He kissed her neck as they stumbled to the bedroom. His hand fumbled to turn out the light.
That's never a good sign.
But then she saw what he wanted her to see – the Gotham City skyline.
Natascha pulled away from Bruce Wayne's kisses to get a better look at the view. The lights of Gotham City coalesced with the stars of the night sky. It was almost as if his penthouse was a castle in the heavens.
Natascha stood in awe of the view and for a moment forgot about her host. He approached her from behind, clasping his hands around her hips.
He whispered in her ear, "Sometimes I forget how beautiful Gotham can be."
His hands adeptly reached for the zipper to her dress, slowly undoing it, while Natascha still stood amazed by Gotham. He gently pulled the straps away from her shoulders so that the dress slid down her body, as if melting into a puddle beneath her feet. His hands cupped her breasts and he kissed her more passionately. Despite the breathtaking view, she could no longer ignore his powerful presence. She turned her head so that her lips met his, returning his kisses.
She felt him lead her, almost carrying her light body, toward the bed. His hands ran up her athletic legs, toned from the years of dancing. She in turn ripped at his shirt until she felt his warm, muscular chest. She glided her hands along his strong arms, marveling at his well-defined biceps. He flinched slightly as her hand grazed his left arm and her fingers felt stitches to a new wound.
"Are you alright?"
"Polo accident," he muttered in between kisses. "It's nothing."
She forgot the wound momentarily and returned to the pleasure of undressing the billionaire. She smiled gleefully as she pulled the belt out from the loops of his pants.
Natascha pulled his body closer to hers. While her hands ran down his back she noticed there were other scars. A brief wave of fear crossed over her.
What strange and sick things did he like? Was he going to make her hurt him? Or would he hurt her?
She'd been with that type before. His kiss seemed too tender to be like one of them. She cautiously let herself relax back into his arms.
Bruce had been with his share of women before – he clearly knew what he was doing. But though she could not see his eyes in the dark, his gaze was almost as if he was looking through her. It was subtle and had she not had her share of lovers herself she wouldn't have been able to detect it. She couldn't exactly explain the feeling, but it was as if he was making love out of obligation – something she'd never known a man to do.
Funny, she thought, I'm the one usually making love out of obligation.
Natascha did not rise from a poor village outside St. Petersburg to Prima ballerina on talent alone. She also knew what was expected of her after enjoying the lavish meals and expensive clubs to which she'd become accustomed. Not that she minded when her host was as handsome and debonair as Bruce Wayne.
He was supposed to be the man who had everything. Gotham literally bowed at the feet of his castle. Bruce had no reason to feel obligation to anyone. Unless there was some pain he was trying to forget? Had the billionaire's heart been broken?
He seemed to notice that her attention had drifted, which reinvigorated his efforts, as if a challenge. Bruce was no doubt dashing in everyway and she had been enjoying herself before becoming distracted. Natascha reengaged with the moment. There was no point for her not to enjoy herself now. There would be time later to figure out Bruce Wayne. And this little perplexity only added to his dynamic persona.
She lay in his arms beneath the silk sheets. His breath was even, almost controlled. He seemed no closer to sleep than she.
Her mind raced attempting to piece together the mystery that was Bruce Wayne. Then she recalled the dinner from earlier that evening. They had joined that attractive couple, some government official with his girlfriend. Bruce seemed the same around them.
No, Natascha thought. He had been even more charming and suave in their presence. It had been subtle but noticeable.
What really should have clued in Natascha was the girl's response. It was uncomfortable throughout dinner but she hadn't thought much of it until now. Bruce had the ability to make women feel lightheaded and nervous in his presence but rarely uncomfortable. She should have seen it then when they mentioned that they were "old friends". Bruce and the government official's date – what was her name – had been lovers.
And he still cared for her.
Bruce wasn't falling asleep. It was as if he was counting the time, waiting for her to drift off. He grew restless, then turned over and whispered in Natascha's ear, "I'm an insomniac. Please make yourself comfortable. Alfred will provide you whatever you need tomorrow morning. I'll take you to dinner after your performance tomorrow night…the best in Gotham." He kissed her lightly on the cheek.
He said it with such suavity that she didn't feel any offense, though objectively she knew she probably should.
Natascha sat up in bed suddenly remembering the name of the woman from earlier "It's Rachel, isn't it?"
He froze. "What did you say?"
"That is her name, yes? The girl from dinner?"
"I'm not going to see her if that's what you think." He laughed lightly but it seemed a laugh of regret.
"You're in love with her, aren't you?" It sounded patronizing but her was English still was not completely mastered. She couldn't think of any other way to phrase it. Then again, their situation seemed complex and perhaps she wouldn't have known how to phrase it in Russian, either.
"What makes you say that?"
"You were different in front of her. You tried harder."
"I'm sorry. I never meant for you to feel slighted."
"It is okay. But I think you should tell her how you feel." Again, she felt silly lecturing the billionaire on love. Despite everything she had seen in life, she still believed in it. Perhaps performing so many romances on stage had rubbed off on her.
"I have," he sighed. "She's not ready for me."
Natascha wondered if this woman disapproved of his playboy ways, if she was waiting for him to settle down. Somehow it seemed more complicated than that.
"Well I hope that you both work it out."
"Yes, me too." There was doubt in his voice. "Do you still want to do dinner tomorrow?"
"Oh yes!" Natascha had no intention of discontinuing her tryst with Bruce despite knowing that his heart belonged elsewhere. She would only be in town a short while. "I want to see the best Gotham has to offer!"
"And you will." He leaned over and kissed her again, this time more passionately, before he walked out the bedroom door with a commanding sense of purpose.
Natascha drifted off to a deep, peaceful slumber, dreaming of the Gotham lights and feeling oddly comforted that billionaires felt pain as deeply as she.