#Sunday-Romance Serial: “You’re Driving Me Crazy”

Photo by Robert V. Ruggiero on Unsplash
  • Introducing: Rita and Andy
  • Setting: Contemporary; unnamed/generic American city on a river
  • Length: 943 words
  • Key Tropes: dating, new relationship, public displays of affection, aggressive woman/passive man dynamic
  • Content Warnings: none
  • Explicit?: Most of the internal monologue is about sex, but no one is actually having it in the scene

Rita wasn’t a subscriber to the three-date rule before sex, but she could usually spot it when her dates were. Sometimes she was wrong, of course–sometimes a man she was seeing genuinely was that respectful on a first date and beyond, instead of sliding quickly down the ladder towards bedroom eyes halfway through a third trip to a fancy restaurant.

But she had no idea what was going on in Andy’s head, or his body, as they strolled along the riverfront under an intermittently starry sky. Fifth date. The first had been drinks at a pretty casual bar, courtesy of her cousin’s coworker mentioning his brother having bad luck with dating apps. Second was ice-skating, of all things, which she had originally thought was an excuse to be slightly handsy in public–god knows that’s how rom-coms usually played it–but actually, they’d both been confident on the ice, and Andy had spent most of his time with his hands in his coat pockets, skating backwards in front of her so they could talk without shouting. She had rented figure skates, he had chosen hockey skates, so she suspected he’d played as a teenager. He didn’t have the overly muscled body to suggest he still played now, or that he’d ever been serious about it.

The third date had been a properly fancy dinner, and she had gone into it ready for the invitation back to his place at the end. She didn’t receive one, but their conversation had flowed so naturally that she almost hadn’t noticed until he was driving her home. He had kissed her, at least, their first.

So she knew then she was with someone who wanted to take things slow. Fine. She didn’t have a rule. She had hopped into bed after first dates, after thirds, after a two hours of hot dancing in a club with someone whose last name she never got. One-night stands weren’t her preference, but she didn’t turn her nose up at them.

She couldn’t recall ever having to wait so long before, but she liked Andy, with his solemn eyes and his slightly shaggy hair and the way his laugh got higher at the end as he ran out of breath. She liked how comfortable she felt with him, right away, from the moment he’d found her at the bar that first time.

She was starting not to like how much she wanted to touch him, without knowing if she had permission. If he was interested in being touched. The kiss had been fine, not spectacular, and it hadn’t been repeated.

Her mind had drifted to thoughts of kissing, and she’d lost the thread of what Andy was saying. She tried to focus. Really, she did. But as the river twisted, the sidewalk slanted off to follow it behind some buildings, their fronts marked with bright signage, an ice cream shop already closed for the night, a brewpub still open, a clothing boutique. The gap between two of them beckoned to her, and she reached for Andy’s hand. His words faltered with his surprise.

Rita had never pushed a man against the wall of an alley before, and she found out quickly how much she liked the feeling.

In her heeled boots, she was nearly as tall as him. She leaned into the wall with one hand and gripped the collar of his coat with the other. “Sorry to interrupt,” she said brightly, “but you’re driving me crazy, you know that? One kiss, two dates ago?”

Andy’s mouth gaped open, nothing coming out of it.

“If this is a pose to prove you’re nice and get me to sleep with you, mission accomplished, let’s find a bed and get to it already.” Rita paused as his eyes widened. “But if I’m wrong, and you really are this sweet, is it okay if I take control for a while? Because I want to touch you.”

He licked his lips. “Yeah, okay. Touch me.”

Rita wasn’t sure how much he wanted yet, and her one experience with sex in public hadn’t been the thrill she’d hoped it would be. She intended to keep their clothes on, especially in this cold. She started with a kiss, the type she wanted, slow and fierce and hot, instead of the polite peck she’d gotten from him before.

He responded beautifully, leaning into her as she pressed forward, his hands sliding up her back. She nibbled lightly on her lower lip, and he groaned, pulling her closer.

“Not a pose,” he whispered when she dragged her mouth free of his, across the sweep of his jaw. He must have shaved right before meeting her–no stubble. “I’m just–not great–” He broke off with a deep sigh as she found the right spot, apparently, halfway down his throat.

“At what?” Rita whispered in his ear

“At initiating.” He backed away from her as much as he could, flattening himself against the bricks. “I’ve noticed women like me because I’m friendly, not because I’m smooth.”

“You are friendly,” she agreed, stepping closer to him. Even in the crisp early winter air, he smelled delicious, like musk and pine. And warmth radiated from his body to the point where Rita wanted to rub herself all over him, not only from desire, but for comfort and coziness. “But you’re also hot enough I want to lick you from head to toe. I don’t mind making the first move, if you don’t mind that I have to.”

His head inched forward, asking for another kiss even if he didn’t realize he was doing it. “No, I don’t mind at all.”

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