Alpha, Strange and BeautifulbyUnsung Muse©
In a room full of preening playboys, this man stands out.
They circle and leer and lunge. He hangs back. The predatory hoof-drag-huff-and-snort, the gaudy-ruffled-feather dance around me, blurs and fades to background noise against his subtler brand of watchfulness.
As the night slides on, he's all I see.
A residual veneer of vanity won't allow me to read his stoic demeanor as disinterest. After all, I am hunting too. A rumbling lonely hunger, crying out from the bitter hollow of fresh-laid unlicked wounds, consumes me. It compels me to play this tired sordid game.
My eyes narrow and, from halfway across the room, search hard into the ill-lit corner where he stands.
I perceive the tug of a restrained smile playing at the corners of his mouth and catch the involuntary downturn of thick dark lashes, when I try to engage his gaze. My trained eye detects a slow measured shift, the redistribution of body weight from one leg to the other. It's palpable -- something carnal rousing within. He's sizing up the other players.
It cracks his poker face, reveals his hand to me.
My skin prickles and the thumping in my breast quickens in time with the loud tribal dance-mix coursing through the room. I swallow and taste a quiet sort of danger. At last, eye contact. I feel I am stealing away his secrets, things the other men don't know. Without them ever feeling his presence, ever seeing his hat in the ring, his ante on the table, his stake or his claim -- he has disarmed them.
The smack of danger should now lay thick and sweet upon his tongue. He has my full attention.
I call him Alpha.
I do not know his name. I do not want to know his name. I do not want to know him. The innocuous stranger in the corner (whose challenge I've accepted, whether he's issued one or not) will serve my needs better by remaining nameless, cloaked, and masked. I aim to delve no deeper than I need to. My body wants -- my ego needs -- to play. I will... No, must leave my deeper hungers out of this.
I have to. She is watching.
* * *
The weight of Gita's presence deflates my posture and swiftly slows the rhythm in my chest. I begin to feel awkward and self-conscious.
The glossy reflective surface of the bar echoes the odd amethyst-tinted lighting in the crowded cocktail lounge. I rest my hands on it and the sight of them (the skin, paper-thin; every vein visible, raised, and illuminated) startles me. I imagine my face skeletonized by the same unkind effect and, in alarm, I turn -- my back toward Alpha -- to confront the wall of assorted antique mirrors to my left. Squinting into the darkness, past the blur of moving masculine forms, I catch a fractured glimpse of Gita. Her arresting image, split across a series of eclectic mismatched frames, mullioned in black.
As always, she is stunning. Not even this cruel heliotrope glow can sully her humbling perfection. Gita's skin -- smooth, pale, opalescent: polished bone from fallen gods -- plays taut creamy host to beautifully fierce angular features. The otherwise severe shape and sharpness of her face is sweetened by the ripe fullness of grenadine-glossed lips and softened by the surrounding blue-black shock of gleaming blunt-cut hair. Poisonous silver-white-metal flecked irises flash and glitter, fire and ice, from smoky coal-lined eyes.
My knees threaten to fold at the sight of her, as they always do.
Gita's reflection delivers a wide unnerving smile, before beginning the slow measured strut that has me working hard to steady my breathing. Long toned limbs flow like liquefied living ivory from a simple backless shift (whisper-thin, black, and mid-thigh short) to lend movement to a form that seems too unreal to move on its own. Michelangelo's chisel blessed her with a soft fleshy tribute to David's ass, but clumsily lopped off her wings, leaving sharp protruding shoulder blades. I see them scraping just beneath the surface, aching to tear through her skin with every sinuous stride she takes. This excites me and I hate myself for it (for the unexpected bloodlust, as well as for wanting her), but my excitement is soon replaced by a different sensation... Just as base, just as distasteful.
I swallow hard at the dry angry lump forming in my throat, as I watch Gita slink toward Alpha.
Whore. Bitch. She-Devil.
I have no claim on this man, and yet, I feel a dark hideous surge of jealousy rise up in me, as she prowls around him -- catlike. Thin, tall, hard, strong, and confident. His (real or imagined) intentions toward me are bound to fall away and be forgotten, with one undoing look into her pooled-liquid-mercury eyes.
