Episode · 1 year ago

Apology Tacos


Drama on set, a lingerie heist, and a game of taco roulette. It's enough for anyone to work up an appetite (in more ways than one).




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I am t thirty minutes away from filming a nearly naked scene for an international streaming service, and I'll say it, I look hot. Not just hot, hot, hot. Even in this unflattering fluorescent bathroom turned dressing room lighting, I'm wallowed by the version of Cleo I'm seeing in the mirror, a strappy, leathery Cleo in a lace garter belt holding up sheer black stockings and a thick coat of body makeup that's highlighting my curves in all the best ways, not to mention this blackly sea bra, which fits me like a second skin, pushing my boobs up in a way that nearly defies gravity. And now I'm humming wicked damn it. The point is, I look good as sin. I have half a mind to send a thank you note to the Wardrobe Department, not just for the costuming choice, but for the untouchable partial nudes I'm about to take in them. pivoting my hips, I lift one ass cheek up onto the sink and let portrait mode bless me. And, given that I have the dressing room to myself for once, I even swear cheeks and get a few from the other side. Hey, if you got it, flawn it and Lord knows I've got it. Especially today, as I swipe through and start my favorite shots for future use, the giddy feeling in my stomach turns into a tight, anxious nat because these pics are hot and I so, so want to send one to Deane. What would he do if he saw me in this? I can just imagine those gorgeous chestnut eyes widening if one of these bad boys popped up on his phone in the middle of his work conference. Would he rush off to the bathroom and send me a pick back, or maybe just hit me with a bunch of drooling EMOJI's? I swipe on, do not disturb with a sigh of defeat. Too Bad, I'll never know. In fact, I probably won't ever see his face again, unless it's in a fucking Christmas card on my boss is fridge. The disappointing truth is that last night was perfect, too, perfect all the way up until well, it wasn't. It's not even the whole sleeping with my bosses something that really bothers me. Well, I mean it bothers me in the same sense that it's totally inappropriate and should never be done again, but it doesn't sting nearly as much as what he said about my job Justin anny. That's what he said, like raising his brother full time, is just some bullshit minimum wage job. I'm working so few all my stupid acting fantasy. Well, guess what, motherfucker, it's not some stupid acting fantasy. It's my reality and I've a job to do today, regardless of the near sighted opinions of some guy, even if he's a hat, Guy who's a high key sweetheart and a rocks are in the sack. I mentally relyned to an old therapy session about compartmentalization where, if memory serves me right, my therapist compared my brain to a pancake, no, a waffle. She said something about pouring different kinds of syrup into different sections so it doesn't all run together. That's what I have to do with my brain. Just focus on the Work Syrup, not the Dean Syrup, except the Dean Syrup is running absolutely everywhere and that totally sounds like a jizz thing. Fuck, there's a triple knock on the door, which I've quickly memorized as HACKEM's calling card. So I snap myself out of it and tug on my zip up fleece. At least I can do in the decency of putting my boobs away. Come in, I'm faking a smile that says I definitely wasn't just working through a miniature crisis. The door opens, revealing a grinning Hackem, accompanied by the unmistakable smell of Deli meat. Lunch is out if you want to grab a bite before we get rolling. Just the mention of lunch turns the knot in my stomach into a rolling growl. Can't have choreographed on screen sex on an empty stomach, now, can I? Or maybe this whole lawful train of thought is just getting to me. Either way, I give Hakim a thumbs up and a thankful smile. Thanks, be out in a SEC. Hakim smiles back before disappearing out of the door again, leaving me to dig my oversized sweats out of my bag, stepping into them as carefully as possible so to not completely screw up my body makeup. Once I'm sufficiently covered, I follow my nose up the stairs to the Craft Services Table, where Evan is stockpiling all the good vegetables onto his styrophone plate. Leaving the... of us with a hefty pile of celery and raw califlower. How very on brand. Excuse me. I reach past him to grab a plate of my own, perusing the fruit tray before eventually opting for one of the mini roast beef sandwiches. Not My problem if Evan has to make out with my beef breath on set. As I tear into one of the tiny packets of mayonnaise to dress this sucker up, I can feel Evans critical eyes boring into me. Am I in your way? He I is my sandwich, as he picks the lunch meat off of his own, tearing off a bite with his teeth while tossing the Hoagy roll into the trash. You're so lucky. You could to eat that. You could too. You know there are plenty left. I nod toward the tray of sandwiches. Yeah, well, he gestures up and down his torso gotta keep it side. You know how it is, or maybe you don't, I don't know. Suddenly, my appetite is long gone and my lungs feel like they're being filled up with concrete. Dude, what the fuck? What? He blinks at me, totally innocent, as if he hadn't just absolutely come from my throat. Why would you fucking say that? I can hear myself getting worked up, but I can't help it. And still he's staring at me, clueless, with the tiniest hint of reproach. What am I making a scene? Maybe I am a little, but who could blame me? Before I can completely snap, how came reappears, brushing crumbs off his jeans. Hey, guys, we're gonna get rolling in the gift shops soon. You about ready? His Eyes Dart between the two of us, Evan cool as a damn cucumber, if not a little confused, and me on the verge of completely breaking down. That awful prickly feeling creeps up my throat and into my sinuses. I am not going to cry on set. I am going to be professional. I