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On their way home from the restaurant, they made a short detour, which led them past the Mint. They stood looking at it for a while, hand in hand, silent. In only a few short weeks, they would be back here, and the events inside that building would determine the rest of their lives. Sergio suddenly realized something. All his life, he’d been focused on the future, always able to picture the years up until the heist with crystalline clarity. But now, when he thought of his future after the heist, he couldn’t see anything. He’d never really thought about after: the operation itself had eclipsed everything else. He’d had a vague idea of himself and his brother on a beach somewhere, but now he couldn’t even see that anymore. He tried to picture his life with Raquel, but the images wouldn’t come – the heist was too big of a risk, the outcome too unpredictable. This could end in so many different ways. Paradise. Prison. Death. He looked at her and saw his own thoughts reflected in her face.

She squeezed his hand. “Let’s really enjoy the rest of our evening, shall we?”

He nodded and shook his head to clear it of dark thoughts. She was right, they should enjoy their time together while they still could. He took a deep breath and focused on her again, noticing suddenly that she was shivering in her light summer dress. He shrugged out of his jacket and draped it over her shoulders, and she smiled up at him.

“Thank you, that’s very sweet of you. You’re a real gentleman.”

He smiled, pleased. Then she suddenly leaned into him and whispered in his ear:

“Now let’s go home so I can get you out of your pants too.”

He grinned. “I thought women don’t usually sleep with men on the first date.”

She ran her fingers through his hair and bit his earlobe. “I’ll make an exception for you.”

They smiled at each other, then she took his hand and they started heading home. After a few blocks, however, a tantalizing strain of music on the night air made her look up eagerly. It was coming from a café on the other side of the street – inside, there were colored lights, energetic music, and a lot of people were dancing. He glanced at her and noticed the way she looked at the dancers with an expression of longing. A woman like Raquel should be treated right. Oh god. He hated crowds, he hated noise, he hated dancing, but she clearly wanted to and… women like strong men. He spoke quickly, before he could change his mind.

“Let’s go in.”

Her eyes lit up. “Really?”

He steeled himself. “Yes, you said you wanted to go dancing.”

“But you said you didn’t.”

“I changed my mind”, he lied.

She bit her lip as she threw the café another longing look. “Do you think it’s safe to go in?”

“I should say so, it’s quite dark in there and nobody will pay us any attention anyway.”

Her eyes were sparkling. “Alright, then let’s go in!”

So, his heart beating fast with apprehension, he crossed the street with her and they entered the café. He regretted his decision instantly. The music was so much louder inside, everything smelled of spilled beer and sweaty bodies, and it was so crowded that people kept bumping into him. Raquel didn’t seem to notice any of it, though, turning to him with a broad smile.

“Do you want to get something to drink first?” she asked, having to yell to make herself heard over the noise.

He nodded gratefully – anything that kept them from dancing for as long as possible. They made their way through the crowd to the bar, and she ordered wine while he just asked for water.

She raised her eyebrows. “Water, really?”

“We already had wine at dinner”, he said. “Too much alcohol clouds my mind.”

“It might help you lower your inhibitions a little, though”, she grinned.

He shuddered at the very thought. He’d already fallen into a lake today – he felt like he’d made enough of a fool out of himself for one date. If he was going to dance, he wanted to be in full control of his mental faculties, so he stuck to water as they sat down and watched the dancers. He could feel himself get increasingly nervous as he noticed her tap her foot along with the rhythm, and watching the men on the dance floor didn’t help either: they all seemed so confident, swinging their partners around with easy grace. And why did the music have to be so loud? His head was starting to pound. Finally he decided he should just get it over with, so he got up and offered her his hand, and she took it with a radiant smile.

They stepped onto the dance floor, looking for an open spot, and there were people all around him, crowding close. The noise was overwhelming. Suddenly he froze, paralyzed. What was he thinking? He couldn’t dance. He would never be able to do this right, he’d only embarrass her, and what would she think of him then?

She was frowning at him. “Sergio? Are you okay?”

The noise, the heat, the crowd – he suddenly couldn’t take it anymore. He started pushing his way through the dancers towards the door, feeling an immediate wave of relief wash over him as he stepped into the quiet darkness outside. He was gratefully gulping in the cool night air when she stepped out too.

