As You Please


“So, how have you been holding up?” Auston’s voice was quiet and tender as he asked me the question I had been waiting for and rested a hand lightly on my thigh. A warmth rushed through me as I looked down at his hand. Running my eyes over the outline of his hand, I sucked in a small breath and shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t feel like having this conversation. I didn’t feel like thinking back to the last few nights of laying in those other sheets, sobbing into my pillow as I thought about how many times he fucked her in our bed.

A shiver ran through me. It was so strong it caused Auston to gently press his fingertip into my thigh and look over at me, worry flowing through his eyes. Glancing over at him, I felt my heart flutter as I watched his eyes run up my body and meet my own. He held my gaze for a moment before turning back toward the road and clearing his throat.

A fire was raging inside of me as I ran a hand through my hair and looked back out of the window. As the scenery started to move through the window, I shrugged my shoulders again. “I cry every night.” I began, feeling Auston’s grip tighten for a moment before he started running his thumb against the fabric of my jeans.

“It’s hard, after six years to not have that stability. I’m so wrapped up in things sometimes I just go to text him about dinner or wake up and look for him, and then after a few minutes I realize what happened.” Auston sucked in a sharp breath like someone had sent a burning hot knife through the center of his stomach. “It hits me all over again, but… I’m tired of it. I’m tired of grieving over someone who clearly didn’t care about me.”

I could see Auston nod out of the corner of my eye. The grip on his steering wheel was so tight, his knuckles were almost completely white. I wanted to ask him if he was okay. I wanted to ask why he cared so much, but instead, I looked down at his hand and gently set my hand down on top of it.

“I’m okay, though.”

“Yeah?” Auston looked over at me as we stopped at a red light. When my eyes met his, I felt my heart start to race in my chest. Those big brown eyes were so caring, so welcoming, so safe.

Parting my lips, I went to speak when a buzz sounded through the car. Eyebrows furrowed, I looked at the center console and watched as a name appeared on the touch screen. When my eyes made their way back to Auston’s, he looked from the screen to me and sighed.

He asked if I minded. I, of course, said no. Running my fingers over my lips, I turned my head to face to the window as the man hit a button on his steering wheel and sucked in a deep breath.

“Mitch, what’s up?” Auston sounded short, like he would rather have anyone else on the phone.

It was a few seconds and some static before the man’s voice echoed through the car. “Where are ya, we’re going to head out in about an hour.”

“I’m going to pass.” The brunette looked up at the road and made a turn. I was impressed he remembered the directions I gave him what felt like hours ago. As the car turned down a side street a few blocks from my apartment, I let out a heavy sigh. I loved my apartment. I was always excited to go home, but the last few days, the anxiety I got heading there was starting to change my mind.

“What!” The man roared over the phone, “What do you mean you’re not going? Everyone is going to be there, like, everyone.” The man over the phone emphasized.

“I’m not feeling it, I have better plans.”

“Better plans!” I let a small smile surface on my lips. The man was so dramatic for someone who sounded the same age, if not younger, than Auston. “What kind of plans can be better than hanging out with Vanessa and friends, huh? Vanessa?

Auston’s face started to harden. I couldn’t help but watch every muscle in his face become defined. It was such a different look. It was so cold and rigid compared to the normal soft smile I saw him with. It scared me but at the same time, I found myself fascinated by it. “Mitch, I’m done with this.”

“You’re going to pass up your chance to fuck the girl with the best tits in Toronto? What did you lose your dick in that meeting today? Want help finding it?”

Every drop of blood rushed to my cheeks as Auston let out a sharp breath and quickly clicked a few buttons on his steering wheel. Once the car fell silent, he picked up his cell phone and rambled off a few words. Sinking down in my seat, I turned my attention back to the window and let the words from the conversation float around my head, then disappear. After a few more seconds, Auston huffed and tossed his phone into the small compartment under the touch screen in his car.

I could feel the tension between us start to suffocate me.

I clearly heard a conversation I was never supposed to.

I quickly picked up on a side of Auston’s life I would have never pinned him for.

He clearly wasn’t happy about it.

I was afraid to speak. I wanted to tell him I didn’t care who was on the phone. I didn’t care who Vanessa and her friends were. I didn’t have any attachment to him. Sure, I used him as a distraction to my life, but I wasn’t involved with him. I didn’t care what he did when I wasn’t around. I mean, I didn’t even know his last name. I didn’t have the right to care.

“I’m sorry about that,” Auston whispered as he pulled the car into the garage under my building. As he rolled the window down, I told him the code to punch in and then shifted so I was sitting upright. Gathering my things, I watched as the car slowly moved through the lot and pulled into a spot near the end.

