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Gwen: how was the date???? Deets!! Now.

MJ: Canceled. Idk why but I took one of those sex gummies and then decided not to break the 3 date rule

Gwen: WHAT?! Lol what did you do instead?

MJ: I baked enough sourdough to feed the entire neighborhood. I gave some to the new neighbor next door

Gwen: Nice!

MJ: Then I fucked him

 

---

 

(It’s not like she intentionally set out to cancel her date and hookup with her hot new neighbor but maybe, subconsciously, she had never really recovered from watching him move in, tousled hair and muscles and then stripping off his shirt to mop up the sweat and it really shouldn’t have been as attractive as it was but Michelle was going through a dry spell, and the boy was good eye candy.)

 

---

 

She’d tried a few Hinge dates, tried getting set up by Gwen and Cindy, but no one had made it to a third date, and Michelle had had a strict three date rule since losing her virginity to a one-night stand freshman year of college – an overall underwhelming experience that was made all the more underwhelming by how quickly he’d ghosted her after they had sex. Months of flirting and trying to talk her into a date, and then the second she agreed and he got her in his dorm he was done, like the conquest had been all he’d cared about. After that, she decided that sex (penetrative, anyway) was a three date thing. Maybe they’d get handsy on the first or second, but they had to at least make an effort to get to know her three separate times before sex was on the table.

 

Maybe it was ridiculous. Maybe she was standing in her own way. Regardless, Michelle hadn’t had sex in far too long because apparently everyone either sucks or is taken, and she’s getting really fucking tired of having to rely on her vibrator and her imagination, and she’s getting sentimental in her old (read: 26) age and she doesn’t just want someone to fuck anymore. She wants someone to cuddle with, too.

 

Online dating is the bane of her existence, but it’s all she has left, now that she’s out of school and in the workforce, surrounded by old dudes or annoying dudes, without an easy way to meet people. Gwen suggested speed dating and Michelle felt truly pathetic. She’s only 26 . It shouldn’t be this hard to meet people, right?

 

Brad Davis was nice, and had a decent profile – by online dating standards, anyway, which were shockingly low – and he’d managed to keep up a relatively engaging conversation on their first date and asked for a second. She’s excited, ish, about said date, even if the idea of fucking Brad didn’t fill her with heat. She’s horny, he had nice hands, a good body, she’s sure that if they made it to the third date she’d have a fine time.

 

And maybe she’s feeling insecure, or self-conscious, or rethinking her stupid rule; maybe she’s wishing she could be a fun, carefree person like Gwen or Felicia; but she’s thinking about her date and says fuck it and takes one of those sex gummies Felicia had gotten to try, that she’d pawned off on Michelle, with the instruction have some fucking fun . She takes one of these gummies and it’s fine, it’s a gummy, and her date is in three hours and she starts to panic – not quite on the level as she had the first time she tried pot in college, but approaching that level – so she’d text Brad to cancel and turned on The Great British Bake Off and decided that what she really needed to do was make bread.

 

(Kneaded. Heh.)

 

So she’s half dressed up for the date she cancelled, feeling some kind of way, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry going on about the rise of ciabatta and soggy bottoms and she’s giggling and pulling out her sourdough starter and making fucking sourdough bread, because it’s the weekend and the weekend is when she makes her sourdough and the rest of her life may feel like a sad shit show most days but this? She’s good at this.

 

She’s got music playing on her phone, Bake Off on her laptop, dancing around and deep cleaning her kitchen while she waits for the dough to rise, making loaves and rolls and too much fucking bread, honestly, but it’s soothing, she is soothed by bread baking.

 

And once it’s in the oven she takes a shower, washes off the flour residue and the half-applied make up and changes into sweats, throws her hair up and gets comfy because she’s ready to drink wine and eat freshly baked bread and watch rom coms, but she seriously has too much bread and she can’t bear the thought of it going to waste –

 

So she decides to be a good neighbor.

 

Bill and Tina across the hall are out of town, so she skips their door. Mrs. Delmar is home, and she graciously accepts the loaf Michelle offers. Lisa doesn’t answer the door, so Michelle decides to try again later, or tomorrow.