I freeze in place, unable to look away from the reflection, (but, in my mind, I'm making a hasty exit from the club through a thick wall of testosterone-driven objections, a soothing balm of lustful pleading). I want to save myself the pending pain (another fresh strip off my raw and bleeding ego, new flesh torn from reluctant bone), to run from the unholy challenge issued by that disquieting smile.
I hate this game.
The dull ache of covetous simmers under my less-than-perfect skin and rises to spill from my sore, tired eyes.
"You can't have him", my brain screams. I feel ugly, wretched and pitiable (like a child, old enough to know better, throwing a terrible public tantrum), though I have neither moved nor uttered a sound.
It does not matter to me that Alpha is not a notably attractive man. Clean cut, sure. Well groomed, granted. His black-on-black t-shirt and sports-coat pairing over well-cut, well-worn jeans; while exuding confidence in a nice understated way, somehow seem more safe than stylish. His sturdy frame promises strength and thickness, but his short jet-black hair is styled in that product-affected-and-spiked-just-enough way to disclose it's beginning to thin. Dark molten-chocolate eyes summon from a soft tawny baby-face. This, he clearly overcompensates for by limiting himself to too-serious smile-wary expressions. Oh, but when an unchecked smile breaks free, makes that rebellious escape, its light and warmth join forces with those eyes and the outcome is unexpectedly disarming.
In truth, however they rate, these outward qualities are irrelevant. They skim through my mind on fast-forward (the speed of cool indifference) -- a muted whirring hum.
I have an uncanny intuition when it comes to sexual compatibility. I sense it. Smell it. I can taste a well-matched lover's skin before I've come within ten feet of his or her body. I know their kiss. I can feel the firm press of their touch without ever having exchanged a word of introduction and this is happening now, with Alpha. This is all I need to choose him -- set my unwavering sights, flare my nostrils, paw at the ground, lick my chops, growl deep in my throat -- and instigate the chase.
No, it doesn't matter to me that Alpha isn't the most extraordinary specimen in the room, but it matters even less to Gita. She's come to know what I want, even before I do, and she cares only that I have chosen him.
She feeds on my wanting.
* * *
Gita faces the multi-mirrored wall once more and locks my reflection in an unblinking standoff. She side-step-slides directly behind Alpha, her neck and head poised just above his broad left shoulder. She lowers her moist juice-stained lips to his ear. I can feel the wet heat of her breath against my own ear, as she exhales each word with a slow seductive push.
I want to know what she is saying to him, but all I can hear is the too-loud thumping music -- now punctuated by the screech of imagined feedback as it's mixed with the eerie echo of Gita's unnatural voice inside my head.
"Is this what you want, Gemine?" I'm forced to press my fingers to my temples, as the deep throaty tones and strange reverberating whispers produce an excruciating blend of pleasure and pain. "Is this our intended plaything for tonight? Interesting choice, my love, but you know you'll never make a fucking move."
My eyes sting and they begin to well-up again.
"That's right, sweetheart, bring on those sad little tears. You can stand there looking hurt -- clenching your boney little fists, telling yourself how badly he wants you -- while you watch me play. You know I can reduce this man to a pleading puddle with nothing more than a whisper. I'll have him, I'll use him up, and you'll just cower over there, gaping -- sucking on your hungry tongue and trying to cross your skinny little thighs over that ache in your sopping panties."
While the harsh ringing inside my head wears away at my crumbling confidence, the pale glow of Gita's hand trails up Alpha's thick arm and over his shoulder. Her nails graze the side of his neck. I can feel it. Her long pretty fingers slide up into his hair and back down to his cheek before coming to rest at the base of his throat.
I cannot stop myself from imagining the soft pressure on my skin. The sight of her wraithlike white hand, contrasted against his umber flesh, stirs urges as violent as they are lustful. I resent them. Seething, I realize I am sucking on my tongue and I am forced to twist uncomfortably, clenching my legs over the wet heat and mounting pulse.
Despite the unwavering hold of Gita's eyes, I am compelled to search Alpha's face... try to thrill in the delicious heat of her touch, vicariously.
The moist caress of her breath -- the sight of her, the smell of her, the raw unrestrained sexual air about her -- should be enough to shatter him, yet Alpha shows no visible reaction to her presence. His expression registers no response to her touch or to her words.
I am rattled and confused, then impressed... elated. Not an easy mark, this one, it seems.
She will not be pleased.
