"What about that one?"
"Nah, tits aren't big enough. And I think she's a he."
"Geez, Howie, look at her. I've seen some plastic chicks before, but that one is way more. I'm pretty sure that is she male territory."
Howie squinted, staring hard at the 'woman' in question. Then he snorted. "Probably. Should send Junior in find out?"
AJ laughed. "Nah, let's get Kevin to do it. More his thing."
Howie chuckled and took another gulp of his drink. "You gotta stop setting him up that way. What's this? The tenth one you've tried to sic on him?"
"Twelfth. 'Sides, the guy acts like he's got a stick up his ass half the time; maybe having something else up there would…"
"What are you two conspiring?"
Howie and AJ looked up guiltily. "Umm, nothing Brian. Hey Nick, looking good."
Brian glanced at Nick and smiled. "Yeah, you do. Didn't notice. New shirt?"
"Nope," Nick grinned, grabbing a beer from the collection on the table and flopping down next to AJ. "Just clean."
Howie chuckled. "Such a rarity."
"Bite me, D," Nick retorted cheerfully.
Brian pulled up a chair to the table and glanced around the room. "Glad to see we are all in a better mood."
"Yeah, you may be a dumbass, but getting away from each other, even for a little while, was a good idea," Howie gave Brian a short bow.
"What can I say? All that good ole Kentucky know-how." Brian ignored Howie's mocking snort. "Speaking of which," he pointed to the woman in the corner with the bottom of his beer bottle. "Looks like another one, Aje. Gonna send "her" over to Kevin?"
AJ and Howie looked at each other and started to laugh.
"I could use some sleep," Micheline sighed.
"He was great, wasn't he? I swear, I felt like a wet noodle after he got through pummeling me," Jeanne smiled as she rubbed her back against the chair seat.
"Yeah, you did it right though. I should have had the facial after the massage and not that salt-water flotation thing. I can barely stand up straight, I'm just one big puddle."
Jeanne chuckled. "Well, all of it was a good idea. Good thing you spotted that ad. I feel all clean and new and relaxed again."
"Nothing makes you feel better than a day of total pampering," Micheline agreed. "I was getting ready to kick AJ's ass for all the flirting and shit he does. Now he can go ahead and act like a dog, I don't care. I'm gonna do it too and see how he likes it."
Jeanne laughed. "Well, you are looking very hot with that new hair cut. And that colour is so you. The man's gonna be falling all over his tongue. I doubt he'll look in another direction, even once, when he lays his eyes on you."
"Right. Like Nick's not gonna do the same. I am so glad you got that dress. It looks amazing on you." Micheline looked Jeanne up and down. "It sets off your tan just perfectly. And that perfume…" She giggled. "Gonna have to pry him off you with a stick."
Jeanne blushed. "Doubt that," she murmured and then turned to look out the car window, eager to avoid any more conversation.
Kat was more relaxed and calm, but while the manicure and pedicure had been fun, the massage had been a little off-putting. It felt great, but as the masseuse worked to relieve her tension, all she could remember was Nick's hands on her body. The other night when they had made love… the way he'd caressed every inch of her - inside and out - was still a fresh memory. And, damn, how she wanted him again. But her admissions about her past had upset him and he'd avoided touching her - or even coming too close to her - for the last few days.
He'd made his position pretty well known: she made him uncomfortable and he resented what happened between them.
How could he not?
How often did a guy like him end up stuff with the daughter of a lunatic murderer? Sure he had his baggage, but it was nothing compared to hers.
She sighed heavily, one hand nervously folding and unfolding the silky fabric of her dress until Micheline grabbed her wrist.
"Stop that. You'll crinkle it."
Jeanne smiled. "Just nervous, I guess. I don't usually wear clothes that are so… slinky."
"I've seen you in some pretty hot outfits. This just looks classy and, umm, slinky," Mich grinned. "I wish I could pull it off. Aje'd be putty in my hands."
"Right, like the man isn't already," Jeanne shot back.
