I was having an affair with Dakota.
It struck me as I was Facetiming with Emma, talking about rebounds and friends with benefits and really exceptional sex. I was part of an affair, and a selfish, awful part of me didn’t care. I went into this knowing full well he was taken, and I didn’t even care enough to stop him, to call him out for cheating on someone, to take a step back and think about the person we were hurting by seeing each other.
“I don’t know if I’m the other woman or a rebound,” I was telling Emma, flailing my arms wildly, a wooden spoon in one. Her face on my phone screen was passive, unassuming, without judgement. She was probably the only person who wouldn’t judge me for my straight up stupid life choices. My phone was propped up on the ledge above the stove, a skillet full of meatballs and gravy in front of me, a pot of mashed potatoes thickening beside it. “I mean, I don’t think I’m a rebound. He’s still dating her. But he told me last week that things weren’t as good as they could be. So maybe he’s thinking of breaking up with her?”
“I don’t know, sweetheart,” Emma soothed.
“Well, I know for a fact he’s not one hundred percent happy with her,” I said, turning the meatballs so they’d brown on the other side. “Happy people don’t cheat.”
I nodded at Emma’s suggestion. “I actually brought that up. It seems Miss Alexis wouldn’t be into it, but I’m thinking Dakota would be, if it were an option. Which, as you know, is fine with me.” Snickering, I continued, “Being bi makes me so-called greedy, or some other biphobic crap, so polyamory is right up my aisle.”
“But you’d be healthy about it,” Emma pointed out.
“Yes, and we’d be a happy, multi-people relationship, built on trust and communication, where my primary would understand that sometimes I just want to enjoy boning someone of the sex they aren’t, and accept that I go through phases.”
“Like the moon?”
I laughed. “Exactly. Like the moon.”
“See,” Emma said, her face sliding out of frame and back in as she did her own thing on the other end of the line, “that’s healthier than the sneaking around and flirting with others and just. Not being faithful.”
I shrugged. “I don’t think either of us is thinking of it that way. I honestly don’t want to. Which,” I plowed on, before Emma could cut me off, “is childish and unfair, but it’s how I feel.” I sighed. “I like him, Emma. More than I have a right to.”
“That’s okay.” She’d gone back to soothing me. “Your feelings are valid, and he’s not exactly doing anything to reject them.”
“On the contrary.” I gave Emma a sly grin. “I think it’s safe to assume he’s encouraging them. Unless last week was some sort of weird way of saying goodbye.”
“TELL ME EVERYTHING.”
Still grinning, I picked up my phone and let dinner simmer. “So, I told you about the kiss, the one that completely took me by surprise, right?”
“Yes, that was the last you actually told me, other than saying you guys had sex.”
I chuckled. “Oh, Em, my sweet summer child. We did more than that.” I dropped onto the couch and crossed my legs, the prim pose deeply contrasting the conversation topic. “So, once we started, we couldn’t really stop, and I was so on board with just making out like teenagers, but boy does Dakota have wandering hands.”
“You were wearing something wicked weren’t you?”
“A tee-shirt and jeans…” at Emma’s pout, I continued, “over that lavender combo I got for my Rabbit cosplay.”
Emma gasped. “Piper, you didn’t!”
“I did,” I confirmed, “and it worked wonderfully.”
“The only one better than that is that pinkish red one, with the front clasp–”
“And the lace bondage collar, yeah, but I figured that was overkill.” Waving my hands, I tried to get us back on track. “Anyway, he got me on his lap a couple of times, kissing and– well, use your imagination. And then his parents came up and we were perfectly proper, sitting beside each other watching ridiculous YouTube videos. His mom invited me to his birthday party,” I remembered suddenly.
“Yeah.” I nodded. “We told her I was into girls more so than guys and she invited me to come clubbing with them for his birthday. Have I mentioned how much I like his mom?”
“She sounds lovely.”
I sighed, thinking of how awkward and tense things were between myself and my own mother. “Yeah, she really is. But his parents left to get lunch together, leaving Dakota and I blissfully alone– and he ordered us lunch.”
