There's a Fine Line Ch. 03byMazuri©
Short note: some aspects of this chapter, as well as the story in general, may not appeal to all audiences. Please take a moment to check the story tags if there are subjects you'd rather avoid.
And, again, Mokkelke and Jaisen, you guys helped me so much with this chapter. Thanks tons!!
Alicia nervously smoothed and re-smoothed the expensive little black dress Elizabeth had helped her pick out that morning. When she'd tried it on in the store, it'd seemed a lot more...well, there than it did now: more length to cover her shapely legs, more lace to cover her small but overflowing cleavage, more cloth in general instead of possessively hugging her curves. Knowing her mate, he'd be searching for the tiny zipper that ran from the back of her neck to her waist before they'd even gotten in the car. She tugged on the hem again in the hopes that she could pull a few more inches from some hidden wrinkle and paced the Library awkwardly in her new heeled sandals.
Catching a glimpse of her image in the large bay window, her shoulders slumped. Whatever made her think she could impress a centuries old vampire? Though the window reflected the gentle waves of her black tipped and streaked sandy blonde hair, her petite but curvy body, and the way the dress set all her best features off to perfection, Alicia only saw the street kid she still felt herself to be -- the little girl playing dress up in someone else's fancy clothes. She'd never forgotten her mother's thoughtlessly cruel comments as she bemoaned her daughter's small bosom or slim hips. Coupled with Markus' harsh words the first time he saw her completely naked, that she looked more like a young boy than a grown woman, and she'd always been extremely self-conscious of her body. Lewd comments from the men on the streets weren't helpful; they'd fuck a knot-hole in a fencepost if you tied fake tits on it.
"You are determined to make me feel unwanted, beautiful, if you continue to look so unhappy to see me."
With a jump, Alicia turned towards the door to where Blake Simons lounged casually against the frame. Dressed in one of his tailored black suits with a blood-red and black striped tie and crisp, white shirt, her vampire mate looked like he'd walked straight off the cover of GQ. As her hungry eyes took in his every detail, from his polished, black wing-tipped shoes to his dark brown hair that her fingers itched to touch, he was heaven and sin wrapped in a deliciously gorgeous package. When his lips quirked in amusement as her eyes shifted to bottomless black pools of aroused hunger, her gaze focused on the movement. She licked her lips in response, remembering the taste of him. The dark side that'd been dormant for so long rose just that little bit more to bring her closer to her goal -- closer to her mate.
Blake straightened from the doorway and watched the girl stalk him from across the room. In reaction to her new shadowy nature, his beast surged forwards with lustful glee. This was the creature who was to be his. This was the passion he knew she suppressed. This was the mate who'd been promised him since the day of his creation. Stepping forward, more vampire than man, Blake took her wrists and pulled them behind her, securing them in one of his large hands. The fingers of his free hand tangled in her gloriously streaked hair and pulled her head back so he could drag his fangs along her bared throat. Her moan and the rising scent of her desire urged him to continue.
"Is this what you want, beautiful?" His lips and the moist heat of his tongue followed the scraped and burning path of those sharp incisors, licking and teasing and healing the marks he'd placed upon her neck. When she struggled to get free, he pulled harshly on her hair and growled against her fragile skin. "Seeing you in this dress, with so much of your warm, luscious skin bared to my greedy eyes, is both a pleasure and a torment. Do you know what you're doing to me, beautiful?"
"I'm...I'm not doing anything," her pleasure-filled denial was answered with a swift strike of those deadly teeth into the thick vein that pumped her life's blood. Blake took only a single mouthful, nearly losing his tenuous hold on his self-control and ruining his designer suit at the taste of his mate, before swiftly healing the wounds with more laps of his teasing tongue than was needed.
"No? This dress is positively sinful, beautiful. The lace teases me, dares me to explore its secrets and seek out the treasures it hides. Shall I go hunting, my mate?"
