It was the dress. It really was the dress. The moment she put it on she wanted someone to take it off. She wanted to feel the deep green silk ripple down her waist, see it pool at her feet as a man stroked his fingers down the smooth expanse of her bare back. Earlier Avery had stood in front of the mirror and watched the bodice drip in deep folds down her chest, suggesting just a hint of cleavage but leaving the rest to the imagination. A dress classy enough for the holiday office party, but only just. It made her think of the end of a night that hadn’t even started yet.
It was the dress’s fault she was standing here. On Christopher’s doorstep. Where she really wasn’t supposed to be.
“Uh oh,” he said when he opened the door and found his ex-girlfriend pouting in the hallway. Avery knew she looked the right level of disheveled—she had touched up her red lipstick on the subway but left her eye-makeup smeared. She could see herself through his wide eyes, messy and irresistible. At least that was what she was aiming for. “Here comes trouble.”
“Merry Christmas,” she purred.
The corners of his mouth tugged up like he knew better than to smile. It was a pained but delicious expression, full of exasperation and want. This wouldn’t be hard, just hard enough to make it satisfying. “Are you supposed to be my present?”
A wicked smirk took over her lips, and he winced before she could answer, having given her an opening.
“Avery, I thought we weren’t going to do this anymore.”
And they had said that, at some point. There had been reasons at the time. They didn’t seem important right now. The only thought in her brain was about how thick his arms looked in that short-sleeved shirt (a close second: how much she wanted him to shove her against the wall, make her feel scalding fabric and the heat of his breath on her skin). It was less about him than his body, less about his words than their reluctance.
“Do what?” she asked. He seemed to lose his voice at the rhetorical, and she stepped forward, pressing her hand against chest. “Be close?” She stood up on her toes to nuzzle her cheek against his jaw, feeling his body tighten with effort to remain still. “Like this?”
Christopher was bursting with warmth and she wanted to take it, pour it across her like the silk. She flicked her tongue against his pulse point, and he jerked but he didn’t move away. “Maybe just this once,” she promised, voice full of whiskey and need, “We can make an exception.”
She wanted to taste the no in his mouth as it turned into a yes.
“Okay,” he breathed. “Just this once.”