21. Twenty One
Kai thought she was even more beautiful, all bashful and ducking her head when they finally left the bathroom. The boat was docking and there was only one guy who was close by watching them as they came out, but nobody else seemed to have noticed. Kai stared at the guy until he backed down and looked away. He wasn’t taking any chances with Erin again. Everyone would know he was in complete control.
Even if he wasn’t.
He didn’t want to admit it to himself, and he didn’t want Erin to know, but he wasn’t in control. He never came like that, surprising himself, unable to hold back. He was known for fucking for hours if he wanted to.
It was shocking. He wanted her so bad he could taste it, like the tang of blood on his lips. His hand tightened on hers, feeling not at all like the conquering hero, even though she had just given herself to him in the bathroom of a ferry taxi. Instead he felt like she was about to float away from him, and there was nothing he could do about it.
“Do you need help?” Erin asked an older woman who was trying to push a wire handcart over the lip of the ferry onto the Brooklyn dock.
Kai called his mind back to order and he lifted the handcart over the ledge and carried it all the way up the dock. It was too bumpy to pull it on the uneven boards of the dock. Erin walked next to the old woman, patiently listening to her explain something about feeding the cats in Gracie Mansion Park.
Erin was truly a sweet person. There was no reason to be nice to a crazy old cat lady, especially while she was dealing with her own embarrassment over their very public sex. But it wasn’t just a show she put on for the world. She had been so gracious to the Chinese woman at the noodle shop, smiling and putting her hands together in a slight bow, imitating the woman’s thanks to them for coming to her shop. And then she had stood with him in the park long after it got dark talking to the director of the Conservancy Garden, when she had thought she would be relaxing with a drink on a date after a long day at work.
He took hold of her hand again, even though he wasn’t big on hand-holding. But he wanted contact with her. Actually, to be honest with himself, he needed that contact.
But it didn’t help. As they walked to Erin's apartment, he felt himself pulling further and further away, in spite of their touch. She barely spoke, and only glanced at him a few times. He knew it was a natural reaction on her part to distance herself, especially if she had never done anything that wild sexually. For him, a little public sex was nothing. For her, she was confronting preconceptions about exhibitionism and slut shaming that every girl got growing up in America.
One thing he loved about her was how open and uninhibited she was when they were playing together. Still, she had no grounds for comparison, so of course she would naturally withdraw to regroup. But for the life of him, it freaked him out.
And that freaked him out even more. He didn’t want to care that much, so his own defenses snapped into place. He could hardly keep holding her hand, but he knew if he dropped it, she might never come back to him.
By the time they got to her place, he didn’t feel like himself at all. He kissed her forehead, and then gently her lips. “I won’t come up tonight,” he said. “But I’ll see you tomorrow morning at work.”
She blinked at him like she did when she was confused. “Okay.”
Then she hesitated as if she thought he was going to walk off. But he waited at the bottom of the stoop for her to unlock the door and let herself inside. Once she went through the inner door, he finally turned away.
Screwed, I’m seriously screwed, he thought. She had been as distant as he had felt there at the end, and he hoped he hadn’t messed everything up. Why did he jump her on the ferry? Part of him desperately wanted to go upstairs with her, and curl up in bed with her, and wake up tomorrow with her.
That was the part of him that had let go of everything and came inside of her like a geyser. His dick throbbed in remembrance.
The other part of him, the sane part, said he needed to get a grip. He was letting his balls take over his brain, and that was the sure road to ruin. It was crazy to rush into things, especially when it involved the biggest project he ever got. This could be everything for him. Was he that self-destructive that he would self-implode just as he was reaching for the brass ring?
He swore to himself he would take a break. No matter what happened, he wouldn’t see Erin tomorrow. He needed to get some distance on this thing to get control of himself again.