I don't trust people who follow their hearts. Hearts are peculiar things. They're necessary muscles that keep us alive by pumping blood and oxygen into our veins. Hearts are also compulsory, often making us foolish. They pull us towards others with a force that aches, burns, and satiates you all at once. Before you know it that mass of tissue is no longer yours.
Maybe mine never was.
In my case, that draw came from a stranger that left my heart feeling both fulfilled and consumed.
I didn't expect to fight her for the last standby seat to New York City. I didn't plan on letting her get under my skin. Or the way her vulnerability tore me up inside and compelled me to care for her. She didn't plan on letting me witness her chaos.
Her anxious heart and my perfectionist mind let things get messy.
And though we didn't plan for it, our interrupting of each others' lives was exactly what we needed.
Sometimes the mess is the most beautiful part of life.
We opted for dessert wine and some cheese instead of traditional sweets. The more wine she had the more unfiltered Margo became. She wasn't exactly holding back in the first place, but her last semblance of restraint melted away.
After paying for dinner, we walked out into the cold fall night. I wanted to take Margo somewhere I knew would make her nervous. Mostly, I wanted to push her to that point of no control to see if I could at least hold her again in some way. Any touch was better than none.
Sure, it was fucked up of me to purposely make her nervous, but I was desperate. And where in the past I would have blatantly flirted and tiptoed over lines with women, I didn't want to do that with her. I wanted her to come to me. There was something about letting things unfold naturally that pushed me to be on my best behavior.
It wasn't easy though. She'd lick her lips, beckoning me to look at them. Her tongue danced over her crimson lips, inducing a jolt of arousal that shocked through my entire body and ended in my cock. Images of what her naked body and imaginings of how she sounded when she came flooded my mind. I couldn't take it any longer. If I got her in bed, I wouldn't need foreplay. I probably wouldn't last very long either. Wouldn't that be painfully unfortunate?
In her tipsiness, she allowed me to put my arm around her waist as we walked. We'd done so in silence till I continued down some subway stairs. She jolted to a stop at the top and shoved against my arms. "Fuck no!"
Despite trying to pull her forward, she slithered out of my grasp. "Come on, you gotta do it if you're going to live here, Margo."
I took two steps down, leaving us at eye level.
Her eyes turned glassy, and they couldn't focus on me. She'd dart from my eyes to the half-lit buildings, or at the people ignoring her odd reaction. "I don't have to do it today, Hudson. I may not move at all…."
"Do you trust me?"
She hesitated, again looking around at her options for running away before eventually giving in.
"Then come here, I'll take care of you," I said, the truth of my words surprising me.
Reaching out to her, I waited for her to join me. She tilted her head and assessed me, staring into my eyes before lowering her gaze to my lips then throat. Was she that afraid of the subway? Or was it the offer of my hand?
I think it was my words. On the plane the night before, Margo looked at me with such surprise. Sure, we'd bickered, but I’d helped her, and she probably hadn't expected that. Maybe she'd never trusted anyone and didn't know why she wanted to trust me. Just like I didn't know why I wanted her so desperately, or struggled with that same unexpected confusion I couldn't silence.
Clasping my hand, she followed me to the automated machine downstairs where I purchased two one-way tickets. We approached the platform, and every little noise startled her. It was kind of cute to see her conquering her fears, but what impressed me was her need to prove herself to both of us. We boarded the over-filled train and had no option but to stand towards the back of the cart. With so many people around, we were squashed close together. I could feel the warmth radiating off her flawless skin. I could smell the remains of her incense and roses perfume that tempted me to lean in and press my nose and lips against her soft throat. The wine had also left me a little unhinged, stealing touches here and there. And she let me. Not once did she address my hand gripping her lower back whenever the train turned.
As if the universe could hear my plea, the train pulled out of the next station with a quick jerk and Margo's body propelled into mine. I caught her and wrapped my arms awkwardly around her waist. We were sealed together: her breasts on my lower chest, her torso leaning against my stomach and belt, the apex of her legs just barely cupping the center of my groin. I started hardening immediately, and I doubt it went unnoticed. All my hard edges were at home against her softness.
I couldn't help myself.
I pressed my lips to the top of her head and leaned over her. Holding my breath, I waited for her reaction to my brash affection, but she gave me back something I hadn't expected. She looked up at me and smiled. It was wide and brazen like her others, but it was also laced with a twinge of sadness. She whispered one thing. "You."
To which I replied, "Me?"
Margo nodded and pulled the collar of my shirt down before pressing her lips against my neck. They opened and left wet traces of her along my skin. It felt like fire—painful, searing, and warm. I wanted all of her, and I hoped that was Margo's way of telling me she wanted the same.
The train stopped and so did she. When she saw Times Square again, she inhaled deeply, the way someone does after swimming underwater for too long. With a squeeze of her shoulder, I led her straight into our hotel; the sooner I got her in private, the better. The elevator music was accompanied with my heartbeat and the machinery groaning around us. I could see all the ways I wanted to please her so clearly in my head, and every nerve ending in my body was burning with the need to touch her.
But I couldn't. I wasn't sure I could go through with it.
Have you ever had a moment so perfect that you don't want to do anything to fuck it up? That night with the girl in the dress and Chucks was a string of perfect moments all dangling together in my mind. Despite assuming I'd never see Margo again, I still didn't want to risk messing up the image I'd always have of her. It just didn't seem right, at least not if I initiated it. I didn't want her rejection to taint the pedestal she'd earned in my mind.
While I watched her walking ahead of me, I thought about making any move I could. I thought about kissing her again and seeing where it went. I considered just bluntly telling her I wanted to be inside her. Maybe she'd have liked that. But as she slid the key into her room door, I remained frustratingly mute. Margo turned and looked at me with heavy eyelids and flushed cheeks. In a raspy whisper, she said words I'd been dying to hear.
"Do you want to come in?"
"Really?" I stepped back. The desperation I had for her sincerity was drowning me in doubt.
Margo moved closer, pressing her soft center against my firm one. With her hand against my throat, feeling my pounding heartbeat beneath my stubble-laden skin, she looked up at me. Her gaze was penetrating and flooded with desire.
"Hudson, we've been eye-fucking each other all night, let's be honest now. I'm dying to know what you'll do to me if I let you."
With that admission, I became someone else. An animal. A tempted addict. A man craving only her. Grabbing her arm, I pushed her in and shut the door by slamming her against the back of it. She looked up with the most evocative grin and hummed in approval. Looking down at her, I grabbed her neck and wrapped my fingers around it.
"You have no idea what I've imagined tonight thanks to this fucking dress and that delicious mouth."
Before she could reply, I sealed my lips against hers. There was no turning back.
Stephanie Alba lives in Miami, Florida with her husband, her toddler and their two dogs, Milo and Van Gogh. She's obsessed with Disney, British history, traveling, romances novels, movies, and Halloween. When she's not glued to her laptop or writing in her notebook, she's either: running, planning her next vacation, binge-watching Netflix, reading, or chasing her toddler.