From Friends to Lovers

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Alone in the empty, unfamiliar staff room, Rhys and Cariad make awkward small talk, while they each waited for their turn to be interviewed. They were the last two left. Cariad wasn’t confident about her chances. She was looking for a career change, so she had no experience within education, other than the work placement hours she had done as part of her course.

Rhys was unqualified, but had worked abroad at children’s summer camps; as well as volunteering hours at the school they were being interviewed for.

Cariad was a little awestruck by Rhys and found herself nodding, open mouthed, while he talked about the different camps and projects he’d been involved with. She was beginning to feel disheartened, her interview was after his and she just didn’t see how she could compete with him!

His messy, longish hair was pushed back whenever it fell over his eyes, which were a similar deep brown to Cariads. He had a way of looking at you as if he could see inside of you.

Cariad was shorter than average, with very short ‘pixie cut’ hair, that was currently dyed a dark shade of blue- black. She wore striking, thick framed glasses and was dressed far too casually for a job interview! But she was comfortable, unlike Rhys, who rarely wore a suit and was fidgeting in the confines of the tight, buttoned shirt.

Soon it was Rhys’s turn. “Good luck.” He smiled at Cariad, “It was nice meeting you!”

Cariad breathed deeply, trying to calm her nerves.

***

Six weeks later, at the end of the school summer holidays, Cariad started her new job at the school. She had no idea what to expect but was thankful that her first day was a training day! As the staff made their way into the classroom they were using, Cariad spotted two other women from the interview day- both were a lot more experienced than she was! As the room began to quieten down so the session could begin, the classroom door opened again. Cariad was pleased to see it was Rhys and smiled at him. Rhys smiled back and headed for the seat next to her, both pleased to see a slightly familiar face!

***

There were a few teachers and teaching assistants all of similar age; and soon a nice little friendship group formed. They went to the pub on a Friday afternoon, met up for meals and occasionally went out drinking on a Saturday night. Rhys and Cariad quickly formed a close friendship, often doing things together straight after work; going for a coffee or window shopping. Rhys was also good at phoning her randomly over the weekend with a plan, that Cariad would get swept away with; ‘I need new sunglasses! Let’s go shopping in Cardiff!’ or ‘Bowling tonight? 7pm?’

Cariad loved how impulsive he was, which balanced out how reserved she could be. As they got to know each other better, Cariad discovered how anxious and plagued by self doubt he could be. Outwardly he always came across as confident and in control, which Cariad came to realise wasn’t always the truth. Rhys on the other hand, could read Cariad like a book. She could be quite withdrawn, getting sucked into her own darkness. He was quick to spot it and find ways to bring her back out of it; never judging her or belittling how she was feeling.

Cariad had never had a best friend, her occasional dark moods often pushed people away; but not Rhys. People often commented on what a lovely couple they were, until one of them would reply awkwardly that they were just friends.

Not that Cariad hadn’t thought about it. She had resigned herself to being single forever and one day becoming a crazy cat lady. But that didn’t mean she couldn’t have the occasional glance at him, when she thought he wouldn’t notice! Some days she lived for the moments when their hands would brush against each other, or when he’d pull her close for a playful hug.

***

One Saturday, their group of friends decided to meet up for a Christmas night out. They would all go to Hannah’s house from work to get ready- and have a few drinks- before hitting the town.

Recently, Cariad had been having problems with one of their friends. Alys could be unpredictable after a drink. She had no idea when to stop, often becoming aggressive with the others. The last couple of nights out they’d had, ended with Alys trying to start a fight with Cariad. Rhys and Matt were always on hand to intervene, but it upset Cariad that Alys targeted her like that for no reason.

As soon as they’d sent all of the kids home for the day, they headed over to Hannah’s, stopping at Tesco on the way to buy bottles of beer and sugary alcho-pops. Everyone was in a great mood! At the house, Hannah put on some music while everyone got dressed up ready to go out.

Cariad wasn’t a ‘girly- girl’, so didn’t change into a dress and heels like the others. Instead, choosing to wear fitted black jeans, a loose sequin top and her red converse. She looked on as the others fussed with their hair and make up, silently pleased that she didn’t have to go through all that hassle!

The güvenilir bahis guys were all wearing similar combinations of jeans and shirts, only Rhys was wearing his open over the top of a t-shirt. They’d already started on the beers when the girls came downstairs. Matt wolf whistled playfully and Sam blew him a kiss, winking at him with her long eyelashes. There were plenty of rumours surrounding Matt and Sam’s relationship, but neither of them gave anything away.

