"Gabs, maybe we just need to slow down here."
"Slow down?" Gabriella made her way into the kitchen and walked over to the fridge, "You haven't even touched me."
"I know, but-"
"But what?" Gabriella said pulling out the gallon of milk and shrugging her shoulders.
"What you're asking for is a little out there Gabs," Troy said reaching into the cabinet for a box of cereal and handing it to her. "I think if you want to do this we're gonna need to set some ground rules?"
"Ground rules?" Gabriella took the box from him and placed it on the counter top turning around to get a bowl from the clean side of the sink, "Like what? Do I have to cut my hair or something?"
Troy let out a chuckle, "What? No." He liked her long hair, he fantasized about it in his hands, thought about it falling slowly down her back or hanging in those little ringlets around her face after she took a shower. "First rule, no haircuts." Troy opened a drawer and took out two spoons.
"Alright," Gabriella smirked as she opened the box and began to pour the cereal into the bowl, "I think I can manage that one." Could he actually be proposing what she'd hoped for? Comfortable, compatible, no-strings attached sex without a messy relationship?
Troy uncapped the milk and began to pour, "Second rule, five dates."
"What?" Gabriella jerked back as she placed both her hands on the counter top, "I don't want to date you."
"Then call it what you want, but despite your belief, I am not a man-whore and refuse to be treated as such. If we're going to do this I call the shots," Troy said placing a hand on his chest. "No sex until then. If we can make it through five "whatevers" then maybe…"
"No." Gabriella shook her head, "Maybe?! I don't want whatever all I want-"
Troy held out a spoon cutting her off, "I know what you want, but I think we need to be sure you know what you want. We don't really know each other like that. We're going to have to tread lightly. Make sure we're both on the same page."
"Oh yeah," she said with raised brow, "What page is that?"
"Whatever you want this page to be," Troy with a long sigh.
"How about the page that repeats as often as we like, without strings?"
"There's always going to be strings," Troy shifted his weight, "This just sex thing, It never works, Gabs. You're a girl. Sex always means more to you even if you don't admit it."
"But this is different."
"Really," Troy said with a frown, "Do you suddenly have a penis where you're vagina was?"
Gabriella took a moment to think about it, then narrowed her eyes."Nope, no penis."
"Then it's no different."
Gabriella pouted as she took the spoon and leaned down so her forearms were laid flat on the table as she poked her butt out behind her, "I think your wrong about that, we know each other plenty."
Troy leaned down as well dipping his own spoon into the same bowl, "Sex is different Gabs. Beside what if I told you I wanted more?"
Gabriella rolled her eyes as she dipped her spoon into the bowl and brought her spoon to her lips. More?Troy wasn't a relationship kind of guy. As a sex buddy, through, he'd be the perfect man for the job. A known commitment-phoebe, known player, she'd be guaranteed hot sex with no-strings. And because they were friends, she wouldn't have to worry about him treating her like crap. "We go to movies and eat together all the time, honestly what makes this bowl of cereal any different."
"Foreplay," he said off handedly.
"You need five dates for foreplay?"
"I need five minutes, you're going to need five dates."
"How are you so sure I'm not ready to go right here, right now on this table?" she said standing up straight and staring at him dead on.
"Gabriella, I'm not the greatest catch." Troy leaned forward scooping up a spoonful of cereal and shoveling it into his mouth. Once he swallowed he continued, "I'm sure you've heard how I am…was with women."
She shook her head. "What you do and whoever you do it with isn't any of my business."
"That's what I like about you. You're always ready to accept people for who they are. I'm no saint. And I know I've ah… been with a lot of women." He took one of her hands in his, "What I'm trying to say is I want to try date you… exclusively."
He might as well have poured ice water down her back. She hadn't expected him to say anything that hinted at dating. Sex, hell yeah. But dating? Exclusively? No way. She didn't want to date. Dating led to emotions she didn't have time for. It also led to heartbreak. Something she wouldn't allow, especially after the way her last relationship ended. She cleared her throat and attempted to pull her hand from his, but he held firm.
"I'm just asking for five dates."
Aliens must have taken control of Troy's mind. Never in a million years would she have expected this notorious commitment-phobe to want to date her exclusively. "This is crazy."
"Crazier than you asking me for sex?" So she wanted no-strings sex. No emotional ties. And he offered her the opposite. Too bad.
Gabriella stared at him with an urge to argue and then let out a sigh, he was right. "Fine, what about the other stuff?"
"What other stuff?" Troy looked up at her.
