Authors: M.S. Brannon
Time feels like it stands still as the three of us dance amongst the crowd of new friends. Shelby and Giselle, drunk and friendly, invite more people to our VIP section. There’s at least fifty people dancing and drinking with us now.
I move to the rail to catch a breath and take a sip of my beer. Hot and sweaty in this sweatshirt, I pull it over my head, caring more about cooling down than what I look like in this dress. I toss the shirt to an empty chair and fan my face with my hands. I’m sure my makeup is running down my face and I look like a freak, but I couldn’t care less; I am so dang hot right now.
I stand by myself, looking at the crowd down below. The dance floor has thinned out, yet is still full of people. I take another sip from the beer and smile. As reluctant as I was, this has been a really fun night. I will be hurting tomorrow, but it has been incredibly worth it. I’ve danced with handsome men, had a few drinks, and hung out with two of my favorite people. It’s been a great birthday.
As I trail my eyes across the crowd, they scan over the bar, and a tall man dressed head to toe in black rocks me to my core. Even from the balcony, he looks tall, built, and incredibly sexy. His eyes are dark and full of possession. They devour me to the point that I cannot break away from them. I am addicted to them, sucked into their steamy flame.
I feel a hand rest on my back and Giselle approaches then snuggles into my side. I break my stare from the walking god and look up at her. She’s so drunk. Her hair is messy and sweat glistens from her skin, yet she still looks like a freaking model.
“Who you looking at, doll? You’ve been staring over here for a long time,” Giselle slurs as she rests her head on top of mine, my own resting on her shoulder.
“Oh, no one. I’m just taking a break from the dancing to cool down.” I connect my eyes with his again, seeing he hasn’t moved, just staring at me. Suddenly, I feel completely exposed.
I flip through my hazy memory bank, but don’t recall who he is. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before.
“Do you realize that guy is staring at you?” Giselle asks, pointing to the hot man in black.
“Yeah, but I don’t know who he is. Kinda creepy, right?”
A hard slap connects with my ass as Shelby joins our embrace. The three of us stand next to each other, Shelby’s head and mine resting against Giselle. I keep looking at the god, wondering if it’s really me he’s looking at. He is too far away and could totally be ogling someone else.
“Holy. Shit! I think someone just punched me in the vagina and woke that bitch up. Who’s the walking sex in black?” Shelby is practically drooling over the man staring at me. Giselle has to hold her back so she doesn’t topple over the rail.
His gaze finally breaks as he moves behind the bar. He is talking to the bartenders, and I realize he probably works here, maybe the manager. Then it dawns on me, he wasn’t staring at me, he was probably scanning the crowd, and making sure everything was running smoothly. I can’t hide the disappointment in my heart. It would have been nice to have someone that fucking hot swooning over me. If he’s going to swoon over anyone, it will be Giselle, though, not me.
“Wait a minute…” Giselle pulls out her phone and takes a picture of the gorgeous man. It’s a side view, but surprisingly a clear picture. “Oh, my God, do you know who that is?”
I look at the picture again, trying to place his looks. Nothing rings a bell, so I shake my head.
Shelby pulls the phone closer to her face and examines the picture. She swipes her thumb and index finger across the screen, expanding the image. “Are you kidding me? Is that really him?”
I look at the expanded picture and nothing comes to mind. “Who the hell is he? A celebrity?”
“You idiot,” Shelby snaps. I immediately try to talk myself out of smacking her again. “That’s Jason fucking Cain.” I give her a look that requests more details. “Jesus, you need to get out more. Jason Cain owns this club. He is elusive, yet known to seduce women by a single look. He’s rich as fuck, and anytime he’s spotted out of his castle,”—Shelby points to the mirrors above the bar, directly across the way from the upper level VIP section where we’ve been the last couple of hours—“he’s supposedly on the prowl, looking for his latest conquest.”
“He was staring at Mariah when I came over here. Like, full blown, panty-dropping staring at her,” Giselle says. My dormant libido finally wakes up to join the party. “You should go talk to him.”
