Max kissed her so gently, almost reverently as he unbuttoned her shirt. She dropped her arms from around his neck to let it fall to the floor, and then splayed her hands across his already naked chest.
My hands are searching for you
My arms are outstretched towards you
He was so beautiful, she never got tired of looking at him or touching him. His skin was like satin under her fingers, warm and hard, and she wanted all of him pressed against her.
I feel you on my fingertips
My tongue dances behind my lips for you
And while she touched him, he caressed her back with feather touches, making her skin shiver. She felt him fumble with the clasp of her bra for a second before he worked it open, and she let the straps slide down her arms to join her shirt on the floor.
This fire rising through my being
Burning I'm not used to seeing you
He looked at her naked chest for the first time and Liz wondered if he would like what he saw. But the look of awe on face told her she hadn’t had to worry.
”You are so beautiful,” he breathed as he reached out to cup a silky mound.
My hands float up above me
And you whisper you love me
Liz gasped as he made contact, the sensations so powerful. With his thumb, he brushed over her tip and it immediately drew to a hard point, sending electricity through her body that went straight to the juncture of her thighs.
And I begin to fade
Into our secret place
He seemed fascinated by the sight and leaned down, closing his mouth over her peak.
Liz nearly cried out as desire rushed through her. She wanted him so much, but more than that, she never wanted the moment to end.
Take my hand
I give it to you
Now you own me
All I am
You said you would never leave me
I believe you
I can feel you all around me
Thickening the air I'm breathing
Holding on to what I'm feeling
A sudden loud banging noise brought her abruptly awake, and she realized almost at once that it was the garbage truck picking up the dumpster behind her apartment.
With a groan, she turned over in bed.
The dream again. Couldn’t she ever go even one night without dreaming about him? Would she ever be able to escape him completely?
She felt the sadness starting to consume her.
Automatically she pushed the dream out of her head with the only thing that worked. Sex with other men.
Since she’d lived in L.A. she’d been with so many different guys. She didn’t remember the faces or the names. They were completely irrelevant. But she did remember the sex, and the fleeting pleasure it had given her.
She mentally started down her list of best fucks.
There was the guy who’d gone down on her for what seemed like forever. The guy who’d finger fucked her until she’d begged him to stop, and then fucked her slowly with his big cock until she begged him not to stop. The guy who’d had more sex toys than she even knew existed, and they’d used half of them in one night. And the guy who seemed to take it as a personal mission to make her climax as many times as he could. She’d cum so many times she’d lost count.
Just in the last couple of weeks alone, she’d been fucked from behind, up against a wall, lying down, sitting up, and in a few positions she didn’t even know the names for. And she would relive every one over and over of them to keep Max out of her head.
For several long minutes that is what she did, remembering the feel of erections plunging into her, hands stroking her body, and the euphoric sensation of climax.
But today it wasn’t working. She could still feel Max.
“Damn it,” she growled as she got up. Crossing to her dresser, she stripped off her pajamas, and put on shorts and jog bra. It was too early to find another guy to fuck, so she would have to hope exhausting herself another way would clear her head.
Liz looked out the window of the cab as the city slid by, her thoughts still full of Max.
She’d done everything she could think of to get him out of her head that day, running until her body shook with exhaustion, doing research and writing. She’d made lists and went to buy groceries, she even rented a couple of movies to try to watch, but nothing seemed be able to erase Max from her mind. She felt him everywhere she went.
And not only did she feel Max, but she felt like she was being watched.
When she went out the door of her apartment, immediately she’d felt the eyes on her. A shiver when down her back, but she shrugged it away, getting in her car.
She’d still felt the eyes as she moved efficiently around the grocery store. A few times, she’d stopped, looking around to see who it was, but couldn’t see anyone.
When she returned to her apartment and closed herself inside the sensation stopped.
She didn’t know what to think. No one would be following her. No one knew who she was or where she lived. And it sure as hell wasn’t Max.
Pain stabbed her heart, knowing he would never come for her again.
Finally she’d come to the conclusion that she was just paranoid. No one could actually be watching her. Maybe she was finally going insane.
