Before by Anna Todd

  While Tessa plays Molly Maid, I pull back the duvet and climb into the bed. It’s never been slept in before, I can tell. It feels like lying on clouds. It’s even better than a hotel. I watch Tessa watch me as I cross my arms behind my head. She’s always watching me. I’m always watching her.

  I cross my ankles as she shoves the last pillow into the chest and closes the top. Neat freak, she is.

  Is she going to stand there all night? I would rather that she peel off her baggy clothes and climb into bed with me. “You’re not going to whine about sleeping in the bed with me, are you?”

  “No, the bed is big enough for both of us.” Her smile shows no nerves, but her shaking hands picking at her nails do. She’s being playful now. I love it.

  “Now, that’s the Tessa I love,” I joke. Her eyes widen slightly, and I push the reason why away from my mind. Not today—not going anywhere near that thought today.

  Awkwardly, Tessa climbs onto the bed after slipping off her shoes. She stays fully dressed, and she remains at the edge of the king-size bed, as far away from me as possible. She lies down, and I consider scooting closer to her, but I’m afraid she’ll get spooked and fall off the bed. As I’m picturing her falling to the floor, I laugh, and she turns around to face me.

  “What’s so funny?” She’s doing that thing with her eyebrows again. She’s so fucking cute.

  “Nothing,” I lie. I don’t think telling her that I was picturing her take a tumble will help my case tonight. Still, I can’t help but laugh as she pouts.

  “Tell me!” She looks up for a second and then deliberately pops out her bottom lip. Despite her fake pouting, or maybe because of it, her lips are so fuckable. I can’t wait to feel them take a slow drag down the shaft of my cock. Thinking about her head bobbing up and down on me has me pulling my lip ring between my teeth. The metal is cold on my warm tongue.

  I roll onto my side and face her while I ask, “You’ve never slept in a bed with a guy before, have you?” For that matter, I haven’t slept in a bed with a girl before either. It wasn’t my thing. I don’t know if it is now, but so far so good.

  I’m relieved when she answers, “No.” I smile to show her how I feel about being the first guy she’s slept in a bed with. I love that she has so much left of her to be claimed. In some ways, I have so much left of me to give her, too.

  Tessa is facing me, lying only a few feet away from me. She’s still dressed in her heavy clothing, and it’s driving me insane. She lifts her hand between us and touches the dimple on my right cheek. It’s such a simple, yet tender thing to do. No one, not even my mum, has touched me on the face in at least ten years. Even during sex, sometimes I kiss girls, but I don’t let their fingers linger on my body.

  I make eye contact with her and register her panic. She pulls away, but I grab her hand and put it back to my cheek. It feels good, having her touch me. Her touch is so gentle. I want her to touch me everywhere. “I don’t know why no one has fucked you yet; all that planning you do must help you put up a really good resistance,” I tease her. There has to be a reason she’s so inexperienced. It’s just not realistic that she would have absolutely no experience without a good reason for it.

  “I’ve never really had to resist anyone,” she says. I don’t believe her words, but I believe her eyes. Still, it’s just so hard to have faith.

  “That’s either a lie or you went to an all-blind high school.” I look at her pretty mouth. “Your lips alone are enough to make me hard.” It’s true. She could easily reach down and feel the proof of my words. I almost tell her that, but I don’t want to ruin the moment.

  Tessa satisfies me by gasping at my filthy words. I laugh and think of all the ways I can drive her fucking wild. She’s like driving a brand-new car, the excitement you feel when hearing the engine’s low purr for the first time. I want to make her purr—I would make her scream if Landon wasn’t here. I want to take this slow tonight, but I want to show her more than what I did at the stream. That was only one of my many tricks.

  I lick my lips and take Tessa’s hand in mine, bringing both of our hands to my mouth. She inhales a sharp breath, and I pull her hand along my wet lips. Her hands are shaking when I single out her index finger and gently bite down on the pad. She moans on instinct, and my cock twitches in my boxers. Tessa’s hands are warm as I guide them down my neck. It feels so good to be touched, the level of high that I feel clouding my senses. The liquor has mostly worn off, and now I’m completely trashed off of a stubborn, sexy blonde. Tessa pulls her hand away, and I drop my own hand onto my lap. Her fingertips trace the ivy inked along the bottom of my neck. I can’t concentrate on anything except for the cool, calm trail she’s leaving behind on my skin.

