My friends had set me up on a blind date. I wasn’t one to ever agree to do this, but they’d badgered me so much I decided that the only way to make them stop was to actually give in and go. So here I was, seated at a bar in downtown Manhattan, waiting for the supposed white knight to arrive.
He is twenty minutes late.
Why I trusted my friends, was beyond me. I was wasting my time on a man who was not going to show. I shook my head, feeling a bit awkward as I sat here all alone. Taking a sip of my Citrus Martini I smiled up at the bartender as he came by for the third time.
“Can I get you anything else, love?” His Irish accent was a pleasant sound as it cut through the heavy chuckles and loud murmurs of people around me.
His bright smile was a complete contradiction to the current feelings that plagued me. That dreaded sense of nervousness slowly began to arise, followed by the familiar pang of solitude that settled deep in my chest. I quickly gulped down my drink as he watched me, a peculiar glint in his eye. Almost as if amused, as if he’d witnessed this before. He probably had. A woman getting stood up, gulping down citrus alcoholic beverages in sheer despair.
“One more of these, please.”
He nodded. “Anything you want, love.”
Turning slightly, I glanced around the room and took in the patrons. Some were laughing with friends, couples on awkward first dates, yet others sitting close and whispering their secrets to one another. I suddenly felt like a lost soul in the midst of a crowded room.
Why do I let them sucker me into this?
They had no idea how much it cost me to put myself out in the open like this. How hard it was for me to sit here, alone. I swallowed back the tears of anger as that vicious anxiety rolled over me. I hated that I couldn’t do normal things like normal people. That every little task would throw me into a whirlwind of doubt. It was always the same, the feeling of dread that consumed me. The fear that everything that could go wrong, would.
Looking down, I focused on my hands on the wooden bar top, the repetitive rhythm of my fingers tapping on it, the involuntary shake of my right leg.
Deep breaths. Take deep breaths and calm down.
I wasn’t always like this. I used to be happy, carefree. But after the car accident, my head just wasn’t in the right place. The nightmares had subsided, and my weekly appointments with my therapist had helped some. But there were always the memories. The sound of the tires screeching, my Dad’s arm pinning my Mom to her seat, the shout Liam gave right before we struck. The face of the trucker who’d fallen asleep at the wheel still haunted me. I’d lost them all that night. Liam, my fiancée, had lasted a couple more days, barely breathing until the decision was made to pull his life support. I had no say in it all, it was his Mother’s decision, even though I begged her to wait. After that night, life sort of became a blur.
During that period in my life I withdrew from everything. I stopped hanging out with my friends, stopped calling, although they never gave up on me. I quit my job in the city and worked from home as a translator. Working on transcripts and captioning for a couple major television studios. I made it clear on my contract that I would only communicate with one person in the group, and I was not up for calls. If they needed to speak with me they could email me.
I lived a quiet life and hid behind a screen where I was a ghost. I didn’t have to put up with this façade of being the bright normal woman, when inside, I cringed at the thought of meeting new people. Being alone was easier, it was something I knew, it was safe. It was the only way I could keep from ever again becoming attached to someone. It was the only way to avoid heartbreak.
The bartender returned, that bright knowing smile on his face while he set the glass before me. “Can I order you something to eat, lovely?”
Lifting the glass to my lips, I shook my head and sipped slowly, enjoying the citrusy taste it left on my tongue. The front door swung open and a cold gust of wind swooped into the warm confines of the bar. I shivered as it swept up my legs, making me shiver. I turned to see who had so pleasantly left the door open and that’s when I saw him. He was shaking off the excess snow from his trench coat as he stood in the doorway. Finally stepping inside, the door slammed shut behind him. He looked up and I literally sat there, dumbfounded.
While he removed his coat and draped it over his arm, my eyes took him in. His charcoal tailored suit molded to his broad shoulders and thick muscles underneath. He was tall, clearly taller than most of the men in the bar. He had a pair of sharp blue eyes that flew past me as he assessed the place. He was clearly looking for someone. I squeezed my thighs tightly as I imagined his facial hair leaving behind red streaks of pleasure along my pale white skin.