“Okay, what just happened?”

“I’m sorry”, he said quietly. “I just couldn’t do it.”

“I get that”, she said. “What I don’t get is why you proposed it in the first place, then.”

“You’re angry”, he said, a terrible sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. He’d let her down.

But she reached out a hand and gently stroked his cheek.

“No, of course I’m not angry, I’m just confused. It was your suggestion we go in to dance, I didn’t ask you to do it.”

He took a deep breath. “I just wanted this to be the perfect date for you.”

“By pushing yourself over your limits?”

“I should be able to do something as simple as dancing, though”, he said, frustrated with himself. “You deserve someone who can take you dancing. You deserve someone strong and confident. Women like strong men.” He looked up and noticed her frown. “Don’t they?”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Who have you been talking to?”

“What?”

“You didn’t come up with this nonsense on your own. Who said you had to be strong and confident?”

He hesitated for a moment, then said: “Berlin.”

She gave him a look of horror. “You’re taking romantic advice from Berlin?”

“A lot of women like him”, he said defensively.

“Sure, until they get to know him better. Sergio, I don’t want you to be like Berlin!”

He looked up. “You don’t?”

“No! You know who was strong and confident? My ex-husband. Do you think I want another man like that? I like you, Sergio, because you’re different from men like Alberto or Berlin. You’re kind and sweet and that’s what I love about you. Who cares if you can’t take me dancing?”

“But you love to dance.”

“Not if it makes you so uncomfortable.”

“Berlin said a woman like you should be treated right.”

“Well”, she smiled. “I won’t object to that, but treating me right shouldn’t come at the expense of your happiness or wellbeing. A relationship should work for both parties involved.”

“I just want you to be happy”, he murmured.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and looked up at him. “But I am happy. You make me happy.”

She gave him such a soft smile that he could barely stand it. What had he done to deserve her? He bent his head and pressed his lips to hers, and she leaned against him as she responded. Twining his fingers into her hair, he pressed her closer with one hand on the small of her back, and kissed her harder, deeper, for several long moments. When he pulled back, she was slightly breathless.

“Goddammit Sergio, you can’t kiss me like that in the middle of the street.”

 He smiled. “Why not?”

She grabbed his hair and murmured in his ear: “Because if you do it again I’m going to have to drag you into an alley and fuck you up against a wall and as a former cop I can tell you that’s definitely not allowed.”

He grinned. “Let’s get you home then, before your libido gets us arrested for public indecency.”

The moment the door closed behind them, she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him fiercely, then started moving towards the bed.

He pulled back, however. “No, Raquel, wait a minute…”

She gave him a look of highest indignation. “No, I’m not waiting another minute! You know, you can’t promise someone you’re going to make her come over and over again and then not deliver. That’s just not polite.”

He smiled broadly. “Oh, I’ll keep my promise, don’t worry. But technically, this is still part of our date, so I want to do it right.”

“Then take me to bed”, she pleaded. “That’s really all I’m asking for at this point.”

“In a minute”, he said. “Let me just set the mood first.”

She groaned in frustration. “Sergio, I’m already in the mood.”

He grinned. God, he loved her enthusiasm. “I’ve noticed. But I’m not ending this date without a little romance.”

He reached for the fuse box, dimmed the big overhead lights and lit the fairy lights that were all over the workplace. Then he went over to the record player and carefully selected a slow, romantic song. When the music started up, his mind went back to the café, and he hesitated. Maybe he could still make this the perfect date, just… in his own way.

He turned around and held out his hand to her. “May I have this dance?”

Her eyes lit up. “Are you sure?”

“Yes”, he said. “I don’t mind dancing here, when it’s just you and me. You’ll have to teach me, though.”

She took his hand, smiling. “Let’s keep it simple.”

She placed his arms around her waist and wrapped her own arms around his neck.

“Now just… feel the music”, she whispered.

He liked this song and he knew it well, so moving to the rhythm wasn’t as hard as he’d thought it would be. After a minute, he felt himself relax and pulled her closer to him. She leaned her head against his shoulder and sighed happily as they turned in slow circles, and he had to admit that, actually, this was quite nice.

