kept glancing at my phone, waiting for a message from Clark. Where was he?

Finally my phone buzzed.

Clark: Meet me on the third floor.

Hmm. That was odd. Why wouldn’t he just have told me when he got here so I could meet him at the entrance. I headed towards the stairs anyway, relieved I wasn’t going to be alone at this party any longer.

The haunted mansion theme was carried upstairs, more cobwebs strewn along the bannister, candles flickering against the walls while speakers shot out a mix of thumping sexual beats and low groans. Kind of like what you’d think monsters would sound like if they were having sex.

I passed a dusty, cobweb decorated mirror leaning against the wall and stopped to check my outfit. In the dim lighting of the place, I didn’t feel like I looked quite so bad. The sleek, form-fitting bodysuit was crafted from glossy black vinyl, hugging my every curve with tantalizing precision. The outfit featured a plunging neckline, showcasing a ton of cleavage, while a slender zipper ran down the front.

My legs were sheathed in matching thigh-high boots, adorned with sleek, silver zippers that glinted in the dim light. A wide, black belt cinched my waist, making me look like I actually had an hourglass figure and adding a touch of danger with its faux-leather texture.

My mask completed the transformation. The girl in the mirror looked nothing like Blake Shepfield. That had to be a good sign for the night.

I couldn’t help but wonder what Ari Lancaster would think of it.

Charlotte obviously hadn’t said, but I’d assumed she was meeting up with Soto tonight. Would the rest of the team be here too? If so, I’d just have to leave. I couldn’t let anything mess up my night with Clark.

Me: Okay, I’m up here. Where are you?

There weren’t as many people up here as there’d been on the other floors, and I made my way through the rooms, my heart beginning to race for reasons I wasn’t quite sure of. The music had shifted, transforming into a dark, sensual thumping beat that seemed to reverberate deep within me, a tantalizing rhythm that pulsed in between my legs. The sound of laughter and hushed whispers filled the air.

I glanced at my phone to see if he’d texted, because it felt like he was playing some kind of game at this point, but Clark hadn’t sent anything else. I typed out a ?, and stared at it for a moment, sighing when he didn’t respond right away.

Continuing to stroll through the dimly lit rooms, I caught sight of a lot…evidently this was where all the hookups were happening. A gorgeous brunette in a Playboy bunny costume was moaning against the wall, a large man dressed as a lumberjack on his knees in front of her, his face buried between her legs. My cheeks flushed as my gaze connected with hers. She reached out her hand towards me, a enigmatic smile on her face. I hurried away, my core feeling suspiciously wet by the erotic scene.

A few steps into the next room and I saw him, Clark, leaning against the wall in his Batman costume. He was striking, his tall, muscular frame accentuated by the snug-fitting costume. The dark fabric clung to his chiseled physique, emphasizing every sinew and curve beneath.

He looked good. Better than good. I’d been wrong about him not pulling off Batman…because I was having a wild reaction just staring at him. My breasts felt heavy, my nipples tightening under his dark green gaze. My insides were softening…my thong was soaked.

Had he always been this big, this powerfully built?

His strong jawline was adorned with a hint of rugged stubble, adding a raw, primal edge to his handsome features. HIs green eyes smoldered beneath his mask, a lusty animal look in them that had me rubbing my thighs together…desperate for some relief.

The room’s shadows danced across his sculpted form…and I wanted him.

I raised my hand to call out to him, but before I could make a move, he slipped away into the next room. ‘What the fuck?’ I muttered under my breath, following after him. Was this some kind of sexy roleplay?

I crossed the room and slowly stepped over the threshold into the next room. The atmosphere grew charged with a sensual tension. Suddenly, I felt a strong grip around my wrist, and I squeaked as I was pulled into a dark closet. The door clicked shut behind us. The lighting was even dimmer in here, and I could just make out the outline of Clark standing in front of me.

“Are you done playing?” I teased.

He didn’t say a word though, he just crowded me against the wall and slowly started to unzip the front of my suit, inch by tortuous inch until my breasts were completely uncovered. A rough finger trailed around my sensitive, exposed skin, teasing me. I was dripping wet, my chest heaving and a soft moan coming out of my mouth. Had his hands always felt like this?

