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Author’s Note: This is long, and there are going to be multiple chapters. Those looking for a story that is sex only should probably move along. Those looking for a mixture of sex, sensuality, romance, and tons of literary references (especially to fantasy fiction) however are invited to stay.
A tremor ran through my chest as I looked out at the sea of faces. Everybody spoke in a low murmur – the murmur of anticipation that always preceded the formal announcement of the Rives Gander Award. My agent sat to my left, his wife by his side, and they were having a conversation between themselves about the last industry event they had gone to. They mentioned names that I recognized – names of people who were legends. People whose books I had read before the thought of even publishing my book had crossed anybody’s mind.
To my right was my editor, and the rest of the table was taken up by people from the publishing house. They were all seasoned veterans in this game. I was the only one new here; everybody seemed to have forgotten that.
So instead of talking with anybody there, other than to answer the occasional comment or question that was thrown my way, I sat in my chair and picked at my dinner, and looked out at the crowded mass of writers and agents, publishers and editors and their husbands and wives and lovers and friends.
I didn’t know a single person there; and I was one of the guests of honor.
The room hummed for a moment, and then everything went silent. I glanced up to the podium, where a man in a steel gray suit was now standing. It was time.
“I would like to say thank you to everyone here, tonight. Especially our writers. It goes without saying that whoever receives the Rives Gander Award this year will have been a contender in one of the tightest races for the award that I, or my colleagues have ever seen…”
Closing my eyes, I wondered again how I had gotten to this point. A year and a half ago – just a year and a half – I had spent an entire summer, between semesters at college, writing and editing and perfecting my first book. Never expecting anything more than a nod here or there, or publishing on a small press somewhere, I’d sent my first queries off to a dozen agents.
And now here I was, nominated for the most prestigious award in the world for Fantasy fiction. Funny, how life can change like that. In just an instant.
And, opening my eyes, I searched through the crowd to get a look at the man who had made it possible, without even knowing what he had done.
Simon Whatley. His table was three down from mine, and I could barely see his face through the crowd of people that sat between us. My heart started beating in that way it did when I thought of him. Wildly. Irreverently.
The person who had made me fall in love with writing – whose words I had devoured before ever realizing that there was a man behind those magical, wonderful words. And now, sitting here in the same room with him, I still considered myself his biggest fan.
As if the world had thrown the biggest curveball at me that it could, he was now my toughest competition.
Of course, I was certain that the prize would go to him. I had been, ever since I had found his name alongside mine on the announcement of the short list for the prize that my agent had sent my way. I had barely had time to hope that I might actually win this thing when I had seen his name, and immediately it had become the biggest honor in my life just to have been announced alongside him.
So I was sitting there, my eyes fixed on his face and barely paying attention to anything that was being said around me, when there was a slow pattering of applause that suddenly grew to a roaring crescendo. And inexplicably my agent was standing up, and on my other side my publishers and editor were rising.
And I thought back, trying to remember the name that had been announced. And realized that it had been Ramona Blackburn.
I froze in place for several seconds. And across from me, a space cleared and I saw Simon Whatley staring back at me.
“Oh, yes,” I stammered, taking his hand and letting him pull me to my feet. Dazedly I hugged everybody at my table, my mind a sudden blank, and trying not to trip over the hem of my long periwinkle gown made my way to the front of the room. Taking careful steps up the stairs and onto the dais, I walked to the man and took the gold and glass statue that he thrusted into my hands.
And I turned, feeling as if I were sinking, back to that same crowd I had been nervously watching all evening long.
“I…can’t believe this is happening,” I said, surprised by my sudden honestly. “I can remember wondering, when I spent the summer writing my book, whether this would end up coming to anything. It was only because I fell in love with reading, and in love with writing, that I even managed to finish this thing.”
I continued on, thanking anybody I could think of – my family , wherever Ankara escort they were, my agent and publisher, my friends back home…and as I finished with my mental checklist I stopped, taking a breath. Tears were threatening to ruin my carefully applied makeup, and I wondered how actors and actresses managed to keep their cool under this kind of pressure.