They kept dancing until the song was done, after which she kissed him softly.

“That was perfect.”

“Let’s dance through the next song, too.”

She pulled back a little and looked up at him.

“Sergio… I’m afraid I have a problem.”

He frowned at her in concern. “What’s wrong?”

“Well, see…” she murmured, leaning into him and putting her hand on his tie. “My boyfriend is too damn sexy and I can’t keep my hands off him.”

He grinned in delight. “That sounds like the opposite of a problem from my perspective.”

“Oh, but it is a problem”, she assured him seriously. “Because I’ve been trying to get him into bed all day and he keeps insisting that we do other things first.”

He matched her serious expression. “Hmm, that does sound challenging.”

“You have no idea”, she sighed dramatically.

“Maybe your boyfriend can make it up to you now”, he suggested.

She looked up at him, her eyes shining. “And how does he propose to do that?”

She gasped as he suddenly spun her around so her back was pressed against him.

“Like this”, he murmured, and she sighed as he started kissing her neck. He moved his hands to cup her breasts, using his thumbs to stroke her nipples through the fabric of her dress until they hardened. “Was this the kind of thing you had in mind?”

“Yes”, she breathed, leaning back against him. “Oh, yes.”

He squeezed her nipples and nipped at the soft skin of her neck with his teeth. She bit her lip.

“You don’t have to be quiet”, he reminded her. “In fact, please don’t be quiet.”

She smiled, and when he squeezed her nipples again she closed her eyes and let out a soft moan.

“That’s what I like to hear”, he murmured. “But I think we can do better than that.”

He might not feel very comfortable on the dance floor, he reflected, but here he knew exactly what he was doing, and he felt a calm, quiet confidence settle over him as he reached one hand underneath her dress and pressed his palm to her so she gasped. Then he slipped his hand inside her underwear so he could touch her, and he groaned.

“I can’t believe you’re this wet already.”

Already?” she said. “I’ve been waiting for this all day and you…”

She abruptly stopped speaking and heaved a sigh as he entered her with two fingers. He wrapped his other arm around her waist and held her tight as he moved his fingers up and started stroking her where she wanted him most, and soon she was breathing fast, her eyes closed, her lips slightly parted, uttering soft moans that made him ache with longing for her. He kept himself firmly in check, however, as he focused entirely on her, and soon she was trembling in his arms. Recognizing the signs, he quickened the pace of his fingers, and suddenly her eyes flew open.

“Sergio!” she gasped, clutching at his arm. “I need to lie down!”

“I don’t think you do”, he murmured in her ear, tightening his arm around her waist. “I think I’m going to make you come right here.”

“I don’t think I can… standing up…” she panted, but he knew exactly where to touch her, and she threw her head back with a moan.

“I won’t let you fall”, he whispered. “Trust me.”

“Oh god…” she moaned, her eyes tightly closed, her fingers gripping his arm. “Oh god!

The next moment, to his utter delight, she started shaking, then leaned heavily against him as short, whispered moans escaped her lips. He kept up the movements of his fingers until she gasped and pushed his hand away. Immediately after, he felt her knees give way, and he quickly swept her up in his arms and lifted her off the ground. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him, then murmured against his lips:

“I want you, I want you, I want you so badly.”

“Good”, he rumbled in response. “Because I’m not nearly done with you.”

“Oh”, she sighed happily, then she kissed his neck as he carried her to the bed, and he felt his desire for her flare up with a sudden breathtaking intensity.

They undressed each other with eager hands, and he covered her in kisses before saying, a little breathlessly:

“Get on your knees.”

She sat up and gripped his hair, then kissed him, hard.

“God, I love it when you take charge.”

She turned around and got to her hands and knees, and he quickly got behind her. He couldn’t possibly want her more. Yet he took his time to run his hands over her back and buttocks, and down her thighs, loving the sight of her like this. They didn’t use this position back at the house because it made the bed rock and creak too hard, so he was going to damn well enjoy it now.

She looked back at him. “What are you waiting for?”

“Just looking at you”, he murmured, still caressing her. “I love looking at you.”

She laughed. “You can look at me all you want later, now please get on with it.”

“Oh no”, he said, slowly running his hand up her inner thigh, making her squirm. “You can’t have it both ways.”

