You watch her from a dark corner of the bar, but not too intently, because she is exactly the type of person who would sense your gaze and turn to meet it.
Admittedly, being found out might not be so terrible. Admittedly, you might want to be found out.
You’re in London for Big Annual Conference, and had met some old grad school friends at this bar for a drink. They’ve all gone now, but you stayed. You stayed because you saw her walk in, and you might’ve gone to say hello immediately if she didn’t appear to be on a date.
Seeing her with someone makes you feel something. You don’t think it has a name. It’s a couple steps away from jealousy, in the vicinity of aroused. But there’s more to it than that. There’s a tiny thread that runs deeper, hits closer to the heart, and it’s that tiny thread that keeps you in this corner, nerves roiling in your belly.
Whether you’ll approach her isn’t the question; it never is.
Or, it never was.
It has been just over two years since Spector’s suicide brought Stella’s time in Belfast to an abrupt end. Two years since the night you spent together, both a little drunk by the time clothes started coming off.
The question is when you’ll approach her, and how.
Just walk right up to her? Pretend you haven’t seen her and hope she sees you? Wait to see if she goes to the loo and follow?
This would be a lot easier if her companion were a man. But she’s not, and you’re not ready to act yet. You feel silly. Of course, you imagine running into Stella every time you come to London. But you don’t actually expect it to happen, because why would it?
The woman she’s with is a bit younger, probably in her mid-thirties. You can’t quite tell if Stella’s enjoying herself, if she really likes this woman. She appears relaxed, but they haven’t touched and, as far as you can tell from where you’ve positioned yourself, they don’t seem to be flirting. Maybe it’s not a date.
Maybe it doesn’t matter.
You look idly at the time on your mobile, then at the empty wine glass in your hand. Let it make the decision for you. Gathering yourself and scoping a route, you inhale deeply and let it out slowly before snaking your way to the bar for another drink.
Stella and her date had managed to get seated at the bar, which has only been growing busier as the hours grow later. It’s crowded enough now so that, when you signal the bartender, Stella probably won’t notice you. You aren’t in her direct line of vision; you don’t want to be obvious.
You have to lean up and raise your voice a bit as you’re ordering, and you think you see blonde move in your peripheral. But you’re not sure and don’t want to give yourself away. So you continue acting as though you don’t know she’s right there, like three meters and a few bodies away.
After paying, you take a sip and glance her way.
She’s looking directly at you.
You smile, trying to seem at least a little surprised.
She smiles, too, to your relief, and excuses herself from her date.
She hugs you as she says, “What are you doing here?”
You laugh and return the embrace. “In town for a conference.”
When she pulls away, she grips your upper arms lightly and her eyes are soft. “Why didn’t you tell me you’d be coming to town?”
“Should I have?”
“Yes,” she says, as though it should have been obvious. “You should have.”
You shrug, smiling, as her hands drop to her sides.
“It’s, uh, it’s good to see you,” you say, feeling suddenly shy.
Her date appears, touching her lightly on the forearm, and she excuses herself. You watch as they exchange words, embrace loosely, and the younger woman leaves. Stella turns and looks at you, her gaze intense and sharp. You try to match her intensity as a sly smirk plays on your face.
Sipping your wine and watching her approach, there’s a twitch between your legs. Something about her makes you bolder than you are with anyone else. You lick your lips as she comes to stand in front of you.
“Should we bother with the niceties?” you ask, and you’re pleased to see a little burst of surprise in her eyes.
“Depends,” she says, stepping closer, into your space.
“On what?” you ask, tilting your head.
“On what you consider ‘niceties,’” she answers then leans in close to your ear, “I could take you into the loo and fuck you right now, but a bed and privacy and… time might be worth the bother.”
“My hotel is nearby,” you offer weakly.
“So’s my house.” She kisses your neck discreetly. You shiver. “I have my car. Come home with me.”
“Okay,” you breathe. You’re not really surprised that you’re putty in her hands, but at the same time, it’s been years and the energy between you hasn’t subsided. It’s alive. Strong. The strength is the unexpected part.
