Choice



 “Once upon a time there lived a beautiful young girl who dreamed of a happily ever after. She believed in the fantasies she’d read, and every night would wish upon a star for her prince to rescue her from the evil witch that was her mentor and captor. The years grew and the beautiful young girl developed into a striking young woman that didn’t recognize her own beauty. She’d spent too many years being made fun of by the evil hag that was the only family she’d ever known. Still, the young woman hoped, wished and prayed for her dashing prince and her happily ever after. The years continued on, and the evil hag finally left the world, leaving the young woman all alone. Being understandably both sad and relieved to be free of the hag, she left the only home she’d ever known to seek out others, in hopes that she’d one day find her handsome prince.
She walked for days in a seemingly endless forest until she could no longer take another step. Curling up against an old oak tree, she prepared for her final sleep. When she gazed upon the stars, for the first time in her life, she felt true bitterness. She couldn’t understand why the girls in her stories had their happily ever after, and yet she lived her whole life secluded and was now dying alone. She cried herself to sleep that night.
She awoke to feel the soft down of a pillow under her head. The sheer fact of waking startled her so much that she was fully awake in moments. She gasped to see that she was not alone in the room, but that there was an extremely handsome man awaiting her arousal. When they saw each other, they fell in love at first sight, and like any good story, they married and lived happily ever after.”
“Aunt Tash?”
“Yes Ashlyn?” I replied with a suppressed smile. I knew what she was going to say before the words even left her lips.
“Your stories really stink. You miss the adventure and the prince rescuing the princess from something really bad. Can you try again?” She pleaded with me; her big blue eyes not ready to end the night. It was our last night together before I left on my vacation. I’d never left her before and we were both feeling the sting of loss.
“Well, quit asking me to tell them then.” I said with a chuckle. “I lost my ability to tell stories before you were born. If you want to read one of your stories before bed, that’d be cool. I’ll try to have a better story for you when I get back, okay? Remember, we have an early day tomorrow, and I love you very much.”
I kissed her forehead as I tucked her into her princess sheets.
“’Kay. Love you too. Night.” She yawned, revealing the gaps in her mouth left by teeth that still hadn’t filled in. She closed her big blue eyes and was snoring softly before I reached the doorway. 
Why do little girls treasure these stories? Who has ever witnessed the man to slay dragons, witches, or other mythical beasts in order to save the docile, terrified girl? More importantly, how can girls grow up still hoping for the elusive happily ever after? After everything, why was I still hoping for it?
I couldn’t help but wonder at these stories as I tucked my niece into bed. The portrayal of ugly disfigured women as witches or shape-shifters that are evil incarnate ensured girls have a strong sense that beauty is the most important thing to possess. It doesn’t matter if a woman is smart, strong, rich, or powerful; if she’s not beautiful in society’s eyes, she’s destined to live life as an ugly, lonely old hag. Some nights I wondered at the sanity of my reading her these fairy tales. Other nights I realize that she too will become jaded like her mother and I, so the fantasy that these stories bring is more of a childhood comfort than anything else.
I closed her door so that only a crack of light showed through from the doorway. She was still young enough to be afraid of the dark, but old enough to think that a night-light was for babies. My sister did the best she could with her daughter. It certainly wasn’t easy for her. Her prick of a husband left when she was pregnant with Ashlyn. He couldn’t stand the fact that Katie’d grown fat and earned stretch marks with her pregnancy. So, he left and eight years later still has not met his beautiful daughter. My sister, Katie, was disappointed, but surprisingly not as upset about it as I would’ve thought. She had never wanted children, but he insisted and she capitulated. The first time she laid eyes on Ashlyn, it was all over. Katie never looked back or had a single regret for having and keeping such a sweet, loving child. I too, fell instantly in love with the brown haired blue-eyed monster. Ashlyn brought Katie and I out of very bad times in our lives and gave us both something to live for.
Katie finished nursing school and was now working three nights a week at a local hospital. I stayed with them those three days and was able to get to know my niece in ways I otherwise would not have known her. We were a happy, close-knit family. It worked out nicely for all of us. Katie was able to take Ashlyn to school and then sleep and I’d pick Ash up and come home with food. Katie would eat with us, take a nap while Ash and I would do homework, and then she’d go to work to do it all over again the next day.
