Claire clutched the crimson rose in the palm of her hand. The thorns had not been removed, but she didn't notice the pain. She was livid and the glimmer of amusement in The Haitian's eyes told her he was aware of her mood.
Aside from the rose, she wore a white dress that she was admittedly a little embarrassed about. It was open down to her belly button. The only thing keeping her breasts covered was a loop connecting the two pieces of fabric at chest level. She didn't usually dress like this, but the powers that be decided they wanted to go all out for the ad campaign. So, here she was auditioning partners for the photo shoot scheduled for the day after tomorrow. Unfortunately, none worked out so far. And she'd have had the bruised toes to prove it if she didn't heal.
The last lug hadn't even bothered to show up, not that she was too disappointed in that. She called him a lug because from the things she'd read about him he couldn't dance. He had a pretty face and the board felt she was a strong enough leader to make it work, which was why he'd been included. It didn't work that way, not for the types of pictures they wanted anyway. She couldn't be thinking about which foot she was supposed to lead with and gaze lovingly in a guy's eyes, knowing she was doing his work for him.
"Perhaps you're overlooking the obvious."
"And that would be?" She knew she sounded snotty and that he didn't deserve it, but if he knew a solution she wished he'd tell her instead of speaking in riddles.
"There might be an option you're not considering," he said simply just as she was about to turn off the CD player. He still didn't talk much, but he talked to her more than anyone else.
When her family, both of them, had demanded she have someone with her most of the time she'd complained. She didn't need a bodyguard or to be watched over like a baby. They'd insisted and told her if she didn't choose they'd assign someone. She'd gone with choosing. Him. Claire wasn't sure if he was happy with his assignment, but he never complained. And there were times she got the impression he did, in fact, enjoy it.
"What? You're going to do it," she said, glancing at him over her shoulder. She could have looked in the mirror, but for some reason the mirror never seemed to do him justice.
"Why not," he said simply.
"Do you even know how?"
She recognized the look in his eyes. She'd challenged him, and apparently he felt he was up to the task. She'd gotten pretty good at the look herself over the years.
She got the impression that was certainly not a no.
"All right," she said. "You've been around so you know what they're going for with this campaign."
"I'd know by the way you're dressed even if I hadn't been present for the negotiations."
"This wasn't my choice," she said, crossing her arms in front of her. She felt self-conscious now, though she hadn't a second ago. The dress wasn't bad, parts of her that should stay covered weren't visible or anything.
"I know that as well, but you look very nice even if it wasn't your choice," he said as if sensing she was feeling self-conscious all of the sudden.
She blushed a little but then he did that to her a lot. There was something about the way he looked at her that said he thought she was sexy. She didn't understand it, he'd never tried anything with her.
"That wasn't what I was going to say, no."
"Turn the music back on, Claire. If I am not sufficient, you will find someone else tomorrow. It's late, it certainly won't do any harm in trying."
He was right. What could it hurt? He wasn't anywhere near the type the board of directors had picked out for her to audition. She turned the machine back on and then a push of a second button the CD started to whirl around.
The small mirror-covered room quickly filled with the sounds of El Tango de Roxanne. She liked the song; it was different from the typical tango song. And since they were filming as well as taking still photographs in the event they decided to up the campaign to TV ads, she may as well show she was diverse in her selections.
He met her in the middle of the room. Her doubts about whether he could lead her were quickly dispelled when he took hold of her with the authority of a man who knew exactly what he was doing.
She let him lead her through pretty much the entire mix she'd put together. The tango, samba, rumba, and the cha-cha were among them. The powers that be didn't want the standard fare waltz or fox trot. They were going less for the romantic and more for the sensual aspect of dancing. They didn't seem to understand that all dancing could be sensual if you wanted it to be. The movie Dirty Dancing had been popular for a reason.
It wasn't until the end of a song she realized he'd lead her just steps away from her back being flush against a mirror. It was kind of fitting, because the next song was more conducive to an intimate bump and grind. Her self-consciousness had flown out the window during the first song, so she didn't think twice about going with it.
