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Bookworm is a story about Jessica, a shy introvert who loves to read erotic novels in public. When she meets Andrew, she’s forced to face the humiliation that comes along with getting caught.
Under the broad definition of Erotic Couplings, you can expect the following to be included:
Oral sex, an embarrassed woman, minor humiliation, teasing, and sexual situations against an office window
Special thanks to Simone Lisbon for editing.
“Attention everybody! I just want to say one thing real quick!”
I looked attentively at Lawrence as he tried to corral the attention of our co-workers. It was a feat to do so on a regular day, let alone in a bar with pounding music, voices layering over each other as people strained to hear their own conversations. I nudged Courtney and motioned towards Lawrence. Slowly, people focused on him.
“I’ll be quick, I’ll be quick!” he promised. “I just wanted to give a big thank you to everyone for coming out. Today was Mindy’s last day in our office. She’s been a hell of a great junior associate, and we want to wish her the best as she goes on to her new job as an associate lawyer at Benefit Legal. Mindy, we’ll miss you, and you’ll be a hell of a great asset to your new firm!”
Everyone raised their glasses as Mindy smiled and thanked Lawrence. I took a sip of my water and went back to the shouted conversation the rest of the legal assistants were having.
“…with this big freakin’ stuffed octopus, I mean like the legs on the thing were the length of my arm -“
“Tentacles,” I interrupted.
Courtney stopped her story and looked at me. “Did you just say ‘testicles?'”
“No!” I shouted over both the general bar noise and laughter from the other legal assistants. “Tentacles! An octopus has tentacles, not legs.” My cheeks were reddening.
“Whatever, Jessica. The tentacles, then. So they’re like the length of my arm, and he’s just hauling this thing around and stumbles up to me and goes ‘I won this to give to the most beautiful girl at the fair,’ hands me the giant octopus, and just wanders away.”
“Oh my God,” hooted Laurie. “And then?”
Courtney grinned coyly. “Well, he was drunk out of his mind, obviously! But he was super fine. So I followed him back to his friends, and of course they’re just pissin’ themselves laughing at him. So I tell them what happened, thinking I’ll give one of them my number and they can give it to him when he sobers up so we can have this nice little meet-cute story, and then I got to chattin’ with his one pal, Lucas. And he was drinkin’ too, but he was still mostly coherent, so I banged him in my car while the gigantic octopus watched and now we’re going to dinner tomorrow night!”
I joined in on the raucous hollers and giggles that followed, only mildly jealous of Courtney’s story. “How do you even get yourself in these situations?” I asked. “It’s like something from a movie.”
“Well, you start by putting the books down and actually talking to people, Jess.” Courtney tapped the novel that was sticking out of my purse.
I took the teasing in stride, though I knew I was blushing. I knew what Courtney meant, but it was easier said than done. Courtney was traditionally pretty, and played up her good looks with makeup and hairstyles that I couldn’t pull off. Believe me, I had tried more than once. With a girlish face and big doe-eyes, I looked like a five year old playing with her mother’s makeup. Instead, I settled for cozy sweaters, ponytails, and the hope that eventually my features would morph into something more mature.
As the other legal assistants shared more tales of things I couldn’t relate to, I let my eyes wander. It was busy, but that was expected of a Friday night. Most of the patrons looked like us – business colleagues with loosened ties and blazers hanging off the backs of chairs as people began to shed their work personalities in favor of their weekend ones. I vaguely recognized some of the other people from our building, but the bar was popular, and the area had multiple high-rises that housed other law firms, businesses, and offices.
I focused on a small group dressed more casually than anyone else in the bar. Mostly clad in jeans and t-shirts, they were listening with rapt attention to the man in the center of their gathering. He was reasonably attractive and well-groomed, wearing a pair of expensive looking jeans with a plaid button-up over top, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. I mused about what he was saying, and only realized I was staring when he happened to glance up and meet my eyes. His lips stopped moving momentarily and I felt my face burn. Turning back to my co-workers quickly, I joined in the laughter that erupted without knowing what we were laughing at.
“Who wants another round?” Courtney shouted. “Laurie? Karen? Okay, that’s six shots, then?”
“Five,” I corrected. “I’m designated driver. No shots for me.”
“And we love you for it!” Courtney dangled an arm around my shoulders and planted Kıbrıs Escort a kiss on my cheek. I smiled awkwardly.
