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Jessica got home early Thursday afternoon. Casey and Sam would be there in a couple of hours, and they would commence on their usual girls night out, except this time instead of out, it would be in. Jessie already had the wine chilled, and they were bringing some appetizers that would serve as supper. Although she had a couple of movies they could watch, from their get-togethers in the past she knew that more than likely they would spend the whole time talking. Jessie checked her messages, and then set the dining table. Stopping for a moment to stretch her back, she headed to the bedroom with the intention of changing into something a little more comfortable. Her steps slowed as she reached the doorway. There was a box sitting in the middle of her bed. An envelope with her name on it was attached to the top, and she smiled as she recognized Cam’s handwriting. Opening it up, she pulled out the piece of paper.
Reaching over, she opened the box. The first thing she saw was a paperback novel. The cover was the usual historical romance scene, the man holding the woman possessively, looking down at her, with her gazing up into his eyes. Jessie felt her breath catch in her throat. Examining the cover more closely, she realized that the couple depicted looked exactly like her and Cam.
‘What the hell?’ she thought.
Taking the book from the box, she turned it over to read the back.
Jessica opened the book, only to find it filled with blank pages. Puzzled, she glanced back inside the box, and pulled out a note...
Jessica swallowed hard. There was one other item in the box, and her hands trembled slightly as she reached in and pulled it out.
"Oh my God."
She knew what it was as soon as she saw it, since she was the one who had written it. Jessica was on the verge of hyperventilating as her eyes came to rest on the title.
‘An In-Depth Examination of Female Sexual Fantasies’
"Oh my God," she repeated, feeling panic set in. Her mind replayed when she had received the assignment a few years prior, trying to conquer her embarrassment, the encouragement she had received from her professor, and her ultimate decision to create a report as detailed as she possibly could. Holding it in her hands now, she knew that Cam had read it. Dropping it on the bed as if it had burned her, Jessie groaned as she covered her mouth with her hand.
‘Okay, get a fucking grip,’ she thought. The fact that she was cussing at herself showed just how much it had knocked her for a loop. She tried desperately not to remember exactly how detailed she had gotten with her personal viewpoints on the individual fantasies, but her consciousness had a morbid sense of humor—‘oh god’ was fast becoming her mantra as her memory quickly supplied her with the details—very explicit details. It was one thing to write a report for a female professor; it’s quite another thing to have your lover read it long before you’re ready to share those particulars.
Fighting the urge to go sit in the corner of the room and hug her knees to her chest, Jessie went into the bathroom and drew a tub full of steaming water. She was hoping it would relax her enough that she would quit chasing her tail. Yeah, and the Grand Canyon’s located in Alaska. That just wasn’t gonna happen.
Casey pulled up into the drive, parking behind Jessie’s car. "The dip really isn’t that hard to make, Sam. The secret is putting it together a day in advance. The flavors have to have time to blend."
"That’s easy for you to say, Casey. You can take three ingredients, and come up with a gourmet meal. For me, boiling water is an accomplishment."
"I’ll print out step by step instructions for you. That way you can impress Jack the next time he comes over."
Sam snorted. "What would impress him would be me in the kitchen, not needing a fire extinguisher." Getting out of the jeep, she grabbed the bag of chips she had picked up at the store. "Besides, Jack’s pretty good with the grill, and I get to sit back and enjoy the view."
Casey shook her head, seeing Sam flash her dimples with a mischievous smile. "Think of a recipe like…like plotting a gate address. Just follow the steps, and you’ll end up where you’re supposed to be."
Sam went to ring the doorbell since Casey had her hands full of Tupperware, but the door opened before she had a chance to push the button. One look at Jessie, and they could tell something was up.
"Jessie, you okay?"
"I am so glad to see you two."
They chose to gather at the small dining table, just for the simple fact the chairs had nice, thick pads and were extremely comfortable. Casey set out her dip and the tray of finger sandwiches, Sam poured her chips into a large bowl, and Jessie opened up a bottle of wine, with another one in reserve. The three friends settled in quickly, and Jessie began to fill them in on recent events.
"He did what?"
Jessie shook her head, gesturing with her hands. "I swear I had no clue he was up to something."
