He looks nothing like the boys I go to school with, or even the professors. They carry a softness to them, and he doesn’t seem to have any. Except for those eyes.
I just stare at him, the words not coming. Not that they ever really do.
Then he moves, his mouth coming down towards mine. I gasp as his lips hit mine. One of his hands goes to my hair, grabbing hold and tilting my head back. I give him total control of the kiss, dominating and powerful as his tongue pushes into my mouth.
I don’t even kiss him back. He takes the lead and then takes it all. My body goes lax, his other arm catching me as he holds me to him, devouring my mouth. Devouring me.
The taste of sweet, smoky scotch fills my mouth. I don’t know if the moan comes from him or me, but I try to push my body into his. He’s so big he easily surrounds me. The loneliness falls away and peace drops over me as the kiss goes on. This. This is what I was looking for when I came up here.
All too soon he’s pushing back, pushing me away.
“What the fuck was that?” he asks. My hand comes to my lips, wanting to feel something there again. It’s my first kiss, and I want more.
I go to step towards him. It’s a bold move for me, but I can’t seem to help myself.
“Felicity?” At my father’s voice, I jump away from the man whose name I don’t know.
“Here, Dad.” He’s standing in the doorway that opens onto the balcony. I glance over to the man next to me, who cocks his head as if putting together who I really am. It’s now I really get a good look at him. The light from the open door spills out onto the balcony. It’s clear he comes from money, his suit shows every inch of that, but a tattoo peeks out from of his cuffs, as if trying to escape. Even though I’m farther away from him, he looks even bigger. He must have really had to bend to kiss me. He has at least a foot and a half on me and I’m in the heels that I’d put on for the party.
“Calder?” my father says, following my line of vision to the mysterious man. “I didn’t know you were here. I saw Sidney downstairs and was wondering if you were around.”
“Just stepped out for some air,” he replies, looking over at my father, then back to me.
“I see you met my daughter, Felicity. She’s home from school this week.” My father steps out onto the terrace and makes his way towards us. He stops next to me, picking up my bow—I must have dropped it during the kiss. My violin’s still held tightly in my other hand, the strings digging into my palm.
Sidney? my mind asks.
“Yes, I caught her playing.”
“You’re lucky then. She hardly plays for anyone, no matter how hard I try to get her to.” I can hear the pride in my father’s voice. He loves when I play, and I always do it for him.
I feel my cheeks warm at my father’s admission. I lick my lips. They suddenly feel so dry. Calder’s eyes track my tongue.
I know his name. Calder Cox. My father has mentioned him a few times in phone calls we’ve had. A new client of his. A big one. And that’s saying a lot. My dad has countless powerful clients, so if he’s using that word, he must be something special.
An awkward silence grows, as if Calder doesn’t want to comment on my playing, and I still can’t seem to find words myself.
I just stand there like a silly girl who has no idea what to do or say.
“Why don’t you go inside, sweetheart? You don’t have a coat on,” my father finally says. I’m wearing a knee-length dress without sleeves. The temperature seems to have dropped at least five degrees since I got out here. I hadn’t noticed until Calder stepped away from me, taking all that warmth with him. My father’s tries to dismiss me nicely, knowing I probably want to go. I do but I don’t.
I just nod and go to make my way past him, hoping Calder will say something. Anything. But he doesn’t. I hurry down the stairs and into the house. They lead right to the kitchen. I bypass the caterers as they hurriedly work in the kitchen, putting together trays of food and glasses of wine and champagne. I go straight to my bedroom.
After putting my violin away, I flop back on my bed and listen to the sounds of the party outside my room, wondering if Calder is out there now or if he’s still on the balcony with my father. Had he caught us kissing? I don’t think he did but I can’t be sure.
That kiss. I’ve never felt anything like it in my life.
I wonder if all kisses are like that. I try to think about the time Mark from university tried to kiss me. I’d turned my head right before and got an awkward kiss on the cheek. He just laughed it off. I didn’t get any kind of fluttery feeling with that kiss. Not compared to what I’d just felt on the balcony. Almost like the world had stopped for a moment.