Erin thought about Kai a lot over the next few days, wondering what would happen on their date. She had already let him get intimate with her, if you could call hair-pulling intimate. She hadn’t even kissed him! But it sure felt sexy. The only thing she knew about kinky sex was from that book everyone was reading, but that was just a romance novel with a billionaire protagonist and his virgin lover. That had nothing to do with her life.
She knew Kai wasn’t the right man for her. She could never be the kind of uninhibited girl Nikki was. And he would never be the rock-steady partner she was looking for. It was sad because there was so much chemistry between them. She knew chemistry didn’t mean compatibility, but it was really hard to ignore her feelings. Even when she reminded herself over and over again how he charmed everyone. She was just one among many to him.
So she thought about Kai, wearing a groove of him in her mind. Trying not to, but finding herself daydreaming about his hand clutching her hair, and her hips grinding into him shamelessly.
He texted her on Saturday afternoon saying: I’m looking forward to seeing you at 8. It was the first text she had gotten from Kai. She wondered how she would feel seeing his name in her phone after the project was over. She had a very bad premonition that it would all end in her deleting his number from her phone in tears.
She had never looked forward to any date with so many mixed feelings. The worst thing was that she felt like she couldn’t talk to anyone. She was curious, but afraid to go further down this path. It was the same feeling she had when she moved to New York City—it was scary and thrilling because she didn’t know what would happen next. Wasn’t that the sort of life she had wanted when she moved here, something more unpredictable and new?
She wished she could talk to someone about it, someone other than Kai. But she hadn’t spoken to her college friend Alexis in years, and they never had much in common other than their mutual set of friends. Nobody else would even begin to understand.
It also bothered Erin that nobody knew she was going out with Kai. Not that she thought he would do anything bad to her. But she didn’t know him, and he was… kinky.
So once she was ready, she ran downstairs to see Michele and Katie. Thankfully, they were home.
Katie answered the door. “Erin! Come in, so glad you came down. We were just fixing some spaghetti, would you like some?”
“I’m going out to eat.”
“I can tell!” Katie stood back to examine her. “You look great. Who are you going out with?”
Erin had picked out her best jeans and a silky shirt that draped over her breasts, exposing a tasteful amount of cleavage. Not to mention her high heels and best lingerie—not that any guy would see her underwear on a first date! She just liked the sexy way it made her feel.
Erin followed Katie into the narrow kitchen, a mirror of her own kitchen two floors above. The same mid-80’s oak cabinets and battered Formica countertops, the same wood floor. Michele was stirring a big pot on the stove, an apron wrapped around her curvy figure. Michele was reserved—she was a researcher who worked at the VA Hospital in Brooklyn. Katie was lean and spare, always moving and talking, always upbeat. She worked in a big midtown hotel in the AV department, setting up the equipment for conferences.
Suddenly facing them both, Erin felt embarrassed to mention her fears. “I’m going out with Malachi Miuro, the artist who won the competition to redesign the plaza at BioEnd. He’s making a giant sundial for us.”
“Nice!” Katie said. “Is it a date-date or a work-date?”
“It’s a date-date. Our first. So I wanted to let someone know.”
Michele nodded over at the stove. “It’s always a good idea. You never can tell who you’ll meet in the city.”
“Anywhere!” Katie agreed.
Erin hesitated, not quite sure how to bring it up. “He says he’s kinky.” She looked between them. “Do you know anything about that?”
“What? Like ropes and whips?” Katie asked, wrinkling her nose.
Katie shrugged in wonder. Michele was turned away toward the stove, but she said, “Why do people always assume gays know everything about freaky sex?”
“Oh! I’m sorry!” Erin exclaimed. “I didn’t mean it like that. You two are just the only people I’ve gotten to be friends with since I came here. I don’t know anyone else to ask.”
Michele took one look at her and abandoned the spaghetti to come to Erin, touching her arm. “I didn’t mean that. It’s just a reflex. I know you’re not prejudiced.”
Erin nodded, wishing she hadn’t asked them. But Michele wouldn’t let it go. “Have you talked to him about it?”
“A little bit. He’s done a few things with me, and I’m just not sure about it.”
“Has he pushed you into doing something you don’t want to do?”
“Yes. But he apologized. He said he shouldn’t have tried anything with me while I was at work. And before I agreed.”
“That’s not good,” Michele said flatly. “It’s your choice what you do. You have the right to stop anything at any time.”
“One thing I liked and the other I didn’t.” She liked the hair pulling, but she didn’t like thinking about what he said to her, how he had wanted to call her a “bad girl.” It made her squirm.
“Have you slept with him?” Katie asked.
“No. I’m not sure he wants to have sex with me. Not in the usual way. And I’m not sure I want to do it his way.”
“Well, you better be sure,” Michele said. “If you let someone tie you up, you damn well better know they’re going to untie you again. If you don’t, you can get into serious trouble.”
Katie saw that Erin was worried, and she reached out to give her a hug. “Just stay safe, okay? You have my number, don’t you? Why don’t you tell him you’re going to call me in a few hours? That way he knows someone is keeping track of you.”
Erin thought that sounded like a great idea. Though she was sure that Kai wouldn’t hurt her. He would be stupid to try. She could nix his contract in a second if he got out of line. But it seemed like sound advice regardless of who she was dating.
By the time Kai texted her saying: I’m downstairs, Erin had made her up mind that it wasn’t going to work out between them. She couldn’t get serious about a man who was the kind of person her friends had to warn her about. She would have to consider this an adventure, and that was the end of it.