The city that never sleeps.
That’s where Charlie found herself this time around. She’d been traveling like a nomad, exploring new cities and meeting new people, like one of those places or one of those strangers was going to hold the answer to her whole existence. This was her stop, at least for the next week or two until she decided where to go next. She’d told herself she wasn’t doing it for him. After all, why would she feel the need to escape from something that never was? No. Charlie was doing it for herself.
The throngs of the big city swallowed her up like the Red Sea, losing her in the smells of food infused with car exhaust and sewage. It was raining and it was humid like the jungles of the tropic. The lights bouncing off the buildings kept her sanity intact as she made her way through the madness and away from Times Square. Just a few blocks down, past alleys and a couple corner pizza restaurants, was a little hole in the wall bar with clientele reminiscent of the CBGB. Outside stood a few customers, smoking cigarettes and laughing the night away as they chugged down pints of beer.
That’s what she needed.
Her hair was dripping and her clothes were damp but there was no relieve to the evening’s heat. She walked in, slipping off her top layer—a light long sleeve shirt with two missing buttons—and wrapped it around her cross-body purse.
She was just perusing the establishment and about to put her hair up in a bun when she saw him at other side of the bar. Charlie had no idea what a heart attack felt like and she’d never experienced a panic attack, but she was sure as hell that she was experiencing one of those at that moment. The punk rock music that had been blaring only a few seconds ago, the chatter, the obnoxious laughs, the clanking of glasses—everything—was suddenly drowned out by the sound of her beating heart. It pounded against her ears and she felt her lungs dry up in the absence of air.
Bass caught sight of her as well. It was like everything had frozen in place the moment their eyes met.
The pure sight of him brought upon a sense of vertigo. Short little breathes came out of her in pauses, her mouth was dry, her whole body shaken up by a ghostly chill.
He seemed just as shocked to see her. The two of them could only stare, unable to believe what was happening. Charlie wanted to cry. She wanted to scream and run away but she couldn’t move a muscle.
She suddenly remembered his kisses, those kisses she so desperately tried to forget. She remembered the way his lips tasted in her tongue, and the way his teeth scraped the tenderness of her swollen lips. Charlie remembered his smell, the blend of light cologne and bar soap on his skin, and the way it tasted of hints of sweat and salt.
It was so easy to get lost in him. He had a way of touching her, with gentleness like he was handling a precious jewel and in their moments of intense pleasure with the aggression of a man who could never be fulfilled. He always knew her limits without her having to say a single word. All those times they made love... No. Charlie hated calling it that. It was always Bass who would refer to it as such. She preferred the term ‘fuck.’ That word meant distance, lack of emotions, and no strings attached.
Whatever it was they did between the sheets, it drove her mad.
A childish looking man with a few strands of hair for a beard blocked her line of sight. He smiled at her like a creep, holding up a glass of bright green liquid that almost looked radioactive.
“Would you like a drink, sweetheart?” He looked her up and down.
Charlie shook her head, peering past him. Bass was gone. Like a ghost vanishing into thin air, he disappeared from the bar, leaving an empty seat that was quickly filled by a little redhead with big tits.
She turned abruptly, heading out the bar into the pouring rain and not caring that she walked through puddles and streams. All the while her hand kept waving, trying to flag down a cab to no avail. Her whole world was spinning out of control, just when she thought she’d gotten her shit together.
The sky lit up for a second, lightning striking the horizon in intervals before the roaring sound of thunder made the earth shake below her feet. Or maybe it was just her trembling in place.
Another cab past by already carrying passengers. She cursed out loud. A roaring, “Fuck!” Leaving her lips.
As if by instinct, she turned to look back at the bar. Bass had just ran outside, looking left and right, searching the streets desperately before he saw her. A cab pulled up next to her, the universe intent on making her choose between running away or facing reality.
Bass reached out to her, “Wait! Charlie, please!” He scurried towards her.
Charlie’s hand pulled at the door handle, popping the cab door open.
Between rainfall and bouts of thunder and lightning, he begged her to stay.
