“Wake up, little sister!” said an annoying, condescending voice that could’ve roused a corpse. “It’s after seven and you’re officially late.”
“Ugh! Damn it, Ray. It’s Saturday,” groaned Sarah Jones as she held a pillow over her head to block out the morning sun.
“I don’t care. I’ve got work. You’ve got errands. So long as you’re living in your generous, loving sister’s condo, you’re going to stick to a schedule.”
Sarah closed her eyes and buried her face in the arm of the couch, which also happened to be her de-facto bed. She tried willing her hard-ass older sister out of existence, but it was no use. She offered no mercy, pulling the blanket off her and ripping the pillow out of her grip. It was mornings like this where she hated that she’d inherited her mother’s looks while her Rachel got Dad’s strength.
Hit with a faceful of sun and an older sister’s penetrating gaze, Sarah groaned as she pulled herself up from the couch. Wearing a dirty T-shirt, old sweat pants, and the same underwear she’d worn to work for the past three days, she felt about as rested as a hung-over hobo. In some respects, it was a fitting metaphor for her life at this point.
“You must really hate me, Ray,” Sarah said as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. “I know I suck as a sister, having to crash at your place after fucking my life up in ways that are entirely my fault.”
“Enough with the guilt trip, Sarah. You know I don’t hate you,” Rachel replied, rolling her eyes at her, “but even you have to admit you need a kick in the ass these days. It’s bad enough you dropped out of college to hook up with that high school crush of yours. But between staying with the guy after he cheated on you and letting him burn through your college fund on that failed video game company of his, you’ve got no high ground to stand on.”
“For your information, it was a software company,” Sarah muttered, as though that much it hurt any less.
“Doesn’t matter what it was. The point is now you’re waiting tables, your credit is shit, and you wasted mom and dad’s charity when you tried to get a payday loan on their car.”
“Which I apologized for a million times, by the way,” said Sarah.
“Too late for that. Mom and Dad gave you leeway and it burned them. I’ve worked hard and exercised infinitely better judgment than you so I’ll give you none. You want my help getting your life back together, this is the price you pay.”
Sarah felt inclined to cuss her sister out until next Christmas, but that only would’ve made her more smug and she couldn’t have that. She’d done enough to screw herself over these past few years.
Avoiding eye-contact with Rachel, Sarah pulled herself up from the couch and did her best to wake up. She tried fixing her messy hair and wrinkled clothes, but at this point in her life, she could only do so much to feel presentable. Having once been the hottest girl in school who had every opportunity given to her, all her bad decisions just made her feel ugly, by default.
As Sarah did what she could to look somewhat less pathetic, Rachel retrieved her purse and keys from the kitchen table. She was already dressed in her overpriced pantsuit, ready to pull some overtime at the law firm she’d been working at for the past five years. Between her makeup and more professional demeanor, it was painfully obvious which one of them had made the better life choices.
“I’ve left a list of errands on the fridge next to the wine where I know you’ll see it,” Rachel said as she checked herself in the mirror near the door. “I need you to go to the DMV to pick up the license plate for my new Mazda, swing by the farmer’s market to pick up supplies for the firm’s annual meeting, coordinate with the building manager open house in the unit across the hall, and take care of that big stack of laundry that’s still sitting in my bedroom.”
“That all sounds like very important work,” Sarah said dryly. “Want me to learn Mandarin and do your taxes while I’m at it?”
“Whatever you can do that’ll keep you on schedule and not making dumb decisions is fine by me,” her older sister replied. “Just do what I ask and I’ll have no reason to kick you out. It’s that simple.”
“Simple…right,” Sarah scoffed.
She’d heard that before. Those three words in that particular order might have been her least favorite words of all time. That was what her ex-boyfriend told her when he told her about some get-rich-quick scheme he’d conjured. That was what she told herself when she dropped out of college to pursue what she thought would be a less complicated life. Every time she heard or said those words, it led to another poor decision that she came to regret.
Rather than risk hearing those words again, Sarah dragged herself to the kitchen in search of something to wake her up. As annoyingly regimented as her sister was, Sarah couldn’t afford to push her buttons. If her sister kicked her out, then she would have nowhere left to go.
“Well, if I’m going to run off and be your personal errand girl, I’m going to need some coffee,” she said.
“Sorry, but this is the last batch,” said Rachel, holding up her travel mug as though it were a trophy.
“Please tell me you’re joking,” Sarah groaned. “Please tell me you’re just trying to kick my ass into gear again. I promise I won’t get mad this time.”
“Sorry, but when you’re busy and have a functional career, certain things slip your mind. Guess you’ll have to get some from the new neighbor across the hall and hope he’s a morning person.”
