A low growl escaped her throat as she gazed at the scene before her. Damn! She thought clamping her mouth tightly shut on the words the welled up to the surface. Blood and Bloody Hell, she thought, shaking her head.
Before her, in a cuddle puddle of fur, paws and gangly legs, four little kittens purred happily covered nearly completely with paint. Not just any paint, oil paints. This was going to be one hell of a chore. Not far from the pile of kittens her mangled box of oil paints laid scattered about in pools of liquid color along with plenty of little paw prints.
Arien stalked away from the kittens, towards her precious paints, kneeling down to pick them up slowly and begin to clean up the mess the small bothersome creatures created. “This is horrible, my paints are ruined!” she exclaimed quietly, pointedly ignoring the pitiful little mewling of the kittens behind her.
The front door opened, sounding the little bell that announced a new arrival to the small modest art studio Arien owned and ran. She looked up through the mass of coppery red curls to examine her customer from her hiding place behind one of her large paintings.
He was tall, well past six feet tall she guessed, and very well dressed. Looked like Armani, however Arien wasn’t too knowledgeable about the rich or their preferred dress. Wiping her hands on her faded jeans, she stood up and moved into his line of sight.
“Good Afternoon, Sir.” She waved one paint smeared hand in greeting.
With a start, Sebastian turned his eyes towards the sound of a young woman’s lovely voice, and he wasn’t in the least bit disappointed with her appearance. Clothed in nothing but faded jeans and a tank-top that honestly could have been a couple sizes to small for her, she stood leaning her hip against a make-shift counter, arms folded over her chest. Slowly, He took in her appearance with a slow lingering gaze, taking in her shoulder length curls, the odd green eyes with golden-brown flecks in them, then lush lips and perfect button nose. Before he had a chance to even look away from her face, he saw those lush lips pulling into a slightly amused smile.
“May I help you?” she asked, arching one delicate eyebrow, “And no, despite my painted status, I’m not for sale.” She added, teasing him for staring.
“Oh no, of course not!” Sebastian said, spluttering. She merely laughed.
“Oh don’t worry about it, trust me, I get it plenty.” Arien shrugged her shoulders, idly picking at the paint smeared tank she chose to do her work in that day. Pushing away, she walked up to stand beside him, gazing up at the painting he had been perusing when she’d called her greeting. “Ah, I painted this about two years ago.” She commented.
Still unable to regain his composure, Sebastian turned his eyes back to the painting with a little shake of his head. “Its quite lovely, the way in which the colors blend and swirl to create such an intensely alive landscape takes my breath away. The way you’ve shaded in the mountains with dark colors, offsetting the beauty of the sunset.” He stepped closer, peering carefully at an obscure outline against the darkness of a windswept beach. “And the two people, barely discernable, entangled on the beach. It’s a piece of passion, yes?” finally, feeling a little more in control of himself, Sebastian turned his eyes back to the lovely little thing to his side.
Arien smiled, most people weren’t astute enough to catch the lovers in this particular painting. “Yes, it’s most definitely a piece about passion.” She nods, her eyes lovingly caressing the painting as he watched.
“How much?” he asked, but he no longer stared at the painting.
“I told you, I wasn’t for sale.” She replied, a soft laugh tingeing the edges of her voice. “Ten thousand.” She amended without looking at him.
“Sold.” Sebastian said, noting the way the young woman’s eyes bugged immediately. “I know exactly where I’m putting it.” He said, giving a sort of boyish grin.
Arien turned to stare at the man, his perfect hair, thick and dark curling about the edges of his perfect ears and against his perfect forehead, his perfect mouth smiling that too-cute smile and his perfect chocolate eyes nearly glowing with good humor. “Excuse me?” is all she could say, stunned.
“You heard me; I said I’d buy your painting.” He clarified, and then gave a soft little laugh. “Are you going to wrap it up for me? Or will I have to do it myself. On second thought, maybe I should wrap it up myself; you might get paint on it.” He reached out a hand to try and wipe away a small smudge of crimson from just under one eye against a beautifully sculpted cheekbone. The attempt was completely unsuccessful and he gave a helpless shrug, “Sorry.”
“Your buying it?” she said, her voice a mixture of regret and excitement. “Ah, yes, do you want to take it right now or would you like to come back and pick it up at a later time?” she asked, still more then stunned.
