"Stop it, it tickles" I could hear a slurred voice loudly protest, followed by a giggle. It took me an insensible number of seconds before I realised it was my own voice. My vision was still dark but surrounding me, I could feel warmth on my skin. I pried my eyes open a little before snapping them shut, blinded slightly by the Californian sunlight that hit my face.
My thighs tingled as an unknown object continually brushed against me. Was I being tickled, stroked...licked?
"Wait, I haven't shaved!" I exploded loudly as my eyes shot open.
I glared down at my legs only to lock eyes with a small pug, adorably pawing my inner leg with its soft, droopy skin covered hands. I cooed at it trying to sit up slowly at the same time. Instantly, pain shot through my arms and head, forcing me to lower myself back onto the pillow behind me.
The sunshine had receded from the window it was coming through a little but the room was still brightly lit. The walls were white, but not a plain kind, a warm one. The room was pretty bare apart from a wooden small bedside table, a fifty inch TV adhered to the wall, four basketball jerseys occupying one wall and a massive white fluffy bed...that I was lying in.
What did I do?
I pushed my way up again and swung my legs out of bed, trying to accommodate the painful buzz in my brain. Gritting my teeth through the pain, I desperately tried to piece together what had happened last night
Unsurprisingly, I couldn't.
In perhaps a distant room, I heard the distinct sound of a shower tap turn on and then the water itself hitting the shower floor noisily.
I stood up, glancing down at myself. I was wearing nothing but a bra and knickers. I froze, not knowing what to do. I wondered if I should wait to see who came out the shower or instead, get out as fast I could to avoid any awkward situations.
Quickly, I scoured the room for my clothes which lay in a bundle over by the blaring TV.
Just as I had pulled my lace coated mini dress over my head, I heard the watery thunder come to an end. A door opened somewhere close to me and a few seconds later, a cloud of steam had travelled the length of the corridor and was hovering at the door briefly.
Eyes fixated on the door, I waited.
"Mars" a voice from the end of the corridor came, low and naturally sensual.
The pug bounded off the bed suddenly and bolted off in the voice's direction. Then, a pair of footsteps later, a very tall, very muscular and very hot guy cradling the cute puppy appeared at the doorway. Understandably, I could do nothing more than stare.
Standing before me was an easily six and a half foot chocolate god observing me intently with his intense, pearl-like eyes that were bright and intriguing even from across the room. A sexy, mischievious smile played across his soft lips and as his mouth opened slightly to reveal a perfect smile, I pulled my gaze away reluctantly.
"You're awake" he stated, although it sounded much more like a suggestion. I glanced up again, although I could feel my eyes wide with confusion and fear, mostly directed towards the fact that his entire body was covered by nothing but a mere towel.
"You don't remember anything, do you?" Again, a smile flickered across his mouth playfully, waiting for my obvious answer; no. I shook my head, forcing my lips shut so nothing highly embarassing and inappropriate tumbled out in shock. He laughed flashing his white teeth once again. Then, filled with paranoia and slight fear that I had did the worst with him, my mouth opened and I felt my tongue move.
"We didn't..." I trailed off, realising I couldn't bring my lips to form such a sensual word. Obviously sensing what I was implying, he smiled again. However, instead of offering up the word himself, he raised his eyebrows expectantly, waiting for me to finish. Grateful for my tanned skin which hid what would have easily been an crimson flush, I swallowed. Seconds passed and his expression remained, anticipating.
I sighed as if I was waiting for him to finish his sentence, but really, I was the problem. Instead, I turned the tables and began to interpret the cheeky smile he directed towards me as a smug heavy judgement. I could almost hear him thinking aloud of how much of a dork I was, that I couldn't even let the simple word 'sex' slip past my lips.
As it turned out, my misinterpretation was just what I needed because my irritation spurred me on to finish .
"Did we have sex?" I asked as bluntly as I could muster, yet inside, I felt the distinct tingle of danger that I had crossed the line and like a fragile butterfly, he would fly very swiftly away.
I could see the expression dim slighlty in his shimmering eyes but he held the smile on his face. For some time he said nothing and I couldn't help but feel he was about to frown and twist his face in disgust, asking why he would stoop so low and hook up with someone so well out of his league. I lowered my eyes in anticipation for something bad yet nothing could have prepared for his next words.
My eyes snapped up, finding his own bright eyes which confirmed he was being honest and genuine before being briefly caught in a crossfire of stares. I surrendered first, lowering my eyes again.
