The Cusack Effect
Better Off F*cked: The Cusack Effect
We call it the Cusack Effect.
Well, I call it that but Ethan just laughs at me. At least until last Saturday afternoon.
He may not show his pretty face so much anymore, but John Cusack was my very first crush. I mean, Google the guy. Floppy dark hair, squinty brown eyes and that voice. He made Dimitri in Anastasia the number one crush for at least half the girls in my elementary school, the one we’d squeal about on the playground. All the Disney princes sound the same and then here comes Cusack, putting his own velvet-tongued spin on the whole trope.
“Just like he did with romcoms,” I enthuse for the millionth time as Ethan pulls up High Fidelity on streaming – also for the millionth time. “Like, he could play a nerd without all the toxic masculinity Gamergate shit it comes with now. Or he was an outcast, the kind who was misunderstood and okay with it, confident even. I acknowledge that Say Anything has problematic elements –”
“Like the borderline stalking.” He hits Play, then Pause, so I can continue ranting and raving.
“Like the borderline stalking,” I agree as Ethan sinks down on the couch we rescued from the curb after unpacking the last box on our very first shared apartment. “But ‘In Your Eyes’ though…” I clutch my heart and fall back.
As always, he catches me. I lean back against his chest and watch his hands slide over my forearms, light brown over vampire-pale, until I’m completely encased.
My home life growing up was…dramatic, to say the least. Watching John Cusack movies with my mom on her good days was one of the few moments in my childhood I was at peace. From moment one with Ethan, when I stood behind him in line and he bought my latte, I always, always feel safe.
Lips brushing my ear, he murmurs, “I’m still not putting on a trench coat and holding up a boom box.”
High Fidelity has everything. Breakups. Makeups. A depiction of Chicago, our beloved home city, that’s actually accurate (for most of us, life exists far beyond Michigan Avenue). A soundtrack that holds up to this day: Kinks, Beta Band, Velvet Underground. And best of all, Cusack in all his glory: no longer an ‘80s teen dreamboat but a tall drink of water who broods on the el train in worn-in band T-shirts that look so soft, bantering with Jack Black while learning to be a better man.
Don’t get me started on the funeral that leads to rainy car sex.
Speaking of sex…
I’m in my usual bum-around Saturday gear of flannel Old Navy boxers and a Hanes tank. Hardly the corset and fishnets I don for special occasions. But the way Ethan is running his fingers over my knee, creeping steadily up my thigh, he’s clearly feeling my ensemble.
I flash back to years ago, pre-Ethan, a rare moment of calm in my house when my parents were away, one of the weeks they were actually getting along. I was eighteen and had my boyfriend over: a sweet guy from the Catholic school who bore more than a passing resemblance to Cusack in Better Off Dead.
“This okay?” Ethan rumbles in my ear, hand moving higher as Cusack rumbles about his five worst exes. I nod and arch to give him easier access, the back of my head touching his shoulder, a perfect fit.
I remember my sweet first boyfriend asking the same thing during Better Off Dead before unhooking my bra with clumsy teenage hands. Eventually, I helped him and we laughed nervously before his eyes took in my breasts, nipples pointed right toward him. His eyes widened, and he promptly ate me out, inexperienced but open to instruction, my hands with their dark blue nails gently moving his head where it needed to go, my body experiencing its first non-self-induced orgasm as he sucked my clit and Muddy Waters’ “Mannish Boy” blared in the background.
The Cusack Effect is real.
The boy and I broke up in college, but now I have Ethan. My handsome Puerto Rican Shakespearean actor with crystal blue eyes, who still buys me lattes, found us this third-floor walk-up with plenty of the natural light I crave, and had appreciated my Cusack love from the very beginning. He looks nothing like John. He’s even better.
Onscreen, Cusack enters a club in a baggy button-down (I may have bought Ethan one that looks just like it) as sultry Lisa Bonet sings Peter Frampton. Unlike my sweet high school boyfriend, Ethan doesn’t need to be told where to put his hands. I turn my head and our mouths meet, gently at first, like our very first kiss outside the dive bar with the popcorn machine that would become our favorite. I could smell the salty kernels in the air as our lips and tongues became friends with one another. I went home with him that night. When you know, you know.
Now I can taste his favorite sour Gummi Worms as the kiss grows intense in a way it hasn’t been in a while thanks to long-term coupledom and cohabitation. He hasn’t shaved in a week, and the stubble is silky under my fingertips. I stroke the soft tuft of hair at the back of his neck, softly knead just the way he likes. Ethan moans into my mouth, warm hand moving up my torso and cupping my breast, nipples stiff under the thin fabric. It’s almost hotter that he’s still on the outside of my clothes, as if someone could catch us any second.
My lips move from his mouth to his neck, and as I gently bite his earlobe I can feel his cock hardening against my lower back. I push my ass back against him and he moans, louder this time. His hand that’s not playing with my tits is sliding over my body, teasing up my thigh to just below the hem of my boxers and when I buck up, frantically trying to move it higher, he just laughs.