Sebastian looked thoughtful for a moment, and then reached inside his coat pocket to pull out his checkbook. “Why don’t I pay for it now, and come back for it say... how late can I pick it up tonight?”
“Anytime, I live upstairs in the loft above the store.” She said, pointing upwards.
“Eight o’clock okay with you then?” he asked, and when she nodded he opened up his checkbook. “Now who do I make the check out to?”
“Arien Mcfields.” She said, then arched her eyebrow once more quizzically, “You’re really buying my painting?” she asked again, then blinked as he handed her a check. Ten thousand dollars written just beside her name, “Oh my gods!” she exclaimed with a grin. “So, your names Sebastian?”
“At your service.” He said, then looked to his wrist-watch and gave a humph, “Damn. I’ve got to be going. I’ll be back at around Eight, Miss Mcfields.” Catching one paint-smudged hand, he quickly lifted it to brush a light chivalrous kiss upon her paint-smeared palm, the action oddly intimate.
“Yes, I guess you will, I’ll have the painting ready to be moved by then.” She said, drawing her hand back to cradle it against her chest. With a roguish smile, Sebastian turned and was gone.
“That ones trouble.” Arien murmured to herself then, staring at the door he’d just vacated with a certain feeling in the pit of her stomach she couldn’t quite place, but it wasn’t wholly unpleasant, that’s for sure.
Eight o’clock rolled around and Arien nibbled her lower lip and glanced at the paint smattered clock, then glanced at the carefully wrapped painting sitting in the chair. She’d showered and changed, but no matter how hard she scrubbed she just wasn’t able to get all of the paint from her body. She could, however, dress in something devoid of the colorful stuff, and she did. Her pristine black jeans fit perfectly, and the soft blue tank was a lace up the front number that was charming but not too flashy.
The bell sang its little tune and despite the fact she was waiting for it, Arien couldn’t help but give a little jump. “Your late.” She said, stepping down the steps from her loft with the painting in hand.
“Only by ten minutes!” Sebastian replied, giving another one of his devastating smiles. He hadn’t changed yet, still dressed in that attractive Armani, however his tie was loosened and the top button let loose.
With a smile of her own, Arien gently placed the painting on the counter, and then turned her eyes back to the man before her. He was perfect, his eyes, his cheekbones, his strong jaw and chin. His chocolate eyes sparkled with a certain type of merriment as she let herself take him in for a long moment.
“May I paint you?” she asks compulsively, “Or sketches you?” she amended, thinking about the lines of his face. Absently, she stepped forward and raised a hand to touch his nose, then glanced from one side of his face to the other with a curious look on her face. It wasn’t one that a woman normally shows to an attractive man, more the look of an artist finding something incredibly interesting to contemplate.
That slow smile curved Sebastian’s face as Arien seemed a little caught up in staring at him. “Sketch me? What, now?” he asked, and at her suddenly brightened expression he gave a soft laugh. “You don’t even know me! You sure you want to be stuck in your studio and home with some one you don’t know?” he arched a quizzical eyebrow, his eyes laughing silently.
“Well, that could pose a problem. Maybe I should tie you down to the chair and make sure all sharp objects are way out of reach?” she replied, grinning broadly.
“Aah, but then the very same problem persists, I don’t know you, I could be tempting a mass murderer.” He shrugged his broad shoulders, trying to look pensive, “You haven’t killed anyone lately, have you?”
“Not in at least forty-eight hours, and does running over some one with a car count as murder?” Arien asked, putting on an expression of mock concern.
“Naw...” Sebastian replied, finally breaking off in a laugh.
“So, you gonna let me sketch you?” she persisted, an idea for a new piece taking shape in her mind.
“How about this,” Sebastian began, “I’ll let you sketch me, if you’ll let me take you to dinner this week.” He watched as her brows knitted with mock concern, hopping she’d accept, and when she gave him a brilliant smile he took an easy breath.
“Sure, but I get to paint you now!” she said, her voice demanding.
Sebastian put up both hands as if to ward her off, “Okay, Okay. You can paint me now. I don’t see what’s so interesting about lil’ ol’ me... but if you insist. Just lead the way.” And she did just that, turning on her heels and heading for the back room.