“What do you mean?”

“You can’t say that you like it when I take charge and then try to rush me. If I’m in charge, then I get to decide what happens and when.”

He withdrew his hands. “If I want to look at you, then I’ll look at you.”

He moved one hand around her hip and slipped it between her legs, making her shudder. “If I want to touch you, then I’ll touch you.”

He smiled, then said: “And if I want to take you very, very slowly…”

“Oh god, no”, she groaned.

“No?” he teased her. “Then what would you like?”

“You know what I want, Sergio”, she said.

“Yes”, he murmured, stroking her inner thighs again. “But I’d like to hear you say it.”

“Hard”, she whispered. “I want you to take me hard.”

He guided himself to her and gripped her hips with both hands, then he suddenly pushed into her, filling her entirely with one stroke, making a sharp cry burst from her lips.

“Like this?”

“Yes”, she breathed, “exactly like that. Now don’t stop!”

He gripped her hips even tighter and started taking her, hard and fast, pressing in deeply with each thrust, making her moan each time. She tilted her hips and he gasped as she was suddenly so tight around him, the sensation of it exquisitely, unbearably good. He gritted his teeth and took a deep breath – he didn’t want to come yet – he had other priorities. He moved his hand around her hip again and quickly found the right spot, stroking her in time with the rhythm of their movements. Soon she was breathing hard again, and when he picked up the pace, she hung her head and started trembling, gasping, her hands gripping the sheets. Suddenly she cried out and he felt her clench around him, almost pushing him over the edge too, but he managed to hold on. God, feeling her come like that was almost unbearably hot.

He stopped and pulled back his hand to let her catch her breath, then he slipped his fingers back between her legs to start stroking her again. She quickly pushed his hand away, though.

“It’s too sensitive now.”

He pulled back from her entirely. “Then we’ll have to find a different approach.”

 “What?”

She gasped as he pushed her onto her back, then laughed as he spread her legs and settled himself down between her thighs.

“What are you doing?”

“I seem to recall telling you I’d make you come again and again and again. I’m a man of my word.”

She was smiling, but said: “I’m not sure I can come three times in a row, Sergio.”

“Let’s find out”, he grinned. “This is the perfect time and place for a little experimentation.”

“It’s so sensitive now, though…”

He could feel her apprehension, so he dipped his head down and gave her the softest lick.

“How does that feel?”

“Oh”, she sighed, and he felt her relax. “Yes, that feels nice. Do it again…”

He obliged her happily, applying his tongue in such a way that she was rendered speechless. He kept the pressure very, very light, but he made up for it by entering her with two fingers and pushing upwards. She arched her back and moaned. He struck up a steady rhythm and soon she was breathing fast again, her fingers entwined in the sheets, her head thrown back. It took a little longer this time, but he didn’t mind at all. He was thoroughly enjoying the sounds she was making, loving every second of it, feeling richly rewarded when she rose up out of the pillows with a loud cry, then sobbed his name as the waves of the orgasm washed over her again and again. He reduced the pressure of his tongue, keeping her going for as long as she could bear, until she pushed his head away and fell back into the pillows, gasping and shivering.

He came up to lie beside her as she pressed her hands to her face and moaned softly.

“Oh my god, Sergio.”

“I told you I’d keep my promise”, he said smugly.

“I can’t believe you made me come three times.”

“This is really good to know for future reference”, he grinned.

“You can’t make me come three times every time though”, she laughed. “I’m exhausted.”

He took her in his arms and gently stroked her shoulder as she recovered. After a few minutes, she pulled his head down for a kiss.

“Weren’t you the perfect boyfriend today”, she murmured against his lips.

“It’s no less than you deserve”, he murmured back.

“Well”, she said, her eyes sparkling. “And you deserve something in return now. I think I know just the thing.”

She pushed him onto his back and started kissing his neck. He closed his eyes and smiled as she trailed her kisses down his chest and stomach, but when she went even lower and he realized what she was about to do, he stopped her.

“Raquel… I don’t like that.”

She sat up and gave him a look of utter disbelief. “I’m sorry… you don’t like getting blowjobs?”

“Not really, no.”

“Have you ever even gotten one?”

