Ava has always played it safe, but after a midnight run-in with a handsome stranger, she discovers that perhaps fortune favors the bold. Can she find the courage to seek the ultimate treasure?
Ava watched as Mitch departed, half-relieved and half-regretful. She was so in over her head. When he’d kissed her, she’d just about lost it.
She had no idea it could be like that. The very best sex she’d ever had with her last boyfriend couldn’t even compare to the kiss she’d just experienced. And that was just a kiss! She’d been so flustered, she wasn’t even sure what she’d said. Apparently she’d said something about emailing him?
Just then, her phone rang. Pulling her cell phone out of her pocket, she saw that it was Jessica, probably calling to check in on her. If she ignored it, Jessica might take her earlier message seriously and send the cops over. But she was in no state of mind to have a conversation with Jess right now.
Having no choice, she answered the call. “Hey, Jess, I’m fine, everything is just fine, I’m about to head home, and everything is fine.”
There was a long pause before Jessica responded. “Oh my god, you slept with him didn’t you?”
“Something happened, I can hear it in your voice. Oh, this is just fabulous! Tell me everything. Is he there right now?”
“He went to the bedroom,” Ava stammered.
There was a loud squeal, and Ava had to pull the phone from her ear. “No, it’s not like that,” she insisted.
“Well, then tell me. What is it like? Is he hot? Did you guys kiss? Make out? Get to third base?”
Ava glanced nervously toward the bedroom, worried Mitch would come out and overhear them. She whispered quickly into the phone, “He’s totally gorgeous, way out of my league, and yes we kissed, but then he stopped, and I’m glad he did because I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m freaking out. It was very exciting and all, but I’m getting the hell out of here before anything else happens.”
Jessica was silent again, this time for so long that Ava checked her phone display to see if she’d lost the connection. Finally, she heard her friend’s voice.
“And then what?”
“What do you mean?” Ava asked, genuinely confused.
“After you run away with your tail between your legs, what then?”
“Then… nothing. I don’t know. He doesn’t seem like the relationship type, so I doubt I’ll see him again after tonight.”
“How would you know? You barely know him.”
“Exactly,” Ava agreed, glad that Jessica could see if from her point of view.
Jessica sighed. “What I meant is that you’re running away again. You aren’t even giving this guy a chance.”
Ava was about to interrupt, but Jessica wouldn’t let her.
“No, listen to me. The way I see it you have three options. One, you can run away like you always do and regret it for the rest of your life. Two, you can get this guy’s number and then actually call him. And you can’t chicken out, Ava. You have to actually call him and set up another date and get to know the guy. And then, when you finally get comfortable with him, you guys can have wild monkey sex.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake… what’s my third option?”
“Glad you asked,” Jessica said, and Ava could hear the smile in her voice as she responded. “The third option is a lot like the second option, except you skip directly to the end part.”
“What, just sleep with him?”
“No, have wild monkey sex with him.”
“No, it’s not,” Jessica insisted. “It can be incredibly liberating, not to mention satisfying. You deserve to let your hair down and go a little wild for once in your life. And it’s not like you’re being totally stupid, I know you’re on the pill, and use a condom, of course. But really, it’s just sex. What do you have to lose?”
Just then, Mitch came back into the living room, still shirtless, carrying a small, white card. The lamplight seemed to glow on his dark skin, and emphasized the sharp features of his face with shadows, reminding her again of a predator stalking its prey.
For a moment, she imagined surrendering herself to him, submitting to his overwhelming masculinity. She wanted to feel deliciously feminine and awash with passion like she had just a few minutes ago, but this time, she didn’t want to zone out. She wanted to enjoy every second of it, to roll around in the tangible sensations like a cat.
“Ava, are you still there?”
“I gotta go,” Ava answered, her voice husky.
“He’s back, isn’t he? Go for door number three! Wild monkey sex!”
“Yeah,” Ava answered back before disconnecting the call, unsure if she was placating her or agreeing with her.
“Everything all right?” Mitch asked.
She nodded. “That was my friend, Jessica, checking in on me.”
“Making sure I hadn’t eaten you up like a big, bad wolf?”
He smiled at her as he said it, and Ava couldn’t help but think that it might not be such a bad thing to be devoured by him. Just then, the antique bracket clock near the front door struck midnight. The sound of its chimes was soft but deep, resonating richly.
With sudden clarity, Ava realized that this was the moment the fortune teller had warned her about. The “choice” she predicted that she’d be faced with “on a beach at midnight” hadn’t been about getting naked on the beach earlier, it was whether or not to stay, now.