Aubrey brushes past the bulk of the crowd and makes her way toward the back of the low-lit room. It's the typical mob scene at the Blue Loon whenever a somewhat well-known live band is scheduled to perform. Either musicians play here at the end or lowest point of their careers or they play here before they really take off as a national brand. Rarely, you'll have a band whose roots may have started in this old fishbowl of a town and they're kind enough to slum it with their peers in between the real gigs.
Aubrey peers above the masses, looking for his face. A face she's never seen in person but she's sure she'll recognize once she does, given the way his brown eyes seem to stare directly at her from the 'Profile Pics'album on his Facebook page. She runs a hand down the front of her t-shirt for the third time, nervously smoothing the fabric while she searches.
"C'mon! Let's get a drink before it gets crazy in here!" Courtney yells, grabbing Aubrey's elbow and pulling her toward the bar.
Luke. That's his name. A friend of a friend on that blasted social website who'd caught Aubrey's eye several months back because she thought she recognized him from childhood; a common scenario for those who grew up in or around Richmond Hill, Georgia. You either leave, never leave, never come back, or come back after being gone for long stretches but inevitably, it is easier to make contact with old acquaintances from Richmond Hill than from any other town Aubrey had ever lived in.
Currently, she lived in Denver. She is proudly one of the ones who left and, as of yet, had not returned…well, at least not in the permanent sense. She's only visiting this summer for a friend's wedding. Luke, on the other hand, was one of the ones who had left for a stretch but found himself very much back in the thick of it for complicated family reasons, though he had every intention of getting out again. Not because he didn't love it there, and not because he didn't love every harebrained member of his family, but his travels as a young man in college left him with an insatiable thirst to see, taste, and experience all the world had to offer. Richmond Hill just can't satiate someone with that kind of thirst.
But it turns out Luke was not the child Aubrey thought him to be after all. Complete and utterly unrelated in fact. Certainly wasn't the first time it had happened and she'd have easily flitted on by when he confirmed the mistaken identity--except he had to go and be amusing in his response. Aubrey is not one to ignore a good sense of humor…
The simple and innocent banter went on innocuously for some time. Brief comments left sporadically here and there between the two strangers; oddly polite, always witty, but for the most part, consistently plutonic. If pressed, Aubrey couldn't have pinpointed the moment when all that changed. It stands to reason that she stood here, scoping and cataloging each and every face in this bar tonight, because of that change, though.
"You're way better looking in person." A male voice speaks into Aubrey's ear from behind. It startles her. She hesitates before turning but when she does, there's no one there.
It had to be him, it's just the type of backhanded compliment she'd expect from him. She turns further and sees a man walking away from her. The slightly curly brown hair, the wide shoulders, the olive green fleece--though there is a tall blonde hooked to his arm, busy kissing the cheeks of the girlfriends she appears to be meeting up with here.
It may or may not be important to mention that Luke is currently in a committed relationship of two years while Aubrey has been married for seven.
The man escorting the blond turns away from his date and her chatty friends to look over his shoulder in Aubrey's direction--
Aubrey's breath catches.
She recognizes the three-day stubble, the cocky smirk, and the button-round brown eyes, instantly. Luke is a bit taller than she imagined he'd be.
"C'mon! Let's go dance!" Courtney shouts. Double fisting two Miller Lite bottles, she loops her arm into the crook of Aubrey's and pulls her into the adjoining room where the music is blaring; past Luke, past his smiling, oblivious girlfriend and her friends. Everyone in the bar is completely unaware that Aubrey and Luke's eyes are locked on one another, at least until Courtney pulls her and Aubrey behind a large group of very Gothy looking dancers.
So now what? Aubrey wonders, annoyed and resigned to the fact that Luke would naturally come here date in hand. Even on the computer he was careful to leave his options wide open. Even in their flirty chat sessions, he'd never quite commit to making a statement that would in any way imply Aubrey was unique or specifically desired by him. They were good at flirting, teetering on the line of appropriateness, never leaving corners to get trapped in.
In fact it may have been Luke's unabashed admittance to his fantasies of having a threesome, of wanting more 'spice' in his relationships, which intrigued Aubrey rather than gave her an excuse to write him off altogether. Clearly their romantic preferences were incompatible, but their honesty, humor, and relentless tongue-in-cheek mocking kept it interesting enough to keep playing a harmless game. The thousands of miles between them would never amount to anything worth fretting over.
Unless she were to erase those barriers and show up in the same town for a friend's wedding.
Courtney is all over the place, already sandwiched between two military admirers, dancing in a way that would shame her father. Aubrey tries to interact with her environment, determined not to find a wall to stand against so she can observe, which always invited harassment from her friends even though it's what she preferred to do in large crowds. People watching was underrated. She wasn't feeling it though; too preoccupied with trying to figure out how to get Luke alone.