"Well," Micheline gave her a very mischievous smirk. "Not in my hands…"
Jeanne exploded with laughter. "TMI! Way TMI! I do not wanna know. Yuck! Thanks, now I have to get that visual out of my head!'
"Oh… you thinking about him naked too?" The other woman held her breath for a second then burst into giggles too. Jeanne was going to say more, but the car pulled to a stop in front of a nightclub. They could hear the music pulsating from within and a short line forming outside.
"Showtime," Micheline said with a wink before clambering out of the car.
Kat took a deep breath and then followed her.
When she walked into the semi-private section of the club that had been partitioned off for them Nick's mouth went dry. He couldn't remember the last time any woman had made him do that. All he knew was he wanted her and he wanted her bad.
"Hey," she said shyly.
"You look…" His voice was hoarse and he paused to clear this throat. "Really good. You look great, really good" he repeated.
She beamed at his approval and murmured a quick, "thanks."
"Taking some time away from me really did you so much good," he continued. "If it helps so much, maybe you should do it more."
Kat frowned at that. "Nick, I don't think… You look like you needed the break too."
"Umm." What was it about her lately that always made him so tongue-tied. He just always said the wrong thing.
"I didn't mean… I just…" He sighed. "Do you want a drink? Something to nibble on?"
He gestured to the finger food on the table, but it was his fingers she kept her eyes on. Yes, she wanted to nibble on that… God! What was she thinking? Maybe having that massage hadn't been a good idea. It seems to have released all those devilish thoughts along with her muscle knots.
"Just some water," she replied huskily.
If she didn't notice how fast he sprinted to get it for her, the others did. Howie snickered and winked at Brian and Kevin; AJ was otherwise occupied as he fawned over Micheline. Brian grinned back and even Kevin had a small smirk on his face.
"So, do you want to go dance?" Nick asked as he handed her the bottle of water.
Jeanne glanced behind her, not entirely sure he was talking to her. He'd talked to her more in the last two minutes more than he'd talked in the last few days. "Ah, sure. Okay."
His face glowed as he took her hand and walked her down to the dance floor. It wasn't crowded: word hadn't spread that they were there yet. Kevin had mentioned that they were going to be able to have about an hour's peace before a couple of radio stations started dropping hints about their whereabouts. Then things would really get hopping. In the mean time he was going to enjoy the opportunity to just dance - no choreography, no songs he'd heard over and over again for years, just moving his body to the music the way he wanted to.
Kat couldn't take her eyes off him. The way he moved; the way his shirt tightened across his chest from time to time. Just enough so that you knew he worked out, but not enough to show every pore on his skin. It was better that way: let your imagination do some work, rather than making it all so blatant. She wished some of the girls - groupie wannabes - who showed up at the hotels, station visits, etc., would clue into that. Yeah, you had breasts and a flat stomach. So why not show it with a semi-sheer, lacy top rather than a crop top that was made to fit an infant? That hint of Nick's taut, powerful chest underneath his shirt was more than enough for her. Seeing how his hips moved in those slightly baggy jeans. Watching the way he bit his lip and then ran his tongue along it…
She moved her shoulder again, and the fabric of her dress moved with her. Forward to show a little of the skin of her upper breast, then back to pull it tight across her smooth skin. Whatever she had done at that spa today - salt rub or massage or whatever - it made her skin glow. He bit down on his lip again, trying to resist the urge to groan out loud.
A massage. Someone rubbing her body. All over, hands caressing every part of her. Well, not EVERY part. Not that part - if anyone else touched that part of her he'd kill them. Better not to think of that. Think of something else. Think of how that dress hugged her body, how it sensuously embraced her every movement.
She had never wanted to bite someone else's lip the way she wanted to now. If he kept doing it she was going to reach out and do it for him… Damn! When did he get so relaxed, so calmly potent, so… damn!