My hands roamed over his costumed chest, feeling how hard he was. His chest expanded with a heavy breath and he shuddered, like my touch was almost too much. My clit was absolutely throbbing as I tried to find the zipper on the damned thing. I wanted to touch him too.

Clark cupped and kneaded my breasts, his thumbs continuing to tease my nipples until I was whimpering.

“Please,” I whispered, leaning forward for a kiss. He ducked down before our lips could meet, suckling my nipple into his mouth, sucking hard. Heat built in my core.

I’d never been able to get off with Clark, not without the use of a toy.

And suddenly, here we were…and I was about to fall off the edge, just with his mouth on my tits.

Except…where had he learned to do this? Because it had never been like this with him before…

His teeth grazed my nipple as a hand reached between my legs, gently rubbing over my core through my bodysuit, his fingers applying more and more pressure with every pass.

The perfect pressure.

I cried out as I came, the sound of my screams reverberating through the small room.

He snarled out a rough curse and then he was on his knees, his hands ripping down the latex bodysuit, somehow miraculously not tearing the fabric.

I hadn’t even recovered from my last orgasm before his face was buried in my pussy, his mouth sucking and licking at my clit like I was his favorite meal.

Holy Batman—when had CLARK gotten this good at fucking head?

I must have been moving too much for his liking because he pinned my hips against the wall so I couldn’t move. His tongue fucked into me, a growl reverberating against my core as his tongue thrust in and out.

“Clark,” I moaned. “I don’t—”

“You know who I fucking am. And don’t you fucking say his name again, or I’m going to choke you with my mother fucking cock,” Ari Lancaster growled.

I stood there, the realization of what was happening sinking in like a heavy stone in my chest.

Except…hadn’t a part of me known all along the man on his knees wasn’t Clark, despite my feeble attempts to deny the truth to myself?

Ari’s gaze locked onto mine, his glittering green eyes shining in the dim lighting.

His stare was intense, smoldering with a mix of challenge and desire. He broke the silence, his voice a low, seductive murmur.

‘Say my name,’ he dared, the words carrying a weight of expectation, a provocation to acknowledge the undeniable connection that had been simmering between us. His proximity was intoxicating, his presence captivating, and in that moment, I was powerless to deny him.

“Say it.”

“Ari,” I finally murmured, and his eyes closed, like his name on my lips was some kind of miracle.

After a moment, they flashed open again, and he trailed a finger up my thigh, hovering near my still pulsing core.

“Tell me you want me to fuck you.”

I gasped, biting down on my lip to keep myself from making an embarrassing sound.

“Blake. Say it.”

“I want you to fuck me.”

“No, say it with my name.”

I hesitated for one more moment, because this would change everything. After this moment, I could never go back to how it was.

Whatever that meant for me, good or bad.

A voice in my head told me to run away, to stop this mess before it began.

But I was awfully tired of listening to it.

“Ari. I want you to fuck me,” I said slowly.

He grinned at me, and it was like the sun peeking out from a cloud after a storm.

“I thought you’d never ask.”

Ari moaned hungrily as he pressed his face against my core and breathed in deeply. His mouth sealed over my clit, licking and sucking with the perfect pressure.

Fuck, I could’ve come just from the hungry noises spilling out of him. I pulled off his mask, wanting to see him…desperate to see him. And he didn’t stop me. Like he was rewarding me, his tongue slid to my entrance, dipping in softly, worshipfully. My hands tangled in his hair, pulling him closer. He grabbed my left leg and pulled it over his shoulder as his other hand grabbed my ass…so I was literally straddling his face.

Ari pushed a finger inside of me, then another, immediately finding that one perfect place in my core, the one Clark had never been able to find.

As if Ari could tell that another man’s name had crossed my mind, he pushed a third finger inside of me, and I screamed from the fullness as he worshiped me. I began to grind against his face, no longer concerned with anything but coming.

I was about to fall over the edge when his movements slowed. A sob slipped out of my mouth as I tried to move my hips faster, chasing that elusive high.

