The next few weeks were crazy.
For three hours every week, Rowen was a complete and total stranger to her. He was nothing more than a professor who taught Statistics and treated her with casual indifference whenever they were in a classroom.
All that would change whenever they were alone.
Behind closed doors, whether it was in his office, in his car, or in his apartment, they would make out so intensely that each time it proved harder and harder to stop him.
It would’ve been the easy, sensible thing not to allow herself to be alone with him, but Rowen was like a drug she had become addicted to. He was a great and terrible distraction that made focusing on her studies near impossible, but she couldn’t help it.
“It’s the spring of Hayleigh Sullivan,” Tara commented back in their dorm. “Stop grinning like an idiot. It’s almost infuriating.”
“What?” Hayleigh absently replied as she finished replying to Rowen’s latest text. “What did you say?”
“Ugh, see what I mean?” Tara rolled her eyes as she closed her laptop. “You’ve been texting that Ryan dude nonstop for weeks. Is the d really that good?”
“If you must know, I haven’t had sex with Ro—Ryan.” Hayleigh corrected herself at the last second.
“Oh no, so it’ll only get worse from here?“ Tara dramatically sighed. “On the one hand, I suppose I should be happy for you. At least you’re finally getting some action like everybody else.”
“Nothing. I just hate that you’re still managing to maintain your GPA.” Tara snorted. “You keep saying you can’t concentrate, and yet you’re passing just fine.”
“So you want me to fail and lose my scholarship.” Hayleigh laughed. “What kind of a friend are you?”
“An awesome friend,” Tara emphatically said. “But I’m telling you, don’t get too crazy with this Ryan dude, okay? I don’t wanna have to pick up the pieces if he turns out to be some fuckboy and screws you over.”
Hayleigh’s phone vibrated again. She picked it up and read Rowen’s latest reply.
Do you want to stay over on Friday?
She nearly dropped her phone. “Fuck.”
“What is it?” Tara asked. “Did he send you a dick pic?”
“What is up with you and dicks?” Hayleigh’s laugh was short-lived. “No, he uh... invited me to stay over at his place on Friday.”
Tara slowly raised her eyebrows. “I guess someone’s cherry is finally getting popped.”
“Don’t say that!”
“Well, that’s obviously what’s going to happen if you say yes. The only question left is: do you like him enough to let him do the honors?”
Without a doubt, Hayleigh liked Rowen. But to give up her virginity for him, after only a month of dating...
“Maybe it’ll be a harmless sleepover,” she murmured. “You never know.”
“I guess we’ll both find out this weekend.” Tara knowingly grinned.
“That was probably the best pot roast I’ve ever had.”
Rowen raised his wine glass. “Thank you. I try.”
“You’re such an amazing cook, it’s ridiculous.” Hayleigh shook her head as she sat with him around the dining table in his apartment that Friday evening. “It’s almost unfair, really.”
“I told you, it’s all online.” He chuckled. “It’s not like I came up with it.”
“Well, I’m sure it wasn’t easy,” she said, standing up to clear the plates. “At least let me do the dishes.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.” He rose after her. “You’re my guest.”
“For all the times I’ve been here, I don’t think I can be called a guest anymore.” She laughed, heading towards the kitchen. “It’s fine, really. At least I can show you I can manage at least one household chore.”
He gently took her plate before she could place it on the sink. “While I’m sure that’s exciting to watch, you’re staying over tonight. You should go ahead and shower so you can get comfortable.”
The reminder that she was sleeping over drew a tight knot inside her. With a sigh, she allowed him to let the sink faucet run and followed him to the bathroom.
Rowen’s bathroom was just as stunning as the rest of his apartment. The walls were made of smooth, black slate that covered the entire bathroom from ceiling to floor, while a transparent glass wall separated the shower from the toilet and sink. It was clean, minimalistic, and reflective of Rowen’s simple but impeccable taste in things.
“Turn left for hot. Left switch is for the top shower, right for the nozzle. Fresh towels and hair dryer are under the sink.”
Hayleigh nodded, admiring the sleek, stainless steel handles of the shower. It wasn’t her first time in this bathroom, but it almost felt like it. Damn it, why did Rowen have such a nice place? It just made her want to keep staying and never leave...
