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They ate breakfast together, the next morning. Ben looked like he’d been run over by a truck and Audrey was sullen. Barry, who had got up early to make pancakes and bacon, and had then roused everyone from sleep, was looking content. Esme had a knot in her stomach and could barely eat. She was trying not to look at Ben, who was studiously avoiding looking at anyone. She hoped everyone would assume that his behavior was the result of his latest hangover, and part of it likely was. But the other part of it was, no doubt, that he had been inside of her last night. Inside of Esme, that is, not Audrey; although perhaps he’d been inside of Audrey, too.
She wanted to throw up, but instead she took another bite of bacon, before setting the slice down and reaching for her water.
“So, how do you guys know each other again?” Audrey asked the question, and she was clearly asking Ben, not Barry. Ben looked woozy when he said, “Mutual friends, I guess. I think we’ve seen each other around at parties.”
Audrey looked mad, and unconvinced. “Popcorn parties?”
“What?” Ben asked, and Esme shoveled a mouthful of pancakes into her mouth, though she wasn’t particularly fond of pancakes, and wasn’t particularly hungry.
Audrey was actively working not to clench her teeth. “I mean, last night we made popcorn without butter for her,” she indicated to Esme with a dismissive wave of her hand, and Esme sunk lower in her chair. Did she know about last night?
Barry, sensing trouble, said, “Audrey, what’s this about?”
“I’m just wondering why my fiancé knows how your girlfriend likes her popcorn. Because that’s not something I really ever remember about any of my acquaintances.” She looked at Ben, eyebrows raised. Her voice had a forced lightness to it. If thin ice were ever to speak to you, this is what it would have sounded like.
Ben opened his mouth to speak, but no words came. He stammered something unintelligible, and silence settled over the table. Ben was not a good liar, and never had been. Esme glanced at Barry but he seemed lost for words, as well. She tried not to look to her left at Audrey, for fear the girl would snap and stab her with her fork.
The silence became a fifth guest at the table, and Esme knew if it went on much longer there was no turning back. Fuck it, she decided, though she had no idea what she was going to say she knew someone had to come up with something. “It’s okay, Ben, you can tell her, I don’t mind.” She took another bite of pancakes, stalling, and Ben just shook his head helplessly. She smiled, laughed a little, and swallowed the pancakes. “It’s kind of an embarrassing story for me.”
Barry and Ben had stopped moving, and Audrey’s posture had loosened for the first time that morning. Esme sat up a little straighter and started talking. Where she would finish, no one knows. “We’ve seen each other at a few parties, and I had developed quite the crush on Ben here after the first two times I saw him. But the third time I saw him he arrived really late to a party I was at up on hillside, and I kind of decided to work up the courage to talk to him, but I was plastered and apparently looking pretty green. I think Ben must’ve seen the writing on the wall because he made it his mission to feed me.” Esme took another bite of pancakes, and her stomach turned, she was full and wasn’t sure she could force the bite down, but she needed to stall. A glance around the table made her realize Ben and Barry were both as still as statues, not knowing what she’d be able to pull out of her ass on short notice. She wished she had some sort of clue.
Esme swallowed, took a sip of water and continued, “So anyway, all they had left at that point was popcorn. But it was buttered, and it was from the bottom of the bowl so it was really buttered, just saturated with it. Well, I don’t eat a lot of butter and I told him I don’t like butter on my popcorn, just salt.” She took another sip of water, and made a show of clearing her throat. “But I was in bad shape, and he made me eat some. And I was still kind of nervous around him, and thinking I might like him, so I ate a bite. And it was like eating fast food fries where the grease just coats your mouth, and the popcorn itself was kind of slimy and gross. And I just– couldn’t. I vomited, mostly into the bowl of popcorn but I’d had a lot to drink, and there was some splash and I got some throw up on his arm and leg, too. So, you know,” Esme took another drink of water, “it was probably hard to forget after that that I didn’t like butter on my popcorn.”
Audrey’s mouth had fallen open, and there was silence around the table. She had no idea if the girl had fallen for it, her expression did not give her away at all. “Oh, God, how embarrassing!” Audrey finally said, leaning forward and squeezing Esme’s hand. “I am so sorry I put you on the spot and made you tell that story.”