have dealt with far worse bullshit than this. Why am I getting so fucking ational about one stupid comment? Yeah, just can you give me like two minutes? Got To make a bathroom run. I shoot how came a look that is just short of pleading. He must send some things off, because, despite nervously glancing at his watch, he gives me the go ahead make a quick yep. Thank you. I gulped down the lump bobbing in my throat and power walk my way to the dressing room, snatching my phone from my bag before locking myself into a stall. I won't regret the extra layer of privacy if joy comes looking for me. I Don't have to pee, but I shove my sweats off anyway, struggling to unhook the garter belt that made me feel so sexy you just ten minutes ago. Now it's just another thing holding me back. The second my butt hits the toilet seat, the tears follow. I dropped my phone in my lap and free both hands, cutting them beneath my eyes to catch the gooy black mass scarret tears before they can run down my face and ruin the makeup teams hard work. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, Fuck Evan, fuck non waterproof Mascara, fuck feeling so goddamn lonely. Fuck the fact that, after all the bullshit of last night, all I want to do right now is text being mcdaniel. It's not like I need some guy's approval to know that my body is hot and not something for douchebag actors to comment on, but right now I just don't want to be alone own. You know what, fuck it all. I'm texting him, anything to feel better right now. I snatch my phone out of my lap and let my thumbs work against my better judgment, firing off a text to the number I should have blocked last night. What are you doing tonight? He responds almost instantly. Nothing as of now. Why come over? Those three little bubbles pop up on the screen, then disappear, then pop up again. I thought you were mad. I am. Moments later my phone is buzzing in my hand. He's calling me the balls on this guy. My thumb instinctually hovers over the ignore button, but I hesitate. I guess I reached out to him for a reason. I need connection, comfort, a chaser after the shot Ivan just took it me. So I suck back the snot swallow the tears, and hit except. Hello,...

...all right, you on set today? I'm embarrassed to admit it, but just hearing his low, gritty voice loosens the tightness in my chest. Why do you call me if you thought I was on? Said because I want to talk about last night. I chew at my lower lip. What about last night? It was great until I fucked it all up. I'm sorry about what I said about your job. That was shitty. I'm not along with his apology, squashing down the prickly feeling threatening to climb up my throat again. Yeah, it was. I was trying to reason my way into a reality where I could keep seeing you, but I shouldn't have said that shit about your work. I know how much of a handful Brady can be and whatever amount they're paying you can't be enough. They're lucky to have you. Yeah, thanks, and so is everyone working on the show you're filming. Based on the stunt you pulled that first night in your room, you're the best actress I've ever known, not that I know a lot of actresses, but yeah, yeah, thanks. The silence that follows is so long I actually have to check and make sure he didn't hang up. He didn't, but I don't know what else to say. I'm grateful for the apology, but I don't know where he envisioned this conversation going from there. He finally grumbles, mercifully ending the awkward silence. Anyway, back to my initial question. Aren't you on set today? Yeah, but it's been a rough start. I'm just regrouping by texting me. I can hear that smug smile in his voice and my eyes roll on command. Don't let it go to your head. Are you coming over tonight or not? He pauses again for a little bit too long. Not exactly the enthusiasm I was looking for. You sure you want to see some asshole who had everything handed to him from the day he was born? My stomach squeezes into a tight, anxious ball. I guess I said some brutal Shit last night too. Jesus, look, I'm sorry. I know, I'm sorry. That was cruel. I get it. I've had it easier than you, but let's talk about it later. Okay, tonight. I'd love to see you again. Something about that last sentence puts a flutter in my chest where the anxiety was just moments ago. Even after everything that went down last night, he'd love to see me. I kick my legs a little, trying to release this sudden wave of excited energy. A plan that backfires when the automatic toilet flushes the meat me from fuck. Oh No, I almost forgot where I am sure dean had the balls to call me, but I had the balls to answer it while in the damn bathroom that tixulator by. I slam my thumb against the red button, ending the call and letting out a breath, I didn't realize I was holding. Okay, shit, not the most elegant sign off and I completely failed to nail down our plans for tonight. But at least the crying has stopped, meaning it's time to put all this personal bullshit behind me and focus on work. No More Dean Syrup or Evan Syrup, just work syrup. Damn, I should call my therapist and get clarification on that analogy. Pressing to my feet, I refasten the clips of my Garter Belt, rolling my shoulders back to summon the confidence I know for God damn sure I still have. Miraculously, minimal damage has been done to my makeup and, after dabbing up a goopy MASSK era clump with the side of my thumb, I look mostly camera ready. At the very least I pass for someone who wasn't just crying on the toilet, and that's good enough to get to work. At the mercy of whatever acting Gods are watching over us, the shoot goes off without a hitch. Under close supervision of the intimacy director. The whole thing feels more like a partner yoga routine than actual sex. Plus we only have to stop to touch up my body makeup three or four times. I Guess Deane was right about one thing. My job is kind of weird, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Fat phobics, scene partner and all. Okay, that's a lie. I trade them out given the opportunity,...

