The shop she ducked into to escape the sudden downpour was a second-hand alley bookshop and smelled like it, old and earthy. Avery called out several times but no one answered. It couldn’t have been empty; even though the sign on the window said closed, the door had been opened and a cup of dark liquid was cooling next to a half-eaten scone on a little table at the corner.
Ten minutes passed and there was still no sign of any customer or staff. To keep herself distracted from the unnerving feeling of being watched, she decided to browse the contents of the bookshelves but only within five paces of the door. Baxter was full of charming little places like this that stretched deep into the spaces between skyscrapers and shopping malls. Along the right wall of the shop, the books were all either leather or hard bound with titles in an unfamiliar script or none at all. Opening some of the covers she found titles like Literary Culture of the Asiatic Fae, Beyond the Mist: Societies and Structures of The Marsh Dwellers, and The Last of the Giants: An Autobiography of …a name she couldn’t pronounce. She had taken an Intro to the Preternatural course in college but other than a college credit she had no use for the knowledge; interaction between species was negligible. At least with the human looking types, one wouldn’t even know that they were dealing with preternatural folk. Trolls, Ogres, and goblins were rarely ever seen; their existence only verified in the Interspecies Treaty Series. She had only ever been to one other preternatural establishment, a tea shop, which was a tourist trap off the I-9.
The books in the middle shelf seemed more her speed; fables with innocent sounding titles like Feathers. The content was anything but, her eyes expanding as she took in scenarios of orgies and illicit trysts in explicit detail. This certainly wasn’t covered in her intro class. Otherwise, she would have definitely striven for an A and not the C she managed to scrape by on.
Midway through an account which could only be described as ritual rape, she felt something soft caress her the skin of her neck. She dropped the book to clutch at her chest as though trying to restrain her heart beating wildly against her rib cage. At first, she couldn’t see who had touched her as they were bent down, picking up the books she had knocked off the shelf. When they stood upright, she was taken back, not only by the pair of stunning hazel eyes leveled at her but also by the acute invasion of her personal space, citrus notes of their scent tickling her nose.
“Ma’am, we’re closed.”
Possibly male but definitely not human. Humans weren’t so disturbingly beautiful. They weren’t vampire because it was still daylight so they had to be some sort of Fae though she couldn’t be sure without seeing their ears.
“I – I- I’m sorry. It started raining and I – I,” she was tripping over her words and they were looking at her with something of polite amusement dancing in their eyes. Not her best show for sure but it had been years and she couldn’t remember the etiquette rules regarding the Fae. So, she asked to use their telephone, her cellphone only having a two percent charge. They didn’t have one.
They were handing something to her, their eyes meeting briefly. What the fuck is this feeling? It was like that one time she got high with her ex-husband and slow fucked a whole Sunday away…but more.A wave of consciousness washed over her as she recognized the book she had been caught reading and her decency flushed bright red on her cheeks.
She pushed the book back into their hands. “Th- that won’t be necessary.”
The clerk smiled, re-shelving the fallen books.
“Are you sure?” they asked with a teasing lilt. “Page 52 is quite something.”
She huffed, remembering that she was a thirty-two-year-old divorcee with a mortgage and an entry-level job at the local bank – she didn’t have the luxury of relieving sexual frustration at the erotic section of an exotic Fae bookshop. She started to stutter some indignant response but they were already walking away from her.
“You’re welcome to stay until the rain subsides. I will be in the back taking inventory if you need anything.”
She stood there vexed, watching them retreat down the long aisle and with them a warm fuzz that perfumed the room. Minutes became an hour and there was no sign of let up of the rain or the Fae clerk. Her eyes eventually followed her thoughts that insistently hovered around the shelf where she had seen the Fae re-shelve the books. A muffled crash of books on carpet informed her of the clerk’s distance so she stole away to the shelf to locate the book, pushing back her annoyance when she saw that the book Feathers was pulled apart from the rest, and thumbed to page 52.