When the engine died, and it was just the two of us and an awkward silence, my stomach twisted itself into tight knots. My nerves were on edge. I wanted to speak to him. I wanted to get out of the car and walk into the building. I wanted to sit on my couch and pour myself a glass of whatever alcohol I had in the house, but I couldn’t move. I felt like someone had nailed my limbs down to the leather seat under me.

I was terrified of what would happen. Of what coukd happen now that we were alone.

“Are you alright, Tess?”

I hummed as a response, letting the feeling of Auston’s hand on my knee warm my blood and release the tension from my muscles. Eyes fluttering shut, I was tempted to lean over and just fall asleep with my head resting against his shoulder. I was so drained from the last few days. So exhausted from the hours of crying and feeling sorry for myself.

“A little tired, is all.” I replied after a minute or so and then hit the button to release the seat belt. Straightening my back, I opened the car door and carefully stood up, grabbing my bag and making sure I had picked everything up.

After I shut the door, I looked up and saw him standing there. He was within a foot of me, heat radiating off of him and hitting the sensitive skin on my face. He smelled faintly of cologne. His clothes looked so soft to touch. I just wanted to lean into him and let myself get lost there.

I motioned him toward the doors at the end of the lot. I started walking in the direction of them, glancing over to make sure he was following.

He was right next to me, his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his peacoat. I watched as his eyes glanced over at me a few times. His arm twitched like he was going to wrap it around my shoulders and pull me into his side. He seemed conflicted, like he was going to scream from his own indecision.

When we reached the door, he took a few quick steps and opened it for me. I looked up at him as I walked in and smiled. As he smiled back, I felt my body warm for a moment.

“I’m on the fifteenth floor.” I whispered as I clicked the up button for the elevator. “It has the best view of the city, in my opinion.”

The brunette gave me a warm smile as he put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me into his side. Rubbing the side of my arm, he glanced around the small room and then looked down at me. Swallowing hard, I gathered the courage and looked back up at him. I was instantly pulled into him, instantly lost in his eyes. They were so soft and welcoming. The brown was a rich color spotted with drops of honey and hazel. It was like looking into another universe. I could stare into them for days.

A loud ring filled the room, pulling me back into reality. “Whoa, sorry about that,” I smiled as I walked into the box and turned so my back was pressed against the wall. “Left the planet there for a second.”

“You must have taken me with you,” the brunette hit the button with 15 marked on it and then leaned against the wall next to me. As we watched the elevator doors slide shut, I felt the tension come back between us. Standing there next to him, the scent of cologne running through my sinuses, I let Brett’s words run through my mind.

Keep it casual, just invite him over for take out and a drink.

A long sigh left my lips as the number fifteen finally showed up on the screen above the doors. As the box rumbled to a halt, the doors slid open and let a small gust of cold air into the elevator. Twitching my nose, I walked into the hallway and glanced to my right to see Auston standing there, his eyes wide as he took in his surroundings.

He seemed… nervous.

Almost as nervous as I was.

I wonder what he thought.

I wonder if…

I stopped at my front door and turned to him. “I have the menu inside, you like mexican?”

Those simple words seemed to have washed all of the nervousness from Auston’s mind. After a few seconds, he sent me a bright smile and rolled his eyes. Once I opened the door, he held it open for me and followed me inside.

“Of course, I like mexican food. What kind of monster do you think I am?”

From that moment on, all of the tension and nerves between the two of us were gone. Before my brain could comprehend, we were sitting on the couch in the living room, jackets and shoes off, two glasses of red wine sitting on the coffee table as we debated on what we should order for dinner.

Eventually, after a glass and a half of wine each. We had made a list of food to order. As I rambled it off, messing up some of the words, Auston made fun of my instant intoxication and grabbed the list and menu from my hands. Standing up, he pulled out his cell phone and dialed the number. Stepping over my outstretched legs, he walked out of the living room and over to the kitchen.

When he was just out of sight, I heard his voice start to ramble off the list of food we had made. It was far too much for two people, but we reasoned that it was early and there was a possibility more food would be needed later on.

I couldn’t find it in me to disagree with him. The second he looked at me with his bright eyes and smile, I caved. That look he gave me could have me do anything in the world. It made me feel so warm, so happy, so wanted.

“They said about a half hour,” Auston appeared in front of me, “Not too bad for delivery, yeah?”

I nodded, looking up at him towering over me. As he glanced toward the wall of windows, he picked up his hand and ran it through his hair. Watching every movement, I felt my heart start to race in my chest. He looked so perfect. He looked like he had walked right out of a movie, right out of a photo shoot.

I wanted to rip the suit off of him.

“You there, Tess?”

“Hmm,” I blinked a few times as the thought rushed out of my head and left me burning up on the corner of the couch. Every cell in my body was on fire as I thought about him standing in front of me, his suit jacket and lavender shirt discarded on the floor next to me.

I thought about his eyes holding mine while his hands ran all over my body.

I thought about his lips leaving trails across my skin.