The longer the night went on, the more left out I felt. I was close with the other legal assistants, but I wasn’t extroverted enough to keep up with their drunken conversations. As our co-workers started to leave and the group dwindled down, I found myself sitting alone at the table while everyone else mingled.
I glanced over at the group I’d noticed earlier, quickly catching sight of the attractive man. Their table was covered in empty glasses, and he was having an intense conversation with the person next to him. Their group seemed to be having fun, and I morosely wished I fit in, just like everybody else did.
It was no matter. While I waited for my co-workers to finish up so I could bring them home, I had my own entertainment. I pulled the novel out of my purse and flipped open to my bookmark. Shifting in my chair so I had enough light from the dim lamp above the table, I began to read.
The girls in my office knew me as the resident bookworm, and I think they assumed that I read modern, intelligent, dramatic literature. They were wrong. The book I had in front of me could hardly be called literature – polite people would call it a romance, and accurate people would call it smut. If anyone ever caught me reading some of the things I had in public, I’d probably melt into a puddle of slightly-aroused shame. I didn’t know how to explain how enjoyable it was to read these dirty, exciting, terribly inappropriate books in front of people, and not be able to do anything – not even be able to react – until I was home by myself later. I’d finished book after book of some of the most erotic and arousing stories while on the bus or in the waiting room at the dentist, and forced myself to wait until I was home to deal with my body’s reaction to the scenes that played through my imagination.
It didn’t take long for me to be fully engrossed in the latest one. I didn’t notice anyone approaching until a shadow fell across the table and blocked the light I was using. I glanced up, slightly annoyed, but prepared for the inevitable mocking at having pulled my book out in a bar.
I wasn’t expecting was the man from across the bar to be standing by the table, a half-smile playing across his lips.
“I was fairly intrigued when I saw you looking over earlier, but I had to come over and find out what book was so enthralling that you pulled it out in the middle of a packed bar.”
His eyes were crinkled at the corner, dark and framed under long lashes and thick, defined eyebrows. I could see why the people in his group listened to him so intensely. He exuded a self-assured intelligence that was captivating, even as he leaned casually against the bar table with one hand in his pocket.
“It’s a new one,” I finally managed to answer. “Just started it.”
“Must be good. I can’t imagine trying to read in a bar like this one. How can you focus?”
“It’s easier when no one’s talking to me.” The words spilled out before I could stop them and I slapped a hand to my mouth, feeling my face burn. “I mean, not that I mind, what I meant was I wasn’t really talking to anyone so I grabbed my book.”
The man laughed as I stammered. “No, I deserved that. Excellent response.” He waved down the waitress. “Can I buy you a drink to apologize for interrupting?”
“No, thank you.” Again, my mouth moved faster than my brain. “I mean, I appreciate it, and I’d love a drink! But I’m driving. I’m just having water.”
“I’m getting mixed signals. Let me start again.” He leaned forward so I could hear him more easily, and I caught a whiff of his cologne. The scent was subtle, but enough to nearly make me swoon. “I’m Andrew. I’d love to chat with you, but I will respect if you want me to leave you alone.”
“Jessica.” I still had to shout to be heard over the music. “Please stay, I’m just really bad at this.”
Each time we spoke to each other, we had to lean forward, shouting in the other’s ear. Each time he leaned forward, I felt a little pang of longing, yearning to touch him. When he laughed, his face was close to mine, and I saw a small dimple appear in the corner of his mouth.
“Nice to meet you. I know I can’t buy you a drink, but can we pretend like I did to break the ice?”
“Sure.” He slid my water glass closer to me and I lifted it, raising it to him in a toast. “Thanks for the drink.”
“It was nothing at all.” Andrew slipped into the chair beside me. “So, what’s this book that’s so good you’re ignoring your friends?”
“Co-workers. And it’s just a… a thriller,” I lied. “Whodunnit type thing.”
“Love a good thriller. What’s it called? I’m always looking for a new read.”
“I don’t recommend books until I finish them,” I said quickly. “Check back with me in a few days.”
“Is that an invitation?”
“D-do you want it to be?”
My entire body was screaming at me to abort mission. Kıbrıs Escort Bayan You’ve humiliated yourself already, Jessica, said the little voice in my head. You got caught reading your smut in public and now you’re trying to be smooth and flirt your way out of it and absolutely nothing about you is sexy or flirtatious in any way. Abort conversation, abort flirtations, abort mission!
