The Sweet Taste of Innocence Ch. 04
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Emma was still stunned as she climbed out of her cab in front of her apartment building and walked through the front doors. She climbed the stairs, silently contemplating what the man had said. He seemed to be fighting, same as her, but it made no sense, since he seemed to be someone who had had his foot in the door of the big businesses and his hand in the wallets of the big men behind said businesses for some time. Hell, she thought, it seemed he had been born into that world. What could he know of her struggle to become part of it and make her mark on it?
She fumbled with her key at her door, and stumbled her way inside. Again, her reflection in the hall mirror caught her eye and she cursed the reflection, making a mental note that the mirror really had to go as it always seemed to catch her at her worst moment, reflecting back the broken, beaten, neglected girl she had tried so hard to peel off and leave behind.
She thought for a moment about going into the bedroom and actually making her real bed to sleep in, but decided against it and just pulled out the couch bed, collapsing on it, fatigue washing over her. Her body demanded rest, but her mind still raced. This man was a mystery, plus, he had seemed vaguely familiar, but Emma knew she could not have met him before as he seemed so much above her. Even if he was part of the magazine, he must be nothing more or less than one of many rich boys who had nothing better to do than to dump Daddy’s money into a failing publication.
She mulled over it and turned it over in her mind’s eye, even as her real eyes began to grow heavy. She somehow managed to shimmy out of the dress and flicked off her heels, before unsnapping her bra and tossing everything haphazardly into the middle of the floor. She was going to trip on it when she woke up, she thought groggily, but she didn’t care as she succumbed to sleep.
Loud, boisterous laughter erupted from behind the sturdy oak door and a deep rumbling voice followed it. “You obsess too easily, Michael,” the voice said. Michael sat behind a matching oak desk, hands clasped and pressed to his pursed lips. His best friend, Alex Mauer, leaned against the desk. Michael had just finished his tragic tale of the mysterious woman. Now Alex had the nerve to turn up his nose and laugh. Granted, Michael knew his plight sounded a little too much like a cheesy fairytale, but it was painful all the same. Alex had no right to laugh at him.
Waiting patiently for the mockery to cut off, Michael again started thinking about the girl. He knew nothing about her save she was the most gorgeous woman he had ever laid eyes on and that she worked in his building. Besides that he had-
“That’s it,” he exclaimed, jumping out of his seat, causing Alex to fall from his perch on the corner of the desk. Michael took a minute to snicker at his friend sprawled out on the floor before finishing his thought. “She works in my building, or at least has some business there. I should be able to track her from there.”
Alex picked himself up and brushed himself off taking on a new approach as the cool, calm, and collected advisor. “Don’t you think that is a bit stalker-ish? What are you going to do? You can’t collect all of this information on some stranger and then show up on her front doorstep with a bouquet of roses, confess your love, and expect her to just let you in. That’s the kind of thing people get locked up for and you can’t afford to go into the little white room right now.”
Michael scowled at the fool. “Why on Earth would I do something so foolish as going to her home, much less confessing any form of emotion?” Alex looked at him, some hint of awe in his expression. Michael started pacing around to the front of his desk and then back and forth in front of it. “I simply must meet her on a less,” he thought of a good word, “professional level. So far the places we’ve had encounters have been too public. I need to get her in a more discreet setting and see what she is like. I need to know her in a way that no one else knows her.”
Alex murmured to himself in a worried tone, “Yup, he’s lost it; paging the kind young men in their nice white coats.” Again, Michael glowered at him. Alex held up his hands, smiling with mock innocence. “I’m just trying to tell you, you’re thinking too much about this. If you like this girl so much, just do the human thing and ask her out.”
Michael’s look got even darker and Alex caught himself quoting the old saying in his head, if looks could kill… “You didn’t come here to discuss my love life, though,” Michael said and Alex felt a little guilty at the sigh of relief that escaped him.
