How have you been feeling?
I was super excited to celebrate the 200th episode last week. There was no dedicated party, but we did have a Eurovision week on the Keybase chat and it was a *blast.* Thank you all for joining me there!
(Not a part of our chat group yet? You can download Keybase for free and then request to join the team ‘frtlr’)
Okay, time for a teaser ^^
UPDATE 06/02: Added some extra excerpt!
Nathalie watched the clock on the oven. The little arrow moved toward the zero mark slowly but steadily. In ten minutes or so, the lasagna would be ready. Nathalie had already set the table. She had poured the wine. And now, she was waiting.
Upstairs, Raven had turned off the shower. Nathalie could hear her walk around in her small bathroom. She loved that Raven was in *her* bathroom, changing into her old shorts and a shirt.
“I could get used to this,” flashed through Nathalie’s mind as she smiled.
Something just felt so right about having Raven around. Nathalie enjoyed living alone and rarely invited anyone over. She liked being on her own. But sharing her space with Raven felt so natural and even a little exciting.
Okay, more than a little exciting. Nathalie was absolutely giddy. She wished she could slow down time and make tonight last as long as possible. This felt like it might be her last chance to get to know Raven better.
Raven was leaving on Saturday, she knew from taking care of the travel arrangements. That meant Friday would be their last day together. That was only four nights away. Nathalie cringed every time she thought about it.
Would Raven disappear from her life after she went back home? If she invested in the company, that seemed unlikely. She would have to come to the office now and then, right? Bart’s stunt might have made Raven less likely to invest, though.
In a way, it might actually be better if Raven didn’t, Nathalie thought. It would make this attraction between them a lot less complicated. Not that Nathalie had worried much about the professional boundaries and having a crush on Raven.
But that could change if this flirting kept escalating. The short but intense daydream at the grocery store certainly had been a wake-up call. The images had been explicit and exhilarating enough to keep Nathalie quiet for almost the entire walk home.
Nathalie heard her phone buzz but ignored it. It was probably Kim, ready to tease her when she found out Raven had gone home with Nathalie. It was better not to let her best friend know until Raven had left.
But when would that be, Nathalie wondered? Hopefully not immediately after dinner. That seemed unlikely now that Raven had taken the time for a shower. Still, Raven could be pretty unpredictable, Nathalie had learned in the last two days.
“I think I look pretty good in your shorts,” Raven said.
Nathalie spun around, eyes immediately dropping to Raven’s legs. “You do,” she said.
She had given Raven an old pair of light blue workout shorts. They fit nicely around Raven’s thighs. Nathalie’s mouth went dry as she took in the lines of Raven’s legs a second longer than she should have.
“Perfect,” she mumbled.
Raven laughed. “You’re not very subtle, are you? I used some of your shea butter. Hope that’s okay?”
Cheeks flushing, and avoiding Raven’s eyes, Nathalie pointed at the oven. “That’s fine! I better jump into the shower before the lasagna is ready.”
“Yes, better hurry,” Raven chuckled.
“Can you check the lasagna now and then?” Nathalie asked as she hurried into the living room. She gestured at the table. “Feel free to have some wine!”
“Why, thank you,” Raven replied playfully. “I might just do that.”
Nathalie ran a hand through her hair. “Sorry, you know what I mean,” she stammered.
“Go shower,” Raven grinned, picking up a glass of wine from the table. Her braids were pulled back loosely and she had removed the pearl earrings. She looked relaxed and comfortable in Nathalie’s shirt and shorts.
Nodding, Nathalie replied, “I’ll be right back.”
She took the stairs two steps at a time. In her bedroom, she quickly grabbed a shirt and a pair of soccer shorts for herself. She paused before closing the wooden door of the closet. Her cheeks were still burning.
“What am I doing?” she asked herself, staring at her clothes on the shelves.
It was a rhetorical question, of course. She knew exactly what she was doing. She was sending Raven increasingly clear signals. Should she stop herself? If she wanted to, now really was the time to take a step back and let things cool off.
“Aren’t you a little pretentious?” a small voice in the back of her mind whispered. “Who says she’s into you?”
Nathalie huffed. It was true that she was operating under a lot of assumptions right now. Raven hadn’t even come out to her. There was no reason to assume Raven was into women, let alone her. Apart from the relentless flirting, that was.
“What if she is married?” Nathalie suddenly wondered. She shut the door of her closet. “No, she can’t be,” she thought. “She would have mentioned a spouse by now.”
Nathalie walked through the landing, focusing on any sounds that came from the living room. She didn’t pick up any. Raven was probably relaxing on the couch with that glass of wine.
Closing the bathroom door behind her, Nathalie started unbuttoning her blouse. More questions kept popping up in her head. “What do you really know about Raven?” Not much. “Where do you think all of this is going?” She had no idea.
She pulled down her jeans, struggling with the tight fabric. “How about you just try to focus on having dinner?” she told herself. “Stop thinking so much.” Nathalie kicked the jeans to the side and made quick work of her underwear.
After stepping into the shower, Nathalie looked down at her body, brushing her fingertips over her stomach. Would Raven like her body? How would Raven’s body feel pressed against hers?
“Oh, shut the hell up,” Nathalie hissed at her own uncontrolled mind and turned on the cold water.
💜 Dear fellow romantic,
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