With the seething darkness at my back, the searing white stage lights turned the figures of the band into formless shards. The room felt like the biggest, loudest, most crowded womb in the universe.Â The vocalist paced, turned and paced again, a thing trapped and furious. She spat out her raw, percussive words, her voice snapping and tearing on the notes, like barbs stuck in her throat. Around me the bodies moved, swayed, took me with them into the conspiracy: witnesses to something gorgeous and utterly ugly.
Fingers snatched at my hand, intertwined and locked tight in that way that spreads the bones apart and make them hurt. I gave Lizzy an insane grin and squeezed back. Stoned and elated, the bass and drums throbbing in the pit of my gut and the back of my thighs tingled as the terrible, wonderful voice ripped my chest apart.
A sharp jostle on my right made me turn to see a tall, lanky scarecrow of a man. His straw-pale hair haloed by the stage lighting, his aquiline nose silvered by it. He stood mesmerized, like Lot’s wife turned to a pillar. It made me smile, before I turned my attention back to the stage.
Again bodies around me jostled, and I stumbled. This time, turning to the scarecrow, I met his gaze. Jewel blue eyes on the verge of tears blinked and freed the moisture captured in the thick pale fringe of his lashes. “I’m sorry,” he mouthed. The music was too loud to hear him, but I read the cherubic lips easily.
I nodded, as if nothing in the world could have hurt me at that moment. “It’s okay,” I mouthed back, not bothering to load the words with voice.
I was about to turn back to the spectacle when he reached up and caught my chin with long, girl-like fingers. For a second, I tried to pull away, but then his cold eyes froze me. As if I, in looking back, had also become a block of hard salt.
Leaning in, I felt his cheekbone brush over mine. “I should know you,” he said. “Why don’t I know you?”
The sudden lull in the music left a hiss in my ears and a void in which to hear the pale young man inhale. In the midst of all these bodies, he smelled me. With deliberation, he slid his moist lips back over my cheek and covered my mouth.
The shock of the intimacy was startling, as was the savage urgency with which he grasped the back of my neck and held me there. I was expecting to taste alcohol but there was nothing but a mild tang and the faint scent of violets. By the time my brain was working well enough to make a plan – which included pushing him away and yelling “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” – my lips were already parting, and my body was leaning into the kiss as if, for all the world, like it belonged to someone else.
The music had started up again, pressing in on my skin and the lights blazing from the stage were suddenly knifelike. I closed my eyelids, and there was nothing but his mouth; the lips that plucked at mine, sealing at the corner of my mouth, sucking softly and then, like a slow obscene intrusion pressing the tip of his tongue against it and trailing it across the slit of my half-parted lips.
I felt him laugh. His breath condensed over my skin. Then those cherubic lips engulfed mine, sucking so hard that my tongue slithered into mouth like something oiled and sleek.Â His jaw moved, persuading, cajoling me to give over…something I had no name for.
The taste of his desire sang to my nipples and dipped into the pit of my belly. Blood rushed, engorged and pulsed with blind insistence. Even in the heat of the crowd, every follicle on my body stood up.
A delicious frisson of fear travelled along my veins. How could a stranger, in a matter of moments, change me from enthusiastic audience member into a leaking, aching slut who wanted nothing more than a dark corner in which to slake my lust in the shortest time possible? Unreasoning and voracious, I would have fucked him right there if I could have.
Then he lifted his head, his warm, wet lips disengaging,Â and it was over. His hands released me, and I felt an insistant tug at my hand. I turned to Lizzy, stunned.
She wrapped an arm around my neck and yelled into my ear, “Who is that guy? Do you know him?”
I glanced back, to ask his name, but he was gone.