  After a few seconds of silence, I speak up. I’m curious and horny, and I’m going to have fun with her. I bring my hand back to hers. “You like the way I talk to you, don’t you?”

  I stare at her until her chest begins to rise faster and faster. She breaks eye contact with me, and I continue: “I can see the blush in your cheeks, and I can hear the way your breathing has changed. Answer me, Tessa—put those full lips of yours to use.” I wish she would do this in more ways than one. She stays silent. Man, I thought I was stubborn. I move closer to her and take her wrist between my fingers. Tessa looks so flustered, pink taking over skin. She’s addicting.

  Just when I think she’s going to speak up about her attraction to me, she says, “Can you turn the fan on?” Really, Theresa? She thinks I’m a sucker already? That I’m just going to climb out of this comfortable bed where she’s lying so close to me. I look at her face, her gray eyes. “Please?” she whispers, still looking at me. Before I realize what I’m doing, I’m climbing out of the bed. Damn, she’s good.

  She looks pretty smug when I glance back to the bed. She also looks ridiculously uncomfortable in those heavy clothes. Her skirt is made up of as much material as the duvet. “If you’re hot, why don’t you change out of those heavy clothes; that skirt looks itchy, anyway.”

  Tessa smiles at me, rolling her eyes.

  I’m serious, though . . . she dresses terribly. “You should dress for your body, Tessa. These clothes you wear hide all of your curves.” I look at what I can see of her chest, which is barely anything. “If I hadn’t seen you in your bra and panties, I’d never have known how sexy and curvy your body actually is. That skirt literally looks like a potato sack.”

  She laughs at me. That went better than expected. “What do you suggest I wear? Fishnets and tube tops?” She raises her brow and waits for an answer.

  Tessa in a tube top and short denim shorts flashes in my mind. “No, well, I might love to see that, but no. You can still cover yourself, but wear clothes your size. That shirt hides your chest, too, and your tits are nothing you should be hiding.”

  “Will you stop using those words!” She shakes her head, and I laugh as I climb back into bed with her. I don’t know how close to lie, so I slowly inch nearer until I’m practically touching her. She sits up and gets out of the bed. My chest burns.

  “Where are you going?” I ask, hoping I didn’t piss her off enough to leave.

  She walks across the room in quick steps. “To change.” She bends down and picks up my dirty T-shirt from the floor. I smile, happy that she likes to wear it as much as I like for her to.

  “Now, turn around and don’t peek,” she says as if I’m a child. She knows damn well I’m going to look.

  “No.” I shrug and she glares at me.

  “What do you mean, ‘no’?” she asks, frustrated.

  I’m honest when I tell her, “I won’t turn around. I want to see you.”

  She agrees but then betrays me by flicking off the light. What a tease! I groan, loving the flirty game she’s playing. I whine loudly, to let her know that I’m not going to play fair if she isn’t. I hear heavy fabric fall to the floor—the skirt. I pull the chain for the light, and Tessa jumps at the brightness. She gasps my name like it’s a curse word: ??

  I continue to stare at her, from her legs to her eyes and back down again. She takes a deep breath and raises her arms to put my shirt on. Tessa’s bra is plain white cotton with very little padding. Not that she needs any. Her panties match; the cut covers nearly her entire ass. Her ass is perfect. Round and perky . . . I would love to take her there, too.

  “Come here,” I whisper. I can’t wait another second to touch her body. Tessa’s walking toward the bed, turning the room into a goddamn burlesque show, and I fucking love it. I need a better view. I move up to the headboard and rest my back flat against it. Tessa flushes under the heat of my stare, and it makes my pleasure all the greater.

  When she reaches me, she puts her small hand into mine and I pull her to me. She straddles my body, her knees resting at my sides. I love having her like this. My imagination is going fucking wild. Tessa holds herself up, keeping her body from touching mine. I don’t think so. I gently grip her hips and guide her down onto my body. She bites down on her lip, and her eyes meet mine. I look away first because I can feel the boner coming from a mile away. Tessa’s legs are so soft and the way my shirt is lifted up to her hips is so sexy.