THE PREVIOUS WINTER
Charlie’s eyes were like fountains, tears spilling out uncontrollably without any sign of stopping. It was midnight and she sought refuge in the only place and with the only person she knew would understand. Her shoes were covered in white powdery snow and she was shivering, both from the cold and the feeling of deception.
Bass brought her in as soon as he opened the door. He had been sleeping, evident not only by his state of undressed but by the look of bewilderment on his face and the way his curly hair stuck to one side of his head.
“What happened? Are you okay?” He took her in his arms, hugging her tight as he brought her inside his apartment.
She told him everything.
Not only had she found out her mother had cheated on her father with her uncle, she’d found out their betrayal had produced fruit: Her. She understood then why her father had left so abruptly, taking Danny with him to North Carolina in the middle of the night, like some wanted criminal.
Bass assured her that Miles had no idea she was his daughter. He wouldn’t have kept it from him otherwise, he reasoned. Charlie believed him but it didn’t make the situation any less unbearable. When he attempted to calm her down, she took it as a sign of him siding with Rachel and Miles. They had argued, yelled—mostly just her at him—and cursed everyone involved—again, mostly just her.
Eventually he did calm her down.
A gentle rub on the arm turned into a more intimate touch. Charlie kissed him, her hands running over his smooth chest, tracing over his abdomen until they reached the band of his boxer briefs. The tears had already dried up, her body now focused only on getting gratification from the man standing before her.
He savored the moment, kissing her languidly, exploring her mouth with her tongue in a comforting manner.
Charlie reached for his already-hardened cock, her hand gripping it desperately. The look on her face was that of someone who had nothing left to lose. Bass didn’t like it.
“What the hell?” She complained when he pulled away.
He walked over to the window, looking down three stories at the quiet streets of Austin. “Maybe it’s better if we put this off for another time.”
Charlie didn’t understand. They had fucked plenty of times before, she didn’t know why it had to be any different this time.
He ran both hands through his hair. “You know how I feel about you.”
She threw her head back in frustration. “Oh, for fuck’s sake. Are you really going to go there now?” Charlie began gathering her things.
“Bass, I warned you about this.” She looked at him dead in the eyes. “These past few months have been a lot of fun. But I’m going through some really fucked up shit right now. I’m not exactly ready for any of this.”
His smile was derisive, “You know that’s not true.”
“What? It’s not true that I’m going through fucked up shit? You try living with the fact that your mom fucked your uncle while still married to the man you believed was your dad.”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it.” He approached her slowly.
Charlie did know. Weeks prior they had gone to New Orleans for the weekend, during that time and after a couple absinthe drinks, she’d practically divulged every feeling she’d ever had for him. The night ended with them fucking in every spot of their rented condo and Charlie deep-throating him until the crack of dawn. She had said the words she swore she wouldn’t say. I think I’m in love with you. And every time she remembered them after that, her heart did leaps in her chest and her whole being buzzed like they were some sort of trigger.
He’d tried to get her to admit it again but her fear was greater than her curiosity of finding out if what they had was real. She feared of one day waking up to realize that the age difference between them was too much of an obstacle, that they’d grow apart and then realize her whole life had been wasted chasing after a relationship that was doomed from the start. Why couldn’t they just be fuck buddies and forget about the rest?
“I told you I was drunk when I said that.” She muttered.
Bass knew better. He knew that she was scared of being in love with him. She knew that the possibility of them not working out and ending up like her parents was a reason why she was shielding herself from emotions.
“I love you, Charlotte.” There was a pause, “But even a man in love has limits and I think I’ve reached mine.”
Charlie understood then that she was hurting him. She never meant for their one-time-fuck the summer before to ever turn into something more. And she definitely never imagined she’d fall in love with him and then be too scared to take it further. So, she did the thing she thought best. She lied point blank.
“I’m sorry, Bass but I’m not in love with you. I can’t admit something I don’t feel.” Without waiting for him to respond or react, she left his apartment, determined never to return.
Charlie left that night in the middle of a freezing winter, snow flurries falling from the clouds above as she drove her car down the interstate with no particular destination in mind. She needed time to think and to reevaluate her life. But mostly, she just needed to get the hell out of Texas because anywhere was better than there.
She didn’t know it at the time but she was running from the inescapable.