He seemed to get that and moved with her quite skillfully. She couldn't help but wonder where and how he'd learned. And also who had taught him. She didn't see anyone from The Company taking the time and energy to give him dance lessons.
His arms snuck around her as the song started working toward its end. He pressed her back against the mirror, still moving with the music to this point. Her breath caught and she missed a step, then two as the thought came to her that he was going to kiss her. Judging by the look in his eyes, he didn't want to stop there.
Like his dancing, there was no doubt he was the one in charge as his lips found hers. The kiss was, for lack of a better word, brutal. Not in a hurtful way, but a pent-up. He'd wanted to do this for a long time and held back.
His hands slid to her hips, moving with the beat of the next song without breaking the kiss. She never really noticed how large his hands were until they slid up a little and his thumbs grazed the bare skin near her belly button. He gave a soft groan when he found her piercing with the pad of one thumb. His touch skin to skin in a place normally reserved for more intimate and personal things sent shivers down her spine. It'd been a long time since someone made her body tingle from a simple kiss.
The back of one hand continued where his thumbs left off, tracing a light path up along the V of the dress. He gave a soft groan that sounded like frustration when he encountered the loop. It didn't stop him for long, though. He slid his hand lower and reached for her that way, cupping a breast.
She'd expected it, knew full well what he was doing but that didn't stop her from being surprised. His hand's gentleness contrasted his kiss, which still betrayed his neediness.
They stayed like that for the rest of the disc. Eventually, they gave up the pretense of trying to dance. He broke away once in a while, lavishing kisses on her neck.
"Turn around," he murmured and she did without question or thinking it through.
He continued kissing her neck, brushing her hair away so he had access to the nape and side of her neck. He managed to leave bite marks there. It made her curious until she remembered he could do that, stop a power from working.
He slid both hands so they cupped her breasts. She gave a groan of pleasure, feeling desire pool in her as he stroked her nipples with his thumbs. He glanced in the mirror then, eyes meeting hers.
"Do you like to watch?"
She swallowed, not sure she could actually answer just then. She nodded instead.
"Me, too," he whispered, trailing a path of kisses along her shoulders. She shuddered in response. She'd never really gotten to see her body react before. Sure, she'd seen her nipples erect before, but to watch as he stroked them and feel her body react as he did that was a turn-on.
He kissed lower, along her bare back. Eventually, he had to slide his hands from her breasts, causing her to groan in frustration. He used them instead to touch her as he slid lower, kissing along her spine as he moved to his knees.
He found the hem of her skirt and reached under it. His hands were warm against her legs as he slid them up, raising her skirt as he went. The heat from his hands made her want him more. She gripped the barre for all she was worth when he pushed the crotch of her panties aside and slid a finger inside of her.
He kissed the back of her thigh, prompting her to spread her legs further apart. One finger was joined by two and she gave in to it, closing her eyes to enjoy the feel of him inside of her. She'd always known he'd be attentive. You spend so much time with someone you just wonder sometimes.
"Open your eyes," he whispered as he moved in front of her again.
"Sorry," she murmured, glancing at him as he brought his mouth between her legs.
She cried out when he licked her, parting her lips with the fingers already inside of her so he could slide his tongue inside, too. She clenched around him, unable to help it at the feel of him licking her, thrusting into her with the soft, silky wetness that was his tongue.
Balancing as she was, most of her weight supported by the barre so she could stand as far on her tiptoes as possible, her legs trembled when his tongue found her clit. She met his dark eyes, knew that what he was doing wasn't just turning her on.
"Watch," he murmured, drawing away when her eyes fluttered closed again.
"Don't you have more important things to pay attention to?"
He chuckled against her and that sent a shiver through her body all over again. He slid his hands to either hip, supporting her as he sucked, licked, and bit her everywhere. She wouldn't be surprised if she had hickeys on her thighs, too.
He could sit here all day and do this. It wasn't just the tasting her he enjoyed, but also the pleasure she appeared to be receiving. He knew she'd respond to him if they ever got to this point. He'd just been hesitant to initiate. He'd been her choice, but not out of desire or want but because she viewed him as a lesser evil. She'd come to view him as her shadow, not a bodyguard exactly. Just someone to ensure she was safe.