  I smile at her, admiring how good she feels and looks. “Much better.” I wait for her to smile back, but she doesn’t.

  “What’s wrong?” I gently stroke at her cheek, making her smile. Her eyes close, and I wonder if this is breaking the rules of the Bet somehow. I think I’m beyond that at this point.

  “Nothing . . . I just don’t know what to do,” Tessa says. When she won’t meet my eyes, I know she feels embarrassed.

  I don’t want there to be a lot of pressure on her. Any way that she touches me is going to be enjoyable. I don’t know how to explain any of this without actually showing her. “Do whatever you want to do, Tess. Don’t overthink it.”

  Tessa raises her hand and seems to be about to touch my bare chest. When she doesn’t touch me, I look up at her. She looks into my eyes for permission to touch me. No one has done that before, either. I nod, nervous but excited, and watch her. Her index finger slowly drags down my stomach to the waist of my boxers. I try to stay still even though I want to grab her wrist, flip her over, and fuck her into the mattress. I close my eyes and feel her finger trace over my tattoos. I like when she does this.

  When she pulls her hand away, I open my eyes. I need more. I’m an addict.

  “Can I . . . um . . . touch you?” Tessa is hesitant as she stares at the bulge in my boxers.

  Fuck yes! I want to shout at her. Instead, I stay as calm as possible. Nodding, I beg, “Please.”

  Tessa looks nervous as she lowers her hand to my crotch. She hovers over my growing length before barely touching it. She lowers her hand a little more and continues to feel it out. Her fingers are gentle as she drags them up and down my cock, making me grow for her.

  “Do you want me to show you what to do?” I suggest. I want her to be comfortable.

  When Tessa nods her head, I gently place my hand over hers. My hands are so much larger than hers that her fingertips barely pass my knuckles. I bring both of our hands down my body and stop over my boxers. I help her grip my cock in her hand. She gently squeezes, and I moan and let go of her hand. She’s got this. The look on her face when she realizes she has complete control is so filthy but trying to play innocent. Her pupils are blown out, her lips are parted, and her cheeks are rosy.

  “Fuck, Tessa, don’t do that,” I mutter. I’m going to explode if she gets that expression on her face again.

  Tessa, taking me at my word, stills her hand. Fuck, I forgot how literal she can be.

  “No, no, not that. Keep doing that—I mean don’t look at me that way,” I clarify.

  Tessa bats her lashes in the most naive way. “What way?”

  “That innocent way—that look that makes me want to do so many dirty things to you.” So, so many things, Theresa.

  She’s nervous as she moves her hand on me. Her grip isn’t as tight as it could be, but I don’t want to point that out. She’ll get the hang of it on her own. I’ll sure as hell help her figure it out. She’s chewing on her lip as her slow strokes make me moan her name under my breath. If I could have one thing forever, this would be it.

  “Fuck, Tess, your hand feels so good wrapped around me,” I moan. My words encourage her, but maybe a little too much. She squeezes me, and a soft rush of pain shoots through me. “Not that hard, baby.” I gently guide her, careful not to embarrass her.

  She kisses me and continues in slow strokes. “Sorry,” she whispers against my neck as she touches her lips to my skin. She moves her tongue up my neck to the base of my ear. Fuckkkk, that feels so fucking good. I need to touch her; I’m not going to last long.

  My hands find her chest, and her bra feels like a wall between her body and me.

  “Can I. Take. Off. Your . . . bra?” I beg. I want to feel her sexy body. Reaching under her shirt, I can feel her perfect breasts: round and full. Tessa nods, breathless. My hands shake as I quickly unclasp the hooks and let her breasts fall. I pull the straps off her shoulders and down her arms. It requires a lot of control for me not to rip her bra off. Tessa takes her hands from me so I can remove her bra completely. I toss it onto the floor, move my hands back to her breasts, and cover her mouth with mine. I gently pinch her hardened nipples, and she moans into my kiss. I like the way she kisses, soft but frenzied. She wraps her small hand around my length and moves her hand up and down, up and down. Tessa is bringing me pleasure, in my bed, wearing my clothes.