"I'm sorry" I apologized earnestly, my blood still buzzing from his words. "Do you know what happened? ...why I'm here?"
"You passed out, your friends bailed so I brought you here" He stepped out of the doorway and over to the bed, opening the adjacent wardrobe and pulling out a bunch of clothes. He started to loosen his towel and instinctively, I quickly spun one hundred and eighty degrees turn to face the wall. I could sense him staring even from behind.
"Umm...you don't have to turn, but..." he laughed, "thanks"
I nodded at the wall, embarrassed to the core.
There was an indistinct rustle of clothes being hurried pulled on before his soft, smooth voice spoke again.
"All good, you can turn back"
I swivelled back round to meet him just as naked as before. He stood, eyebrows raised again, in tight Calvin Klein boxers, hanging just below his waist revealing a glimpse of his strong and defined V-shaped abdominal muscles that sent my heart into tiny flutters of excitement.
"Pants is not all good" I laughed uneasily, desperately trying to find somewhere else, anywhere else, for my line of vision to rest without encountering his bulging boxers.
"Pants" he repeated, confused, "Oh..." there was a pause as he seemed to realize something, "...you're English?!"
I shook my head with an uncontrollable smile breaking out on my face; was it possible to be so naturally attracted to a stranger?
Quickly I pushed the thought out my mind as I commonly did with most of my thoughts. I couldn't be in love, he was a stranger. It wasn't possible.
"We have a winner" I drawled mimicking a lame carnival games voice, and still laughing.
"How did I not realize...you're accent is beautiful" His gaze locked onto me but instead of radiating intimidation, it emitted pure safety and peace, like I was his and he was mine.
"Thank you" I nodded, not quite knowing how to reply but overwhelmed by his kindness. "Well, I better be going, I've caused enough trouble" I laughed lightly, trying to get out of his soft, curly hair. I crossed the room aimlessly, waiting for him to show me the way out.
He repeated my breezy laugh before adding, "Mmm, I better leave you to get shaving as well"
My lips parted from each other with surprise and severe embarrassment.
"You heard that?" I stuttered, throwing a suspicious look towards the dog as if it had somehow told him.
"Pretty sure most of the state did" he joked, crossing his arms casually to his chest and brushing mine in the process. I felt that tingle again.
"I was referring to my legs" I argued defensively, desperate to pick up the small shreds of dignity I had left.
"Of course you were"
His laugh was so delicate yet genuine. I couldn't sense any elements of pity, or falseness, everything about him was...perfect?
"I didn't even catch your name" I suddenly realised, speaking to disrupt my overwhelming but unnecessary thoughts.
"I'm Jalen" he smiled,
We shook hands politely but almost mockingly as if we knew we were past that level of stranger politeness. A mere two hours we'd probably been speaking, but waking up in someone's apartment does tend to give you a head start into knowing them.
"Beautiful name. Slightly weird" he commented, curling his lip up jokingly.
"And you can talk?! Jalen? Hmm, a slight unoriginal Jaden wannabe" I laughed,
"Wow, how dare you?!"
"What's wrong pretty boy? Bet you're regretting calling my name weird"
"I'm used to girls screaming my name, not mocking it" his tone was narrow and sincere, as if he had meant to make the sexual joke, yet his eyes were too bright and innocent to class it as anything apart from playfulness.
Without thinking, I winked, "Of course" mimicking his earlier tone about my legs.
"Can I drive you home?"
"Oh no, don't even worry, I can get a cab from Main Street, right?" I smiled gratefully, "Thank you though"
He walked me down his super clean, super shiny apartment stairs and to the door.
"Thanks for bringing me home" I gushed,
"No problem. Might want to check out some of those friends of yours, spiking your drink and then bailing on you. Could help you wind up in a stranger's house" he joked,
"Mmm" I agreed with a smile, yet at the back of my head I felt a tinge of anger knowing full well it was them who started this, "Thanks again"
I began walking down his paved driveway, trying to hold myself together as I knew he was watching. At the end of his driveway, I turned left and cocked my head back his way to wave goodbye.
"Aleesia" his soft, protruding voice transformed my name into the sound of something delicate and exotic. I slowed down, somewhere in the back of mind hoping that he was about to ask me for my number.
"Main Street's the other way" he laughed,
I fluttered my eyes to the heavens and swivelled round in my heels, pretending to disregard my embarrassment. Mouthing a thank-you, I walked further up the opposite way until I was swallowed up somebody else's front garden shrubbery and finally out of his view.