“Are you ever going to get tired of punishing me for being such a bitch in high school?”
“If I do, I’ll let you know if I do,” Rachel replied smugly. “Have a great day, little sis!”
Sarah shot her older sister a harsh scold, but she barely saw it. She was already out the door, on her way to drive her nice new Mazda to her well-paying job while her broke sister relied on public transportation to do all the menial chores she’d been given. It used to be so much easier to hate her sister, but Sarah just made it harder on herself with every bad decision, it seemed.
With Rachel gone, Sarah buried her tired face in her arms and muttered a string of curses that would’ve gotten her arrested if she’d said them in public. She would’ve loved to just crawl back on the couch, fall asleep, and try to regain whatever strength she could for her next shift at the restaurant. Unfortunately, her uptight older sister had given her a lot to do. If she wanted to even have a couch to sleep on, she had to get to work and pretend she wasn’t too miserable.
To do that, however, she needed coffee. There was no way she could be that alert on a Saturday morning without it. Not having the extra money for a latte, she decided to take her sister’s advice and check with the new neighbor across the hall of her sister’s condo. If she were lucky, he or she wouldn’t ask her to flagellate herself for extra creamer.
Not bothering to put on less scruffy clothes, she walked out the front door and to the condo across the hall. Still too tired to give too many damns about waking someone up, she knocked on the door.
“Please don’t be a mean, vindictive bitch who makes me feel like shit,” she said under her breath. “Just once…let me meet someone who doesn’t bust my ass for being a fuck-up.”
Sarah hoped for the best, but prepared for the worst. Knowing her luck, the neighbor was a friend of Rachel’s who conspired with her to make her sister miserable. Much to her surprise, though, the person that answered didn’t look like a vindictive bitch. In fact – and it might have been the grogginess talking – it looked like a handsome, attractive man with dark hair, a light beard, and no shirt to conceal a very masculine, very fit physique.
“Good morning,” he greeted. “Can I help you with something.”
“Um…I uh,” Sarah stammered, suddenly feeling stupid for wearing such unflattering clothes.
“Are…you okay?” he asked her.
“Coffee!” she said, her brain finally working again. “Uh…do you have any coffee? I’m kind of out and…”
She kept stammering like a drunk prom date, which was saying something because she was used to being the one that made the opposite sex stammer. The man, who must have been a very understanding prom date, just laughed and opened the door.
“Sure, I have coffee,” he said. “Come on in. I just brewed a pot.”
“Uh…thanks,” said Sarah. “I really appreciate it. I’m…having a rough morning.”
“I can tell,” he said as he made his way to the kitchen. “Rough night?”
“More like rough life for the past five years.”
“Well, coffee won’t fix it, but it’ll help.”
Sarah laughed. He didn’t say anything particularly funny, but she still laughed. It felt good to laugh, though. She hadn’t been able to laugh much these past few years. Screwing up and making bad decisions had that effect on someone’s sense of humor. Who knew that being around a handsome man could heal it so quickly?
Trying to regain what little composure she had to begin with, she followed the handsome man into the room. Near as she could tell, he had just moved in. Everything was still messy. There were boxes, pictures, and pieces of furniture strewn everywhere. However, it didn’t strike her as the reckless kind of messy. It came off as a productive kind of mess, the kind that hinted at a man who had his shit together.
“You’ll have to forgive the mess,” the man said. “I just moved in yesterday and I’m still unpacking.”
“There’s nothing to forgive. I’ve seen, lived, and made bigger messes than this,” Sarah said.
“Wow. It sounds like you’ve had an interesting life, Miss…”
“Sarah,” she said, “Sarah Jones.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m James Holt. I’m not new to this county, this state, or this county, but I am new to this condo. It’s actually the first condo I’ve ever had…not to mention the first home of my own that I’ve ever had.”
“Damn, then this mess is deceptive,” she joked. “It sounds like you’ve got your shit together, James.”
“Trust me, I’m still behind the curve.”
Sarah had a hard to believing that for anyone who’d managed to buy their own place and not have to rely on vindictive siblings for living space. However, he was so damn handsome in the early morning sun that she didn’t bother doubting him.
She continued admiring his masculine physique as he handed her a cup of fresh coffee. In the process, her fingers touched his hands. She swore it warmed her up more than the coffee. She did what she could to hide it though, smiling awkwardly at him and trying not to hint at how much he’d brightened her morning.
Standing in the middle of the messy condo, Sarah began sipping her coffee with him. She didn’t even mind that it had no cream or sugar. James seemed to prefer it black anyways. As such, she found herself wanting to align herself with his preferences.