‘Fuck. I knew it would be like this. Your pussy this fucking delicious.” His tongue licked through my folds as if he was trying to chase every last drop of my wetness. “Say my name,” he demanded again, his tongue and fingers stilling as he waited for me.

“Ari, please,” I cried, feeling like I might die if he didn’t let me come.

“Good girl,” he praised, and a flush of heat coursed through my bloodstream.

His tongue hungrily worked my core, his fingers relentless until I was screaming again as my whole body exploded with pleasure.

He lapped at my clit through my orgasm, desperately, like he couldn’t get enough.

‘You’re my perfect girl, sunshine. You taste so fucking good,’ he rasped as he slid my leg off his shoulder and stood up from the ground.

‘Kiss me,’ he murmured, his intensity sharpening as we stared at each other. ‘Taste what a good girl you are.’

He leaned closer, and I made up the difference, capturing his lips in a soft kiss, my tongue licking into his mouth, taking in the salty taste of….me.

I liked him like this. Tasting like me. I wanted him to walk around with me on his lips forever, so everyone would know he was mine.

Getting a little ahead of yourself, Blake.

“Let me into that perfect cunt,’ he demanded roughly. Ari reached between us, undoing his tight black costume pants as his mouth descended on mine again, eating and licking at my lips, swallowing my cries.

I shifted against him, my body arching forward, my breaths coming out in gasps. He licked his way down my neck and across my breasts, the heat of his mouth once again engulfing the sensitive peaks. It was everything, the suction, the smooth glide of his tongue…the subtle scrape of his teeth. Ari Lancaster was more than a master of his craft. Every move he made was seduction in his finest form, beckoning my body and my heart to the pleasure he was promising.

“You are so fucking hot,’ he groaned. ‘I couldn’t have even dreamed of how good this would be.’ He gave me one last lingering kiss. ‘Now, let me fuck you, Blake.” His hand slid into my hair holding my head so I was forced to look into his vibrant green eyes.

‘I’m going to make this so good for you, baby. You’ll never want anything else.’

I didn’t tell him that I was already ruined. That I honestly couldn’t comprehend the thought of anything better than this. That I didn’t know how I was going to survive without this.

‘Are you going to let me take care of you?’ he murmured, his kiss sealing over my mouth before I could respond, like he didn’t actually want me to answer that. His hands grabbed the back of my thighs, picking me up, and I wrapped my legs around him as my hands went to his shoulders. He reached between us and pulled his cock free from his tight pants, and I was deceased.

Because Ari Lancaster’s cock was completely pierced from root to tip. A Jacob’s ladder extending from the bottom of his gigantic dick, all the way to the top. I would have known it wasn’t Clark the second he whipped that thing out, obviously. Because Clark’s dick could not compare in any way.

He must have seen the look of awestruck horror on my face…

‘Don’t be scared, baby, it’s gonna feel so fucking good,’ he groaned as he pressed in slowly.

I couldn’t breathe. He was only an inch in and I was stretched beyond comfort.

Completely beyond.

I whimpered and he ran a hand soothingly down my face. ‘You’re taking me so well. Look at you.’

He was about to split me in half, because there was no way that that dick was fitting all the way inside me.

There was no way that was fitting inside of anyone—okay, Blake, now was not the time to think of that dick in someone else.

The thought made me feral.

Which obviously was the kettle calling the pot black under the current circumstances.

“Oh, fuck,’ I cried as he forced his way further in. I could feel every inch of his piercings as they moved against my sensitive core. His hand slid between us and he worked on my clit, softly rubbing it. My inner muscles slowly relaxed and he was able to steadily shove his way in.

‘Just a couple more inches, baby girl,’ he murmured, sounding like he was in pain himself from holding back. ‘I’ve thought about this since the moment I found you again,’ he chanted in a rough, forceful voice.

I was only faintly aware of what he was saying, or that there was something slightly off about it. I was too full to think about anything other than the nine or ten inch pierced dick that was currently spearing into me.

His gaze, an intoxicating blend of desire and longing, was fixed on my face, and I couldn’t take it; the intimacy of the moment already felt like it was going to swallow me whole.

I looked away, because his gaze was simply too much to bear. There was too much in his eyes.

