The doorbell rang. Jane screamed.
Pressing her hand against her chest, Jane took a few deep breaths. This was going to be okay. She knew Michael, sure he was sexy, and maybe a bit pushy, but he wasn’t some sort of sex god. She could handle what was about to happen. He’d finger her a few times, she’d have a couple orgasms, and at the end of the week she’d face his monster form.
It really didn’t help that she was terrified of seeing him as a monster. It would have been much better if the week ended in something she was really looking forward to.
Jane smoothed her hooded sweatshirt, realized it was wrinkled and ugly beyond all hope, and gave up. She was wearing a battered USC football sweatshirt, pink and gray Eeyore pajama pants and footie socks, the kind with grip tape on the bottom.
Childish? Yes. Semi-pathetic? Absolutely. But this hideous ensemble was the closest thing to a chastity belt Jane could come up with. Besides, it was comfortable.
Brushing aside her bangs, Jane opened the door.
Michael, tan, blond and gorgeous in gray slacks and a white linen shirt, stood outside her door, a duffle slung over his shoulder.
He looked her up and down, and then burst out laughing.
“Knock it off,” Jane said lightly, the corner of her mouth twitching as his booming laugh filled the hallway. Michael looked at her again, leaned against the wall and kept laughing.
Jane stuck her hands in the kangaroo pocket on the front of her sweatshirt and humphed. “Laugh it up, buddy.”
“You are,” he gasped, sputtered a laugh and choked out, “adorable.”
He walked in, cupped her face and kissed her. It was a soft hello kiss, and Jane licked her lips when it ended, wanting another but afraid to say so. The last thing she wanted was to push them into having not-sex before she was ready.
“You can put your bag in…uh…my bedroom.”
She led Michael through the living room to the bedroom. He set his bag down by the door and looked around.
“This is not what I expected,” he said after a minute.
“What did you expect?”
Jane looked at her room with a critical eye. It was girlie, but not in a pink ruffles way. The walls were a deep taupe that set off everything else in the room. Her mahogany sleigh bed was covered in a pale gold comforter and accented with cobalt, emerald and ruby pillows, purchased on a trip to India. She had a gold-tone rug laid out beside the bed, and a dark wood buffet acting as a display space and dresser, with her books hidden in the drawers.
“I got the pillows on a trip to India, they were the inspiration for the room. It can be a bit overpowering, that’s why I don’t have too much furniture in here. Then again that makes the living room a bit cluttered, but what can you do? It’s not the world’s biggest apartment, but I got it right when we’d started Calypso Productions and none of us had any money. I could move to a nicer place, but I hate moving. So I decided—”
Jane could hear herself babbling, and would have given considerable amounts of money to stop, but she couldn’t help it. She was nervous, and Michael’s presence in her bedroom was making her more nervous. He’d been in her apartment before, when he’d come to protect her, but her bedroom had been strictly off-limits.
Michael ended her wandering monologue by picking her up and throwing her, actually throwing her, onto the bed. Jane made a sound best approximated as eep as she landed, pillows bouncing around her.
Michael leaned against the footboard.
“Can I ask what that was for?” Jane said, blowing her bangs out of her eyes.
“I just wanted to get an idea of how you’d look on that bed.”
Jane leapt off the bed and tugged at her sweatshirt, a blush heating her face. “Let’s go in the other room.”
She led Michael into the living room, where she curled up on the couch and wrapped her arms around her knees. The open bedroom door taunted her, reminding her of what was going to happen.
“You’re nervous, why?” Michael asked, sitting and stretching his arms along the back of the couch so he could toy with her hair.
“Sex is something to be nervous about.”
“But we’re not having sex, remember?”
“Yes, well, I uh, hadn’t really through this all the way through when I agreed. Is there any chance you want to renegotiate the deal?”
She looked at him hopefully, but Michael’s smile was not encouraging. “Sounds like Lena talked to you.”
“How did you know?”
“I was with Luke when she called to talk to him about it. Sounds like Lena may have gotten you a little wound up about this.”
“I just… I mean, I didn’t think it was really going to be a big deal.”
“Didn’t you just say sex was something to be nervous about?”
“It is, but sex isn’t…earth-shattering, it doesn’t change you.”
“If you believe that, you’ve never had really good sex before.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of.”