It’s been two weeks and three dates since Lucy met Charlie, the non-monogamous guy, at her friends’ house party, and she can think about nothing else.
Charlie’s made it crystal clear what his intentions are towards Lucy. His attraction to her, and the decisive way in which he’s chasing her, are intensely flattering for a girl who rarely gets pursued. So of course she’s tempted. When a brilliant, sexy, interesting man is super keen on you, great company and an incredible kisser, how the fuck could you not be?
But obviously there’s a huge fly in the ointment: she’d have to share him. Even worse, it wouldn’t even be an equal split: she’d literally have to accept the leftovers from another woman’s table. And while some people – people much stronger and more secure than Lucy – might not mind that, deep in the most tender part of her gut Lucy’s not sure she could handle it.
She wants to be able to, she really fucking does. If she could just accept this for what it is – a bit of fun with a wonderful man – couldn’t this be brilliant? She’d get some great sex, and still be free to keep looking for The One. All she’d need to do is learn how to focus on the positives, enjoy what’s on offer, and stop worrying about what she can’t have. Surely a little of what (or who) you fancy is better than nothing at all?
So when Charlie messages her the following afternoon asking if she’s free to meet him for one quick drink after work, she says yes. It’s fine. It’s going to be fine.
They meet outside a pub near Lucy’s work. It’s a sunny afternoon and Charlie’s dressed casually in a t-shirt and jeans, and again Lucy marvels at how this average-looking guy could inspire such visceral attraction in her.
He leans in to kiss her, but she turns her head to the side.
“I don’t think you can,” she says. “I have a tingle on my lip that might be a cold sore coming. I’m sorry!”
“That’s OK,” he tells her with a grin. “I’ll just have to find other places to kiss you.”
Lucy feels like a rabbit in headlights, trapped in the bright heat of Charlie’s magnetism.
The pub is typically summer-evening-rammed and Charlie’s forced to squeeze in next to her at the tiny table. His closeness is electric and she wonders if the people nearby can feel the heat coming off them.
“I’m sorry I can only stay for one drink,” he says. “I’m rushing off to meet a friend after this, but I just really wanted to see you.”
“Who’s the friend?” Lucy asks suspiciously.
“She’s someone from back home. She’s more my sister’s friend, but we meet up occasionally.”
A girl? Lucy feels an immediate pang of jealousy.
This is fucking ridiculous. She can’t get jealous of every single woman he interacts with, she’ll go insane! But with a guy like this, how do you even fucking know? Someone like him, highly-sexed and with free rein to shag about as much as he likes, the sky’s the limit. He could be fucking any or all of them!
But at least with Charlie’s openness, she can ask. So she does.
“No, I haven’t slept with her,” he says. “My sister told me that under no circumstance was I to fuck any of her friends.”
And then he adds, conspiratorially: “Though I did shag one of them and she went ballistic. I’ve slept with others since, but now I just don’t tell her.”
“Dammit!” Lucy wails with a laugh. “Why couldn’t I have had an older brother with hot friends to sleep with?”
But inside she’s thinking: for all his charm, is this guy just a sociopath fuckboy? The most dangerous kind of all, because he’s pin-sharp and he knows how to manipulate people? Lying to his sister, fucking her friends? These sound like the actions of someone who simply doesn’t care who he screws over in his pursuit of his own pleasure.
“So you were a bit of a Lothario, huh?” she asks, suspiciously.
“In my youth, I’m afraid so. I went through a phase of dating loads of women and I cheated on several girlfriends. I’m not proud of myself; I was definitely a bit of a dick back then. There were other girls that I slept with even though I knew they would fall for me but I did it anyway.”
This last comment hits too close to home for Lucy not to pick it up.
“Is that what this is?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well this probably isn’t the right time to ask, but clearly this cannot end well for me. Am I just another one of those girls, someone you intend to shag and don’t care about the consequences?”
Almost as soon as the words are out she regrets them. Did she really just basically ask ‘where is this going?’ to a man she hasn’t even slept with yet? What the actual fuck is wrong with her?
“You’re right,” Charlie says. “It’s not the right time. But the quick answer is that we’ve only known each other a few days, and I haven’t even thought about it.”
It’s a fair point. But Lucy feels like she’s walking, unarmed, into the lions’ den. She knows she’s going to get mauled, and yet she keeps going.
A few days later they’ve agreed to meet again. It’s a Saturday and the weather is still nice, so they’ve decided to meet for a walk in Richmond Park. A nice, safe date, in a public place, thinks Lucy, so there’ll be no chance of things escalating beyond her control.
Quite apart from her ongoing indecision there are three other very good reasons why this is going to have to be a chaste date:
It’s strange how the Universe always seems to know when Lucy might be about to have sex, and does everything in its power to prevent that. Last time, with Brad, this exact same thing happened and she nearly went out of her mind with frustration. This time? Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.