 

That leaves the new guy, the hot one she glimpsed moving in from her window, something Parker if the mailboxes are to be believed. She’s passed him once or twice in the hall or in the mail room, and he has a nice smile and she’s realizing she’s never actually heard him speak, but she decides to be neighborly and offer him bread, because she’s nice , not for any ulterior motive.

 

(Not because she’s curious about what he might be wearing on a Saturday evening, or if he’d be home, or if he’d have someone over. Not because she wants to see his face again and see his body up close. No no no, she’s just being a generous person.)

 

So Michelle – no longer amped up and feeling off from the gummies, in a ratty t-shirt and sweatpants, no makeup, fuzzy slippers – knocks on the door to Parker ’s apartment, and waits, freshly baked loaf of bread in hand.

 

She hears a crash from inside and she bites back a laugh as she hears him curse, and then the door is opening and there he is, hot new neighbor guy, mussed up hair and a confused (charming) smile as he takes her in.

 

“Hi?” he says, and goddammit he has a nice voice.

 

“Hey, I’m Michelle, I live down there,” she points to her door like a moron, “And I made, like, way too much sourdough bread so I’ve been giving it out so here.”

 

She holds out the loaf of bread – that she’d wrapped in parchment paper and tied a string around, like she’s a fucking farmer’s market – and waits for him to take it.

 

He looks at her, then at the bread, then back at her.

 

“I promise there’s not drugs or poison in it,” she adds.

 

He – hot neighbor guy whose name she still doesn’t know – laughs. Not unkindly, and it’s a nice laugh, too, it makes him look younger, boyish, charming , fuck this guy, honestly –

 

“I knew I was gonna like living here,” he says, and he gently takes the bread from her.

 

“It is a nice building,” she tells him. He’s still smiling at her.

 

“I’m Peter. Peter Parker.”

 

She snorts. She can’t help it. That makes him smile wider.

 

“Well, enjoy the bread, Peter Parker,” Michelle says. She’s turning to head back to her apartment when he says –

 

“What should I do with it?”

 

She looks back at him.

 

“What?”

 

He flushes, and fuck, that makes him look cute, too. Hot neighbor – Peter – is going to be a problem, she can already tell.

 

“I don’t buy – or eat – bread much, so what should I do with it?”

 

It sounds like a line, but it’s such a stupid one that she answers honestly. (Seriously, who doesn’t have bread much?)

 

“Toast is obviously the easiest thing, but my sourdough makes amazing grilled cheese.”

 

He smiles again.

 

“Okay. Thanks, Michelle.”

 

“See you around, Peter Parker.”

 

She doesn’t turn back to look at him, but she feels his eyes on her until she reaches her own door and goes inside.

 

(Heart beating fast, stupidly flushed, and goddammit, she’s gonna have to try to run into him more often.)

 

Not quite an hour later she’s back in her kitchen, still watching Bake Off and this time attempting cookies with the ingredients she could find in her cabinets, when there’s a knock at the door.

 

She checks out the peep hole and it’s Peter Parker, and her stomach flips, so she opens the door and he smiles brightly at her, holding a plate of –

 

“I decided to do what you said, but I made too many sandwiches for just me, so.” He shrugs. “Want one?”

 

“Are you serious?”

 

His smile falters and she realizes she probably came off bitchy.

 

“I mean – you’re just offering me a grilled cheese sandwich?”

 

“You just gave me a loaf of bread. I’m being neighborly.”

 

They do look good.

 

(As does he.)

 

“How do you feel about tomato soup?” she asks. He grins.

 

---

 

Peter Parker is very attractive and very charming and goddamn him, he makes an excellent grilled cheese.

 

After following her into her apartment he watched as she fished a can of tomato soup out of the cabinet and heated it up, ladling a bit into bowls for them and grabbing another plate, and they’d settled at her tiny kitchen table to eat, making small talk that was shockingly not super awkward.

 

He’s funny, and he’s sharp. He asks her questions and listens to her answers, and he tells anecdotes that tell her that he a) has a job, b) has friends, and, c) is kind of a mess but in a fun way, not a scary way. If this were a date, he’d definitely warrant a second, and she’d be anxiously awaiting the third because she can tell from how he moves and the bit of muscle she can see under his shirt sleeves that he’s hot , and if he’s anything like he is in conversation in bed, she’d likely have a very good time.