...but you know what I mean. Once we're wrapped for the day, I slip off into the dressing room ready to pack up and catch an Uber back to the hotel. All that choreograph standing sex with my leg propped up on the counter of a gift shop. I'm ready to plop down on those high thread Count Hotel sheets, that's for sure, and if Dean and I can work out our bullshit from last night, there might just be some makeup sex and my not so distant future, hopefully lying down, though. I'm done with the Yogi Shit for today. As I dig into my bag for my street clothes, I pause to catch one last look in the mirror at this laundree. It'd be a real shame to let my wet fart of a scene partner be it's only witness. Sure I have the photos and eventually anyone with a Web Flix log and will be able to witness how slam and I look in this get up. But maybe I can get a little bit more use out of it, some dean related use. Digging my phone out of my bag, I shoot dean a text. Done for the day, come by in thirty perfect. Just his quick reply is enough for me to make up my mind. I'm doing it. I'm taking the damn lingerie. Before I can talk myself out of it, I pull my jeans and slouchy black tea on over the Laenerie Tie, I windbreak or tight around my waist and make a quick exit out to my Uber. I'll return it all tomorrow, passing it off as an accident after a long day of filming. Worst case scenario, they'll hit me with a fine. Whatever, it'll be worth it. The goosebumps racing across my skin are sure of it. Hey guys, it's back a here from consensual cock blocking our regular romance programming with a quick message from our friends at early to bed. Whether your booed up or totally single. I'm just saying you deserve a new vibrator. Any and every sex toy you'd ever want, you can find it at early to bed. Quit giving Jeff Besos your money and support this queer, friendly, woman owned Chicago based sack shop that has guaranteed the world better sex since two thousand and one. That's twenty years of orgasms. With an extensive collection of curated toys to choose from, this feminist sex shop aims to be accessible to adults of all genders, orientations, experience levels and relationship statuses. Yeah, sisters are doing it for themselves. Find them on instagram at early to bed. That's the number two, and online at early to bedcom again, that's the number two. Fast, discrete shipping, check, top notch customer service, double check, founded on the kind of feminist sex positivity that we're all about. Do you even have to ask? All right, all right, let's get back to Cleo and dean. Catch you later, masturbaiders. Traffic is a bitch. When I asked Dean to come to my hotel room in thirty minutes, I was estimating the usual five minute drive from the visitors center back to the hotel, five minutes in the Uber, twenty five minutes of buffer time to get my shit together. I'm Golden, right wrong. The three car pile up on the side of I nindy said Fuck your timeline, and thanks to all the lookie loose ogling the accident and slowing down the course of traffic, I have all of ten minutes remaining by the time my uber drops me at the hotel. So No, I'm not Golden, I'm not even bronze. I'm holding up the rear, with all of ten minutes to showers, shave and get ready for, well, whatever it is dean and I are doing tonight. Talk things out, kiss and makeup, fuck and forget that anything went wrong. The automatic toilet betrayed me before we could solidify any plans. No matter what, I'm doing my damnedest to make sure the laundree heist wasn't for nothing. Once I'm back in good old room three thousand, two hundred and sixty eight, I speed shower off my body makeup, managing to salvage most of my eyeshadow, then hit the laundree with eight generous sprits of body spray before a slipping back into it, whatever it takes for me to not smell like I wore this literally all day on set. Blessed be the Hollywood style mirror in my bathroom, which is doing me all sorts of favors. I'd be tempted to snap a few more booty shots if I weren't short on time, but I'm still maneuvering my jeans over my garter clips when two quick knocks echo through my hotel room. Be There in a SEC. I double tap my phone screen to check the time. Jesus, he's early. Couldn't he have been early last night instead? With a final once over to be sure every scrap of black laces hidden away, I hurried toward the door and fitted jeans and a soft looking blue button down. There's something about deans stick tonight that's doing it for me. Sure he was sexy in a suit and adorable and Jaggers, but this is my favorite version of him by far.