Michael pressed a button on his desk and the giant door opened, bedava bahis allowing two gorgeous girls to dance in. Both were of petite stature and moved with the grace of the exotic dancers they were meant to be. Tiny waists, swaying hips, pale skin; all perfectly bred features for seducing and satisfying the male desire, danced and teased before the two men. Michael watched with a mild detachment, allowing Alex the pleasure of his two best girls.
Mariah and Brianna; his best hire so far; especially Mariah. That girl was willing to do anything, so long as her little pet, Bri, was taken care of. The girls’ relationship played in his favor, though. He got whatever he wanted out of Mariah, and if a client so desired, the girls were more than willing to put on a show, which is what they found themselves doing at that moment.
The erotic dancing had taken a turn for the darker. The girls were pressed close together, their bodies still moving rhythmically, but with more animal desire now twining them limb to limb. Mariah lifted a hand up to cup Bri’s breast, and the tiny blonde threw her head back, a barely audible moan escaping her lips. Michael wrinkled his nose at the display, knowing the girls did this more for their own enjoyment than his.
After a while, he couldn’t take anymore and flicked a silver key at Alex. “You know where all the supplies are,” he said. “Just don’t do anything to hurt my jewels and have Mrs. Fairview lock the front door when you leave.”
Without hearing Alex’s protests, Michael walked out and retired to his bedroom for some much needed sleep.
Emma threw up her hands in exasperation, almost knocking her coffee off the table. She caught the mug before it could fall onto her white carpet and sighed in relief. Sitting on her couch in nothing but her panties and a flimsy robe, she stared at her computer screen as if willing it to burst into flames and give her an excuse to quit working for a little while. Of course at that moment, her phone rang and she impatiently punched the button to put Charles on speaker.
“What?” she snipped impatiently, rising to refill her mug.
“I will take that to mean you are having trouble with this weekend’s story?” he countered, and Emma could tell she had deflated his cheery mood. In a moment of spitefulness, she smirked as she poured her cup down the drain and refilled it with fresh brew.
“I can’t seem to get a real plot going,” Emma whined as she came back and curled her legs up under her on the couch, sitting Indian-style as she continued to glare at the one paragraph on her screen. “I have some pretty interesting characters here, but no real conflict.”
Charles paused, choosing his words carefully. “Remember what Mr. Dodd said,” he tried to ease in. Emma flashed a glare at her phone and cleared her throat loudly. She could almost hear Charles little gulp. “Hear me out, Emma,” he pleaded. “Why don’t you try just writing eroticism, instead of trying to fight for a plot?” She raised a brow, surprised he would question her work now after so many months of satisfied reading. She opened up her fridge and browsed the contents as Charles rambled in the background, listing off the pros and cons of taking Mr. Dodd’s suggestions.
Finally, Emma lost it. “I don’t need advice from another stuck up man who just needs fancy words to jack off to,” she almost screamed, chucking a rotting banana into the trash can. “Men may just be looking for sex, but women need a little more, and being of the latter species, I am inclined to have my writing lean in that direction.” She snagged a bottle of water after her search for breakfast came up fruitless, and plopped back on the couch, rinsing the coffee flavor out of her mouth.
“You know what you need?” Charles said after a few moments of silence. Emma rolled her eyes but couldn’t help a bitter smile that tugged at her mouth. “You need to take a break from this. You need to step out of your world for a moment and view it from some other perspective. Why don’t you come out with me tonight? I’m headed to a party over at a friend’s and he opened the invitation right up. C’mon; what could it hurt?”
Emma bit her lip. She was hesitant to leave her writing behind, but Charles was right. She needed to step back and approach the piece with a fresh mind. Maybe a night out was just what she needed. “Fine,” she agreed, slowly closing her laptop and focusing her attention on her phone. “What time?”
“I’ll be there at four to help you get ready.” The man was impossible, Emma thought. “See you soon, hun. Trust me, you won’t regret this.” The line went dead.
‘I hope you’re right,’ Emma thought to herself.
