“Do you know why the type of men in that place can’t resist you? Because you stand out from the rest of the crowd. You might as well dress all in white and stick a pair of fucking wings on your back. In fact, your wedding ring makes a damn good halo. You represent something forbidden, something….untouchable and when you come across something so untouchable, well, it just makes you want to touch it even more.”
Hands now. His hands. Touching me. We were in that hotel room and his hands were on me.
“Men don’t really want what they are allowed to have. Where’s the fun in that? It’s easy. It doesn’t fuel their ego. It doesn’t turn them on. They want the chase. They want the hunt. They want the battle. They’re all warriors at heart, or at least some like to think they are. They wander around that club, decked out in their battle garb, too much hair gel, way too much cologne, and there are plenty of women who will make it so easy for them, because they want the same thing. But those women blend into one, same clothes, same hair, same make-up, the same faces over and over again. And then there’s you. Tucked away in some corner, so desperate for them not to touch you. And they can sense that, you can see them all, sniffing at the air, trying to find you where that sweet smell is coming from. You don’t belong there, you’re an angel amongst demons.”
I swallowed, wishing my mouth didn’t feel so dry. “Well, no offence to you, but you don’t look like you belong in a place like that either.”
His emerald eyes sparked with interest and he leaned forward again, closer this time. “You don’t think I belong amongst the demons?”
I held my breath for a moment.
His lips were on mine and he was sucking gently on where I had made my mouth bleed.
“It’s just….and please don’t take this the wrong way….it’s just you don’t look like the guys that hang around in there. You’re……” I cast my eyes over his tattooed neck and beard. “Well, you’re just different that’s all.”
“Slightly less hair gel?” he teased.
“Only slightly,” I shot back, smiling now. “Sorry, I’m not being rude, you understand?”
His smile broadened and I felt something tickle in the base of my stomach. He really was very handsome, under all that hair of course. And as for his hair, under the bright Starbucks lights, I could see it was thick, dark and glossy, cut slightly into the neck at the back, but longer at the front. If I was any closer, and if I had dared, I would have leant forward to see if it smelled as good as it looked. Tonight, he wore a grey t-shirt emblazoned with some band name that I didn’t recognise under a black leather biker jacket. And he really did have the longest eyelashes for a guy, something I always thought quite unfair considering the amount I spent on mascara.
“Of course,” he replied. “I admit, it’s not usually the type of place I would hang out.”
“So what were you doing there?” I said, my curiosity burning. “Fancied a change of scene?”
He looked at me from under those long lashes that I envied and he chewed pensively on his bottom lip. “Hmmm,” he pondered. “I want to tell you, but I’m afraid that view over my shoulder will suddenly become irresistible and you’ll run for the door.”
“I’m not sure whether to be intrigued or nervous,” I smiled but I already knew the answer to that one. My heart had picked up a rather frantic beat.
“Okay, well, the first time, I was there on business.”
“What line of business are you in?”
“Removals,” he replied quickly and I wondered if he was lying. After all, why would someone in removals be at a nightclub for business?
“Okay….” I said, trying to ignore the little alarm bells that were now resounding loud and clear in my head.
He hesitated for moment before continuing, exhaling deeply before he spoke as if the confession was a heavy load for him to admit. “Anyway, the truth is, I saw you and I went back this week, hoping that you might be there again.”
I stared at him and quickly dropped my hands into my lap, wiping the moisture on my palms on the skirt of my dress. Okay, so I wasn’t just nervous now, I was downright scared. I didn’t want him to say anything else. And I certainly didn’t trust myself to say anything.
“You want to run, don’t you?” he said, the glint in his eyes challenging me to do just that.
“Yes.” It came out in a whisper. I felt the walls closing in, sweat peppering the back of my neck and I clenched my fists, digging my nails into my palms in an effort to focus and not give into wild panic.
“If you want to, I’ll understand. I won’t stop you.”
“You said this was just coffee,” I said, shooting him an accusatory look. It was a pathetic response and I wanted to curl up into a ball as soon as I had said it. I sounded like a kid, naively piling the blame on him and yet what girl goes for coffee with another guy without knowing it is probably more than just coffee.
“And it is. We’re in a coffee shop drinking coffee aren’t we?” he smiled reassuringly, but the challenge was still there. I could see it, burning across the surface of his eyes.
“But, you said….” I furrowed my brows, feeling confused and embarrassed.
“I wanted to see you again. I want to continue seeing you. There’s no point in me saying otherwise, after all, we’re both adults so why bother pretending?”
“You think I’m pretending?”
“Not at all. On the contrary, you’ve been quite clear. Probably more than you realise.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” I met his challenge with one of my own, irritated by the intonation in his voice.
“Well you’re here aren’t you?”
“So in other words you think I’m like all those other girls at the club? An easy target?”
“If I thought you were that then I wouldn’t be here,” he replied, shrugging. “And neither would you for that matter. We’d have no interest in talking to each other over coffee of all things. In fact, we’d have no interest in just talking at all. But I’m not going to lie and neither should you.” He leaned forward again, almost conspiratorially. “I wanted to see you again and I think maybe you wanted to see me too. There’s nothing wrong in admitting that.”
“Yes there is,” I said, wanting to scratch at the guilt that itched under my skin. “You don’t understand.”
“But I do. Really I do and I respect you for your need to stay true to what you think you believe in.”
“I do believe in it. And I don’t think you respect me at all, if you did, you wouldn’t push the issue.” I felt my face flare in anger now and resisted the urge to reach out and slap his arrogant face.
He met my anger with a small smile, but his eyes were serious and flashed darkly as if he sensed the aggression threatening to spill to the surface. “There’s a big difference between disrespect and desire. Experiencing one doesn’t automatically cancel out the other. I do respect you, Megan, but it doesn’t stop me wanting you.”
I flushed furiously at how candid he was being with his words and glanced around anxiously, sure that everyone in here must have frozen and were now listening intently to our conversation.
“No one can hear, Megan. No one cares. You can say whatever you want and the world will continue to turn just as it did before. The heavens will not collapse into the sea. God will not send his armies to battle the legions of the Underworld. Try it out. Just this once, say what are thinking. Let down your guard.”
“I can’t.” I could barely breathe.
“If you already know, then why do I need to say it?” The panic gripped me now, vice-like around my throat, cutting off air and making my head fuzzy.
“Because I want to hear you say it. Please.”
He reached out across the table, almost imploringly, holding his hand palm up as if he wanted me to put my hand in his. I was scared to touch him and he knew it.
“Megan. Just say it.” His tone was softer now, pleading and when I stared deep into his eyes, I felt my resolve begin to crack and peel away.
Lifting a trembling hand, I watched as it crept tentatively into his, almost as if I were on the outside looking in. This wasn’t my hand. It couldn’t be.
“I want you,” my traitorous mouth confessed.
His fingers interlocked with mine and he turned my hand over, running his thumb gently across my palm, making the skin there tingle furiously.
“You see, even the best of the angels was capable of falling.”
“If I’m an angel, what does that make you?”
His eyes never left mine and for a split second I saw a glimpse of that fire-breathing beast I had seen on the first night we had met. I saw the darkness rippling under his gaze but still I couldn’t let go of his hand. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to let go anymore.
“The one who is going to catch you, Megan.”
The demon smiled and I fell instantly, plummeting, plummeting, no longer wanting to prevent the fall and yet inside I was screaming. Hopelessly, desperately screaming, only I knew that no one would hear me.
No one cared and the world still turned.
Copyright (c) Lindsey Clarke 2013