Besides, she needed to go out that night. She needed to find another guy to take her mind off Max.
So she’d tried to watch the movies she rented, and cleaned her already spotless apartment, basically just wasting time until she could go to a club.
The cabdriver’s voice broke into her thoughts, bringing her back to the present. “You sure you don’t want me to take you to that new club in Hollywood?” he asked. “The grand opening is tonight and I hear it’s the hottest place in town.”
“No thanks,” Liz answered, “just take me where I asked.”
The new club might be the hottest place in town, but she wasn’t looking to have a good time. She was looking for a guy.
And another one of her rules was no new clubs.
A new club might be so busy she wouldn’t even get in, and it increased the possibility that she might run into a former lover.
The term made her smile. There was no love involved, just pure sensation.
And that is what she needed tonight.
Getting out of the cab, she immediately experienced the feeling of being watched. She stopped, looking around, but still saw no one, and with a shrug she went inside.
Instantly she felt better. This was her domain, her hunting ground. She was in charge here.
Looking around she noted that the club was already packed with bodies moving to the pounding music. The darkness was broken up by spotlights, rotating colored lights, and strategically placed neon, but it was plenty of light for her to see what she had come for.
The beat of the music thrummed through her body.
moon hangs round
a blade over my head
reminds me what to do before I'm dead
She slowly moved around the edge of the dance floor, feeling like she was stalking her prey. Her eyes roamed over each man, counting up the good and bad traits, looking for just the right one.
night consumes light
and all I dread
reminds me what to do before I'm dead
She skimmed over blonds, brunettes, and skin of every color.
tease my mind
reminds me what to leave behind
A gorgeous blond caught her eye, but she saw instantly that he had no rhythm. A guy with a skin tight t-shirt that showed off his ripped chest made her gasp with desire, but she could tell by the way he was shoving people aside that he was a jerk.
light eats night
and all I never said
reminds me what to do before I'm...
To see you
to touch you
to see you
to touch you
Moving on she looked for the next guy, but suddenly stopped, and shivered again with a feeling of being watched.
Of course that is what she wanted tonight. She’d worn a tight leather skirt that barely covered her ass, a deep red blouse made of a thin material that highlighted more than covered her black lacy bra, and matching deep red high heels. She’d dressed to be noticed.
Turning, she locked eyes with another gorgeous blond. He had a thick head of hair slicked back into a short ponytail, a chiseled jaw, and a ripped body. And the shorts he was wearing told her that he was probably a surfer.
She’d had surfers before and found that their balance and muscle control was excellent in bed.
Holding his gaze, she went to him.
He smiled when he saw she was approaching him and looked her up and down, his eyes lingering on her breasts.
“Hey baby,” he greeted when she was close enough to hear him.
“Hey yourself,” she said with a smile, but it faltered as she felt a predatory gaze on her back, and the feeling she got when Max was around almost overwhelmed her.
The blond leaned in closer, “You are smoking hot,” he hissed.
Ignoring her feelings, Liz concentrated on the man before her, trying to listen to what he was saying.
“Um, thanks,” she said, feeling nervous butterflies in the pit of her stomach.
What was happening to her?
“I’ll bet you are a wildcat in bed,” he said, staring at her breasts again.
Shivers ripped through her body. Something was coming. She could feel it getting closer but she was afraid to turn around. Suddenly she just wanted to run.
She tried to pretend that everything was normal as she answered the blond. “Why don’t you take me out of here and find out.”
She swore she could feel a tingling warmth behind her as if someone had just pressed their body against her.
A voice suddenly whispered in her ear. “I’ll take care of you, princess.”
The voice was so familiar and she whirled around, but stopped in complete shock.
“No!” she hissed, as she shook her head. “It can’t be.”
For long minutes her brain could barely make sense of what she was seeing. In those first incredulous moments she saw Max standing before her, and her eyes raked over him wanting to see every inch of him. But as the seconds passed, she realized there were things that were completely wrong.
First she saw the tattoo on his forearm, then the stubble of beard along his jaw. His hair was pulled into spikes, and a diamond stud winked at her just below his bottom lip.
