Authors: Kate Stayman-London
“This guy.” Boaz laughed. “The only thing he loves more than sex is food.”
Bea sighed. Of course Luc had slept with Stefania—of course.
“This depends on the food—and the sex.” Luc grinned and kissed Bea’s cheek, and the rest of the table laughed amiably when she blushed crimson. She was mortified. How many times was this man going to imply she’d slept with him when she hadn’t?
“This poses an interesting question,” Isabeau mused. “If you ask any of us which we prefer, the best meal of our lives or the best night of lovemaking, I am hard-pressed to think of anyone who’d choose the meal.”
“I don’t know,” Bea countered. “I think I might.”
“Really?” Isabeau looked intrigued.
“The memory of the sex is so much more subjective. If the person you had the wonderful sex with doesn’t turn out to be so wonderful, the memory can become a source of pain.” Bea shrugged. “But a really great cheeseburger is still a really great cheeseburger, no matter who was across from you when you ate it.”
“This is your best meal?” Luc teased. “A cheeseburger? So American.”
“Sorry to disappoint you.” Bea met his eyes, only half-joking.
“Never,” Luc responded. “But I am curious to know about this amazing night that has caused you so much pain.”
Bea shook her head. “That’s my point exactly. Some nights, you’d just as soon forget.”
Luc raised his glass. “Then we must toast to nights we are glad to remember. And to people we are glad to have beside us, even if we are eating a cheeseburger.”
The others raised their glasses in turn, and Luc leaned over to kiss Bea softly. As he pulled away, she searched his eyes, wondering how she could have spent so many hours with him and still feel she didn’t know him at all.
After dinner and goodbyes, it was still light out—just after 5
.—so Lauren decided that Bea and Luc should take a stroll along the High Line. It was a chilly day, so the promenade was fairly empty, but of the few joggers and tourists about, several gawked at Bea and Luc and their camera crew, and a few even paused to take photos. A harsh wind blew and the sun was beginning to set over New Jersey as Luc and Bea walked side by side.
“So,” Luc said, breaking the silence, “did you enjoy the dinner? And the company?”
“The food and the people were lovely,” Bea replied.
“Then why are you upset?”
“I’m not upset,” Bea snapped.
Luc shot her a pointed look. “Upset and lying about it.”
Bea exhaled. “I take it you and Stefania used to date.”
“Yes, what of it?”
“I just didn’t know I was going to meet someone you slept with today.”
Bea frowned. “Isabeau too?”
.” Luc grinned at Bea, who couldn’t help blushing as she took his meaning. “Does this bother you?”
“I just think you could have warned me that you were planning to introduce me to a string of your gorgeous exes.”
“This is why you are unhappy?
but you were in a bad mood even before you met them, so this cannot be the reason.”
“I was not in a bad mood.” Bea scowled.
Luc smirked at her—totally not buying it. He took her by the shoulders.
“Come, say what you think. You are still upset about Jefferson?”
“No.” Bea was so frustrated. “Maybe! I don’t know.”
“You think I am not being honest with you? Bea, we discussed all this in Morocco.”
“When you came to my room in the middle of the night, you mean?”
Luc gestured meaningfully toward the cameras. “Perhaps we should not mention this?”
“Oh, come off it, the whole world knows. You made sure of that when you bragged about it to Asher, when you let him think we’d slept together. That was fun for me to deal with.”
Luc closed his eyes—finally, the answer he was looking for.
“This is why you are angry.”
“For starters,” Bea fumed.
“Okay, good,” he encouraged her. “
You tell me.”
“You did the same thing today! All that talk of sex, letting your friends think I was another addition to their little club. You say this isn’t a game to you, but you’re treating it like one, Luc—like I’m a chess piece instead of a human being.”
“Yes, of course! You are a prize, and I must have you.” He grinned and tugged her hand, pulling her close—she shoved him away.
“You’re not listening!” She exhaled in exasperation.
“Bea, yes I am.” He pulled her back in. “I am sorry I made Asher jealous. After Ohio, he walked around every day with his little smirk, like you are his already. So I let him know, he is not the only one who has your affection. I did not think he would cry to you about it.”
“Don’t blame this on him,” Bea chided. “He was really upset.”
perhaps I was too.”
Bea frowned at him. “What did you have to be upset about?”
“Now who is not listening?” Luc asked.