Morose delectation. Schadenfreude. I fill with a restorative sense of satisfaction and have to suppress a chest-inflating burst of laughter. The broad bright smile of pure delight that I cannot contain, transforms the image in the mirror.
The gaunt sallow face I've envisioned blows away like a gray film of powdery dust, lifted and swept from the beautiful object beneath. I see a very different me. I see my tall, confident, striking reflection and I see Alpha -- eyebrows raised, a smile to rival my own -- walking toward me. Stolen or shared, those secrets shine in his eyes again and, predicted or remembered, the taste of his skin skips across my tongue once more.
I squeeze my eyes shut tight and, with a deep steadying breath, I make a quick quarter-turn back to face the bar.
The odd purplish glow takes a moment to adjust to and, blinking down into it, I feel Alpha next to me before I see his black-sleeved elbow come to rest on the surface to my right. I'm stunned, but relieved that I can smell no trace of Gita on him. His scent, however, fulfills prophecy.
I feel light-headed. My face grows hot.
I love this part.
I inhale deeply, lust-drunk and dizzy.
I hear Alpha place an order: three shots of... something. It is the first time I'm hearing his voice. It vibrates inside my chest, instead of being taken in by my ears or processed by my brain.
Eyes still downcast, I see one brimming shot-glass glide toward me -- a slow drawn-out skate over iridescent ice -- propelled by the side of Alpha's broad left hand. A little of the liquid (in this light it's hard to tell, but I think it's pale yellow) dribbles out over the rim and makes a sticky mess of his pinky. The finger darts instinctively to his mouth. My eyes follow and, as it slides into the wet warmth between his barely parted lips, I hear my breath catch (a sharp-rasp-come-weak-whimper) in my throat.
Not a man to me now, if ever he was, I'm not the least bit bothered if Alpha hears it too. In this moment, I have reduced him to parts -- arms, hands, mouth, tongue, eyes -- and I am silently (almost frantically) praying he won't disrupt this by initiating an exchange of idle pleasantries, mundane conversation.
I don't want to reconnect the pieces.
We knock back the shots at the same time, without a word or gesture or signal. I swallow and (despising the flavor of lemon) try hard not to wince. I manage a thin smile in thanks. He nods.
Signaled by the sweet familiar ring of our empty shot-glasses hitting the surface of the bar in unison, the bartender extends a bottle toward Alpha like a dangling rhetorical question mark. I know the bottle (it's an excellent single-malt and I would love some), but Alpha is already shaking his head in response.
"I'm supposed to meet a friend for a drink. Little place, 'round the corner... Do you know...?", he spells out the name of the bar and secures rather detailed directions. It is clear to me that Alpha knows exactly where this place is -- that this exchange, the resulting information, is for my benefit.
There is no air of presumption, though the clear-cut translation is "let's get out of here" and, while the coy covert delivery has me battling a begrudged grin of amusement, there is an accepted sense of simple unspoken understanding.
I know, before my head catches up, my body has already agreed to go.
As Alpha turns to leave, he is repeating the name and address of the bar (just like the kid reciting the shopping list on the way to the store: a carton of eggs, a container of milk, a stick of butta...). It is louder and slower as his lips pass, warm and smiling, close to my right ear. For me, this is an unwanted glimpse (a boyish sweetness, a sense of humor, a personality), a person trying to rise up from the pieces that I'm determined to keep apart.
I don't allow myself to laugh or to watch him walk away.
I stare blankly at the untouched third shot and experience a sudden chill.
I linger, pretend to check my voicemail, take my time settling my tab. Then I let a few more young strutting peacocks puff up my feathers, as I make my slow meandering way through the crowd toward the exit. Outside the front door, I light a cigarette and let my mind play out a filthy array of prospective fantasies. I take long deep hauls, thoroughly enjoying every poisonous pull, as I mentally deconstruct Alpha again and reprogram myself.
By the time I begin to walk, I've roused myself back to sweet willful abandon -- heightened all the more, somehow, by keeping Alpha in wait.
I feel strong and sexy and dangerous. The chill in the air teases my nipples and I smile knowing the dress I'm wearing will do nothing to mask the effect. As I so often do, I get the intense sensation that my sexual energy is spilling over onto every person I pass on the street. A little lost in the unfamiliar area, I have to ask a couple for directions. They are sweet and helpful, but they're both visibly flushed and eyeing me like they want to eat me alive. I leave them delighting in the idea of having worked my way into their filthy fantasies... at least for tonight.