Ben and Barry visible relaxed, and Esme shrugged, feeling as though she really was going to be sick. Or go to hell. Or both. “It’s okay. My istanbul escort crush on Ben kind of died alongside my pride, and the rest is history.” She looked over at Barry and smiled, and found herself confronted with an expression of awe on his face.
They finished up breakfast and she was surprised when it was Audrey, and not the extremely worse for wear Ben, who went upstairs for a food-coma nap. Ben and Barry started clearing the table, cleaning up, so she moved into the hallway. She pulled on her boots, coat, hat and gloves and stepped out into the frigid morning air, moving carefully down the icy steps and walking in the direction of the lake.
She had no idea what she was going to do. She had lost the opportunity she had to explain herself, and her actions, last night. What was she going to say? That it was an accident? That she hadn’t meant to have sex with Ben on the kitchen counter? Their weekend getaway had been coated in so many falsehoods she couldn’t imagine thinking back on it fondly. But at the same time, Barry had spent much of the weekend holding her in his arms, and she had been content, for once. She had felt loved. And, as is her way, she had managed to completely destroy the happiness and replace it with misery.
The snow crunched beneath her Bunny boots, and the cold wind burned her exposed cheeks and nose. This was a paradise, of sorts. It was an arctic paradise, but still a paradise. It was a still day, with the lake frozen over, only a few caws from crows, but all other wildlife keeping quiet. She had come here with Barry with the hope that they would move their relationship forward, into something traditional. Things had not worked out that way and she was close to cutting her losses and running. Except that she and Barry had driven out here, together, and running away and leaving him to ride back with Ben and Audrey and without an explanation would be rude. But then, rudeness was the least of her concerns at this point.
What she needed to do was cut ties. It was not like she was locked into their group of friends, in fact they did not share mutual friends. They had gone to different high schools, and she had been three years behind them. She could potentially cut her losses and never have to see either of them again, and wasn’t it better to do it now, before things got too complicated. Although, since she was madly in love with Barry, that was a bit like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.
Esme sat down on the ground, resigning herself to a wet ass, and lay back, looking up toward the grey winter sky. It was hard to imagine an option beyond breaking it off. Everything else would be forever dragging her history with Ben behind it. What new relationship could carry that kind of weight?
It was possible that it was too late for the both of them. When he woke her up this morning, he had not shaken her awake. She had woken to find him next to her in bed, fully dressed, propped up on one elbow and looking down at her, a tender look of longing on his face that sent her heart thudding against her chest wall.
“Good morning,” he had whispered, pushing a stray curl off her face and lowering his mouth to hers. She had accepted his kiss, returned it, reveled in it. She had wrapped her arms around him and shuddered more from pleasure than from the cold when he pushed the covers down, revealing her cotton camisole.
Still groggy from sleep she had watched him pull down her camisole, exposing first one breast, then the other, and lowering his mouth. She had winced and curled her toes when his teeth closed over her nipple and he drew his head upward. A fire ignited inside of her, all at once, and she had pushed his head and the covers down, pushing his face between her legs.
He’d caught on quickly to what she wanted, and didn’t waste time by removing her panties. Instead he pulled them to the side and lowered his mouth to her, lapping at her clit as he pushed the folds of her pussy apart. Esme had sighed and leaned back, working her hand inside the waistband of his fleece pants to find him hard. She’d run her hand over the length of his cock and found some pre-cum at the tip, then pushed his pants down, freeing him and guiding his cock toward her mouth. Her tongue darted out, tasting him, before she closed her lips around him and applied suction.
Barry had repositioned, straddling her head in an effort to make sure she had the best possible access and his hips started rocking, a barely perceptible motion pushing the shaft further into her mouth.
She had come first, her legs shaking as she moaned around him, and he lifted his head away from her, stilling his movements as he concentrated on what she was doing. She sucked him off, using her hands to guide thrusts that sent the head of his cock into her throat before pushing him out again and sucking on his head while she worked the shaft with his hands.
“Oh, that’s good,” he had hissed, his head falling forward to watch. When she felt he was getting istanbul escort bayan close she let him push farther into her throat, created a little bit more suction and worked him with her hands until he said, “Oh, I’m gonna come.”