“Come on,” she said, opening the door and ushering him inside. The room was large, the ground covered in plastic tarps. Paint splattered furniture was positioned sparingly, one large table with all manner of art supplies neatly arrayed upon it. A stool, a couch, or what was left of one, and a couple chairs next to her easel.
“Hrm...” she murmured softly as she turned her eyes back to him as he entered the room. Walking up to him she began to circle, an action that brought Sebastian’s senses to an alert heightened place. “Take off the jacket.” She instructed quietly, pursing her lips with great interest as he complied, slipping out of the lovely Armani, then tossing it towards the door as if it was no more then a common sweater. Arien’s eyes widened just a little. He just smiled.
She stopped before him, her head coming just barely to his chest. There was something incredibly odd about thinking your about normal height all your life only to find one person could make you feel intensely dwarfed. She looked up, and he looked down, grinning. “You’re a short one.” He murmured his voice suddenly husky, thick like molasses and just as rich and sweet. Her scent was intoxicating, cinnamon and nutmeg with a touch of the chalky smell of dried paint. He was beginning to loose focus, just a little, but enough.
“I’m not short,” she grumped, tearing her eyes away from his with pure force of will. After a moment messing with her paints she returned to stand before him, giving him a curious sort of look. Finally, she raised her hands without a word and began to unbutton his shirt.
Sebastian was startled at first by this apparently bold move, but then suddenly he realized it wasn’t his body she was after, at least not in the manner he was looking at her. She wanted to sketch and paint him, so he remained still, allowing her to remove his shirt from his body. As her fingers lightly brushed over the heated skin of his chest he bit back comments, and other sounds, he may have made. But as her knuckles feathered against one nipple he let out a low growl, so low he hoped she hadn’t caught it.
No such luck, however, for she did catch it and glanced at him oddly. “Yes?” she inquired, completely oblivious to the effect she was having on him with her spicy sweet scent and her lush coppery curls, gods how he wanted to bury his hands in those curls while she ... Sebastian immediately curbed his thoughts with a discrete cough.
“Just something in my throat,” he lied smoothly, offering her a smile he hoped was dazzling. He was going to have to regain control of himself or he was going to loose himself completely, and that wouldn’t do very well after so many months of waiting. She pushed his shirt over his shoulders, an action he’d been waiting to feel for months, and never dared dream it would happen so soon. Then he glanced at her eyes and saw the distinct lack of passion in them and bit his tongue.
As her hands slid over his shoulders, pushing the material of his shirt off his body to fall to the ground, Arien wondered just how exactly she was going to maintain her professional aplomb with the very essence of masculine charm standing right before her. His broad shoulders where incredible, along with the ridged planes of his chest and abdomen. A light dusting a black fur trailed its merry way down his belly into the pants he, maddeningly, still wore. She swallowed hard, and stepped back from him, half-naked, and thought she’d feint dead away with pleasure at the mere sight of his dark satiny skin.
“So, you spend a lot of time in the tanning beds?” she asked nonchalantly, and as the saying goes, if looks could kill. He gazed at her for along moment, his face a mask of disbelief, and then suddenly he calmed and shook his head.
“Nope, natural skin tone.” He said, and then gave a wicked little grin, “Why? Do you like it?” he couldn’t help but ask. She’d been looking at him with such complete lack of sensuality he was beginning to feel the blow to his male ego.
“Ayep, you’re a very handsome man.” She remarked idly, moving to pick up her charcoal and begin her sketching. She noted his eyes grow a touch stormy, and she wondered what was on his mind to make such a dark look come over those beautiful features of his. “Stop scowling, I’m trying to concentrate.” She thought she’d never be able to concentrate again, her entire brain was muddled with his mere closeness, but she wouldn’t ruin a chance at the perfect male model, at least not quite yet.
Finally, Sebastian caught the scent of something in the air, yes, he knew that scent. He caught the scent of desire, the scent of a woman’s lust. A small smile curved his lips and the scowl disappeared together. She wasn’t unaffected by him, grace be to the gods, he thought, and then he took a seat on the bench before her.
As she sketched, Sebastian allowed his thoughts to turn back to the last few months. He was a high priced lawyer, earning his Armani as surely as the sun set, however every day he passed by the small front of Arien’s shop he’d felt inexplicably drawn to it. Day in, and day out, he was plagued by the raw need to enter that small shop. Sebastian was always a touch odd, not quite human.