In the car, she plays jazz on low, and you just watch her. She looks good. You lean over the console and nuzzle her ear.
“You’re so fucking beautiful,” you whisper. She inhales sharply. “I can't believe how long it’s been.”
“This is my street,” she rasps, turning a corner. You pull away slowly, allowing her to have control.
After you’ve followed her inside and you’ve both shed your jackets, she takes your hand and walks you upstairs, leading you straight into her bedroom.
“Now,” she says, pulling you toward her, “Any final niceties?”
You shake your head “no,” and pull the hem of her blouse from her pencil skirt. Lifting it off over her head, you say, “I want to see you.” You unfasten and discard her bra right away.
She kisses you fully as one of your hands covers one of her breasts. Her fingers are at the button of your jeans, and you’re only a little embarrassed at the needy whimper you let slip out.
She pulls away and lifts your shirt from your body, and her gaze washes over you appreciatively. You reach around and unclasp your own bra, letting it fall to the floor. You watch as she steps backward, away from you and toward the bed, and she reaches around to the zipper of her skirt.
“No,” you say quickly, moving to her. “Let me.”
You step into her space and your hands slide around her waist, and her skin is just as perfect as you remember. You tug the zipper down slowly, kissing her, before dropping to your knees. You touch the outside of her knees, the backs of her calves, then up her thighs, sliding beneath her skirt and letting the fabric bunch as your hands travel higher. When you reach the waistband of her panties and hose, your fingertips curl around and pull them down. You don’t rush, but you also have no inclination to wait.
She places a hand on your shoulder for balance as you peel off her hose. Then you tug her skirt by the hem until it passes her hips and falls of its own accord. You can’t help licking your lips as your eyes drink her in. A kiss beneath her belly button, and you rise to stand.
She steps out of her skirt and pushes it aside.
“Turn around,” she commands, her voice gravelly, and you find yourself obeying. “Take off your jeans.”
A shock of vulnerability courses through you, but it only makes you wetter, and you wonder if Stella has fantasized about this. Hooking your thumbs under your jeans, you take your time pulling them down, bending over as you do in order to give her the view she wants. You’re glad you at least have nice underwear on, even if they’re not especially sexy.
Jeans discarded, you stand up straight but remain facing away from her, and you’re rewarded with the warmth of her body against your back, with the dampness of her breath on your shoulder, with the caress of her hands on your hips and thighs.
“Panties, too,” she rasps in your ear, and she shoves them halfway down your thighs, leaving the rest of the job for you, which you finish quickly.
She snakes a hand around and down, reaching between your legs and cupping your sex. You groan softly and hear her audible intake of air.
“Stella,” you whisper.
“You didn’t return my calls,” she says, her voice low but firm. “Why?”
You freeze. Here it is. Breathe.
“I was scared,” you admit plainly.
After a moment, she says, “So was I.”
“I’m sorry,” you say as you turn to face her. “I didn’t want to hurt you, but it—”
“It’s okay,” she whispers. “I had other things to take care of, too.”
You sigh and kiss her sweetly.
“I’ve wanted so many times to call you,” you whisper against her lips.
“You should’ve,” she whispers back. Her eyes are at once soft and cold. Both hunter and prey.
“Thought I’d blown it,” you admit.
“Huh,” she says, leading you to the bed, “I assumed you knew.”
“Knew what?” you ask, puzzled.
“That I’d drop anything, anyone… for you.” The look in her eyes is lusty, thirsty, but you think she means more than just sex.
She pushes you onto the bed, and your mouth falls open. Crawling over you, she studies your face.
“Still?” you ask.
“Yes,” she says, and the hunter vanishes momentarily. “Still.”
You pull her down and into a deep kiss. You’re a bit forceful, but it’s only because you’re dying with want. She’s teasing you now, getting back at you a little with this talk. While you know you deserve it, you’re also turned on in a way you haven’t been since the last time, the one time, with her. Fuck. As you kiss her and cling to her, you can’t escape that it hasn’t felt this good with anyone since her. No one before, and no one since. And you feel helpless and terrified but fuck, it’s so good, it’s so good it couldn’t possibly be this good with anyone else and who cares if you’re scared? You’ve told yourself how many times since the divorce that if you ever got this opportunity again, you wouldn’t squander it, you wouldn’t run from it?