“Hell, no! He could have been looking at someone down there.” I point to the dance floor and turn my back. I can’t look his way anymore. “And besides, why the hell would he be looking at me? He probably wants to get into
pants. You’re more his style, anyway,” I say to Giselle and feel a little wounded knowing that’s probably what’s going on.
The others turn around and Shelby immediately gets in my face. She slams her hands onto her hips, looking like she wants to go a little crazy on me. Basically, she’s gearing up to chew my ass. I roll my eyes and stand tall, knowing this is going to ruin my night.
“You need to stop that fucking shit right now! You are pretty and smart and funny as hell and overall a great person. Stop saying you’re not. Nobody likes to listen to whiners, and if you say anything more, I’m going to vagina tap you.”
“At least it will get some action,” I snap back and then burst out laughing, causing Shelby to laugh along with me.
We all turn around and find that Jason Cain is still behind the bar, looking this way again. I really look at him, capturing his sight to my memory. He’s tall; has short, dark brown hair; blazing black eyes; full, very kissable lips; and his skin is richly tan—very natural looking, not fake. When he raises his arm, I get a look at his hand and immediately want to feel it on me. It looks strong and commanding. I want to feel his hands under my dress, on my breasts overtaking me.
I take a long guzzle of my beer, draining it, trying to defuse the lustful heat growing under my skin. My breath is slipping as I noticeably gawk at this beautiful man. Then it finally registers what he’s doing.
With his long finger, he’s motioning me to come over, the smallest smirk rising from the corner of his mouth. What the fuck? This has to be a mistake, right? He’s got to want someone else.
I look to my friends and see Shelby’s hand pointing over my head. I swat it away and give her a nasty glare, but when my eyes connect with his again, he is nodding yes.
What the fuck?
“Go, Mariah!” Shelby tugs on my arm, completely overwhelming me. “You have to meet him! G
“And do what, Shelby?” I snap back.
“Whatever he wants! That is Jason Cain, self-made millionaire and one of Miami’s hottest bachelors. If you don’t take this opportunity, you’ll regret it your entire life. Walk over to him and do whatever he desires. If he wants a blowjob, then drop to your knees and suck on his cock. If he wants you to strip for him, then do it and don’t think another second about it! There’s something about you that’s got his attention. Now stop being a chicken shit and see what that something is.” I look in Shelby’s eyes and see her seriousness looking back. “It’s one night, Mariah. Make it the one night you’ll never forget.”
I turn and look over my shoulder. He’s standing there, smiling only slightly. It’s like an invisible rope is being pulled around my body. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t refuse. I’m drawn to him and need to discover why.
I go through the back entrance and walk up the flight of stairs to my office. Pulling the keys from my pocket, I unlock the door and trudge through the threshold, pissed with my reaction to someone who isn’t even real. And even if she was, I don’t want to marry her; I simply want to claim her. The only way I can erase her from my mind is to claim her. Then I will be able to move on from the stupid dreams I’ve had for the past seven years. I run my hand down my face and shake my head. Fuck, I need a drink.
I step in my office and close the door behind me, looking around and smiling like a kid on Christmas morning. While I was in New York, I had my office redone. It’s a technological palace with a sleek, comfortable feel. The modern, black desk sits in front of a panel of plasma televisions broadcasting my top of the line CCTV.
The high-tech security system shows me every inch of the club, parking lot, and street view. The control panel sits below the screens, allowing me to zoom and rotate the cameras precisely. It’s the hub to the entire system. However, my favorite addition is the newly installed one-way mirror that extends almost the entire length of the wall. Here, I can stand over my favorite goldmine and take it all in. It provides me a bird’s-eye view of the crowd. The mirror is soundproof for observation purposes only, but I find it intriguing, nonetheless.
I put my keys on the top of the desk and pull my cell from my pocket. The phone was buzzing the entire drive into the office, emails most likely. I sit in my sleek, leather desk chair and start scrolling through my unread messages, going through them one by one, replying to the important ones and leaving the less pressing for tomorrow.
My head is consumed with the girl, and I’m starting to think I’m going crazy. Maybe I need to see someone. I haven’t exactly had a traditional relationship, because it’s not what I desire, but maybe my subconscious is saying something.
