He secures me in his arms and twirls me deftly around, making my head spin for just a second. “The best.”
“My, you certainly are a humble one, aren’t you?” I say.
“I feel like I’m on top of the world tonight, Scarlett. And it is true what I said to your father. I am the luckiest man alive.” Ever so subtly, he grazes my ass and gives me that I-want-to-fuck-you-right-here-and-now look.
I run my chiffon scarf through my fingers, and his eyes turn into two molten balls of fire.
I feel my cheeks burn as a delightful wave of desire rips through me, igniting that need buried deep inside of me. Shit…I can’t get enough of him, and he has no idea how with just one look or a single touch, he makes me come completely apart.
He leads me out onto the empty dance floor, and I’m very aware that quite a few eyes are watching us. I grip his hand, and he places his palm on the small of my back, dangerously low, and probably not at all acceptable in this type of setting. Heat immediately collects there. Heat collects everywhere.
He draws me in close and swings me around and around, making my dress flare into a white balloon around me. The cool air whirls around my legs as the incredibly soft, smooth skirt settles around my thighs, caressing them. Did he pick it for that reason? No, he couldn’t have known how pleasurable the material would feel against my bare thighs, and how erotic it suddenly is to me that he handpicked this dress.
He pulls me in, his silken, newly shaven cheek pressing against mine, and whispers, “You look divine, Mrs. Manning. I wish it were my hands fondling those firm thighs.”
Holy hell. I glance at him, desire building between my legs. “Too bad so many respectable people are watching us, Mr. Manning. If they weren’t here, you could feel how wet I have become for you.”
His eyes turn black with lust, but the rest of his face remains unaffected.
We dance for a long time, lost in each other’s arms, the sexual tension so concentrated the entire time, it’s palpable. To anyone watching, we might just look like an average couple enjoying a romantic dance, but they can’t hear how my heart is beating erratically, or feel the wetness in my panties, or notice how his breath has become short little puffs in my ear.
He sways me gently, like he’s making love to me right here on the dance floor, the moves slow and controlled. No other dance has been this erotic.
“I think I love you, too, Mr. Manning,” I say. My heart is beating so fast, and though I’m scared to death of saying those three words, it feels so right.
He pulls back a little and raises an eyebrow. “You think?” he says.
I smile. “I love you, Michael,” I say with every fiber of my being. Looking into his eyes, I see a man who loves me, too. A man who has given himself to me heart and soul, and who is no longer afraid of what the future will bring. This is the man I could share everything with, be everything with, and do everything with. There’s not a single part of me I want to hold back. Not even the ugly parts. It’s time to tell him everything.
“Let’s get out of here. I want to fuck you so long and hard you’ll no longer be able to stand,” he says into my ear, his voice low and strained.
My legs suddenly feel like two useless stilts of over-cooked spaghetti. He interlaces his fingers with mine, the fingers that will soon be inside of me, pleasuring me. But before they do, I will reveal to him everything. He deserves it. We deserve a firm foundation.
Just as we reach the exit door, I hear an announcement from stage. It’s Diane’s voice.
“I’d like to bring a very special couple up here. Michael and Scarlett, would you please?” she says, gesturing toward us with that cunning smile on her lips.
Michael looks at me, a hesitant expression on his face. Dammit, we’re both so turned on how can we possibly go up there. It would be…very awkward to say the least.
“Did you know about this?” he asks.
“No,” I say. I really don’t want to go up there and stand in front of everybody. Definitely not in the state I’m in. When I’m dancing as a stripper performing in front of people, it’s a whole other thing, because I wear a mask. That is my alter-ego, it’s not really me. When I’m here among so many people, with Michael, I am just plain old me who would rather blend in with the crowd, who needs a hand to hold. In an instant, my heart is pounding for an entirely different reason than it was just seconds ago.
Michael offers me a warm smile. “Don’t worry. She’s just going to congratulate us, and welcome you officially into the family.”
He knows her better than I do, so I’ll trust him on this. God, I hope he’s right.
We make our way up to the small platform stage and of course, I trip on the way up. I hear the crowd gasp, but fortunately, Michael catches me before I face plant onto the steps.
“Thanks,” I say, thoroughly humiliated.
We’re up on the stage now, standing in front of the band, and the ballroom grows quiet, a couple hundred pairs of eyes on me. I cling onto Michael’s arm for dear life, remembering what he said in the car about Diane and how she could become my worst enemy so quickly.
“It’s okay, breathe,” he whispers, offering me an easy smile.
I inhale and exhale slowly, but my heart rate is still through the roof.
“I’d like to announce the engagement of my only son, Michael, to his lovely girlfriend, Scarlett. Don’t they make a beautiful couple?” Diane says.
I relax a little at her words, but I still get the distinct feeling more is coming.
Applause follows, and lights are flashing. It looks like even the press made it out to this party. Great.
“Tell me, Michael, where did you say you met again?” Diane hands the microphone to him.
“We met at church, Mother. The Portland Episcopal Church.” He smiles and hands the microphone back.
“And tell me, Scarlett. What did you think when you first met my very wealthy, very handsome son?” she asks.
Why is she saying it like that? Something is definitely not right. I think back to the strip club where I had seen him in the audience. Does that qualify as meeting him the first time, or in the church? I pick the church. Best be consistent in my story.
“I thought he was very kind and sweet. And a little forward,” I say with a tremble in my voice and hand the microphone back to her.
The guests laugh.