The minute Faina walked into the arcade, she wanted to turn around and go home, where she could game from her console with her headset, safe from view and with the lights and sounds under her own control. Here, she felt out of place and more than a little anxious with so many people. She had never quite developed her social capabilities beyond her online interactions, and while she could easily cooperate with a team on complex car heists or lead a raid on an enemy base in her games, she sometimes couldn’t even choke out a greeting or her name in a public space.
“Come on, Faina,” Rebel urged. Rebel didn’t count; they’d known each other since grade school and had been friends forever. But since they’d become roommates last fall, Faina had realized that Rebel wasn’t going to let her sit home forever. “You have to get out there and meet people. Otherwise, you’re never going to find Mr. Right.”
Faina nearly snorted derisively but caught herself. What did Rebel know about finding Mr. Right? The girl seemed to think she had found the love of her life every other weekend, only to lose interest or get brutally dumped after a week. Both end games resulted in a tub of ice cream with a tearjerker chick flick, followed by a night like tonight, where she forced Faina out of her comfort zone, just so she wouldn’t have to go trolling for another guy alone.
At least this time she’d taken Faina’s interests into consideration. Rather than dragging her to a club or movie or some speed dating travesty, she’d come to the arcade. While she preferred solitude, Faina figured she could find a game machine and hole up in it for the next hour or two, giving Revel enough time to find her man and disappear. Then, she could go home to her own soda and chips and make ridiculous jokes with her online gamer friends.
“Let’s get something to eat,” Rebel said, drawing her out of her thoughts as she searched the scene for a perfect machine to take her into another world. Something about her friend’s tone told her Rebel had spotted a specimen of interest trolling the food court area just outside the general gaming center. Rolling her eyes, Faina let herself be herded toward the buzzing section of the mall, filled with the smell of fast food and cologne.
It didn’t take long to spot the tall blonde who caught Rebel’s attention, since she made a beeline for the counter near him and his friends, eyeing him the whole way and easily earning glances and a teasing smile in return. Rebel was beautiful, and she exuded confidence, so she never had trouble getting her man. She was just fickle and sometimes a bit shallow, so she had trouble finding the type of guy that could go the distance in a long term relationship.
Faina gave the cursory smile when the fair-haired god came over to introduce himself – Collin was his name – and then tried to feign interest in the conversation with a nod here and there while she mostly thought about getting a smoothie and heading back into the arcade. Or home. It looked like Rebel had worked fast tonight, so maybe she could escape early.
“I can’t believe I let you talk me into this when I have a brand new game I’m waiting to break in at home.” The voice came from a short distance behind her, and Faina frowned. It sounded awfully familiar, and she wondered how any voices in the middle of a mall could strike her as though she frequented the place and knew people here. But then he spoke again. “You know I wanted to spend the evening with my headset and my international crew.”
She inhaled sharply as she swore that voice couldn’t belong to who she pictured. After all, no matter how many times she’d heard that same tone through her headset, she knew for a fact it came from the other side of the continent, which was the only reason she’d ever been comfortable in her secreted thoughts of what it would be like to be alone with Alex.
She almost ducked out of there without looking, telling herself she was deranged and desperate. She would go home and find Alex online, still on the west coast, and she would laugh at herself.
But she couldn’t do it. She was frozen in place, her heart thrumming loudly in her ears and beating brutally against her ribs. She told herself she wouldn’t turn around, but her feet had a mind of their own, and before she could stop them, she was facing two guys a few feet away. One she didn’t recognize, but the other face was as familiar as the back of her hand.
She didn’t say a word. She didn’t have to. His eyes locked on hers, the same recognition she felt filling his expression with shock. He was more beautiful in real life, if that was possible, with his rich chocolate almond shaped eyes, long lashes, and dark hair sticking up in messy tufts and framing an angular face with full lips. And she’d never gotten a good look at his body before, but now, she had to believe that, when he wasn’t online, he was working out. He was completely toned, his biceps stretching the sleeves of his t-shirt just enough and his jeans fitting his thighs like skin below his narrow waist.
“Faina?” he croaked. His friend looked confused and maybe a little irritated.
Faina just nodded, her jaw slack with disbelief. She didn’t trust her voice, so she tried to clear her throat and regulate her breathing before she spoke. “Alex, I thought you were in California.” Was that really what she wanted to say, the first words she wanted to speak to him in person?
But his smile was devastating as it spread unhindered across his face. “I was. I moved about a month ago and haven’t had time to change my profile yet.” He stepped closer, and she could smell him – a gentle, citrus aftershave and something musky and enticing beneath. Then, he hugged her, and she nearly melted against his hard chest. Dear god, he was really here!
