“Well.” He cleared his throat. “So—why don’t you see what I wanted to show you.”
“Okay.” She felt a sudden anxiety. “Um, where is it?”
“Around the wall. Behind that partition. Go past the metal sculptures, and turn right.” He gestured, then stepped in behind her and flipped on the light. It took a while for the overhead fixtures to flash into life, as if the electrons were asleep, dusty, rusty like the sculptures. She could almost hear them sighing and complaining as they warmed up. Something hummed.
Confronted with the fact that she was about to see something dear to him, she felt unaccountably shy, and tried to hide it. “Is a clown going to pop out? Is it that kind of weird performance art? There better not be a clown.”
“There aren’t any clowns.” His voice was taut. He crossed his arms. “Go ahead, then, if you’re so eager.”
“Okay. I’m going.” She looked back at him once, then walked ahead.
She walked forward past the rusted metal amalgamations, meldings of gears and beam shards that did nothing for her but raise questions and disappointment.
When she turned the corner, she sucked in her breath, confronted with things so magnificent that she, at first, didn’t think they were real. A low metal table held a collection of orbs, some of glass, shining, other metal. Different sizes and shapes, some oblong, some spherical, they glowed with a presence, calling her forward. They were otherworldly, gorgeous, strange, and hypnotic. The colors! Such swirls and whorls, like each one was an entire planet, but also maybe something like a seed, a flower, an ocean.
“These—are yours?” They were like the things in his house, the ones she’d admired.
He came up behind her. “Yes.”
“Can I touch?” She felt the raw need to come closer. “God. These are amazing.”
“Every sculpture in here can be touched.”
She reached out to the closest orb. “Can I pick it up?”
“If you can lift it.” His voice held amusement.
She struggled in vain to pick up a large sphere, moved to a smaller, fist-sized one. It was surprisingly heavy, a bowling ball in her palm. “What’s this made of?”
“What’s it made of?” His voice held a smile. “My heart.” But despite the expression, his eyes were ferocious, serious, rapt, as he watched her touch.
She held the small one in both hands, pressed to her chest. “I want it. I want to own this. It’s beautiful.” She looked at it, moved it around to examine all the parts of it. “I don’t want to stop looking at it. I want to eat it. Absorb it. Have it in my house, so I can see it all the time.”
He gave a short laugh, and she could swear that her praise made some tension drain out of him. He looked looser, lighter, like a weight was lifted from him. “Don’t overdo it. Maybe you just like them because you hated Anthony’s stuff so much.”
She shook her head. “No. I could have walked past the Sistine Chapel and I’d still love these.” She put it down and stroked it. “It feels warm! Alive. Smooth. Tingly, sort of. How did you do that? And how do you make it shine?” She tilted her head. “I love the way they catch the light.”
“Secret of the trade,” he said, his voice low. “I’ll never tell.”
“I love them.” The words came all at once, in a rush, and it was true, and she knew it was true. These things, these spheres, they were singing to her, all of them, a wordless tune that hit her in her soul. She looked up and met his eyes. “I love them.” Her voice was hushed.
He smiled, and it lit up the harsh planes of his face, made his eyes glow. “So do I.”
He stepped in and she felt the warmth of his body as he intruded into her personal space, and she leaned in just slightly, as if to encourage him to come further, to keep coming until they were only atoms apart. She smelled his faded cologne and his own masculine scent, mixed with the odor of paint and wood in the warehouse. She could see his tendons when he swallowed. His eyes were gorgeous.
“So we have something in common.” Her voice came out breathy and low.
“A miracle.” He smiled, and his dimple showed. She nearly melted. His face was so close! “Although I think we have more than a few things in common at this point, Fia.”
“I guess we do.” When he reached for her, she didn’t resist, and when he stood her in front of him and undressed her with his eyes first, before unzipping her dress and silently pulling it down the curves of her body, she acquiesced.
The only thing she said was, “Here?” glancing around the vast space, the corners dark and foreboding, as if strange things, colorful magical things might be hiding there, alert and untrustworthy. But the light in the center shone down like a spotlight, accentuating his features and making his eyes shine.
He nodded. “Right here.” He pointed to a chaise lounge under the lights, blue, velvety.
“It’s like we’re on a stage.” She felt as if they were in a strange theater.
“Nobody will watch. It’s just us.” His voice was low. He stripped off his shirt, took off his jeans and boxers. Nude, with the lighting creating highlights and shadows on his body, he looked mysterious, chiseled, a perfect Greek sculpture, each muscle just so, his face gorgeous and powerful.
She slid off her lacy thong and tossed it aside, and faced him, naked. The look in his eyes almost scared her; he was so fierce, so raw.
“You want to play by my rules again?” he murmured, walking around her. He picked up her hair and fisted it, then kissed her neck.
She shuddered at the touch of his lips. “Yes,” she whispered. She stood still, like a statue herself. She wondered if the lights flickered and gleamed on her skin like on his, whether he saw her like a living piece of art, too.
“You want me to be your master again, right here, right now?” His grip tightened on her hair, not painful, but she was definitely aware of his strength.
At that, he snaked one arm around her flat stomach and pulled her against him. She sucked in a breath when she felt his hard cock pressing into the seam of her ass. With his other hand, he dropped her hair, letting it flow back over her shoulders, and gripped her neck, firmly but not too tightly, and pulled her into his head that way, too. They stood that way for a minute, just breathing, his hands hot on her throat and belly. His cock twitched and she pushed her buttocks back into his body, wanting more.
“Do you trust me?” His voice was low.
“Yes.” It was true.
“Good.” He released his grip. “Please go over to the chaise and lie down on your back. Close your eyes.”
She started to vibrate with excitement and felt moisture seep down her thighs. Just imagining what he was going to do, how he might tease her in terrible and delightful ways, made her body hum with eager anticipation.
She walked over, swaying her hips, and arranged herself as gracefully as possible. She shot one look at him before letting her lids shut: He was stalking toward her, that feral look, his body so strong and sexy—that was the last image she captured before she closed her eyes, and that picture stayed floating behind her eyelids, flickering in and out.
Her pulse accelerated as she heard him approach, and she flinched slightly when he touched her hair.
“Relax.” His voice held humor. “I’m not going to hurt you…yet.”
“Dylan?” She squeezed her eyes shut.
“And when I do, it will only be the way you like it.”