When she is sure Courtney won't notice, Aubrey slips off the dance floor and heads up the open stairway to the loft looking down over the rest of the dance floor. She makes a point as she ascends the stairs not to look for him. Luke may have been into the whole 'multiple partners' idea but it didn't interest Aubrey to see him with anyone else, even if it was expected. She compartmentalized these things in her life. Her goals were kept separate, her hobbies were kept separate, her marriage was in one category, her friends in another. Luke was in his own category in her mind too. As far as Aubrey was concerned, when they chatted online it was his time, and if she couldn't compartmentalize it from the menial tasks of being a housewife then she'd simply refrain from logging on. Yes, simple. It was her getaway. Her fire escape window so she could feel less trapped when all the 'trappings' of the life she'd chosen began to smother her.
Aubrey wedged herself between a couple making out and a rather large female holding a Guinness by the railing of the loft so she could peer over and at least make sure Courtney hadn't been dragged off by her hair yet.
"Looking for someone in particular?" Luke says directly behind her, his lips just barely graze her neck when he speaks. His voice and his presence against her back appear all at once, though she doesn't turn to look at him this time, she simply smiles. He remains close to her ear, as though looking over the balcony with her, his arms surround her on either side, gripping the railing, bringing his body against hers more firmly.
"Your hair smells good." He tells her, turning his head so his nose is buried in it. "Really good."
Even though she told herself she'd play it cool, Aubrey's heart is racing in her chest.
"Nervous, are we?" He teased. It annoys Aubrey though. She feels out of character and a bit lost. Aubrey imagined their first meeting would be a smooth transition, a slow build up, but here he is, changing all the rules on her, as usual. Always on his game field, they played. It's his voice in her ear, his body against hers, rushing her.
"Oops, gotta go. I'll be right back." He announces suddenly.
And just like that he's gone.
The breath Aubrey was holding deflates from her lungs and for a second the floor below spins. She turns reluctantly and sees nothing but an ocean of unfamiliar faces. When he's gone, he's gone.
"There you are! You left me with those two weirdo's!" Courtney appears instead, clinging to Aubrey for balance; both Miller Lite's have been replaced by some bright pink concoction with an umbrella.
"You loved it." Aubrey admonishes.
"Of course I did, but you didn't have to leave me, C'mon!" Courtney once again leads her down the steps to the dance floor and Aubrey grudgingly follows.
Three long techno songs later Courtney pulls Aubrey back to the bar for a refill.
"You want something?"
"No, I'm good."Aubrey answers. The last thing she needs is a clouded mind.
"Are you sure?" Courtney pouts.
"Yeah, in fact, while you do that, I'm going to hit the bathroom. I'll find you."
"Okay. Don't leave!"
"I'm not leaving, Court. You're my ride."
"Oh, yeah." Courtney giggles, twisting her hair in her fingers. Immediately two different men flank her on either side as they wait in line. Aubrey shakes her head, dismayed that guys fall for it every time, and turns to walk away.
There is a long line of waiting females coming from the bathroom by the dance floor and Aubrey's thankful she doesn't really need to use it; she just needed an excuse to walk around again. She walks to the quieter side of the building where the tables are to get away from the pounding music. There is a short hallway leading to a back staircase and Aubrey heads toward it. Just then a hand clutches hers and pulls her into the unoccupied hall. The corner they step behind blocks her and Luke from being seen.
"Sup." He smirks, backing her slowly against the wall, into the shadows. His disappearing act earlier on the loft has Aubrey feeling dejected but she makes the mistake of looking up into his eyes. He's staring at her mouth and suddenly she wishes she had that drink after all.
"Jean mini-skirt?" He asks, biting his lip as he leans back slightly to appreciate the entire package. It's shameless but Aubrey relishes the admiration. She inadvertently bites her own lip, copying him.
"Allow me." He offers, bringing his hands up to cup her face as he leans in and gently pulls her lip free with a kiss. He kisses softly at first but when his hands reach further into Aubrey's hair, she gathers his shirt in her fists and pulls him closer, kissing him harder. He gasps, pulling away.
"Whoa." He smiles, pleasantly surprised. He pushes her against the wall more firmly, using his entire body to hold her there and begins kissing her again, a little more prepared for her surprising strength when she wraps her arms around his waist this time.
Their mouths rock back and forth, giving and taking as easily as their flirty online banter. Luke tastes sweet like the Austrian beer he's been drinking and Aubrey runs her tongue across his bottom lip before pulling it into her mouth gently with her teeth. Luke sighs, bending slightly at the knees, breathless. He draws her closer, kissing her harder, and runs his palms flat against Aubrey's thighs; higher, then a little higher, pulling the hem of her skirt up with his grasp. His hands wrap around the back of her legs and his fingers wander higher, beneath her skirt--- when he stops abruptly to stare at Aubrey in disbelief.
"Seriously?" he asks, a dumbfounded smile crooks his mouth and this time Aubrey smirks at him. He has found her very bare ass beneath that skirt and his fingers are now roaming for other surprises, which doesn't take long.