By the time Avery had finished the chapter that started on page 52, the wet spot in her underwear had grown. She should have picked up from the book that the warm fuzz she had felt earlier was one of the lures the Fae used in seduction but she was so caught up in images of orgasmic bliss to realize that she was being lured or that the clerk was standing next to her with a mug of steaming beverage. She looked up after closing a bookmark on the chapter and aged fifteen years when she realized she wasn’t alone. How long they had been standing there? Her cheeks flushed furiously as the clerk nonchalantly presented her with hot chocolate. She took it if only to have something to hold besides that damned book. If there was one thing she remembered from her intro class, it was to be wary of the hospitality of the Fae; they had no concept of gifts so every transaction was an exchange. She couldn’t refuse the offering because that would constitute an offense but she definitely wouldn’t drink it. Belatedly, she realized that she had accepted their invitation to wait out the rain in the shop although she was sixty-five percent sure she didn’t thank them for it. Her certainty dropped steadily with the way they leaned against the book shelf and looked at her.
“So, is that what you like? Your hair pulled and to be fucked hard from the back?” they quipped yet their expression was altogether unreadable.
Avery took a sharp breath in to push back the wave of arousal rising within her and hoped it passed for shock at their words.
“I didn’t mean any offense,” they said chuckling. While she was sure they didn’t mean to offend her, she wasn’t sure that they didn’t mean to say it all the same.
She remained silent, not trusting the sounds that would come out of her mouth.
“There’s a charger in the back office you can use,” they said pushing off the shelf and starting towards to back of the store. They stopped when they realized that she wasn’t following them. “Unless you’d rather wait out in the rain.”
Avery jerked forward but didn’t really move from her spot. These charming spaces deep between skyscrapers and shopping malls were notoriously preternatural spaces, foreboding and full of magic.
They smiled at her. “Don’t worry. I won’t do anything you don’t want me to.”
Images of her hands pinned above her head and their body rubbing against hers flashed before her eyes. They peered back at her from behind their lashes as though they knew exactly what was going on in her mind.
The room at the back of the store was cozy with a couch, an arm chair and a plush area rug. Avery watched the Fae working at the bar/kitchenette, fingers tapping noisily at the laptop keyboard. So, no phone but a computer, still she was glad they were giving her space while she waited for her taxi. It was twenty to eight, forty minutes passed when the dispatch said a driver would be there, and still no one had called or messaged her. She understood the storm was pretty bad but they could have at least updated her on the progress.
“You look cold. And you haven’t touched your drink,” they said, noticing how she would wrap her hands around the mug then press her heated hands onto her face.
“No,” she answered crossing her arms. “I’m fine, than- that’s kind of you.” She wasn’t fine. Her clothes were damp and she could feel a chill seeping into her bones. All she wanted was a nice hot bath.
Their stare lingered on her face, causing her skin to flush warm and red; and quite the opposite of what she expected, she felt herself start to relax almost against her better judgement.
Another ten minutes went by and she asked, for the fifth time that hour, if there were any messages on her phone. Even though they hadn’t heard any notifications, they looked at her cell phone that was charging from their laptop before confirming that there were no messages.
They frowned again when she shivered, taking off their sweater and handing it to her. “Here,” they shoved it in her hand when she tried to refuse it. “I don’t want you catching your death in here,” voice stern and posture insistent till she stopped resisting, draping the soft wool loosely over her torso. There were laws against something like that sort of thing – humans dying in preternatural places or even in the presence of preternatural folk were met with swift and not always just justice. “Can I make you another hot chocolate?”
She shook her head.
Their brow wrinkled disapprovingly, “You don’t think it’s poisoned, do you?”
Avery blanched because she hadn’t even thought of that. Even though the Fae were known for their impeccable hospitality and poisoning a guest would constitute a most grievous offense, there was just so much about the preternatural world that she didn’t know.
“It’s not that,” she rushed to assuage them. “I’m lactose intolerant,” she lied.
“I can make it without milk,” they offered.
Seeing no way out, she finally just blurted the truth, “And there’s the quid pro quo thing the Fae have going on.”
They laughed, a burst of something rich and deep that petered to a tinkling. “Well, if you let me fuck you, we’ll call it even. It’s been an age since I’ve been with a human and I’ve never had a woman before.”
Her head snapped up from where it was bowed, and her cheeks rapidly colored. That was a mistake. When their eyes met, she fell into the hypnotic gaze of the Fae. One of the characters in the book she read was a human lured into a ménage-a- trois with the hypnotic gaze.
“I could smell it, you know,” They said, voice dripping soft and moist. “Your cunt.”