“Anyway, you go ahead. I’ll shower after you.”
He closed the door behind him. Hayleigh looked around his gorgeous bathroom with a dreamy sigh before taking her clothes off.
Twenty minutes later, Hayleigh turned off the hair dryer and stared at her reflection in the foggy sink mirror. She was now in a comfy grey shirt and banana print pajamas, which looked ridiculous, but it was the only clean sleepwear she had left.
What the hell was she doing? Was she really staying the night with Rowen? They hadn’t discussed the sleeping arrangements yet nor had he remotely mentioned anything about having sex tonight. Maybe he just really wanted to spend more time with her? Surely that wasn’t as unbelievable as it sounded...
Hayleigh hung her towel on the rack. She’d holed herself up in this bathroom long enough. There was no use agonizing about what she wasn’t even sure was going to happen. If it came to that, well... she’d cross the bridge when she got there.
Hayleigh took a deep breath and exhaled before finally stepping out of the bathroom. Rowen was now sporting a brandy while flicking through channels with his remote. His eyes locked on her pajamas when he turned around.
“Nice PJs,” he commented with a smirk.
“Shut up,” she muttered, walking past him. “Bathroom’s all yours.”
“Alright. You can move your things upstairs.”
Crap. So they were going to share a bed after all.
“Okay,” she replied nonchalantly. She waited until she heard the bathroom door close before hissing out, “Fuck.”
Maybe Tara could give her some sound advice over the phone. Maybe she could make a run for it while Rowen was still in the shower.
Hayleigh bit on her thumbnail and paced around the living room. This was ridiculous. She was an adult. She could say no any time she wanted, and Rowen would understand. He was not the kind of guy to take advantage, otherwise he never would’ve let things go on the way they did.
Pacified, Hayleigh moved to the couch and switched the channel to a rerun of a cop drama. The detective was just about to make the suspect confess in the holding room when the bathroom door opened again.
Rowen appeared wearing nothing but sweatpants as he dried his hair with a towel. Every inch of his torso was covered in lean muscle, which was still glistening from the shower. She immediately tore her gaze away from his body before her eyeballs popped out.
“You like Law and Order?” he asked. She made a murmur of agreement without looking at him.
Thankfully he went upstairs, giving her a few seconds to recollect herself. Christ, how the hell was she going to last the night at this rate?
Rowen returned downstairs, now mercifully wearing a shirt. “I’m going to make some hot cocoa. Do you want some?”
Hayleigh flipped to the next channel. “Are you trying to make me fat?”
“You look like you could use a little more meat on your bones,” he said from the kitchen.
She folded her elbows on the back of the couch and faced him. “Who are you? The Big Bad Wolf?”
He flashed her a befittingly wolfish grin in return.
He soon rejoined her on the couch carrying two mugs. She took a sip and chewed on her marshmallows with a groan.
“I haven’t had hot cocoa in ages. This is perfect.”
“I figured a sweet tooth like you would have it more often.”
“Not while I live in a dorm.” She shrugged. “I thought you didn’t like sweets. I’m surprised you’re drinking.”
“I’m not. I’m having tea.”
“Oh. Of course you are.” She snorted. “Why do I get the feeling you eat something else entirely when I’m not around?”
“Yes, I only eat raw steaks and drink the blood of infants on most days.”
“Ha ha,” she mocked, but she ended up laughing for good anyway. “But seriously, I feel like you’re always going out of your way to accommodate me. You don’t have to keep doing that, you know.”
He placed his mug on the table. “Maybe I’m doing it to win you over.”
“Win me over? What for?”
“So I could keep having an excuse to invite you over?”
A small smile couldn’t help but form on her lips. “We could be having popcorn for dinner and I wouldn’t care less.”
He leaned back, stretching an arm and relaxing on the couch. “Why don’t you move a little closer?”
She obliged, allowing herself to snuggle up next to him and rest her head on his shoulder. This close, she could faintly smell his musky aftershave. His fingers moved to gently massage her hair, soothing her as she closed her eyes. It felt good to be next to him just like this. She felt safe in his sturdy arms.