I thought about my name leaving his lips in a heavy sigh.

“Tess, Earth to Tess,” the brunettes watch glistened in the light as it flashed by my face a few times. Shaking my head, I pushed my body into the back of the couch and put my hand over my mouth.

What the fuck, Tessa?

“I’m… I’m so sorry, I… Don’t even know what happened.”

“I really thought I lost you there for a second. I’ve never seen someone stare at a mans tie for that long.” Auston joked as he sat down next to me and leaned forward. When I refused to look at him, he leaned back and put his finger over his lips.

We stayed like that for a few minutes. I felt Auston shifting back and forth next to me, but I was in too much shock from my own thoughts to turn to him. I couldn’t believe the thoughts that had ran through my head. I couldn’t believe how warm my whole body got thinking about it.

I couldn’t believe I wanted to do all of those things to a man I barely knew.

Was I really that desperate? Was this who I am now?

Then again, when was the last time anyone touched me? Hunter hasn’t made moves on me in months. He would lay in bed next to me, wrap an arm around me and fall asleep. He was always tired, always watching TV or doing something else.

The few times we did have sex in the last year, there was nothing there.

There was no passion.

He barely even kissed me.

Nothing he did even made me feel remotely close to the way I felt just thinking about Auston touching me.

“You know,” I turned to Auston and felt a fire rush through my sinuses. “I’m kind of glad he’s gone.”

The brunette seemed taken back for a moment. His eyes were wide as his head snapped to the side and looked at me. The shock soon turned to worry and he adjusted his seated position so his whole body was facing me. Placing his hand on my knee, he looked up at me and gave me a gentle smile.

“That’s the spirit.”

“I mean,” I ran a hand through my hair and turned to him, our knees touching as I let out a sigh and bit the side of my cheek. “He hasn’t seemed interested in me in almost a whole year. I’m no model but, I keep up, you know? I work out, I eat right, I try to look appealing, I-”

“Hey,” Auston’s hand moved from my knee and carefully slipped onto the side of my face, silencing my words. As he ran a thumb over my hot cheek, I shut my eyes and let out a heavy sigh. Pressing my face into his palm, I bit down on my lip and felt a wave of emotions crash over me.

I was upset i hadn’t seen the signs. I was upset I let someone use me for so long. He didn't care about me. He didn’t care about my feelings or my career. He cared about what was for dinner. He cared about when I would work late or go out with friends. He cared about living for free while he paid off his debt.

He cared about her.

“I’m such an idiot.” Tears threatened to clear form my eyes. It was evident in my voice.

“No, no you are not, Tess.” I could feel Auston’s breath hit my face, but I refused to open my eyes. I was afraid to look at him, afraid to see the concern in his eyes. I didn’t want to see how much he cared. I didn’t want to have those thoughts again. I didn’t want to cry in front of him. I didn’t want him to see how broken I was over this.

“You’re an amazing person,” his placed his other hand on my cheek. As he held my face, I felt every drop of blood in my body rush to my face and chest. I was getting dizzy feeling his breath on my lips. “Hey, look at me.”

I opened my eyes.

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I looked up to see his face inches from mine, his big brown eyes warm and smothered with worry. Running his tongue along his bottom lip, he tilted his head to the side and spent a few seconds searching my eyes.

“You’re the best that man is ever going to get. He doesn’t deserve someone like you. You’re successful, you’re smart and funny.” He paused for a second, his teeth running against his bottom lip for a second, “You’re gorgeous, Tessa. Don’t ever sell yourself short. Okay?”

I could barely breath as I dropped my eyes from his to his lips. They were so soft, so close. I just wanted to lean into him. I just wanted to feel something other than the pitiful sorrow I had been suffering from the last four days.

His lips brushed against mine.

Every nerve in my body exploded and went numb. I couldn’t feel anything but the warmth his hands were giving off. Every sound in the world seemed to go quiet. I could see his cheat rise and fall but I didn't hear his soft breaths. The television was playing but had suddenly muted itself.

I couldn’t even hear my own heartbeat.

As his lips brushed against mine again, my eyes fluttered shut. Breathing heavy, I went to lean into him when a loud thud echoed through the apartment. It sounded like a gunshot in my head. Part of me expected to drop to the floor from the racing of my heart.

The other half knew exactly what that sound was.

“Do you want me to get the door?” Auston whispered, a small smile surfacing on his lips as he watched me shiver.

Shaking my head, I pulled myself off of the couch and walked over to my purse sitting on a chair on the other side of the room. Grabbing my wallet, I walked to the door in a daze and opened it. Blinking a few times, I unzipped my wallet and went to grab my cash when the person in the hallway said my name.


My hands went numb as whatever I was holding fell to the floor. As the sound of my credit cards hitting the hardwood floor beneath me filled the room, I looked up and felt every organ in my body turn to ice.