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Page 32 of Alpha (Alpha 1)

His thumb skated over my shoulder, and I felt him lean in close to me. “I know, Kyrie. I know. I’ve got a phone call to make. You can look around while I’m gone.” His lips touched my shoulder, my neck. I shivered, felt my skin pebble, my blood race. “I’ll be back soon. I’ll send someone in with a glass of wine.”

“Okay. Thank you, Roth.”

“Of course.” I heard him leave, and I was alone.

I reached up behind my head and untied the blindfold, blinking as my eyes adjusted to the sudden influx of light. Oh…oh, my god. I’d seen pictures of the Met, of course, so I sort of knew what to expect, but nothing could have prepared me for the reality. It was huge. The box I sat in was directly opposite the stage, at the very top, so the entire theater was on display for me. Of course Roth would have the best seat in the house. The seats were filling quickly, the stage curtain was pulled closed, and couples filed down the aisles, led by ushers, to find their seats. A pair of opera glasses sat on the seat beside me, recently vacated by Roth. I used them to get a closer look at the people in the audience, scanning for familiar faces. The door to the box opened and a server came in, carrying a tray bearing a single glass of white wine.

“Anything else I can get for you, ma’am?” he asked.

“No, I’m good. Thanks.” I expected him to leave, but he didn’t. He shrugged and gave me an apologetic smile. “I’ve been given instructions to wait here with you until Mr. Roth returns.”

I frowned. “Well, whatever makes you happy.” I went back to scanning the crowds and sipping my wine, making the most of my time without the blindfold.

A few minutes later, the lights began to dim, and the orchestra struck a single note. A knock on the door behind the server made me jump in my seat, but he seemed to be expecting it.

“I’m supposed to…errrr, tie a blindfold on you…now. Ma’am. I’m sorry, but those are my instructions.” The server was a very young man, barely out of his teens, acne-scarred and awkward.

He took a step toward me, and I handed him the blindfold. “Ah, that explains why you had to wait here.” I closed my eyes as he placed the cloth around my head and tied it. It was way too tight, but I could feel his hands shaking, feel the awkward nerves billowing off him, so I took pity on him. “That’s fine, thanks.”

“Sorry, ma’am.”

I shook my head. “It’s not your fault.”

“Can I…can I ask why…? Why the blindfold?”

I wasn’t sure what to say. “I—um. It’s kind of a long story, actually. It’s…a game my boyfriend and I are playing.”

The door opened, and I heard Roth’s tread behind me. “And it’s none of your business, Michael. More wine for the lady, and your best single-malt Scotch for me, please. Thank you.”

“Right away, sir.” Michael sounded relieved to have something to do that would take him away from me, from the blindfold, and from Roth.

I heard a chuckle from beside me. “Poor kid was about to wet himself, I think.”

“He did seem a bit nervous. Especially when he had to tie the blindfold on me.” I touched the knot. “Speaking of which, I think I’m losing circulation, he tied it so tight. Can you loosen it for me?”

Strong fingers worked at the knot, loosened the blindfold, and then retied it. “He couldn’t take his eyes off you,” Roth said as he fussed with my hair, feathering his fingers through the ends. “I don’t blame him, but he was…rather openly ogling you.”

“Ogling? I don’t think he was ogling.”

“He was ogling. Staring down your front, actually.” He traced the line of my clavicle, and then down, down, closer and closer to the opening of my cle**age. “It’s not his fault, though. Not entirely. You are…impossible to look away from. You aren’t his to look at, however.”

“No?”

“No.”

“Then whose am I?” I knew the answer, but I wanted to hear his reaction.

“Mine, Kyrie. You are mine. You belong to me. To me alone. I won’t share you, not even with harmless children like our friend Michael the server.” At that moment Michael returned, and Roth replaced my empty glass with a full one. “Thank you, Michael. Now, that will be all until intermission. Here you are.”

“Th-thank you sir. That’s…very generous of you, sir.” Michael’s voice was awed, stunned, and I imagined Roth had given him a massive tip. A hundred-dollar bill, maybe.

The door closed, and the orchestra began playing.

Within the first five minutes, I was hooked. I couldn’t understand anything, but it didn’t matter. I couldn’t see anything, but I didn’t care. The music, the singing, it was rapturous, hypnotic, needing nothing else to be magical. For a while, Roth and I sat side by side, merely listening, and then I felt his hand on my knee. I tensed, but allowed his hand to remain. And then…his hand slid upward. Just an inch, but enough to make my heart rate increase. Another inch, and now I knew he was playing a game. How far would I let him go? Every nerve ending in my body was on fire, and his fingers were barely at my thigh. I swallowed and tried to tune out the feel of his palm on my quad. Tried to listen to the singing, to the orchestra, but it was in vain.

I felt his breath on my neck. I forced myself to keep my head upright, even though every instinct was telling me to tilt my head aside, to offer him my throat. His mouth was hot and moist on my neck, kissing just beneath my ear. I could barely hear past the thunder of my heartbeat in my ears. His hand was sliding higher now, and it was becoming intimate, becoming dangerous. I was trembling now. Unable to move, frozen stiff. The music faded to the background.

A warm palm cupped my cheek, turned my head to the side. “A kiss, Kyrie.”

I let out a breath I hadn’t realized I was holding, and leaned in. I knew better than to deny him a kiss; I knew better than to deny myself a kiss. He tasted of Scotch, smoky and fiery, and his breath was slightly cold from the ice, his lips soft and damp on mine, moving with strength and confidence. His hand was at my hip now. His tongue ran along the seam of my lips, once, twice. Tasting, inviting. A third time, demanding now. I opened my lips and felt his tongue graze my teeth, and then my own tongue flicked out to touch his, and that was when I knew I was lost. The kisses we’d shared before were delicate, exploratory. They had been introductions. Slow, and soft, and easy.

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