Drinking the coffee helped keep the silence from getting too awkward. The heat from his earlier touch only intensified, though. Sarah worried that both the caffeine and her racing heart might get the better of her.
Searching for a distraction, her eyes drifted towards the only picture that had been hung on the wall. It looked to be a letter of sorts. When she looked a bit closer, though, she was surprised to see that it wasn’t just any kind of letter.
“Hey…is that a rejection letter?” she asked him.
“Yep!” James said proudly. “That, Ms. Jones, is the rejection letter I got from my dream school. I had my heart set on one college, I thought I did enough to get in, and then I got rejected.”
“You say all of that with a beaming smile. Am I missing something here?”
“Well, there is a context,” he said. “You see, that rejection was the turning point for me. When I read it, I thought my life was over. Everything I’d planned for in my life depended on me getting into that school. When I didn’t, everything fell apart. I became a total wreck for years after that, so much so my parents kicked me out of the house until I got my shit together. And God help me, I thank them every day for that.”
Sarah looked at him as though he were an alien who just sprouted a second head. He described the kind of situation that crushed spirits and shattered dreams. She knew those situations well because she’d endured plenty of them. Now here was a handsome man in the middle of a new condo, talking about it as though it were the greatest thing that had ever happened to him.
“I’m going to need more context, here,” Sarah said.
“There’s not much more than that, actually,” said James. “After being a wreck for a while, I got tired and did something about it.”
“And…that worked?” she said skeptically.
“Not immediately, but eventually,” he replied. “I got serious, joined the army, into a vocational program, and worked my way to an awesome job in IT. Granted, it was nothing like the plan I’d originally had for myself, but it still worked out. I basically fulfilled a dream I didn’t know I had and it’s all because I got rejected. Amazing, isn’t it?”
“Yeah…unbelievable,” Sarah said distantly.
She found herself walking up to the framed letter and touching it with her hand. In that overpriced frame, she saw the same crushed spirits that had plagued her over the past few years. Yet standing next to her, drinking a cup of coffee, was a handsome man who took that same frustration and turned it into something. It was nothing short of inspiring. It also made her want this man more than she’d ever wanted her morning cup of coffee.
She ended up only drinking half the cup before setting the mug aside. She then turned to face the handsome man before her, who kept admiring the framed letter like a trophy. He deserved to admire it too. It made her admire him even more.
“James, can I ask you something serious?” she said.
“Does it involve me getting you more coffee?” he said in a humored tone.
“No. It doesn’t. It’s really serious,” Sarah said strongly. “You claimed you were a total wreck…that everything in your life fell apart.”
“And I meant it,” he said.
“But it got better, right? When you put in the work, made the right decisions, and gutted out the frustration…it panned out in the end, right?”
“Well, yeah,” James said, barely pausing to give it any thought.
“And if someone else who was a wreck…someone who feels so pathetic every morning, relying on vindictive siblings and generous neighbors for help…put in that same work, do you believe it’ll pan out for them too?”
She might have been a bit too specific with that question. She probably revealed more about herself than she’d intended. That was something she usually avoided, especially in the presence of an attractive man. However, for James, she gladly made an exception.
“Well, without assuming too much about how you ended up the way you did,” he began.
“Hey!” Who said it was me?” Sarah teased.
“Sarah, be serious,” James said with a coy grin. “Being a wreck sucks. Being broken, lost, and down on your luck sucks. But if you put in the work, stop making excuses, and just push forward…then yeah, it’ll pan out. I believe that.”
“You’d believe that for a woman you just met?”
“What can I say? I have a good feeling about you.”
He moved in a little closer when he said those words, giving Sarah a good whiff of his manly scent. He smelled like he hadn’t showered, but had a long night and worked up a hell of a sweat. It was the kind of musk that sent every womanly instinct into overdrive. Not since her junior prom had her loins been so inflamed and that had been in an overpriced dress.
At that moment, Sarah found herself making a decision that might either be a big mistake or the first genuinely right decision she’d made in a long time.
“James, I know I just met you and you just placed a lot of faith in a woman who just drank your coffee,” Sarah said, “but I need to know one more thing.”
“Okay, I’ll do my best to answer,” he said, sounding intrigued and maybe a little flirtatious.
“If I kissed you right now with my morning breath…and maybe wanted a little more than that…would you stop me.”
The handsome man who’d welcomed her into his new home with coffee and hope grinned at her. She swore his smile lit up her broken soul like a Christmas tree. He must have been a morning person because he set his coffee mug aside and moved in closer, giving him a bigger taste of his manly presence.
