Learn to Love Again
Ava is standing up on deck, looking out over the choppy waters as the ship docks in Southampton.
Mack stands behind her and slips his arms around her waist, kissing the top of her head.
Ava nods. “All packed and ready to go.” She turns around and kisses him. “Do you think it’s a stupid thing to do?”
“I don’t. But it’s more of an issue for you, I know.”
“It’s not. Not really. I thank god every day that I didn’t marry him, but-”
“But going back to the Oakley will be hard?”
She shrugs. “It shouldn’t be. It’s where we met, too.”
“That’s why I booked it. I thought it would be like coming full circle.” He pauses and kisses her softly. “If you don’t want to, I’ll cancel it.”
“It’s okay. You’re right. The place is special because we met there, and I auditioned there.” She nods. “No. I’m okay.”
“Good. Let’s go.”
Ava follows him down to their cabin; it was easy enough to ask Callie if Mack could move from sharing with Doug to sharing with her. Their stuff is all ready to go and Grace is picking them up.
“I’m so nervous to meet you family,” Mack says, pulling on a grey hoodie.
“Don’t be. They’re lovely. Most of the time.”
They laugh and join the queue of passengers leaving the ship after their holiday.
It’s unusual for them to leave the ship and have a night away; usually the ship docks in Southampton, one lot of holiday makers get off, and then a few hours later the next lot get on, and the crew just stay on board. This time there’s an extra night in Southampton for some maintenance, and so Ava and Mack are going to Wales.
“It’s only a quick trip. My mum was desperate for you to stay in the house, but that’s because she wants us in separate bedrooms.”
Mack laughs. “What did you tell her?”
“I told her you’d booked a twin room. I don’t think they’re daft – I just think they’d rather not know. If they don’t specifically ask – Ava are you having sex before marriage – then they can’t be disappointed with the answer.”
He kisses her. “I’m not disappointed with the answer.”
Ava slips her hand into his, marvelling at the change in her life so far. From meeting Mack as a meek and awkward virgin, to feeling like a sex goddess whenever they are together is quite the jump, but it’s how he makes her feel. He worships and adores her and isn’t afraid to show it.
They make it off the ship and Ava scans the crowds for Grace.
“There she is.”
The two sisters hug, and then Grace hugs Mack. Ava has forgiven her sister for almost causing her and Mack to break up, and they are like they used to be again. Friends. Sisters. Getting along like a house on fire, most of the time.
“Car’s over here,” Grace says, taking one of Ava’s bags for her. “Mammy is in a right tizz about you two visiting. She misses you so much, but it’s definitely stressing her out that you’re staying at the hotel. It’s not right.”
“Is that what she said?” Ava laughs, shaking her head. “She’s such a worrier.”
“Exactly. Dad’s not worried. I think he knows it’s better not to even ask.”
“Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.”
They pile into the car and head home.
“Tell me, Mack,” Grace says, turning the music down. “When can I come for a holiday with you guys, and how much of a discount do I get?”
“You can come any time, I told you that,” Ava says. “It’s very romantic. You and James will love it.”
Grace is silent for a moment. “James and I broke up.”
“What? Oh, Grace, why didn’t you tell me? I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”
Grace laughs. “I am, actually. It’s been a week.”
“Why didn’t you tell me? I feel awful.”
“I knew you were coming home, so I waited to tell you.”
“Waited for me to put my foot in it, you mean?”
“No. I’m not sad. We’d grown apart. He was busy with work. I’ve been busy with work.”
“You’re really okay?”
Grace nods. “I’m good. But a holiday might help take my mind off it. Maybe a little holiday romance…”
Ava laughs. “You’re insatiable. I’ll tell dad.”
They all laugh, and then Ava squeezes her sister’s shoulder. “We’ll sort it out. Let me know your holidays from work.”
Ava would love to have her sister on the ship, watching her perform, seeing what her new life is like; it would be amazing. Worrying about her holiday romances might not be so fun, but she’s a grownup and can do what she likes. And she fell in love on board, so why not her sister too?
The journey flies by, without stopping and they get to Ava’s house in time for a late lunch.
She squeezes Mack’s hand. “Okay?”
“We won’t be here long. I’ve told mum we have to check in by four.”
“Ava, it’s fine. I’m looking forward to meeting them.”