Alicia's knees nearly buckled when his hand released her hair to trail over and tease along the edge of the aforementioned lace. "Oh, god." Unaware of her actions and only knowing she needed more of this man -- his lips, his touch, even those razor-sharp teeth -- she arched her back to try and force his hand lower
Smiling with evil triumph, Blake's long fingers returned to her hair and pulled until Alicia was stretched backwards across the iron band of his arm as if suspended in the dip of an erotic dance. Her eyes closed and her breasts heaved as his fangs began a new journey, this time along her collarbone to the dip of her throat where a slight pressure was followed by an even slighter sting. His low, satisfied growl when his tongue lapped at the tiny bead of blood he'd drawn sent a flush of heat throughout her body. Further still traveled that sinfully wicked mouth, nipping and lapping and suckling her skin until she thought she'd go insane. When his lips edged under the black lace and closed around a diamond-hard nipple, pleasure exploded through her body. Her scream of release echoed oddly around the small room with a shrill, birdlike resonance.
Blake released her hair and wrists in time to catch her limp body as her trembling legs gave out completely. Holding her close to his hard and aching body, he smiled with justified male pride at the satisfaction he'd just given his mate. He couldn't wait to unleash their passions freely and drink in her pleasure-filled blood. Running his hands soothingly along her back, he hid his smirk in her glorious, slender neck while her trembling slowly calmed.
"Blake?" Alicia whispered softly against his chest, slowly easing her arms around his waist and holding him equally close to her.
"What just happened?"
Chuckling softly, he drew back and brushed her hair from her flushed face. "I think you know the answer to that." When her blush deepened, he chuckled again and ghosted his lips across hers. "Are you alright?"
Dropping her eyes shyly, she nodded while a small smile danced over her lips. Alright? She was more than alright; she was positively brilliant! It wasn't like it was her first orgasm, Markus loved to torment her with her body's reactions to his disgustingly skilled touch, but it was the first that nearly made her weep with joy. It was the first she'd had without guilt. It was the first given to her by her glorious mate. Thinking he couldn't feel it through the layers of clothes, Alicia pressed a soft kiss of gratitude and (dare she admit it?) budding affection to Blake's heart.
"God, beautiful, you're making it very hard to be good." His pained groan, coupled with a gentle grind of his granite-hard erection, sent the color back to her cheeks.
"What? Oh..." Embarrassed, Alicia started to pull away but his arms tightened into steel bands around her and held her firmly in place. "I'm sorry," she mumbled into his tie.
Blake dropped a kiss on her head. "Don't be. I treasure the kiss, beautiful, but I'd like for our first time together to be somewhere other than Elizabeth's antique desk...and her throw rug...and maybe even that tapestry-print chaise." His heart soared at her choked giggle and he willed his body to behave. As much as he wanted to pin her over that desk and bury every inch of his aching hardness into her delightful body, he knew she wasn't quite ready for that just yet. He didn't want to scare her off just as she was beginning to accept him.
"Not the chaise, Blake, really." She murmured softly with a faint blush still staining her cheeks.
"And whyever not, beautiful?"
"It'll stain and I'd have to explain that to Ms. Pierce. That's so not a conversation I wanna have, ok?"
Laughing, he pulled back and tucked a black strand of hair behind her ear. Intrigued, Blake ran his fingers gently through her hair and noticed that the texture of the black strands and tips were different from the rest. Coupled with her unusual cry of release earlier, certain details were beginning to fall into place but to what result? When she closed her eyes and smiled, he couldn't resist pressing a gentle kiss to her lips once more.
"Very well, beautiful, the chaise will be struck from the list but I insist upon the desk. It's of the perfect height and is quite sturdy enough to hold you in place when I tie you down."
Alicia's eyes opened wide and darted quickly towards the desk before returning to his. The fiery crimson of his eyes captured and held hers as the color once more rose in her cheeks. His voice might have been amused but it was plain that he wasn't joking. He really did want her tied and helpless over the hard, wooden desk. Shocked, even slightly horrified, she still couldn't stop the excited shiver of anticipation that ran through her body as she envisioned the scene he'd so succinctly described.
"You know, perhaps we should go? I mean, they won't hold the reservations forever, right? And I really hate to keep folks waiting..."