When he pulled away, she wanted to yank him back, but she knew it wasn’t appropriate. Instead, she waited for him to say something. “Listen, I have a brand new game I can’t wait to break into. Are you up to play tonight?”
Her hopes fell. So, he just wanted to hook up online again. Of course, she’d expected too much, considering the distance they’d had between them from the start. “Sure, I’d love to,” she said, trying to sound excited.
“Great.” He turned to his friend and shrugged. “You’re on your own, Simon. Good luck. And don’t rush home, okay?”
Simon didn’t look the least bit thrilled but also had a question in his eyes. Apparently, Alex didn’t walk out on him often. Maybe that was a good sign. It was even better when he held out his hand to Faina. “Come on, I’ve got an extra headset and a ton of controllers. You can pick your favorite.”
Gaping at him for a moment, she realized he wasn’t putting her off. He was actually inviting her over. Motioning for him to hold on, she turned to seek out her roommate and found Rebel running a manicured nail down the center of the blonde’s chest. “Rebel, I’m leaving. I’ll see you…when I see you.”
Rebel looked shocked and then gazed up at Alex. Her pupils dilated with her interest, and she gave Faina a sly smile. “I won’t wait up.”
Ducking her head to hide her blush, Faina took Alex’s hand and let him lead her to his car. He drove in a relaxed manner, with one hand. “I wanted to hit you up sooner,” he told her. “I’ve just been really busy, trying to get settled. I sort of wanted to have my place put together before I invited you over.”
He’d been planning to have her over? “I just can’t believe you’re here.” She felt ridiculous as she heard the words come out of her mouth. “What I mean is…” She bit her lip and tried again. “I’ve thought how nice it would be to meet in person for a long time.”
Glancing at her from the corner of his eye, he reached across the seat and put his hand on her leg, making her tense a little and then melt as his touch heated her to her core. How was this possible? It was like the only intimate dream she’d ever had was coming true. “We’ve been gaming for, what, five years?” She nodded. Almost to the day, she realized. She watched his face, saw the strain in his expression as he swallowed visibly. “We know each other pretty well, I think, and to be honest, I’ve had a crush on you for a very long time.”
Faina nearly choked as her throat constricted with a mix of emotions – shock and amazement, fear and excitement, hope and trepidation. Before she could think better of it, she replied in little more than a whisper, “I’ve had a huge crush on you, too.” Tentatively, she slid her hand over his, and he turned his palm up, threading his fingers through hers. That was enough to take her breath away, but as he caressed her skin with the pad of his thumb, she felt things low in her body waking up, things that had never responded to anyone before.
When he pulled up the driveway of the small house and stopped the car, he didn’t release her hand, instead tugging her toward him as he leaned over, until their lips touched. Faina could have cried with joy at the sensation that swept over her, but she held back the tears and reached up to wrap her free hand around the back of his head, not wanting the kiss to ever end. His tongue pressed at her lips, and she opened to him, moving her tongue instinctively with his until her body ached, her breasts growing heavy with need.
Eventually, he pulled away, breathless, with his pupils dilated. He searched her face, and she forced herself not to look down for further evidence of his arousal. In a husky voice, Alex said, “I think we should go inside.” Faina simply nodded, not wanting to break the spell for fear this wouldn’t go the way she hoped.
Alex came around to open the car door for her and ushered her toward the house with a hand at the small of her back, sending shivers of delight up and down her spine. “It’s still a bachelor pad,” he said, sounding shy and apologetic as he let her in. The furniture was sparse, but then, this place was larger than his apartment, and she recognized all the pieces from the screen time they’d shared on occasion. It made her feel more comfortable and at home.
Not knowing what to do with herself, she just stood there, looking around. The hand Alex had at her back, crept around until he splayed his fingers over her stomach, and he shifted his stance to press his front to her back. How she could be so nervous and so relaxed with him at the same time baffled her, but she leaned against him and felt the pressure of his arousal against her back. It thriller her more than she wanted to admit, and she moved against it, hearing his sharp inhalation at the contact.
He brushed her hair away from her neck and tilted her head to the side, kissing and licking his way over the stretched tendons and behind her ear before reaching the line of her jaw and tracing his way to her mouth. All the while, his fingers toyed at her waist, and she finally turned to face him, delving into a deep, passionate kiss that set off sparks behind her eyelids.
Needing to gain some sort of control over what was happening, Faina found her fingers crawling beneath the thin material of his shirt and tracing the lines of his abs. Alex backed away long enough to pull the shirt over his head and followed with hers. She felt vulnerable for only a moment, even as he reached around and, with a flick of his wrist, unclasped her bra. Then, his hands cupped her exposed breasts, and she forgot about her concerns, reveling in his touch and attention.