“Lunch. Asian food. It was good too. And once it got there, we went downstairs to dish things out, and while I was putting mine on a plate, he came up behind me…”
It had been heaven, Dakota’s hands on my hips, his arousal pressing into my lower back, his lips on my neck. I’d forgotten where I was, who I was with, the fact that I was supposed to be establishing a regular friendship with him rather than a sexual relationship. My brain had gone staticky, like an out-of-range radio.
“It sounds wonderful,” Emma told me.
“God. It was. So we went back upstairs and ate, and he turned on a movie, and when we finished we were just sitting there, and then he just… grabbed me.”
My back met the futon, Dakota hovering over me, hitching my legs up and over his shoulders as he teased me. I latched onto his shirt, pulled him down to kiss me, but he had other plans. He went right for my neck, nipping at first, then biting. I couldn’t slow my breathing, couldn’t loosen my grip on him.
He pinned my arms and rocked against me, sending my thoughts scattering. I arched toward him, only for him to back up. I stared at him in blank shock as he pulled off his shirt, then reached for mine. Once my brain caught up, I helped him, all too eagerly, as he removed my clothing. I went for his, not even pretending that I wasn’t desperate.
I almost purred as he pinned me again, delighting in the loss of control. My trust in him was unquestionable, and that made it even more delicious, letting him hold the reins. I bucked my hips to meet his, shutting my eyes as my vision dimmed. He filled me, already moving with an urgency I recognized. Within minutes, Dakota pulled out and came across my hip.
“Oh, Piper, no,” Emma said, her tone going from excitement to concern. “You didn’t use protection?”
I opened my mouth, then closed it. “Shit. I didn’t even think of it at the time. That was dangerous.”
“You had a pregnancy scare what, two months ago? That was really risky.”
“You’re right, and I fucked up– no pun intended. Still…” I sighed. “It was… wonderful. Having that kind of effect on him.”
“What did he say?”
I giggled. “It took him a moment to recover, but he apologized.” My sly grin was back. “He said I’d gotten him worked up.”
“Ugh, yes!” Emma wriggled with excitement on my screen. “Isn’t that the best?”
“It’s a particular favorite of mine, getting the better of someone’s self control, in a sexy way. With consent, obviously.”
“And if he initiated, I think that consent was there.”
“Well, I’d sure fucking hope so!” But the little voice in my head kicked me right in the feels, and I sighed again, less wistfully this time. “I hope he doesn’t blame me for this… whatever it is, between us.”
“You could ask him?”
“Oh! Oh! That reminds me. I asked him questions, but since I’m a coward I texted them to him.”
“Oh, I need to hear this!”
“So, I asked him, first, why he’d chosen me.” It still felt surreal, being singled out when so many girls were, apparently, lusting after Dakota. According to some of the other girls I knew from the costume rooms, who had been there longer than I had. “He told me it just kind of happened.”
“No, to be honest, I don’t think he meant it quite as detached as it sounds.” I shrugged. “He doesn’t emote particularly well. He noticed me trying to read him and outright laughed. He said no one was able to read him, not even his parents, who know him better than anyone. Anyway, then I asked if he was seeing anyone else, other than Alexis and I. He said he wasn’t.”
“Do you believe him?”
“He hasn’t lied to me,” I told her, though the words felt foreign. “He’s omitted stuff, but he’s never outright lied to me. He never told me he was single.”
“He never told you he was taken,” Emma pointed out.
“Fair.” I thought about it for a minute, returning to the kitchen to stir my food again and turn off the stove. “I want to trust him. I have faith in him. I think he’s a good person, all in all.”
“If that’s what will make you happy, Angel, I’ll support you.” Emma smiled and then blew me a kiss, which I returned.
“Because you’re perfect and wonderful.” I plated my food quickly, then scooped up both plate and phone and headed over to stools behind the bar-top counter. “Now, enough about me, how was work today?”