Cold, period AND cold sore is like the gold medal winner of unsexy hat tricks. No surprises then that Charlie immediately asks her if she’d like to reschedule.
Lucy doesn’t really want to reschedule, because of course she fucking doesn’t. But she is cosy at home, and feeling lazy. So in a moment of bravery, or stupidity, she suggests he just come round to hers instead.
So they meet at the pub near Lucy’s tube station. Still nervous, she figures this is safe ground, and she can have a drink or two for Dutch courage before taking him home. Where, of course, there will be Absolutely No Sex.
As a precaution, she makes an effort to dress like, well, she hasn’t made an effort. She wants to go for casual and comfortable, and definitely not sexy, so she puts on a denim skirt and a stripy t-shirt (as usual, from Boden*), her favourite gold trainers, and because it’s a little bit chilly, flesh coloured tights, which she knows are famously unsexy, but that’s kind of the point. Even her underwear, the usual plain black cotton from M&S, is like a comfy chastity belt. Much as she desires Charlie, today there will be Absolutely No Sex.
He’s at the bar when she arrives, and as she approaches she sees him check her out appreciatively from head to toe. She knows she should be annoyed that her attempt to look casual failed, but she can’t help feel a thrill at the way he looks at her with those eat-me eyes.
They have one drink and make small talk about their mornings, but by now it’s clear this is all a charade. The giant elephant in the room – the thought of Lucy’s flat just a short walk away – is making normal conversation impossible.
Charlie throws back the end of his pint, stands up and holds out his hand to her. “Shall we go?”
They cut through the local park. It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon, and all around are couples and families, enjoying themselves. Anyone who sees them would think they’re another loved-up couple out for a stroll. Ah, but how deceptive appearances can be.
Back at her flat Charlie removes his shoes while Lucy nips into the kitchen to open a bottle of prosecco. She plans to invite him to sit with her on the sofa, but as she emerges from the kitchen he spies the open door of her bedroom and steers her in there instead, removing the glasses from her hands and pushing her onto the bed in a deliciously commanding manner.
But when he leans in to kiss her, she turns her head away. “Not on the mouth, remember? Don’t want you to catch my facial herpes!”
It’s probably not the best idea to mention herpes when you’re getting frisky with someone, but Charlie doesn’t seem to mind. Instead he begins kissing her face and neck, making Lucy feel, just as she did with Brad, exactly like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Except without the thigh-high boots and grand piano.
Lying down, the denim skirt that seemed so sensible when she put it on now keeps rucking up around her waist. In an attempt to maintain boundaries Lucy tries unsuccessfully to get it to behave, but the skirt has a mind of its own, and seems to be conspiring to thwart her plans for a chaste afternoon.
“That’s clearly bothering you,” says Charlie with a cheeky smile. “Why don’t you just take it off?”
So Lucy, defeated (but not entirely disappointed), does as instructed, and because her flesh-coloured tights are deeply embarrassing, she removes those as well.
Charlie bends down to kiss her stomach and then, in one well-practised move, strips off her top. Now she’s only wearing a bra and knickers, and she knows she ought to object – because girlfriend! – but he’s kissing her so deliciously that somehow she can’t find the words. So she allows him to carry on, until he starts leaning on her bladder in a decidedly uncomfortable way, and she realises she needs a wee. It certainly wouldn’t do to wet herself with a hot man in her bed – that’s definitely not Lucy’s scene at ALL – so she jumps up to run to the bathroom and when she gets back she finds Charlie’s removed his t-shirt and trousers and is lying there almost-naked, a naughty smirk on his face.
Lucy laughs at the sheer daredevil cheek of the man. In spite of her best efforts to resist, he really is deliciously mischievous. “Oh!” she says, trying to be stern. “You stripped!”
“Well it felt unfair that I was dressed and you weren’t. I’m all about equality!”
Lucy pulls a face. “OK, but the underwear stays on,” she says firmly.
Charlie resumes kissing and touching her, making little appreciative murmurs that set all her juices flowing like Niagara Falls. And while she feels a little awkward that she can’t really reciprocate, there’s not a lot wrong with being forced to lie back while a sexy man covers her body with kisses. She could definitely get used to this.
But her non-participation doesn’t last long; instead he gently guides her hand downwards until she can feel his erection jutting through the cotton of his underpants. It’s rock hard and generous, just as Lucy knew it would be. There’s no way a man this confident would have anything else.
Charlie continues kissing his way down her body until he’s kneeling between her legs, where he pulls her knickers aside. Now this, this is too much. Quite apart from the fact that she hasn’t trimmed her lady garden – well why would you if you’d planned for Absolutely No Sex? – she has her period, and any second now he’s going to find the string of her tampon and Lucy will literally DIE of embarrassment.
So she wriggles out of the way and kicks her legs round to the side so she’s lying next to him. Charlie, unperturbed, turns his attention to her breasts instead, deftly removing her bra with a hand that’s clearly had an awful lot of practice before applying the cold base of his wine glass to one nipple, which responds immediately to the chill.