Casual enough that he definitely changed after the conference, but dressy enough to say I'm trying a little extra hard for you tonight. Hey, you and ear resistible half smile pulls at his lips. Hey Yourself. My eyes flicker away from his down to the grease stained take out bag in his fist. What's that apology? Tacos? He lifts the bag in front of him, allowing me a whiff of what has to be heaven in a hard shell and olive branch, I guess, and Atable one at that. You didn't have to do that. No sooner are the words off my lips than my stomach chimes in with a rolling growl. I guess I never actually ate that roast beef sandwich earlier. Our Ip. His chest rumbles with a low, easy laugh, like gravel tumbling down a playground slide. It pushes the hunger from my stomach to somewhere lower. Easy, Cleo, one step at a time. He tilts his chin toward the bag. Sounds like he could use a bite. I was gonna go with pizza, but I figured twice in a week was a bit much. You figured wrong, but I'm down for tacos to coming in. I step back from the doorway to let him inside, getting a hint of his Cologne as he passes. It's Oaky and unfamiliar, definitely not something he's worn the past few times I've seen him. Tacos and Cologne. I'm not mad. He hands over his peace, offering his lots of colored eyes scanning the room before locking with mine. Where are we sitting? Personally, I'm of the opinion that if I'm not the one doing laundry, there's no harm in getting crumbs in the bed. Bed It is. Then we settle in on top of the Duvet, keeping just enough space between US two. Spread out our buffet. Folding my legs underneath me, I rip open the bag, unleashing the heavenly smell inside. It's giving deans Cologne a real run for its money, I'll tell you that much. I flip the bag and empty the contents between us, six tiny tinfoil wrapped packages tumbling out. Each one is labeled with a totally illegible scribble of permanent marker. There's chicken, veggie and CARNEA Satha. Before he can make a selection, I lay one hand on top of his knuckles and idea barely formed in my head. Wait, let's play tacover. Let he squints it me and I half expect him to swap my hand away from his, but he doesn't. He keeps it there, hovering with mine, just a few inches above a mild salsa packet. Excuse me. Without explaining, I gather up all the TACOS and toss them back in the paper bag, giving it a solid shake before holding it open in front of him. Pick one, no peeking. His jaw ticks as his gaze bounces from me to the bag back to me. You're telling me I bought these tacos and I don't even get to choose the kind I want. Yep, with the most overly sacer and smile I can manage, I give the bag a second, more aggressive shake. Come on, just pick one. It's fun. It's not fun, it's unfair. You get what you get and you don't pitch a hit. He huffs, defeated and shoves one hand into the bag, shaking his head as he feels around for his selection. You're such a nanny, you're such a MC Daniel. Now pick when already I'm starving. After taking his sweet time feeling up every square inch of the bag, he finally emerges with two tinfoil packages in one hand, a proud smile breaking across his face. This dumb ass really thinks he cheated the system. Huh, your turn. He takes the bag from me. And holds it out. Seconds later I'm palming not one, not to but three tacos. What can I say? You can't one up me. We make quick work of our first tacos and he doesn't bother to try to talk to me while we eat. Thank God. It's not until I've polished off TACO number two that I start to feel like a real human again. Damn, I was starving. Thanks again for bringing these. I hadn't eaten since like nine am. His face scrunches and disapproval. Do they not feed you on set? They do, but today was weird. I don't want to get into the details, but my Costar is very you know. I gest you're vaguely with TACO number three. Very what how do I put this? Lately, I take a hefty bite, cutting my free hand beneath to catch any stray Carnitas, then by myself some time by chewing as...

...slow fly as I can. He reminds me of your friend Todd Dean. Flinches discussed written all over his face. MMM, say no more. Yeah, not my favorite person to act across from. Well, you must be really good at your job to pull that off. I give him a tiny, tight lipped smile. I am thank you, and not to be an Asshole, but I'm really good at my job too. It's my turn to flinch. I look up to check if I'm missing a joke. Instead I met with a look that's not just serious, it's unnerving. I didn't mean to suggest you weren't. He squares his shoulders at me, his gaze unwavering. You know nepotism doesn't get you on a thirty under thirty list, right. I roll my eyes on instinct. Duh. No, really, do you know that? His eyes narrow with enough skepticism to make me actually question it? Do I know that? I guess. I just assume that the cushy corporate job came with the last name. I pick a piece of shredded cheese off the Duvet and flick it into the paper bag. That may have been how I landed my first shitty sales job with mcdaniel, but I was a different person back then, somebody I didn't really like anymore. So I went and got an MBA and turn myself into somebody worth hiring. The promotions leading the ECO initiative. I worked my ass off to get to where I am now. Sorry, I assumed. Coming from money, made things you know easy easier. Don't get me wrong, I never had to work odd jobs to make ends meet. I came out of college with no death and a salary sweet enough to afford my own place in the East village. Different worlds, but that's still doesn't make what