  “Oh, Tessa, I’m going to come,” I breathe. My body is out of my control. Tessa has become the puppet master, gathering and pulling every sensation out of me like the strings of a marionette. I’m on fire and in an ocean of ice at once, and I can barely keep my mouth from shouting her name. I concentrate on kissing her, massaging her sweet tongue with mine. My hands are still rubbing her chest. Her moans let me know how much she likes it. I drop my hands from her tits as I climax. The warmth of my come spreading through my boxers feels like the relief of letting out a thousand breaths.

  When the rush starts to diminish, I drop my head back and close my eyes. Tessa stays sitting on my thighs. I’m glad. Despite popular belief, I’ve died and gone to heaven, I’m sure of it. I feel Tessa getting anxious, so I open my eyes and look at her. I’m a little nervous about how well I’m catching on to her little quirks. She smiles at me, and my nerves are calmed. I smile back and lean in to kiss her on her forehead. She sighs and I like the sound.

  “I’ve never come like that before,” I share with her. I like that she’s giving me new experiences.

  “It was that bad?” she asks, horrified and jumping to conclusions.

  “What? No, you were that good. It usually takes more than someone just grabbing me through my boxers.”

  She stares into space and doesn’t respond. Something is off. I try to repeat the last thirty seconds in my head to see if I offended her. I don’t think I did. I decide to ask, “What are you thinking?”

  She doesn’t answer. She accuses me of being uncommunicative, but she herself is that way with me.

  “Oh, come on, Tessa, just tell me,” I complain. She always tries to keep things from me but expects me to give her thorough explanations all the time. So I decide to tickle her. The old sitcoms I watched as a kid taught me that tickling is an easy way to get women to talk, plus it adds flirty points. And I need as many of those cute, little flirty things as I can get.

  “Okay . . . okay! I’ll tell you!” Tessa shrieks, her legs kicking like a horse’s. She looks silly with her face scrunched up, teeth bared, kicking at me to stop tickling her. My stomach is in a knot from laughing.

  “Good choice,” I say, feeling the wetness in my boxers. “But hold that thought. I need to take a quick shower and put on clean boxers.”

  I didn’t bring a change of clothes, and I only have shirts in my car trunk right now. As I stand up, I look around the room for an option. The dresser i
s full of clothes; Karen told me it was. I’ve fought the idea—it’s creepy, really, that she filled up a dresser of clothes for someone who doesn’t want anything to do with her.

  Fuck it. I don’t have any other options, and Karen really isn’t that bad. I broke her entire dining room into pieces; I guess I can make her happy by wearing her charity donations. I hope for the best when I open the drawer. My hope is crushed when my eyes meet a sea of plaid underwear. Blue and white, red and white, green and red, red and blue, white and green. It’s endless. I want to slam the drawer shut, but I’m desperate here. I grab the least offensive one, a blue-and-white pair, and hold it between my thumb and index finger as if it’s contaminated.

  “What?” Tessa asks. She lifts up, rests on her elbows, and looks at me. I’m entertaining her; she’s having fun here. I can see it in her eyes. Each minute I spend with her, I know her better.

  “These boxers are hideous,” I groan. Plaid? Cotton? Size XL? Who is she shopping for?

  “They aren’t so bad,” she lies. I hold the blue-and-white-plaid monstrosity in the air and shake my head.

  “Well, beggars can’t be choosers. Back in a minute.” I grab the ugly-ass boxers and leave the room without looking back at Tessa in the bed. On my way to the bathroom I pass Landon’s room. I touch my ear to the door. I’m not surprised when I hear some character in a movie say something about elves. I knock lightly to be sure Tessa doesn’t hear me. I listen for him to answer, but it’s late, so he probably fell asleep watching Twilight. I knock again, and the door opens. His face is relaxed at first, until he realizes that it’s me. I step toward him, and he holds his hands up in front of him in defense.

  “I’m not here to start shit,” I whisper. He’s an asshole for assuming that I was.

  I can tell he doesn’t believe me—not one fucking bit.

  “Then what is it that you want?” he questions in a dubious-sounding way.

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