“No. I wouldn’t stop you,” he said in a deep, manly tone. “In fact, I’d encourage you.”
“Good!” said Sarah. “Because that’s exactly the encouragement I need right now.”
With more energy than she’d ever had this early in the morning, Sarah threw her arms around James and captured his lips in a hard, messy kiss. His breath still smelled like coffee and toast. Hers probably smelled worse. She didn’t care and neither did he. Within seconds, their lips and tongues were entwined and eager.
From that kiss came more intimate touching. She eagerly explored his exposed upper body while he felt up her hips and waist. The fact he didn’t seem to mind her overly-casual attire only made him more attractive in her eyes. As they kissed and touched, she found herself leading him to a couch covered in unopened boxes.
Along the way, she slid off her shirt and took off her pants, leaving her in a pair of cotton panties. He followed suit, stumbling a bit as he pulled down the loose-fitting pants he’d probably worn to bed last night. Together, they fell on the messy couch, laughing and kissing in a playful outburst of morning lust.
“Oh James…encourage me. Embolden me,” Sarah said curtly.
“Yes, ma’am!” James said eagerly.
Like a man on a mission, he shoved aside some empty boxes to give them more room. Then, he swiftly removed her panties, leaving her fully nude on his couch. Showing the kind of drive she could only envy, he pushed her legs a part and went down on her, gorging on her pussy and filling her with blissful sensations that roused her more than all the coffee in the world.
“Mmm…so encouraging!” she purred.
The man had been hungry for more than breakfast. He must have worked up quite an appetite because she noticed him taking off his boxers while eating her out, revealing a very appetizing endowment. Sarah had encountered men with a propensity for morning wood, but never like this.
“Sarah…ready to feel bolder?” he finally asked her after getting her pussy nice and wet.
“Hell yeah!” she answered without hesitation.
With burning intent, James shot up from the floor and got on top of her. Sarah eagerly spread her legs, welcoming him onto the couch so that he was right on top of her. She even showed off a little flexibility, hitching her legs up over his shoulders so he could enter her with ease. Once in position, he delivered a single thrust and in an instant, her hot flesh parted and welcomed him into her domain.
“Oohhh James!” Sarah cried out.
From that blissful proclamation on, her world rocked. She felt his powerful grip on her hips as he delivered a steady succession of thrusts, working his rigid manhood within her depths. It was so smooth and seamless, as though her body had been waiting for something like this…a feeling to make her feel stronger, bolder, and more determined to rebuild her life. The fact it felt so fucking good was a nice bonus too.
As James made love to her, Sarah passionately raked her nails along his back, feeling the manly sinews of his upper body. There was such strength in his flesh…a strength that had helped him rebuild his wreck of a life. Now, here he was, making love to her. Maybe some of that strength would be imparted to her.
Whether that happened or not remained to be seen. She’d just settle for great sex and a damn good orgasm. That ended up happening sooner than she’d expected. Together, they rocked his couch under the light of the morning sun, their naked bodies moving together in a harmonious union. His touch, his breath, and his sex sent her down a path of ecstasy, one that culminated in the most satisfying climax she’d had in a long time.
“Oohhh fuck!” she gasped. “I’m coming, James. I’m going to…come!”
“Mmm…me too, Sarah,” James moaned.
The pace of their sex accelerated. His hips moved faster and her body rocked harder. After a few, focused movements, he sent her over that special threshold that separated her from her blissful peak. When it happened, Sarah clenched his shoulders, closed her eyes, and threw her head back in a cry of euphoria.
White hot pleasure soon followed, the orgasmic sensations rippling from head to toe. Along with that pleasure came a strength that she didn’t usually associate with sex, although she wouldn’t mind making such a connection.
As she enjoyed her pleasure, James got his. She couldn’t tell exactly when it happened. She just sensed it when his grip on her hips tightened, his grunts intensified, and his powerful manhood throbbed inside her, his pleasure echoing hers. Even while in her orgasmic daze, she took the time to admire the contentment in his eyes.
It was the look of a man who appreciated the struggle of rebuilding a broken life. In him, she saw someone who had walked the path she’d been trying to walk. In her, she hoped he saw someone who was eager to catch up.
As the orgasmic sensations settled, he lingered on top of her. Their bodies remained entwined in a naked heap, his hands still roaming her exposed flesh while she caressed his rugged complexion.
“Thank you, James,” Sarah told him. “Thank you for encouraging me…for making me feel like I can rebuild my life. Oh, and thanks for the coffee!”
“You’re welcome,” James laughed, “and thank you for the morning sex. I think I’m going to like being your new neighbor.”