The Mistakes by Elizabeth Brown
Release Date: April 4th 2017
Series: Off-Limits #3
Genres: Adult, Romantic Comedy
It started as a promise.
A momentary lapse in sanity had me agreeing to two months of celibacy.
Then Mark Bishop showed up. My new boss was cocky, possessive, and unfortunately, sexy as hell.
My first mistake?
Thinking I would last two months.
The Mistakes - A Sexy Office Romance
Book III in the Off-Limits Series - Winnie and Mark's story.
Dual POV. A standalone.
Warning: This story contains mature humor, a lot of cursing, and of course, sexual situations. It’s intended for adult readers who enjoy that kind of thing.
“Hang on,” Ainsley said, her voice muffled by the bathroom door.
“What are you doing?”
“I’m looking it up on my phone,” she explained as I gnawed on the edge of my lip. “Okay, wait, do you have more than one sore?”
I felt around down there with my hand. “No, I don’t think so, but I can’t really see it.”
“But it doesn’t hurt, right?”
“No... I mean, not really. It’s not itchy or burny or anything… just annoying.”
“Okay, hang on.”
I frowned at myself in the mirror. This was so dumb. I knew better. I was twenty-six years old, for Pete’s sake. And while I might get around on a fairly regular basis, I also knew how to protect myself. So why the fuck was I now in my best friend’s bathroom, staring at my vagina, trying to figure out how I’d pissed it off?
I started to go through a list of partners in my head. They’d all seemed clean and professed as much on their OK Cupid profiles. But even then, I’d bagged that shit up.
I wasn’t stupid.
I bet it was fucking Troy. I knew I shouldn’t have trusted a guy in red skinny jeans.
“And you’re sure it’s not a bite?”
I sat back on the toilet. “Pretty sure. Bugs and me don’t get along. I swell up way more than this.”
Ainsley paused long enough that I started to wonder if she’d left.
“You still there?”
“Yeah. Sorry. Still reading. I’m wondering if it’s maybe a genital wart. You said it’s just in one area?”
I looked back down. “Uh, yeah, I think so.” A wart? Great. That’s hot. If Troy gave me a genital wart I swear, I will cut it off and leave it taped to his Honda Civic.
“Hmm,” Ainsley continued. “Could be HPV. This article says that we can test it with vinegar.”
I wrinkled my nose. “Gross. I hate vinegar.”
“You’re not gonna drink it, Winnie. The article says if you put vinegar on it and it turns white, that means you have HPV. If it stays the same, it’s something else.”
I was beginning to regret enlisting my best friend to help me with this. “Are you sure you’re not on foodnetwork.com or something?”
“It’s Mayo Clinic.”
I sighed. “Do you even have vinegar?”
“Yeah, I think Lam has some in the pantry. Hang on.”
A few moments later Ainsley thrust a glass bottle of white vinegar and a few Q-tips through the crack in the door. “Here. Dab this on and watch it in the mirror.”
“I don’t know if I can, Ains.”
“It’s just vinegar. It won’t even sting.”
“No, I mean, I don’t know if I can watch it. I can barely see down there. I need you to—”
“No freaking way, Win.”
“Oh come on, it’s not like you haven’t ever—”
I could hear her exasperation through the door. “Exactly. I have seen your vagina way more times than I need to.”
“It’s clean, I promise. I mean, except for my STD. I’m all waxed up. Taint is one-hundred percent untainted.”
“Come on, you’re really gonna just leave your best friend here to season Wally all by herself?”
Ainsley drew in a deep breath and then forced it out. “You are insane. You know that right?”
“You love me. Now get in here and help me with my vagina.”
A little while later…
As Ainsley pulled off the yellow plastic dish-washing gloves she’d donned to do the procedure, I frowned. “Were the gloves really necessary?”
“Win, I love you, but I’m not risking genital warts a week before my wedding. I’d never be able to explain myself to Lam.”
“Lam” was short for Lambo, Ainsley’s finance. Lucky for him, he made her really happy, because I also thought it was short for “The stupidest fucking nickname on the planet”. They’d been seeing each other for almost a year now, but they’d known each other for much longer, since Lam was best friends with her older brother Ryan.
I pulled my underwear back up as she scrolled through her phone. “Well? Anything?”
“Ainsley. You’re freaking me out. Did it change color or not?”
A few more moments passed in silence. At this point, I wasn’t sure what I was hoping for. Was a wart better than HPV or herpes? I was pretty sure one of them could cause cancer, but I couldn’t remember which one… was it HPV? I think it started with an H.
I should have paid better attention in health class.
“Would you just tell me? It’s HPV, isn’t it?”
Ainsley sat back on her heels. “Nope. It didn’t change color. Winnie, I think—I think it’s just an ingrown hair.”
I felt the blood return to my face. “Are you serious?”
“But I don’t get ingrowns—I use the fancy gel.”
The fancy gel that costs eighteen dollars a bottle.
“No, really. I don’t think you have an STD. Look, it looks just like these pictures.”
I glanced at the pictures and was about to respond, when my cell phone started buzzing. I glanced at the incoming call. “Hang on Ains, it’s Lucy.”
She started to clean up the supplies as I answered the call. “What’s up Luce, everything okay?” I said, carefully disguising any concern in my voice. My younger sister Lucy has Down’s Syndrome and she gets super annoyed if I treat her like a little kid. Which I suppose is fair, considering she’s almost eighteen.
“I was going to make tacos, but we’re out of cheese,” she said, matter-of-factly.
I looked up at the ceiling, knowing where this was going. I loved my sister, but when it came to meal time, she had her rituals, and Tuesdays meant tacos. And Lucy refused to live in a world with cheese-less tacos.
