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So Maybe We're Not Comfortable

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Nathaniel never settled, but he was cycling through positions like a stop-motion puppet show. She had been lifted, dragged, dropped gently to the mattress and now she was blindly facing the headboard with another athletic redesign of their bodies.

Rebecca could feel his perfectly straight and haughty nose pressed into the small of her back. She had been happily buzzing on pleasure, splayed underneath him after her first turn to come. Sometimes she got a second turn, too, but it wasn't on Nathaniel to wrestle another orgasm out of her. She was pretty happy with a one-for-me and one-for-you balance.

She had honestly stopped keeping score a while ago, and was just waiting for Nathaniel to figure that out.

Now he was rising over her back, piling pillows around her as if they needed a bumper zone for whatever he had planned. She went with it, knelt low on his bed as he pushed inside her again.

"Oh," she breathed, barely aware of giving the encouragement.

"Yeah?" He sounded breathless and uncertain. She was never sure when this Nathaniel would emerge. His skill was obviously the result of a man who had plenty of sex. She thought it might be about feelings, or his avoidance of feelings.

Rebecca relaxed her shoulders, holding on to the pillows. She enjoyed the half dozen thrusts before he stopped and pulled out with a gentle hold keeping her hips still.

Her muffled protest was lost in the pillows getting dug out from underneath her front. Nathaniel shoved them off the bed with all the blankets. She rolled when he tipped her to her side, going where he put her until she was on her back. His body was compact with tension, abs quivering as he crouched and adjusted the wrinkled condom absently.

Nathaniel looked at her like he was memorizing details, and a momentary flare of discomfort ran between them. He looked so uncomfortable she actually thought he'd hurt himself.

"Are you okay," Rebecca asked seriously. She was aware he had no problems getting aroused by her body, but that didn't make her one of his usual waifs to be effortlessly tossed around in his bed. He was even more ridiculously muscular than she remembered, but anyone could pull a muscle. "Did you hurt your back?"

"What?!" He was offended by the question, the instinctive maze of thorny pride she hated about him going up around him like Sleeping Beauty in a castle hung with Stanford banners. "No, I'm fine."

He stretched out next to her, and Rebecca put a hand tentatively on his side. "You know I already came. And sometimes I have more than one big finish but other times I just have, like, a bunch of little big finishes. If you're trying to impress me, I'm good," she told him.

She watched Unwoke Plimpton dissolve into a sigh. He pulled her near and used his arm to pillow her head, since he'd thrown all the real pillows away.

"I'm sorry," Nathaniel sighed. His free hand curled over her exposed body, fingers finding the ends of her hair. "You - the existence of you - hurts my brain. I try to find a place to put you neatly and you won't stay put."

They had chemistry and a fair amount in common on paper. Their issues were probably a little too closely related. They should be competitors, burning off that spark of sexual heat as dueling professional drives and power struggles. Rebecca knew what he meant, and it was hard to be offended when it was the truth.

She kissed him, and made it a simple, gentle press of lips that could linger hours. He trembled with a last attempt at bravery. Sexual heat eased to tenderness, and Rebecca tilted her head back to look at him.

"What do you need to know?"

His blue eyes were very near, and Nathaniel licked his lips thoughtfully. "You're having a baby with Darryl and Heather. I know it's not a romantic situation, but one is your roommate and the other works at the other end of the office. A baby you helped create is going to be crying down the hall in a few months. How is that supposed to work?"

"I don't know yet," she said calmly. "It is Darryl's baby, though I suspect everyone will end up babysitting and helping out. I just wanted something happy to come out of this year in my life where nothing else lined up right."

Nathaniel was still ready, pressed hot on her belly. He gave a tiny flex of his hips to remind her. "Nothing else?"

Her body answered his with a rolling, effortless pull she did her best not to name. Rebecca grinned and they kissed deeper.

"Well, that is also very nicely lined up," she said fondly as she pulled away. Her fingers traced Nathaniel's chin. "But I think you know what I mean. I like what we have together, but it didn't exactly start from a healthy, selfless impulse. I went looking for a ruthless sociopath to help me feel nothing and accidentally found you hiding away in there. But I could help a friend have something that would change his life for the better. It was impulsive. I don't have a plan for how it will go every day. But I know Darryl, and he will be the greatest dad to that baby."

It was a little balance sorted out in the universe for her to see a man doing so much to be a father. For all his goofy moments, Rebecca respected Darryl for being a caring person to everyone around him.

"See? I should be more worried about all this," Nathaniel told her. "Not knowing where I stand, our weird town with the devil winds, and all the chaos that follows you around. I should have run for my life when you sued me and won."

She couldn't help tensing, but he enclosed her in a hug that was pure affection.

"And when you gave me every reason to move on, I hated it. I don't want out," he whispered. "I was comfortable before you, and now I need you to be irksome."

It was one of those wrenching moments that Rebecca needed every bit of her new therapy to resist framing with mental fireworks. She knew what he meant, because she was getting used to him tossing his stupid water polo ball while he spoke on his bluetooth. Nathaniel never irritated her the way he should have, or some invisible draw of hidden depths of character made her too curious to have it stick.

"I could have set you up with Karen," she joked feebly.

"Heartless wench," Nathaniel laughed. He pinned her to the bed, holding her wrists down. "I said irksome, not terrifying."

Rebecca met his gaze and smiled smugly. "The wisdom of the internet says you should find yourself a girlfriend who can do both."

Instantly, the heavy conversation was behind them, his mood sincere but relaxed. Rebecca slipped her legs up around his hips and he took the hint. She bit her lip as he sank deep, and somehow the foot of height difference was fixed by another light grip on her and a brief manhandling.

It was their favourite thing; plain vanilla missionary with mouths zoned in and lapping hot at one another, even as they moved slowly to make it last. She ran her hands along his back and his arms crept underneath her to make contact anywhere they could. It made her heart pound as hard as any panicked neurosis, and a suspect shower of glitter beckoned in her chest.

She was monumentally, gloriously uncomfortable with Nathaniel.