“And finally,” I said, after taking this pause for breath, “I’d like to thank all the writers who have inspired me. C.S. Lewis, and Tolkien, Bradbury, Moorcock, and J. K. Rowling and…and last of all, Simon Whatley,” I finished. My gaze fell down to the award in my hands, lest I should look up and see him looking my way. “It’s an honor to have been even considered as competition for one my favorite writers. I still think it might have been a bit of mistake, though. I won’t blame you if you demand a recount.” I laughed lightly, and was relieved to hear a good amount of laughter from the people in the room. I finally felt the tears starting to escape me, so shakily I excused myself and made my way back off the stage and down to my table as the room erupted in more thunderous applause.
“Excellent, Mona,” said my agent. I turned slightly, smiling weakly. He was a middle-aged man, and – like I had said – this wasn’t his first time dealing with something like this.
“Thanks,” I said. “I still can’t believe…”
“I knew it all along,” said my publisher, placing a hand on my shoulder. I smiled, feeling a little uncomfortable at his touch. I knew there was nothing behind it – nothing more than fatherly affection for his 22 year old literary superstar, if that’s what you wanted to call me. But intimacy has never been my strong suit, even with those I knew and loved best.
And more than anything, that was what was bothering me at that moment.
Everybody else there was surrounded by the people who had supported them. I didn’t even know where half of my family was, at that given moment, and my friends were happily living their own lives off in the town that I had left behind. Too busy with their domestic bliss, I guess you could say, to witness my moment of triumph.
Among these strangers – among all the millions of people, now, who had read my book – I was a superstar. And with the people who actually knew Mona Blackburn, I was nothing more than a side note.
The dinner was almost over, my award sitting on the table in front of me. I reached out, picking it up. “Excuse me,” I mumbled to my agent.
“Gonna make some celebratory phone calls?” he said with a wink.
“Yeah. Something like that,” I said with a laugh, picking up my handbag. Then, finding the exit, I slipped away unnoticed as everybody carried on.
I got out into the hall and finally exhaled – one long, shaky breath after another. I glanced around, looking for a way out and finally saw the door that led out toward the rooftop.
Nobody else was in the hall to see me as I pushed my way through the doors and out into the cool night air. The city lights were flashing like a million stars as I moved toward the edge of the roof. I set my statue down on the ground, digging out my cell phone.
> I typed to Sarah back home.
Then, leaning forward onto the railing, I looked out at the movement of the world around me.
And there I was. Twenty-two years old – having just gotten everything I had always wanted. A prodigy in the writing world. And the same fears – the same longings – that had always torn me apart were threatening to do so again.
I felt my phone buzzing at my fingers, and flipped it over to read Sarah’s message.
Whenever that would be, I thought. I allowed myself a moment to smile, knowing that Sarah was probably doing all the shrieking and jumping and happy crying that I just couldn’t bring myself to do, right now. At least some one was having the appropriate reaction, I thought. Then, dropping my phone back into my purse, I pulled out my emergency store of cigarettes and lit one.
“Here’s to fame and fortune,” I muttered.
The world went silent. Then, to my shock and mortification, came a voice.
“Oh, come on. Fame and fortune deserves a more enthusiastic salute than that.”
I whipped around, cigarette still dangling from my fingers. Simon Whatley was standing there, a bemused expression on his face as he looked at me. “Leaving your awards ceremony for a smoke break?” he laughed.
“Oh. No.” I quickly became interested in the ground, my shoes – anything other than that look on Simon’s face. “I just wanted to text my friend…you know…”
“Spread the good news,” he said, taking a step toward me. “Of course. I know how it is. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you, Miss Blackburn. Your book was excellent.”
“I…you read my book?” Now I did look up.
“Yes, after it was nominated for the Caddo Prize back in March. It really is excellent. And don’t worry – I’m not demanding a recount. The prize is yours, fair and square.”
Laughing, I Ankara escort bayan took a deep drag from my cigarette. “Well…thank you,” I said, my heart now flip-flopping for the millionth time that night after the compliment that he had just given me.
“It was an honor, for me, hearing that I was one of your favorite writers. Although I think my fellow nominees might end up being just a little bruised, ego-wise, that you didn’t mention them as well.”