The bedava bonus loud music thrummed around the crowd, through the floorboards, and up into Emma’s body as she danced among the throng. Charles had once again dolled her up, although this time, she was at least wearing practical shoes. Her black flats clicked across the dance floor as she twisted and moved to the music. Her legs were left free of any kind of hose, and she was grateful she had thought to shave that morning, so even in the low light they glowed. They had argued a little over her top and skirt, and she had finally got her way about wearing a simple black skirt that hugged her hips only to flare out and fall to about her mid-thigh. Charles had insisted she wear the stupid red tank-top again, though, so she flashed like a freaking ruby slipper. Her hair was pulled up into a high ponytail, keeping it off her sweating neck and shoulders. Her makeup was dark and sharp, highlighting her green eyes and making them the center of her face, though they shared the spotlight with her bright red lips.
She danced her way out of the crowd to try and find Charles. She spotted him in the corner, a little preoccupied with the “friend” who had invited them, so she moved along to the bar. Shouting above the music, she ordered a drink and leaned back against the counter, sipping it as she watched the pulsing motion. There was something invigorating about the way the human body twisted and turned almost uncontrollably, yet always with timing. She realized she was being swept away in the sensual flow of the dance. She finished her drink and made her way back out onto the floor.
Closing her eyes, she just let the music take her away. Vibrations wound their way up her legs, licking at her body like the flames of an insatiable fire. The heat fueled her movement and she felt carried away on a wave of emotion as she poured her soul into the dance. She was so caught up in her own body she didn’t realize she was moving from her spot and right into the arms of a man who was dancing nearby. He caught her from behind and laid his hands loosely on her hips. Her ears tingled as her eyes flew open, but instead of pulling away, she continued doing what was natural and danced against him, soon closing her eyes again as they created their own rhythm.
Emma felt her body being swept away on the ride of a lifetime as the swaying and closeness sent her hormones dancing in little tantalizing circles across her skin, raising goose-bumps in skittering jolts up her arms and down her spine which was pressed firmly into the heat of his own body. The song drew to a close and Emma tried to catch her breath before turning to face the stranger.
The man was young, his straw-colored hair falling hap-hazardly over his face and curling in tight strands over his sweating brow. His grey eyes sparkled as he sized her up, and his smile was warm and tantalizing. Emma couldn’t help letting her gaze continue its wandering, noting that at some point in his time here, he had lost his shirt and his tan chest glistened with sweat as it heaved in and out from the exertion. Emma blushed and smiled shyly.
“Thanks for the dance,” she stuttered as she turned to make a quick getaway into the crowd. Her heart skipped a beat as he grabbed her wrist and pulled her back into his arms. She looked up slowly and saw a lazy smile spread across his devilishly handsome face. She cursed him inwardly, but at the same time begged him not to let go.
“What’s the rush, Miss?” he asked, his voice almost lost in the blaring music as the crowd began swaying again. The image of him swam in Emma’s eyes for a little bit at first, but she steadied herself and smiled softly. Leaning in close to her ear so she could hear him, he asked, “Why don’t we find somewhere a little quieter to talk?” Without thinking, Emma nodded her consent and let him lead her away. He took her up a flight of stairs at the back of the room. In a final attempt to regain her sanity, Emma scanned the room for Charles. When she found nothing, she let the stranger sweep her away.
He led her into a spacious room along a dark hallway. The space was well lit, the warm glow coming from several candles set about the room. The inviting scent of vanilla rested gently on her nose and she felt her body relax, not even realizing how tense she’d become. “Aromatherapy is an amazing thing,” she heard a voice say behind her. She jumped a little, having forgotten he was there. He continued in response to her quizzical look. “Whenever I visit here, the staff always knows to scent my room in vanilla because it warms the soul and soothes better than a hot shower, although,” he paused, smiling as he directed her attention to a rather deneme bonusu large bath, complete with jets and bubbles, “A hot bath never hurt anyone.”