Ava cannot imagine why she was so worried. Just as Mack charmed her, and charms everyone he meets, because he’s such a nice bloke, he charms her parents and her gran too.
He insists on washing the dishes and cleaning up after they eat, he’s happy to be shown the new vegetable garden, and has some tips for Ava’s dad about his tomatoes, and then he plays cards with Ava’s gran.
Ava, leaning against the kitchen counter, cup of tea in hand, and her sister beside her watches him and is so happy he’s hers.
Grace nudges her with her hip. “He’s lovely. Much nicer than Jason.”
“True. He’s amazing.”
“Wedding bells?” Grace keeps her voice low.
Ava snorts. “Don’t be daft.”
Although she’s only been with Mack for three months, it has crossed her mind. She just doesn’t want to tell Grace. She can’t imagine being without him, and he talks about their future all the time. They’re in love, and they’ve both said I love you to the other. They say it a lot. She feels good, secure and happy.
“We need to go, mam, but we’ll come back tomorrow, before we head back to Southampton.”
Her mother nods. Ava can tell she’s unhappy; she knows her mother would rather they were sleeping under her roof where she could monitor them. She doesn’t know that Ava shares her cabin with Mack. She doesn’t need to know.
Ava will never regret losing her virginity to Mack, but she doesn’t want to hurt her parents either.
Ava kisses her gran, and her gran grabs hold of her hand. “Much better than that other fucker.”
She’s whispered the words so nobody else can hear them, but it’s still shocking, and Ava has to laugh.
“Thank you, I agree.”
They borrow Grace’s car and drive to the Oakley.
Ava’s stomach is churning as they approach the building. It’s still beautiful, and she can’t help the pang of regret she feels. Is it regret or just pain? Mack squeezes her hand and kisses her cheek. It has to be pain. It was painful and humiliating and sad.
She looks at Mack – he’s so handsome, so sexy, so sweet. It’s definitely not regret that she’s feeling. Maybe it’s relief.
Once inside their room – which is just beautiful – Ava throws herself down on the bed.
“God, this is comfy.”
Mack joins her, arms behind his head. “You’re right. Let’s get naked.”
Ava laughs. “You’re insatiable.”
“You love it.”
He takes her hand and kisses it.
“I just want to make sure that every time you think of this place, the only memory you have of it, is me. It’s where we first met, and it’s where we’ll have – like we always do – incredible sex. I love you, Ava. And I want you. Every second of every day. You drive me crazy. I can’t imagine my life without you.”
“You don’t have to. I’m not going anywhere.”
They both turn so they are facing each other. He touches her cheek, pushes her hair out of the way, kisses her.
Her toes curl when his mouth meets hers. She is grateful every day that Jason cheated on her with her best friend. She is grateful that Grace made her go for the audition. She’s grateful she got the job, working with Mack, and with all the other friends she’s ended up making.
And as much as she loves and respects her dad, his teachings and his values, she is so glad she lost her virginity to Mack.
Every time they are together, she’s overwhelmed with how lucky she is. He’s funny and kind and clever and a damn good lover.
As they kiss, Ava loses track of where they are. They could be anywhere in the world, surrounded by a million people, and they’d still be the only two people in the room. She sees him. Only him.
She loves how well she knows his body now, how familiar he is, and how easily she can turn him on. The intimacy they have, the way she feels when she’s with him, is something she never thought she’d get after what Jason and Mia did to her.
She kneels on the bed, pulling off her t-shirt. Mack joins her, pulling his top off and taking her in his arms. She shivers when she feels his skin against her skin; his erection pushing against her, straining at his jeans.
He unhooks her bra, and then lowers his mouth onto a nipple, sucking and biting, until she has to push him away. He drives her so crazy, she could scream. They pull off the rest of their clothes and lie together in a naked tangle, kissing, caressing, exploring each other.
He smacks her bottom lightly, then cups it in his hand, rubbing her smooth skin with his thumb. Then he does it again, a little harder.
“Is that okay?”
Ava cannot speak; she’s lost in pleasure. She nods instead and pushes her backside up, showing her agreement that way.
Mack smacks her again, and Ava whimpers with delight. This feels wicked – something she never did with Jason – something she’d never have thought would be enjoyable.
He’s not hurting her; he’s mixing pain and pleasure in the simplest way. A sharp sting followed by a loving caress. She moves onto all fours; her bum in the air so he can do it again, and this time after he slaps her bum, and rubs her skin softly, he reaches under and between her legs, and slips a finger inside her, kissing and biting gently on her butt cheek.