It was just, in the aftermath of Spector… In the aftermath of Stella…
Stella pulls away a bit and looks at you.
“Hey,” she whispers, bringing you back to the present. “Tonight doesn’t have to mean anything.”
“No,” you say, touching her face lightly. “I want it to mean something.”
You push her gently onto her back and lie next to her, propped up on an elbow. Caressing her cheek, tracing her jawline, you say, “I’m really here with you.”
She smiles and pulls you into another kiss, this one softer, and soon your arms are wrapping around one another and your legs are tangling together and you’re both moaning softly. Her pussy is hot and sticky against your thigh, and you’re overcome with desire.
Stella has plans of her own, though, and she flips you back over and moves to go down on you.
“Wait,” you say, and she stops. Smiling, you guide her: “Here, straddle me.”
She does, and you take a few long moments to appreciate her from this angle.
“Now, turn around,” you instruct, “face away from me.”
You can see the realization begin to dawn as she complies.
“Good,” you say and grasp her thighs. “Bend over.”
You pull her back to your face, and she sinks her face down into your pussy. You eat each other out, grunting and moaning and gasping and humming with pleasure. She tastes so good. She tastes like her.
We may have been a little drunk when the clothes started coming off, but we certainly weren’t drunk two hours later when Stella was sitting on my face, or three hours later when she was crying softly in my arms, or five hours later when she was buried in me three-fingers-deep and had me swearing to the gods, thanking any possible deity for this unforeseen and unprecedented pleasure.
How is it possible that in one night she’d made such an indelible mark?
She tastes like her, and it’s familiar; she tastes so good. And she’s so wet. Fuck.
You grind against her face, and she takes it hungrily, happily. She licks and sucks and nibbles at you with greed.
You play at her opening with your tongue, and she groans, pushing back against you. You thrust inside, as deeply as you can manage, and she’s squirming against your face, and it’s so goddamn hot. How is she real? How are you real, like this, with her? How is it that the realest you feel is when you’re with her?
You shift your body, and she rolls off of you, turns and pounces, sliding two fingers inside. Gasping, you grind into her and tighten around her. Then she’s fucking you slowly and steadily, and hitting your clit with her thumb on each thrust, and you realize your nails are digging into her shoulder. She grunts at the pain and fucks you harder.
That weird moment when you realize you’d forgotten to remember something. You remember now.
She doesn’t treat you like an object but neither does she treat you like you’ll break. She manages to strike that balance between worshipping and challenging you. Tending to you and pushing your limits.
Your orgasm sneaks up on you, but she doesn’t seem so surprised. Oh holy fuck is it good and strong and freeing, like surfing a wave, if surfing came as naturally as floating formless in pleasure. The wave crests, and you falter, letting it crash over you in its tidal rhythm.
You’re left momentarily useless, and opening your eyes to meet Stella’s feels like so much work. But you do it, and she’s smiling and proud of herself and so turned on. The grin that spreads across your face comes easily, and you pull her lips to yours.
Lazily, you slip your hand between her legs, and she moans into your mouth. Her sex is slick and swollen with need, and it’s so hot, you find your energy replenished. You slip a finger inside, and she rocks her hips into you, pulling out of your kiss to gasp with pleasure.
“God, I love the way you feel,” you hear yourself swear under your breath. Her eyes are desperate, so you flip her onto her back and slide two fingers inside.
You’re nearly underwater again, this time swimming in her satiny softness, her whimpers both guiding and disorienting you. Her chest is flushed, her nipples erect, her hands grasping at you for more.
“Fuck me,” Stella pleads as her hips beg in their own way.
You start fucking her; you’d give her anything. Your fingers strain deeper, steadily. She is practically dripping, and she moves and moans so beautifully. When you add a third finger, she grabs onto you, her eyes daring you. You fuck her harder, and her head falls back. When she bares her neck to you, it sparks something feral. A hunger for her undoing.