Ashlyn never bothered us with inquiries of her father. We kept waiting, but she just seemed to be okay without a male figure in her life. We never spoke poorly of him in her presence, if we ever spoke of him at all. Katie would never deny him time with his daughter; he just wasn’t interested. Katie still held strong to the dreams and the fairy tales I read to Ashlyn and hoped that someday she would find someone to be a husband and father; or that her ex would become the man that she wanted in their lives.
I, on the other hand, swore off serious relationships. What was the point of giving up yourself and attempting to share your life with someone, if they were just going leave at the first sign of discomfort? I have relationships with men, just not anything meaningful. A girl does have needs; I just tend to start running when things get complicated. I was engaged once, and he was everything the storybooks say is the perfect man. He was tall, tan, handsome, and very rich. I thought that we would live the fairytale life right up until the moment he left. No reason, no notice, he just left one day and I haven’t heard from him in over eight years. Relationships confuse me, and frankly are not worth the work. You finally think that you have a good mate, then BAM! He’s gone.
It took me years to get over the heartbreak of losing my happily-ever-after with Keith. Keith told me as he left, that he just wasn't ready for a commitment and that I deserved better. I was fine with that lame excuse until I read about his wedding six months later. Keith was the only man I ever loved, and the only man to show me exactly what heartbreak meant. Katie’s husband left her two months after Keith left me, and we were rocks for each other. Katie thinks I still need therapy, as I am happy in my commitment-free life and don't live in the delusional land that she does. Whatever. I still prefer my solitary social life and enjoy the family time I have with Katie and Ash during the days I spend with them.
Ashlyn and Katie are my social life. I honestly hate the tween singer-superstar Janice Kansas, but when living with an eight-year-old I’m subjected to the torture of her all the time. I’ve seen every show, movie, and concert in our area. I’ve been to the parties and the trick-or-treating with fifty other costumed Janice Kansas’. That was the worst! I almost lost Ashlyn in the sea of blond wigs. Even with the lonely days, and the days filled with Janice Kansas, I wouldn't trade my life for anything.  
I was fast approaching the big 3-0 and wondered for the thousandth time if going away for a week was such a good idea. I hated leaving Ashlyn, and I was very close to a breakthrough at work. Being a Biomedical Engineer, I get the thrill of tinkering with the human genome. In my spare time I’ve been trying to combine different species together genetically, but so far haven’t had any success. I was very close in my latest attempt though. The strand of butterfly to mouse actually co-mingled for thirty seconds before disintegrating. This was huge for me! If my boss knew what I was doing after hours, I’d probably be out of a job - too much of a liability for the activists. I just really wanted to validate the sci-fi stories and the monster myths.
I strongly believe that there’s some basis for all the fictional stories and monster sightings. Stories about vampires and shape-shifters have been around since there were stories to be told. There had to be some truth in them, for people to continue to believe in them.
I guess no matter how old we are, we still believe in fairy tales and fantasy. They just get dirtier and gorier as we age. I grinned to myself as I continued to think about fairy tales and make-believe, checking over my things for my trip before going to bed. I was taking a long awaited trip to Bermuda. I’d be cruising through the triangle, and this was the first time a cruise ship would be offering a deep-sea dive through a Bermudian company. I’d actually be able to take a scuba diving excursion and dive in the triangle. I couldn’t wait! It was a childhood dream come true.
I pulled my tickets out of my pack, and told myself, for the twentieth time, that everything would be fine. I was turning 30, and deserved to have some fun! Katie even took the time off of work so I wouldn’t feel bad about her getting a sitter. I had no excuses. My trip to Bermuda and the cruise around there would help me achieve a childhood goal. I was determined to scuba dive in the triangle. So much so, that the single thought of that rekindled my excitement of leaving again. I put the tickets back in my pack, double-checked that I had everything I could possibly need in paradise, set my alarm, and went to bed.

***

Katie arrived home just as Ashlyn and I were sitting down for breakfast. “You ready for your trip Tash?”
“I think so, but I want to check my stuff again. I feel uneasy, like I’m forgetting something. Are you sure you guys’ll be okay while I am gone?” I handed her a plate of egg whites, wheat toast, and organic OJ as I smiled apologetically at her.  She was such a health nut.
“I’m sure you have everything. You’ve been packed for weeks now, and we’ll be fine. Have fun!” She smiled knowingly at me and kissed Ashlyn on the forehead. We were both control freaks. “Hey Pumpkin, eat up so we can take Aunt Tash to the airport. I don’t want you any later for school then we’re already going to be. Did you guys have a good night?”