I laughed again and for the first time, all evening, I really meant it. “I love their writing too,” I said. “But you’re a legend. Uhm…and if I don’t sound too weird and…and fangirl and gushy…you’re not just one of my favorite writers. You’re probably my favorite writer.”
Simon smiled. “Ah. You see? Whatever pain I was feeling after losing that award has now been fully wiped away. Thank you, Miss Blackburn. Hearing that certainly means a lot coming from somebody as talented as you are.”
I hoped he couldn’t see the blush on my face. I didn’t blush often, but I could tell in the cool shadows that my cheeks were growing warmer by the minute.
Simon for his part looked perfectly nonplussed, even if he did keep smiling at me after the comment that I made. His unruly dark hair fell slightly onto his face, giving him the boyish, roguish looks that had defined his public persona for most of his career.
In person, I noted with surprise, I could actually tell that he was the age his bios claimed him to be – fifty years old. But it was only because of the fine laugh lines that creased the corners of his mouth and his eyes – the touches of salt and pepper that were starting to appear at his temples.
But he was otherwise fit. His chest was muscular against the woolen sweater he wore underneath his jacket. And he was much taller than me – a rarity, given my height at just under six feet.
Neither of us said anything. I finished smoking my cigarette, flicking the still red butt over the edge of the roof. Then, realizing my nerves were still shaky, I reached into the box and pulled out another one.
“Don’t mind me,” I joked. “Got to have something to soothe these wobbly nerves.”
“I understand completely. Mind if I bum one off of you?” he said.
Slightly surprised, I finished lighting mine and handed the box and lighter over. He took and lit one, handing it back. And then, surprising me further, he came over and sat down on a raised cement ledge as he took a long puff.
“I quit years ago, in theory,” he said. “But certain times call for certain vices.”
I smiled, and pulling the long silky train of my dress out of the way I sat down across from him.
“So. Why don’t you tell me why you were really out here alone, looking so sad?” he asked.
My eyes widened. “I…well. I guess I was just a little sad that nobody could be here to experience this with me. It’s silly, I know. I know they’re happy for me, and all. But it would have been nice to have somebody other than my agent to give me a congratulations hug,” I joked. I was trying to trivialize the matter, but as I spoke the words I felt myself starting to choke up. A tear rolled down my face, tracing its way along my cheek.
Simon reached out, touching it. “I see,” he said, wiping it away. “I really am sorry. An achievement like this really should be celebrated.”
With a shrug, I sighed. I felt my skin prickle, in a good way, at the light feeling of his fingers against my cheek.
“Do you remember the first award you won?” I asked. “What was it like?”
“Ah. It was 1993. I won it for my third book. That was just after my daughter was born. My ex-wife was fussing all the way through the ceremony, and she stepped out just after they announced I had won to call the babysitter and make sure that Kayla hadn’t choked on anything. Or spontaneously combusted. Whatever it is that mother’s worry about.”
“Ah. 1993. I think that was right around the time I learned my ABCs,” I joked.
Simon looked up. “You are young. How old are you, Miss Blackburn?”
“Mona, please,” I said. “And I don’t think I’ll tell you how old I am. You’d never be able to take me seriously.”
“Hmm? Is that right? You are at least eighteen, aren’t you?” he asked. “I’d hate to find that out, after sitting her and admiring how lovely you are.
Lovely? I smiled a little.
“I’m definitely over eighteen,” I joked. “But I’m not telling you anything else. You’ll just have to wait until they write my Wikipedia page to find that out.”
“Tease,” he said, winking.
We continued to talk, discussing books and the industry and other authors that the both of us admired. Halfway through Pratchett his phone rang and he pulled it out of his coat pocket. “Ah. Looks like we both lost track of time,” he said. “I have to go have a few words with my wife, and then give my publicist a call.”
I was shocked back to reality, realizing that my attraction to him had been transitioning from solely intellectual to physical, Escort Ankara too, as our conversation continued.
“No problem. It was nice meeting you,” I said, starting to stand.
