I held up my free hand. I was so done with the conversation. I felt slightly ill, but more aroused, and the combination was troubling to me. “Please, no more,” I told him stiffly. “I’m not interested in any of that, believe me. I don’t know what impression you think I’ve given you, but I’m not some kind of fortune-hunter. I don’t want your generosity. I don’t want anything at all from you. We have a girl that works in back who seems more your style. I’ll send her your way if your’e so hard up that you’re offering random women money. Or whatever the the hell it is you were suggesting. But I can tell you for sure that I am not the kind of girl that you’re looking for.”
I tried to stand, but he didn’t release my wrist. I sat back in the seat, glaring at the hand that held me captive. “That’s not what I meant at all, Bianca. I didn’t mean to sound so…indelicate. But I am very, very attracted to you, and I would very much like to do something about it.” He smiled at me with a mixture of charm and heat that was very nearly irresistible. “Have lunch with me, where we can discuss this at length, and with some privacy.” He released my wrist as he finished speaking.
“No, thank you, Mr. Cavendish.” I got up quietly and walked back into the galley, closing the curtain behind me calmly.
I was taking deep breaths, counting, and just trying to get my anxiety under control, when he swept in after me.
I opened my mouth to tell him no again when he kissed me. It was a hungry, desperate kiss, and I’d never experienced anything like it before. That was perhaps why I didn’t know how to respond. I just stood there, every part of my body stiff except for my lips, which had softened automatically at the touch of his pretty mouth. It was so unfair, that he had this too, this impossibly intoxicating kiss. He’s probably good at absolutely everything, I thought with a twinge of dismay. His tongue swept into my mouth and I moaned quietly in spite of myself. “Suck on my tongue,” he ordered me roughly, when he pulled back for a breath, and I was shocked. I’d never done that. But I was obeying him even as I questioned myself, sucking carefully and then harder. He groaned and pressed against me slowly. I felt him keenly, my body more sensitive than I could ever remember. His erection pressed into my stomach very obviously and I pulled back at the realization. “Touch me,” he ordered, and I finally looked up at him.
I swallowed hard. “Where?” I asked, my voice needy and rough.
“My chest and stomach. Touch all the places there that you want to be touched on your own body.”
I obeyed, cupping the supple flesh around his nipples as though they were breasts, kneading him. I was watching his mouth, and he licked his lips, nodding at me to go on. I ran a hand down the muscles of his abdomen. He was all corded muscles, everywhere I felt. I stroked his arms, and they were far bigger and more muscular than I would have guessed. He just looked so elegant at first glance, it was hard to believe anyone so elegant could also be so built. He had to work out for hours everyday to achieve this kind of a build. It was so intimidating. And so unbelievably hot.
He unbuttoned several of the buttons along his chest and stomach. “Touch my skin,” he ordered roughly. I obeyed, some part of me going, Oh shit, I can’t believe I’m doing this. But it was so natural to just do as he asked. It felt good. I tried to fit both hands into his shirt, and he pulled one out gently. I stroked his hard, hot skin. I felt no hair, and wondered if he waxed it. It was so smooth.
He kissed the hand that he had grabbed, placing it firmly back onto his shoulder. I watched my own hand wander down his body, going straight to his groin. I gripped him through his slacks suddenly, and he groaned, wrenching my hand away quickly. He grinned at me, but it was a pained grin, all white teeth. “Not here. Not yet. The first time I want you in my bed.”
He stepped back, putting a safe distance between us. He buttoned his shirt quickly and straightened his clothing, watching me. He pulled his phone out. “Give me your number,” he told me.
I shook myself mentally. What was I doing? I did not want to get mixed up with him. I knew it absolutely. I just wasn’t feeling my own certainty at that particular moment.
I shook my head at him. “No,” I said firmly.
He looked genuinely surprised at my answer, and then amused. That made me mad.
I backed up until my butt bumped against the aircraft door. “Not interested.” My tone was sure.
He put his hands in his pockets, leaning casually against the counter. He ran a tongue over his teeth. He’s enjoying this, I thought, with no small amount of outrage. The thought of someone saying no to him is so foreign that it just amuses him. His voice was rich with mirth when he spoke again. “How about coffee? Is that neutral enough? Give me your number and we’ll go for some coffee.”
I shook my head. “No, thank you.” I waved at the space between us. “I don’t do this sort of thing. I’m just not interested.”
A corner of his mouth quirked sardonically. His eyes were on my chest as it rose and fell in agitation. I finally looked down, mortified to see that my hardened nipples were showing clearly even through the three layers covering them. “I will put you over my knee every time you lie to me, Bianca.” His voice was quiet now, but with a dangerous edge.
My brain short-circuited for a moment, my face going a little slack. He’s joking. Isn’t he? My whole body tensed at his comment, and I knew it was more desire than dismay that shocked a tremor through my body. “See. I’m not into any of that stuff, so we are clearly not compatible.”
