***Chapter Two***
Word Count: 4,184

She sighed softly as her car idled in the parking lot.

What was she even doing here?

Did she really want to take John home with her? Why had she agreed to meet him tonight in the first place?

She could maybe dismiss having sex with him in the backseat of her car, but inviting him back to her place was a conscious decision.

Did she want that?

Hell if she knew. She really had no clue if she was going to regret it in the morning.

She could have left the parking lot of Walgreen's without him. He'd gotten off his bike and gone in without her to buy what he needed. He had no idea where she lived so it wasn't as if he'd show up there of his own accord. He could show up at work again, of course, so she wouldn't be completely free of him if he wanted to see her again. She suspected after having sex with her he would show up again if she left now.

What was more, she didn't want to leave without him. Having sex with him in her car was completely out of character for her. Inviting him back to her place was not quite as out of character, but pretty close. The fact she was inviting him back there for sex was out of character. Brenda was certainly going to wonder where he came from and what rock Claire had hit her head on tonight. Her roommate knew nothing of Claire's life before grad school. So that meant she knew nothing about John. That was good, though. She wouldn't have to hear Brenda warn her about having sex with ex's being a bad move.

She just needed and God, he'd fallen into her lap. Could anyone fault her for taking advantage? Sex had never been a problem for them. Good sex, too. So, was it bad she'd wanted what she knew he could give her?

Months of being around people (men and women) who had sex at the drop of a hat. Years if she wanted to include her research and studying before starting her hands-on job. Claire thought there was something wrong with her for not giving into the temptation. It wasn't as if offers weren't made, every night. It'd be so easy, too, no one would know. She'd be done with her dissertation in a few months and would be able to go on her way. She just didn't find them tempting, which was where she'd wondered more than once if something was wrong with her. Sure, some of the guys offering were creepy and not at all attractive, but some weren't like that.

She let him into her apartment and tugged him to her for a kiss almost before she got the door completely closed behind her. Forget sex, she'd missed kissing him probably more than she realized. He hadn't kissed anyone before her so she'd taken it as a compliment he'd gotten to like kissing her as much as he had.

She groaned as he slid a hand along her thigh, deepening the kiss at the same time she did. She dropped her purse and keys to the floor at her feet and slid her arms around his neck, pressing into him, against him. She took his hand and slid it to her top. He took the hint, sliding his hand under her shirt as he pushed the hem of her skirt up higher along her thighs.

"Fuck," he murmured as she slid her hand to the front of his jeans, working them open. She slid her hand inside and took a hold of his shaft. She felt hard-ons more times than she wanted to dwell on every night at work. She was always able to compartmentalize it, categorize it with the rest of her studies. Because clearly if men weren't effected by strippers they wouldn't go and the clubs wouldn't stay in business. It was a win-win situation for both the clients and the employees. John wasn't just a random stranger, though, and she knew first-hand what him and his cock were able to make her feel.

"That wasn't a fuck stop," he whispered as she drew her hand away. She reached into his jacket pocket for the bag there, sliding it out and the box inside of it. She should maybe be upset he bought this many, but she didn't have it in her to be angry. She probably would be very upset if he'd bought a package of only three. Three wouldn't be enough she knew that much.

"Oh," he said, grabbing the box from her none too nicely and tearing it open. He tossed it on the floor with her keys and purse before tearing open the packet he'd taken out of it. She slid her panties down and off while he put the condom on.

"Roommate?" he asked, dropping his hands to her hips when she slid her legs around his waist.

"I don't care," she whispered.

"Fair enough," he said. Her head fell back against the door as he slid inside of her. Much slower than in her car. Until he was completely inside of her and then he wasn't so slow. She bit her lower lip to stop from crying out as he slid a hand between her legs to touch her. Funny, he still knew exactly how to do that for her.

"John, please," she hissed. He was teasing her, touching her just shy of the point of bringing her off and then stopping.

"Want you to with me," he whispered.

"Then get there!"

He chuckled a bit at that, but did as she asked. She was very glad about that.

"I feel so used," he whispered when he finally pulled out of her.

"Is that bad?"

"Terrible," he said. "Um, bathroom?"

"Down the hall," she said, gesturing to the hall. "It'll be the only door open."

"Okay," he said.

She stopped to pick up her things and the box of condoms, shaking her head a bit at the way he'd opened it. Evidently he'd been in just as much of a hurry as she was because he hadn't bothered trying to find the opening.

He closed her bedroom door once he joined her in there. He obviously figured out it was her room because the door was open now when it hadn't been when he went to the bathroom.

"Hmm. Are you worn out or something?"

"Nope," she said, drawing the covers away to reveal she'd taken the time while he was in the bathroom to remove everything else she'd been wearing tonight.