Casey glanced at Sam. "Can we see it, or is it too…uh…"
Jessie rose from her seat. "I’ll go get it."
It only took her a few seconds before she returned with the box. Opening it, she handed the paperback book to Sam, with Casey leaning in to take a closer look.
"Holy Hannah. I didn’t realize you could get something like this done."
Casey reached over and took it from Sam so she could read the back. "Well, girlfriend, a man doesn't go through all this trouble for a one night stand, or even a casual affair—this is a man determined to write a whole story, not just a chapter."
Jessie handed them the note next.
Sam let out an evil chuckle. "I have to say, the boy is imaginative."
"That’s not everything."
They both looked at Jessie, noting she was fiddling with the edge of the box.
"What else is there?"
Jessie bit her lip. "When I was in college, I had to write a report for this course I was taking. Cam found it, and read it."
Reaching into the box, Jessie pulled out the paper. Without another word she handed it over, grabbing her wine glass in the process and taking a long sip.
There was silence at first, followed by Sam’s sympathetic, "Oh, Jessie," and Casey’s hysterical laughter.
"You think the title’s good? Read the report." Jessie poured more wine into her glass. "The course was Human Sexuality—the female professor had been busting my ass for being too timid, and not embracing what the course ‘was all about’. I was bound and determined to get an A on that damned paper, so instead of just interviewing women about the subject, I added in my own personal views regarding each and every fantasy they came up with."
Sam and Casey moved their chairs closer together and began going through the report, providing a running commentary as they did so.
"Been there, done that."
"Now that’s interesting."
"Ewwww! I think we can label this woman disturbed."
"Hmmm…do you think that’s even possible?"
There was a lull in the conversation, and then Sam started fanning herself. "Damn, is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?"
"That one," Casey said emphatically, pointing at the page. "He’ll definitely be doing something along those lines."
Jessie looked at what she was pointing at. "What makes you say that?"
"Because of what he said in the note—‘I know you trust me’. The women mention it, and you yourself say you’d have to trust your lover implicitly in order to act out that particular fantasy. Besides, it fits in perfectly with the scenario he described on the back of the book."
Jessie laid her head down on the table, muttering, "Oh god, what have I gotten myself into?"
Casey giggled. "I can tell you what you’ve gotten yourself into, girlfriend, because Sam and I have gotten ourselves into the same thing. You’ve hooked up with an alpha male."
Sam grinned, knowing full well the advantages of that. "Jessie, where did Cam get your paper from?"
"My library. I’ve kept some of my major projects from college, notes, some personal stuff. I’m a pack rat—what can I say?"
Casey felt that familiar poke. "I wonder what other clues your library holds?" Setting her sandwich aside, she got up and walked down the hall, leaving Sam and Jessie to follow her.
Stepping into the room, Sam looked at the floor to ceiling bookcases lining the walls. "Wow, Jessie. And I thought Daniel was the only one who kept a collection like this."
Casey chuckled. "You should have seen Cam, Daniel and I the day we were trying to find the key to Jessie’s code in here. It was like trying to find a needle in a haystack."
Casey went and stood before one wall, glancing at the books on display.
She walked around the room, carefully scanning the contents of the bookshelves. When she turned, she had a grin that spanned from ear to ear.
"Ya know, girlfriend, sometimes your little obsessive compulsive traits speak volumes."
Casey chuckled. "Have you ever noticed you like to line up your books perfectly?"
Jessie shifted from one foot to the other. "Yeah, well…it’s one of my annoying little quirks."
"Hey, I’m not knocking it, just making an observation. And, given that observation, tell me which ones are not like the others?"
Jessie gave her friend a puzzled look before she started looking through the rows of books. With the head’s up Casey had given her, Jessie was able to start picking out the few that were out of place.
Sam wasn’t far behind in recognizing those clues. "Oh, boy."
There were four books that were slightly askew. The three women knew them well—all were romance novels they had read, and all contained some very explicit sex scenes.
"I hope you were honest about your sexual fantasies, Jess. Because I have a feeling they're about to become reality, probably sooner rather than later." Casey took one of the novels from the shelf, and started laughing as she recalled the contents within. "I'll make sure to tell Daniel you won't be in on Monday. You’re definitely going to need a day to recuperate."
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