A moment of elation. Followed by a pure resentment she hadn’t felt since she was a child. In a flash of inspiration or rebellion, even she wasn’t sure which, she grabbed her purse, keys and coat.
She opened the door. He was standing before her in an impeccable olive green suit. His amber green eyes flashed at her with a smile. A deliciously evil thought crossed his mind and his tongue licked his teeth as he took her in. He looked like an oasis in a vast, empty desert.
She walked right past him without bothering to close the apartment door behind her, “There’s wine if you want it. Lock it when you leave.”
She was outside the front of her building faster than she expected to be. The cold slapped her in the face. She deftly put on her coat, pocketed her keys and strapped her purse over her shoulder in almost choreographed smoothness. It wasn’t until she stepped into the snow that she realised she still had her booties on and not her boots. It didn’t matter. To turn back now would have been a defeat she couldn’t recover from.
He knew she was feisty, but he hadn’t expected this. He closed her apartment door, hesitating about locking it, but he was pretty sure she had her keys. He followed behind her knowingly but was surprised that she had gotten out the door and down the road as quickly as she had. He thought about waiting for her, but he also had a feeling she wouldn’t come back. He smiled to himself. He enjoyed a good bout of cat and mouse, and he would extract endless pleasure playing with this particular quarry.
By the time she got to the river, tears were streaming down her face. Was it the relief that he showed up? Was it fury that he had made her wait for a week without a word? She hated dangling from the threads of men who wanted to toy with her just for the thrill of it. She could be lethal when people underestimated her. She laughed. She spent her life expecting the most from everyone she met, and she was consistently disappointed. While most everyone she met underestimated who she was and what she had to offer, which she absorbed as deeply insulting. 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you' had been a machete that eviscerated them and her in equally bloody displeasure.
She searched every fibre of her being to assess her present circumstance. Was he really just an asshole like every other asshole who had ever tried to tame her? Or had she finally met a man who had self-control, awareness, creativity, power and what seemed like an excellent sense of adventure? She had only ever imagined than a man like that existed. She was probably projecting.
But there was something about him she instinctively knew better than she knew herself. She had prayed solemnly for decades that someone like he even existed, and it was suddenly overwhelming. ‘Run. Run fast and run far.’ was all she thought, and she obeyed that impulse without question – ‘and whatever you do, don’t look back. Run until you can’t run any further.’
By the fifth block, he realised this wasn’t merely a front or a game of hard to get. She wasn’t turning around, and she wasn’t stopping. And he was beginning to feel the freezing cold off the river.
“STOP!” he bellowed into the hollowing wind, and she did without turning or acknowledging him in anyway except with the cessation of motion.
She hadn’t expected his voice. She had hoped he had given up. He walked around and stood in front her. She wouldn’t lift her eyes to look at him.
“I’ll never get to enjoy punishing you if you keep punishing yourself.” He waited for her sarcasm, bravado, cynicism. She had none to give.
He marvelled at her ability to weep openly. He had imagined her denial of emotion or weakness as he had seen in all the others, but he had not witnessed something so pure and vulnerable and absolutely human as her unabashed need. He took her face in his hands and kissed her tears, savouring the hot, briny stream.
He whispered in her ear, “You humble me.”
He turned away looking for shelter but settled for a taxi at that hour. The hot blast of heat from the car was welcome as they climbed in the back. He handed the driver a 50. “We need to thaw. Just drive until that runs out, please.”
She stared out the window and they drove in silence for longer than felt comfortable or warranted, but she needed time to speak. She turned and looked at him scouring his eyes and face for triumph, mockery, condescension. He had none to show.
“You hit a nerve,” she waited for his response. He said nothing. “I don’t know what’s happening. I’m so –“ He put his fingers on her lips to stop the apology that was about to spill out.
“If you apologise for this, it becomes a tragedy and this….well this is unexpectedly…exhilarating.”
She looked at him like he was speaking ancient Aramaic, “You’re not going to tell me how you don’t need any more drama in your life?”
He brushed some strands of hair that were almost frozen to her tears away from her eyes with his hand, “People who don’t want drama in their lives want to exist without living. I think it’s a waste of time. Imagine being on your death bed and having absolutely nothing to remind you of how vital your life was... because in the here and now you didn’t want the hassle.” He smiled almost to himself. “Strife is just something that reveals who we are. And you are nothing short of a thrill,” he softened and opened up to her, “You’re not a toy for me to play with. This isn’t a game to me. This is who we are to each other.” He shut up to let that sink in.
He motioned for her to take off her coat and he laid in across her lap like a blanket. Then took her hands and placed them gently on her lap, “Your hands don’t move from there until I tell you,” he whispered as he kissed her cheek. “A week without release has taken its toll.”
He held her gaze with his searching eyes as he reached between her legs. She took a breath and let the cold and the tension in her legs release giving him unimpeded access to her sex. He smiled at her eagerness, but he was going to savour every moment and take in ever nuance.
“Look at me. You may not close your eyes,” he commanded in a hushed tone.
She was trapped – perfectly. She had exhausted her emotion and shown her desire, and with nothing but air and her need, he had pinned her in place. Requiring her to look at him made her heart leap into her throat. She had not been so vulnerable with anyone, and she was surprised by how it aroused and intimidated her.
“Don’t think,” he was gently caressing the small silk triangle of her thong. “Feel,” he slipped his fingers under the silk and she stifled a gasp. “Breathe. Ah! Eyes on me.” He continued to gently fondler her, teasing her, until he got her to laugh. “I’m just exploring. Don’t expect the moon in the back seat of a taxi. This is going to take a while," just as he hit that spot that made her quiver from the inside out, and she knew he could see in her eyes. She was exposed in a way that being tied spread eagle on bed would never reveal.
Without moving a muscle or releasing her gaze, he told the taxi driver where to drop them. He wouldn't let the moment end until they were in front of her apartment.
He had made his initial discoveries of her more richly, deeply and effectively than he originally thought possible. She was going to challenge him in ways he never considered, and for a moment he wondered if it would be worth the effort. It would end eventually, everything does, but he was tired of being bored. He was tired of coasting along. If he were truly honest with himself, he was tired of winning at a game that had become far too easy for him. If she was anything, she would never be easy or boring.