Exhilarated, on a lust and ego high and slightly out of breath, I finally arrive at the correct address, but -- with the cold bronze door-handle already in my grip -- I'm quickly aware that I don't want to be in another bar. I don't want to share a drink, chat, hang out, relax...
Even as I'm thinking this, I'm already crossing into the warmth on the other side.
* * *
I glide in past a long mirrored back-bar and catch my strutting form in the much more flattering light of this cozier venue. Deadly Sins chart-topper notwithstanding, I can't help taking pride in what I see.
Jesus, I love this dress. The sassy bare-shouldered disco-inspired cut in whiter-than-white body-hugging thin stretch fabric, in which I appear lean and tanned and toned, rather than bony and frail and emaciated, plays up a very discernable outline of the tiny v-cut thong beneath. This is intentional (everything thing else I've tried to wear under it, in every shape and shade of 'nude' shows through, but with the distinct impression I'm unaware of it). Tonight, I just cut to the chase and opted for black.
I let the image in the mirror bolster me. Without Gita here to mar the view, I can quiet the cruel whispers of demoralizing diffidence. I can see a remembered reflection of me.
* * *
In a dim little nook, I see Alpha.
It's a painting torn from a lovely old book, a frame snatched from some obscure antiquated bodice-ripper. In the warm glow of this diffused golden lighting, the image of him (settled in this ornate upholstered corner bench, heaped with cushions in deep shades of red and gold) makes me feel as though I'm being presented as a harem acquisition.
I'm wondering why this trite fancy is so arousing, but I deign to embrace it. I cling to the cliché and eroticize the five-second-story-board in my head. I approach in silence, my best attempt at serene reverence, and -- like he knows the scene -- he nods, wordless, at the space on the bench next to him, indicating I may sit.
In front of him, a dusty bottle of Scotch and two empty rock glasses are arranged on a tray. I slide in. He opens the bottle and pours.
My rather contrived sultan fantasy fades from beneath a more novel fascination (Scotch being my undeclared libation of choice), laced with a very unexpected and unwelcome pang of guilt for taking my time in getting here. Suddenly, I find the pointed absence of conversation feels much heavier, more intense and more intimate, than the brand of idle chitchat I'd been dreading.
I am grateful when Alpha clears his throat (though distracted by it, I miss the chance to stop him from dropping ice into my glass). He speaks with a far-off air, musing to himself, almost like I haven't arrived yet, but he is in fact addressing me for the first time.
"Everyone is asking who you are..." it's the quiet curious tone of a scientific observer "who is that gorgeous woman in the sexy white dress?" Thank God, they are not mimed, but I definitely hear the finger-quotes. The tone and third-party positioning are enough to deflate me, all on their own.
Does he not share the sentiment? Why am I here?
I hate this game.
Uncomfortable, I fiddle with the tassels on a cushion next to me and allow my posture a more fitting slump. I'm surveying the room, agitated, wondering why I'm expecting to find Gita's ravenous eyes glowing back at me from each table and corner I survey.
With the bottle placed back on the tray, Alpha wipes his hands and then raises both glasses. He hands one to me and, for the first time without the aid of mirrors, looks directly into my eyes. He seems oblivious to my discomfort. I brace myself for a hokey toast.
"Do you know you can see your thong right through it?" The broad grin he's trying to suppress is not cooperating and the composed coolness falls away from his soft boyish face. Caught off-guard, my laughter escapes past all my own rigid checkpoints. I assure him that I'm aware but, as I watch Alpha fish an ice-cube from his glass and rub it back and forth across his lips, my casual synopsis of failed neutral toned panties trails off and my light banter tumbles into a series of quick deep breaths.
Letting the melting ice slide back down into his drink, Alpha presses his chilled lips against the side of his glass (warming them into a far-off smile) and I know, in his mind, the glass has transformed into some warm wet part of me.
My toes curl.
Having had this conversation about the apparent non-existence of a suitably invisible thong for my clinging white dress before, I already know the question Alpha is going to ask next. I want him to stay silent. I prefer that he remain right where he is, inside his head... with his mouth opening against the moist heat of my skin to bestow a long slow lick (rather than against the cool unyielding surface of a plain old glass, preparing to pose a predictable question).