Ari wasn’t having it though; he grabbed my chin and forced my eyes back to his gorgeous fucking face.

“You don’t get to look away from me. I’ve waited too fucking long for this.”

His other hand was gripping my ass, and his fingers slid into my crease, finding my puckered flesh and gently rubbing over it. I froze, because nobody had ever been there before.

‘Shhh. Just relax. That’s it. There’s not going to be anywhere I don’t touch…that I don’t taste.”

Right as he said that, he thrust forward, completely impaling me with every inch he had. My head fell back as I cried out from the fullness.

The stretch was painful…but perfect. Like I’d been incomplete all this time, and only now, connected to him, could I be whole.

His mouth closed over mine, his hungry tongue pushing its way in.

Ari eased out of me slowly, before slamming back in, like he wanted to make sure I would feel him there for the rest of my fucking life. His rhythm sped up until he was literally bouncing me on his cock, the slide of that piercing the most exquisite thing I’d ever experienced.

A few more passes and I was there, falling, screaming his name as I came.

“Yes, that’s it. Look at you, coming on my big cock. What a fucking good girl.”

My insides clenched, another tiny orgasm fluttering through me at his words.

He grinned wickedly. “Looks like someone likes to be praised. Which is my lucky day. Because I’m going to spend every day in this sweet pussy, telling you how perfect you are.”

“Ari,” I whimpered, because his words. His dick. Everything about him.

It was too much.

My heart wasn’t prepared for this. I didn’t have the walls up that I needed.

His voice had a raw, eager quality to it. It made me want to believe him. To believe every word that came from his pretty mouth.

I leaned forward and sealed my lips against his, trying to cut off his equally pretty words.

I moaned, and fisted his hair as his finger slid into my ass. The sensation was…good.

So good.

My reaction must have excited him because his movements sped up. He pushed my back against the wall behind me so I couldn’t move. All I could do was take his dick as it slammed in and out of me, each stroke so deep it felt like it was butting up against my womb.

“More,” I whispered, and he nipped at my bottom lip.

“Every day, sunshine. Every day this pussy’s going to be mine.”

I was lust drunk, about to orgasm again, and in no shape to argue with him.

His cock’s pounding pace was punctuated by his growls and my soft cries…and was it possible for a moment to last forever?

Because if there was any moment I would want to last, it would be this.

It would be him surrounding me.

It was maybe the first time I’d ever truly felt safe. Truly felt wanted…seen. In my life.

“Come one more time for me, baby,” he pleaded, as if his world depended on it.

I couldn’t help but listen.

The flutter started. Building. Spreading. Until I was falling, not sure where I ended and he began.

He shuddered violently against me as he came with a long growl, his cum filling me until it was dripping down my thighs.

The afterglow stretched on.

And then it was gone.

And I was standing in a closet, with his cum inside of me.

And my boyfriend was nowhere to be found.

Words from the past shot through my head.

‘How could you do this to me? To us?’ my father had cried.

My mother was a cheater too. The reason our perfect family fell apart.

And here I was, just like her.

Hurting a good man who had done nothing but love me.

Even when I didn’t deserve it.

“No,” Ari’s sharp words shot through me. “You’re not going to regret this. You’re not going to regret us.”

“I have a boyfriend,” I whispered as he pulled out, and I flinched because of how fucking empty I felt. “I’m a cheater. A whore—”

“Don’t you dare fucking call yourself that,” he snapped, grabbing my chin and forcing my eyes to his.

‘What if I told you, you were always supposed to be with me? What if I told you that we were always meant to be together? What if I told you he was in the wrong for taking you from me!”

“Then I would try not to call you a liar,” I muttered, dark self loathing hitting me when he winced like I’d slapped him.

He opened his mouth, and then closed it, like I didn’t deserve the words he wanted to give me.

Or maybe I was just imagining that. Because Ari Lancaster seemed to be under the misguided impression that I always deserved everything.

‘What happens now?’ I asked, dread..shame…euphoria…anticipation floating through me as I pulled up my costume and he tucked his somehow still hard dick back into his pants.