“Tasha made up a really lame fairy tale and told it to me. But we had cookie sandwiches and they were so yummy that they made up for the bad story.” Ashlyn explained to her mom with a wicked gleam in her eye as she smiled unapologetically at me.
“Ash! You stinker! That was supposed to be our secret!” I stuck out my tongue out at her and crossed my eyes so she’d know that I was just teasing. It made her giggle.
“I hope you two left some for me. You make the best cookie sandwiches. What time is it?” She glanced at her watch. “Crap. Ashlyn, go brush your teeth; Tash, do you need help putting your bags in the car?”
My sister and I are so anal retentive, we made it to the airport with plenty of time to be searched and searched again. We barely made it to the drop off point without crying. You’d have thought that we’d never been apart before with all the commotion we made. I gave them both hugs when they dropped me off and felt a mix of sadness and exhilaration. With the fuss we all made, you’d think I was leaving forever, not just one week. Before I knew it, I was headed to my vacation.
“I’m going to miss you both so much! I’ll call when I arrive in Miami! I love you!” I yelled to them one last time before we were out of sight. I fought back tears and again wished I’d convinced Katie and Ash to come with me. It was going to be very hard to be away from them, but Katie’s right; I really needed to do something for myself. I hadn’t left their side since Ashlyn came into this world. It was past time I’d had some independence.
The flight was nice, uneventful and very posh. I’d decided to treat myself to first class, as I was turning thirty and vacationing alone. You have to do little things, like pay three times the price of an airline ticket for first class, so you can enjoy your free glass of wine in a comfortable chair, while couple after couple march onto the plane. It took three glasses before I decided I didn’t want to jump out of the plane after it took off. I was grateful that the seat next to me remained empty so I didn’t have to endure an awkward conversation with some stranger, or even worse, to have some strange person’s head on my shoulder.  Flying does weird things to people. Boundaries that are normally there seem to slip away as soon as your foot hits the entrance to the plane.
I slipped my headphones on and looked out the window as the plane took off. I love watching everything turn microscopic. Seeing the cars inch by like ants has always made me feel a childlike delight, like there is change in the air, a possibility for dreams to come true. I smiled and leaned back, reflecting upon my life. Mostly, I thought about where I’d be if I had made different choices in my life and if I’d still be so content.
My parents died when I was seventeen and Katie was fifteen. They were arguing about their divorce, not paying enough attention to the icy mountain road. They took a turn too fast and flew off the mountain. I heard one of the police officers talking about how it was one of the worst wrecks he’d ever seen. I was almost eighteen and in my senior year of high school. I decided to petition for a judge to grant me custody of Katie so that we could lead as normal a life as possible.
I was awarded custody of Katie as long as we saw a counselor and had juvenile services check on us periodically. We didn’t have any extended family, and the life insurance money that my parents had was enough to pay off the house, allowing me to finish high school without getting a job. My scholarships and student loans were enough to pay for the necessities while I was in college.
I met Keith in college and was blown away by everything about him. He was smart, sexy, and absolutely out of my league. I thought at first he was only trying to have a quick lay, increase the notches on his bedpost, but he was persistent in dating me. He was my first love and my only heartbreak. When he left I never thought I’d be happy again.
Two months after Keith left me, Katie’s husband left her and we both mopped around the house. Six months later, Ashlyn came into the world and I immediately experienced a love unlike any other. I was fiercely protective of her and knew I had to make sure she and Katie would be safe, protected and loved. I learned to have casual flings, but always remembered my responsibilities. I never brought my relationships home, preferring to not introduce Ash into my lifestyle so she could maintain her innocence for as long as possible.
I was hired at a medical research facility before I was even finished with my masters’ degree, and had both my student loans and my small condo paid for by the end of my first year working. Katie, Ash, and I may not compose a typical family, but they’re mine and I treasure them every day.


 2

I made it to Miami without incident, called home, and decided to get a drink before leaving the airport to check into the hotel.
 “You are like a red, red rose, and I’m a little thorny.” The familiar words were whispered against my cheek and I could smell his mint gum and spicy aftershave. I’d know that scent anywhere. Couple it with the husky timbre of his voice, and my stomach was somewhere in the vicinity of my shoes.
“Keith! Oh my gosh!” I exclaimed as I tried to calm my nerves. “What’re you doing here? That’s the worst line ever, you know!”
I felt my cheeks redden as I slid off the stool to give him a hug. I was trying for nonchalance, and was failing miserably. I couldn’t believe that after everything he destroyed in me, I still felt the schoolgirl crush, and familiar happy feelings to see him. Hormones are nasty, deceitful things.
