***Part Three***
Word Count: 811

Somehow Clarice closed out the year and rang in the new one with a boyfriend. She'd never had a boyfriend before. The take-home-to-Mom-for-Christmas-dinner kind anyway. One she actually thought about a gift for instead of buying any old thing.

He was super understanding about her busy schedule. She still wasn't sure why he wasn't working. She asked once and he, skillfully, changed the subject. He wasn't borrowing money from her or asking her to pay for their dates, so she didn't press too hard.

She spent the night at his place most weekends now. Sometimes during the week, too. She wasn't ready to leave clothes or a toothbrush there, but she didn't feel like a stranger in his house either. Her nights there served to confuse her more than anything else in their relationship.

Other than the night they'd met for dinner and football game, he'd never tried to touch her under her clothes. She wasn't complaining exactly, but it made her wonder. And a little self-conscious. She was used to guys being touchy-feely, always pushing for a no to change to a yes.

They went to Boston for New Year's. Her idea not his, but he didn't complain. She could tell he wasn't a fan of crowds. She figured for sure things would get to the next level on the trip. She even bought a silky nightie to wear.

He clearly liked it when she came out of the bathroom. She loved the feel of his hands on her as he stroked the fabric. She assumed it wouldn't stay on very long. That was kind of the point behind them.

He kept it on her, though, as he touched and kissed her everywhere. God it felt incredible! A few spots he did more than kiss, leaving a mark or two under the silk. One on a breast, one a little lower along her stomach. And then he wasn't marking or even kissing her anymore. Between her legs, he licked and sucked, finding her sensitive spot and bringing her over the edge.

Hours he brought her to that point, stopping occasionally to touch and caress or just hold her. She couldn't remember a time she felt more cherished.

She'd say love, but they hadn't gotten to that point yet. She sure felt loved, though.

Until she tried to return the favor. Fair was fair. All of the attention he'd shown her, he deserved some as well. He stopped her, though, hand settling over hers at the hem of his shirt. He stopped her from touching him any further. He settled her hand over his shirt.

"Will," she whispered a couple of hours after her attempt to touch him.

"I thought you'd fallen asleep," he murmured. He ran his fingers along her arm.


"Did I not relax you enough?"

She laughed at that. "No complaints."

Who was she kidding? She finally had a sexual experience to brag about. Not that she was the kiss-and-tell type.

"All right."

"Well, maybe one."

"Dare I ask what?"

"You did so much for me. I wanted to make you feel as good. But you stopped me. You always do."

He breathed out sharply and she wished she had more clothes on. He didn't stop his gentle touch, though.

"I'm just not comfortable."

"Why? I mean I feel foolish asking. Sounding as if I'm complaining. Especially after tonight."

"I have some things, Clarice. That's all. I'm trying to work through them."

"Trying? What kind of things?"

"Long, painful. Ghosts of jobs past, I guess."


She rolled onto her side to face him, settling a hand against his forearm. The bathroom light was on with the door mostly closed so she could see the outline of him and that was about it. She slid her hand along his chest.

"And these things stop me from touching you?"

"You can touch me all you want."

"Only with your shirt on. You even come out of the bathroom after your shower dressed."

"For now."

"For now?" You think it will change?"

He laughed. "I am trying, so yes for now. I assure you that you will be the first to know."

"The first?"

He leaned in and kissed her. "You may even know before I do."

"That'd be nice."

"I'm beginning to suspect it'll be more than nice."

He helped her adjust the nightie a little better on her before drawing the blankets around them.

"Here's to a Happy New Year. New beginnings, right?"

"Yes, Out with the old, in with the new."

She turned onto her other side then, snuggling against him. Her back was snug against his chest. Her ass pressed firmly against the evidence that he was still affected by what he'd done with her earlier. She took comfort in that, knowing he wanted to even if he couldn't now for whatever reason.

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