I hesitated before I responded. Our mom had run off years ago, and consequently I was always walking the line between older sister and parent. In this case, it was between a benevolent sister who could easily pick up cheese on the way home, and a realistic parent who wanted to teach her the importance of learning to deal with a world that sometimes didn’t have cheese.
This time though, the sister won.
Mostly because the sister had bigger issues at hand. “Yeah, I can pick up some cheese on the way home.”
I nodded, even though she couldn’t see me. “Yep. Sure. Cheddar. Got it.”
“The orange-est. I’ll even take it past the tanning salon on the way home.”
“Winnie, don’t joke.”
I laughed. “Don’t worry kid, I got you.”
The line went dead, and as I hung up Ainsley looked at me, concerned.
I sat down on the toilet. “Yeah. Just a minor freak out. It’s taco Tuesday and tacos apparently don’t exist without orange cheddar cheese.”
Ainsley’s face softened. “How is she doing anyway?”
I shrugged. “Good… I think. I told you she started this volunteer gig, right? The one where she’s helping out at this community garden?”
Ainsley pressed her lips together and tilted her head at me. “I don’t think so.”
“Someone donated this plot of land near the high school so a bunch of kids are turning it into a garden.”
“That sounds right up her alley.”
Ainsley knew how obsessed my sister was with all things green and growing. “Yeah. She loves it. It’s cool too, because it’s not just the kids with special needs, it’s a mix.”
“That’s awesome. She’s still coming to the wedding, right?”
I laughed. “Are you kidding me? She’s obsessed. It’s all she talks about. Right now your wedding is ranking right up there with succulents.”
“Oh, succulents, is that good?”
“The only thing that supersedes succulents is her obsession with this new orchid she got a few weeks ago. And speaking of obsessing,” I said, grabbing the mirror next to me. “I need to see this ingrown hair.” I stood up, pulled my underwear down, and flung my foot on the bathroom counter, trying to get a better angle.
“Jesus, Win,” Ainsley said turning away.
“Relax, you were just up front and personal with her a minute ago.”
“What if Lam walks in?”
“Oh please, it’s just a vagina. Fifty percent of the population have them.”
She watched me as I angled the mirror. “Win, you won’t be able to see it. It’s way in the back. Trust me, you’ll be fine. Just give it a few days. It has a dark center where the hair is. I’m sure it will work its way out.” She paused and got out her phone. “Here, hold still for a second would you? I can take a pic.”
I complied and she moved her phone down near my asshole, snapped a photo, and then held it up for me to see.
“Ew. That’s an ingrown hair?” I squinted at the blurry photo. “It looks like a Furby sitting on my ass. Can’t you just like, fix it for me?”
Ainsley got up. “Uh-uh. No way. I just vinegar-ed it. That is officially my boundary. I am not going to lance and drain your ingrown hairs.”
“I’d do it for you.” I said in a sing-song voice.
“No, you wouldn’t, because I’d never ask you to.”
“Come on, you said it’s right near the surface. It’d be easy.”
“Winnie. You are officially insane. No.”
“I’m not going to stop asking. Do you really want your bridesmaid to be uncomfortable during your whole wedding because she’s got an ingrown hair yammering in the vicinity of her perineum?”
Ainsley frowned. “You are the worst, you know that?”
“And you are the best friend, remember?”
Ainsley studied me for a moment and then the corners of her mouth began to tick up. “Okay, you know what? I’ll do it for you. Under one condition.”
I didn’t like the sound of this. “What?”
“I’ll lance it for you if you promise to take a break. ”
I wrinkled my nose. I didn’t like the sound of this.
“Just a little one.”
I frowned. “Why?”
“Come on, Win. Do I really need to explain why?” she lowered her voice to a whisper, “You almost had a Wally.”
“But I didn’t. I got… an Ian.” I said, smiling.
“Ugh, see?” Ainsley groaned “That’s what I mean. You are so dick-centric that you even give your STDs male nicknames. Don’t you see how messed up that is?”
I frowned. Okay, yes: I was more promiscuous than my chaste friend. But so what? “You know as well as anyone that my lifestyle doesn’t make it easy to date someone.”
Ainsley laughed. “Your lifestyle? You’re making it sound like a choice.”
I pressed my lips together. “Well, whatever you call it. I have to take care of Lucy and between work and everything I’m just too busy to do the relationship thing.” I paused. “And you know I don’t want to skip the good stuff.”
“You mean sex.”
“Duh. Spice of life.”
Ainsley crossed her arms. “Well, if you want me to fix your Furby, that’s my price.”
I hesitated. “So you’re saying I have to give up all the dicks?”
“Yeah. All the dicks. That’s my price.”
I sighed. “For how long?”
She pressed her lips together. “Two months.”
My eyebrows shot up. “Two months!”
“Yep. Just to give yourself time to D-tox,” she quipped, over-annunciating the D.
I grinned and shook my head. “That’s cute. You think that all up on your own?”
She chuckled. “Clearly I’ve been hanging out with you way too much.”
I thought for a moment. “I can still use my toys?”
Ainsley shrugged. “Don’t see why not. Just no sleeping around. This freaked me out, Win. I need you to be safe. I don’t know what I’d do if anything ever happened to you.”
I rolled my eyes. “Boy, you really know how to bum a girl out, Ains.”
“But you’ll do it?”
I pressed my lips into a thin line. “If I do, you’ll lance Ian for me?”
“Fine. Whatever. Two months. But only because I love my vag more than dicks. I can’t have her feeling like a freak.”