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Taking the Fall(2)

By:Alexa Riley

I can feel the orgasm coming now, or at least I think I do. What with the way my best friend Jeanette describes them, I’m not sure I’ve ever really had one. When she gives me details of her latest fling she makes it sound like having an orgasm is the greatest thing ever. Going from her reports, I think my vagina is broken or at least seriously faulty.

Pulling my hand out of my panties, I glance at the clock and notice I still have ten minutes before I need to get up and get ready for work. I’ll be damned if I lie in bed masturbating to thoughts of Carter having me. He doesn’t want me and I won’t be giving him my orgasm. I would rather go without than get off thinking of him.

I fling the comforter back and flip on the nightstand light before making my way to the closet. My house is a small, two-bedroomed bungalow that sits right on the edge of Reno. I used the cash I took from my father’s safe to buy it. It’s not much but it’s mine. I didn’t want to use all the money I stole in case I have to run again but it’s nice to have a place to call my own. Home.

One thing I’ve loved most about my freedom from my father is a life of my own. I come and go as I please, eat whatever I want and, most importantly, wear what I like. This new-found freedom shows in my closet. Two things I’ll never give up are my dirty books and my shoe collection. I know it sounds silly but my shoes gave me some confidence when I started my new life. I never thought I was unattractive and I love my curves, but Carter took a shot at my self-belief. I’ve always been short at just over five feet and I have to strain my neck to look at most men, so a sexy pair of high heels gives me a boost in every way. I rock my heels as tall as they come because I don’t want to have to look up to a man. Any man.

Grabbing a pair of plum-purple high-waisted slacks, a cream button-up blouse and a pair of four-inch heels, I get ready in the bathroom. It doesn’t take me long because I don’t wear a ton of makeup, but I like to do a little something to my eyes. With bright-red hair it’s hard to wear certain shades and not look like a clown. My silky hair doesn’t take much to manage—a little brushing and some pins and it’s all set. To finish off, I swipe on some pink lip gloss to bring out the cream of my skin. As I put the tube back in the cabinet, the name of the shade catches my eye: ‘cherry blossom pink’. I growl in frustration and throw the half-empty container in the trash. That bastard seems to follow me wherever I go.

Shaking off my momentary rush of anger, I go to the kitchen and grab a banana muffin and coffee before I head to the library to start my shift. I was so excited when I landed the job there. It’s a public library but the local high school uses it as its library as well. My favorite part of working there is getting to work with the kids. It makes me feel like I’m making a little difference in the world. It might not be much but it means a lot to me.

I was sure I would have to work at a diner or something. I didn’t really have much of an education to begin with—just some online classes—but Jeanette, the head librarian, hired me on the spot. Because of my lack of formal education, my only real skill is playing the piano, and I haven’t had the luxury of playing much since I left. I sneak over to the high school a few times a week during my lunch break to use the piano they have in the music department. The music teacher Mr. Hall is always trying to get me to help out and play for some of the school concerts, but they sometimes make the papers and that just isn’t a risk I could take.

I thought about buying a piano of my own when I got my house. I even made sure that my living room had the space for one, but I didn’t want to eat into my emergency money. It was worth the sacrifice to be free.

I hear my cell ring, already knowing who it is. I pick it up without looking at the incoming number.

“Morning, Jeanette,” I say.

“Morning, chica,” she purrs into the phone. “What’s his name?”

“Stephen, I believe.”

“How was he?” she asks, playing our normal game of ‘who did Layla sleep with last night?’

“Too alpha and demanding for my taste,” I lie, knowing that I loved every second of Stephen’s brute ways in the novella I devoured last night. I reason that if I keep telling myself that this kind of man doesn’t turn me on, then maybe it will come true. I need a man like my boyfriend, Justin. He’s sweet, passive for the most part, and probably pays his bills two weeks before they’re due. If only I could get my body and vagina to agree with my head. I really need to break up with him. I’ve been avoiding him for days and even canceled a few of our dates. I’m not even sure he’s into me. He never really tries to make a move on me and doesn’t seem to care when I do cancel on him. I often wonder why he’s even with me.