Gabriella shrugged as she dipped her spoon into the bowl coming back into her leaning position.
"Gabs if you can't say it, we shouldn't even be talking about this."
Gabriella inwardly groaned, he was right. Again. "Kissing."
"You want to kiss?" Troy asked sounding a little interested.
"Well yeah," Gabriella murmured looking up at him and lifting her spoon to her lips, "kissing is nice, I use to like it. Not really a fan of tongue but I'd try it. I mean, I'm not going to lie I'm not sure I understand the sudden urge to prove you can be in a relationship without sex when I'm bluntly offering you sex without one but to each his own five dates and I get what I want."
Troy watched as the spoon disappeared between her lips and watched as she slowly pulled it out. He wasn't sure if she did it on purpose. Didn't know if he should acknowledge it. What he did know was he was suddenly at a loss for they were talking about. "Yea,"
"But that wouldn't be much different from what we already have. We'd simply be friends who don't have sex with each other, let alone anyone else."
"Intimacy and affection are important in a relationship and while I understand what you're getting at I need to have a certain level of affection," she said with a grin, "and we can have that you know … without sex."
"Kissing," she grinned. "I mean if you have a Julia Roberts thing about it, I get it."
Troy snapped out of his current fog, "No. I mean we can, I mean its fine on the lips," Troy winced as he looked at the cereal bowl. "Kissing is good."
"Kissing is very good." She was beginning to like how the conversation was turning out after all. Hell she liked Troy a lot. She trusted him, not necessarily with her heart, but with her body. She wanted to be with him. Yes for sex, but also because she loved the respect he showed her.
Although she did miss sex, she'd missed kissing and cuddling even more. Sex was nice, but if she didn't own a vibrator, she would never have known what it was that made your eyes roll back and your body surge with ecstasy. Now that she really thought about it, she'd very much like to take Troy up on his exclusive dating, no sex relationship. It sounded safe and fun, and besides he'd agreed to kissing, but he never specified exactly where those kisses could be placed. And she could think of a few provocative places she'd love to kiss Troy. After that, he probably wouldn't last more than a week with his no-sex, kissing-only rule. She'd have her sex buddy and still be able to remain emotionally detached. "Do we have to wait?"
"Does it have to be right this second?" Troy countered standing up right.
Gabriella shrugged "You're the one making the ground rules?" she said pointedly.
"For the well-being and protection of our relationship."
"Rule three, no more relationship talk."
Troy raised a brow, "You really just want a fling don't you?"
"Yes," she said quietly, "I think I've had it up to here with emotional men and their backstabbing bullshit."
Troy watched her carefully, "Why not go the bar and pick up someone?"
"In a town with a population of 764 do you really think my odds of finding someone, who I won't ever see again, is of high value?" Gabriella let out a sigh as she lifted another spoonful of cereal, "I have better odds of coming across who's ever underwear I found in the dryer last week."
"Sorry about that," Troy muttered as he reached into the bowl for another spoonful. "So are you expecting to move out or something? I mean unless you have other arrangements for a place to live, work, and mooch then wouldn't I be a big fat shit on your plan of animosity?"
"No. Because there's no one on the planet I trust more than I trust you, you're an overall good guy, you love Blue and look great without a shirt," she listed causally.
"Seriously?" he added with disbelief.
Gabriella looked up at him, "this is really weird." Gabriella tossed her spoon into the sink with a loud clink.
"I feel like we should sign a contract," she said wiping her hands on her shorts.
"You're right. This isn't my most romantic moment." He sent her a sexy smile that had her toes curling. "To be honest you really didn't give me much of a choice."
"To be honest if I had you would have chickened out," she said as she made her way out of the kitchen.
"Cute. You got jokes," he called after her as he watched her race back up the stairs to her bedroom. Troy looked down at the bowl of milk in front of him. "Why does she always leave the milk?"
As if to answer him Blue let out a sigh as he shifted his shout from one paw to the other, his brown eyes looking up at Troy with adoration.
Shaking his head he went about putting the milk back in the fridge and cereal back in the cabinet. If he was going get his shot at forever with Gabriella he was going to have to do some fancy footwork and quick. Her mind was set. And he been around long enough to know what when she set her mind to something she was going to see to it that she made it happen. He just needed to set her off balance, pull the rug out from under her slowly enough so she wouldn't notice it was happening. He had to find some way to make Gabriella fall in love with him and he had to do it in five "Whatever's."
If you're interested in more where that came from check out Not Quite Dating and start reading. Chapters are posted every Friday and reviews, comments, suggestions and concerns are welcome!
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