Lucy tries not to laugh. “Hey! We said underwear was staying on!”
“That doesn’t count,” Charlie argues. “We still have our pants on.”
You can tell this guy’s a lawyer, that’s for sure.
They lie side by side for a while in companionable silence, and Lucy nuzzles his neck.
“This still feels so weird. I know you say your girlfriend is cool with this, but for me it just doesn’t compute. How can any woman not mind her partner doing this with someone else? Even if it’s just a random shag, I still couldn’t handle it.”
“Just for the record, it’s not a random shag,” he says.
“Well what is it then?” she asks, emboldened. “Am I some kind of project?”
“Absolutely not. There’s just something about you. I can’t get enough of it.”
But Lucy’s unsure. Why? Why does he like her so much? Five dates in ten days is a LOT!
“But you like the challenge, right?”
“Well, maybe a little. But that’s not it, not really.”
“And what else? That I’m not jumping straight into bed with you? That I’m… innocent?”
“You’re not exactly innocent.”
“Ok then… inexperienced.”
He doesn’t answer.
“Thing is,” she says, “This is going to end badly for me.”
“For me too.”
“You think? How come?”
“Well you’ll definitely be the one that finishes it.”
“What makes you say that?”
“I have no intention of ending things. Why would I? I think you’re incredible. There is nothing about this that I’m in any hurry to walk away from.”
He holds her gaze for what seems like an eternity. He seems entirely earnest, and Lucy can feel herself being sucked in like a sparrow into the engine of a 747.
“But you,” he continues, “You’ll end it, whether in three weeks or three months, because you’ll either meet someone else, or you’ll decide you can’t do this any more – and that’s fine! Of course it is. I know because it’s happened before. A while back there was this girl I used to date, but she ended it because she realised I was a distraction and she wanted to be free to find someone else.”
“And has she?”
Lucy suddenly has a vision of the future in which she’s in exactly the same position. She has no idea how much Charlie’s words will come back to haunt her.
“You just have to decide if this is what you want,” Charlie says softly. “You know my position. Obviously it’s pretty clear I want to fuck you. A lot. But only you can decide if that’s what you want too.”
He begins kissing and stroking her again, working his way back down, and this time Lucy doesn’t stop him. He pushes her knickers aside and buries his mouth in her, and unsurprisingly he’s incredibly skilled and the whole thing is crazy hot because of all the pent-up sexual tension and the unexpectedness of it. Lucy feels both conflicted and insanely turned on and comes in about thirty seconds, and Charlie is absolutely delighted.
He sits up and looks at her. “This is very dangerous,” he says. “You’re gorgeous and you have such an amazing body.”
“Why thank you,” she blushes.
“In fact, this is very hard for me right now.”
She reaches down and puts her hand on his cock. “I can tell,” she whispers.
Lucy loves that she can be herself with Charlie. There’s no filter, she gives no fucks, and she’s not trying to be anything other than who she really is. Because in spite of everything she says, he seems to really like her, and the more she tries to push him away, the more he keeps coming back.
There’s also something endearingly geeky about him. Although he’s incredibly confident, every so often she catches a sigh or a look of amazement that offers a glimpse of the nerd he once was, who can’t believe his luck that he gets to do this, to get naked and touch an actual woman. It’s utterly adorable.
Eventually, after about three hours, he breathes a deep sigh and sits up.
“I think I’d better go,” he tells her. “I can’t take much more of this. I know there’s a line that can’t be crossed. And we’ve edged so close to it, any more and it’ll all get a little too much.”
Lucy gets it, because she feels it too. She’s teetering on the cliff edge; it’d only take the slightest breath of wind to tip her over. Or maybe she’s already falling, she’s not sure.
He gets dressed and she follows him into the hallway, still wearing only her knickers.
With the front door open he pauses. She’s standing behind it, and he leans into her and kisses her neck again, then pushes her against the wall and puts his hand between her legs. Lucy does the same and they stand like that for a moment, hearts racing, the sense of anticipation like that of a leading actor waiting backstage for the curtain to go up.
“I’m going to fuck you hard against this wall, just you wait,” he promises.
Lucy grins. “Maybe with the door shut though, yeah? Neighbours might not like it!”
Charlie breathes a deep sigh. “You’re just… just…” He lets out a moan of frustration, kisses her again, and leaves.
She closes the door with a lustful sigh. Her insides are a molten puddle, but she can wait. Today was not the day, and anticipation is all part of the fun.
Anyway, she likes the idea that she’s wound Charlie up tight as a drum and then sent him on his way. He won’t be able to stop thinking about her and fantasising about her. The thought makes her smile.
Lucy may well be setting herself up for a major fall, but it’s too late to turn back now.
NEXT TIME: After six dates, Lucy’s resistance gives way. Click here to read on.