Rhys passed Cariad a beer and smiled. She nodded a thanks and drank deeply from the bottle. She was looking forward to going out, she just needed to keep out of Alys’s way once she’d had a few drinks. Sensing her unease, as he always did, Rhys gave Cariad a playful punch to the shoulder. She smiled at him again.

Soon they were making their way into Cardiff. It looked beautiful. Twinkling Christmas lights were everywhere and gorgeous light up, willow reindeer and polar bears stood guard outside the castle. Cariad smiled to herself. She loved Christmas. The lights, the fun and the beautiful decorations were her favourite. She’d already found the perfect gift for Rhys!

It was busy in Cardiff and there were long queues to get into the clubs. Everyone seemed to have chosen the same weekend for a Christmas night out! They stood in the queue chatting, waiting for their turn to go in. Rhys put one arm around Cariad, rubbing her arm to help keep them both warm, she smiled gratefully at him and leaned into his side.

Once they were in the club, they made their way over to the bar and Matt ordered a round for them all. Cariad, Hannah and Sam were quick to make their way to the dance floor, leaving the others at the bar.

Alys was downing shots as if they were water. “You need to take it easy.” Matt frowned at her, “You won’t last the whole night at this rate.” Alys glared at him, “Mind your own business Matt.” She growled, “Go and bother Sam.” Matt shook his head and shrugged at Rhys as he headed to the dance floor with the others.

Rhys finished his drink without saying a word to Alys. He could sense the mood she was in and turned to look for Cariad. He spotted her quickly, smiling at how relaxed and carefree she looked as she danced with the others. He felt his heart swell. She looked beautiful tonight. He didn’t want Alys to go and ruin it and decided to try and keep them apart as much as he could.

Rhys headed over to the others and joined in with the dancing. Sam came back with another round for everyone, leaving Alys at the bar. Rhys smiled at Cariad, it was hard not to when she was so happy. It completely lit up her face. He found himself thinking again, about how beautiful she looked. She caught him staring and he quickly looked away, embarrassed by what he’d been thinking about. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Matt in a heated conversation with someone. Rhys turned and saw it was Alys. Matt looked as if he was telling her that she’d had enough and should go home. Alys looked angry, she shoved Matt back; the crowd parting around her, trying to stay out of her way.

Alys staggered over to Hannah, trying to dance in between her and Sam. It wasn’t long before Rhys noticed her glaring at Cariad. Quickly he leaned towards her, cupping his mouth to her ear so she could hear him better. “Shall we try the bar upstairs? I’ve heard the music is good up there.” Cariad smiled at him and nodded, gesturing for him to lead the way. He smiled back, lightly taking hold of her hand so he wouldn’t lose her in the crowd. He glanced back to check Alys wasn’t following them and let out a short sigh of relief.

Cariad laughed when they reached the upstairs bar. They were playing a cheesy mix of 80’s music, much to her delight! Still holding her hand, Rhys pulled her towards the bar. He ordered them both a drink and looked at Cariad, who was singing along to the music. He smiled to himself; he just wanted to see her happy. They quickly finished their drinks and Cariad pulled him over to the dance floor. Wham! was blasting from the speakers making Cariad giggle as they danced along.

Suddenly the music slowed, the introduction to True Colours faded in. Cariad went to move back to the bar but Rhys touched her on the shoulder to stop her. She turned around to see him holding his arms out to her. “Dance with me?” He smiled. Cariad blushed, taking a few steps back. “No… I can’t! I’m rubbish at it, really…”

“Come on, I’ll help you!” Rhys smiled, still holding his arms out to her. Cariad quickly shook her head, “No, really… I don’t know what to do or where to put my hands…” she trailed off, Rhys raised an eyebrow at her and reached for her hand.

Keeping hold of one of her hands, Rhys giggled as she put her other hand on his side. “It’s not Strictly Come Dancing! We’re not doing a waltz!” Cariad let go and backed away quickly, embarrassed by her mistake. She’d seen Rhys dance with plenty of other women before, they all seemed to just know what to do.

“Well türkçe bahis I told you, you knew I couldn’t do it!”