She had pulled her mouth away to ask him where he wanted to come, and been surprised when he used the opportunity to get off her face and turn around. She had expected he would have wanted the opportunity to release his load on her face again, but instead he slid inside her pussy in one smooth stroke and grunted, and she felt him spasm inside of her as he emptied his balls into her, and after the first few streams of cum he’d made a few strokes inside of her, drawing out his orgasm.
He had kissed her, then, his mouth almost crushing hers as he pushed his tongue into her mouth. She could taste her pussy on his lips as his arms snaked around her. He’d lain down then, pulling her over on top of him, kissing the top of her head as she felt his cum escaping, wetting the insides of her thighs.
“I could get used to having you this close all the time,” he had said, and she’d squeezed him tightly in an embrace she hoped conveyed her feelings, because she hadn’t had the words.
Esme still didn’t have the words.
She watched her breath rise above her as the gas turned to water and ice, white clouds ascending to the sky. She was getting colder, and laying still wasn’t helping. She stood, brushing snow off of her clothes and taking one last look across the large expanse of ice before turning back to the path through the woods leading back to the house.
The walk back was up an incline, so she could see the roof of the house over the trees as she approached. As she got closer, she heard voices, both recognizable. Barry and Ben were shouting at each other.
“What I’m saying is you can’t trust her, you don’t know what I know about her–“
“You’re hardly someone I’m going to trust on the subject, Ben, you aren’t exactly trustworthy. She is.”
“You saw what happened in there, you watched her lie like that. You’re going to tell me you can believe anything she says after you saw that performance? She’s a masterful liar, she’s manipulative and she’s a fucking slut!”
Esme had just entered the clearing of the house’s lot when Barry punched Ben. Ben dropped to the ground and Esme found herself frozen in place, her hands pressed against her mouth to muffle a cry.
Barry turned to walk away, holding his knuckles and shaking his head. Ben didn’t stay down long, and in moments was on his feet and running for “Barry!” Esme shouted, but not soon enough. Barry turned just as Ben tackled him, sending them both to the ground in a jumble of arms and legs. Ben recovered first, slammed his fist into Barry’s ribs. A strangled sound came from Barry, and he rolled over, pulling Ben back as he tried to stand. Barry, heavier, more muscular, had no trouble pinning him and holding him there with one arm while punching him, repeatedly, in the face.
“Stop!” A voice rang out. It was a female voice but it wasn’t hers. Esme looked up to see Audrey on the porch in yoga pants and a T-shirt, no bra restricting ample breasts. She ran forward a few steps, then hesitated once she passed the overhang of the roof and the snow on the ground. She was without socks or shoes.
Nothing stopped. Blood was pouring from Ben’s nose, staining the snow a sickening red. Audrey looked at her, but Esme was frozen in place, watching in horror and unable to move.
Audrey moved. She sprinted, barefoot, through the snow and, screaming, pulled Barry off of Ben. Barry stopped, once he heard her, as if coming out of some dream-state he looked down at his hand as he stood, staggered, and spit. Esme moved forward, and saw the evidence of their brawl on Barry’s face. She was afraid to look at him, worried about his thoughts following his fight with Ben. Had Ben said anything false? Wasn’t she a liar? Wasn’t she a slut? Hadn’t she proved all of that last night?
Ben had gotten to his feet, was holding his shirt to his face and pushing Audrey toward the door. She wasn’t having any of it. Esme tried not to look at her nipples through the thin cotton, she was obviously cold. Audrey moved toward Barry, a firestorm crossing her face, her eyes alight with anger. Esme was freezing cold but she didn’t dare move.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” she was screaming, and Ben was holding her, trying to pull her back. “What the fuck, Barry?”
Barry shook his head, looked sadly from Audrey to Esme and back again, then walked toward the house at a brisk pace, slamming the door behind him. Everyone followed, though Esme did so on shaking legs.
“I’m fine, it’s fine,” Barry said, wincing as Esme dabbed at his cuts with a damp cloth. She’d given him ice for his fist, and he sat, holding it, almost in a trance. She was afraid to move too quickly, speak too loudly, worried that if he snapped out of it they would have to talk. It would be the escort istanbul talk.