“I’ve wanted to touch you for so long,” he breathed in her ear, and she whimpered as she boldly rubbed her hand over the hard length straining against his jeans. She didn’t know if it was the fact that he so obviously wanted her or the words he said, but she was all kinds of twisted up in knots and hoped that he would find a way to unwind them.
Instead, he slipped a hand between her legs, cupping her sex through her jeans, and those knots became so tightly wound that her muscles and tendons were like guitar strings that could be plucked, vibrations filling her with an amazing white hot sensation. Liquid pooled where he touched her, and she knew he could feel the moisture beginning to soak through the denim.
Alex suddenly broke away, and shock set into her system from the abrupt loneliness that overwhelmed her. But then he was tugging on her jeans, and she hadn’t even been aware he’d moved, her brain lagged so far behind. Her panties came with them, and she was bare in front of him. He stopped long enough to stare at her with liquid eyes and mouth agape before removing his, and then she understood, her jaw slack as she eyed the size and shape of his cock, standing at attention. She reached out and stroked him, loving how smooth the skin was over the hard mass, and he grabbed her by the waist, roughly moving her back, across the room, until the backs of her knees hit the chaise and they fell over it, Alex coming down hard on top of her.
Faina didn’t mind; his toned body was heavy and reassuring above her as he slid his tongue back into her mouth, his fingers tickling at her folds and teasing at her core. He moved with grace and beauty, and she could feel it in his back as she trailed her fingertips over its expanse and down to cup his buttocks, firm and round. She urged him toward her, and he slipped an arm under her left knee, lifting her leg over his shoulder and spreading her wide for him.
His mouth came down on her taut nipple at the same moment he thrust into her with such force she cried out, the sensation ripping through her in delicious waves of pleasure. The explosions behind her eyelids shifted from red to purple to blue and back to a brilliant yellow as she came, and Alex stilled, buried inside her and breathing heavily. “You almost made me come,” he grunted, his lips vibrating against her breast and making her shiver with delight.
And then he was moving, rolling his hips so he slid easily in and out of her, deeper and deeper. His cock stretched her just enough to create a bit of friction that had the pressure building again, so quickly and with so much need that she couldn’t see, her vision blurring completely. Faina clung to him, moving with him and raising her hips as he bent her knee so it nearly touched her shoulder. The position let him shove deeper than she knew he could go, and she threw her head back, panting and unable to think, as he continued with his steady but fast rhythm. She grabbed at his shoulders, dug her fingertips into his skin brutally, never wanting to let go, and he bent lower, taking her mouth again like a sweeping storm.
His chest pressed to hers, its hard planes rubbing against her heavy breasts and hard nipples so bolts of lightning from the contact reached her core, and she felt the bubble burst, the overwhelming bliss taking over so she could hear her screams of ecstasy as if from a distance, barely recognizing them as hers. Her inner walls convulsed around him, and Alex cried out her name, burying himself to his hilt as he joined her over the edge.
He shook in her arms with his release, and despite her inability to think clearly, she smoothed her palms soothingly over his back and kissed his shoulder over and over, fighting for breath just as he did. She didn’t want him to move, and he didn’t for the longest time.
When he finally shifted, Faina let him raise up far enough to look into her eyes and saw something she never expected there, under his hooded lids. “You can’t imagine how happy I am right now,” he rasped, his voice barely audible.
The giggle that rose out of her came out as a husky laugh, something even more shocking to her. “I think I can,” she contradicted.
Alex’s smile was the best reward she could ask for as it spread from ear to ear, making his eyes twinkle and his cheeks dimple. “I think moving here was a very good decision.”
And that made her frown up at him, curious and a bit confused. “Were you looking for a job here? Or did it just sort of happen?”
Now, he laughed, and she realized that was her favorite thing about him – his laugh. “Honestly, I saved up and came out here without a job. It shouldn’t take me long to find one.” His smile faded and he kissed the tip of her nose. “I came out here for you. So please tell me this isn’t a one time thing.”
Faina didn’t know what to say. Sure, she’d been in love with him from afar for years, but she’d never expected a guy – especially this one who she adored – to do something so impulsive and romantic for her. So she said the only thing she could. “It better not be. Because now that you’re here, I don’t plan on letting you go.” She lifted her head and kissed him, a long, meaningful gesture filled with her emotions. Then, she pulled back and said, “Let’s get dressed and check out that game already.”
“Yes, ma’am! I knew you were the perfect girl for me.”