Instead of You(6)

By: Anie Michaels

He slowly lowered me to my bed, letting his body cover mine, one arm wrapped around my waist, the other pressed against the mattress by my head.

“This is the best anniversary gift ever.”

I rolled my eyes playfully, watching a smile spread across his face before he pressed his lips to the sensitive skin of my neck. “I wasn’t expecting you, Cory. I didn’t put this nightgown on for your enjoyment.”

“That’s not going to stop me from enjoying it.” His mouth moved along my neck and I bit down on my bottom lip to keep quiet.

“My parents are just down the hall,” I whispered.

He pulled away and looked me right in the eyes, his nose an inch or two from mine. “Then you’re going to have to be really quiet.”

Before I could think of a response his lips were kissing mine. As if it came naturally, my knees spread, making room for him, and I felt every movement as his hips settled between them. The rubbing of his denim jeans against the bare skin of my thighs, the zipper of his hoodie snagging on the soft cotton of my nightgown; I felt it all.

This wasn’t necessarily an uncommon occurrence for us. We made out often, as any seventeen-year-old couple would. Almost any chance we got alone we spent exploring each other, but I had never let it go very far. Up until that point, our clothes had always remained on, and he’d only ever felt me up on the outside of my shirt. So to feel him hard, pressing against me, well, that was something new to experience.

It had taken me a while to warm up to being Cory’s girlfriend. It felt strange and awkward at first, as though it were forced, which made it uncomfortable. But then, one day, I had a moment of realization where I stopped looking at Cory as the boy everyone expected me to spend the rest of my life with, and looked at him as though he were my boyfriend in that very moment. No history, no future aside from our plans the next weekend.

I took the pressure off our relationship and realized it was easier to be with him, easier than constantly thinking about how much everyone expected of us. And even though I wasn’t looking into the future with Cory, he definitely was. He’d immediately told me he loved me, which caused an epic panic attack. It was two weeks after his sixteenth birthday. He’d taken me to a fancy restaurant, and from across the table, with a lit candle flickering in between us, told me he loved me. He said he’d always loved me. And while I’d always loved him too, it’d been my best friend I’d loved, not my boyfriend.

When I couldn’t say it back, when I wasn’t even sure I’d ever be able to say it back, he simply reached across the table, took my hand in his, and told me he’d wait forever—that he knew I’d come around. He’d been waiting almost a year to hear me say those words, and I still wasn’t ready.

There were nights I’d lie awake and think about him, think about us, and wonder if I was being fair to him by staying with him, but caring too much about someone seemed like a terrible reason to end a relationship. Because I did care about Cory, so much, but I worried it wasn’t the same way he cared about me. I also worried that even though he said I’d come around in time, I never would.

All these heavy thoughts seemed to float away like vapor when he kissed me though. When his hands drifted over my body my mind shut down and I didn’t think about anything except the way he made my body feel. Tonight was no exception.

My nightgown was a very thin divider between us and offered no buffer to the way his hands were roaming over my breasts, the way he tentatively palmed me through the cotton, gently squeezing. I gasped, my mouth breaking free from his, and my back arched off the bed. I wanted more friction, wanted him to not be so tender with me, but a tiny voice in the back of my mind told me that was slutty, made me feel dirty in some way for wanting those things. It was hard to wrap my mind around, especially when Cory’s hands were on me, doing things to me that made me feel good. I just always seemed to want it to be… more… in some way.

His hands left my breasts, sliding down, and he sat up a little when they reached my hips. His fingertips started slowly bunching up the material of my nightgown, pulling it up to my waist. His eyes were locked on mine, silently and respectfully asking permission. I gave him a slight nod, wanting to feel my body on fire again, and my breath hitched as I watched him pull my nightgown all the way up, then over my head, revealing me to him for the first time ever.

I was trapped in a weird moment where I desperately wanted to watch his face, to see his reaction the first time he saw me nearly naked, but I also felt more than a little embarrassed and fought the urge to cover myself. Cory, the boy who’d pulled my pigtails in kindergarten, who’d seen me throw up in the bushes during our families’ annual camping trip, was looking at me topless. My best friend was looking at me as though I were the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen, and I had to remind myself that he was my boyfriend, that I should be excited that he wanted to see me naked, not embarrassed.

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