CAUTION: NSFW Pictures at the end….
Cole was trying to focus on the damn Accounting. He didn’t want to create a balance sheet for his fake company. He had a whole new respect for accountants. It didn’t help that he had been miserable all week. He didn’t even feel like working out. Evidently Landon told Blake, and Blake told Yasmine, what happened at the bar, because she had been avoiding him all week.
When the door opened, and Yasmine walked in, he was relieved. He hated the tension between them. Plus, he needed help with accounting. If he had to think through ‘assets plus liabilities equal equity’ one more time, his head was going to explode.
Yasmine flashed him a smile, as she pulled the chair out to sit down. “Hey,” she said pleasantly, “looks like you’re working on accounting,”
Cole gave her with his best puppy dog eyes. “Help me?”
Yasmine gave him a crooked grin. “Cole, I’m sorry about the other night,” she said instead of answering his question. He figured she must want to clear the air as well. “I heard about Laney. And I know you saw me too. I just didn’t want you to feel bad. We are still friends Cole. Nothing has changed as far as I am concerned.”
“I know,” he said embarrassed and outlined the wood grain in the table with his finger. “It’s just – well – seeing Laney hurt, not as much as before, but it still hurt. Dannie’s engaged. Nicky is with Mickey. Landon has Blake. And you have a boyfriend now too. I was feeling neglected and a little sorry for myself. Not a good look or much fun to be around. You don’t have to hide your boyfriends from me.”
“Oh sweetie. Stop right there. I told you, I don’t do boyfriends. I was just having a good time and you looked so lost, I didn’t want you to feel bad. Seems like it didn’t matter.”
“Yasmine, it’s okay,” he said and looked up at her, “I don’t care. You don’t have to hide it from me. So…. can you help me with this?”
The corners of her mouth turned up, but her smile didn’t reach her eyes. Cole wondered why.
“Sure,” she said, “What are you working on?”
Cole blew out a relieved breath. “Balance sheets….”
“Okay. Let me see, where are you stuck?”
Cole pointed at one of the transactions he had to record. At the same moment, a knock sounded on the front door. He looked at Yasmine and she shrugged.
“I’ll get it,” he said and handed Yasmine the book, “Keep reading?”
Cole opened the door and was shocked to see the girl that played the piano with Nicky at Dreamers. He recognized her because of her striking hair color, and it made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. He was terrified something may have happened to Nicky.
“Cole Murdock?” she asked.
“That’s me. Is everything okay?” he asked.
“Yes, um, this is from Nicky,” she said nervously and held out an envelope. “She and Mickey stopped by the dorm, packed her things and left in a rush. She gave this to me on the way out and made me promise to give it to you.”
She handed him the letter, turned and left without another word.
He walked back in and stood next to Yasmine, his heart now beating out of his chest, and opened the envelope. Inside was a handwritten note from Nicky.
“What is it Cole?” she asked.
“It’s from Nicky….” he said and began to read it.
“Well, fuck…” muttered Cole as he flopped down into his chair.
“Cole? Is everything okay?” asked Yasmine, concern in voice.
Cole looked up and frowned. “Yasmine…I don’t know,” he said, “Laney. Dannie and now Nicky.”
“Can I?” asked Yasmine motioning to the letter.
Cole nodded and pushed the letter to Yasmine for her to read. She gave Cole an understanding look once she read it over. “Cole, I’m sorry.”
“Why are you sorry? This isn’t bad news. They are obviously very happy. I shouldn’t be upset either, but I am. But why?” Cole felt a myriad of emotions – confusion, hurt, anger, jealousy and sadness. They all competed with one another and he didn’t know which, if any, were right.
“Because, they were all your friends,” said Yasmine with compassion, “More than just friends even. People you loved, that meant a lot to you. And now, they have someone else to depend on, and maybe don’t need you as much as you still need them. It hurts to lose that closeness with someone you care about.”
Cole looked up at Yasmine. She was translating perfectly what he was feeling. But how? Then he remembered their earlier conversation. “That’s right, you’ve lost someone too,” he said softly, “I’m sorry.”
She looked at him with sad eyes and let out a soft breath. “Sweetie, you let yourself get invested, you cared too much. When you put your heart out there, it’s just asking to get smushed.”