Realising he’d crossed a line, he quickly stopped laughing and stepped towards her. Rhys took her hands and placed them both around his neck, while he wrapped his around her back. He could feel how tense Cariad was, he didn’t know if it was because he was making her slow- dance, or if it was because she was dancing with him.

“Relax.” He whispered in her ear, but she just seemed to tense up more.

“Rhys, I can’t do this…” Cariad mumbled, but Rhys held her tight. “Please?” He whispered, “Trust me.”

Cariad let out a breath. Of course she trusted him, more than anyone else in the world. She let him take control, swaying them gently in time to the music. She relaxed a little, resting her face against his chest and singing along quietly. Rhys’s stomach flipped, he didn’t know why he felt so nervous around her tonight.

The next song started up and Rhys waited for Cariad to let go of him, but she didn’t. “You ok?” He asked quietly. She smiled up at him, earning a smile back. He carried on moving them in time to the music. Much as Cariad didn’t usually enjoy slow- dancing, she didn’t want this moment with Rhys to end.

She startled as she felt his one hand stroking her back lightly. She felt a tingling along her spine, up into her neck and let go of him suddenly. Rhys blushed, “Sorry, I’m sorry Car!” He stepped back. Cariad shook her head, “It just tickled a bit…” she smiled, stepping towards him tentatively to resume dancing.

Rhys placed his hands on her waist this time, as she rested hers on his chest. Cariad closed her eyes, concentrating on the motion of their dancing, listening to Rhys’s heart thudding in his chest. She slid her hands awkwardly down his chest and around him, so it was more like a hug.

He held her tightly, pulling their bodies together, breathing in the scent of her shampoo. Gently, he rested his face against the top of her head. They were barely moving now, both lost in that moment; standing on the dance floor in each other’s arms. Neither of them wanted to be the one to move and ruin it. Slowly, Rhys reached his hand up and lightly caressed her cheek.

Cariad felt overwhelmed, this was way beyond their usual friendship. Suddenly she pulled away from him, muttering about needed to find the toilets. Rhys stood there for a moment, puzzled by her sudden departure. He watched her walk away before he headed to the bar.

He cursed himself for pushing her away, but was surprised by her extreme reaction. He quickly downed a double vodka, before ordering them both a beer; hoping she was coming back.

After a long wait, Cariad came back to the bar. Rhys wordlessly passed her a beer. She smiled meekly. “Look I…” they both started talking at once. Rhys smiled, “Cariad look, I…”

Cariad raised her hand to stop him talking. “No, Rhys I need to say something.” He nodded for her to continue.

Cariad took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Urgh, I don’t know where to start,” she sighed, “I’ve never told anyone before…” she looked at Rhys leaning against the bar, waiting for her to continue. “This is embarrassing. I’m sorry for running away, I just… I’ve never done this before.”

Rhys frowned. Cariad looked away, speaking to the floor instead. “I’ve never been with a…a… man before.” She continued looking at the floor, waiting for him to laugh at her. His silence made her look up at him. He wasn’t laughing, just looking at her curiously. “I don’t get it? When you say you’ve never been with a man…what do you mean?” Rhys asked.

Cariad sighed again. “Well I’m still a … you know…” Rhys startled with realisation, “virgin?”

Cariad nodded embarrassed. Rhys didn’t know what to say. He suddenly realised that they’d discussed his previous relationships, but never hers. “That’s fine, that’s normal… you don’t need to explain…” he replied hurriedly. Cariad looked at him. Rhys smiled awkwardly.

“I’m sorry,” he smiled kindly, “I can’t believe we haven’t talked about this before. I’m sorry if I’ve made you uncomfortable…”

“No!” Cariad answered quickly, “I’m not uncomfortable!” Rhys smiled back at her, holding out his hand, “Dance with me?” Cariad took his hand and let him pull her back to the dance floor, wrapping her up in his arms again. She settled awkwardly against his chest, letting him control their motion again.

Cariad was annoyed with herself. It’s not that she didn’t want things to go further with him, she just didn’t know what to do. Now he probably wasn’t going to do anything! She’d probably ruined her one chance to experience what everyone else seemed to be doing. She felt tears building and lifted a hand to wipe them away.

Rhys didn’t know how to proceed. Did she want him to make a move or not? She had come back to dance with him. Surely she wouldn’t have done that if she wanted to distance herself from him? He bent his güvenilir bahis siteleri head close to hers and whispered, “I really want to do something, but I wanted to ask you first…” He lifted her chin with his fingers, so they were practically nose to nose. Cariad gasped at being so close to him, feeling his warm breath against her face. “Can I…” he moved slowly towards her and placed his lips gently on hers.

