Envy turned her head enough to look at him, so that all I could see was the thick hair. “I don’t think you’ll understand.”
“Try me, I’m very sympathetic.” He grinned when he said it, which left a debate on whether he was really sympathetic or just kidding.
“He really is a good listener,” I said.
She rolled her head back to look at me, and I realized that her hiding her face in her hair might be a stress reaction. What the heck had happened last night?
“He says you and he just can’t get your schedules to match up for sex lately, is that true?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I said, and drank more coffee; maybe if I just drank enough of it, I could do this conversation without losing my temper.
“Do you enjoy the sex?”
I drank more coffee. Maybe if I drowned myself in it? “Yes.”
“When he’s really rough in bed, how do you get him to stop?”
“You get him to stop by saying ‘No, stop,’” I said.
She rose up enough to shake her head. “No? I can say no and he’ll respect that? I mean, how do you tell him it’s too rough?”
I fought not to frown at her. “I say, ‘Ow, that hurt, stop it.’”
Jason piped up, “Or my favorite, ‘Do that again and I’ll kill you.’”
“You’re not saying it right, Jason; it’s ‘Do that again and I will fucking kill you.’”
He laughed. “Oh, yeah, I forgot that part.” He leaned against the cabinets, grinning at both of us. I didn’t feel like smiling, so I glared at him. His grin widened, eyes sparkling with it.
I shook my head and went back to huddling over my coffee. Jason was incorrigible; trying to corrige him just irritated me and amused the hell out of him.
“Ow really is a safeword for me,” I said.
“Richard says you like rough sex—was he lying?”
I stared into my coffee, debating on whether to get up and add to the cup, or if I had the courage to look her in the face while we had this conversation. Fuck, courage it was.
I turned to look into those beautiful otherworldly eyes and said, “I like rough sex. I like sex with Richard. Now, what’s up? What do you want to know, or say?”
She sat up straighter, squaring her shoulders. “Well, that is direct.”
“I’m pretty sure I’ve had this conversation with other girlfriends of his over the years, so just say it, Envy. Did the sex get too rough last night?”
“And what do you want me to do about it?”
“Do you really like sex as rough as he does?”
I shrugged. “Yes, sometimes, not every night, but yeah.”
She shivered. “Fine, Anita, you want to be direct, I can be direct. I had to tell him to stop, or ease up, constantly last night. He’d been great, the sex would be wonderful, he’d bring me to orgasm and then he’d start being too rough again, as if once he made me come he thought it earned him the right to be too rough and hurt me.”
“Most women can take rougher intercourse after enough foreplay,” Jason said. “He wasn’t trying to be mean, just thought he’d done enough prep work to have sex the way he wanted to have it, and you’d enjoy it, too.”
“Well, I didn’t, and I had to keep telling him to stop. I finally told him to get off me, that was it.”
“Do you mean for last night, or do you mean done as in done forever?” I asked.
She looked at me, and her eyes darkened the way that human eyes do when they start to get angry. “Forever. The sex is amazing if he can control himself, but he’s so big that if he just starts pounding it hurts, and it drowns out all the orgasms, or even stops me from orgasming, because it hurts too much.”
“I’m sorry he hurt you,” I said. What else could I say?
“How long has it been since you’ve slept with him?”
“A while,” I said.
“You can’t remember?”
I shrugged again. “He’s not one of my main sweeties. I . . . Maybe six weeks? He’s trying to date some human woman, and it takes time to really date someone. Our booty calls had to take a backseat to him date-dating someone.”
“As opposed to just fucking them,” she said, and she sounded angry again.
“Yeah, dating takes more time than just fucking,” I said. I fought not to get angry, or be offended, not to add any more emotion to what promised to be an emotional minefield.
“I enjoy sleeping with Jean-Claude, he’s wonderful, but Richard is a brute in bed.”
I so wanted out of this conversation, but it was like a train wreck—you knew it was coming, but sometimes you’re still along for the ride.
“He can be, I guess.”
Jason came to stand beside me, touched my shoulder. “Say the rest, Anita.”
I looked up at him. “What rest?”
He looked at me, and it was that you know look. There weren’t many people I’d take that look from, but Jason was on that short list.
“I like that he’s rough. Sometimes a brute in bed is exactly what I want,” I said.
She shuddered. “You can have him, I’m done.”
“I don’t want him as a boyfriend either, but the occasional sex is great, that was always fabulous between us.”
“You look delicate, like he’d break you.”
“Looks can be deceiving,” I said.
Jason squeezed my shoulder. “The fact that Anita likes rough sex is one of the reasons I wanted everyone to meet this morning.”
The comment made me look up at him. “What does that mean?”
The tea timer went off and he went to rescue it, and also neatly avoided answering my question.
I called after him. “What do my sexual preferences have to do with anything?”
“I’m getting the tea,” he said with his back to us as he fished the bag out of the mug.
“What is this little meeting about this morning?” I asked, suspicious now.
Nathaniel spoke as he came into the kitchen. “It’s about helping everybody in our poly group feel better.”
He’d pulled on a pair of his favorite jeans, the ones that were nearly white with washing and had begun to thread out across the thighs. His knees peeked out of actual holes as he padded barefoot toward me. His ankle-length hair was in its usual braid so that it was mostly hidden behind him with only glimpses of the thick auburn rope peeking from behind him as he moved.
My smile of greeting changed to something less happy. “What does that mean, and why do I feel like you and Jason have been plotting behind my back about something?”
He smiled, and it was the real deal, not the one that he flashed at Guilty Pleasures to get customers to shove hundred-dollar bills down his pants. If they could have seen this smile full of love and lust and just . . . Nathaniel, they’d have found thousand-dollar bills to offer him in hopes that he’d deliver on everything that smile hinted at.
I fought to stay grumpy at him, but found it impossible as he crossed the golden bars of sunlight, turning his lavender eyes almost blue, as if they were paling in the warmth of all that sunshine. His eyes were truly the color of spring lilacs. Only two things made them darken to a truer purple: anger and lust. It had to be enough of both, and anger was a rarer cause for it than lust.
He changed his walk slightly so that I was suddenly aware of just how well he moved, how muscular and yummy his naked upper body was. He’d actually had to tone down his weight lifting because he was bulking up too much for the flexibility he needed as a dancer. He was learning, and starting to perform, some modern dance pieces, but it was the exotic dancer part of him that glided and strutted his way over to give me another good-morning kiss. We’d done more than kiss before I got out of bed to meet Jason in the kitchen.
He bent that handsome face over me where I sat, coming in for a kiss. “You know just how much you affect me, don’t you?” I whispered.
“It’s my job to know,” he whispered back, and kissed me.
I kissed him back, because what else could I do? Hell, what else did I want to do? I wasn’t angry enough not to run my hand around his bare waist and caress him as our lips met.
He rose and I smiled up at him, damn near stupid-faced with the kiss, and the memory of earlier, and all the days before. We’d been living together for three years and it just got better.