“Wait. I’d like to continue this,” he said. “I…” Then he stopped, glancing down at the telephone as it continued to ring. Obviously, I thought, he was having some of the same thoughts as me. He hit the mute button on the phone, slipping it back into his coat. “It can wait,” he said. “How about…are you staying at this hotel?” he asked.
I nodded mutely, realizing that the way he was looking at me had changed – had been subtly changing, ever since we had sat down and started to talk. “Yeah. Come on,” I said, picking up my purse as he took the award, and together we went out into the empty hall.
A few stragglers were left behind in the halls, and as they caught sight of us they rushed over to greet me and give me their congratulations on winning the award. A photographer, too, caught sight of us. Simon started to step away as he asked me for my photograph, but I kept hold of his arm and pulled him close to me. His arm slipped down and around my waist as the light flashed.
Then, excusing ourselves, we found an elevator and hit the button that would take us down to the third floor.
“So what now?” asked Simon, leaning in towards me.
“Well,” I said. “You’re already this close.”
And, changing everything, or perhaps changing nothing – in that moment I couldn’t be certain – Simon’s lips brushed against mine and I pressed up against him. His tongue slid across my lips, tasting me, before diving deeply inside. We kissed deeply for just a moment, pulling apart in time for the elevator to stop at my floor.
I whipped out my room card and went down the hall, Simon close behind me. His hands closed over my waist, tracing my curves under the gown. His hips pressed against me as I yanked the door open and we stumbled inside the room.
The door slammed closed behind us and Simon whipped me around, kissing me deeply and soundly. His hands moved up, gripping the delicate red braids of my hair. He tore out pins and clips, sending it out into a mass of red curls that fell straight down to my breasts.
He shrugged out of his jacket, and I excused myself just long enough to get to the restroom and unzip the dress, pulling it off and hanging it in the shower. My lingerie was now exposed – a matching periwinkle corset and panties, each covered with a dewy netting that made me shimmer, fairylike, in the shadows.
“Sexy little pixie,” said Simon, grinning madly as he yanked his sweater over his head. He reached behind me, undoing the lacing until the corset slipped down over my hips and fell to the floor. Kissing me again, his hand reached up to cup my breasts, thumb flicking against my nipple. I moaned and Simon pulled me over, sitting down on the bed.
I was about to have sex with my idol. That was the thought that flittered through my brain as I let him pull me over and lay me down. The man whose books lulled me to sleep when I was a frightened teenager…whose beautiful words had so changed my life. My mentor.
He hooked his fingers around the waistband of the panties and pulled them down, revealing the neatly trimmed red patch that lay there. My eyes closed as I felt his weight come down on top of me and his lips secured themselves over one nipple, sucking deeply, tongue flicking across it, and then the gesture was repeated with the other.
His lips left my breasts and I felt the tip of his tongue sliding wetly down my stomach, teasing my bellybutton. Then he softly kissed the top of my pussy, licking up the moisture from the edges of my slit. I spread my legs wide, giving his head room to nestle down between my thighs. And he did. His tongue dove into my pussy and he started lapping my softly. His fingers began to tease my clit as he licked and sucked me to madness.
Then, without warning, I felt his finger slide between my pussy lips and into me. I jumped in surprise, and tried to warn him, but it was too late. He had pierced me, and the pain shot through my body, stabbing like a knife. He went still.
“You’re…a virgin?” he said.
“Yes…no! I mean…I don’t care…just fuck me,” I stammered, surprising myself that I could be so crude in my wants…my desires. I was suddenly afraid that he wouldn’t want to continue – that my lack of experience would scare him away. But instead, he moved back up over me, placing a gentle kiss on my lips.
“Once again, I’m honored,” he said. He reached down again, sliding his finger into my pussy. He slowly fucked me, first with that one finger, and then with two, watching my reactions to see the moment that his actions turned from being painful to pleasurable. I don’t know how much time passed, but eventually all the pain had subsided and I was moaning.
Whimpering as he finally removed his fingers from me, I sat up slightly. He was on his knees in front of me, unbuckling his belt. I quickly got up, reaching forward to do it for him. Then I slid my hands down over the front of his pants, feeling the hard shape of his cock outlined beneath the fabric. He moaned now, reaching down and putting his hand over mine.
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