“Yes”, he said. “Once.”

“And you didn’t like it?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Teeth”, he said succinctly. “Also, it was rather dry and just generally unstimulating.”

“Oh”, she said, comprehension dawning. “Was it your partner’s first time doing it, by any chance?”

“I… I think so, yes.”

She nodded. “Then she was probably rather nervous and clumsy. Well, I can assure you that is not what a blowjob usually feels like.”

“It isn’t?”

“No”, she said, her eyes shining. “Are you willing to give it another chance with me?”

“I… I don’t know, Raquel.”

“I promise I won’t hurt you. In fact, I one hundred percent guarantee you that you’ll love it.”

He had to admit that she had him intrigued. “You seem pretty confident.”

She grinned. “Oh, I am.”

“Well, then I don’t suppose it could hurt to try again… But you’ll stop if it’s not working?”

“I will”, she promised him. “Now lie back and relax.”

“You don’t mind doing it?” he asked her, remembering the definite lack of enthusiasm of his previous partner.

“No, I don’t mind”, she said. “In fact, I rather like it. I’m also rather good at it.”

His curiosity was definitely piqued now. “Alright then. Go ahead.”

His expectations were still low. Very low, in fact. Which was a good thing, he supposed, since it meant he wouldn’t get disappointed. He settled himself more comfortably on his back and waited for her to start. She went to sit between his legs and at first she just ran her fingers lightly down his stomach, stopping short just before she reached critical territory. When his body started responding to that, she moved her hands to his knees and ran them upwards over his thighs. She repeated the motion a few times, then he inhaled sharply as she lightly used her fingernails to draw paths up his inner thighs, the feeling of it electric. When he shivered, she bent down and started pressing kisses everywhere but there – his lower stomach, the sensitive creases of his legs, his inner thighs. Soon he was entirely hard and squirming for contact – any kind, as long as she would touch him.

“How’s your enthusiasm for the idea?” she asked him, smiling.

“Growing”, he said. Then, when she continued her tantalizing kisses, he groaned. “You’re teasing me.”

“That’s a very astute observation.”

He laughed. “Will you stop?”

“Not until you’re begging me.”

“You’re asking me to beg you for something I don’t really want in the first place?”

“Exactly.”

He considered this. “I’m not sure my dignity will allow that.”

She grinned. “Believe me, in a few minutes you’ll feel like your dignity was a very small price to pay.”

He raised an eyebrow. “I think I might need some more convincing.”

“No problem”, she whispered.

Then, very carefully, she ran her fingernails up his shaft. He shivered and closed his eyes for a moment.

“Oh. Do that again.”

She obliged him, and he shivered again. However, he already knew she was good with her hands, so…

“This isn’t convincing me about the blowjob, though”, he argued.

She nodded. “Good point. Let me give you a preview, then.”

She bent down, and this time she ran her tongue up his length. It felt soft and warm and he closed his eyes and sighed as she did it again. Then she reached the top, closed her mouth over him, and sucked, and his eyes flew open.

“Oh!”

She was doing something with her tongue now – he wasn’t sure what, but he was damn sure that he liked it. Just when it was getting really good, she stopped and looked up with a smile.

“So. Should I continue?”

“Yes”, he breathed.

“Then you know what to do”, she said smugly.

“Please”, he said immediately. “Please, Raquel, I’m begging you. Please do the thing you were just doing, it felt so good.”

“That’s what I like to hear”, she smiled. “I won’t have you unenthusiastic when you’re in bed with me, it just won’t do.”

“Well, I’m not unenthusiastic anymore. In fact, I couldn’t get any more enthusiastic.”

She laughed. “I bet you can, though. Alright, foreplay is over, let’s begin.”

He blinked. “Wait… that wasn’t it?”

She grinned at him. “I’m just getting started.”

As she bent down again, his entire body was now tense with anticipation. When her warm, wet mouth closed over him again, he shut his eyes with a groan, then he inhaled sharply as she started moving down, taking him in as far as she could. God, that felt good. His breathing quickened as she started moving up and down, but she wasn’t finished yet. Now that he was wet, she closed her hand around him with a firm grip, and put her mouth right behind her fingers. When she started moving up and down again, he gasped and clutched at the sheets.