I said okay. There's a long silence between us, but neither of US tries to fill it, at least not until a promising idea pops into my head. I lunch for the Brown paper bag, digging up the last tiny tinfoiled wrap package from the bottom and holding it out to him in my palm. It's an apology TACO. A smile hovers around his lips. Yeah, yeah, I got the idea from this que guy. God, how am I already so Gooy and lame with him? Luckily, he meets my dumb line with a big cheesy smile and a line of his own. Huh, I'd love to meet this guy. Sometimes sounds like a real charmer. Oh he is. I feign seriousness while allowing one hand to wander onto his thigh. He'll charm the pants right off of you. Hmm, I think you may be charming the pants right off me right now. I'm damn well trying. If you're down, oh, I'm down. A wicked glimmer flashes through his eyes, but seconds later he tenses beneath my touch. What now? Should we talk about the nannying thing? My stomach plummets to my kneecaps. Shit, yeah, that's a Kink, and not the fun kind. Maybe we handle one thing at a time. I'm okay with it, if you are, at least for tonight. I nod for tonight. We'll discuss it tomorrow deal. One last question, though. I brace myself for impact. Yeah, who's charming the pants off? Who? First? A laugh bubbles out of me and before I can respond, he closes the distance between us, pulling me into him until we're tumbling back onto the bed in a frantic, desperate kiss, the kind I've craved from him since the moment he walked through my door. Tonight, his hands find a steady grip on my waist and, as promised, hardly a moment it passes before he's popping open the button of my jeans. I shimmy to the end of the bed and lift my hips, helping him ease the denom down over my ass showtime. A spark of curiosity flashes through his eyes as he spots what I'm wearing underneath. Delicately, he drags his index finger along my soft stomach, tracing the lace of the Garter Belt and leaving a trail of goosebumps in its wake. What's this? A surprise? A coy... tugs at my lips as he presses to his feet and works my jeans all the way down to my ankles, unveiling all the Lacy Black Glory beneath, just as I hoped. The look on his face is absolutely priceless. His Chestnut eyes widen, glistening with some delicious combination of hunger and surprise. Oh Jesus, Cleo, he slides his palms up my stockings slowly, like he's intent on admiring every square inch. Finally, his grip lands on the tops of my thighs, his gaze lifting to meet mine. Where did this come from? You haven't even seen the whole thing yet. With the promise of more, he reaches eagerly for my drapy black tea and I lift my arms to help him ease it over my head, revealing the matching lace Bra underneath. I'm totally exposed, just like I was on set today, but this is different, intimate, no choreography or careful adjusting of clumsy hands. I'm not acting anymore and this isn't a costume. It's me, all of me, dressed to the nines for a man who makes me feel electric. And, judging by the drowsy look of desire in Dean's eyes, I'd say he's feeling the spark to whistling through his teeth. He steps back to admire me head to toe. And who could blame him? I know how hot I look, and I'd say Dean a grieves, based on the way his mouth is hanging slack, his head slowly shaking and disbelief. Each second he spends taking me in sends another shot of pure confidence pulsing through my veins. unblievable. Dean cuts my Chin and leans in to press one gentle, easy kiss against my lips, good enough to eat. I lift a brow. Yeah then, why don't you dig in? Sinking to his knees, his expert fingers pry aside the scrap of lace between my thighs. All that stuff about him working hard to get what he wants. He wasn't kidding. My Moan's crescendo as I feel myself inching closer and closer to my release, queuing dean to plunge two fingers inside me, crooking them just right to bring me over the edge. With that, I'm a goner, coming undone for him in record time. When he resurfaces, that same old smug smile is proudly displayed across his face, but this time he's earned it a hundred times over. I fall back on to the bed and he joins me, his fingers tracing a delicate pattern along the dimples of my thighs. As I slow my breaths down to a normal pace, he growls against my neck, giving my garter belt a tug. So I never got an answer to my question. Where did this come from? The Wardrobe Department? Well played, I smile back, but I'm all out of clever comebacks for the night. All my energy is being funneled into preventing my eyelids from closing. Three tacos and an orgasm and suddenly I'm ready for bed. As good of an actor as I am, I'm clearly not doing a very good job concealing it, because moments later, dean rolls onto his side, propping his head up in his hand and asks you sleepy? I grumble, pawing halfheartedly at his zipper with a limp hand. MMM, can I charm the pants off you tomorrow? Is that an invite to spend the night? MMM, I think yes. You think yes, or you know yes? I know yes. I sit up a little, turning to meet his gaze. I want you to spend the night, Dean. He runs his thumb along the curve of my cheek, tracing a smile as it appears. I want that too. After slipping Dean my spare room key so he can run to his room for his nighttime stuff, I disappear into the bathroom to pee and get ready for bed. I'm still congratulating myself on not falling asleep in my makeup when I hear the door click again, signaling his return. By the time I re emerge, he's already cleaning up the aftermath of the apology tacos and a thread worn Yankee shirt...