This wasn’t Max, but the alternative was impossible too.
He grabbed her by the upper arm and held her tightly, leaving her in no doubt that he was serious, and leaned in close, speaking so she could hear him over the music. "We need to have a talk."
She was so stunned that she didn't even resist him pulling her across the crowded room, into the back through an employee area, and out a door into the alley.
The cool night air was such a contrast from the humid heat inside that it seemed to sting her skin, making her draw in a quick breath that almost sounded like a hiss.
As soon as they were outside he released her arm, turning to stand before her.
She still couldn't believe he was there. "I thought, we all thought you were dead."
He nodded. "I was," he said with a shrug, "but I got better."
Liz was stunned into silence, her eyebrows drawing together as she shook her head. She wasn’t sure if he was kidding or not.
Her head was filled with questions, but they were a jumble. And she almost laughed when she couldn’t help thinking that now that she could hear Zan better she could detect a slight New York accent on some of his words. It wasn’t funny, she just couldn’t seem to concentrate, and wondered if she was in shock.
She shook her head again trying to clear it, and asked the first thing that came to her. "So," she started, "how do you know who I am?"
He shook his head. "I don't know you, not exactly, princess, but I know you were his." He pointed to her stomach, to the place where she'd been shot and Max had healed her. "And I know what he did to you, and what you are now."
"How could you know that?" she asked incredulously.
He shrugged again. "I could feel him when his emotions were strong. And they were strong all the time concerning you. I learned what you felt like through him. He really loved you."
Emotions boiled up in her so quickly they nearly took her breath away. Her love for Max, which was never buried deeply, came to the surface and nearly brought tears to her eyes. But she fought to push it back down so the pain and sorrow wouldn't overwhelm her. "Not enough," she said shakily.
He gave a single nod of his head. "So that's what you were doing tonight and last night, princess? Getting back at him?"
Anger replaced the other emotions she felt. "It's none of your business," she growled. "And stop calling me princess!" Suddenly she realized what he'd said. "You were there last night,” she said softly, looking down, blushing. “That's why I felt..." she trailed off.
He nodded. "I saw exactly what you felt," he said suggestively, “when you were letting that guy fuck you in the alley.”
Liz straightened up, raising her chin stubbornly and meeting his eyes. “Did you like the show?”
"Not particularly," he said with a shrug. "Not really my idea of a good time."
"Typical hypocritical bullshit," she spat. "You can fuck as many women as you want, but you expect us to sit at home, little virgins waiting for you."
His eyebrows raised in surprise at her venom. "No, I just don't like to see you hurting yourself like this."
She laughed. "You don't know what you're talking about."
"I know you lost the one person in the world that you loved and thought you belonged with, and you're in a lot of pain," he said. "I know the sadness fills you up and you think you’re going to drown in it. You don't think anything or any one can take it away, and it will be there the rest of your life. So you're doing anything you can to make it stop."
Liz winced, horrified that he was so accurate, and felt the emptiness starting to fill her. She turned her head so he wouldn't see the tears that were pricking her eyes.
He closed the distance between them and continued, his voice softening as he put a hand on her shoulder. "And I know he wouldn't like what you're doing."
Turning on him angrily, all of the sorrow from a moment before was replaced by rage. "Max Evans lost the right to have opinions about my life when he slept with Tess." She glared at him, "Nobody, not him, not you is going to stop me from doing exactly what I want to do. And all I want right now is find a guy to fuck.”
She started toward the door of the club that was still ajar, but before she was even halfway there, it slammed shut.
Whirling toward him she knew Zan had done it with his powers and noted angrily that he hadn't even moved or raised his hand. He was powerful and it just enraged her even more. "You think you can stop me?" she demanded. "I can just open the door, or go somewhere else."
He raised his chin arrogantly and a humorless smile lifted one corner of his mouth. "Don't even doubt that I could stop you in several different ways. Do you want me to list them?"
Liz had never been so angry and she wanted to slap that arrogant smile off his face. She rushed at him, her hands clenched in fists and she lashed out expecting her hand to connect with his mouth. But faster than she though possible, he grabbed her wrists and somehow twisted her and pressed her back to his front, with his arms crossed over her chest, pinning her arms and holding her tightly.