It’s easy for her to come, and then she desperately wants him inside her. She stays where she is, feeling wanton and exposed, but so deliciously sensual.
“Mack, I want to do it like this.”
He doesn’t need telling twice; she’s wet and ready for him, and he slips inside her easily, gripping onto her hips as he thrusts into her. This is a new position for her, and she loves it. Each time he pushes himself deeper inside her, she moves slightly, and her nipples are just grazing the bedsheets, adding to her pleasure, adding to the excitement of doing it a different way – a way that feels a bit naughty, a bit sexy, a bit free.
He goes slower, and she sinks onto her front, and he flips her over. He drives into her, harder and faster, until they are both panting, writhing, desperate for release. They come one after the other, and then kiss, their orgasms subsiding and their breath returning to normal.
“Again?” he asks, raising an eyebrow at her. She nods. She can’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon, and when she takes him in her hand and feels him get hard again, it gives her a thrill. Mack loves her. Mack wants her. Only her; nobody else.
As evening falls, they are exhausted and sticky with sweat and sex, and jump in the jacuzzi bath together. They each have a glass of champagne and chocolates, and they are at opposite ends from each other.
“This is the life,” Ava says, popping a chocolate in her mouth.
“It is,” Mack agrees, drinking his champagne down in one go, and giving her that look, the one that says he’s not done yet. She grins at him and straddles him.
He soaps up her breasts, gently tugging her nipples, and pinching them. She shifts position, letting his cock fill her up. He moans as she rides him, slippery and soapy, and he holds onto her bum to keep her from sliding away.
Rinsing the soap away, he takes a nipple in his mouth, licking and sucking on it, while she moves slower and slower on him, really taking her time. Each time she grinds down on him, she can feel the buzz in her clit grow, and each time he grazes her nipples ever so slightly with his teeth, she feels a frenzy of desire rip through her.
She closes her eyes and rides him harder, faster, almost bouncing up and down, his cock filling her up and making her want to scream. And she cries out; she doesn’t have to be quiet here like she does on the ship. She pants and groans and then swears as her orgasm comes like a wave, over and over and over, until it’s building again and Mack is thrusting upwards to meet her, mouth on hers, fingers digging into her skin, and they come at the same time, with a shout from him and a moan from her.
“Fuck, that was good,” Mack says, growling as he kisses her again. “What if we stay here forever and just fuck all day long? Forever.”
She laughs. “It would be nice, but we wouldn’t get paid.”
He moans, rubbing his hands through his hair. “You drive me wild. All I want to do, is that all over again. You’re so damn sexy, Ava. I love you.”
“I love you too. And…” She trails off, feeling a little bit shy. “And we have amazing sex. I didn’t know it could be so… incredible. It’s incredible.”
“It is. Hey, you didn’t mind me smacking your bum, did you?”
“No, I liked it.” She lays back and takes a sip of champagne. “It felt naughty.”
“It felt good. But I didn’t want to hurt you, or make you think I was weird.”
“It didn’t hurt, and it wasn’t weird. It was hot.”
“Maybe next time, I’ll put you over my knee.”
“I won’t argue with that.”
She leans forward and reaches for his dick. It’s hard again.
They run to the bedroom, soaking wet and soapy, and he’s inside her within seconds, nibbling her ear, while he thrusts expertly in and out. Then he stops, and before she can ask him if he’s okay, he’s between her legs, kissing and licking her, sucking on her clit, and nuzzling his tongue inside her. She bucks up to meet him, not afraid to show him how much she enjoys him, how good he is at touching her, how quickly he’s able to make her come, and when she comes, he thrusts back inside her, filling her up with his cock, and making her come again, a hard orgasm that makes her shudder.
This time, after they are done, they are both exhausted, and lie quietly holding hands.
“I’m starving,” Ava says.
“Let’s order food. I don’t want to go down to the restaurant.”
“Me neither. I don’t want to get dressed or leave the room.”
“Shall I order something extra?” He grins at her, and she knows he’s thinking wicked thoughts.
“Like chocolate mousse I can suck off your beautiful tits, or cream I can squirt all over your delicious pussy, or…” He grins as his penis stiffens and she shifts position to take him in her mouth. As he gently thrusts, she sucks hard. “Or something you can lick off my cock. Or something I can suck off your clit. Or something we can suck off each other before we fuck.”