...and a pair of basketball shorts. I'm suddenly second guessing my thoughts on his prior outfit being my favorite so far. I think my final answer on my favorite version of Dean is the version that's sleeping in my bed tonight. Your turn in the bath room. I run my fingers along the small of his back as I passed behind him, sauntering toward the bed. Looks like we did pretty good in terms of crumbs. Dean grins over his shoulder at me. We did pretty good in terms of lots of things to night. Couldn't have said it better myself. Normally I'd prefer to wake up to a cool, dark room, with any trace of the outside world hidden by Light Blocking curtains, but this morning is different. This morning the room is warm and comfortable. Rays of sunlight are streaming through the blinds and across my face. CLEO's head is on my shoulder, her arm is slung across my chest. The sheets lie in a twisted pile on her side of the bed. I can't tell what I'm more into, the way the curve of her body fits so perfectly into mine or how the morning light brings out the hints of Auburn in her hair. This woman does something to me. She's turning me into a fucking poet. I try to be as smooth and as silent as possible when stretching my free arm over my head. But I must not be as slick as I think. CLEO's eyes stay closed, but her eyebrows furrow into a deep frown and she rolls off my shoulder and on to her other side, facing away from me. If you're going to wake me up at the ass crack of dawn, the least you can do is spoon me, she grumbles, her voice all gravel and interrupted sleep. Not a morning person, Huh? I roll on to my side and prop my head under my elbow. The Silhouette of her hips against the sunlight sends my thoughts right back to last night, and a familiar feeling twist behind my gut. Something tells me it's more than morning would only sociopaths are mourning people, and I'd like you to spoon me, but you don't do it soon, I'll be dead to the world in two minutes. It's this kind of gentle negging that's slowly driving me crazy. Like she sees right through all that Macho Bullshit and cut straight to what she wants. She's got Moxie and she's really, really sexy. I just wanted to get a good look at you first. I slip my arm around her waist and pull her body into me. She moves her ass into my hips. All right, definitely more than morning would. She lets out of satisfied chuckle. What happened to being dead to the world? In two minutes, my fingertips trail the hem of her silk sleep shorts. How about I charm those basketball where? It's off you first. Don't you have work today? She shakes her head. I've got the morning off, which leaves me free to pick up where we left off last night, unless you have to hurry back to the conference. I grunt and do a mental skin of the schedule. Nothing comes to mind, which means there's nothing left for me to get out of this thing, which means I'm free to happily miss the rest of the conference and stay in bed with Cleo all day. Hmmm, I think I've got more pressing manners at hand. Right here. She grinds her ass into me again, with purpose this time, and my cock strains against the thin layers of fabric between us. I let out a low hiss, the ache twinging deeper in my gut. Last night was good, but I didn't realize I'd woken up hungry until now. My Lips trail along the side of her neck, from her shoulder to the space between her ear lobe and her cheek. She guides my hand under her top, where I make small, teasing circles around her nipple until she's moaning my name. She shimmy's out of her shorts and I kick mine down to the corner of the bed. Our mouths meet for the first time since last night, and any grogginess from before is gone. We're all urgency and limbs intertwined and heat of the moment, like this is the opening we've been waiting for. We've finally been honest. It's all out there now and it's okay. We're still here together, Kinda. We come up for air and I look to my small...

...pile on the far side of the room where I know I stashed a rubber the night before. When I turn back to Cleo, she's beat me to it, reaching into her bag by the bedside table without fully untangling herself from my limbs. Show off, I plant my mouth below her collarbone. She giggles and pushes her free hand through my hair before pulling my face up to hers. Within moments, the condoms on and I'm inside her, Cleo's knees on either side of my hips. I thrust into her slowly and she moans, her fingers splayed on my chest. That same feeling from earlier is still there, even more now, like there's nothing left standing between us, like for the first time I'm really seeing her and connecting with who she is. And, if I'm honest, I really like what I see. I take a handful of her ass and pull her hips down into me. She gasps and throws her head back, placing her hands on my thighs for support. Holy Shit, Dean music to my ears. I thrust deeper, swirling my thumb over her clit as low moans escape from her throat. It isn't until she shudders and collapses on top of me that I let myself go and were reduced to a sweaty, breathless heap in the middle of the bed. When we finally catch our breath, cleo rolls on to her side and props her head up on her elbow. Well, good morning to you. I laugh and swing my legs over the side of the bed to take care of the condom. Ah, I'm hungry. Are you hungry? Starving? Room Service? I know a guy who can seriously hook it up. I think he knows the owner. Guess I'm not the only one who hasn't forgotten. We have things to discuss, ha ha. Or we could go out. Downtown Buffalo has a killered diner scene. Her eyebrows shoot up to her hairline. Aren't breakfast dates for like actual committed relationships? No, they're criminally underrated. Look, I've seen how the sausage gets made in this joint, literally, trust me, it'll be nice to get out of this fortress for a bit. She lays her head back on the pillow and presses her lips together in thought. After a few beats, her eyes snap over to mine with suspicion. Fine, but they're better be Hash browns. I shoot her an incredulous look. Of course there will be Hash browns. Meet me in the lobby in ten I grabbed my stuff and head for the door, but not