Warning: This update contains explicit erotic images in the background decor.
"In an hour? I'm not even home and - I didn't mean it that way -- I wasn't arguing I just said it's a long drive, and I have to change, I'm not dressed for an art gallery..." She walked down to the end of the porch and said whatever she had to say and it wasn't a lot. He didn't mean to listen, he didn't listen, not much he could listen to since she wasn't saying anything back.
It was raining like a son of a bitch, rain coming down through that gutter into the barrel he kicked over once or twice. Somebody told him that barrel was there to keep all that rain from digging itself a trench under the house, but the house was still here about fifty years after old great aunt Cephise died up there in the attic by that window that never did want to open, no trench in all that time. He never did believe it Rain was going to find itself under the house whether it came down the way it wanted to go or some way you thought it ought to go.
Whoever she was talking to, he couldn't find a way to think it was a date kind of call; it sounded like her daddy telling her to come home, and maybe it was. Maybe. He felt the cold through the sweater he'd thrown on thinking he wasn't going to keep it on but it had hadn't worked out that way.
She put the cell down and sat down on the steps, huddled up, grabbing her knees and hanging her head over them.
Jimmy settled himself next to her, taking her fingers, cold and stiff like the way she was sitting there, wrapping his arm around her and she curled them into him and tightened and held on. When you don't know what to say, you say something about the weather. "Lot of bad weather we're getting."
She let it go a long time, letting the cold and dusk slide in, letting the light go down out of the sky. The asshole dog across the street started howling, door slamming, poser who thought he had a wolf dog yelling at the poor damned thing until it shut up and Rayne waiting to say something.
She glanced at him, a flash of warmth, a smile, that bite you in the heart Rennie smile, then she was looking back up at the sky. "The Year of Ryan - whatever was going on between Ryan and my mother, my mother wasn't happy, and it rained all the time. I used to think maybe she was making it rain."
Her momma was making something but it wasn't rain. He held off, knowing Rennie's deal with her momma was fucked up, but this wasn't right, uneasy, cold, the boards wet under his jeans, the light fading into a place he couldn't go. He'd thrown a spread last night, and he'd seen the Eight of Wands and the Tower and the Five of Cups, all of them calling down an ending. Jimmy lit a cigarette, fighting with the lighter that was about done but the toaster still worked. If he had a toaster, he could always light himself a cigarette.
Then she got up.
She got up, not looking at him, and walked toward the door, still hanging open, no need to push on it.
Sitting there in the wet he watched her turn in the light. She was always such a pretty girl. "I have to go, Toad. I'll call you."
South Beach - Southeast Metro: Six Gallery 9 PM
Impatiently, Duff paced the length of the gallery. He'd known the owner for a few years, a Dom he'd paid handsomely for a two hour private showing with the idea that he would push Rayne a little further. She was late by thirty minutes. It would take considerable restraint on his part to forgive her tardiness and he would make it a point to instruct her on his expectations. Duff considered lighting one of the Cuban cigars and contemplated what he would like to do with it. He resumed pacing; if he thought she would not be worth the wait, he would have been long gone.
Glancing toward the entrance, he saw Rayne hurrying up the walkway. Her hair was haphazardly pinned up and strands of it fell loosely around her face and neck. When she saw him, her lips curved into a pleasurable smile. The urge to pull the pins from her hair and let it fall loosely around her bare shoulders as he bared her breasts aroused him.
Duff forced himself not to meet her halfway and, not for the first time, questioned who was mastering who. As she stood before him, he assessed her from head to toe before meeting her gaze with his own.
"I couldn't find a parking place, I thought you said this place was midtown, it's southeast, you can never find a place to park." She sounded breathless and irritated and she looked back at the street and frowned. "I'm going to get a ticket and I have a couple of them already."
Duff watched her fret, young and pretty and worried about parking tickets, her cheeks flushed. He considered offering to relieve her concern, and decided against it.
"You should pay your tickets."
"I know I should. My dad used to pay them but I think he's done with that. What is this place? I know all the art galleries on the east side but not this one. And if they boot my car - "
Relenting, captivated, amused, he took her arm, waiting for her to turn to him, to rely on him, only him. She wasn't there, not yet.
“Why are you here Rayne?”
She responded with a quick laugh.“You invited me, that’s why.”
Pulling away, releasing his hold on her, Duff crossed his arms. “Perhaps I should reconsider inviting you in the future. Go home.”
Obviously disconcerted, Rayne paused, studying him, touching her hair, her body language uneasy. “Why - because I was a little late? Sorry...”
Duff put up a hand to stop her. “If you had any discipline, you would have been here precisely when I expected you.”
Rayne smiled coyly as if expecting her charm would assuage his temper. “What are you going to do, take me over your knee and spank me like a little girl?”
Gripping her arms, Duff slowly backed her into the wall. He moved as far into her personal space as he dared and placed a hand on the wall beside her. Leaning in so that their lips were nearly touching he whispered, “I’d consider it but you might enjoy it too much.”
She drew a hard breath, and Duff saw her pupils dilate in what he assumed was arousal, the silk of her mouth brushed against his, and then she violently and unexpectedly ripped out of his grasp. She'd been trained, and by someone who knew what he was doing. Caught off balance, Duff released her, he had no choice but to release her and he felt the pain in his wrist where she had twisted it when she broke free.
Rayne glared up at him, her cheeks flushed, her eyes alight, and she put one hand on his shoulder and slid it down his chest, then fisted his shirt and hissed up at him. "Maybe you’ll reconsider asking me? Maybe I’ll reconsider accepting. I'm walking right out that door and you don't have a whistle big enough to call me back."
Duff faltered. Her outburst was unexpected; if he let her go, it was over. He couldn’t chase her; he would not chase her. She didn’t want to leave, if she had she would have been gone but instead she hesitated. She turned in the doorway and looked back at him, waiting, poised to run but still she waited. If he let her go, she wouldn't come back, he needed to adjust his tactics.
He smiled, slowly walked toward her, took her hand, slid his hands through her hair, such a surfeit of silk. “Rayne...I’ve disappointed you. Do you think me harsh? Did you want to stay?"
Sliding his hand around her neck and weaving his fingers through her hair, he gently drew her closer. Leaning in he cautiously kissed her and when she didn’t pull away, he deepened the kiss.
“This time I might let it go. Only this time, this one time il mio dolce, because I want you...” pausing, his mouth moved sensually against hers, who was the lion, who was the lamb, would he have left, would he, would he take the door out without her, no. "I want you to stay.”