“I mean, a pretty bookworm is telling me to check with her in a few days… I’m hoping it’s an invitation.” Andrew’s smile played across his lips as he focused those intense eyes on me.
I wouldn’t say my jaw dropped, but my lips did part as I wildly tried to come up with a response. I’m sure I looked alarmed – I felt alarmed – but the sound of shattering glass distracted both of us before I could say anything.
Courtney was at the bar, slivers of glass glittering at her feet. I couldn’t hear her from this distance, but her arms flew wildly as she shouted something at the bartender.
“Oh shit,” I swore. I shoved my book back into my purse and bolted from the chair. The bouncers reached Courtney at the same time that I did.
“I’m so sorry, we’re leaving, I’m taking her home.” I grabbed Courtney’s arms and trying to spin her towards the doors.
“Jessica, this bitch -”
Courtney slurred something at me that I couldn’t understand. I looked wildly around the room, just as the other co-workers I was driving home came up to help me wrangle her.
“Let’s go, time to go.” Laurie and I herded Courtney towards the exit as Karen paid her tab. Just as we made it to the door, I caught Andrew’s eye again. I shrugged helplessly and mouthed the word ‘sorry’ to him. He waved and smiled, mouthing what I think was ‘me too.’
I made sure to drop Courtney off first. I still wasn’t quite sure what the bartender had said or done, despite her repeated attempts at explanation. Luck seemed to have been on her side, though – our manager and most of the higher-ups had already left for the night, so they hadn’t witnessed the scene Courtney caused. Laurie helped Courtney to the door and made sure she got in all right.
“Jesus Horatio Ronaldo Estefan Christ.” Laurie slammed the door as she got back into my car. “I have no idea what her problem was, but I hope they don’t ban us from there. Did anyone catch what happened?”
“I didn’t catch what happened, but given the cost of her tab, I’ll say that was a contributing factor,” Karen grumbled. “That bitch better pay me back.”
“Sheesh, at least she CAN pay you back. What about poor Jessica?”
I glanced in the rear view mirror at Laurie. “What about me?”
Karen hooted. “Oh yes, pulling her away from that guy. You know, I’m probably old enough to be his mother, or at least a very attractive and youthful-looking aunt, but that man you were chatting up has his picture in the dictionary next to ‘faces I’d love to sit on.'”
Laurie and Karen howled with drunken laughter as my jaw dropped and I blushed and looked out the car window, shocked.
“Oh my actual God. And I thought Courtney was drunk out of her mind.”
“Oh, get off it, I’m barely drunk. Karen’s right, though, he was one hell of a looker. Who was that?”
“Just some guy.” A totally attractive guy, I thought to myself.
“I think he said his name was Andrew.” His name was definitely Andrew.
“He seemed okay, it’s not a big deal.” I was equal parts grateful and furious for Courtney’s interruption.
“I doubt I’ll run into him again. I didn’t get his number or anything.” Truth, and truth.
“Maybe he works in the building,” Karen said.
I shrugged. “He didn’t look familiar. It’s no big deal.”
“I don’t know about that. Courtney always has those wild stories about her boyfriends and how she meets them, but you never seem to. Do you just not tell us?”
“No, I just… it’s not that…” I stopped, trying to think of what to say. “Courtney is different from me. Interesting and crazy things always happen to her. She’s gonna get married one day and have some crazy story about how she met her husband after getting two flat tires and losing her cell phone and he picked her up on the side of the road. Stuff like that just doesn’t happen to me.”
“It’s because you always have your nose in a darn book,” Laurie scolded. “Look what happened tonight, that guy came right up and talked to you!”
“He came up and talked to me because I had my nose in a book and he wanted to know why.”
“Oh for the love of… okay, bad example. But I’m sure a lot of opportunity goes by while you’re just reading away. Stop getting so lost in other people’s stories, Jessica. You should try to be the star of your own!”
The drunken advice echoed in my ears long after I’d dropped off Laurie and Karen. I knew my co-workers were just trying to be helpful. Laurie and Karen were my office moms. And while I understood what they were saying in theory, I didn’t know how to make that a reality. Courtney always had crazy things happening to her, Escort Kıbrıs even when she went to a county fair. I was quieter, and introverted, and shy. I didn’t go out as much as she did. She was blonde and pretty, I still had a baby-face and plain hair. Guys went nuts over her. She knew how to talk to them without blushing or stuttering or accidentally saying things that made them want to walk away.