"Calm down, princess," he soothed, speaking softly in her ear.
She struggled ineffectively against his superior strength. "Stop calling me that!"
"But it's true, isn't it?" he said. "You belonged to the real king. You’re the one he really loved. That makes you a real princess in my book."
"Shut up," she snarled, her body shaking with anger. "You don't know what you're talking about."
"Then why don't you tell me," he said smoothly.
She was so tired and emotional from the last few days, and seeing Zan and hearing his barrage of questions made her think about things she didn’t want to remember, things that were too painful. It was too much. Suddenly she felt dizzy and darkness started to close in on her. All of the fight went out of her and she had no strength. She felt like she would slide to the ground if Zan hadn't been holding her. "I don't want to talk about it," she whispered. "I just want to go home."
Effortlessly, he swung her up into his arms.
"What are you doing?" she said wearily.
"I'm not sure you can walk right now," he said simply, "and this is faster."
As he slowly carried her through the alley, she leaned her head against his chest, accepting the situation because her brain and emotions were on overload. But she couldn't help but notice that he not only felt like Max in her head, but smelled like him too, and tears filled her eyes again.
It only took a few minutes to reach the parking lot and he took her to a car, using a flick of his powers to open the door. "But -" she started, only to be cut off.
"I'll make sure you get home safe," he said, putting her inside and closing the door.
When he got into the driver’s seat, she didn’t look at him but started to speak, “I live on –“
He cut her off again. “I know where you live,” he said gruffly.
She was about to ask how, but suddenly realized it had been him last night outside her apartment. He must have followed her to Tony’s and then home, followed her all day, and to the club tonight.
What did he want from her?
Turning away from Zan, she looked out the window and tried to pretend he wasn't there.
He started the car and pulled it out on the road and they drove in silence.
Streetlights flashed by, and neon on the occasional building filled the night with color. Music from passing clubs thrummed into the car, and sometimes she could hear laughing pedestrians, but there was no other sound but the hum of the engine and the tires on the road.
Zan seemed content to not say anything, and she was exhausted.
A light rain started and she watched the drops flow down the window as tears started to slide down her cheeks. Seeing Zan had brought up so many things she didn’t want to remember.
Leaning her head against the cold glass, she shut her eyes, trying to block it all out.
It's that feeling that someone
Is standing behind me
And I turn around and there's no one there
And it's the sensation
That someone just whispered
Yeah and I still hear your voice but you're not really here
Your memory is like a ghost
And my heart is it's host
I can still feel you just as close as skin
Every now and then
All by myself, in a crowded room, or my empty bed
There's a place you've touched
With your love no one gets close to
You said you'd love me forever
Then you said it's over
And left me without the missing link
I thought I'd forget you
But I guess I forgot to
And lately I've been too confused to think
I can still feel you
In everything that moves
In everything I do
I can still feel you
It seemed like no time had passed when the car stopped and Zan finally spoke. “We’re here,” he said simply. He got out of the car and walked around the front.
Liz quickly wiped her cheeks not wanting him to see her cry, and opened the door before he got to it. Unsteadily she climbed to her feet, leaning heavily against the car.
Zan stopped in front of her, his eyes raking over her. “Fuck,” he swore. Once again he swung her up into his arms.
Liz was so emotional she didn’t even try to stop him and tears spilled out of her eyes and down her cheeks. He carried her across the courtyard and up the stairs to her apartment using his powers to open the door as they approached.
He went straight into her room and placed her gently on the bed.
She turned tear-filled eyes to him. “Can you take away my memories of him?”
His jaw clenched, making a muscle along his cheek twitch. “No,” he said simply. “But I can make you sleep.”
She nodded, barely moving her head, and he put a hand on her forehead.
Almost immediately she felt so sleepy that she could barely keep her eyes open. Letting them drift shut, a nagging thought drifted through her head. “What do you want from me?” she whispered.
“Ssshhh,” he soothed, “just go to sleep.”
And the darkness overtook her.