"I see," he said, sitting on the edge of her bed to take off his boots. He stood then, shedding the rest of his clothes to catch up to her. Her blinds were open so she could watch as he undressed. She'd always liked the way he looked, but evidently manual labor did things to his body that she really liked.

She reached for him, touching him.

"Really? Again? Right away?"

"You complaining?"

"No, just holy fuck, Claire."

She shrugged, getting on her hands and knees and taking him into her mouth. He groaned softly, sliding his hands to her hair as she slid her mouth along his shaft. She used to like waking him up like this. For the little while before he got hard and woke up she could just suck and lick him to her heart's content. He wasn't sleeping now, but she knew it'd likely be a few minutes before he got hard again. So, she took advantage, taking all of him into her mouth as she was only capable of doing when he was like this.

It didn't take long for him to get hard again. She shifted back onto the bed as he grabbed another packet, putting it on before joining her. He slid on top of her, hands sliding along her hip to her stomach and up to her breasts. She gasped as he took a peak into his mouth as he slid into her.

"No marks," she whispered.

"I know," he murmured. "Just playing."

"Just making sure you didn't forget."

He scoffed. "I've been watching you shake your ass for any guy in Chicago who walks through the club's doors for the past month and you think I'd forget that I can't leave evidence you had some fun tonight?"

Well, put like that. "Probably not," she whispered.

"Though it'd be tempting to find a spot that no one would notice."

"There are no spots!"

He chuckled. "I'm aware, Sweets."

"I bet you are," she said.

He chuckled softly but returned to using his mouth on her breasts. She was probably going to be a little sore when she woke up later, more than a little but God this was so worth the discomfort.

"You can just use my trash can," she said when he got up to go to the bathroom again.

"You sure?"

"Yeah," she said.

"You're just afraid I'm going to leave the room and run away."

She laughed softly. She wasn't because she suspected he wouldn't leave until she told him to.

"I need to use your phone," he said.

"Sure," she said, gesturing to the one on her nightstand.

"Thanks," he said, reaching for it. She shifted on the bed to make room for him as he dialed out. He watched her as he presumably waited for someone to answer on the other end or an answering machine or something. He certainly wasn't looking as if he was contemplating leaving and running away at the moment. She liked that look in his eyes and the fact that she was the cause of it.

"Hi, Paula, this is John Bender. You're there early," he said, glancing at her clock.

"Ah," he said after a few minutes, presumably where Paula was explaining why she was there so early. "Well, I hope that goes well," he said.

"You're welcome," he said. "Anyway, I'm not going to be able to make it in today. Can you let Stan know?"

"Everything's all right. I'm just not feeling that great."

"Yeah, summer colds can be the worst. I stopped at Walgreen's to get something to help me sleep. So I'm going to take that now and hope it does its thing."

"Yeah, I hope to be there tomorrow, too. Thanks, and good luck again."

He hung up then.

"Good luck?"

"She and her husband are going to the doctor to find out what their baby's going to be."

"Oh," Claire said.

"They want a boy."


"Because they have three girls and they've said this will be their last one."

Claire laughed softly at that.

"The good luck part makes more sense now."


"Do you wish you had a boy?"

John shrugged. "I'm not hung up on it, no. I love my girls."

"Just wait until they're teenaged girls."

"Oh, trust me, any guy that comes to talk to them will know very plainly they don't want to fuck with either of them. Or their dad. Believe me there's nothing a guy can try I didn't do or at least think about doing."

"I know."

"I know you do," he said, glancing at the spot on the bed she left open for him.

"You look like you're thinking about leaving?"

"No, just making sure I guess you want me to stay."

"Are there condoms left in the box?"


"Then I want you to stay."

"You plan on using all of them today?"

"I plan on using as many of them as we can until one of us has to leave."

"When do you have to leave?" he asked.


"You work?"

"Yes," she said with a soft sigh.

"You going to be able to dance after all of this?"

"Ha ha."

"I will make it my goal to make it so my question doesn't make you laugh so you call in sick too."

"You'd better get to work then."

"I have been! What do you think I've been doing since we left Denny's?!"

"You have to work harder."

"I haven't heard you make any complaints about my working hard ever, Princess."

"No, I suppose you haven't."

"Do I get fed out of the deal at some point?"

"I suppose if you're a very good boy," she said, shifting a bit to kiss his chest.

"No fair," he said as she focused on a spot there. She chuckled, but didn't stop. "Not too dark, Princess," he whispered after a few minutes.

"Why?" she asked, drawing away. "You said you didn't have a girlfriend."

"I don't! I wouldn't be here right now if I did. Contrary to what Patty thought I don't cheat."