“How… how are you doing that?”

The sensation was indescribably delicious: her hand so tight around him, with the added pleasure of her warm, soft mouth… holy hell. This compared in nothing to his previous experience: no teeth, no dry chafing, and all the right kinds of stimulation – he felt like he was floating. She did the thing with her tongue again and he moaned.

“Oh! Oh god, Raquel, what are you doing to me?”

Just when he thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, she cupped his balls with her other hand and started massaging them gently, adding a whole new layer of sensation to an already overwhelmingly ecstatic experience. This is it, he thought. This must be the absolute summum of sensual pleasure. The next moment, even that thought was extinguished as he surrendered himself entirely to the feeling of it. He wanted it to last, but he knew perfectly well he wouldn’t be able to bear it much longer, so he reveled in every second he could get before it was over. Oh, the things she did with her tongue were driving him mad!

He could feel the tension inside him start to build – fast. He pulled himself together just enough to gasp:

“Raquel, I won’t last much longer.”

He expected her to pull back, and he silently swore his undying love for her when she didn’t. A tingling was starting up in his lower stomach, and he gripped the sheets so tightly his knuckles whitened, every muscle in his body tensed.

“Don’t stop”, he whispered. “Please don’t stop.”

She didn’t, and all at once the orgasm broke over him, making him cry out sharply as a delicious fire spread through his entire body, lighting him up from the inside, taking his breath away. Wave after wave of pleasure swept through him, each an infinite moment of utter delight, and the only thought in his mind was Raquel. Then the sensation receded and he relaxed back into the pillows, panting, shaking, the skin all over his body tingling with a warm, golden afterglow.

He opened his eyes just as she drew back, and his eyes went wide as she swallowed. That was, without a doubt, the hottest thing he could imagine, and he couldn’t possibly adore her more. She moved up to sit beside him with a rather satisfied smile on her face, which he felt she had earned ten times over. He could only look up at her, stunned.

“So”, she said. “Thoughts?”

“I…” he tried, “that was… I mean… it felt…”

He gave up, and she laughed. “Out of words, are you?”

He nodded, smiling, and opened his arms to her. When she settled into them, he covered her face with kisses.

An hour later, after much cuddling and kissing and, once he regained the power of speech, offers of eternal devotion, she was idly walking around the room.

“What’s underneath here?” she asked, pulling away a sheet. “Oh! A piano! Do you play?”

“I do”, he said.

“Well, now you have to show me”, she smiled.

He got up from the bed and settled himself behind the piano. It had been a while since he last played, but his hands took up position automatically and his fingers instinctively picked out the notes of one of his favorite tunes. She sat down next to him and when he looked up at her, her eyes were shining.

“That’s very sexy”, she whispered, then leaned in to kiss his cheek.

He smiled. “Good to know. I’ll have to play the piano for you more often.”

“Please do”, she murmured, biting his earlobe and making his fingers stumble over the keys.

“Don’t distract the pianist”, he laughed.

“I would never”, she said innocently. Then, when he transitioned into a different song: “Oh, I know this tune.”

She started humming along and he looked up at her sharply. “You sing?”

“A little”, she smiled.

“Now that’s sexy. Will you sing something?”

“If you play a song I know.”

“Let’s find one, then.”

It took them a while to find a song they both knew. Finally they settled on an old Spanish folk song that everyone in Spain seemed to just know from birth – neither of them remembered learning it, yet they also couldn’t recall a time when they hadn’t known the words. He struck up the first chords, and he was surprised when she added her voice to the music, a warm, slightly husky alto that was very pleasant to listen to. He closed his eyes and allowed his fingers to find their own way across the keys, letting the sound of her voice wash over him. She leaned against his shoulder as she sang softly, giving new life to the old words he knew so well. He suddenly realized something – sitting here with her, making music together, shoulder by shoulder, the memory of a perfect day behind them, the echo of her touch still humming through his body – he’d never been happier. The thought of the heist intruded on his thoughts for a second, a dark cloud looming on the horizon of a clear blue sky, but he pushed it away again. He didn’t want to think about the future right now, about everything that might happen, everything that could go wrong. He wanted to live forever in this perfect, golden moment with her.