I stand from my desk and walk to the small bar located adjacent to it. Pulling a small tumbler from the shelf, I drop a few cubes of ice into the glass, then pour a small amount of Jameson in, submerging the frozen cubes, before walking back to the window and looking out over my nightclub. I love this place; it’s like home to me. I survey it proudly, taking sips of my whiskey in the process.
My eyes slowly scan over the dance floor, and I smile as I watch the patrons enjoying themselves. I’ve come a long way, considering how I started out in life. And that journey began in this very spot when I saw this building and made it into what it is today. I’m very proud of my accomplishments, and it feels good that absolutely no one thought I’d amount to shit; yet here I am. Stupid fuckers.
I move my eyes from the crowded dance floor and travel up to the VIP section. Normally, we have celebrities in VIP, but with it being award season, they’re mostly in LA. Well, the ones who come here, anyway. I like the press the celebrities give the club, but mostly, they can be a pain in the ass. Nights like tonight, I enjoy it when the normal people can enjoy VIP and the benefits.
Then I notice
. She’s there, again. I’m looking right into her eyes. I raise the glass slowly to my lips and gulp down the liquor, never breaking my eyes from her magnificent body. I hold the glass in my hand tightly, blinking and shaking my head. Each time I reopen my eyes, I see her. Is this girl real? She can’t be a vision in my dreams. She has to be real. No fucking way.
I immediately rub the tattoo on my arm. Months after my initial dream, I got a tattoo of the angelic goddess. There had been this agonizing need in my gut, telling me to do it. After the back and forth with my good sense, I gave in. I was young and impulsive and just had to do it. To this day, I don’t know what it means, but it felt right to have it on my arm.
I set my glass down on the table and walk from the office. As I descend the stairs, I keep my eyes solely on her body. She’s looking around, smiling an innocent, happy smile. When she moves a beer bottle up to her lips, I’m instantly drawn to them. I want to kiss those lips, possess them with my mouth.
Tim is working at a rapid pace to keep up with the demanding customers when I walk up to the bar. I lean back against the wall and look only at her. Then… she sees me. We are in a retinal showdown, and I refuse to look away as she stands up straight and starts tugging on the bottom of her dress, pulling it down. The corner of my mouth rises as her friends join her.
The shattering of glass gets my attention, and I snap my head in the direction of the chaos. Jose, the guy hired to keep the bar stocked, has dropped an entire case of beer, breaking nearly every bottle.
I fully turn my body and glare at him. “Clean that fucking mess up before someone falls.”
Jose scurries off and promptly returns with a trashcan, mop, and broom, cleaning up the mess immediately. When I feel it’s successfully done, I look back to the goddess in black who’s still standing at the railing of the balcony.
I can’t help myself. I need to know who this woman is, and after seven fucking years of dreaming of her, I need to know I’m not losing my goddamn mind. I raise my hand and motion for her to walk over. She startles and looks to her friends. When the short one in the pink dress points to my girl, I nod, smiling the entire time. I’m finally able to meet her.
She’s in a debate with her friends, but then, when she looks back at me, I see a faint nod, telling me she’s coming. The next thing I know, she’s slowly walking down the stairs, grasping the hand rail firmly, eyes fastened to mine. I move out from behind the bar and walk toward her, my heart pounding violently, knowing I’ve been waiting for this moment for the last seven years.
Will this be like my dreams? Will I walk to her and she will disappear without a trace? If that happens, I will go to the head doctor and see what the hell is wrong with me. I’m too young to be going crazy.
All this time, I’ve been convincing myself she was only an illusion, but as we close the gap between us, I realize I have been very much mistaken. She is alive, and her curvy, tight body, the perfect hourglass figure, is walking toward me. The strands of her rich brown hair are swept over to the side in a cascading braid. The dress. Oh, my God, the black, tight dress seems to be the very one she was wearing the night I first dreamed of her. She looks outstanding in that damn dress.
The gap is now closed and there she stands, confidant yet nervous. When I reach my hand up and she takes it, her touch is real. I’m not losing my mind. She is really here. The woman’s skin is warm and smells faintly of perfume.