It's hard to remain unobtrusive. Every few moments the clerk looks in my direction. She's wondering why I am still sitting here in the lobby. Alone.
As the minutes tick by, I become more and more anxious. Heels click on the slick marble flooring. They pass by me and exit with a whir of outside noise and a friendly wish from the door man.
Moments later more guests enter. The wheels of their luggage tap out a cheerful rhythm of rumbles and chirps across the expanse of the lobby. I shift again, pretending to read but getting lost in the white space between characters. You're not coming. I feel it. I don't know why you wouldn't. I thought you were as excited as me. Excited. . . Nervous, anxious and scared. I should feel ashamed at my desperation, wanting you the way I do. But I don't.
I am sitting in the glitzy lobby of a hotel I could never afford, and I'm beginning to wonder why. I am here, dressed like a call girl, buffed and polished and waxed like a prize car at an exhibition, forgotten in a corner. Left without a buyer. I'm beginning to feel embarrassed. Maybe our connection was just a construction of my own mind. I didn't tell anyone I was coming. Stupid, I know. How do I know I can trust you? The news is always busy with stories of silly, desperate girls like me. I can probably rule you out as a threat to my safety since you aren't even here. But my pride? My self esteem? Destroyed. . . and now I need to escape.
If only you would walk through that door. . . I would feel fine if you were here. I think.
My nerves get the best of me, and I abandon my attempts at reading. I breathe slowly and deeply as I approach the counter. Confidence. That is the feeling I try to project. The attendant is surprised when she hangs up the phone and sees me standing here. She hides it well, but the curiosity is still evident in her glance as she surreptitiously scans my figure. Something doesn't measure up in her eyes. Perhaps she can tell my pearls are fake. Or maybe she can see through my dress and knows that I am wearing affordable lingerie from Victoria's Secret, not something exquisite and expensive like La Perla. Most of the guests here must buy hundred-dollar underwear without blinking.
"And how can I help you?" Her tone is cloying and artificially submissive. I really don't like her.
"I'm afraid I missed my date, and I forgot my cell phone at home. He was supposed to meet me here at 7:30. Has Edward Cullen checked in this evening?"
"Well, I'm really not supposed to reveal guest information without authorization. We have some very high profile guests here. I'm sure you understand my situation, right?"
I can feel my pulse and blood pressure begin to rise. She is mocking me now. Her eyes are hard, dismissive and satisfied with my obvious embarrassment. I lift my chin haughtily. Confident, I think.
"Oh, I understand completely. However, I also know that if one of your guests were unable to contact their date because you refused to do a tiny little search in your computer there, they would be extremely pissed off."
She almost rolls her eyes at me. She obviously doesn't want to make a scene or run the risk of offending a guest. She doesn't call my bluff. Instead she nods and turns to her computer console.
"Of course. This will just take a moment and then you'll be able to continue with your evening plans."
Her dismissal is barely masked by her forced civility. She takes her time, probably enjoying my discomfort. I'm seething on the inside, battling with the tiny muscles in my face to maintain the façade. On the inside I'm dying a little more each second. I bet she can tell and is just dragging it out more to get back at me for my audacity. The bitch.
"I am so sorry. No guest by that name has. . ."
She is cut off mid-sentence by a frantic voice. I was so pre-occupied with my efforts at self control that I never heard the man enter the lobby.
"Excuse me, please. I'm so sorry to interrupt but I was supposed to meet somebody, and I've been trying to reach her for the past 2 hours, can you tell me if. . ."
"Edward?" I gasp.
You look just like your picture, but it is so strange to see movement and expression on your face. And your voice, no longer distorted by phone lines and distance, it twists my insides into knots with its warmth.
You turn to me in shock, catching your breath. Your eyes. . . they capture and hold me, and I can't move. I feel myself blushing.
"Bella? Wow, I didn't recognize you. When did you cut your hair? I mean, it looks amazing, I just wasn't expecting. . . and I'm so late. I can't believe you waited. I mean, I tried to call you, but I couldn't. . ."
"I know, I'm so sorry. I realized I forgot my phone, but I was already half way here, and I couldn't call because, well, I can never remember numbers. I'm completely lost without my phone. Are you okay?"
You seem to register that we are still here at the counter, and the snarky clerk is watching our exchange. She seems annoyed that I wasn't stood up after all.
"So, would you like to check in now, Mr. Cullen?"
She's flirting with you. I am both jealous and amused. An odd mix. My stomach is empty and the last hour and a half of waiting has left me jittery and a bit nauseated.
"Actually, that would be perfect. We've already missed our show, so maybe we'll just grab some drinks at the bar."
The bar here is a classy place. All dark wood and mirrors and dimly lit sconces. I passed it on my way in. It was busy even at that early hour. It's probably packed to the rafters now, but I don't object. I examine you with casual glances, pretending to look around the opulent lobby while you speak to the clerk. Traffic is picking up as more and more tourists and business people return from their day's activities. Two other clerks are helping other customers. They look friendly. Where were they while I was waiting for you? I would have rather spoken to the cheery blonde. She looks like a sweetheart.