He'd sat in cars with her, listened as she had intimate conversations with boyfriends. No, she didn't engage in phone sex but her tone was enough to tell him what was being discussed. He'd also had to erase more than one of her boyfriends memories. They'd learned, seen, or heard something by mistake. It wasn't always damning, but put together with other things over time could be. With those memories, he got other ones.
He knew which ones she'd slept with and which ones she'd broken it off with before they could get that far. He knew from their memories what she looked like in various stages of sexual encounters. They were pictures, like a silent movie, in his mind as he took the memories necessary to ensure her - and all like them - safety.
What he hadn't thought of was that the memories he shared with these men were just images. Not only did they not do her justice, they did not see or appreciate her for who and what she truly was. They were just stills brought to life by his own active imagination through putting the various images together. There was no scent, no touch, and no taste.
And she tasted better than he could have imagined. Not to mention how she felt beneath his fingertips. Skin smooth and unblemished aside from the few marks he'd left behind this evening. He enjoyed doing that because he could. And he was the only one that could. At least the only one who could ensure they were visible as long as he decided to leave them there.
She wasn't afraid to come either. He loved feeling her legs tremble against his shoulders and arms as her body released, allowing him to taste her the way he'd wanted to for so long. Too long. He'd wondered often how she didn’t see it, notice the way he looked not just at her but the men she went out with. Maybe it wasn't as obvious as he thought, it was the only thing he could come up with as time went on and she never seemed to notice. Either that or she was incredibly shallow. Or cruel. Neither was the case.
Her body relaxed now, he slid up the length of her body. How he wished the loop at her chest was removable. He kissed her, pleased she didn't rebuff him or pull away from tasting herself. The way she pressed against him, kissing him eagerly he was pretty sure she didn't care.
She reached for the front of his pants, agile fingers working the button before he had a chance to stop her. He slid both hands to her face, kissing her lightly before stepping around and behind her again. He met her eyes in the mirror as his hands reached for her skirt, pulling it up again. His eyes fell closed when she reached behind her to work the zipper on his trousers.
"Wasn't it you who said to watch," she whispered, sounding amused.
He murmured something she didn't understand. He did that sometimes, reverted to whatever language it was he spoke. It wasn't exactly French. Regardless, she had to admit she liked it when he did. It sounded kind of sexy.
"I have something much better in mind to watch," he said, kissing her ear.
He slid a hand along her thigh, reaching between her legs. Despite seeing it, watching his hand move in the mirror she gasped as he stroked her sensitive nub, obviously her body was ready for more.
"What's that?" The question wasn't necessary. She could guess what he had in mind. Well, she could have guessed until he moved his hands away from her lower body. He rested them over her hands, settling them on the barre again.
"You will need to hang on."
She nodded simply, his breath warm against her neck as he spoke to her. His hands slid along the length of her arms, over her shoulders and down again to her hips. He reached behind her for a minute and she gave a soft groan of protest that he wasn't touching her.
Her skirt was held in place by the length of his body pressed against hers. He prompted her to spread her legs before he used his hands to lift her so the tips of her toes barely touched the ground. And then she realized the reason for the loss of contact as he slid inside of her. He didn't waste any time either, which she had to admit was something she liked. Teasing and going slow was fine, but this wasn't the time.
Her position didn't render her able to move against him, but she made up for it by using her muscles to clench around him, drawing him in deeper. He seemed to like that. His hands slid along her inner thighs, brushing against her clit as he worked at keeping her balanced.
She'd had sex before. She'd been with guys who didn't seem to know how to do anything but fuck. There was nothing wrong with that once in a while, but it was nice to be on the receiving end of spontaneous sex that had some emotional entanglements involved with it. She wasn't just a piece to him. She realized the same was true as he started pumping into her faster and deeper.