Grinning, Blake quieted her with a kiss and then motioned towards the door with a bow. Alicia grinned and dropped an awkward curtsy, nearly falling over in the unfamiliar heels. Strong arms caught her before she could do more than wobble and she clung to the knowledge that he would always catch her when she fell...for now, at least. Until he learned everything Markus had put her through; everything she'd done on the streets to stay alive; the weird stuff that was happening to her now. Pushing aside the depressing thoughts, she hid her momentary disquiet in the task of grabbing her purse and missed his narrowed gaze.
Though he kept quiet, he knew she was hiding something from him. Like the day before in the garden, Blake could sense her shift in mood from playful to depressingly introspective and wondered at the cause. Something was worrying his mate and she seemed determined to hide it from him. She would soon learn that he wouldn't stand for this for much longer and woe to her if she tried to hide behind lies or deception. Taking her hand as they walked from the Library, he entwined his fingers with hers and pulled her possessively to his side. If she tried to hide, he'd be more than pleased to stalk her; if she lied, he'd was eager to show her the error of her ways.
All of Alicia's unwanted thoughts fled at the sight of the elegant sports car that waited at the bottom of the short stairs. She pulled her hand free from his strong grasp to circle the two-seater that bore the name of a manufacturer she'd only heard of in movies. Even in her small southern town, the name Bugatti meant supreme luxury at the price of a king's ransom. Her mother's house probably cost less than a tenth of this car. She'd known he was a corporate big-shot but this almost casual extravagance nearly took her breath away. The differences between her and her mate seemed to grow, bringing her insecurities along for the ride.
"You want to drive it?" Blake held the keys dangling between his fingers, a smile teasing his lips. The little sports car wasn't very practical but he did so love the reactions people had to it.
Her eyes narrowed, searching his for signs of mockery. Finding none, she had to assume that he wasn't aware of all her shortcomings. "You're shitting me, right? There's no way you'd let someone else drive this. It's a fucking Bugatti, for Christ's sake!"
"Language, beautiful. And I'm not letting 'someone', I'm letting my mate. There's a world of difference." He saw that she understood the significance of the offer before she dropped her eyes. Blake didn't let many ride in the custom built automobile; no one but he drove it.
"Um...I don't think I could or should. I mean...I'm not on your insurance or anything." Alicia wracked her brain for a plausible excuse in light of her obvious longing to drive the legendary vehicle.
"Of course you can, beautiful." Blake pressed the keys into her small hand and closed her fingers around them. Her accelerated heartbeat alerted him that she wasn't being entirely truthful with him. Again. Anger surged through him at the thought of such casual deceit. He knew she didn't have a driver's license but as he'd planned to only let her drive to the gates and it was private property, it wasn't an issue. However, her reluctance stemmed more from a lack of a small bit of plastic; it seemed possible that she'd never learned to actually drive at all. Why on earth was she lying about it? "And insurance isn't a problem."
"No, really. I can't." She handed the keys back to him and pointed to the gear changer with a shrug. "It's got a manual transmission. I really don't think you want me grinding the cogs off the gears. But thank you, it's a beautiful car."
"As you wish, beautiful." Though his voice was smooth and even, there was still a slight edge to it that hinted at his displeasure. For the first time since he'd arrived at the Pierce Estate that night, his smile failed to reach his eyes. Again, nothing she said could be construed as an out-right lie, yet she continued to conceal the truth. Such a small detail, perhaps, but after centuries of being subjected to the dishonesty of others in order to obtain something from him, he valued the truth more than any brick of gold or precious gemstone in the world. "When we have more time, I'll just have to teach you."
"Not in this car you won't." Alicia muttered under her breath as she walked to the passenger side and got in.
Blake seethed as he guided the powerful sports car along the familiar streets. His mate was hiding things, evading answers, lying to him and by the time this night was through he would know why or there'd be hell to pay. His beast raged at her careless deceit, shocked and appalled at how easily she'd twisted the truth on such seemingly inconsequential things. If she'd lie about something as unimportant as driving his car, then how could he trust her on matters of greater significance? How could he have a mate that he couldn't trust?
He could feel her eyes on him as they drove in silence but he refused to look at her. Blake feared that, if he did, he'd have the car on the shoulder and her bent over the hood while he asserted his dominance over her in the most delicious way possible. Once she was sated and exhausted, he was positive that she'd be more inclined to answer him truthfully...or she'd hate him forever. It was this possibility that kept his hands on the wheel and the car turned towards his home. Her prevarications had forced a change of plans; they'd dine in his suite before he extracted her vow of honesty from her. She might not fully enjoy his methods but he was certain she'd never lie to him again once they were through.