“Asshole,” I whisper, but two can play this game, and as Cusack directs the hipster girl to the soul section of Championship Vinyl, I push Ethan to a seated position and straddle him, my clothed pussy on top of his cock.
“Oh shit,” he sighs as I capture his mouth again, grinding my hips and rubbing my tits against his T-shirted torso. His hand brushes my bare shoulder blade to take my hair in his fist and pull just enough to tip my head back so he can devour my neck. His hands are everywhere: first in my hair, then brushing my aching breasts, then traveling down to squeeze my ass, almost frantic, like he’s trying to memorize me even though he knows my body better than anyone ever has. I need even more touch, more contact, just more, so while Cusack and his ex have a loaded conversation about who’s slept with whom, I pull away, look Ethan directly in the eye and pull my tank top over my head.
His eyes widen, just like my first boyfriend’s long ago, but instead of diving in like I desperately want him to, Ethan nuzzles the space between my breasts, teasing me with his silky stubble and warm breath, with just a hint of tongue. “Come onnnn,” I groan, but he takes his sweet time, brushing his fingertips over the sensitive skin before gently sucking on one nipple, then another, going back and forth as he moves underneath me, cock rubbing against my wet, still frustratingly-clothed pussy.
I fumble for the hem of his Dead Kennedys shirt and his hot skin against mine almost sets me off right then and there. “Oh Jesus,” I whisper as he pulls me down for a deep kiss, before full-on diving into my bare cleavage. “Take it,” I encourage him, shoving his head into my tits and before I know it, I’m coming, the combination of his hard cock against my clit, his soft mouth and skilled hands too much to bear for one more unfulfilled second. As I ride him into my first orgasm, I throw my head back, the crack on the ceiling that looks just like a half-moon coming into sharp, sweet focus.
“Need some relief, sweetheart?” I whisper in Ethan’s ear as I’m coming down and he nods, frantically as I tug down his shorts to reveal his smooth, pink cock. The first time I saw it, bigger than any I’d taken in the past, I nearly had a heart attack, but now I’m fully aware that (unlike most men) he knows just how to use the gift he’s been given.
“Oh hello there, big boy,” I whisper, sinking to my knees, knowing any burn I get from our Target rug will be highly worth it.
I’ll be honest: if there’s one thing I love more than watching Cusack onscreen, it’s sucking my boyfriend’s cock in real life. Now I get both. Taking the base firmly in one hand, I silently thank my friend who taught me to give better blow jobs during a college threesome and lick the tip, sighing in satisfaction as a drop of precum makes itself known. I start slow and shallow, sucking him softly and using my hands more than my mouth, then take a deep breath through my nose and go for the deep throat.
“Fuuuuuuuuuck,” Ethan groans, loud and deep, and I smile in satisfaction, my mouth full of him. Instead of shoving my head down he runs his fingers through my hair, then starts massaging my scalp. I hum in satisfaction, bobbing my head up and down as I take him, sticking my ass up in the air and wiggling it just a little, to tease.
“You’re gonna make me come with that shit,” he warns and I lift my head.
“Is that something you want?” I ask. Onscreen, Cusack’s just scored with Lisa Bonet, but he’s still thinking about the one he really loves.
Offscreen, Ethan looks down at me, kneeling before him, his blue eyes glowing in the early afternoon light. “I wanna be inside you.”
“Well then,” I purr, shucking my shorts so he can see I’ve gone commando. “I aim to please.”
But before we fuck I stand over him, sliding one finger into myself, then another, feeling my own wetness as I fuck myself, as his eyes widen. “What are you doing to me,” he moans.
I smirk, biting my lip. “Just making sure you’re serious.”
I straddle him, thanking the Flying Spaghetti Monster for my IUD and monogamy so we don’t have to worry about running upstairs for the condoms we still keep on hand for emergencies. “Jesus, you feel good,” I whisper in his ear, running my tongue along the edge and biting his earlobe as I rub against his cock like I did before, my clit so stiff I’m surprised it doesn’t pop off. He takes my nipple in his mouth – two can play this game apparently – and I need him to fill me now, now, now.
I can hear lovelorn Cusack monologuing and it’s the perfect soundtrack for me to oh-so-slowly sink on to Ethan’s cock, the lovely hardness getting further and further inside my wet cunt, while he kisses my throat. Placing my hands on the back of the couch for leverage, I begin to ride him with increasing speed, getting close once again.
“Baby, make yourself come around me,” he rumbles, and I have no choice but to obey, fingers finding my clit, loving the feel of him thick and hard inside me, my inner walls hugging him as I stimulate myself from the outside. “Oh, there it is,” I cry, my voice getting high and breathy just like it does before my most intense orgasms, and suddenly we both explode as he thrusts harder up into me and I see stars all around before looking into his eyes and hearing the next scene start up and knowing this here and now with him, with Cusack, with my memories, is exactly where I want to be.