She'd never really watched before. Well, not herself anyway. She'd been in front of mirrors before, but they'd eventually been forgotten. At least by her. It wasn't as hard to keep her eyes open as she thought it would be. They were close enough to the mirror that there was little doubt what they were doing, even if the positioning left her not being able to see everything she would maybe like to see.
She adjusted her hands on the barre, shifting a little so he could go even deeper inside of her. His mouth was busy at her neck and ear, but he'd stop every once in a while and glance at her in the mirror. His eyes betrayed his arousal, which only served to increase hers. She was doing that to him, putting that look in his yes. She didn't think it was possible for his eyes to get any darker they were so dark to begin with, but they were at this moment.
It was a good thing no one else was there at this time of night because neither of them were doing anything to try to disguise what they were doing. He brought her off with his hands, spilling himself inside of her with a satisfied groan almost at the same time when she clenched her muscled around him for all she was worth.
He didn't pull out of her right away, tightened his hold around her waist and gathering her up against him as he placed kisses along her neck. She turned her head and he kissed her jaw. Finally, when he'd slipped out of her, she turned in his arms, sliding hers around his neck so she could kiss him.
He drew away after a minute or two, eyes serious as he took her in. "You are all right?" he asked.
"Yes, more than all right."
He chuckled. "Yes, I am not the one who had to stay on the tips of my toes. And in those shoes."
"That's what dancers do."
"I have a whole new appreciation for the art now."
She gave a soft laugh. "I bet you do."
"Next time I'd like to see if one of your legs can be up on the bar."
Her eyes fell closed at that. Her muscles would be all kinds of sore for a few minutes afterward, but god did that ever sound exciting.
"Is that so?"
"In fact, I call next time in front of the mirror so I can actually see better."
"You enjoyed that?"
"Yes, it was hot."
"You are hot."
She slid a hand along his jaw and neck, tracing his Adam's apple lightly. "So are you."
"So, do I get the job?"
"I think for the pictures they want you'll work just fine."
She smiled, leaning in to kiss him.
"I'm not sure I'm thoroughly convinced yet."
He arched an eyebrow at that. "Oh?"
"Yes, there are some moves I've yet to see."
"You are not talking of dancing any longer, are you?"
She gave a soft giggle.
"Here?" he asked. "Not again tonight."
"Okay. Why not?"
"I'd like a bed in a real room where I know we will not be walked in on."
"I have a couch in my office."
"You do not wish to go to my place?"
"Sure," she said with a shrug. "I just didn't know what you had in mind."
"Not to let you out of my sight until I have to tomorrow morning."
"Out of your sight, huh?"
"By the time I'm through with you there will be no doubt I'm more than qualified to be your partner."
"I think I'm up to that challenge."
"Let's go find out then," he said, offering her a hand.
She took it after she'd turned off the stereo. She really had no doubt that they'd be photogenic together and give the board exactly what they wanted. All she'd have to do is remember this moment and she'd get flushed from excitement.
"Perhaps we can incorporate this," he said, taking hold of the rose she'd dropped on the floor sometime during their dancing.
"That sounds fun."
He should have looked ridiculous standing there holding the rose, but he didn't. Maybe it was the fact that he had something in mind for the rose and that was the reason he was holding it.
"Did you forget something," he asked when she paused at the door.
"No," she said, glancing behind her. "I'm just not sure I'll look at this room the same again."
He chuckled then. "That is not a bad thing."
"No, it's not." She pressed herself against him, kissing him. "In fact, it's a very good thing."
"Kiss me like that again I might believe you."
"You know, there are other rooms in the studio…"
"Not tonight. Bed."
"If you insist."
"In this I do."
She smiled, grazing his jaw with a fingernail. "I can think of worse things to obey."
"I am glad you do not view a night in my bed a hardship."
"Only one night?"
She saw something then pass over his face.
"As many nights as you care to be there."
"I would not lie nor will I deny I plan to do everything in my power to ensure you realize it is where you belong."
She smiled again, saw the sincerity in his eyes. He wasn't lying or feeding her a line. "I might be hard to convince."
"Are you up to the challenge?"
He gave a soft laugh. "In more ways than one."
"Just making sure."
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com