‘What happens now is that you break up with your boyfriend,’ he said gently, those emerald eyes shining at me in a cautious plea. ‘And you give us a chance. Because I’ll make sure you never regret it.’

Uncertainty churned within me like a stormy sea, its waves crashing against the shores of my heart, threatening to pull me under its tumultuous depths.

Could I summon the courage to take this leap of faith?

All my life, it seemed I’d never been able to hold on to the good things, to those flickering moments of happiness that as humans we rarely get.

But Ari Lancaster was different—he was the embodiment of all that was good and beautiful, the hero of my story, patiently waiting for me to let him save the day.

His eyes, those mesmerizing jade pools, held a tenderness and understanding that tugged at my heartstrings. They glistened in the dim light, silently urging me to trust, to believe in the possibility of us.

As I gazed into those eyes, I felt a rush of emotions, an overwhelming desire to let go of my fears and doubts. With Ari, there was something extraordinary, something worth risking it all for. The thought of finally allowing myself to embrace happiness, to give in to his unwavering devotion, filled me with hope and a profound sense of longing.

In that closet, surrounded by shadows, I realized that this might be my chance at something beautiful, something enduring. With trembling hands, I reached for him, silently conveying my willingness to take the leap, to trust in this thing between us, and to let Ari be my hero, not just for a day but maybe…for forever.

‘I’m scared,” I finally murmured.

His smile was heartbreaking…life saving…everything.

‘I know, sunshine. But I knew what you were the moment I met you.’

“Oh yeah, and what is that?”

“Mine,” he said softly, without a trace of indecision.

He held out his hand, silently begging me to accept his offer. I stared at it for a few more seconds.

And then I took it and I followed him out of the closet.

Because what else could I do?

Ari’s grip on my hand was unwavering as he pulled me down the spiraling staircases, through the throngs of people, and into a party that had escalated, becoming even more out of control. The music was deafening, a pulsating beat that reverberated through my entire being, a rhythm that seemed to sync with the frantic pounding of my heart.

The air was thick with desire, a heady cocktail of temptation and recklessness that hung like a palpable veil. Bodies entwined in a passionate dance, stolen kisses—and more—exchanged in shadowy corners, a dark sensuality everywhere you looked.

I could feel the weight of knowing eyes on me, judgmental gazes that followed our every move. I wouldn’t normally get any attention by myself, but I was with Ari Lancaster, and you couldn’t help but watch him.

I held my head high, his touch a lifeline in the midst of the pandemonium. With his hand firmly wrapped around mine, I felt safe and protected, as if nothing else in the world mattered.

Ari guided us towards the exit. The cool night air greeted us like a soothing balm as we stepped outside, leaving the raucous revelry behind. The cobblestone path stretched before us, now illuminated by scattered lanterns to lead drunk partiers to the exit.

A shiver ran down my spine as a breeze brushed my skin, and Ari wrapped his arm around me, drawing me close to his warmth. I couldn’t help but lean into his embrace.

‘Forgot to tell you,’ he began, his voice low and seductive, ‘I’ve always been a dog person, but all of a sudden, I’m really liking cats.’

I rolled my eyes at him, a small, fond smile tugging at the corners of my lips as he exaggeratedly dragged his gaze over my costume. His teasing was a welcome contrast to the intensity of the night.

We approached the valet, only waiting a few minutes as they pulled Ari’s sleek car up. He held the door open for me with a charming flourish, and I settled into the plush leather seats. Ari leaned in, buckling my seatbelt, and I realized that it already felt like a habit, like something he’d been doing for me for forever.

His lips found mine in one final, searing kiss before he closed the door, walked around the hood of the car, and took his place behind the wheel. The sensation of his kiss lingered on my lips, a tantalizing reminder of what had happened tonight.

We set off, Ari humming along to an Olivia Rodrigo song.

‘Can you take me home?’ I asked shyly, my voice trembling with a mix of anxiety and anticipation. The need to end things with Clark was like a rock in my chest, battering against my ribcage.

‘I can take us home,’ he said charmingly.

I stroked his forearm soothingly. “I need to call him, end this. Please,” I whispered.

Ari’s expression shifted, a low growl escaping his lips. His furrowed brow and the restless tapping of his fingers on the steering wheel betrayed his internal conflict.