Neither knew how long they had been dancing. The music changed but both were dancing to an inner beat. The club had been filling up over time, and the dance floor was starting to get crowded. Again, they hadn't noticed. They just moved closer and closer to each other, unwilling to take their eyes off each other.
Now their bodies were pressed up against each other, forced there by the crush of other dancers. Theoretically they were still dancing independently; their arms weren't touching and they moved to your own rhythm, but it was obvious they were concerned only with each other. Nick could feel her now-erect nipples, hard as cherry stones, brush against his chest, and smell her delicate perfume as he bopped his head back and forth.
She was distantly aware of his growing erection, rigid against her waist, and the little whimpers he was making in the back of his throat when she brushed closer against him. But all she could see was his darkened blue eyes and the little trickle of sweat about his brows, and all she could feel was the overwhelming urge to lick the droplets away… and work up some more to take their place. Her breath was coming in short pants and the occasional brush of his bare skin against hers was making her dizzy.
Someone grabbed her arm and she swung her head to the left, Nick's following immediately as he also felt a hand on his shoulder. AJ stood there with a wide smirk on his face; Micheline grinning behind him.
"Why don't you two just get a room?" He asked and then started to cackle evilly as he grabbed Mich's hand and dragged her into the gyrating crowd.
Kat looked at Nick in shock, mumbled "excuse me" and tore out of the crowd heading towards the washrooms. She scurried inside, ignoring the complaints and catcalls of the women in line, and went straight to the sink. Turning on the cold-water tap, she splashed water across her face and shoulders before looking up at the mirror. Her face was flushed, eyes wide and lips red. Redder than the lipstick she'd put on earlier.
"Oh god, what am I doing?" she groaned as she lowered her head and splashed more water on it. Another glance at her reflection didn't provide her with any answers. She leaned back against the wall, shutting her eyes and trying to calm her rattled nerves.
"Is pretty hot out there, hunh?" a girl beside her said. "Even wilder than the usual."
Kat returned her smile with a quick nod, then grabbed a towelette, dried her face and left the washroom. She glanced at the stairs back up to their private area, but knew she couldn't face him. Not yet. Not until she calmed down. Not until she could forgive herself for thrusting herself against him like that. What had she been thinking?
She wondered over to the bar and requested a bottle of water. The bartender grabbed one and looked expectantly at her.
"I'll get that," a male voice said and she turned to see tall dark-haired man leaning against the bar beside her.
"Thanks, it's okay," she mumbled and told the bartender to put it on the Boys tab.
"You sure you don't want something stronger than that?" the man asked sliding a little closer to her.
"This is good."
"I saw you out on the dance floor. You have some great moves."
Her mind was still aflutter and she missed the innuendo in his voice.
"Yeah, good to dance," she replied absently. She'd turned around and realized that if she looked up just a little she could see straight into the roped-off area. And straight into Nick's eyes as he sat up there watching her.
"You ever come here before? I don't think I've seen you before," the guy continued, moving closer and lightly stroking her forearm.
"Not here. I mean, no, I've never been here before." How come she felt like she could see Nick so clearly? Like she could make out the blue of his eyes? Logically, from this distance, she wouldn't be able to. But she could. She swore she could.
"That guy you were dancing with; he your boyfriend? Or are you single?"
"Yes, umm, no. He's not really my… he's a friend and also…" her voice tapered off, not knowing how to answer the question, and not really caring to anyway.
"So do you feel like dancing some more? I'd really like to get out there and groove with you." He moved his arm across her back and then down lower to the top of her butt.
Coming to a decision, she answered him inattentively. "Thank you, no. I have to be going."
She pushed herself away from him, going up the stairs, hardly ever breaking eye contact with Nick. The bouncer at the doorway didn't recognize her and want to let her in until Nick told him to harshly. That drew her attention back to him. Walking up to where he sat, she took a deep breath and held out her hand.
"I think AJ's right. We should."
Nick looked at her vacantly, then a look of comprehension spread over his face.
He reached out and grasped her hand, holding it as he pushed himself up from his seat.