She went to the sink and rinsed the cloth, wringing it dry, shaking. She’d never seen a fistfight. Never seen anything so violent, so close. Never seen a face like Ben’s before the cuts closed, and the bruises formed. She had never seen best friends extinguish their relationship so violently, and certainly not seen anything like it done for her.
Barry flexed his hand, winced, then quickly relaxed his face and brought his uninjured left hand up to the cut on his eye. His nose wasn’t broken, had just been bloodied, and he didn’t take nearly the beating Ben did. But then, that’s usually what happens when you’re bigger, and more pissed, and you hit first.
“I don’t want to do this,” Esme said, he voice catching on the words. She didn’t want to destroy the longest running friendship in either man’s life but she had. And she’d possibly ruined Barry’s relationship with his sister, who hadn’t even bothered to let them know where she was taking Ben when she left, though clearly it would end in sutures, it had to. But none of it was anything compared to what she’d done to him last night, and he didn’t even know about that yet.
Barry nodded, stood, walked over to the sink where she was. They looked at each other in the mirror and swiped away tears. He ran a hand over her haid, almost sadly, and shook his head. “I know,” he said, pulling her against him, pressing his face into her hair and inhaling, breathing her in. Another tear came and she swiped at it. “We don’t have to,” he said.
He could have punched her in the kidney and it might have been kinder. A strangled sob escaped her lips. Was it relief? Despair? An unholy mixture of the two? He was letting her off the hook, he might never find out what she’d done. But he might as well have gutted her. The sobbing was uncontrollable, and humiliating. That he had to hold her while she cried was humiliating, and that he did hold her while she cried was even more humiliating.
“Sssh,” he said, rocking her gently. The comfort only made her cry harder. “We can go before they get back, we don’t have to see them again if you don’t want to.”
Confusion and something else– hope?– rose in her.
“I won’t ask you to see them again unless you want to, unless you’re ready,” he said, pulling back and tilting her head back. “It will blow over and they’ll want me at the wedding, and I’ll want you to go, too, Esme, but I won’t ever ask,” he cupped her face in his hands, smiled gently, “Esme, I–” This time Barry’s voice cracked, and he looked at her, helpless. But he didn’t say it, couldn’t. But she couldn’t blame him because she couldn’t say it, either. Not here, in this house, after this weekend.
He looked at her, expectantly, and she knew he was waiting for her. That he couldn’t be first, not this time. It was on the tip of her tongue, but pride held her back. She could be reading the situation wrong. He could be in shock, would change his mind once it cleared on the way back to the city. So why put herself out there like that? Why commit to this relationship in that way, when she would never have the moral high ground. That no matter if he never knew, she would know, and she would always be less somehow, because of it. How do you get over something like that? She couldn’t say it either, and time seemed to stop for their standstill.
“I love you.”
They did not make love. The emotions were too raw for that. As soon as those words were out his lips were on hers, his hands everywhere, her shirt over her head and on the floor. Her pants followed, and then she was pushed against the door, held by his weight as he pushed his own pants down, and it mystified her how she could be so wet again already. How many times had he been inside of her and she was still ready to go. He slid inside of her, not gently. He fucked her against the door, gave her bruises she would find later, where her hip bones had been pressed against the wood, took her to the edge before pulling out, and pulling her to the bed. He pushed her down and took off his shirt, tossing it on the ground as if it were on fire. When he entered her again he filled her completely, stretched her, made her weak with pleasure.
Barry pulled her thighs up and she obliged, wrapping them around his hips. She saw him looking down to where their bodies met, and she raised herself up on her elbows, so she could watch too. His cock was coated in her juices, slick and wet. Every time he entered her, each short, hard thrust, made her breasts bounce. She could feel her orgasm building, a sweet hot pressure building between her legs.
Esme moved her hand down between her legs, everything was wet. Her fingers were soon covered and she was able to glide them easily over her clit, back and forth, until her hips were bucking and she could see him working to hold on. He pulled out, pushed her fingers away and held his hand over his cock, pushing it down as he thrust back and forth, this time over her clit. She came swiftly, cried out. She fell back as the waves of pleasure hit and then she heard him grunt, looked up to see cum shoot from the tip of his cock, one stream coating her abdomen, sinking into her bellybutton, the next making it up to her breasts, almost to her neck.
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