I am piecing together a complete picture of you. Your lean figure, the casual way you lean toward the person you are speaking to, the dash of gray at your temples, the 5 o'clock shadow that darkens your jaw. I want to feel it scratching across my skin.
Your eyes dart my way and catch me looking. You smile. . . I feel like melting. I have lived for your smile for years. And now, feeling it directed at me, not a camera. . . I am falling so hard.
I forget my earlier embarrassment and despair as your left hand slips across the space between us and grasps mine softly. You continue listening to the clerk as she explains the check out procedures and points out the many amenities on a glossy diagram of the hotel. Your thumb is tracing electric lines on my skin. I feel so hot, breathless, anticipating those fingers moving across other parts of my body.
Your lip twitches. You're trying not to smile. You know exactly what you're doing to me.
She's running out of things to say, and the tension in your shoulders betrays your impatience. You release my hand to gather up your key card and credit card, the diagram and a small suitcase that you had set down on the floor when you arrived. I didn't notice it before.
Your eyes are burning with a combination of amusement and anticipation as you address me. "I have to drop this off in my room and make a call before we head out. Would you like to walk up with me?"
You sneaky devil. Let's not call this what it is: a clandestine hook-up. Let's pretend we are long-time friends getting together for a few drinks to catch up on old times. Our audience can sense the sexual tension in the air. She suspects the truth, but she doesn't really know anything. You obviously want to keep it that way.
"That's sounds fine. Maybe I can grab a glass of water, too. I'm parched."
You tilt your head in the direction of the elevators, and I fall into step beside you. I match my stride to yours, thankful that I chose to wear heels. Even with a four-inch boost, the top of my head only reaches your eyes. The floor reflects our images, side by side. I'm beginning to get nervous. I don't really know what to say.
My keyboard is not threatening. Your words on the screen have always conformed to my imagination, and I was able to maintain control. Now, I feel the fluttering of panic around my mind. I try to stamp it out, but the feeling flits back and forth, a moth struggling to find its way through the closed window.
The elevator lets out a cheerful ding when it reaches the lobby. The door opens, and your hand guides me by the elbow into the plush confines. The inside is dark stained walnut and deep rose velvet. The door slides shut, and we are facing a mirror. My cheeks are stained with a blush that is half mortified embarrassment and half nerves.
Your eyes lock with my in the reflection. They are dilated, almost totally black, and you are breathing carefully. Your lips curl into a lopsided smile that makes me shiver and burn simultaneously. My knees wobble as the elevator ascends. I am panting and trying to hide it, too aroused by the anticipation to remember what I have to be embarrassed about.
You turn to face me as the elevator creeps to a stop and the doors glide open. I can breathe again. The cooler air jolts me out of my haze of lust. You are the quintessential gentleman, holding one arm against the open door as I exit. I stop in the center of the hallway, and hesitate. Left or right?
"This way." Your breath is warm and moist against my ear as you guide me to the right
Our room is the last one, a corner suite. Your hand is steady as you swipe your key card. A green light is illuminated, and you try the handle. It opens smoothly, almost silently, brushing over the lush carpet. Again you gesture for me to pass through the door before you. Your eyes sear into me from behind as I pause, almost breathless again, a mere two paces into the most beautiful hotel room I have ever seen. It is not just a room or even a standard suite. It is a complete apartment with high ceilings, heavy, polished furniture and all of the art and incidental decorations you would expect in an upscale residence. I wonder just how much money you have and what I'm doing here with someone like you.
I do not hear the door shut behind me, but I feel it. The air no longer moves. Sounds take on a stifled quality, my own breathing, especially. I swallow but my mouth is dry, and I begin to search frantically for the kitchen with my eyes. When I spot it, I set my small purse on the marble topped hall table and walk towards it as calmly as I can.
My heels sink unsteadily into the thick rug. I feel as ungainly as a colt, shaking at the knees. I reach the tiled floor without incident, locate a glass and fill it at the sink without looking back at you. But still, I know your eyes are following every motion. You know I'm terrified, yet you don't say a word. You set down your suitcase, papers and key card and follow behind me, soundless and agile, an embarrassing contrast to the scrapes and clicks of my heels every time I shift my weight.
I track your progress with my peripheral vision. I set down my empty glass. Somehow, my mouth still feels impossibly dry. But in another area I am wetter than I have ever been.
Your hands rest softly on my hips, and you inhale deeply, drawing in my scent and the signs of my arousal. I feel your hardness before it even touches me. The heat and pressure draws me to you. I lean back, pressing my weight against you. Feeling your cock digging insistently into my ass, I shift my knees to rub slowly against you and tilt my head back, exposing my neck to your hands and mouth.
We don't speak at all. We have long since used up our words, and all that remains is the need to finally consummate our lust.
I swim back from the depths of my fantasy, shocked by the force with which reality returns. I lie here, lost in a sea of cobalt sheets, crisp and cold. An abandoned life raft dragged by ocean currents, far from friendly shores. Deprived of even the memory of your scent.
My laptop stares at me blackly, as cold and blank as the void in my heart.