As he’d peered through the window of the little studio one lovely day he’d seen Arien tending to one of her rare customers, and his beast reared its massive head and he knew, without a doubt in his mind, that she was his. Everything human in him fought the painful and powerful battle to remain outside, to not rush in and claim her as the beast within him demanded he do that very instant. He was human as well as beast, an odd mixture of the two that left him at odds with himself. However, he knew he had to bide his time, or he’d make a mistake and scare her away.
So that’s what he did, he waited, biding his time, watching her quietly through the window at night, until he could no longer hold himself back from her and he had entered her domain that very day. His beast raged against him inside, the feline predator that demanded he claim what was rightfully his, but he waited, unwilling to scare her with the monster within him.
For a long time she sketched, silent and intent on her work. He studied her as her hand moved quickly and gracefully over the white paper beneath her charcoal, her lovely large eyes gazing so hard at him, as if she were memorizing his face as he was doing her. She had washed since earlier, he could smell it on the air, and she’d left her hair unbound. It fell is crisp little curls about her face and against her neck and shoulders. As he watched, she shook curls from her eyes repeatedly, until finally she turned and searched the scattered debris on the table. Finding two bobby-pins she twisted her hair up and pinned it in place.
The action was only partially successful, leaving tight little ringlets to fall about her face, but not directly into her eyes. Sebastian clenched his fists to stay still, to not stand up and take this woman in his arms, to touch her coppery locks, to taste her lips. Gods, but it was difficult.
Arien was completely unaware of the inner struggle inside of Sebastian, too taken up with the one raging inside of her. He stared at her with such intensity she thought he might jump up and gobble her at any moment. And yet, he seemed in complete control. There was something inside Arien that wished to snatch that blasted control right from his perfect fingertips and dance about the room holding in her hands, watching him fight for its return. The very idea of this man loosing all that control was something exciting and daring, something she had a feeling would be more of a spectacle then she quite understood.
She’d managed the outline, her slow streaks making perfect symmetry of his face and the planes of his lovely chest and belly. Using her fingertips to smooth harsh lines, making him appear a touch softer, giving him that glowing mischievous look he’d had when he’d given her that boyish smile earlier in the day. She dropped her charcoal as she regarded him, and then cursed as she bent to pick it up. As her hand slide across the leg of her table she cursed, bringing her finger immediately to her mouth.
Sebastian was by her side in an instant, concern written on his perfect features. Without giving her time to protest he took her hand in his and brought it up to his face for careful inspection. She had a large splinter imbedded in her index finger.
“I bet that hurts, kitten.” He purred to her softly, “stay still.” He commanded. And his voice was so strong that she didn’t even think about disobeying him. As she watched, giving soft little whimpers of pain, he carefully grasped the splinter between his fingernails and pulled it free.
Despite the fact he knew logically the splinter could bleed, Sebastian wasn’t quite ready for the blood lust that assaulted him as the small little speck of blood pooled on her fingertip, nor was he ready for the scent of it or the look in her eyes as he gazed up at her. Slowly, he leaned his head down, lightly licking at the tip of her finger, catching her blood on his tongue and savoring the completely beastly excitement it brought with it.
“You taste better then I’d ever dreamed,” he whispered, his voice rough and husky, tinted with something more then need.
Arien had never seen a man turn from playful and gentle to deadly and harsh in so fast a period of time. She watched as he bent his head down to her finger, drawing it into his mouth and sucking softly. Despite the intense erotic thrill this near stranger was giving her she couldn’t have pulled away from him had her very life depended on it. And it crossed her mind, that in reality it just might.
Finding her wits, Arien finally tried to pull her hand away from him, which caused a low growl to erupt from deep within his chest. “Wh-what do you mean I “Taste better then you dreamed”?” she asked in a small voice, then licked her suddenly dry lips as he finally released her finger from the warm confines of his mouth of his own free will, placing soft kisses against her knuckles, fingertips, palm, causing Arien’s belly to clench low with sudden longing.
“I mean,” he began, his voice still rough as his eyes raised to meet hers, eyes suddenly gone from deep chocolate brown to the pale amber of a cat. Arien’s breath caught in her throat as she fought the urge to scream her fool head off. She jerked away from him at the sight of those intense amber eyes, but he held onto her hand, bringing it to his chest. “Arien, stop.” He said his voice so gentle she felt compelled to steady her nerves and hear him out.