 “Hey Babe. Been a long time, and I couldn’t resist.” He grinned at me mischievously. “The guys dragged me here to pick up chicks, and I just happened to see you. I got divorced again last year, and haven’t really been out since. The boys were kind enough to force me to go on vacation.”
His face scrunched up to show just how annoyed he was at their brilliant idea and I laughed.
“Really? I think you were getting divorced the last time I heard about you. You’ve got to quit picking the wrong ones.” I smiled as I shook my head. My heart was just resuming its normal cadence in my chest.
“I should’ve never let you get away.” He looked at me with his dark blue eyes and the past eight years disappeared. I was in trouble. I must have blushed, gaped, or drooled, because he started laughing.
“Holy crap- you should see your face!  I was just teasing Tash, kind of. What’ve you been up to?” He asked, flashing his trademark dimples.
I melted, silently vowing to find a way to eliminate the emotional response hormones brought about in the body as my next project.
“Oh you know, a little of this, a little of that. Katie had a daughter, and I get to spoil her every chance I get. I’m a Biomedical Engineer at Double Helix now, so I finally get to play with DNA and mess with the primates.” I grinned at him, easily reverting to our old, comfortable conversations. “My birthday’s in two days, and I’m celebrating. I figured I’ve always wanted to see Bermuda, and this was as good an excuse as any.”
“Oh ya, I almost forgot it was your birthday.” He lied easily, but I still caught it. “You’re going on that cruise too?  We’ll have to have dinner then. We should be in Bimini by then, and I’ve been told that they have great clubs. You still dance?” His eyes sparkled with the same mischief I remembered from years ago, causing my heart to do another rebellious flip.
“Sure. I could use the distraction. It was so good to see you. Hopefully we’ll get to hang out more than just for dinner.” Ugh, did I really just say that out loud? Great. Way to go Tash, show him how desperate you are for his attention. I simply smiled, hoping he’d forget about me again.
“God, I missed you. Shit, my friends are looking for me. I’ll meet you on deck tomorrow after dinner; we can get drinks and go swimming. I am so glad I ran into you.” Before I could reply, he leaned in, gave my cheek a quick kiss, and ran off. I finally realized why I had an uneasy feeling about this trip.
I couldn’t believe he was here. I never thought I’d see that pert ass again. Keith made me melt like ice on a hot day. We met when I was very young. He was in the middle of a very messy divorce and neither one of us was prepared for the onslaught of emotions that had slammed into us back then. Our relationship was a whirlwind of emotions. We were perfect for each other, even if he couldn’t see it then. I gave him stability; he helped me learn to relax.
In many ways we’d had a great relationship, as neither one of us was looking for commitment. We had dated for a year when he proposed, and shortly after, he found out that his son with his ex-wife was not biologically his. His ex had apparently slept with anything that could walk, and he didn’t take that news well. He loved his son more than anything, and finally agreed to a paternity test to solidify custody. His divorce was final within a week of the paternity results and he looked to the bottle for comfort. At that point, he wasn’t interested in continuing a relationship with another woman who could potentially hurt him. While I understood where he was coming from, it didn’t stop me from the immense pain brought on from that rejection. We dated for a while before he completely left me, and I hadn’t seen Keith since. I read about his marriage to some other random girl and their eventual demise in the tabloids. With Keith’s family being so important in our town, it was impossible to keep anything private.
A part of me was glad to have missed the noose of marriage, though a larger part was heartbroken. He was the first man I’d ever pictured myself creating a family with. I didn’t know what seeing him again meant. I sat nursing my drink, remembering and contemplating all of the re-emerging emotions of the past and the meaning of this sudden encounter. I finally decided to ignore it and enjoy my vacation. I slammed the remainder of my drink and went to visit Miami. I was too excited to be here; I wasn’t going to let the ex-love of my life ruin my vacation. This trip was all about me, not about rekindling a lost love.
My hotel was a few blocks from the pier that I was departing from, yet close enough to downtown Miami that I’d be able to enjoy the nightlife before departing on the ship tomorrow. I managed to book the same corner-room for tonight, as well as for the two nights upon my return. It had an amazing view of the Miami city strip along one wall, and along the adjoining wall the curtains were open, revealing the dark Atlantic Ocean. The vast blackness after nothing but lights was eerie.