The truth was, Charlie never forgot him. She had tried to escape the thought of him, placing herself in numerous questionable situations, only to end up missing him all over again. And goddamn was life a bitch sometimes. Out of all the places she could’ve visited that night in the city, she had to go to that one. In a world so big with millions and millions of people, how did she manage to run into the one person she thought she’d never see again?
There was a smile on his lips. A beautiful, disarming smile that lit up his face in an impossibly divine way and reached the corners of his eyes. Charlie felt her heart sputter.
“Don’t leave.” He said, his hand gently touching her fingertips.
The cab driver had had enough, “Come on, lady! Do you need a lift or not?”
Bass’s eyes were telling her no, his smile fading nervously as he waited for a reply.
Charlie felt the influx of tears welling in her eyes as she shut the cab door. The yellow car sped off into the night, leaving them standing at the curb in the middle of a torrential rainfall.
“How did this happen?” She muttered, keeping herself from breaking down.
Bass hugged her, his arms wrapping around her small frame. The smell of his wet clothes sparking memories of times gone by in her mind. She held on to him like he was going to disappear if she let go.
“Someone once told me that New York City had a great summer beat.” He replied, not loosening his hold.
Charlie laughed into his chest before she looked up, “Vibe. I said summer vibe, old man.”
He grinned, still unable to believe she was really there.
“I’ve missed you.”
Those words made her heart swell. Something in her stomach fluttered wildly in response. “Really? I always thought you hated me for leaving like a coward.”
“The last six months have been rough.” He admitted, “But I could never hate you, Charlotte.”
She smiled, chewing at the inside of her lip as she studied him intently. She had been an idiot for running away, and she was no longer afraid of admitting that to herself.
He pressed his forehead against hers, his nose gently brushing against the tip of hers as his lips slowly closed in on her mouth. Charlie felt her breathing hitch. His hand slid down her back, his fingertips finding that strip of exposed skin between her top and the band of her denim shorts. The familiar taste of his lips awoke the sleeping animal inside of her, his touch the only thing necessary to make her body vibrate at an ethereal frequency. Like a scene in slow motion, she pulled herself up, lifting her feet off the ground until they were wrapped around his hips.
Neither cared that they were in the middle of the sidewalk, warm rain pouring over them like two lovers on film. His hands moved to her bottom, holding her in place as she devoured his mouth, teeth gripping his lips, and scraping the skin until it swelled.
When they finally broke apart, they both chuckled with insatiable glee.
“Do you want to get out of here?” He asked, pecking at her lips between words.
Charlie nodded enthusiastically.
The elevator of the high-rise hotel was witness to their reunion as they struggled to keep their hands off each other for longer than a minute. Charlie was speaking at a thousand words per minute, over and over apologizing for being an immature child and once again referring to herself as a coward. Bass told her everything would be fine. He always knew her reasons for leaving and he knew it wasn’t fair to push her into doing something she wasn’t ready to do.
When they reached the room, he asked her to slow things down. He wanted her more than anything but he also wanted to enjoy every single moment. Bass undressed her between passionate kisses, cooing sweet words into her ear, and reiterating his love for her.
Charlie was done running away from him and from her feelings.
“I love you.” She said, quietly and effortlessly as she traced his lips with her finger. “Whatever happens, I want you to know that right here, right now, in this moment, I love you more than anything in this world.”
Bass’s mouth collided with hers, setting both of their bodies ablaze. Every cell in their being caught on fire. Articles of clothing traveled through the air until they were both naked, bare skin against bare skin, and thin sheets of perspiration and rain adding a special friction between them.
He threw her on the bed, pouncing on her like a hungry lion. Charlie moaned, feeling his lips and teeth nipping at her throat. Her hands came up over her head and over the pillow, his mouth moving over her chest and leaving a trail of kisses in its wake. The sweet smell of lavender on her skin mixed with the heat emanating from her core was invigorating.
Bass’s tongue flicked her nipples, the rosy nubs hardening further in response. Wrapping his mouth around it, he began to suck, his teeth tenderly pulling and increasing her pleasure. Murmuring whimpers escaped Charlie’s throat, her pulsating bundle of nerves increasing the flow of moisture between her legs.