before planting a firm kiss to cleo's damp forehead and earning an adorable snicker. Ten minutes later, I'm standing in the lobby in jeans and a button down just nice enough to play it off if I run into anyone from work. Luckily, Cleo arrives shortly after I do, in jeans and a tied up t shirt, hair piled on top of her head in a Bun. I call us an Uber and the two of US head into town. We pull up in front of a small diner by the water with a bright blue door. A few older couples wait in line at the entrance and make small talk with each other, tourists and regulars alike. We join the line after I asked the hostess how long the wait is, the two of US agreeing that ten minutes is barely await at all. The Sun beats down on us now and I watch as Cleo pulls off her jacket and ties it in a knot around her waist. I wouldn't think anything of it if she wasn't fussing with it. Why do you do that? Do what? She looks up at me, eyebrows knitting together in confusion. I'm nod down to the pink knock captured between her fingers. Tie your jacket around your waist. She tightens it with a shrug. Ah, it's warm out, Anne. I don't need it. I guess I was wondering if it was like, I don't know, a fashion choice. Is this where you tell me your opinion of my fashion choices? No, no, it only don't take this the wrong way, but it reminds me of a mom at the zoo. What the fuck? Cleo squints at me like she's starting to wonder if I have a brain, a look I'm sure Brady gets all the time. I'd like to think the seven year old warrants it more than I do. You know when mom's take their kids to the zoo and they tire sweatshirt around their waist so they don't have to carry it? It makes me think of that. I don't think that's specific to zoo mom's, but all right. She leans to the side, watching as one of the couples in front of us are invited inside. There's a silence that has me wondering if I hit a nerve. Wouldn't be the first time I said something insensitive to Cleo. I'm constructing my apology in... head when she huffs aside and continues. I actually think I picked it up from my mom. She used to do it all the time with her cardigans. Draws the eye to the natural waist. I started that whole flannel around the waist trend from two thousand and sixteen. I swear I have the fourth grade class picture to prove it. You did that in fourth grade. Yeah, are you going to make me to fund my nine year old style choices to fourth graders don't have natural wastes. Cleo, try telling debby that. She was all over that bullshit low carb diets and magazine articles about how to look slimmer by using belts and color blocking or whatever shitty trend. She dragged me to my first weight watchers meeting when I was like twelve. Tried to make it a fun mother daughter thing. I would have much perverted zoo mom to a weight watchers mom. There's a labored beat where I struggle to find the right words. CLEO's the type to brush off childhood trauma as a joke, but that doesn't mean I should treat it with the same levity. Also doesn't mean I should straight up Dr Phil this shit and ruin anotherwise low stress mourning. I try to craft my words as carefully as I can without sounding too much like I'm doing my best. Thanks for sharing that I like learning more stuff about you, even the ugly stuff. A stern scowl forms on CLEO's lips as she folds her arms over her chest. I'm sorry, are you calling me ugly? No, that's not a before I can explain my word choice away, Cleo's bright, infectious cackle cuts me off. She reaches out to give my hand a squeeze. I'm just bullshitting you. Thanks for listening. As expected, the weights not long and after a little coaxing, the hostess seats a set a table by the front windows. Cleo scans the horizon as the waitress hands us our menus. It's kind of beautiful here, it really is, isn't it? But my eyes are trained on CLEO's face. When she catches me staring, she rolls her eyes, but I can make out the beginnings of a grin at the corner of her mouth. The waitress looks between us and smiles. She's a bit older, with kind eyes and some gray at her temples. A large blue name tag on her left shoulder reads Fran she pulls a Pencil and a pad of paper from the apron around her waist. Can I get you two lovebirds something to drink. flove birds is maybe too strong. Coffee would be great. Thank you. Friend nods and jots something down on her notepad. Cleo shoots me a look that says, interrupt me again and I'll shove breakfast sausage up your nose. I smirk and she sighs and smiles politely up at Fran. Coffee would be swell. Frand smiles back, shots down another note and tucks her pencil behind her ear. I'll be back in a bit to take your order. The sounds of the diner filled the silence between us. As we pause to look over the menu. My stomach growls at the side of the food two tables over. I'm hungry, but my stomach's not the only thing nagging at me. What did you mean earlier when you said I'm such a mcdaniel? CLEO doesn't look up from her menu. When did I say that? When you forced me into playing Taco Roulette, shut up. You thought it was fun, not the point. What did you mean by that? She pauses and sets the menu down flat. When she looks at me, her expression is blank, unreadable. I met your like Brady. Her left shoulder shrugs slightly. I feel my features soften, a curious brow shooting up. How so? She Rolls Her lips and molling it over, with her eyes fixed on the ceiling. I don't know. You both always have to get your way. Is that a bad thing? I mean, I don't love it when your brother throws peas on the floor. Fran returns with two steaming mugs of coffee and sets them on the table between us. Know what you want? I nod to Cleo, who smiles and points to the classic breakfast. There's an excited lilt to her voice. Bacon, eggs over easy and right host please. And for you, handsome, I'll do a Denver Omelet, but make that with egg whites only. Add Spinach, Oh and avocado on top. Fran nods, her pencil moving furiously over the NOTEPAD. And for your side, I gave Cleo a pointed look. Hash Browns, but can I get those well done? Sure. Fran tucks the pencil behind her ear and takes our menus. Once she's out of earshot, Cleo US her dimpled elbows...