“Okay,” he finally murmured reluctantly.

The city passed by in a blur as Ari navigated the darkened streets. The rhythmic hum of the car’s engine filled the silence between us, a soothing backdrop to the fierce emotions swirling inside my chest.

Arriving at my building, Ari walked me to my front door. We stood there, bathed in the soft glow of the porch light, our gazes locked, a shared moment of uncertainty and desire.

He leaned in, his lips tantalizingly close to mine, and the anticipation hung in the air like a charged current. Our lips finally met, and the kiss was electric, a fusion of craving and longing that left me breathless and desperate for more. He pressed against me hard, like he was trying to tattoo the feel of him on my lips. So I wouldn’t forget what we’d started tonight.

The world fell away, and there was only Ari and me, entangled in a web of desire and surrender. The kiss deepened, our tongues intertwining in a sensual dance that sent waves of pleasure coursing through me.

‘Tomorrow,’ he finally whispered against my lips, his voice laden with promise and a hint of reluctance.

I nodded, my heart fluttering wildly in my chest as I stepped inside my apartment.

I closed the door behind me, leaning against it as I traced the feel of him, his taste still lingering on my lips.

Sighing, I walked to my bedroom where Waldo was laying on my bed. He sat up on his haunches, his tongue sticking out as he huffed excitedly. I sat on the bed beside him and buried my face in his soft fur, searching for a moment of comfort before I finally pulled out my phone.

My trembling fingers hovered over it, an instrument of both liberation and heartbreak.

This was what I needed to do—wanted to do. I could do this. I could end it. I could call Clark and break the bond that had held us together for so long, to shatter what we’d built, which I’d now cracked beyond repair.

But as I dialed his number, my heart thundered in my chest, with so much regret over what I’d done. Not regret over Ari. But regret that I hadn’t been able to wait.

The phone rang and rang, each tone a painful reminder of what was coming. Like the universe was trying to prolong my agony, making me wait for the inevitable.

And then, without warning, the call ended abruptly, as if Clark had silenced it before even answering. It felt fitting, in a way, that our relationship would end like this—unanswered, unspoken, and void of any closure.

Defeated, I turned to the next option, my fingers flying across the keyboard as I crafted and re-crafted a message a million times over. Each word felt like a dagger through my heart, nothing fitting the end of something I’d had for so many years.

Me: I’m sorry. But we’re done.

The text was simple, direct, devoid of the complexities and intricacies of our emotions. It was a finality that I couldn’t escape, a truth I couldn’t deny any longer. My thumb hovered over the send button, my breath caught in my throat, and with a heavy heart…I pressed it.

The message was sent, and with it, the end of a chapter that had defined so much of my life. Tears welled up in my eyes, but I refused to let them fall. I needed to be strong, to stand firm in my decision, even if it meant breaking the heart of such a fucking good man.

As I sat in the dimly lit room, I was transported back to the sterile, white walls of that hospital, a place where the boundaries of life and death had blurred.

I saw Clark by my side, holding my hand with a tenderness that spoke volumes. He’d promised me that he’d always be there for me, no matter what, a vow made in the face of uncertainty and fear. It was a memory that lingered, a reminder of the love he’d given me, of what he’d put up with to give me that love.

But life had a way of changing, of twisting our paths into unexpected directions. What we’d had, was never going to be enough to sustain us. To sustain me.

We deserved happy.

Even if it hurt like hell to get there.

I laid in bed that night, and a bittersweet smile played on my lips. It wasn’t the ending I could have anticipated, nor was it the ending I’d ever wished for. But it was the right thing to do, the necessary step toward a future that promised something different, something new.

Thoughts of Ari danced through my mind, of the fact that everything about him called to me like nothing had before. Tomorrow held the promise of a new beginning, a journey into uncharted territory, and for the first time in a long while, I felt a glimmer of hope.

I closed my eyes, tears finally escaping and trailing down my cheeks. It was a painful goodbye, but it was also a necessary one. As I drifted into sleep, the weight of the past began to lift, replaced by a sense of liberation and the anticipation of what the future might bring.


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