 

He insists on helping her clean up, too, which means he’s either a gentleman or angling for a hookup, and she can’t tell how she feels about the latter even while she thinks more and more it’s probably the former. She lets him, anyway, because he did offer and she got a lot of dishes dirty making her bakery’s worth of bread, so they stand beside each other in companionable silence as they wash and dry her dishes, and when he notices that she’d been watching Bake Off he asks which season she’s on.

 

“I mean, I’ve watched all of them,” she admits.

 

“So has my aunt. I’ve seen a few episodes. Which season is this?”

 

“Third.”

 

“May says that’s the best one – that’s my aunt.”

 

“Your aunt has good taste.”

 

He smiles sincerely, and her heart melts.

 

She throws the cookies she’d been making when he arrived in the oven, and finds herself inviting him to stay so he can have one.

 

“Unless you have – ”

 

“No plans,” he says quickly. “Just hanging out. By myself.” He cringes. “Not in a sad way.”

 

She laughs and grabs his hand, dragging him to her couch where she sets up her laptop so they can watch Bake Off and she can try not to think too hard about the boy in her apartment who made her dinner and is sitting next to her and smells like clean soap. He’s close but not touching, hasn’t tried the stupid yawn turning into an arm around her shoulder trick, and a distant part of her wonders if he’s just really nice or gay, but before she can follow that train of thought too far the timer goes off for the cookies.

 

“So you like baking,” he says, less as a question and more as a statement. She pulls the tray out of her oven and sets it on the stove to cool.

 

“It’s soothing,” she answers.

 

“Disagree.”

 

“It’s science,” she explains as she tosses the oven mitt onto the counter. “Simple chemistry. Add this to this, get a reaction. Exact measurements, weights. Predictable results.” She shrugs. “Baking makes sense to me.”

 

He smiles thoughtfully at her and she blushes, turning back to the cookies and prodding one to test for doneness, mostly for something to do.

 

“I like science, but I’m terrible at baking. And cooking. Too impatient,” he tells her.

 

“Oh?”

 

He nods. Takes a step closer. Her heart is pounding in her chest, and for a moment she thinks he might kiss her, and she might let him.

 

But then she chickens out, and turns back to the cookies, picking one up and offering it to him.

 

“Science,” she says, stupidly. He takes it, and takes a bite.

 

“Delicious.”

 

She blushes.

 

(He notices.)

 

He eats a cookie, then another, and then he’s telling her he should probably head back to his place, get out of her hair. And as much as she wants to ask him to stay, she can’t think of a way to do so without sounding sad or desperate or getting his hopes up since she hasn’t quite decided if she wants to kiss him or not.

 

(Well. She does . Whether or not she should is a different story.)

 

So she says okay and puts a few cookies in a ziploc for him and walks him to the door, and it feels like the end of a date except it wasn’t, it was just two neighbors getting to know each other over dinner, which is –

 

“Thanks for the bread. And soup. And cookies,” he says at her front door.

 

“Thanks for making grilled cheese.”

 

He smiles widely, and fuck , he’s cute.

 

“Hopefully I’ll see you around.”

 

She nods, and he doesn’t lean in for a kiss, or a hug, or touch her at all. Is he waiting for her to do something? But she feels frozen, and he just nods slightly and goes down the hall to his own apartment, and she shuts the door behind him and leans against it, clutching at her chest like she’s in a fucking rom com.

 

Michelle goes back to her kitchen, packs the cookies away in Tupperware, and feels an ache in her chest, a feeling like she’s missed out on something she can’t name.

 

Michelle is logical, and practical. She saved her dramatics for performing, for her writing; in her real life she remained cool and level-headed, never impulsive. Once upon a time she’d hidden behind a party girl persona, but it was just a mask then and she’s since tired of trying to maintain it. Michelle is a homebody, content to stay on her couch and watch TV or bake, where it’s safer. The parts she played could be adventurous; the characters she inhabited could be reckless.

 

But something about Peter Parker made her – made her want to be brave, to take a chance.

 

Michelle had lived her life by the rules. It was like science; there was safety in the predictability of set reactions.

 

She’s putting dishes away when she sees the plate he’d brought over, and she makes a decision.

 

Fuck it.

 

Michelle can be impulsive. She can let herself have fun.

 

(She wants to.)