Courtney was the kind of girl who was the star of a story. I was just Jessica. The character that prevented the star from being thrown out of a bar by bouncers, that always carried a book around, that was always in the background.
I stretched my neck as I entered my house, letting my purse thud heavily to the floor. My novel slipped from the purse’s opening as it tipped over. I’d been hoping to get a little further into it, but Andrew had… well. Thinking about Andrew was bittersweet. I didn’t know if I’d had an actual chance with him. It was likely he would realize I was timid and boring and would have walked away to find some fun girl like Courtney. But I’d never know for sure, since I’d rushed away before he could figure that out.
Picking up the book, I headed to my bedroom. As I laid down on my bed, I replayed the conversation with Andrew over in my mind. In my imagined version, I was bolder. And wearing something sexier. And had a martini glass in front of me instead of a water glass.
“So, what’s this book that’s so good you’re ignoring your co-workers?” was what he had asked.
“Oh, just a new one I started today. It’s good. Very descriptive.”
“What’s it called? I’m always looking for a new read.”
“I’m not sure it’s really your cup of tea. It’s more of a romance, I guess you’d say.”
He’d be interested, I’m sure. “You guess?”
I’d lean closer. “It’s very, very descriptive. I like to read these kinds of books, but it’s a lot easier for me to hide if I get turned on in public than it would be for you.”
I’d admit my little secret to Andrew. Instead of finding me weird or desperate, he’d think it was hot. He’d think I was mysterious and intriguing, not awkward and shy. He’d maybe come even closer, peer over my shoulder to see what I meant.
I closed my eyes, almost able to smell the scent of Andrew’s cologne. There was a warmth spreading through my body, creeping up my neck and chest and down my stomach. Underneath my blouse, my nipples were hardening and aching in my bra. I thought of Andrew’s intense eyes and the little dimple in the corner of his mouth.
I wanted to kiss that spot. I wanted to know how Andrew’s mouth would feel against mine, what noises he would make if I touched him, if he would be gentle or firm when he grabbed me. I wanted to know what his cock looked like, tasted like, felt like. I wanted to go back in time to the bar, and repeat the whole interaction again. I wanted him to treat me like the women in the books I loved.
Andrew wasn’t there to touch me, so I imagined my hands were his and touched myself. When I finished, lying on my bed with my hand in my panties, gasping for breath, the bittersweet emotions returned. I knew I was idealizing the thought of Andrew. After all, I’d only spoken with him for a few minutes. I’d never even found out his last name.
Maybe it was tiredness, or the afterglow of my orgasm, or the drunken advice from Karen and Laurie. I decided if I ever saw Andrew again, I’d at least try to take a bit more of a risk. It was certainly easier to decide that knowing that I’d be unlikely to run into Andrew again.
The weekend passed uneventfully. I read more of my book, drank tea, and fantasized about life as a romance novel character. When I returned to work on Monday, Courtney cornered me immediately.
“Jess, I am so, so, so, sosososososo, so sorry.”
“What for?” I put my coat and purse away as she rambled at me.
“For Friday! For causing a scene at the bar, of course, and then Laurie told me it was my fault you lost a chance with some really hot guy and I will do whatever I can to try to track him down if you want -“
“Don’t worry about it. Really, don’t.” I shot a look at Laurie, who busied herself in a file across the office and pretended not to listen. “It wasn’t a big deal, I barely even talked to him.”
Courtney looked confused. “Really? Laurie said you were really hitting it off.”
I felt warm embarrassment slowly creeping up my neck. The air had been chilly that morning, and I’d put on a cozy knitted turtleneck. I willed myself to stop blushing before it showed. “It’s not a big deal,” I repeated. “How are you feeling, were you okay the next day?”
Courtney launched into a story about her weekend and her date with Lucas. I was able to tune it out as Laurie and Karen got in on the conversation. I tried to pretend I hadn’t thought about Andrew since Friday, though the truth was that I hadn’t been able to stop thinking of him. It got even more difficult to keep up the pretense when Laurie came up to me just before lunch.
“I hope I didn’t overstep,” she said.
I shook my head. “It’s okay. But nothing happened with him, and nothing will. It’s nothing.”
“You know we just want you to be happy, and it was just so exciting to see you talk to someone. We just worry about you, you know.”
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