"Then why?"

"I called in sick to work today! I can't show up with what are obviously fresh hickeys on me."

"Just leave your shirt on tomorrow."

"And if it's one hundred degrees?"

She shrugged as she moved to straddle him and work her mouth lower. Not quite as low as he probably wanted her to go just then, but she was enjoying the feel of his abs under her mouth very much.

"I guess I'll hope it's not one hundred degrees then," he quipped but he didn't make any effort at stopping her from using her mouth on him.

"I'd feel bad about you calling in except you don't actually need the money," he said as they ate their Chinese takeout. Her roommate had left for the club about an hour ago. She'd had to go to campus earlier today, too, where Claire hadn't had to so they'd had the apartment to themselves most of the day.

"I need the research."

"Well, you can interview me if that'd make you feel as if you're not giving up a night of research."

"Interview you?"

"Yeah. I just spent the past," he glanced at the clock on her stove. "Thirteen hours getting very friendly with a stripper."

"Except I'm not really a stripper."

He shrugged. "I suppose that could skew your data."

"A little!"

"You are working at the club, though. I hate to break it to you, Princess. You are really a stripper. No matter how you shake it, no pun intended, you are a stripper. There's something to add some color to your resume."

"But I'm here with you because I know you not because I picked you up at the club and took you home with me."

"I'm aware and consider myself pretty fortunate."

"Only pretty fortunate?"

"Well, you know, I could've gone for the box of twenty, but I thought twelve was going to be sufficient."

"Making up for lost time?"

"There are only two left in the box, Claire! Do you know how long it usually takes me to go through twelve rubbers?"


"Longer than twelve hours!"

She moved from her chair to sit on his lap, sliding her arms around him as she did. Neither of them had gotten completely dressed to eat. She wore an oversized shirt and he'd put his boxers back on.

"Are we going to use the last two?"

"I guess that's up to you."

"Well, I called in sick…"

"Because neither of us slept much today. I have to go to work tomorrow. I have child support to pay, you know?"

"I know," she said, kissing his neck. She'd left him more than one hickey on his chest and stomach. She wasn't sure why. She hadn't left him one on his neck, though.

"No! Not there. I mean, some other time, you know, sure. It wouldn't be a problem. I can't wear a turtleneck to work!"

"I know, just kissing."

"Uh huh," he said. "Do you have to go to campus tomorrow?"


"What time?"


He shrugged, sliding his hand along her thigh and under her shirt so he could cup a breast. God she loved his hands on her, which was probably a dangerous thing to think. She did, though. He'd always known exactly how to touch her. His hands were different now, but he still knew what to do with them.

"You could come back to my place with me," he said, pushing her shirt up so he could kiss her breast. "You know, bring a change of clothes so you can leave from there when I leave in the morning."

"You're going to leave at like five in the morning. I don't do five o'clock in the mornings unless it's coming home from work."

"Yeah, well, okay, you can leave when you have to leave then," he said, grazing the underside of her breast with his tongue.

"You'd trust me to stay in your apartment alone?"

He chuckled softly at that, kissing her skin before drawing away. "What are you going to do? Steal my milk?"

"No," she said.

"You going to rip up all of my clothes?"


"You know, delayed reaction to our breakup."

"Oh, no," she said.

"Well then, we could sure both start off our days in a good way."

"We could here, too."

"True, but I'd have to wake up real early to get back to my place so I can change. That means I'd have to wake you up real early."

"I suppose."

"Hey, you don't want to, that's fine. We can use the last two in the next couple of hours and I can go home. No sweat."

She did want to. Very badly.

"Sure," she said with a shrug. No way was she going to let him know how much she wasn't ready for this day to end. "I need to shower first, though."

"Before going to my apartment?"

"Well, yeah. I haven't since working last night. I have to!"

He shook his head slightly. "I'll pretend to understand, but okay. Go ahead then."

"Well, I was thinking that you could take one with me."

"Oh," he said. "Well, sure."

"What would you have done if your roommate had come out last night?" he asked after they were dressed and there was only one left in the box he'd bought before coming to her apartment. He'd mentioned having to stop and buy more on the way to his place, which surprised her for some reason. That he wouldn't already have some there.


"Yeah, when we first got back here."

She shrugged. "We've seen each other naked. What's the big deal?"

"She hasn't seen me naked."

"No, but you still had your clothes on. She would've realized we were busy and gone back to her room."

"And you were okay with her just walking in on you letting a, presumably, random guy fuck you?"

"She works at a strip club with me, John. She's not a prude!"

The answer surprised him, though he didn't say that. He didn't have to. It surprised her, too. She probably would have cared immensely if Brenda had chosen that little while to come out and get a glass of water or something. She hadn't wanted to wait, though.