 

---

 

She’s out her door and down the hall at his door before she can stop to talk herself out of it, plate in hand and knocking and waiting, hoping –

 

Peter opens the door and she kisses him.

 

He lets out a little gasp of surprise before he’s got his hands on her waist, tugging her toward him and returning the pressure, tongues and –

 

She drops the plate.

 

He catches it.

 

“Good reflexes,” she mutters. He grins.

 

“You wanna come in?”

 

“Is that okay?”

 

Michelle’s feeling a little self-conscious now that they’ve stopped kissing, now that she’s standing in front of him with her messy hair and lazy clothes, this hot new neighbor she’d never had a conversation with until a few hours ago.

 

But Peter – as if sensing this – nods and reaches for her hand, gently pulling her into his apartment. The door clicks closed behind her, and he leans in, kisses her this time. He’s a good kisser, Peter Parker, and she hasn’t been this well kissed in a long time, and there’s feeling swirling in her belly as he deepens the kiss and she nips at his bottom lip, as she plays with the hair at the nape of his neck and he tugs her closer, pressed up against him.

 

(But there’s still a plate in his hand.)

 

“Maybe you should do something about that,” she says breathlessly, pulling away and nodding at the stupid plate that brought them together, sort of. He nods and releases her, takes a step back, and she wants to chase after him, go back to kissing him because it’s nice , kissing him is entirely too pleasant, and she likes how mussed he looks just from this.

 

“Yeah, good idea. Do you, um, want water or something?” he asks.

 

She shakes her head. He still has a plate in his hand and he seems to realize this, looking away from her and turning to go to his kitchen, so she steps more fully into the apartment, wanders to his couch, taking in the space – messy and lived in and boyish – and she sits. He stands, eyes searching her face.

 

“Not that I’m complaining, at all , but, um. I kinda thought you weren’t – I didn’t think you – ”

 

“I don’t really do this? A lot?” she tells him, cutting him off. She shrugs, the nerves coming back full force, and she sort of wishes he’d just kiss her again, get her out of her head, but he’s looking at her and there’s a tug behind her belly button and fuck , she could really like him.

 

“We don’t have to. Do anything,” he says.

 

“I know.”

 

Because she does. Peter may be a stranger but he’s nice, and smart, and –

 

“I want to,” she admits. He smiles softly, approaching the couch and sitting next to her.

 

“I’ve maybe hoped I’d run into you,” he tells her. She scoots closer to him. “In the hall or in the mail room.”

 

“Oh?”

 

He nods, head tilting towards her.

 

“I maybe hoped that, too,” she murmurs, closing the gap between them and pressing her lips against his.

 

His hands come up to cradle her face, and she tangles hers in his hair. Tugs lightly, smiling as he kisses her harder in response. She finds herself being pushed back onto the couch as he settles over her, tongue slipping into her mouth, fingers trailing under her shirt.

 

“This okay?” he asks, kissing down her throat. She nods, feeling heat pooling between her legs.

 

“Yeah, it’s good.”

 

She slips a hand under his shirt, and she can feel him hardening against her thigh, hips slotted against hers, but they’re still just making out, barely making any moves to go father or further, and it’s –

 

Fuck .”

 

It’s good , it’s just this side of not enough but she’s enjoying his lips and his tongue and his hands, enjoying the feeling of kissing and grinding and the newness of it, the anticipation of making out with someone new, that sense of soon that makes everything crackle a bit because this is just the preview, isn’t it, this is the start of something – these kisses and touches are the beginning, a beginning, and the desire to keep going or draw this out fills her with heat, gasping as his mouth moves to his neck, kissing and sucking lightly.

 

“You’re so pretty,” he pants against her skin, and she smiles.

 

“And therefore I have value?”

 

He pauses and looks up at her, alarmed, mouth open to backtrack, and she laughs harder.

 

“I’m messing with you,” she tells him, and he relaxes, grins, and kisses her.

 

She can’t remember the last time she just made out with someone, clothes on and hands above belts, kissing and touching and taking their time, and it’s perfect and it’s frustrating and it’s making her want more . As much as she doesn’t usually fall straight into bed with a guy, she finds herself slipping a hand under the waistband of Peter’s sweatpants, smirking against his lips as he groans.