...on the table, her Chin in her hands. Big Rich Kid energy right there. I like what I like, and you're used to having what you like. I was raised on more of a you get what you get kind of mentality. I don't see why there have to be morals attached to one or the other. There aren't, until they affect the way you treat people. Ouch and there you have it, folks, we've reached what we're really talking about here. Like how I said being a nanny wasn't a real job. She nodded slowly, her lips pulled into a top line like that. I pause and think about all the time she must have spent with my brother, my sweet, infuriating, impatient, stubborn little asshole of a brother. If making sure he doesn't shit himself or walk into traffic while my mom's off managing the family business isn't a real job, I don't know what it is. I was wrong. I'm sorry. Her eyes meet mine and a pit opens in my stomach. Vulnerability my Achilles Heel. If she doesn't say something soon, I might jump through that window. After what feels like an eternity, she speaks. I'm sorry to for what I said before, how you had everything handed to you. I just felt threatened and I was lashing out. I honestly don't really know anything about you. Friend returns with our food and we thank her as she refills our coffee mugs. Let's call it even and start over. I lift my Mug to Cleo. Hi, I'm Dean Mc Daniel. I, like you, want some Ash Bounds. We eat up with feels like lightning speed, hungry from all the morning sex and feelings. After a few beats of comfortable silence, I brought my elbows on the table and Cock my head to the side. So is Brady still really into? If you're about to say his tablet, then yes answers yes. She gives me a wry smile and shakes her head. Ah, so helen caved on the tablet after all. So much for staying tech free until he's twelve. A familiar mixture of tension and irritation pricks at the back of my neck. Judging by the look on Cleo's face, she's noticed the change in my demeanor. I lay my hands flat on the table. My family is complicated at best. You don't have to know it's it's okay. I should explain. I want to explain. We both pause and she smiles softly. I take a deep breath before continuing things with hell and will always be complicated, but Brady's the best. I was like twenty two when he was born. I don't see him much, but sometimes he feels more like my long lost kid that my little brother. Are you the one who brings him Sour Candy twice a year? We're working our way up to warheads. I'm thinking he'll be ready in a couple years or so. We laugh and she places her hand over mine. I'm glad he has you. Terry and Helen do their best, but he's lucky to have you as a brother. Are you kidding? You're with him every day. If it wasn't for you, Helen would turn out another entitled, misogynistic piece of Shit that would take years of therapy and selfwork to mold into a halfway decent human being. She gives me a slanted smile. So that's your secret. Huh, here's a therapy and selfwork. I smile back and mind blowing sex with actresses who call me all my shit. Fran returns, leaving the check on the table. No Rush. I immediately tuck it under my plate. CLEO reaches for her wallet. Oh come on, at least let me split it with you. I Cock my head to the side. I just told you that I can afford my own place, so I pay rent to I own my place. All right, I'll Kay watch the next one. We laugh and I pull out my card. Call me old fashioned, but I always pay on the first date. Not that I ever expect anything because of that. It just feels weird not to. This wasn't a date, buccaroony. What was it then? This was an ill advised hook up with my boss's son. Do you rehash your feelings with all your hookups? She crosses her arms on the table and looks out the window, another grin pulling at the corner of her mouth. Still...

...not a date. Fine, it's the end of the week. What do we do now? What do you mean? I mean my conference is ending and so is your shoot. Where do we go from here? What are you asking me? She stares at me blankly and I stare back incredulous. Are you really going to make me say it? I don't even know what we're talking about. Right now, now, don't do that. Come on, Cleo, I actually really like you and when all this is said and done, I want to see you again in the city. But your mom, Brady it's too weird and complicated. It won't work. You said, it's a survival job, the thing that you do so that you can do what you love. But eventually you're not going to need it anymore. That or someday Brady won't need a nanny. Either way. Ay, there's an endpoint to this situation. Oh so you're going to wait five years until Brady's in middle school and doesn't need me anymore? I reached for her hand across the table and twining our fingers. I don't think it's going to take five years for your acting career to take off. I mean, you're in a wet flix show. It seems like it's already taking off. I can feel it, and when you can feel it too, give me a call. Hook Up. State of mind is written by Becca Morgan and Amelia J rose, produced by consensual creating steamy feminist first romance for riot grls. Special thanks to baby money in the down payments for the use of our theme song, Oh boy, streamable on spotify. Head sound engineer, John McNeil, studio recording by John McNeil and Sam Silver. Mood lighting engineer, mixing by spiral. Like creative and mastering by eating a Vaura. This episode was performed by Nadia Pellettier, Daniel Jordan, Evan Wiseman, Herschel Bach and me, Becka Morgan. Tune in next week to hear Brady say, you promise you let me come up, did a red carpet that I eat on my piece, and then you've gotta take me with you. Gotta, you, gotta, please,.

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