He knew his phone would ring within fifteen minutes of nine. She had been making a habit of it for quite a while now. It was every few days at first, but since he gave into her advances she started calling every night. It was as if she knew when his loneliness would peak. She was a master at playing off of it.
He made it clear to her that he was not interested in getting involved. That was months ago. She seemed to accept it and they agreed to remain just friends. They went out occasionally, but kept things innocent. There were moments when the tension would be evident, but both of them were skilled at changing the subject and not giving in.
It isn’t as if he wasn’t attracted to her. Her dark hair, and intense eyes would make any man recognize her beauty. Her smile was infectious, and her style was a mixture of girl next door and burlesque dancer. Her tattoos were artful and understated, and even her little ear gauges seemed to accentuate and not detract from her natural beauty. She was also intelligent and very mature for her age.
But there it was, her age. She was fifteen years his junior. That put her outside his acceptable “half his age plus seven” rule by two years. The first time he had sex, she wasn’t born. How could he even consider her?
She didn’t care about age. She hated the guys in her age range. Everything to them was about a party, and she wanted to have a real connection with someone. When she found it in him, she decided that he could be ninety, and she’d still want to be with him. She didn’t feel like she was twenty-three. She didn’t think of him as nearly forty.
He, on the other hand, could not get past it. Every time he thought about her as a sexual being, he felt like he needed to shower afterward. Despite the fact that she was technically an adult, he just felt like a creep.
She had a few friends over at her apartment on Monday night, and invited him. After a few drinks and a few rounds of Mario Kart, her friends left and it was just the two of them. She asked him if he wanted another drink, but he declined. She made a joke about not being able to take advantage of him, but he got the sense she wasn’t joking. As he got up from her couch to leave, she pushed him back down and he smacked his head on the corner of the wall behind it. He reached back to feel the bump and felt a small amount of blood.
When he pulled his hand out from behind his head, she saw the blood on his fingers. Her laughter turned to tears as she realized what she had done. She told him to stay seated and she would get some ice, as she ran across her apartment’s tiny living room into her kitchen. The open design allowed him to watch her as she grabbed a towel and some ice. He saw the tears streaming down her face and her shaking hands.
“It’s okay,” he said in as comforting a tone as the pain would allow. “I know you weren’t trying to hurt me,” he offered.
She returned with ice and told him to lean forward. He did so and she wrapped her arm around his head and held the ice to it. His face was over her shoulder when he noticed how close he was.
She pulled the ice away and looked at the towel, noticing there was hardly any blood on it. She returned the ice to his head and inched even closer to him. Their cheeks brushed as she leaned in. Before he had time to react, she was kissing his neck.
He gave in. Months of forbidden attraction had finally gotten the better of him. He didn’t say anything as he pulled her face away from his neck, and toward his mouth. The ice crashed onto the floor behind the couch as they passionately kissed and tore at each other’s clothes. She stopped kissing him. He looked at her confused.
“Should we stop?” he asked her.
“No, I just wanted to tell you to be gentle at first. I’ve never done this before.”
She didn’t give him time to reconsider based on what she had said before she was lowering herself onto his lap. The sex was amazing, and he couldn’t believe it was her first time.
He stayed with her for a few hours, before the regret kicked in. He told her that he thought they made a mistake and he didn’t want to complicate their friendship as he left to drive home.
She called him again on Tuesday, but he was out with women closer to his age. As he talked with the jaded women who were all looking for some perfect fictional billionaire, he thought that maybe he was making a mistake by letting age be a factor.
She called him on Wednesday, and he gave in again. He drove to her apartment where they had incredible sex and he stayed. He went home the next morning, convinced his stupid age rule was something he wouldn’t worry about again. He was looking forward to her call that night.
And at nine o’ clock, the phone rang.
He answered right away when he saw her number.
“Hello beautiful!” he answered.
“Why don’t you come over?” she purred into the phone.
When he arrived and knocked on the door, she called that she was getting ready and just to come inside. He walked into the living room and the couch where they had first been together was gone, replaced by a table and two chairs. At one of the chairs was a familiar looking man.
“Stephen. I’m Chris Hansen, why don’t you take a seat over there?”
Stephen awoke from his nightmare with her lying in his arms. As she slept, he reached into her purse and checked her ID.