“You look sleepy,” he murmured in her ear. “Shall we get you to bed?”
She nodded as he took her by the hand and led her upstairs to the bedroom loft. Even down to the king-size bed, Rowen’s sheets were only black and grey.
His bed felt like heaven. Her body practically molded to the mattress, and his thick pillows cradled her head just right. His sheets smelled fresh out of the dry cleaners, and when she closed her eyes, she could easily imagine herself lying on a hotel bed.
“How can you live like this?” she mumbled into his pillow. “This is so unfair.”
He softly chuckled and pushed back a strand of hair on her forehead as they lay facing each other on their sides.
“What time is it?” She yawned. “Aren’t you sleepy yet?”
He briefly glanced at his bedside clock. “A little past eleven. And I’m afraid I’ll have a hard time sleeping while a pretty girl in banana print pajamas is on my bed.”
She let out a giggle. “I’ll sleep on the couch then.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. I think I’ll just work downstairs for a little bit,” he said, rising from the bed.
“Hey Rowen?” She sleepily smiled as he turned around. “Thank you for dinner and everything.”
He placed a hand on the headboard and kissed her. It was a chaste one—nothing more than a good night kiss—but she found herself unable to tear her lips away from him. The light peck soon became passionate lip-locking, and all drowsiness ebbed away from her body as Rowen slowly slipped a hand up her shirt.
He was on top of her before she knew it, trailing kisses from her neck down to her stomach. His fingers grazed her ribcage, delicately close to her breast, and while the first wave of panic began to hit her, her body yearned for more.
“Rowen,” she whispered. “I haven’t done this before.”
“I know,” he breathed on her skin. “Just tell me to stop and I will.”
Slowly, he lifted her shirt and took her right breast in his mouth. Her back arched at the strange, wonderful sensation, at the way his teeth lightly grazed over her skin. His hands and mouth were so warm, she felt like melting under his touch.
Rowen removed his shirt, revealing beautiful, sinewy muscle. She traced her fingers along his broad chest and strong arms, reveling in their firmness.
“You must have one hell of a workout,” she mused.
He smirked as he wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her towards him. He lifted her arms above her head and kept them in place while his other hand slipped inside her panties.
“Relax,” he shushed as she squirmed at the intrusion. He gently cupped and stroked her, tracing the entirety of her slit with one finger. She shuddered and felt her breath hitch in her throat when he began to rub her clitoris.
Meanwhile, his lips remained busy leaving marks all over her skin. A barrage of different sensations was hitting her all at the same time, nearly overwhelming her. She gasped when he inserted a finger inside her.
“Does it hurt?” he murmured. He stopped moving, but did not withdraw his hand.
It did not hurt, but it certainly felt strange. When he removed his hand, his middle finger glistened.
“Is that from me?” she asked, embarrassed.
He softly chuckled. “Yes, it is.”
He neared his wet finger to her mouth and gently smeared it over her lower lip. When he pushed, she impulsively took it in her mouth and sucked on it.
His voice was low and quiet in her ear. “Good girl.”
He released her arms and dipped his head low to kiss her stomach again. His hands grabbed the sides of her pajamas and tugged on them gently.
“Wait.” She froze. “What are you doing?”
“I won’t do anything you won’t like,” he said as her pajamas fell down to her hips. “Just say the word and I’ll stop.”
Her pajamas fell from her knees down to her ankles, and soon it was completely off of her. Gently, he parted her legs and kissed her inner thigh, eliciting a shaky sigh from her.
His warm breath between her legs sent all the hairs on her skin standing. His lips touched her through her panties, kissing them the same way he kissed her mouth. Something warm and wet began to pool inside her, though it was hard to tell if it was just his tongue. With every movement of his mouth she gripped the sheets harder. She began to hear her own heavy, rapid breaths.
His fingers tugged on her panties to remove them, and she did not fight back. With no more barriers, his lips tasted the most intimate part of her, and it was all she could do not to scream. Her hips bucked with pleasure, and he responded by dipping his tongue inside her.
All inhibition left Hayleigh’s body as she grabbed Rowen’s head and let the pleasure consume her.