I quickly changed into comfortable jeans, and a deep red halter-top. I checked out the results in the oversized bathroom mirror, making sure that looked presentable. My long wavy hair is now dyed a dark auburn. My dark brown eyes looked black against my pale skin. My breasts poured out of the halter, displaying my cleavage in the best light.
I’ve always been told that I’m healthy looking. Katie’s athletic-skinny, and I am healthy. Whatever that means to others, I take as a compliment. Sometimes I think if I didn’t have the boobs, people would see me as skinny-athletic too, but alas, the boobs block the rest of me. A touch up of my make-up and I was confident as I walked out the door.
Miami is amazing. I thought my hometown was a haven for being single, but I’d never been to Miami. The strip lit up with signs for bars or clubs, all offering girls free drinks until various times and thusly encouraging men to arrive for the implied drunken sex. It was my kind of town! I took a few minutes to simply enjoy the scenery and watch the inebriated people fall down the street imbibing many colored drinks before I chose my destination.
Krypt Keeper just sounded like a fun club to go to, and my curiosity got the best of me. Sure enough, when I finally got past the id check, there were Goth’s and Vamp’s flooding the place. The bar had drinks to continue along the same dead/undead theme. Zombies, B-Positive, and Bloody Mary’s were a given, yet Dracula’s Vein sounded the most intriguing to me; it had vodka, cranberry, and a secret mix that infused a spice to the alcohol I’d never tasted before. It was intoxicating!
 The music was loud, Dance with a techno under-beat. I was in a little piece of heaven. I was sitting at the bar enjoying my second Vein when I saw Keith walk through the door. My pulse tripped and I had to close my eyes to bring it back under control. He was with all of his old friends, and was still the most breathtaking of all of them. He was six-two with short dark brown hair, deep blue eyes, and a body that was honed to perfection from working construction. He was, unfortunately, still able to make my body melt and burn all at once.
“Vat is a luvley voman like you doing here unaccompanied?” A perfect Dracula wannabe had found his way to me. Great. He had the accent down perfectly with all his w's as v's, and the words were enunciated as though English was not his primary language.
I thought I was playing brooding bitch better than that, but unfortunately not. I was also hoping that Keith wouldn’t see me getting hit on by a dork. I had to have more appeal than that.
“Look, Vlad, is it? I’m flattered that you decided to come over and talk to me, but I’m just not interested in anything right now. Thanks though.” I gave him my best toothy smile that could never be mistaken for anything more than a grimace and turned away from him, barely giving him even a cursory glance.
“You wound me darling. It’s Stephan, not Vlad, and you were just starting to look rather lonely sitting here all alone. I thought I would buy you another drink or see if you would like to dance.” He’d thankfully dropped the accent and sounded like any other native. He was looking very intensely into my eyes, not straying from my face, or even looking like he wanted to.
 I took a good look at him then. He had amazing eyes. I'd been too busy agonizing over Keith to really notice anyone else. Stephan was beautiful, for a Goth. He had silver eyes. They weren’t grey or light blue, but truly silver, like someone had poured magnesium into his irises. He was about a foot taller than my five-foot-five, thin but not anorexic looking, with the planeness of a Spaniard who avoided the sun. He wore a deep burgundy shirt tucked into black slacks. His shirt was rolled up on his arms to display toned forearms. He was actually very attractive, but paler than I was used to. I looked back up to his face and he was smiling- definitely a vamp wannabe with his fake incisors, but what a smile.
“My dear, I don’t think I have ever been so thoroughly checked out before.” He was holding back laughter that danced in his silver eyes.
“You have amazing eyes.” I blurted, blushing with the stupidity of my comment. “I’m sure you get that a lot, sorry. I don’t usually dance with people; I tend to hit and flail about. If you’re willing to risk it, I’d like to dance with you.” I blushed as I realized I actually meant what I was saying and felt butterflies in my stomach as he led me to the floor.
As we walked to the dance floor I was again taken aback at how graceful he was. He was tall and his appearance led me to believe he was more like a guy who would trip over his feet than one that would glide across the floor. People parted very subtlety for him without him even having to utter a word. We started dancing, and it was as if we were made to dance together. He knew when and where to hold me, how much pressure to use, and when to duck. I was having a blast. We danced to four songs before I practically collapsed in his arms.
“I have to get some water, join me?”
“Of course,” he said, like it was silly of me to even ask. He led me to a small table away from the loudest of the music that had a little reserved sign on it.
“I don’t think we can sit here.” I rejected as I collapsed in the booth.
He just smiled and slid in next to me. A waiter was instantly at the table, waiting for instructions.