His fingers slid up and down her folds, they glided easily, her center wet and ready for him to plunge into her.
He groaned into her mouth, his cock throbbing with anticipation. In an instant he was between her legs, lapping at her center as he parted her thighs with his hands. Charlie sucked in a breath, feeling his scorching tongue running up and down her velvety slit. She couldn’t possibly imagine heaven being anywhere else but there. Being with him was a religious experience all on its own.
She writhe with each stroke of his tongue, feeling it breach her tight opening. Pushing herself up on her forearms for a better look, she took in the sight of his face as it got lost in the smoothness of her mound. Charlie cried louder, feeling her release seconds away. She let herself free fall back onto the pillow as the heat engulfed her body from head to toe. Bass continued dabbing his tongue into her and nipping her clit until she completely unraveled.
With a playful laugh, she pushed him to the side and pinned him down on the bed. Charlie savored his lips as she positioned herself over his impressive cock. Reaching back, she gave it a few pumps before guiding it into her heat. Bass reached up to massage her breasts, plucking at firm nipples and pulling her chest down to him to get another taste.
He felt himself entering her. Her walls slowly spread, allowing his girth to widen her before molding and wrapping around him. She was so wet and tight, sliding inside of her as she moved up and down made his balls tighten in satisfaction. He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to last very long.
They way she said his name every time he made love to her was the sweetest of sounds. Bass never tired of it. He loved knowing he was the only one capable of making her feel this way. She bounced on top of him, his cock filling her up time and time again as her parted mouth purred in contentment.
The sheets wrapped around them as they moved from one position to another. The minutes passed, the air around them filled with their sounds and the scent of their bodies. After making Charlie climax a few more times, he picked her up. He carried her in his arms, pressing her against the wall next to the window. Below them, the city was still alive with countless people as the thunderstorm continued to roar with force.
He pounded into her, over and over, until he felt he was ready to come.
Charlie held on to his shoulders, her fingers digging into muscle as she kissed him with fervor. She knew he was almost there. Loosening the grip of her legs around his waist, she brought them down to the ground.
She reversed the roles, pushing him until his back hit the wall. Charlie licked him, starting at his mouth and then his neck, her lips lightly brushing against his skin, running over his chest, and his abs, until she lowered herself in front of him like she was worshipping a god.
Taking his stiffened length in her hand, she began slurping his tip. She sucked slowly at first, taking him in her mouth little by little, each time deeper than before. Bass gasped, looking down at her and praising her gifted mouth as she moved up and down, sucking him like a straw in a milkshake.
Charlie cupped his balls, applying pressure as she continued reveling in his cock. In less than two minutes Bass was at the brink of eruption. She released him from her lips with a pop, continuously working him with her hand until he was spewing warm release onto the valley between her breasts.
He leaned his head back against the wall to catch his breath.
A few minutes later, he helped her get cleaned up, both coming to the mutual understanding that they’d come together again for a reason. Bass wasn’t going to let her get away so easily this time and he clearly let her know that.
“I wasn’t planning on it.” Charlie said, still topless as she pulled her underwear up her legs.
Bass was seated at the foot of the bed, the sheets covering his lingering erection. He hadn’t bothered to put any clothes on, figuring there was no use for them now. He beckoned to her and she came to stand before him. He clamped her between his thighs, his lips tenderly kissing her right breast.
Charlie laughed. “Haven’t had enough yet, huh?”
He looked up, lightly tapping her ass. “Have you?”
She shook her head. “Never.”
Bass pulled her into him, rolling her over on the bed and hovering above her half naked body. “We don’t have to go back home if you don’t want to,” he said. “We can go wherever you want. I have enough saved up to not have to work for the next six months.”
Charlie was beaming at the proposition but she knew she couldn’t run forever. “No. I think it’s time for me to face them.” Bass smiled back. “Running into you here was the sweetest of coincidences.” She said.
“No.” He replied, “I don’t believe in coincidences.” Kissing her softly he whispered, “It was all fate, Charlotte.”
“Fate.” She repeated, smiling against his lips. “I like the sound of that better.”