A Night of Declarations

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written by Caroline Richardson 

The rain started without warning, heavy and loud while we were standing in line to get into the club. Chellie, Helena and I ran as best we could in our tall heels, the overhang on the building just barely wide enough to cover us. Everyone was laughing and doing much the same, and in the chaos of jostling for space underneath, my breath caught as I saw him.

He was against the wall near the corner, hands in his pockets, surveying the scene, his eyes roving with an air of confidence that cut through the crowd like a knife. His suit fit perfectly, his hair styled with a mix of laissez-faire and exacting precision.

"Well would you look at that," Chellie murmured in my ear as she reapplied her lipstick, using her phone as her mirror.

I had, and was. When his eyes found mine, my entire body prickled. I couldn't look away if I tried, and as his mouth quirked into a half grin and one eyebrow followed it, my stomach fluttered.

He was powerful, and he knew it.

"They're letting us in!" Helena squealed, and the line shuffled forward. I hesitated, because he wasn't moving, his eyes locked with mine in silent invitation.

"I'll be there in a minute," I mumbled to Chellie, who was tugging on me. She turned back, saw where I was looking, and rolled her eyes. Helena laughed and grabbed Chellie's arm. "Let's go. She's not coming in with us."

"Are you sure?" Chellie asked me, worry in her voice. "It's Valentine's Day, he—

"Have fun if I don't see you, be safe," I muttered.

"You be safe, you know what—"

I waved my hand and gave Chellie a look that stopped her statement short. With quick hugs, my friends stepped through the heavy metal door, the bouncer in his tight black t shirt and earpiece sliding his eye down their bodies as they shimmied past him.

I turned, now alone on the sidewalk, the line gone. The only sounds were the muffled dance music through the door and the relentless pounding of the rain on the pavement and roof above us.

He was a magnet and I was iron filings scattered across the floor, slowly gathering into spiky shards on the end, no form, just pure chaos. I wanted to hear his voice, and connect the pull coursing through me to something tangible.

"Nice night," he said as I stopped a few feet from him. His voice was deep, rumbling across my skin as if he'd slid his fingers over me. I shivered, and bit down on my lip to keep from losing my nerve. His head was tilted up, and I followed his gaze, rivulets cascading off the roof like a tropical waterfall. It was shimmering, and I watched it for a moment. Simple things like this were so beautiful, and if I asked, he would likely tell me just that.

"Certainly is," I replied.

He swivelled his head and I did the same, our eyes meeting in the glow of street light, the dull, yellow beam throwing shadows across him as he leaned one shoulder against the wall.

"Your friends went in, don't you want to as well?" He quirked that smile again, the one that was subtly complicated in the reaction. The heavy bass from the dance music blasted out at us as the door swung to admit a group of people running from across the street, coats over their heads, laughing, and it dosed me with reality.

"Does it matter?"I took a quick step sideways to steady myself.

Silence followed, his amusement evident as his eyes raked me, sending tendrils of arousal across my body once more, faltering my steadiness like a feather blown by the wind. Dammit.

"You're dressed too fancy for this place," I blurted, instantly regretting it. It was an immature, petty thing to say in my inadequacy to deal with how this man was playing me with just a glance.

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