Cole would have laughed if he wasn’t so upset. Instead he threw up his hands in defeat. “I’m doomed. I will be single my whole life, married to my practice.”
Yasmine took in a sharp breath. “No. That would be such a waste. You have so much love to give and you want to give it.”
“But you just said…” he stopped when their eyes met again. Hers were full of pain, maybe, he couldn’t tell what. Regardless, they looked so sad, and he didn’t know if it was for him or for someone that she lost.
He suddenly needed to kiss away her sadness, and maybe his too. He leaned forward, closing the space between them and gently kissed her lips.
When he sat back, she did the same. Yasmine closed her eyes for a minute before opening them. “Cole…” she said, almost whispering, “no strings from me…do you understand? I’m not the one for you. You need someone like Blakley. Someone who has love to give back and can give you what you need. I can’t.”
“Yasmine, did you ever think, maybe, that’s not what I need right now …. maybe I don’t want strings either.”
She sighed softly, biting her bottom lip. “It’s just sex Cole. Nothing more, nothing less,” she replied, her eyes begging him to understand.
“Just sex – between two lonely people,” he replied, then reached out and cupped her face before continuing, “two lonely people who don’t want to feel alone for a little while.”
She grabbed his hand and held him still. “No Cole. Don’t try to explain it. It’s only sex. No strings, but I promise…” she paused and smiled, “It will be good sex.”
Cole laughed and sat back trying to lighten the mood. “Well, I have no doubt it would be good for me.”
She bit her lip. And it killed him. “FWB Cole … that’s all … promise me …or,” she begged while slowly shaking her head.
Dannie’s little finger briefly crossed his mind while he considered her request. “I promise…” he said.
Her smile lit up her face. “Come on then,” she said seductively, “let me show you how to please a lady.”
Cole barely managed to hold back a groan as he followed her upstairs to his room like a little puppy dog.
As soon as they stepped into his room, Cole softly closed the door behind him and turned around. Yasmine stood at the end of the bed waiting, looking at him with a hunger that matched his own. She was so beautiful, she took his breath away. He knew, this was something they both wanted.
He flipped off the lights, then went to her. He took her in his arms, brushing her hair from her face before closing the remaining distance with a gentle kiss.
He reveled in the feelings that exploded within him as she kissed him back, gentle at first, then urgent, needy and rough.
“Fuck Yasmine,” said Cole when they finally broke apart to breathe.
“Not yet baby,” she whispered with a little chuckle, “Let me show you.”
Yasmine took control and Cole easily surrendered to her. Soon they were devoid of their clothing and on the bed, ready to give themselves fully to each other. Cole realized in that moment that he hadn’t been like this with anyone except Laney. It was almost like he had been doused with ice water as a chill ran down his spine.
Yasmine stopped kissing him and moved away. He thought she had felt his hesitation, and was having second thoughts herself, so he started to get up.
“No baby, relax, lay back,” she said, her eyes hooded and her voice husky. Holy fuck….was the last coherent thought he had as he began to make love to her.
Cole lay holding Yasmine in the afterglow. As their breathing slowly returned to normal, he closed his eyes and thought about the woman laying in his arms. He really liked Yasmine. No, she wasn’t like Blake at all. In fact, she was unlike any other woman he knew. She was interesting and he found he wanted to understand her, if she would let him in. For now, just to be near her, he was willing to settle for what she was able to give.
He felt her body shaking softly and thought she was crying and it worried him. When she turned to face him, she was laughing instead and he was relieved.
“That was great,” she said grinning.
Cole laughed with her. “Sorry, I’m a bit out of practice,” he said as he smoothed her tangled hair so he could see her pretty face, “maybe you can teach me some things. You know, you are a beautiful teacher and I promise, I’m a fast learner.”
“Benefits, Cole. Nothing more. No strings,” she gently reminded him.
No. “Right, no strings, no expectations,” he agreed with a sigh. Then he grinned and added, “except maybe help with accounting.”
“Deal. Speaking of accounting….” she said and began to roll away from him.
Cole stopped her from getting up. “Not yet,” he said, “I need more benefit lessons first.”
“Ohhhh, insatiable,” she said as she lay back on his chest laughing, “I could get used to these lessons. Oh, I have some Homework for you. Ask your folks for their Tiramisu recipe!”