Bash deals with The Morning After the Night Before. Or is it?
When I wake up, I have no idea where I am, or how I got here.
I’m in a bed that is not mine, a huge and comfortable bed, with fine cotton sheets and luxurious down pillows and comforter, all pristine white. The room, too, is unfamiliar but lovely, more whites, with touches of soft blue and steel gray here and there. Elegant but serene.
I notice there’s a trash can that has been placed close next to the bed, and it all comes back to me in a rush.
“Oh, fuck,” I mutter, humiliation racing over me as I remember my drunken antics last night. I remember too many tequila shots, and then Chloe putting moves on me, and then Lark showing up after my rambling phone call-
I groan, and hide my face in my hands in shame.
No wonder my head is pounding and my mouth feels like someone has shoveled dirty sand into it.
But where the fuck am I? And–I notice in shock–why am I only dressed in my boxer-briefs and a t-shirt I don’t recognize.
What has happened to me? Is this a hotel? Lark Blackwood’s place?
And if so, last night, after I passed out, did we…?
The thought is not entirely unpleasant, admittedly, but I hate the thought that I might have- And that I would, and not remember it. And… and…
The door to this room, this bedroom I guess, opens, and Lark Blackwood comes in. She’s dressed in exercise clothing, like the first time I met her, just a week ago. This time, though, it’s a clinging tank top with her track pants. Her face and shoulders are flushed and glowing with perspiration. Her hair is knotted on top of her head, with wisps of red-gold curling damply around her neck and face. She blots her flushed cheeks with the towel she’s carrying, and I can hear her breathing.
Oh, my God…. I feel my mouth open in shock.
“Oh, good, you’re awake,” she says to me with nonchalance. “How are you feeling this morning?” she adds, with a bit of a smirk.
“Okay, I guess. Probably better than I have any right to feel, after everything….” I trail off, flushing deeply.
I’m still not sure what “everything” might entail.
She strides over to a side table, and picks up a tray with several items on it, and puts it on the nightstand next to me. It’s such a considerate thing to do, and I’m touched.
She bends to lift ice into a glass with a pair of silver tongs. Holy smokes, she’s so close that I can smell the fragrance of her skin and hair again, along with the added hint of musk that is her sweat from working out. Everything inside me tightens up at the heady, intimate combination.
I want to bury my face in her hair, her neck, and just inhale. Forever.
But Lark is apparently oblivious to my nefarious desires.
“Here. Take these, drink this, and then have at least one full bottle of the water,” she says, pointing to several red pills, and a small carafe of something else clear, but that’s not water, in a bucket of ice. There are also two glass bottles of designer water on the tray, and a heavy, etched crystal glass.
She puts the glass with ice in my hand, and I manage to grip it while she pours a beverage into it.
“What is this?” I ask at a vaguely familiar scent.
“Coconut water. It will help your hangover. Drink it, now,” she adds.
She’s so high-handed. Practically dictatorial.
I assume the red tablets are Advil or something, and, following directions, I swallow them down without further question, sip some of the exotic-tasting coconut water, and then gulp down a bottle of the fancy, designer water after.
The whole time I’m doing this, she’s calmly moving around the room. She pours herself coffee from a silver service on a table by the window, spoons some fresh berries from a bowl onto a small plate, and pulls out a chair to sit. Several newspapers are next to the breakfast dishes, and she unfolds one, and starts to read, seemingly unconcerned.
I can’t help wondering if this is a familiar routine for her, if I’m far from the first drunk guy she’s brought home?
If this is her home, that is.
“So, uh… where are we? Is this where you live?” I manage to pipe up.
“Not exactly,” she says, leaning back in her chair. “I keep this apartment downtown near my office for when I’m working late. I have a house off Skyline Boulevard.”
“How come you brought me here?” I ask in a low voice.
“My place was closer,” she says. “And I didn’t want to leave you alone, in case you were sick again. Or worse. Alcohol poisoning is a real thing, you know, Sebastian.”
“How did I get here?”
“My driver, Carter, assisted.”
“Oh.” She has an answer for everything. “Uh… how come I’m- that is- uh… where are my clothes?”
“With the laundry service. They were in no condition to be worn.”
“Who… who undressed me?”