 

“This okay?” she echoes, and he nods.

 

“Yeah, fuck , that’s – ”

 

She kisses him hard as her hand closes around his dick, warm and heavy as he bucks into her, and it makes her feel something, the way he moves and the sounds he makes and it feels something else when his hand slips under her shirt and find her breast, rolling a nipple between his fingers as she gasps, her grip on him faltering.

 

His other hand dips into her sweats, finding her through her underwear and rubbing, and she sighs.

 

Peter .”

 

“Like that?” he asks as his fingers move her underwear aside to rub gently at her clit. She gasps and the contact, her hand tightening around him and he groans.

 

“Yeah, you?”

 

Fuck .”

 

She’s stroking him sloppily, hand sliding up and down as he rubs at her clit and slips a finger inside her, both of them panting, not even kissing so much as breathing against lips, and it’s so hot, he is so hot and Michelle never does stuff like this but fuck , she feels more now than she did on any of her most recent dates, jerking Peter off on his couch while he fingers her, both of them still fully clothed – somehow making the entire experience that much sexier, and he slips a second finger inside her and she gasps and he chuckles, the sound low and deep.

 

“This is – fuck – not how I thought tonight was gonna – go,” she says. He kisses at her neck, hips stuttering as she strokes him.

 

“Weren’t expecting – this?” he asks.

 

“I canceled a date,” she tells him. “Thought I’d have more fun – fuck – baking bread.”

 

“You’re really good at it,” Peter says, pulling back to look at her, and somehow she knows he’s about to say something stupid. “You know. Getting it to rise .”

 

“Fuck you,” she laughs.

 

“Not overworked or anything,” he continues, attempting the accent and grinning at her.

 

“You’re not funny,” she says on a gasp. She’s close, and he’s smiling at her, eyes twinkling, and fuck , she wasn’t expecting this.

 

“You’re still having a good time, though.”

 

He’s fucking her with his fingers and pressing his lips against her neck and she’s barely stroking him anymore, too overcome – overwhelmed – by the sensations she’s feeling, and she comes with a shudder, squeezing her hand around him and feeling the warmth spreading through her as she relaxes against him, comes down from it.

 

“You’re so pretty,” he says again, kissing her on the lips as he pulls his hand out of her pants and it’s awkward, hard to get a good angle with them both wearing pants and underwear still and she’s ready to not be anymore, wants to keep this going, so she kisses him back.

 

“Take off your pants,” she tells him, and he looks dazed. She sits up and pushes him back against the couch, helping him get his pants off until he’s bare in front of her, standing to take her own sweats and underwear off.

 

Fuck , Michelle.”

 

“I think you should fuck me,” she says, pulling her shirt off. He still looks dazed, pupils blown and face flushed, hair a mess from her fingers. “Peter?”

 

“Condoms are in my room,” he finally gets out, like he’s having a hard time forming words, watching her.

 

“Lead the way?”

 

He stands and takes his shirt off, too, pulls her in for a kiss before tugging her to his bedroom, opening the side table drawer and pulling out a condom.

 

The confidence she’d felt on the couch is waning, and it’s hitting her again and that she just met Peter Parker a few hours ago and she’s about to have sex with him, something so out of character for her and yet that feels so right.

 

He looks at her and stops, foil unopened in his hand.

 

“Okay?” he asks, eyes searching her face. She resists the urge to cross her arms in front of her, try to cover up.

 

“I don’t do stuff like this, very much,” she admits, and she’s already said that, hasn’t she?  

 

“We can stop,” he tells her, and despite the fact that he’s still hard and flushed and ready to go, she knows that if she said okay, let’s stop here, he would. “We can – we can just cuddle, or you can go, or – ”

 

“I want to,” she repeats, because she does . “I’m just – awkward.”

 

He takes a step toward her.

 

“Not that awkward.”

 

She kisses him, and it shouldn’t feel so easy, should it? She shouldn’t feel so comfortable with this guy – this stranger, this hot new neighbor she’s maybe lusted after from afar but never spoke to until tonight – and yet she does feel comfortable, she likes him –

 

And he made her a grilled cheese sandwich and helped her wash dishes, and that’s not nothing.

 

They’ve basically gone on a date already, she thinks to herself.

 

He guides her onto the bed, still kissing her, and lets her push him onto his back.