Emma noted the steam rising from the water as if it had just been drawn. Her mind screamed at her and red flags flew up in all corners of her subconscious, but she was already knee deep. What harm would come from going a little further? She sauntered into the room, looking about. “Seems rather large for only one person,” she said, turning to face him. “Or is that the point, Mr. …?”
“Alex,” he said, approaching her, his face sporting that heated smile that sent her into a dizzy spell. Stopping right in front of her, he lowered his voice. “Just Alex.”
Emma gulped trying to put her heart and stomach back in their places. “I… I’m Emma,” she whispered hoarsely. His grin widened and she felt a flush creeping up into her cheeks. She had always made it a point to never find herself alone with a man, so what was she doing here? Obviously not something she should be doing. “What brings you to town then, Alex?” she asked, loving the way his name rolled off her tongue. “Not that it’s any of my business,” she hurried out, her gaze falling to rest on her shoes. She realized once again why she didn’t go out dancing very often. As much as she enjoyed it, her feet always swelled up pretty bad afterward and she was afraid these shoes would have to go soon, but she wasn’t about to kick them off in front of this stranger.
He stepped closer and she couldn’t help but start moving back. “No, I don’t suppose it is, but I have nothing to hide. I’m scouting out potential clients for a friend of mine.” He took another step forward. Emma kept moving back, until she felt the edge of a bed pressing into the back of her knees. She felt panic flit through her as she was forced onto her rump with a muffled grunt. Alex smirked and got down on his knees in front of her and she tried not to close her eyes in fear. She gasped slightly when she felt her shoe sliding off her foot. First one then the other, a soft thunk following as he tossed them away.
Gently, he took one foot into his hands and began massaging it. Emma stared down in shock as he worked his thumbs into the arch and over the ball, soothing the tension there from dancing. Next he worked up to her ankle, massaging the swollen joint softly, rolling it around and trying to smooth the kinks in the muscles. Once he was sure the first foot was completely relaxed, he moved on to the next, only when he got finished massaging the ankle, he moved up to work on her calves, then her knees. As his hands roamed up her thighs, she straightened and pushed him back.
“Hold on there, Romeo,” she said firmly. “I won’t be swept away so easily.” She backed up onto the bed, folding her legs under her and pulling her skirt down as far as the restricting article of clothing would go. One of her shoulder straps fell and she cursed Charles and his infernal sense of sexy style silently. Alex’s smile widened as he reached up and before Emma could swat his hand away, he had gently lifted the strap back into place.
“I didn’t mean anything by it,” he protested playfully, “Just thought you might be a little sore after dancing like that. It was enough to drive a man insane. You’ve obviously had some practice. How else could such a goddess be formed?”
Emma tried to laugh, but it came out as more of a nervous hiccup. She looked down at her knees and rolled the hem of her skirt in and back out. She couldn’t look him in the eyes and felt heat rising in her, causing a blush that she felt spreading over her whole face and down her pale shoulders. Alex was watching her. She could feel his gaze on her, but it was gentle, not judgmental. She jumped a little when he finally spoke again.
“Emma,” he said softly. She couldn’t help but look at him. “You’ve never been with a man before, have you?”
Emma was about to retort, until she actually thought about it. He was right. She was in her mid-twenties and had never had a serious enough relationship to have given herself up yet. She bit her lip in embarrassment and shook her head, her blush darkening as she closed her eyes tightly. Alex nodded before rising to his feet. Motioning around the room, he said, “You’re welcome to stay here until your friend is ready to leave. I will keep an eye on him and come fetch you when he shows signs of needing an escort home. In the meantime, make good use of all you see and don’t hesitate to call for help. The owner of this home is a good friend of mine and used to me entertaining guests.”
With these words, he walked over to a dresser, leaving Emma sitting on the bed, stunned into silence. By the time she found her voice to ask how he knew about Charles, he was walking out the door, pulling a black t-shirt over his head. Looking around slowly, Emma decided she might as well take him up on his offer and she quickly undressed and slid into the warm bath, letting the warm water relax away all the tension the evening had brought on.
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