“And… put me to bed?”
Her silence is confirmation.
“Did you sleep in… a guest room or something?” I falter, not sure I should ask the question, should risk drawing her inexplicable ire again.
“I slept here. In my own bed.”
“Did, uh… did we… do… anything?” My face flames as I ask the question, but I have to know.
She rises, and comes over to sit on the bed next to me.
Holy smokes. Lark Blackwood. Me. Bed.
“No, Sebastian,” she says in that velvet voice of her. “We didn’t, as you so quaintly put it, ‘do anything.’ Besides, I prefer my partners to be willing, and receptive. And conscious.”
“I’m sorry,” I mumble, feeling like a scolded child. “I’m… so sorry about all of this.”
Lark gives me the tiniest hint of a smile. “Oh, I suppose you might say it was an adventure, my young Mr. Stone. Not the usual way I spend an evening, looking after an intoxicated lad.”
I swallow, ashamed of how I behaved last night. “So I’m just the stupid drunk guy you had to come rescue before, what, I got rolled by a bum or white-slaved to the Orient or something?”
“A tad melodramatic, Mr. Stone, don’t you think?” She pours more coconut water into the glass, and hands it to me again. She waits until I drink it before she murmurs, “Remember, you called me. There must have been a reason for that.” She still looks amused.
“Is that why you tracked my phone?” I snap back, remembering another salient detail from last night.
She takes the glass away from me and puts it on the table again. “If I hadn’t,” she asks me, “what do you think might have happened with your… musical partner?” She stresses the last two words a bit. “You didn’t seem to welcome her amorous attentions, after all. You might be waking up in her bed right now, not mine. Is that what you wanted?”
“No,” I whisper, ashamed.
“Are you sure? Perhaps that is why you got so drunk last night, to lower your inhibitions, so she could-”
“No!” I say again, vehemently.
For some reason, this makes Lark laugh instead of getting mad at me, like I expected she would. Is this some sort of cat-and-mouse game that I’m ill-equipped to play?
“Why are you lecturing me like this?” I protest, still feeling like a sulky child who’s gotten into trouble.
“Lecturing you?” To my shock, she raises a hand, and touches my unruly hair. “Is that what I’m doing?”
I shrug, because, with her fingers in my hair, I can’t possibly articulate words.
Her glorious blue eyes lock with mine, and the intensity in them takes the breath from my lungs.
“You are lucky that’s all I’m doing, Sebastian Stone,” she murmurs, one finger winding a curl around it.
“A young man in my care and possession would be duly punished for such foolhardy action,” she says, her fingers tracing a scalding line along my scalp to the nape of my neck.
A young man in her… care and possession?! Does she mean I’m like some sort of little boy who needs parenting, or is she suggesting something… else?
“If you were mine,” she continues, her touch raising goosebumps on every square inch of my flesh as she trails them from the back of my neck, then up to my cheek, “this kind of thing, risking your health and safety and well-being, putting yourself in harm’s way, would be met with severe discipline. It’s the only way you’d learn. And after, you would be grateful for it.” She shakes her head, and a look of disquieting anxiousness colors her beautiful eyes. But then her face hardens in that cold, autocratic look I’m beginning to know too well. “What if something had happened to you?” she demands fiercely.
“Nothing happened to me,” I say, but it lacks fire. She’s right, in a way. If she hadn’t shown up….
Then you wouldn’t be here in her bed! my Id bubbles, excited.
“No thanks to your friends,” she reminds me.
Her palm is still on my face, and her face is as close to mine as it was the other day, when every fiber in my being was begging for the feel of her mouth on mine, her lips-
“Why are you so high-handed?” I ask her, not sure how I get the words out, since I can scarcely breathe.
“Am I high-handed, Sebastian?” she says in a husky voice. “Oh, my dear boy, you’ve no idea how high-handed I can be.”
Holy smokes, what does she mean by that?
And then suddenly, brilliantly, she smiles at me. It’s like the sun in spring after a long, dark, cold winter. Utterly enchanting perfection.
I find myself smiling back.
But she drops her hand, moves away from me, stands up.
“Now that that’s clear, you need to come eat some breakfast. You should to get some food in your stomach.”
To be continued….
MBO Playlist, Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”