"So you still want to go back to my place?"

"Sure," she said.

"All right."

"Unless you've changed your mind."

"No, I won't deny I don't bring women there often."

"Why not?"

He shrugged. "My kids stay there. I don't know. Hard to explain."

"I guess I can sort of understand that. Where were they last night?"

"With their moms. It was Sunday night."

"I suppose."

"I'll get Catherine for six weeks here coming up. Patty won't let me have Amanda for the time I'm entitled to have her during summers."

"I'm sorry."

He shrugged. "It is what it is. I hope someday soon she'll meet a guy, get married, and want to be away from her for six weeks every summer."

"Why don't you make her? You're entitled you said."

"Because that's not fair to Amanda to see us fight like that, even if it's through lawyers she'd still be dragged through it. I'd rather she come to realize I'm not that guy anymore on her own than have to force her."

"I can see that."

"I'm just glad I get her the weekends I get her."

"What do you do with Catherine when you work?"

"Bring her to daycare. Her mom's willing to pick her up if I'm running late, which happens on occasion and then I pick her up from her mom's."

"She sounds reasonable."

"She is. I mean as nice and reasonable as an ex-wife can be, I guess. Like I said, she just wanted a husband who was around and I wasn't willing to be that."

"Why don't you drive truck anymore?"

"Well, she was willing to let me see our daughter so I wanted to be around for that."

"How did you get your CDL if you were using?"

"I stopped using illegal stuff for a while so I could pass the tests."

"You drove truck while using?"

"Sure. Coke is a fantastic pick me up when you're driving long shifts."


"I think that's another reason I haven't gone back to it. I could. I mean, I could make enough money driving like a mad man all fall, winter, and spring so I could spend all summer with my daughters."


"Sure, but it'd be too tempting to fall back into those habits. If I did a line I could drive that much further tonight…"

"I'm glad you don't then."

"I've thought about doing it locally, but I make enough doing this I haven't thought too hard on it."

"Would you be able to make enough to do that? Be home over the summer with your girls?"

"I don't know. Maybe. If I did some longer local runs. Like here to Champaign or here to Minneapolis, runs that could theoretically be done in a day."

"Minneapolis is like four hundred miles."

"It is, that's probably a little far, but you get the idea."


"I have all my certifications so am able to drive just about any rig out there."


"Yeah, you know. Endorsements. Hazmat so I can haul potentially hazardous material. The only thing I can't do is drive a bus. Everything else, though, tankers, double and triples."

"I'll pretend I know what that means."

He chuckled softly.

"You obviously have your motorcycle endorsement, too."


"Will you take me for a ride sometime?"

"I thought I'd been doing that for the past few hours, Princess. I don't think I'm that out of practice to forget what I'm doing."

"Very funny. On your motorcycle."

"Sure. Any time. I don't have my helmet with me or I'd offer to do it tonight and just bring you back here early tomorrow."

"That's fine."

"You have my address then?"

"Yes," she said. He'd written it down for her in case they got separated on the way back.

"I'll meet you there then. If you change your mind…"

"Has it seemed like I want to change my mind?"

"No, but you might have second thoughts driving there or something. I don't know. I don't even know what exactly led to this happening between us."

"I told you," she shrugged. "I was horny. I may not fuck the customers but that doesn't mean that I never react."

"To the customers?"

"Just being in that environment. It's hard not to. I don't know. It's heady. I know so many find it degrading, and six months ago I was totally inclined to agree with them one hundred percent. Some of the women are beautiful, though. Some I can tell they were gorgeous once upon a time. I don't know how to explain it. You're up there on stage, dancing, and the point is to be sexy and beautiful. You have men giving you money to do nothing but dance for them. It's hard not to feel something from that. Maybe that's why so many use, I don't know, because they don't want to feel that. It's a little scary. And God, those men pay for time with me."

"I've seen women pay for time with you, too."

"Yeah," she said with a shrug.

"Is that weird for you?"

"Not anymore. At first, yes, but it's happened enough times. And their money spends just as well as yours does. They tend not to be as creepy as the guys either. Some are, don't get me wrong, but generally speaking."

"True enough. You ever find yourself curious and want an observer…"

"No," she said, knowing she was blushing.

"You're blushing. Have you found yourself curious the past six months?"

"I wouldn't tell you that."


"For you!"

"It is. I'd very much enjoy hearing about that."


He shrugged. "You telling me about that while I was going down on you? It'd be exciting. What can I say? I'm a guy!"

She had no idea how to respond to that and he evidently realized that because he chuckled. "Let's go, Princess. Before we talk ourselves into my being here all night again."

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