He ran a long finger down his own tie the way he had done to mine. “I’m not sure if that one was a lie or if you just don’t know how pleasurable ‘that stuff’ can be. Or how well suited you are to it. I can show you. I would love to show you. When I’m done with you, I’ll know your body better than you do, and you will be begging me for it. Every inch of your body is submitting to me, even as you’re turning me down. Can you honestly tell me that the thought of submitting to me in bed doesn’t make you wet?”
The question made me press my legs together, but my traitorous body would not shake my resolve. He obviously knew what he was doing, knew which buttons to push, knew how to control me sexually. But that was exactly what I didn’t want. Wasn’t it?
He seemed to read my mind, or more likely, my expression. He grinned. “I meant it about the spanking, Bianca. And the submission. You’re going to learn very quickly that I always mean what I say.”
“Please leave my galley, Mr. Cavendish. I won’t change my mind.”
He pulled out his wallet, never looking away from me as he pulled out a business card. He touched it to my cheek, running it lightly down to my chin, then to my neck. I shivered as he reached my collar bone. There was a tiny pocket on my vest, right over my right breast, and he slid the card into that pocket. “The number on the back is my cel. I would love to hear from you. Anytime, night or day.”
I just waited stiffly until he finally left the galley to return to his seat.
I was still standing there, taking deep, calming breaths, when Stephan joined me a good thirty minutes later.
He was eyeing me curiously as he shut the curtain. “You ok, Buttercup?” he asked me carefully. I smiled a little at the ridiculous nickname he’d given me back when we were fourteen year old runaways. It always made me smile, which was why he used it.
I nodded. I’d tell him about the whole Mr. Beautiful fiasco, but just not right then. Or even that week.
“What do you think of Mr. Cavendish?” he asked carefully, even innocently. Too innocently.
My eyes narrowed as I looked at him. “Have you been talking to him?”
He did a little non-committal head bob. But he only did that bob when the answer was a yes. “I think he has a crush on you. Did he like ask you out or anything?”
I just glared at him. “What did he say to you?”
“Are you gonna go out with him?” he shot back.
“Of course not. You know I don’t date. What’s gotten into you?”
He shrugged, still looking too innocent. “You’ve gotta start sometime, Buttercup. A young, beautiful woman can’t just ‘not date’ indefinitely. And it’s not gonna get any better than that guy. I have a good feeling about him.” He waved a hand in Mr. Cavendish’s general direction.
I pointed a finger at him. “We’re not doing this again. Everyone in the world does not need to date. I don’t interfere in your life choices. You don’t get to interfere with mine.”
He raised both hands in surrender. “Just a little friendly advice, Bee. But I’ll drop it now. You know I can’t stand it when you’re mad at me.”
I was more than happy to drop it. He gave me a tight hug. “Love you, Bee,” he murmured against my hair. It was just his way of being affectionate. It was how he showed love and sought comfort. It was not my way. Not with anyone but him.
I hugged him back. “Love you too, Steph,” I murmured back.
The rest of the flight passed as slowly as I had expected it to. The red-eyes weren’t my favorite. I liked to stay constantly busy. These flights were all about killing time. Even Mr. Cavendish was dozing when I checked on my cabin. I watched him sleep for a long time. Watching such a restless person at rest was fascinating. He was almost too pretty in his sleep, with no tension in his face. His long, thick, dark lashes making dark shadows on his face even in the near darkness. I could have watched him sleep all night. I admitted that fact to myself, though I didn’t like it. And I wanted to touch him, badly. A stray lock of hair had fallen across one of his cheeks. I wanted to brush it away, and rub it in my fingers. I thought, with no small amount of regret, of all of the parts of him I’d wanted to touch, but that I would never allow myself to. The moment had passed, and I was determined to move on. I shook myself out of my ridiculous reverie as I realized it was time to prep the cabin for landing.
I found myself watching him again as we took our seats to land. He was still dozing, and I couldn’t seem to look away, even when his eyes opened, and he blinked awake, disoriented. His gaze found me quickly, the sleep leaving his eyes as he met my stare and blinked. I schooled my face into neutral lines as he stared back at me. Eventually, I broke the stare, looking at Stephan instead. He was studying me as well, his look strange.
“You like him,” he whispered to me, a fair amount of shock in his voice.
“Don’t,” was all I said in response.
The jet bridge at JFK-New York was different than the one in McCarran-Las Vegas, so the passengers departed out of the first door, having to make their way through the first class cabin. This meant that I had to hustle to get the passengers their jackets quickly so that the first class passengers wouldn’t be delayed getting off of the plane.
I nodded politely at Mr. Cavendish as I handed him his suit jacket. “Have a nice day, Mr. Cavendish.”
He gave me a slightly annoyed look. “Please, call me James,” he chided me. He leaned in closer, speaking directly into my ear. “In private, though, you may call me Mr. Cavendish.” With that unnerving exchange, he walked away.