Authors: Shelby Gates
I sat down on the edge of the bed and tried to process what had just happened.
I'd gone from thinking maybe I'd found someone special to watching him kiss me on the cheek, thank me for a night of sex and disappear through the door. It was like whiplash, moving from one to the other.
I leaned back on my hands and sighed.
I'd gotten exactly what I'd signed up for.
Experience. Sex without strings. Sow my stupid wild oats or whatever the hell it was I was doing. I agreed to the trip to experience the things I'd missed out on while I'd been with Brian and attaching myself to the first guy I'd slept with was kind of missing the point.
But I hadn't expected the first guy to be so...great. In nearly every way. I hadn't been bored for a single second. It had been easy with Adam. All of it. The conversation, the dinner, the sex. Like we were supposed to be together.
Or maybe I was just desperate.
I stood from the bed and walked over to the patio door. I pulled the slider open and stepped outside. The humidity was tolerable, a mere hint of what was to come later that morning. Clouds threaded the sky and the wind had picked up and I could see small white caps on the Gulf. A kite hung in the air above the blue water, its owner out of sight. I wondered if it was a kid, out for an early morning walk with his parents. I wondered if it was an elderly woman, alone on the beach. I wondered if it was a guy like Adam.
I sighed again. I'd missed all of the signs.
I could see them all now, clear as day. Adam had approached me in the water. Flirting but not overly so. He'd showed interest, but not too much. He knew I was a tourist just passing through. The girl at the restaurant and the girl at the bar , both of whom he'd known and explained away.
It might have been my first time dabbling in one night stands, but it definitely hadn't been Adam's.
I shook my head and laughed. Not because it was funny, but because I'd been naïve. I'd been easy pickings for him. And not that there was anything wrong with that. Essentially, that's what I'd been looking to do, too.
I just wasn't nearly as good at it.
The kite drifted down the beach and the unseen owner drifted with it.
I wasn't angry with Adam. I knew that I probably would've slept with him even if he hadn't been so charming. Like some sort of ice breaker for the trip for me. We'd both been willing and the aftermath didn't change that.
What I was so surprised about was how empty I felt.
We'd had great sex. I mean,
. The kind I'd fantasized about. In the moment, it had taken my breath away and this sexual being inside of me had emerged that I hadn't known was in hiding. I loved being naked with him and touching him and being touched. It felt
But now that he was gone and the sex was over, I wasn't sure how I was feeling. Like I was missing something, maybe. It wasn't going to happen again because I wasn't going to see him again. There was nothing to look forward to, no one to share anything with. Sure, I could tell Paige and Mimi and we could relive the details. But there was nothing there for me. I was still alone and I wasn't sure I was any good at being alone. I knew I hadn't been good at being a couple with Brian but I also knew that, eventually, I wanted to be a part of a whole. If I had to align myself with one of my best friends, choose who I was more like, I'd always pick Mimi. I admired Paige and her passion and fierce independence but I saw more of myself in Mimi.
I walked back into my room and closed the door, shutting out the breeze and the Gulf. I stared at the bed for a minute. I could picture Adam and myself in the bed, re-imagine every single thing we did together during the eight hours we'd spent tangled between the sheets.
I didn't regret a single minute of it. It was a nice memory.
But that's all it was.
My phone buzzed on the nightstand and I grabbed it. A text from Mimi.
Are you okay?
I sighed and sat down on the bed again and thought about her question. I didn't know how I was. I was confused about everything.
Maybe the task I'd set out to do was going to be too hard. Maybe I wasn't wired for just sex. Maybe I didn't have the stomach for sex and nothing else.
I shook my head. No, that wasn't it. I just wanted sex and something else.
I stared at my phone for a minute, then hit the contact list and tapped Mimi's name. The phone rang and, after one ring, she answered it.
“Does this mean you survived the night?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said. I pushed the comforter aside and leaned back against one of the pillows. It smelled like sex and whiskey and Adam and the memories rushed back, full force.
“How was your date?”
“It was fine.” And then, because it sounded ridiculously inadequate, I added, “Good.”
“You had dinner?”
“Yes.” I hesitated. “And sex.”
There was a short pause. “And how was that?”
I sighed and closed my eyes. “It was amazing.”
The sound of dishes clattering rang through the receiver and I figured she must be either serving breakfast to the kids or cleaning it up.
“No regrets?” Mimi asked. Unlike Paige, she didn't press for details.
“I don't know,” I said. “The jury is still out.”
“Are you okay, Jess?” Her voice had taken on a worried tone.
“I'm fine,” I said quickly. “Just...reflecting.”
“You don't have to do it, you know,” she told me. A faucet turned on and I heard the sound of dishes being dropped into a sink. “You're in charge. Not me and not Paige. You can call it quits at any time. You know that.”
“I know.” I sighed. “I'll be fine. I
fine,” I amended. I heard the baby cry. “You need to go.”
“No,” she said. “I can talk.”
“It's okay,” I said. “I need to shower and grab breakfast. I'll call you soon, I promise.”
I said goodbye and hung up. I tossed the phone on my nightstand and closed my eyes.
I hadn't lied to Mimi. I was fine. Adam's response had surprised me but only because it was new. I didn't have experience with morning-afters. But if I was going to make it through forty nine more states, I was going to need to change my way of thinking and toughen myself up. Live in the moment and not look forward—or backward, for that matter. I had to focus on the experience and not the big picture.
I glanced at the floor and saw a piece of the torn condom wrapper. I picked it up and laid it in the palm of my hand.
It had been a good night. I needed more good nights. I just couldn't get caught up in the what-ifs.
Because I had forty-nine more states to get to.
And forty-nine more guys, too.
Did you enjoy
LOVE IN ALABAMA
LOVE IN ALASKA
arrives on 10/20/14!
Sign up for the monthly newsletter
so you can be notified of new releases, special sale prices for subscribers and read excerpts before they're published!