His smile was pure, distilled wickedness.
"Blake?" Alicia's voice was soft, hesitant, and his smile grew broader. His crimson eyes nearly glowed as the tips of his fangs pressed only slightly against his bottom lip: both a promise and a warning.
"Yes, my sweet?"
"Is something wrong?"
"What could possibly be wrong? I have my mate at my side and we're off to a romantic dinner. Honestly, Alicia, what could possibly make this day better?"
"I...I don't know." Twisting her fingers together in her lap, she couldn't fail to notice his strange emphasis. Her heart jumped into her throat as she wondered if he'd known after all. "I mean, you seem upset by something."
"A minor issue, I assure you, and one easily resolved. I can truthfully say that it'll work itself out soon."
Out the corner of his eye, Blake noticed with satisfaction that she winced slightly at his emphasis. Good. She was realizing just what had caused his displeasure. While she sat and pondered her transgressions against him, he mentally contacted Augustin and asked him to cancel his reservation at The Cellar and have the food delivered to his suite. He had a feeling his Alicia would much prefer a private setting for what he planned to do.
The remainder of the trip was quiet; uncomfortably so for the young girl sitting in the passenger seat. As he eased into the secured garage in the bowels of the hundred floor skyscraper, the overhead halogens reflected off the moisture on her cheeks and his heart sank to his toes. Dammit! He hadn't intended to make her cry...yet. Her often abrasive manner and fierce independence made him forget just how young she still was. Jumping from the car the minute the engine was cut, he yanked open the door and pulled her into his embrace. It didn't matter who caused her tears or why, he couldn't stand to see them.
"Shhh, beautiful. There's no need for tears." He kissed the top of her head gently while molding her petite frame to his. While he planned to teach her that he'd not tolerate even the mildest of untruths, it wasn't something to get this upset over. She'd messed up. He would punish her, yes, but she seemed to already be doing so and far more harshly than he ever would.
"Hush." Tilting her face to his, he kissed her firmly. Gazing into her tormented eyes, his face was kind, even loving, but as firm and unyielding as the fingers on her chin. "Relax for now, Alicia. We will discuss it after dinner."
His tone didn't allow for arguments and Alicia nodded hesitantly. As he guided her into the elevator and punched the button for his apartment, he realized she'd not be able to relax and let it go without help. Smiling, he waited until she glanced up at him before he began to slowly and deliberately unknot his tie. As he slid the silk from beneath his collar, he watched her eyes dart fearfully around the small enclosure before fixating on the slim black and red strip of cloth in his hands.
"Turn around, beautiful, and place your hands on the rails."
Her eyes widened and she took a slight step back. The scent of her fear mixed with slowly budding arousal began to fill the confined space. "Wh...what are you going to do?"
A dark brow rose as his voice grew even softer. "Are you refusing me, mate?" Had any of his associates been in the room, they'd have known that this was Blake at his most dangerous.
Shaking her head jerkily, Alicia closed the eyes that had shifted from soft brown to jet black and did the one thing her sense of self-preservation was screaming at her not to do: She turned her back on the predator with which she was trapped. Her hands shook as she gripped the metal bar though it had little to do with the cold temperature. She jumped when he slid the strap of her purse off her shoulder, prying her hand from the rail to slide the leather over it in order to place the bag on the floor. He brushed his lips over the soft skin of her knuckles before replacing her hand on the bar.
Kneeling, he worked the straps of first one, then the other, of the strappy sandals from her small, delicate feet. Lifting each in turn, he kissed her ankles as he slid the shoes off and set them by her purse. Though she nearly shook with fear and confusion, he was pleased to note that her hands had not moved from their spot on the rail. Blake rose with all the lissome grace of a stalking panther, hit the elevator's stop button, and stepped behind her, causing her to flinch slightly as she struggled to remain where she was. He could feel her labored breathing when he leaned over to place a hand on either side of hers on the railing, trapping her securely in place.