Across the Hall Ch. 01


Just Across the Hall

Chapter One

The second time I looked at him, he caught me staring. His thick eyebrows raised and he smiled. I dropped me gaze, focusing on my hand of cards like they were a priceless artifact.

“Noel, come on. Your turn.”

I was still thinking about his lips, and played a card without thinking. Next to me, Kelly slammed a wild draw-four down.

“Uno!” she crowed. “Will the dominance never end.” Everyone groaned.

I tried to focus on the group, and not on the guy across the room. I was technically the leader of our group- Purdue University’s annual spring break outreach trip to Costa Rica. I was responsible for the safety and logistics of the group of undergrads- my friend Kelly, the two freshmen (Allison and Aubrey, or Abby? — something like that), as well as Ms. Bexel, our chaperone. While pretending to read a novel, her eyes canvased the room, lingering on each other occupant of the inn’s common rom with deep suspicion. I hadn’t asked, but I was pretty sure she’d never left Indiana before.

Thankfully I had. This was my third time on the Costa Rica trip, though my first time as leader. My heart was hammering, and I tried to tell myself that I wasn’t nervous- just anticipating getting to our site. I was honestly really looking forward to seeing the families I’d met last year.

Then my stomach flipped over. No. I was nervous as well.

It didn’t help when he decided to sit down on the couch across from us. When he leaned back, his thick black hair almost brushed Mrs. Bexel’s perm. I had a sudden thought- how would that hair feel if I touched it? He had started whittling with a pocket knife, and my gaze was captured by his hands- heavily calloused, large, and marked by scars. They handled the pocketknife with fluid confidence, angling and pulling at the wood.

“Dinner! Line up for tacos.”

The crush of sliding chairs shook me. I ushered my crew into the line for diner, then hung back. My stomach was asyabahis yeni giriş too airborne for dinner- but I wasn’t so sure it was just job anxiety.

I felt someone by my shoulder. “So. You are not eating?”

He was looking at the taco spread as he munched an apple he had somehow procured. His voice was deep and lightly accented–eastern European perhaps? “I think you have the right of it. Tacos in Costa Rica…Ah. It seems our innkeeper and chef is Turkish. Turkish tacos in Costa Rica. It could be like a silly joke.”

I snorted, then immediately tried to drown out the existence of the snort with a cough. “Yes- that might explain the hummus next to the tortillas.”

He laughed, and I wanted to hear it again. I was about to try to riff off my own great taco skills when a low rumble shook the wooden walls of the inn.

He eyed the window, and the shaking trees beyond. “Storm. Should be here soon. It does figure. I get a room to myself, to escape the others snoring. I suspect, thunder would block it out anyway.”

Iin my head, I think “Oh yeah? What sort of sounds do you think you could get away with?” I don’t say it, of course, just freeze up and stare at him. His hazel flecked eyes pull on mine. Wise shoulders that strain against his cotton shirt as he adjusts. His eyes have a question in them, one matched by the dangerous curve of his lips.

I want to respond. Blood pumps in my years and my gut feels a response to his question- but I have no idea how to answer him.

So, he stands there for a beat, nods, then walks away.

When I’m getting the girls set up for the night, I’m still thinking about it, still frustrated by something I can’t define.

I must have been wearing my feelings on my broad, stupidly expressive face, because Kelly cornered me after I brought the fresh blankets.

“Hey, you ok?” She brushed her teeth vigorously, but her face was concerned. “Did something happen with that guy who talked to you? Did you hit asyabahis giriş it off, or do I need to get my soccer cleats on?”

Mrs. Bexel was on me before I could hush Kelly. “Noel, you need to show more responsibility.” Her eyes darted bout behind her thick-rimmed glasses. “This is a… foreign country. Men here can be dangerous.”

Jeez, thanks. I really hadn’t thought of that in my 22 years of life. “It’s fine you guys- just chit chat about the food. Now come on, we need to get to sleep early tonight.”

Sleep proved no easy task. The storm had arrived, just as he’d promised. Waves of precipitation walloped our small window, and wind cause the loose tin roof to shake and pound. Our small room pressed our bunkbeds close together, so I could hear every mutter and squeak as people tried to get comfortable.

But worst of all- the tacos. Kelly’s stomach rumbled above even the thunder, sending her shuffling out the door. The wave of distant curses and opening doors indicated she wasn’t the only one heading to the restroom.

I buried my head in my pillow, trying not to audibly groan. Kelly’s words rang in in my head. Had we “hit it off?” I pretty rarely hit it off with guys, unless you counted my hours in the library staring at the cute librarian stock shelves, or when me and my ex had a dull coffee date then proceeded to have a two-year long relationship of dining hall food and missionary sex.

If there had been ~interest~ how would I know? I’d certainly felt, when he’d laughed with me about tacos, when our gazes had lingered… but maybe I was misreading the situation. I rolled over to face the cracked plaster ceiling, eyes wide. But what if I wasn’t misreading it. If I’d kept talking to him, would we have flirted? Maybe even…

Kelly lurched back in, groaning. I checked in with her until she was settled like the rest, and all I could hear was the thump of loosed roof buckling under the wind.

If we’d kept talking… what if I’d followed him to asyabahis güvenilirmi his room? A large room by the kitchen; I’d seen him enter it after dinner. He’d have acted surprised, but we’d both know what was happening. I’d lock the door… he’d slide off his shirt. Mmm. Kissing his broad chest, unbuckling his belt. Sliding off those jeans, my palms tugging his ass.

Only when the moans rose in my throat did I realize I was touching myself. I quieted but didn’t stop, my finger rubbing circles into the fabric of my yoga pants. I let a soft sigh escape. It was so loud in here, after all.

He’d moan loader when I closed my mouth around him, tightening and sliding over his cock with grace and experience. This was my fantasy, so of course I was truly graceful. Just as, of course, my pants vanished when I wanted him to fuck me.

My fingers slipped into my pants. He’d be very experienced, tasting and teasing me with his tongue in ways I’d never experienced. And then, when I was ready, I’d take charge, slamming his body onto the bed, climbing on top, and riding his dick. Pounding, cursing-

“Hey Noel, are you awake?”

I cursed, hand flying up. That was Allison, right? What had she heard?

“Noel, do you think we’re helping people here?” Allison rustled from below. “Like, is this actually going to change their lives, or are we just here to visit a cool country and make ourselves feel good?”

I brought my palms up to my blushing cheeks. Too close.

After talking to Allison about building sister communities and the real risk of voluntourism, I was too high-strung to finish what I’d started. Masturbating was always impossible on this trip. Just a whole week of shared rooms and no privacy. Also, I felt dirty. I was the leader of the trip. Shouldn’t I be focused on the crew, not on hunky strangers I could be lip-to-lip with?

But self-recrimination aside, I couldn’t sleep. The week of no orgasms stretched before me. The hard truth was, I was horny. So damn horny. And I was interested in him. The thought that some accidental meeting, some unspoken connection might lead to something so intimate, so breathless. I shivered, goosebumps rippling under my yoga pants and t shirt.

Question was–what was I willing to do about it?

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