The more they saw of each other, the more they liked being together. Neither was bored though Sophie refused to kowtow to Jess' every demand and Jess popped his palm off Sophie's butt when he thought she needed to be reined in a little. She remained independent but not unreasonable and he kept the swats light and teasing; he didn't want to scare her away.
The sex was good.
His friends teased him unmercifully. In the past, Jess always had a different lady on his arm, always watched the "games" with the guys, went fishing with them, shared several 6-packs and an afternoon of "hoops" whenever a few of them had leisure time. Lately, he saw very little of old friends unless he and Sophie bumped into them at the mom and pop general store or the diner. They became a couple, invited to dinner parties and picnics.
He couldn't believe how his life had changed. Every spare moment away from work was spent with Sophie or spent trying to be with her. She was firm in her resolve to do her own thing and her own thing took a lot of time. Creating art didn't happen over night; it took time and energy and when she was focused on a particular project, she couldn't be distracted by Jess.
"What is more important in your life?" he asked one afternoon when he brought lunch and despite her protests, physically removed her from her studio to eat with him. "Me or those canvases you're painting?"
"I don't need another piece of fiber art," she told him. "But I *need* to create fiber art. Do you understand what I'm saying? It's the process that feeds my spirit."
"And what do I do for you?"
"Other than feed my belly?" she teased and then scooted back from his grasp when he frowned at her. "And um... other than the great sex we share?"
His frown deepened and his eyes narrowed. "And?" he asked in that soft tone of voice that instantly alarmed her.
"And..." she yelled as she leaped to her feet and took off running up the stairs. "And sleeping next to you is like sleeping with a giant teddy bear, all warm and cuddly and safe. I was always fond of my teddy bears when I was a child."
"That's what I am?" he yelled as he chased her. "A cuddly bear that feeds you and gives you sexual pleasure. That's it? That's all?"
"Those are good things," Sophie shouted as she disappeared into an upstairs closet, jammed the door from the inside with a blank canvas and settled down to wait for Jess to leave or calm down, whichever came first.
"I'm going to spank you," he said calmly when he tried the closet door. "I'm going to turn you over my knee and light a fire on your butt. It's gonna burn for days, maybe weeks. If I have to break this door down, you'll regret it for the rest of your life."
He heard that laughter and started chuckling, too. All he could think about was hugging her tight, spending the rest of the day loving her and maybe, if he had any energy left, he'd spank her until she begged him to love her again.
He sighed. This being in love stuff makes me crazy.
"Come out, baby. I need to kiss you."
"You going to spank me?"
"Yes, but not right away."
"My word on it," he promised.
The closet door opened in slow increments, Sophie's long hair cascading over her shoulder as she peeked out. "Promise you won't spank me."
"I promise," he agreed and reached for her. "I want you."
"I need a shower before we make love. I feel grimy. A shower or I'll never see you again."
"A shower," he groaned and nodded his head. "I'll take one with you."
"Just a shower, no sex," she insisted and had no reasonable explanation for her words. She just wanted to push him as far as she could.
He gritted his teeth while they showered together, their hands soaping but not teasing, his erection rubbing against her in spite of himself. Sophie smiled but didn't touch and he kept his end of the bargain while the water cascaded over them, rinsing the soap away.
He was first out of the shower and reached for a towel but when Sophie stepped from the shower stall and he looked at her... lust overpowered rational thought. Her hair was a mass of silk down her back, full round breasts beckoning, rose colored nipples begged his mouth, her lower belly tempted him like no other ever had, and her body was so wet and so lush...
He took her by the arm, bent her over the sink and entered her so swiftly... He said nothing as he thrust inside her, one arm under her breasts, the other between her thighs spreading her wider and cupping her vulva.
"I need you," he finally murmured, his words faintly heard amidst the sounds of their pleasure. "I need you like I need nothing else in this world. Tell me you need me, too."
