“You remember me, don’t you, Ivan?” she whispered, obeying his order.
His hand lifted the long length of her leg by the back of her thigh, and the warmth of her skin beneath the opaque pink tights stung him. Of all the times he dreamed of touching her so intimately, it had to be when it was all too late. She winced at his touch, though let him turn out her knee.
“Like this,” he said, ignoring her question. “Can you feel the difference?”
“Yes.” She was breathless.
He didn’t release the back of her thigh. His hand could have been fused to it. The jerk in his tights reminded him he was a man, but the pain in his chest reminded him he was a scorned man. He let her go, leg falling to the floor as if it needed his hand to hold it up. “No,” he said, wiping the haze from her eyes, “I don’t remember you.”
She frowned. For the first time in his life, he made her feel something. He made her feel unsure, and it pleased him, but that was short lived. He walked away, calling out another exercise before she could see in his eyes that he did remember her—if she hadn’t already seen it.
When the hour-long class was over, the women rolled out of the stuffy room like hurt cattle. He was hard on them—punished them for what Mona did. It wasn’t fair, but he didn’t care about fair. Life hadn’t been fair to him, so why should he give a shit? Before he knew it, there was no one left but him and her.
“Did you enjoy the class?” he asked as he wiped down the metal barre with a towel. Honestly, he didn’t care if she enjoyed herself. He only needed her gone.
“Cut your shit, Ivan,” Mona said, eyes darker if that were possible as she glared at him through the mirrored wall.
“Excuse me?” He only caught her stare in the mirror, didn’t turn to face her. The mirror gave him space—an illusion of protection.
“You know me, Ivan Michael Boss. You’ve known me since you were five years old. Why the hell are you saying you don’t remember me?” Her eyes narrowed, and red colored her cheeks.
It was true. He had known her since he was five years old when the world was puppies and ice cream and there was nothing wrong with falling in love with a girl. Because, that’s how long he’d been in love with her, since he was five years old.
“I knew a Ramona when I was five years old. You are not her. I actually haven’t seen her since I was fourteen.” Fourteen is when she was initiated into the “in crowd” and left him for dead.
She was rendered speechless by his omission, and that annoyed him. He didn’t want the softness in her eyes to derail him, yet that’s exactly what happened. He looked away from her reflection, fully focusing on folding the towel over the barre.
“I’ve always been Ramona, Ivan,” her voice softened.
When he looked up, she turned from the mirror and faced him full on—nothing between them.
“Is there a reason you decided to take my class?” He couldn’t stand the talking. He couldn’t stand the doe eyes. He couldn’t stand her to be human, because she hadn’t been that to him in a long time.
A sly smile stretched over her full strawberry lips. “I thought we could have a…reunion of sorts while I’m in town this week.” Her lithe body slithered closer to him, a hand blindly finding the metal barre for balance.
He didn’t back away the closer she got. The slightest hint of vanilla wafted off her body. Sweetness identified. The look in her eyes could have dropped him to his knees, and he knew what she wanted. It was what they all wanted. She wanted to use his body for her pleasure. The notion of sex with him colored her face further, and he had a decision to make.
“What makes you think I want a reunion with you?”
Her face fell, the edges of her eyes narrowed. “When did you become such an ass?”
“About ten years ago.” He smirked, gaining strength from her pull on him.
She averted her gaze for a moment. What is she thinking?
“What are you asking me here, Mona?” he asked, forcing her eyes to meet his again. This time there was something odd in them.
She shrugged, though didn’t move back from the possibility of rejection. That was unexpected. Mona never got rejected—in fact, she did the rejecting. “Sex with no strings attached.”
He did his best not to gasp. Did he hear correctly? Did Mona outright ask him for sex? The tightness in his briefs caused him to shift his stance, not graceful enough as she turned her attention to his crotch and smiled at the display. He cursed his body for betraying him yet again.
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