He was about to give up when he spotted her through a display window sniffing an open tube of lotion, a look of sheer bliss on her face. The longer he watched her, the more it gnawed at him that he'd seen her before.
He'd just slipped his hands into the front pockets of his jeans when it hit him--the fetish club. He'd seen her at Abyss.
She was a wanderer, usually found around the upper floors watching rather than participating in the scenes and play sessions. They'd spoken a few times, never more than casual exchanges and greetings. He'd found himself following behind her at times, though usually kept his distance. She had an air of innocence coupled with an air of intense curiosity that intrigued him. Did she know how different she appeared, that she drew the interest of those that lived rather than just played at the lifestyle, that she drew his interest?
And here he was, observing her again, this time through a pane of glass, keeping himself apart from her even though he was completely drawn to her. It was rare that he met other club patrons outside the informal, social gatherings BDSM people referred to as munches--play parties--and the club. Seeing her in public, in daylight, in every day surroundings, made him feel odd, as though he were intruding or exposing a secret.
She put the lotion back on the shelf and turned away with an almost wistful glance back at it. Why wasn't she buying it when she so obviously wanted it? He didn't have time to think beyond that because she was coming toward him, but then she stopped and turned back. She picked up the tube again and drew her top lip down between her teeth. With a quick stride, she went to the cash registers at the back of the store and soon exited carrying a small green- and pink-striped bag.
She stopped, stumbled a bit and looked up. Within seconds, a blush stole across her cheeks. She recognized him, and a jolt of pleasure raced through his blood.
Her eyes darted away from his face then back up. "Hi," she said softly, a smooth Southern accent lacing her voice.
He moved a little closer. "I've never introduced myself when we've talked before. My name is Aidn."
The blush got a little pinker. "I know."
He nodded. Her gaze kept moving, flitting back and forth to the area around them. Another curiosity about her; the confidence he'd noticed earlier was now replaced with uncertainty. For a moment, a small minute moment, he felt bad, but... "I'm sorry. It wasn't my intention to make you uncomfortable. I was having lunch and saw you pass by."
"It's all right."
Questions appeared in her eyes and he braced himself, though he couldn't imagine what for. She was harmless, really. She might set his blood on fire and make his cock uncomfortably hard, but she was still harmless, just a girl he'd seen in a club. Right? Right.
"Is there something you want, Aidn?"
A loaded question. She didn't mean it the way he took it, but he wanted a lot more than he dare ask for. He wanted to touch her, wanted to kiss her. He wanted to lay her out on a bed and fuck her until she couldn't walk, couldn't move. He wanted to tie her up, bind her, shield her eyes and gag her mouth so all that was left was sensation. What he didn't want was to stand in the middle of the sidewalk, shifting from one foot to the other with the silence growing between them. "No. I just... I honestly don't know why I stopped you." Frustrated with his fumbling, he ran a hand through his hair.
She smiled up at him and started to walk away. "Okay. Maybe I'll see you at the club again. Have a good day."
He never fumbled around women. What the hell was wrong with him? He needed to get his shit together. "Wait."
She turned and looked up at him again before the word was fully out of his mouth. He tried to hide his grin. "Yes?"
"At least tell me your name."
"Oh, I'm sorry. It's Bailey."
"Pleased to meet you, Bailey." He held his hand out to her and she took it, sliding her smaller palm against his larger one. If he was romantic enough to believe in sparks, he would swear they were there in that small touch. "Would you like to get coffee or something?"
Her eyes hid nothing. She let them roam from his head to his shoes and back again. He bit back another grin. She was taking his measure, trying to determine if she could trust him, here, in public. It was sobering really. Most women, especially those from the club, dropped to their knees in a frenzy to just spend time with him, but not this one.
If she could read minds, she'd have found that his request wasn't all that benign. He had ulterior motives, ones she would likely run from. Unlike her, though, he could hide his thoughts. His eyes didn't give him away, not unless it was what he wanted.
When she slid her hand from his, she hesitated only slightly before answering. "Sure."
Again, pleasure coursed through him and he found himself...happy. "Great."
She turned and started walking. He fell into step beside her. "Are you pleased with your purchase? You didn't seem sure about it."
"Huh? Oh, yeah. I am. It smells like frosting."
He looked down at her but she kept her gaze straight ahead. "The lotion?"
"Yes. It smells like cake frosting."
"You started to leave but went back to get it. Why the hesitation?"
She shrugged. "I didn't need it."
Didn't need it? "Is lotion like that ever really a necessity? I mean, isn't it more of a small indulgence?" As if he knew anything at all about such things.
"Yes, I suppose so. There are more important things than a twenty-dollar tube of lotion. Even if it does smell delicious."
There was a dreamy note to her voice when she said the word delicious. As they walked along and talked of nothing important, he took note of the fact that he was a good head taller than she was. Her dark blonde curls bounced against her shoulders with each step she took and his fingers itched to grip them, to see if they were as soft to the touch as they appeared to be. He wanted to tilt her head back and kiss her. He wanted her name on his lips.
Lost in thought, he hadn't noticed she wasn't beside him anymore. He looked back to find her standing in front of a coffee shop, an expectant look on her face. Chagrined, he made his way back to her. "I apologize."
"It's okay. We can skip it if you like."
"No. I was just off in my own little world. It happens from time to time." He guided her into the store with a hand at her back, just barely touching her. The heat coming through her shirt was enough to make him curl his fingers into a fist. It would likely scare the poor woman if he reached under her shirt to touch her bare skin as he wanted to do. Would she welcome his touch? Would she tremble? Would she quiver? Or would she slap at his hand? He damned sure wanted to find out, bu--
Shit. He'd done it again. What the hell was wrong with him?
"Care to share?"
She was biting back a smile and he laughed. Was she flirting with him? Relaxing just a little? Doubtful, but the look in her eyes, the small twinkle, gave him pause. What would she think if he told her the truth?
"I might." He winked at her before turning his attention to the barista.