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He doesn’t say no.

He could. When she slams him against the wall, the blow drives breath from his lungs, but enough remains to gasp one syllable. Her mouth grazes his cheek; she’s close enough to hear.

She would stop.

He doesn’t say anything.

Instead he tries to fight her off. Fails.

Their struggle is stylized, like in movies. Minutes long instead of the seconds that real-life altercations last. The outcome has been decided from the first. Ever since her lips brushed his ear and she whispered, “Let’s fight.”

Inevitability provides an element of ritual. Without real hope or desire of beating her back, instead of strategy he has only sensation.

He’s hard, but so much else is going on around his limbs, neck, and torso that he barely gets time to notice.

She’s a little taller than him but he’s broader, thicker. He’s not overpowered so much as overwhelmed. She knows where he’s sensitive on his throat and chest and thighs. She gets the advantage and keeps pressing it.

He loves how sure she is, how quick, refusing to slow down or soften.  Against that, he doesn’t stand a chance.

Pressed close, he feels the muscles in her bare stomach seize with tension. He shoves, just escaping being pinned. She grunts with effort. Her heels scrape the floor. A bra strap slides off her shoulder, and he resists the impulse to pull it back up…or down. Not time for that yet.

Her breasts are full enough that she needs the bra to keep them from swinging. They’re the only soft parts of her besides her open, panting lips. He wishes he could touch one or the other, feeling her softness.

Why should he be ashamed of it? Everyone has weaknesses. He’s lucky enough to go to bed with his.

She shoves harder, trying to get him against the wall. No—through the door. When he steps that way, obediently, it puts her off-balance. Proud of a momentary victory, he tries to extend it—even getting a leg between hers to upset her balance. But she’s steadier than she looks in those high-heeled boots.

Her hair stands up in spikes, too short to get a grip on. So is his, but she tries. Her knuckles slide against his scalp. If he struggles too hard she’ll rip out the roots. Not because she means to. She just wouldn’t think to stop.

Not unless he asked, and he isn’t going to.

She pushes him down, and he crashes into the reason she chose this room: a thick plush carpet, almost a cushion.

His hands rise as if to defend himself, pure instinct. Her toes bat them away, making his fingertips smart. The motion’s confident speed leaves him lightheaded. He’s so hard it aches, but then he has been since their bodies first collided.

Lowering one boot carefully, she pins his wrist between the high heel and curved sole. A smile tugs at her mouth. Then, as the pinching verges on pain, she releases him.

She steps on his chest; her hands grasp his shoulders as she crouches.

For an instant he believes she’s going to kiss him. Her soft lips might suck hard, might even bite. But it will be a kiss. His head falls back to offer his mouth. Just as it feels like the bones of his chest will crack from the pressure, inside or out, she pulls away.

She kicks, rolling him on the floor. Kaleidoscope glimpses of carpet, of ceiling, of her. At her slap his ears ring, not only from the blow but because he’s been holding his breath. He remembers to inhale, getting a shallow gulp before her palm connects again.

She attacks him with energy that could seem like fury. He suspects some part of her is always on a low boil; she has a righteous streak and can never stand injustice. That’s part of why he trusts her to do this. Ultimately, she’ll keep him safe.

But she will hurt him, too.

She’s taking revenge. Rough with love, because love is rough with her. She recited the words in his ear one sweat-drenched night, a confession and a serenade. Like it did Romeo, love seizes her, derails her. Maybe she’s taken too much Shakespeare to heart and is convinced it will destroy her.

So she’ll make the most of it while she can.

Face-down, feeling carpet rub against his erection through his pants, he thinks love isn’t gentle to him, either. He enjoys roughness, the excitement of it. The way there’s no need to think, just react. It’s as mindlessly blissful as sex.

A kick turns him over. He lets his arms fall. Open to her, to whatever she decides to do. His cheeks sting, but the heat is fading.

One of her hands pins his wrists above his head. The other clamps under his chin. Fingers stroke against the grain of his five o’clock shadow. They tighten. Their grip eases and he takes a breath, only for them to tighten again.

It continues in a tender and unpredictable rhythm. Not rough but almost dangerous. Like putting her boot on his chest. She likes to go to the edge; there’s power in easing back from it. She’s never going to actually choke him, but his instincts don’t know that. It’s thrilling.

She releases him. Before he can be disappointed, she grasps his arms, pulls them to the level of his shoulders, and kneels on them. Pressure spikes through his upper arms. His extremities don’t go numb, but that might not last. She seems ready to be quick, anyway.

She unzips her jeans and slides her hand in. No underwear; he hears the rasp of her fingertips sliding through hair. Then a deeper, wetter sound.

He smells her, sweat and musk, a hint of ocean. She wiggles, moving her hips over his mouth. He extends his tongue as far as he can. Straining, he just reaches inside, skimming her flesh. He’s trying. She knows that, and offers a sheepish smile, keeping him pinned with hands and knees in succession while shucking her jeans completely. He won’t try to escape now, but it’s the principle of the thing.

Naked except for her bra, she gets down and he licks her. Stubble scratches her thighs until she growls in both irritation and satisfaction. He’s learned to speak her language, rough and vicious and so, so sexy. Better than when she quotes Shakespeare. This is all hers, hips rocking, sex grinding against his face, mouth panting inarticulate snarls. Poetry reinvented.

Her liquid washes his chin. Before she comes, she takes her knees from his shoulders. Blood burns, returning to pinched-off veins.

She opens his shirt. It’s one of her favorites, so she won’t tear it off. Pushing the fabric aside, she unveils his chest, then sits on it and moves along his body, tracking wetness against his skin. Scenting him with her musk, claiming him.

His arousal tents his trousers. Hips circling, she rubs it with her clit and labia. He groans, as frustrated a sound as her growling. He even reaches for her, but she catches his hands and carries them to her body. Using his palm to caress her nipples erect, to stroke her skin. Using him.

Her thighs tighten, adding pressure but not enough for him to come. His eyes sting with unmet need. He doesn’t say no, or yes, or please. Words would accomplish nothing.

He only feels. Reacts. Endures.

With another long growl, she hits her climax.

Afterward, she rolls off and lies beside him. Panting, she tugs at his fly. She’s too tired to undress him, but the gesture gives him permission to do it himself. Then they’re lying on the carpet with its embroidery pressing into their bare backs, side by side. Equals again. Almost.

She turns, takes his hand and guides it between her legs. He feels her swollen clit against his thumb. His fingertips dip inside her and are drawn by ripples of tight muscle.

Nudging with her hips, finally she takes his aching erection in. One leg curls over his. As they sink together, she lets out short breaths, then a longer sigh.

He strokes into her, still circling her clit with one hand. The other arm pillows her head. She wraps him with her arm and one leg, not setting the pace but controlling it, gently pushing when he goes too hard and pulling when he isn’t deep or fast enough.

“There, there…”

He gets her to a second orgasm and then, as she seizes him and shudders, he finds his own. Released from the tension in every inch of his body, he presses his face at the nape of her neck and breathes out, and sobs.

She keeps holding him in her backwards embrace.

“There,” she says, one more time. It’s almost soothing, almost tender.