Bea regarded him skeptically. “You were jealous of Asher? Seriously?”
“In Ohio, I met your family, we talked with your brothers, I am thinking,
Wow, this is good,
yeah? Then I see you in tears, you are running off to the woods with Asher, you are more passionate with him than you have ever been with me.”
“And you wanted to get back at him.” Bea shook her head, understanding. “But Luc, why would you do it by revealing something that could make me look bad? Especially since you were the one who came to my room to talk—I didn’t invite you there.”
He took her hands in his, lifted them so he could kiss them. “For this, I am really sorry, Bea. I did not think he would say something to you, let alone in front of the cameras. That was a little cruel, no?”
Bea sighed—she hated to admit that Luc had a point.
“And today?” Bea asked. “You weren’t trying to make me feel—I don’t know. Envious, or inferior, introducing me to those beautiful people you’d slept with?”
“Bea, these are just my friends,” Luc entreated. He put her hands behind his neck, bringing her body to press against his. “I promise, they are not who I was imagining in my bed today.”
“Oh?” Bea felt her body warm as his lips brushed her cheekbone, her hair. “And what makes you think I’d get in your bed after the way you’ve behaved?”
“Mm,” Luc murmured. “If I’ve behaved badly, perhaps you should punish me.”
“What?” Bea looked up at him, not sure what he was getting at.
“You are angry,” he intoned. “With me, with Jefferson, with others, maybe. You feel we have all the power. The control. But in this show, Bea, you are the one controlling me—controlling all of us.”
Bea shook her head. “It doesn’t feel that way to me.”
“Really?” Luc looked surprised. “You do not think of us, sitting in that mansion, or the hotel in Ohio, or the
in Morocco, hours on end, dying with boredom, always talking about you, thinking about you, waiting to hear the next time we will see you? And then after we do, it is excruciating, replaying every moment, wondering what could have happened differently, if you will decide to let us stay or send us home. We are all enthralled to you, my Bea. And what is worse—I find that very much, I like it.”
Bea laughed uncomfortably. “Luc, be serious.”
He pulled her closer, and she pushed him back, but he pulled her in again, stronger—the struggle sparked with an erotic charge.
serious.” His eyes bored into hers. “It is so frustrating, watching you push this power away. I want to shout at you to take it, to feel it, to
. To remember that you’re the one in control.”
“How?” she asked, her voice small. “How do you want me to use it?”
He held her gaze for a long moment, then took her right hand and brought it to his cheek, slowly moving his face against her palm so she could feel the heat of his skin, the rough scratch of his whiskers.
“Hit me,” he whispered.
“What?!” Bea yanked her hand back. “You’re insane.”
“You have never done this before? A little slap?”
“Um, no, Luc. I haven’t.”
His eyes flashed. “A virgin.”
“You’re being ridiculous.”
“And you are afraid.” He stepped closer. “When Jefferson said these awful things about you, you said it was easier to believe him because if he is right, and we do not care about you, then you can’t really be hurt. But this is not the real reason you believed him.”
“What do you mean?” Bea asked, not sure she wanted to know.
“The truth is, you believed him because this is how you see yourself. But it is not how I see you. And I want you to know how it feels to be this woman I see.”
His breath was hot, his hands were strong, always pulling at her, always pushing.
“I don’t want to be a joke,” she whispered.
“You aren’t one.” He nipped at her ear. “I promise.”
She looked up at him—this was crazy.
“What if I hurt you?”
“We are only human,” he urged. “We hurt each other all the time.”
Adrenaline coursed through her as she took a step back, never breaking eye contact with Luc. “You’re sure?”
He gave her the barest grin. “
Bea smiled. “Okay, then.”
She brought back her hand and let it fly.
TRANSCRIPT OF CHAT FROM #SQUEEZE-MAINIACS SLACK CHANNEL
HOLY SHIT, SHE SLAPPED HIM
COLIN, NO SPOILERS THE EPISODE ISN’T EVEN OVER YET
Sorry sorry holy shit
What the hell just happened
I am so turned on right now
HE’S KISSING HER HE’S KISSING HER AGAINST A WALL
This is the best television of my life
Guys, come on, PLEASE NO SPOILERS
We’re literally all here watching right now, who would we even be spoiling?
The rules are important! They have to mean something!
Lol ok Mistress Beth
Oh my god, please never call me that again
Or what? Will you punish us, Mistress Beth?