Someone shouted nearby bringing his attention to me. His electric blue eyes met mine, and I quickly looked away. Closing my eyes, I could feel the blood rush into my cheeks. I bit down on my lips and slowly turned, being drawn in by him once again. His attention was fixed on me, and he arched a thick eyebrow as he let his eyes wander up my body. His gaze floated upward, starting from the tip of my black patent leather pumps to the soft nylon thigh highs I wore. As I shifted in my seat, he bit down on his lip and smiled. I’d never seen a sexier man. Following his eyes, I realized my black garter belt had become exposed to his amused, licentious glare. He smiled playfully, seductively, and his eyes continued their journey along the red silk of my dress, my curvy hips, lingering on the curves of my plump flesh.
Licking his lips, he paused on my plush breasts and they instantly responded to him, tightening into tiny little beads that wanted his attention. I knew he could see the hardened tips through the thin material of my dress. I wasn’t wearing a bra tonight, thanks to my best friend who had insisted I needed to look sexy. The dress she’d lent me barely held me inside.
His eyes shot up to mine and my body responded immediately. The delicate area between my legs began a delicious throb, and electricity hummed along my skin. In my life, had I ever felt such a connection before. It was instant chemistry, one I didn’t think existed.
I turned around and stared down at the orange swirl in my drink. He’d started to walk towards me-long purposeful strides headed right in my direction. I could feel his presence as he approached, the scent of his rich cologne hit me first, followed immediately by his warmth as he leaned against the bar. I tried ignoring him, focusing on the half empty cocktail before me. I slowly sipped, letting the heat of it travel down my throat while I tried to put aside the unbelievably strong attraction I felt for this man.
The deep notes of his voice rumbled as he ordered a vodka tonic. The bartender looked from him to me and smiled, that knowing smile of his. I ignored him and took a much larger gulp of the alcohol in front of me. My eyes went to the man’s left hand which was thrumming a familiar beat on the wooden bar top. My own fingers following his rhythm. I immediately stopped, and I couldn’t help but stare up at him. My eyes traced his handsome silhouette, a broad forehead, the sharp angle of his nose, his thick bottom lip, a perfectly lined goatee sculpted his chin and upper lip, his teeth were clenched as my eyes travelled along his chiseled jawline. The man, was divine.
I was so wrapped up in his features, I wasn’t noticing his hands. I gasped in shock as I felt his fingertips roam playfully along the seam of my stocking. Acting as if he wasn’t doing anything inappropriate, he took a leisurely swig of his cocktail and set it down slowly.
“If you want me, just say it.”
I stared down at his hand, as it wrapped around my thigh and my eyes flew up to his. “Excuse me?”
He smiled before turning towards me. His eyes hooded with desire. “I feel it too,” he whispered.
My lips parted, and he growled deep in his chest. A raw guttural sound that drew me to him like a moth to a flame. His lips aligned with mine, his fingers sliding through my hair and pulling me into his hard, demanding kiss. His lips were soft, yet hard, the kiss was ardent and greedy.
The connection was overwhelming, and I pushed back at him, breaking the kiss. I hid my face in his chest, not knowing what to say, not sure if I could even talk. I was too confused by the emotions coursing through me. His fingertips slid gently across my jaw, a featherlike touch that calmed me. He pinched my chin gently, and tipped my head, so my eyes met his.
He smiled, a kind, warm smile that melted any resolve that had built in me. There was a spark, a realization that I had absolutely nothing to lose. That maybe this one man could make me feel something other than this numbness I’d felt for so long.
He leaned in, his lips lightly skimming my own. “Aren’t you a pretty thing. Don’t fret, Angel. I’ll only go as far as you let me.”
My breath hitched as his warm palm glided up under my tight skirt, and he shifted so he could shield us from view. I stared up at him shocked, and yet absurdly aroused. The dim fire he’d lit only kept growing as his strong hands slid up my fleshy thighs. His thumbs dipped forward, along my inner flesh, close enough to my core to have me on edge.
I gave out a slight whimper as he firmly tugged my knees open, placing himself between them. Biting my lip, loving his groan of appreciation as he hissed hotly against my lips.
“Let me take you home.”
“I…I don’t do this,” I whispered.
“Good. Cause I only want you doing this with me.”
He grabbed my hand and before I could even think, he was guiding me out of the safety of the bar and leading me to an unknown fate.