A/N: Here you go, girl! This one's for you!
"Mick?" I called as I rang the buzzer for his door. I peered into the camera, knowing he could see me if he were to look. What was taking him so long? He knew I was coming.
I wondered when he'd feel secure enough to give me the code to his door.
Of course, after some of the things I'd seen since I met him, I didn't blame him at all for erring on the side of caution.
Just as I raised my fist to give the heavy door a few irritated raps it opened to reveal Mick standing there, keys in one hand and jacket thrown over his shoulder.
"Sorry, Beth," he said sheepishly and placed a conciliatory peck on my cheek. "Do you mind making a stop before we start the night? Josef called and asked me to stop by for a second. He wants to talk to me about something."
"Sure, I guess," I answered non-commital, but in reality I was annoyed. I didn't really dislike Josef, but I couldn't help but be rubbed the wrong way by his pompous, 'everyone do as I say' attitude. Or, more specifically, the fact that he commanded so much of Mick's attention.
The ride over was pleasant enough, and I was as in awe as usual at Josef Kostan's overly-large home when we arrived. I couldn't imagine what one man did in such a spacious environment, but to each his own, I suppose.
I'd only seen the inside a couple of times so I was delighted when Mick invited me to accompany him inside for his little meeting with Josef. I think he just felt guilty about the impromptu interruption to the start of the night he'd promised would be devoted solely to me.
Nobody bothered to show Mick the way through the mansion and I followed him trustingly as he led the way to the second floor and to a room at the end of the hall as if it were his own home. I didn't bother to question how he'd known which room in the huge place Josef would be in.
Mick gave a quick knock on the closed door as he simultaneously opened it and I followed him in. It took me a moment to spot Josef, and when I did my breath caught in my throat.
It was obviously a work out and exercise room outfitted with some of what had to be the most sophisticated and expensive equipment on the market.
And yet Josef was using none of it.
Josef was undeniably a very attractive man. I'd never dispute that. But his cool and...yes, I'll say it...scary... manner had always put me off a bit, just enough that I had never really felt a physical attraction to him. I'd always fluctuated between annoyed and wary.
Josef hung upside down from a horizontal pole bolted to the ceiling. It seemed he hadn't shaved that day. I was used to seeing Josef clean shaven, and the five o'clock shadow gave him a rugged, rougher look. It worked well for him. Very well.
He wore only a pair of sweatpants. His feet were bare, his chest was bare.
He was performing a feat that would be excruciatingly hard if he were human, though maybe not impossible for a very fit person.
He hung from the pole by his knees, his bare feet crossed at the ankles. Hands laced behind his head, he was pulling his torso up, inch by slow inch, until his nose nearly touched his knees. On each rep, he'd hold the position for several seconds, then oh so slowly lower his torso back down before beginning again. It was a physical exercise performed only by the force of will and impeccable control over his abdominal muscles.
I'd seen Mick do the same thing, only much faster.
Josef's version gave me a chance to enjoy the view. And whoever thought vampires didn't sweat were wrong.
I didn't want to stare, but how could I not? My vision narrowed until Josef was the only thing I could see, and I couldn't tear my eyes away.
As he hung upside down his gaze was distant, focused on his control. His entire torso was pale white, but so smooth and flawless that it was quite becoming. His muscles...how had I never noticed them before?...were clearly defined, rippling underneath his skin with each movement. He looked carved of stone. No, of alabaster. An alabaster God.
I watched, my eyes roving, as he raised his upper body slowly, the muscles bunching, straining, but so controlled. It seemed his arms, chest and glorious abs were putting on independent shows of their own for my benefit.
I moaned at the beauty of it as he completed another rep and then I was treated to his back for those seconds that he held his upright position. Those muscles that seemed to be coiled with strength. I barely noticed the sharp glance Mick shot me or words the two vampires were speaking to each other as Josef completed his workout.
Josef dropped from the bar and flipped to his feet in a way that only a vampire could. The alabaster glowed under a fine sheen of perspiration as his pecs and biceps and abs visibly relaxed.
I wondered if they would feel as hard as they looked if I were to run my hands across them.
Josef retreated into a doorway that proved to be a shower room when I heard the heavy spray of water hitting tile.
Whatever he did in there didn't take too long and it didn't end his and Mick's conversation. They continued to talk, obviously hearing each other well, even over the spray and echo of the shower, though I could hear only Mick's side of it, next to me.
I had paid no attention to the conversation up to that point and had no idea what it was about, nor any interest in finding out.
I was simply disappointed that the beautiful but short show was over.
Only it wasn't, not quite yet.
When Josef stepped out of the shower room, emerging from the fog of steam the water had conjured, my mouth went dry.
My breathing hitched and I know my heart sped up.
I also knew Mick had realized it because of the look he gave me, and then to Josef, but I would worry about that later.
Josef was even less dressed now than before, for he'd exchanged his sweatpants for a towel. And what a towel it was, slung low around his lean hips and coming only to mid-thigh, it would serve it's purpose better as a slightly-large hand towel. It lay lightly against his thighs, front and back, and left just enough to the imagination to make it hard not to imagine.
My gaze narrowed even further and traveled slowly from top to bottom.
Josef's hair was wet, still dripping, the back of his hair, I saw as he turned his head, was plastered to the back of his neck still. Water was beaded on his forehead and sliding slowly down the side of his face. I watched a single drop of crystal water travel from a strand of hair, slowly down his neck and into the hollow of his collar bone where it joined a small pool of other collected drops.
His entire torso shone with more diamond droplets of water, tiny little kisses of moisture that worked together to give an ethereal effect, dotting his strong shoulders, the smooth ivory skin.
The light hair that fuzzed his chest held many of the glittering little water diamonds that winked under the lights as Josef moved. He seemed even more supernatural than I knew him to be, some timeless, glittering, dew-kissed being.
The bare legs that extended down from the small, low hung towel were lean and well defined, concealing a power most would not imagine in the muscles skittering underneath the skin. Even as I watched, Josef took a couple of slow steps, a graceful turn, and the calf muscles bunched and flexed so enticingly...
I couldn't help but lick my lips.
My stupor was brought to an end as Mick guided me to the door with a possessive hand on my lower back.
It seemed that it had lasted forever, yet not nearly long enough.
As we exited into the hallway I couldn't help trying for one last glimpse. I craned my neck and looked over my shoulder, back through the doorway, as Mick propelled me forward a bit insistently.
My eyes met Josef's deep brown, fathomless eyes and I saw that spark of mischief, that bit of sarcasm. And I saw the acknowledgment, the knowing.
And then he bestowed a slow wink as he slowly shut the door.
The alabaster God had known exactly what he was doing.