I pace back and forth, my legs propelling me like turbines as they practically swerve across the carpet.

I can’t stay still, restless with barely-contained excitement for tomorrow. A billion thoughts race through my mind, all surrounding the newest major development in my life, the most pressing of which I’m currently focused on:

What the hell I’m going to wear.

I stand in front of my tall mirror, the single item in my bedroom that looks like I spent a hundred times more on it than I actually did. I examine my latest outfit with a critical eye, frowning at the way the faded blue cardigan currently tenting my body washes me out. I shrug it off me with an impatient groan, tossing it with the other rejected items on my bed.

I dash back to my wardrobe for the millionth time, ignoring the fact that it looks more like a slit in the wall than an actual closet. I scour my admittedly limited collection, rummaging through all the formal wear I own, picking out one item after the next, but nothing seems satisfactory.

I’m a frugal person, both by choice and necessity so I don’t spend a lot on clothes—the stack of Benjamins I have to shell out for rent each month, notwithstanding—but I hope that what I have can tide me over for my first week and is at least “prim and proper” enough to not look out of place in a firm as elite as Earth Capital.

It’s going to be my first official day on the job and I want to give off a good impression.

No.

A great one.

After a few more minutes of playing hide and seek with timeworn fabrics, I realize I have to go shopping for brand new office attire—much sooner than later. Unlike a lot of Californian companies, Earth Cap is traditionally corporate through and through, and their clothing policy reflects that. While I have a thing for casual wear and office environments that don’t impose strict dress codes, successfully completing this internship is my number one priority right now—and that means fitting in.

And, speaking of fitting in, a part of me really feels like this is my chance to do just that; to finally have a place where I belong. Around like-minded comrades who share the same fundamental thoughts and sentiments.

To have…a home.

A thing that has evaded me my entire life.

For a while, I genuinely thought I’d found that with Peace by Peace. But, over the years, I came to realize that, as much as I like it there, things just never…clicked. Not really. Not in the way they should.

I know for a fact that if I hadn’t felt the way I did about Adam, I would’ve left a long time ago. And even that was unrequited.

Earth Capital might actually change all that.

I settle on a cream, long-sleeved blouse and a charcoal-grey pencil skirt, pairing off the outfit with some simple black pumps.

Conservative is always best, I decide, much to my chagrin only because I know it’s what my parents constantly preach. Though, I’m sure they’d be riotously insistent on my skirt reaching my ankles and my heels only going as high as a horizontal sheet of paper.

But, then again, if it were up to them, I wouldn’t even be majoring in environmental science, let alone interning at Earth Cap. And I sure as fuck wouldn’t be living with Michaela. Or be using words like ‘fuck’.

I shove unwelcome thoughts of my human makers from my mind before they have a chance to ruin my mood.

I smile to myself, growing giddy with excitement all over again. With my outfit picked and all my details for tomorrow thoroughly—almost obsessively—organized, I take a quick, hot shower, hoping it’ll help mellow me out before I turn in for the night. But, somehow, all it does is heighten my impatience.

I roam the apartment aimlessly, hoping to shed some of the thrill and anticipation, but it feels like I’m walking in circles—in more ways than one.

So, as usual, I resort to the one thing I know will help sedate my runaway brain.

I grab my e-reader and settle into bed, snuggling into my pillow as I hold it up to my face.

It switches on, its display lighting up as the page I bookmarked last night appears before me.

A sex scene.

One I’ve read five times already.

One I’m about to read again.

My eyes swallow up the words in front of them, eagerly consuming one after the other even as I urge myself to slow down.

No need to rush, a low, still voice in my head whispers. Take your time. Savor it.

Before I know it, I’m rolling on my back, palming the tablet with a single hand as the other moves to my pajama bottoms.

My gaze never leaves the screen, earnestly locked on to the text as it plays out in my head. Slowly, my fingers slide beneath my waist band, waiting only a beat before dipping below the film of my panties…and are met with moistening flesh.

My hand goes static as I adjust to the contrast of cool fingertips against a heated core. But it’s not long before it starts to move of its own volition, lightly stroking my mound. Up. Down. Back and forth. Slowly. Almost…teasing. As if I’m afraid to touch myself—which wasn’t far from the truth not too long ago.

I keep reading, my skin faintly abuzz, turning flush as more seconds tick by. Impulsively, my fingers dip further, their contact growing insistent, more intentional; rubbing on my folds and spreading the wet heat gathered between them over my clit. I grip the tablet harder, clutching it almost violently as they move faster, pushing against my opening. The tip of the index pokes through ever so slightly before dragging itself back up to the small, sensitive bud at my center.

A strained gasp tumbles from my throat when I push down on it; a sharp, ticklish sensation piercing me, fanning into diffused warmth, amplified each time I repeat the action. I lick at my lips, the spontaneous, involuntary gesture spurring me on, obligating me to move faster. Harder. Until I’m practically molding my flesh.

My hips jerk involuntarily, my breath scattering, morphing into hushed gasps. I pinch my bottom lip between my teeth, subduing the sound of my voice— something I’m still not comfortable with.

Steadily, a familiar tension fills my body; a delicious, culminating pressure. Rising. And rising. An—

Impulsively, my fingers part from my flesh, like repelling magnets. Abrupt. Instantaneous.

I blink against a sudden, familiar heaviness.

Fuck. Not again.

Once more, I find myself in an awkward, embarrassing position.

Literally.

I…can’t finish.

I’ve never been able to.

Not once.

I hate this feeling; this debilitating guilt that devotedly rears its ugly head each and every time I do this.

I know I shouldn’t be. That masturbating is healthy. Good for you. An empowering act for every sexually-conscious person. The ultimate, physical demonstration of self-love.

But a lifetime of indoctrination among extreme, overzealous Baptists has taught me the complete opposite and consequently ensured nothing but negative, shameful sentiments when I so much as attempt to imagine what sex is like. Even when I’m alone. Even with nary a soul to watch my “transgression”.

But God is watching.

He’s always watching.

All the time.

Those words have been hammered into my brain over and over again.

I’m the furthest thing from a shrink, but even a five-year-old can tell this is a one-hundred-percent psychological issue:

I’m internally at war with myself over what I want and what I’ve been taught I want.

Pretty much the story of most people’s lives. Mine just happens to be one of the more offbeat cases. It certainly feels that way.

And I hate that I still can’t overcome it. That I can’t form a solution even though I know what the problem is.

It took me until my junior year to work up the courage to even try it. And, once I’d finally managed to touch myself, I couldn’t finish what I’d started. Not even when I employed liquid courage for assistance. 

I toss my e-reader to the side with a frustrated huff, a long, somewhat defeatist sigh succeeding it.

For all my ponderings and visualizations of sex, I have to wonder how in the world I plan on actually having any if I can’t even manage a single, elementary orgasm on my own.

***

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THIS MAKES ME FEEL...
  • Fascinated
  • Happy
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Bored
  • Afraid

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