Fuck, she curled in on herself, now fully aware that she was honey-trapped with nothing she could do. It was often the case that awareness of a thing didn’t necessarily protect against its effect.
When she didn’t raise a complaint, they continued. “When you were reading earlier, you spread your legs a bit and I could smell you.”
Unconsciously she crossed her legs and a smirk joined the hooded look of their eyes. Her breathing changed.
“You like it when I talk to you like that, don’t you?” they asked, tone as predatory as their face. She tried to deny it but the knot lodged in her throat was making it hard to even wallow. “Even earlier when I asked you how you liked to be fucked, your breathing hitched.”
She still wasn’t saying anything, still wasn’t objecting.
“Well,” their voice wrapped around her, “will you let me fuck you?” Crouching down in front of her, they were intentionally not touching her.
Her brow furrowed and she looked conflicted. Being fucked by a Fae wasn’t exactly the worst thing that could happen to her and if page 52 was anything to go by, it was probably the best thing that could happen to her. But she had only ever been with her ex-husband. She thought about him; about his smile, about his eyes, about the lipstick stain on the crotch of his trouser pants that lead to the divorce.
“You have to say it,” they breathed, leaning in closer.
“Yes,” she croaked. “I’ll let you fuck me.”
As though she could have refused. Her legs parted at the simple placement of a palm on her thigh when they leaned in to kiss her, pungent sensation pooling wetly at her core. But she wasn’t the only one without decorum, she noticed how their nostrils flared and jaw slackened at the sticky spot spreading on her periwinkle blue cotton briefs. A theory was forming in her mind when she saw the look on their face as they watched their fingers penetrate her and come out coated but it could never really come together into something cohesive.
The Fae, while famed for their sexual proclivities, weren’t unselfish lovers; even in giving they were primarily chasing their own pleasure. After working themselves up on the scent and taste of her come, inhaling and kissing at her core, the veneer of restraint completely slipped when they thrust inside her; hunger so hot and thick it’s too much even as her body accommodated every deepening inch. Their soft groan rung in her ear, reverberating in her veins and it all became too much too quickly: the velvet timbre of their voice, the searing heat of their mouth on her lips, the unrelenting pace of wet skin slapping against wet skin; a dizzying symphony of sensation designed to keep her overwhelmed. And they seemed to like her overwhelmed, coming up on their elbows to gaze down at her open-mouthed panting through disheveled hair, then bearing more weight down on her to fuck her deeper.
It was the soreness that dragged her out of sleep, groaning and grumbling. Aches like bruises clung hideously to every bone, every muscle. Through the dense fog in her mind, she managed to open one bleary eye. She took in her surroundings but all that was there to see was the Fae, glorious and naked.
“What time is it?” They were her words but she didn’t recognize the voice as hers; and her throat tender from abuse and overuse.
“It’s dark out,” they replied. “Here, drink this.” They handed her a mug of hot chocolate. “It will help you feel better.”
She took the cup pressed into her hands gratefully but the way they were watching her lift it to her lips made her hesitate.
“No milk,” they smirked. “And it’s free of charge given I had you more than once.”
She started to drink if only to distract from the blush rising on her face from the sly comment. She instantly felt restored once the liquid touched her tongue, knots of pain dissolving the more she drank that she knew it had to be more than chocolate in the cup. But she couldn’t stop. Her body flushed pleasantly with warmth then bashfulness as memories of what had transpired earlier broke through her mind fog. Something inside her was telling her to leave, to run but it was dull, lost in the torrent of sensation firing up her nerve endings at the images of her body bend in lewd and near impossible positions. At the time, the pleasure was formless and intense, a great mess of everything of heat and sweet. Between the space of time when she closed her eyes and opened them again, the pleasure had taken form, shaping and settling itself into the deep crevices under her skin. If she had read beyond the chapter that started with page 52, she would have known to be afraid: Three feverish days without food or drink; just fucking and when strength failed, being fucked till all that was life in the hero of that story was gone; just a brown feather with auburn tips between cold, dead hands.
The Fae touched her, quiet fingers slipping between the lips of her pussy. “You’re are exquisite,” they said, tongue lapping their fingers. “I’ll have you again,” they add, already looming over her, already settling between her thighs, already taking her.