When she didn’t back away, he pressed his lips against hers firmly. Keeping their lips together until he felt her relax against him. He was nervous about making her first time a disappointment. He opened his mouth a little and Cariad copied him, leaving him room to slip his tongue into her mouth. She was too caught up in the moment to feel nervous anymore, mimicking his tongue movement with her own.

Rhys ran his hands slowly down her sides. Cariad felt herself tremble with pleasure at his touch, feelings surging through her that she’d never experienced before. She was disappointed when Rhys finished the kiss, looking down at her warily. Quickly she reached a hand up behind his head and pulled him back towards her, placing her lips against his. Cariads heart was racing, her hands trembling with nervous excitement.

They kissed through most of the next song, barely stopping to breath. Cariad wanted more and more, running her hands over his chest, losing her inhibition as passion took over. Rhys placed his hands over hers, looking into her eyes.

“Do you want to come back to mine?” He asked quietly. “No pressure. We can just cuddle if you want?” Cariad smiled gratefully at his patience and nodded.

He held her hand as they left the club, to make sure he didn’t lose her in the crowds. They headed for the nearest taxi, making the short drive back to Rhys’s flat.

***

Cariad couldn’t find the words to hold a conversation, so instead, followed Rhys silently up the stairs to his flat. She could feel the sweat trickling down her back as she waited for him to open the door.

She’d been to Rhys’s flat numerous times since they’d met. It was a nice place, just the right size for him. He had space for a large comfortable sofa, a 50″ TV for his Xbox, a spacious kitchen and a good sized bedroom with an en-suite. Cariad was still living with her parents, still scraping money together for a deposit on a place of her own.

Cariad sat on the sofa, while Rhys went to check in his fridge for beers. He handed one to Cariad and sat down. Cariad fiddled with the label nervously. “Are you ok?” Rhys asked, “Honestly, we can just sit and watch a film or something if you want?” Cariad thought for a second, before moving closer to him on the sofa. He stretched an arm around her shoulders, pulling her into his side. Cariad tucked her feet up next to her on the sofa and snuggled into him. Rhys reached for the remote and flicked the TV on.

There wasn’t a lot on that late at night, but they settled on the last hour of a sci-fi comedy they’d both seen before. Soon they were relaxed and laughing at the film.

As the credits began to roll, Rhys took Cariads beer and placed it on the table in front of them. He pulled her closer to him, brushing his lips against hers. Cariad leaned into him, exploring his mouth with her tongue, while he ran his hands over her back; brushing lightly against the top of her bum. Cariad groaned quietly, leaning into him further. “Shall we take this to the bedroom?” Rhys asked tentatively. “Ok..” Cariad replied quietly, both nervous and excited at the prospect of losing her virginity.

Rhys sat on the bed, pulling her down to him. He was conscious of not moving too fast; so he wrapped her in his arms and kissed her again. Cariads heart was racing. She didn’t know what to do next. Was she supposed to undress him? Or should she wait for him to start? She giggled nervously. “What?” Rhys smiled. “Nothing, I just… well I don’t know what I’m supposed to do now..” Cariad explained. Rhys raised an eyebrow, “What do you want to do?”

Cariad blushed making Rhys chuckle. He kissed her gently again, slipping off his shirt and pulling his t-shirt over his head. He closed his eyes as Cariad ran her hands over his chest and down to his naval. She could see a bulge growing in his trousers.

Trembling slightly, she sat up, pulling her sequin top over her head and fumbling with her bra. He smiled at her, reaching out to lightly stroke her firm breasts, trailing his finger lazily over her nipple. Cariad gasped and her nipples hardened instantly at his touch. He placed a kiss on each of her breasts as she slid her hands down to rest on his hips.

Cariad paused, enjoying the sensation of Rhys’s tongue caressing her nipples, before reaching down to undo his jeans. Without stopping what he was doing, he lifted his hips slightly, to allow her to tug his jeans down. His erection was very obvious through his boxers now. He reached down to slip her jeans off too, leaving them both in just their underwear.

“Will this hurt?” Cariad whispered quietly. Rhys paused and looked at her. “A little bit, probably.” He replied honestly, “But we can go at your pace. Tell me to stop at any time. But even if it hurts at the start, that won’t last long.”

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