Sophie said nothing, her own body reacting to Jess' lovemaking but she knew... She knew they had more than sex between them and it was time to face whatever else life had in store. No more games, was her last coherent thought as she was sucked into a cresting wave, her mind distanced from her body's tingling and shivering and then she floated away...
"Move in with me," he said later as he leaned against a bathroom wall, Sophie's nude damp body in his arms. "Move in with me and make me happy."
"My studio is here."
"I'll make a studio for you at my house."
"I like my house," she insisted.
"Let's compromise. You live with me on long weekends and come back here to work the rest of the week. I'll build a studio for you and when that's ready, we can talk about you moving in full time."
"I'll think about it," she sighed as she leaned into him. "Right now I need to nap awhile."
"I thought you were hungry," he reminded her.
"You were the one who was hungry."
"I'm still hungry," he told her, his mouth nuzzling her neck.
"I'm worn out. More of that later. Let's rest for a while."
"You're such an easy date," he teased, one hand moving down to cup her bottom cheeks, the other palming her breast.
"I'm what?" Sophie blinked.
"Easy," he whispered. "So easy. I can love you whenever I want. You never object."
"Do you have a death wish?" she questioned, pulling back from his embrace. Her hands went to her hips; there was a look of scorn on her face that was quickly morphing into all-out anger.
"I'm teasing you, baby," Jess laughed, pulling her back into his arms. "You're easy to tease and I think I love teasing you almost as much as making love to you."
"Out!" she pointed toward the bathroom door. "Out and don't come back!"
"Perfect!" he chortled and tossed an unsuspecting Sophie over his shoulder. "I'm leaving and taking you with me. You'll have to come live at my house."
"You're a moron!" she shouted and pushed herself up so that she was in a more vertical stance and then, she boxed his ear.
He nipped her breast making her gasp and then he wrestled her to her bed. "I plan to ravish you, Sophia Katerina Arnow. I plan to love you so hard, so sweet... you won't want to be with another man."
"You're a moron," she told him again. "You're an arrogant ass and a moron. And there's no way you're going to have sex with me until you recuperate from what we just did in the bathroom. And didn't I tell you to get out of my house?"
"Uh huh," he mumbled as his mouth found her breast again, his lips moving slowly over the slight hint of mauve where his teeth had grazed her flesh. "I'm leaving any time now, just have to love you some more."
"Feed me and you can stay."
Her words caused a grin and then he chuckled and as the chuckles grew, his laughter burst forth. "I knew you wanted me. Tell me how much you want me, Sophie, my sweet."
"Don't want you," she insisted. "You're a meal ticket, a good romp in the hay and..."
Whatever else she was going to say was lost when she suddenly found herself face down across his lap, his hand descending rapidly. "I hate you!" she yelled and then gasped as his heavy hand made a burning impression on her bare backside.
The spanking was over almost as quickly as it had begun. Jess stroked her hot bottom and marveled at the heat it generated. He had spanked her for her words but he knew he had also spanked her because he wanted to. Listening to her breathe, he wondered how he was going to get her to live with him. I've gone to hell, he thought as he turned her in his arms. I've gone to hell and I don't care as long as Sophie's with me.
Sophie was exhausted. Her head was in a turmoil, her bottom blazing from the brief but harsh spanking. She loved making love with Jess, loved being with him but he was a caveman. She couldn't live like that. Living with him - every day - in his house - was a no brainer. It couldn't happen. He was too dominant, too strong for her to fight, too manly. Too much testosterone. Should cut off one of his balls. That would help. She shook her head at her thoughts. Somehow, I've gone to hell and didn't even know I arrived.
His arms tightened around her, his lips grazing her forehead, the warmth of him comforting. She was certain she should hate him for what he had just done. She was certain she should get a court order to bar him from coming within miles of her house. Maybe I should get a gun and shoot the arrogant ass. Maybe I should... She lifted her head and kissed him.
He kissed her back.
If this is hell, she thought as she snuggled into his embrace, I'm not going to complain.