“Anything has got to be better than Justin, if you ask me,” Jeanette says, reading my mind.

“Enough about my boring, sexless life. Tell me about your amazing night,” I say cheekily, knowing she’ll spill all the dirty details while I live vicariously through her. Jeanette has been trying to get this intimidating guy who’s been hanging around the library for weeks to ask her out. Finally he cracked. I thought he seemed kind of weird. Okay, maybe not weird but out of place. He’s a giant of a man, not as big as I remember Carter being, but he looks like he could hold his own against a few guys if he needed to. He has a scar that runs from his eyebrow down to his cheek, looking like it barely missed his eye. His raven hair and tanned skin contrast starkly with his clear blue eyes. When I first saw him, I thought his eyes looked strange with the dangerous feel he had going on. But the first time I saw Jeanette make him smile, his entire demeanor suddenly shifted and became as light and bright as his eyes.

He’s always popping up and never once has he checked out a book. He has an edge to him. The kind of edge I’m attuned to, seeing as I grew up around men like that. I was keeping my distance, but Jeanette went after him like a cat in heat. She likes bad boys. She says they’re just looking for a quick fling and you never have to worry about them wanting something permanent. I’m not sure the guy knows what to do with her. If Jeanette is anything, she’s straightforward and to the point. It’s something I’ve always loved and admired about her. She might want to be more careful with him, though. He seems like the type of man that if he wanted to keep her, she wouldn’t have much of a choice.

“Fucker canceled,” she grumbles.

“I’m sorry. I know you were looking forward to that date. Maybe we could have dinner tonight to cheer you up?” I don’t want her to be upset. I can tell by her tone she’s a little hurt which isn’t normal for ‘love them and leave them’ Jeanette.

“Dinner and drinks at the Kat House and you’ve got yourself a deal.”

I knew she was going to bring up the Kat House, a little dive bar that sits right outside of Reno.

“Come on! Not that Kat House! That place is,” I scrunch my nose as I try to think of the right word.

“Horny?” Jeanette offers. I can see her doing her classic eyebrow wiggle when she talks about anything “horny” and I can’t help but smile.

“That’s one way to put it,” I say, trying to sound appalled. The Kat House is a dream bar for Jeanette. Cheap drinks, it’s filled with bad boys, and sometimes I think its dress code veers towards ‘clothing optional’. I’m more of a piano bar kind of girl. I stumbled across one a few years back and loved it. A cute sundress with some higher-than-high heels and a few martinis while I listen to music that doesn’t make my head want to explode—perfect.

“Justin must be wearing off on you, Lays, because you’re starting to sound like a snot.”

I shudder slightly when I thinking of anything of Justin’s rubbing off on me and I cave to her suggestion, wanting to change the subject. And besides, she always lets me pick and I want to do this for her.

“Fine, I’ll bring a change of clothes and we can leave from work.” I let out a dramatic sigh and adopt a weary tone. “And go to drinks at the Kat House.”

Jeanette starts letting out hoots and hollers. I can see her in my head, dancing around her studio apartment.

“Don’t bring any clothes. I’ve got you. Maybe if I get you all dolled up tonight and looking like one extra sexy bitch you can finally live up to your name, Lays.”

Rolling my eyes at the nickname Jeanette gave me forever ago, I agree, only to get her off the phone so I can go ahead and pack an extra set of clothes. Jeanette gave me my nickname when I started working at the library and we became friends. At first I thought it was just a cute abbreviation of my name, but soon I found out it was because I never get laid.

I guess after watching me shoot down date request after date request, she figured I wasn’t getting any. And of course she was right. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to get any—God, did I want to get some! I just hadn’t found anyone who piqued my interest. Needless to say, I wasn’t going to date one of the teachers who were always at the library. No way was I mixing my two worlds. I had already learned that lesson the hard way. It was because of that I had to start my life over, and I didn’t want to do it again. My life is good here. It might still be lonely, but at least the people around me express emotion.