 

“This okay?”

 

He nods, hands settling on her hips, the foil packet of the condom pressed against her skin. She takes it and slides the condom on him, straddling him and meeting his eyes, heart pounding in her chest as she positions herself above him and slides down.

 

“Fuck ,” she breathes. He groans, fingers gripping her tighter.

 

“God you feel good,” he tells her, and she starts to move.

 

It’s been a while and the stretch is perfect, almost too much but so good, Peter babbling as she clenches around him. And it’s intimate, isn’t it, sex usually is but it feels especially – and maybe it’s because she doesn’t know him that well, but she feels like she does, like she knows the important bits, anyway, and the thing that gets her, as she rides him in his apartment mere hours after meeting him, is how much she wants to know him. He feels good and he looks at her like this is more than just a hook up and –

 

Michelle, ” he pants. She leans down to kiss him as he thrusts up into her, gasping.

 

“Call me MJ,” she breathes.

 

Fuck , MJ,” he says, wrapping his arms around her and flipping them. That surprises a laugh out of her and he kisses her deep, swallowing the sound and panting as he works his hips against hers. She grasps at his back, fingernails digging into his skin.

 

Peter .”

 

“I’m close, are you – MJ ,” he groans, and she slips a hand between them, the way he says he name sending a pulse of pleasure through her.

 

“Let go, I’m close, too, I’m – ”

 

He thrusts sloppily into her and she tightens around him, feels him empty into the condom hips stuttering against hers as he comes with a low grown pressed into her neck. She follows him over, aftershocks pulsing through her as he fucks her through it. Peter lifts his head to kiss her, softer and sweeter than she’d expect given the circumstances. He kisses her like a first date at the door even as his dick is still inside her, softening as she shudders; kisses her like he just took her to dinner or a movie, all chaste and sweet. She sighs into it, pulling him closer and deepening the kiss.

 

“Hi,” he breathes as he pulls back, smiling at her all tender and shy. She smiles back much the same.

 

“Hi.”

 

He looks at her a moment, then –

 

“Not complaining at all – but I was not expecting this when I brought you grilled cheese.”

 

“You were a little bit expecting this,” she teases. He grins, caught.

 

“Hoping, maybe.”

 

She kisses him again and then he lifts himself off of her.

 

“Bathroom?” she asks.

 

“Uh, down that way,” he says, and she awkwardly walks down the hall – feeling his eyes on her – and this is the awkward part, this is the part she forgot about, the post-sex, the clean-up, the collecting clothes and figuring out how to look at each other as the hormones settle.

 

She lets herself into his bathroom and pees, and she feels – she feels amazing, relaxed and sleepy and like cuddling up in bed with him – but Peter isn’t – she doesn’t know what he is, other than her hot neighbor she just fucked (was fucked by, whatever). Is she supposed to leave? Does he want her to stay? Maybe this is the real reason she doesn’t do hook ups; trying to figure out the after feels like more work than she wants.

 

Michelle goes to the living room to retrieve her clothes and Peter emerges from his room in fresh underwear, watches her as she gets dressed.

 

“So, uh. Thanks?” she says, cringing as she speaks. He has a look she can’t read, a series of emotions flitting over his face as he looks at her.

 

“You, um.” He scratches behind his ear. “You can stay.”

 

She meets his eyes, searches his face.

 

“Do you want me to, or do you feel bad kicking me out?” she asks, her voice a little more vulnerable than she’d like.

 

“I want you to,” he says softly. He shrugs, a little shy. “I kind of hope this isn’t a one-time thing. But it can be, if that’s what you want.”

 

She shakes her head and takes a step toward him. He mirrors her.

 

“I kind of like you, I think,” she tells him as she comes to stand in front of him.

 

“I kind of like you, too,” he says, and they both lean in at the same moment to kiss – chaste, awkward, like a first kiss between high schoolers – but then they seem to find themselves and kiss for real, his hands cradling her face as hers tangle in his hair.

 

“Stay?”

 

She nods.

 

And follows him back to his bed.

 

---

 

Gwen: OH MY GOD

Gwen: MJ

Gwen: MICHELLE

Gwen: WHAT THE FUCK

MJ: I think I’m kinda dating him now? idk

Gwen: MICHELLE