With each evocative word, suck, lick, fuck, Ava feels her desire building. Sex on the ship is usually amazing but quiet; the walls are thin, and they are very aware of how close their neighbouring crew are. Here it doesn’t matter.
She licks and sucks his dick, using her hand to pleasure him and as his orgasm builds, he’s panting, his breath so ragged, his handsome face showing his pleasure, his eyes shut, mouth open; she moves her hand faster, and he thrusts a little harder into her mouth, until he comes, and she swallows and then they sink into each other’s arms.
“Are we ever going to eat, or are we just going to shag all day and all night?”
“Shag all day and all night,” he answers, laughing, and trailing his fingers across her stomach. Then he rubs his penis. “Actually, the old boy could do with a rest.”
Laughing, they order food, and some extras just in case, and Ava showers while they wait for the food to come.
“I’m so full,” Ava says, pushing away the last bit of her dessert. “I need sleep.”
“Me too,” Mack says, even though he ate all of his food. He gestures to the decadent looking chocolate mousse. “Let’s keep that for the morning.”
“Ooh, good idea.”
“I think so. Are you okay if I wake you up with some action?”
Ava grins. “Yeah, but what if I’m dreaming about my old head teacher or something, and then you kiss me, but in my dream he kisses me?”
Mack laughs. “You’re crazy.” He kisses her. “I promise you’ll know it’s me.”
And she does. When she feels her legs softly pushed apart, and a gentle tongue between her legs, she knows. She stretches languidly and opens her legs wider.
“This is nice,” she says. “I could get used to this.”
“Me too,” he says, looking up from between her legs, a cheeky grin on his face. “Ready? This might be cold.”
She’s glad he gave her a warning, because the mousse from the fridge is so cold, she cries out, but then Mack’s tongue laps at her and she’s warm and lost in pleasure all over again.
“It’s messy,” he says, looking up with chocolate over his nose.
“I don’t care how messy it is,” she says, “It feels so damn good.”
She silently thanks Robyn for introducing her to the idea of sex and food as a deliciously decadent combination.
He slathers the rest of the mousse between her legs and as he licks it all off, lapping at her, licking her, sucking her, she stretches out as her orgasm builds and grows and eventually blazes until she’s panting and thrusting up to meet him.
Despite the toe curling pleasure, she can’t help but laugh when he looks up at her; his face is a mess of chocolate, and yet he’s still the most handsome, sexy man she’s ever met.
“I think you need a shower.”
He touches his face, and then licks his finger, grinning. “You might be right. Join me?”
She leads the way, aware of her nakedness, and the strange stickiness between her legs, and then they shower together. They touch and play and caress under the steaming, hot water, until Ava takes his hand and leads him to the bed.
“We’ll break our necks if we try to get jiggy in there.”
He laughs, like she knew he would.
She nods and pushes him onto the bed, climbing on top of him and manoeuvring until he’s inside her. This time it’s the sweetest, slowest, sublime sex. She arches her back, loving the free feeling of her boobs jutting out, and moves a little quicker. She can feel the buzz building, and she doesn’t want it to stop, she doesn’t want to lose it; she wants to feel it grow. She moves a little faster, pushes down a little harder, feels her breath getting ragged and then Mack lifts himself up, meeting her movements with his own, until she is coming with a sweet, sweet release, and he is swearing, his voice a growl.
“We have to go,” she says, reluctance making her voice sound sad.
“I’ve already had my breakfast,” Mack says, grinning wickedly at her, “but we can’t keep your family waiting.”
They grab their bags and head down to check out.
“That was delightful,” Ava says, as they walk to the car. “I won’t be able to think about this place without a smile on my face.”
“I won’t be able to think about this place without getting a hard on,” he says, and she laughs, nudging him with her hips.
“Thank you. I don’t think about Jason and Mia anymore, but after last night, I won’t think about this hotel as the location of my doomed wedding ever again; I’ll think of it as the place I was with you. Having mind blowing sex. I love you.”
They stop on the path, and kiss, and neither of them notices Jason watching them, regret in his expression, recently dumped by Mia, and reminiscing about what he had with Ava, and wishing he hadn’t thrown away the most incredible woman he was ever lucky enough to meet.