“What can I get you two?” The waiter asked. I was too busy trying to catch my breath to take proper notice of him.
“A tall glass of water for the lady and the usual for me. Thank-you, George.”
“Come here often, I see,” using the most sarcastic tone I could find. I must have succeeded, because his mouth started twitching at the corners.
“I’m here every night to make sure my patrons have a nice time.”
“Your patrons? You mean you own this place?” I blushed as I heard what I’d said, humiliated that I could be so rude. “I mean, you just don’t seem the type to be a club owner. You look like you would fit in better in the lab. As a worker, I mean, um, not that you look like the lab type guy, I work in a lab, and I’m so going to shut up now. Great club, by the way.” My cheeks were on fire as I rambled, trying to recover from my blunder. I was feeling a huge sense of shame at my newfound respect for Stephan.
“No, you are absolutely correct, I am not at all the typical bar owner, but I must tell you it is so much more fun than sitting behind a desk all day. It is rewarding to be able to help people relax, unwind and enjoy themselves after a difficult day. I am able to sit back and enjoy the scenery while people do what it is that makes them happy. This bar was created to be non-threatening, and violence is not tolerated. I have yet to have the police visit my establishment in the past fifteen years.” He explained with an air of pride.
“Wow. That’s very impressive. They’re thinking of passing a new law back home that after a certain number of visits from the cops, bar owners have to pay a huge fine to have the police called.” I was taken aback that he had owned this place for so long, he didn’t seem any older than me. We sipped our drinks for a few minutes, enjoying each other’s company when he was called away to help out at the bar. I noticed that his drink was a very deep red color and that he was very careful not to leave a drop in the glass when he left, taking the glass with him.
I stayed for a few more songs, and then made my way over to the bar to say goodbye to Stephan.
“You are leaving so soon?” He said with an accent I couldn’t quite place and a glint of mischief in his eyes. I couldn’t help but smile back at him.
“Yah, I have an early departure tomorrow. I’m going to Bermuda, but will stop by and say hi when I get back. It should be in about a week. I had loads of fun tonight, and am glad that I was able to meet you.”
“As am I. Allow me to escort you to your hotel. The Miami streets can be unpleasant at times, and I would feel poorly if something were to happen to you.”
His hand was entwined in mine before I had a chance to accept or deny his offer. We walked the block back to my hotel hand-in-hand. I was uncharacteristically nervous and yet very comfortable walking with Stephen.
“Thanks for walking me. You really don’t have too; my hotel’s just down the street. Maybe we could get together when I get back, if you aren’t too busy with your club?” I asked, more nervous than I’d been in years. It was as if my experience with the years of casual flings just flew out the window. For some reason, I didn’t want that with Stephan; at least, not just that.
“That would be fun. You can reach me there, I have an apartment above the club and am either there or down below.”
“That’s convenient. We’re here; I told you it wouldn’t be far. I had fun tonight, it was great meeting you.” I wanted to kiss him, but didn’t want to seem like a tramp. It was stupid really, as I’d probably never see him again, and I was accustomed to just taking what I wanted from men, but there it was. Also, it wasn’t as if I could just lean over and kiss him, he was so tall, and he’d have to lean over for me to kiss him properly.
“Natasha, I hope we do meet again, but if my instincts are correct and you are given a choice, I do not think we shall ever see one another. I do so hope to be wrong about this.” He leaned down and kissed me. It was startling and tentative at first, but as he started to pull away I held him closer. The kiss deepened and quickly became impassioned. His hands slid up my back, one pulling me closer, and the other fisting in my hair. I could feel his reaction to me pressing tightly to my belly, and felt my knees go weak. He nibbled my ear, kissing lower down my neck. I could hear myself moaning and only vaguely wished we weren’t on the streets of downtown Miami. The hand in my hair tipped my head back, and I realized that the hand on my back had slid forward to find my breast. I was whimpering now, a molten body of need when I felt him bite my neck. It was a normal bite that would leave a hickey, but I exploded. I’d never before had an orgasm off of someone biting my neck before. It was over in seconds, and I could feel him trembling with need.
“Forgive me; I have taken liberties without your consent. You are an amazing woman, and I do hope to see more of you. Good night, Lady Natasha. May the god’s bless you with clear skies and strong winds at your back.”
I blinked and he was gone. I don’t know how I made it to my room, but I was in bed within minutes. It took me until I was almost asleep before I realized that I never told Stephan what my name was.