Aubrey gasps, clinging to his shoulders when his fingers glide against her, then inside her. She's made it so easy for him, wet and ready to take him inside her despite whatever her mind is telling her she shouldn't do. Luke holds onto Aubrey, helping her stand as she is losing her ability to function when the friction builds.
Luke draws Aubrey further into the hallway, further into the darkness, and sits upon the steps, pulling her over him. He takes Aubrey's hand and presses it against his erection, showing her how eager he is to have her. Aubrey pushes him back against the steps with an indomitable shove to his chest and then runs her hands down his abdomen until landing on the button of his Carhartt's. While she frees him, Luke uses his grip around each of Aubrey's legs to pull her over his lap until she's straddling him, finding her and slipping inside of her. Both of them hesitate, savoring the reality of what they have imagined for months.
Aubrey begins moving slowly above Luke, bending down to find his mouth with hers as she rides him. His hands on her ass, he moves her up and down, trying not to rush. Luke struggles to contain himself. Sensing his distraction, Aubrey lifts herself off of him, readjusting her skirt as she kneels on a lower step, making herself even with his waist. Their eyes meet and once again Luke gazes at her in sleep-like amazement. Aubrey slowly runs her hands along the insides of his thighs, over the rumpled Carhartt's, against Luke's bare skin, pushing his legs further apart so she can take up residence in his lap and, gathering him with a firm grip, covers his erection with her warm, moist, mouth.
The sensation of her scorching tongue along his shaft works Luke into a frenzy and he is barely able to remain seated but Aubrey pushes down on his lap with her arms to hold him there beneath her. He is again taken aback by her force.
Luke sinks his hand into Aubrey's hair, holding her, moving her head back and forth in a most pleasing way. Her tongue flicks side to side against the tip of him and then she relentlessly buries him in the depths of her mouth again. This pattern repeats again and again until he is on the brink, ready to spill, but it's too good to be over. Luke miraculously stops her before he comes, picking her up by her waist to place her back against the stairs now. He keeps an arm wrapped around her to protect her from the edges of the steps and plunges himself inside her, making Aubrey cry out. Luke uses his free hand to quickly cover her mouth. Every thrust he makes against her, inside her, pushes Aubrey closer and closer to the edge. He is so hard and fills her so completely that there is no way his movements are perceived as gentle but she loves it, her fingers tangled in his hair, pulling him into her.
Aubrey feels Luke's body stiffen within hers, his arms embracing her in desperation as he comes. He pulls her up, away from the stairs, into his arms further, his head tucked beneath the crook of her neck until finally, he bows in defeat before crumpling against the wall, still inside her.
"I believe I win this round, Mr. Bowmen." Aubrey sneers.
But Luke surprises her when the arm he has around her waist holds her there, locking her against him. He lowers his other hand between them and presses his thumb in just the right spot down there, moving in small circles against Aubrey. She can still feel him inside her, hard and primed, and her body begins to move of its own volition, rocking against his thumb in a complimentarily direction. Her breathing shallows, as does his, when he rubs against her faster now.
Aubrey can't fight the growing sensitivity, pressing herself against Luke harder, riding both him and his hand, that fucking determined hand. She feels herself becoming wet all over again, gliding against him, his thumb slipping in every direction, building that intoxicating sensation between the apex of her thighs until it explodes within her. Her body pitches backward and Luke catches her, pulling her down so she cannot escape his grasp.
There they sit, barely on the steps; a glistening reminder clinging to their skin as they catch their breath when the sound of benign conversation and laughter comes perilously close to the corner where the hallway begins.
Luke helps Aubrey to her feet and both adjust their clothing, putting everything back to order before anyone witnesses what took place.
"I never did get to see your bra." Luke muses, fastening his belt buckle. "Is it leopard print?" he asks, staring at her breasts.
"Certainly not. You'll have to see it another time, I suppose." Aubrey shrugs, running her fingers through her tousled hair.
"Aubrey! I've been looking everywhere for you, c'mon! I've requested a song. I want you to dance with me!" Courtney stumbles into the small hallway, nearly oblivious that Aubrey has company until she gets closer. "Oh. Hi there." She smiles, grabbing Aubrey's elbow to yank her back into the main bar area.
The two of them leave Luke behind in the dark hall.
"Who's that hotty?" Courtney gushes.
"Oh. Um. Just someone I thought I recognized." Aubrey smiles, turning to glance at Luke before they turn the corner. He stands there, wearing Aubrey's favorite smirk.
In the middle of the dance floor with Courtney again, Aubrey glances up and sees Luke standing on the loft against the banister, his girlfriend dancing enticingly in front of him. That's when Aubrey notices his girlfriend holding his hand to her mouth; the same fingers that were inside Aubrey not moments ago being sucked on by her. Luke glances down in time to enjoy the stunned expression on Aubrey's face. He delivers a devious grin, raising his eyebrows up and down suggestively; all she can do is shake her head…Luke.
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