You shift back and bend over to taste her. She gasps, and you hum while your tongue finds her clit, teases there gently, lightly.
“So good,” she murmurs, one of her hands in your hair.
She’s so tight, she ripples and pulsates inside, and you can tell she’s close.
“Just like that,” she says, meeting your thrusts.
Nothing could be as important than giving her just what she needs in this moment. You focus on what you’re doing with your mouth and fingers.
“Oh,” she says quietly, almost like a realization.
You open your eyes and look up to watch.
“I’m coming,” she says, her hooded eyes meeting your gaze.
You nod and hum affirmations, and she is molten lava in your hands, on your tongue, and you want to take all of her, everything she is, into your mouth.
She peaks with a short cry, and her hips are still swiveling and quivering as she pushes your mouth from her. She’s not quite had enough, so you keep fucking her, and when she comes again, you swear you have a tiny orgasm of your own.
You’re swimming, floating formless again, as she pulls your mouth to hers, kissing and murmuring.
She pulls your fingers from her slowly, gives you a look, her eyes foggy and distant, before flopping over onto her stomach with a sated sigh.
You chuckle softly and fall onto your back next to her.
“Well, that was quite possibly the hottest thing I’ve ever seen,” you remark, bringing the back of your hand to trace the rise and fall of her buttocks. She turns her head to look at you, and you shift onto your side so you can face her, brushing the hair from her face and neck.
“It was really fucking good,” she slurs, her eyes barely open, a smile playing at the corners of her mouth.
You watch her luxuriate in her orgasm’s after effects for a minute before dropping a few kisses on her shoulder and running down to the kitchen for some water.
When you return, she’s wrapped in a robe and sitting up against some pillows. She smiles at you and trails her eyes up and down your nude form, but you sense a shift in the energy. You hand her a glass, which she takes gratefully and gulps halfway down. She sets it on the bedside table and looks at you.
“What are you doing standing there?” she asks.
“I didn’t know if I should get dressed,” you say, feeling awkward.
“Is that what you want?” Stella rises up on her knees and comes to kneel in front of you
“No,” you reply as she places her hands on your hips. You try to sound totally unbothered when you ask, “Do you want me to go?” But you know she’s impossible to fool, so you look down to where your fingers play at the sash of her robe.
“No,” she exhales, shaking her head slightly, her grip on you tightening. “I don’t let people see me the way I let you see me, scars and all.” She pauses, and you don’t know what to say. She tilts your chin up so she can meet your eyes, and says quietly, “I’m not used to it, but I want you to stay.”
You inhale deeply through your nose, searching her eyes, looking for doubt or anger and only finding honesty and a little fear. And then you kiss her, because you have no words. You’re not sure what any of this means, but you know it feels right and good, and that there’s nowhere else you’d rather be, no one else you’d rather be with. You try to tell her as you bring your hands to cradle her face and the kiss deepens.
Before long, she’s pulling you back down onto the bed, breaking the kiss to whisper, “Besides, I’m far from done with you.”
You laugh lightly, untying her robe and snaking your hands underneath to feel the singular warmth of her skin. “Likewise.”
“I hope you don’t have anywhere to be in the morning,” Stella remarks, pushing you onto your back and straddling your hips. You smirk and shake your head ‘no.’
“Good.” The blue of her eyes turns darker, and she brings her hands to graze lightly over your nipples. “There are things I’ve been thinking about doing to you for two”—she pinches one nipple—“entire”—and then the other—“years”—both at the same time, smiling mischievously as you squirm.
“Oh God,” you groan, “like what?”
She climbs off of you, stands, and lets her robe fall to the floor as she walks to her dresser. You watch her bend over to the bottom drawer, open it, and rummage around. She pulls out a small black pouch and brings it to the bed.
“Like fucking you with this, for one,” she drawls, unzipping the pouch and taking out a purple dildo. “With or without this,” she adds, pulling out a strap-on harness.
Your eyes widen and your cheeks flush.
She raises an eyebrow in question.
"Yes," you say, "please."