Laurel ran her fingers along the edge of her skirt and squeezed her bare legs together, still shocked from what she’d just done. Only a few minutes before, Frank had taken her on the patio, Professor Keating’s patio. In that twisting of arms and collision of tongues, he had moved away her panties just enough to slip inside of her, exactly where she wanted him to be, exactly where she needed to feel him. It was a fleeting, clandestine embrace, consumed in the dark and destined to an incomplete, rushed pleasure. That’s why they decided to be selfish, to steal the hours of that long night and make a shelter to love each other in secret.
The girl clutched at her shoulders, unable to build up the courage to even look at the man sitting in the driver’s seat. What was she doing with her life? She’d never lost control like this before. She had never let her morality fall to pieces. She had never even considered betraying someone else’s trust. Frank had given her a shove, made her stumble and then fall, and instead of getting up, she had dragged him along with her.
She closed her eyes, slightly opening her lips, and let out a soft sigh. He noticed her hesitance and reached out his hand to hold her own. Laurel squeezed his hand back; after all, it was the only certain thing in her life at the moment.
“Laurel, Laurel, Laurel,” She heard him mutter over and over, beard tickling her ear as he pushed her against the wall. They had just slammed the door behind themselves and, by shutting the whole world out, the guilt was nothing but far away and imperceptible.
The warmth of his kisses, instead, was right, real. Laurel’s bag fell onto the floor in a rattling of keys, paperwork, and all the things in her purse. Her coat, however, was Frank’s to take away before throwing it on the couch. 'Close, closer' the girl thought, grabbing her lover, needing to feel his body against hers. She stepped back toward the bedroom, Frank leading the way. The light came on and she opened her eyes, meeting Frank’s; they burned with the promise to eat her alive. She held her breath as Frank raised her sweater eagerly, leaving her skin exposed to the merciless caresses of his fingers.
'Yes. Touch me, touch me. Don’t ever leave me.' Laurel’s thoughts were dim and yet very clear, in a strange paradox that only desire can generate. But then the gentle touches stopped, giving way to the loosening of a tie, the opening of a waistcoat… No. No! She wanted to take care of it. Driven by instinct, she gave Frank’s shirt a violent tug. A button almost fell off, and he pulled her by the hips, demanding a new kiss. A low guttural growl vibrated in Frank’s throat, causing Laurel’s core to tremble and grow hot. She was destroyed by the whispers of torrid promises that he was pouring in into her ear. She tugged at his belt, smooth, scented leather that she clutched in her hand and then unbuckled. She tossed her head back in a cascade of dark hair before unzipping her skirt with shaky fingers. She felt ridiculous for how desperately she craved Frank’s touch, for how she was burning in response to his beard rubbing against her cheek.
When they finally got rid of all the futile pieces of clothing, they collapsed onto the bed.
God, he was handsome. Under the strict three piece suit, the man was a feast for the eyes. But what really took Laurel’s breath away was the way Frank was moving on her, almost like he knew every inch of her body even though this was the first time he was discovering it. He knew where and he knew how; all she asked for was more and again. His hands were Mozart’s genius, her skin a white pentagram. She would have let him compose any melody at all, and she’d even have let the ink drool between the lines. She’d even have allowed him to crumple the pages and to make an ecstatic musical chaos out of her.
Laurel arched her back, offering her whole self, ready to be his. He tasted with his lips and teeth her bare thighs, opening them; she felt branded because anywhere Frank was, her skin went hot, flushed, tight. And his beard … oh God, that beard!
As soon as Frank wrapped her sex between his lips, Laurel reached down, her fingers ruining his perfectly styled hair. She closed her eyes, moaning into the pillow in a crescendo of tension that rapidly blossomed under his tongue. Every touch was prize and torture, too much and too little. At least until Frank decided to really show her his possession of her, shattering Laurel’s sanity. The girl let him devour her, all groaning, pleasure twirling mercilessly between her legs.
In that moment neither of them felt the need to say anything. She dug her nails into his back; she loved the rhythmic darting of those muscles, the strength of his shoulders, the sinuous line of his spine moving as Frank took her with precious slowness. He wouldn’t stop nibbling at her ear, at her jawline; she felt his desire with each thrust. Laurel was addicted to the heat of his breath, to the softness of his beard, to the strange movement of his eyebrows that preceded his smile in the dark. She held him inside her with growing need, as if her entire body was screaming that it was right, perfect, and that it was exactly where Frank was supposed to be.
She hid her face behind his shoulder. Her cheeks were flushed, her mouth open in a continuous sigh, and all she felt was Frank. Frank and his cologne. Frank and his kisses. Frank and his beard. Frank who… God, God. It was like squeezing a juicy obsession hard and standing there to enjoy every drop of it.
Laurel opened her eyes to a new day, wrapped into Frank’s sheets, in Frank’s bed, in Frank’s house.
The first thing she remembered was the way she had clung to him during the night, the way feeling his skin against her own had enveloped her in warmth and safety. It was so insane! Frank at first glance was anything but safe. He was fleeting, a kiss in the dark, a drop in your stomach… Yet, she had seen the true man, hidden under his cockiness. But most importantly, he had seen her – she knew.
She felt him even down deep in her soul; his kisses, caresses and attentions still marked her body in a bittersweet thrill.
Kan did not deserve what she was doing to him. Guilt began to overwhelm Laurel, rising like a wind storm, making her feel the sudden urge to go away, to cry, to escape. She took shelter in the shower, locking herself up in the bathroom. She let her tears run free – there, where Frank couldn’t have been able to see her, while water ran down her shoulders, she shook with sobs. And she was crying because, despite feeling dirty like the cheater she was, that night had only left her with the unfathomable echo of pleasure of such true intensity that calling it wrong was painful. Among those sheets, Frank and her had been so close, so connected… Was she imagining the whole thing? Was it just the side effect of some stupid crush? She sniffed and wrapped herself in the bathrobe near her. It was Frank’s, but who cared, at that point? She bit her lip, hugging the garment. She brought the sleeve to her nose, and let herself get lost in its scent. She couldn’t let go of the thought of Frank, even when he was not around. Frank. Frank. Frank. Kan.
She sighed, determined to leave the house immediately. When she opened the bathroom door to go back to the room to collect her things, he was back.
“Buongiorno, piccola.” He said, walking toward her with the disheveled and sexy look typical of a good sleep.
Laurel felt her heart squirm and beg for mercy. Did he… did he just speak Italian? She didn’t even try to resist, because why should it matter now? She smiled, flattered by the latest of all the small attentions Frank had given her. It was amazing how the man she once thought was a misogynistic ass was in fact able to make her feel like a princess.
On the bedside table was a full breakfast: coffee, donuts, orange juice. Laurel shook her head, trying to wipe the smile off of her face. “Italian?”
“My grandparents arrived in America with nothing but suitcases in their hands and pride in their veins. They taught their favorite grandchild not to betray that blood. Especially my grandma, you should’ve seen her… Either I learned Italian or she would’ve denied me her ragu.”
Laurel laughed. She liked knowing all these details, but most important she liked that he was telling her them. Outside of professor Keating’s office, their jobs faded away and they were just two people who got each other, who had a connection. And now, all she could imagine was a baby Frank struggling with a veracious Italian grandma.
There was no need to let him know how much that particular part of his personality made him even more attractive. She was sure he already knew it. She stepped closer, closing the distance between them with a kiss. She stretched out towards him, clinging to his broad shoulders, bare feet on the floor, with his bathrobe still tied at her waist.
If this was a sin, if this was a mistake, it was definitely the best one Laurel Castillo had ever committed.