Skin of the Night

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Chapter 37: Spicy Is More Like It

“I’m growing really nervous,” I mumbled while I paced around my bedroom after work. Walking in circles, I shook my hands in the air beside my hips to dry my nail polish. I had only just painted my nails – something I rarely did – a pastel and light shade of blue. I’d realised too late that the colour matched William’s eyes. At that point, I’d decided that in the incident of another Freudian slip like that I was headed straight for the mental hospital.

Olivia smirked from my bed and studied her own nails. She’d come over for moral support. I’d made quick process of updating her on my situation with Robby, and to my relief, she hadn’t said much. Then again, she knew how I worked. It was unlikely that she wanted to stir the waterworks when I was about to go on my first date with William bloody Night.

“Cara, you’ll be fine,” she reminded me and reached over for her glass of iced tea on my nightstand. “Are you spending the night at his?”

My head whipped toward her while my pacing stopped. With wide eyes and a pale face, I studied her, stumped. “Shit! I forgot to ask! What do I do? If I’m spending the night at his, I’ll need clothes to wear in the morning. And bringing a change of clothes now that I haven’t asked will come across as presumptuous! Desperate, at best!”

She rolled her warm brown eyes at me while she sipped on her cold brew. “Stop making problems for yourself. You can just go home early in the morning, or you can pick up some stuff on your way to his after your date.”

I reeled in a deep breath and nodded to myself. “Right.”

“Is this truly your first date? Ever?” she queried.

I swallowed a lump in my throat and sent her an anxious look. “Yes,” I peeped.

“You’re something else.” She giggled. “All the men you’ve slept with, and you haven’t been on a single date. Ever. Pray tell, do you have commitment issues, love? Actually, I already know the answer to that. You definitely do.”

I bit into my lower lip and looked away from her. “Attachment isn’t really my forte. But there’s just something about him, Livy. He just gets me, you know? I find it really hard to explain. He doesn’t freak me out, and that speaks volumes, because he’s a fast-paced man.”

She studied me for a short while, brown eyes analytical. Then she sighed and sipped on her glass again. “Cara, I cannot possibly say how happy I am for you, but I’m also a little worried. He does strike me as an intense man, so just be sure to take this at your own pace, yeah? Don’t let him rush you into anything you’re not ready for. That’s bound to end in tragedy.”

I nodded my head at her. “Yeah. Good advice.”

There was a knock on the door then. “Yes?“.

Jason stepped through a split second later, and when his eyes landed on me, they sparkled with evident joy and brotherly affection. “Well, shit, Cara. My brother’s a lucky man,” he commented while his eyes swept over my body in my simple, casual and white off-shoulder summer dress.

My heart climbed toward my throat upon his compliment. “You think?” I squeaked.

He directed his attention to Livy in my bed and frowned while he cocked his head in my direction. “Wherever did her confidence head off to?”

Livy smirked back at him and placed her glass back to my nightstand. “Well, I’d say that’s a sign she’s serious about this. First time a man’s actually gotten to her. He’s ruined her defences. I can barely recognise her.”

“Guys, that’s not helping!” I snapped impatiently. “He’s changing me, and what if he doesn’t fancy this new version I’m turning into? In case you’ve forgotten, the woman he grew interested in accused him of sharing a bed with his mother! This shitty, insecure girl isn’t going to do the trick,” I moaned and shielded my eyes with my right forearm.

Jason burst out laughing then, and it was uncontrollable. “Oh, my God!” he exclaimed and hugged his robust stomach. “I’d completely forgotten you did that! That just got a whole new dimension, seeing as it’s my mum you were talking about.”

I blushed profusely. “Sorry,” I muttered and removed my arm from my eyes.

“Cara, calm your tits.” Olivia groaned. “You’ll be fine. Just enjoy it. Being in love is exhilarating. Alas, it doesn’t last forever, so enjoy it while you can, yeah? Stop fighting it, and quit getting these silly ideas. Will strikes me as pretty confident about what he wants. Besides, I’m sure you’re changing him as well. You’re not alone in this. He’s right there with you.”

The idea of William being as affected as I in all this sent my heart on rampage. I found it hard to imagine. When he wasn’t drunk, he always practiced such impeccable control of himself. Though he was vulgar and blunt, I knew perfectly well that everything he said was a conscious decision, and not a response to impulse.

“I feel like I’m thirteen again,” I confessed embarrassed and eyed my wristwatch. It was six thirty now. I should be getting ready to leave. Being late was out of the question, and especially because William wasn’t the type of man to be late for anything. I’d learned as much from working under his leadership for over a week. He was always ten minutes early to every event in his calendar.

“Yeah, you’d better get a move on it, Cara. My brother doesn’t make a habit of tardiness. Never has,” Jason said and then watched me scurry for my brown leather purse. “You got any plans tonight, Livy?” he asked while I collected my things. Lip balm, mobile, wallet, keys... chewing gum, absolutely.

“Nope.” Olivia’s lips popped on the ‘p’.

“Want to hang around for a bit?”

“Sure.” She shrugged her shoulders.

After I’d packed all of the essentials, I headed out of my room to slip into my white Converse shoes. As I opened the front door afterward, I shouted to them, “Wish me luck!”

“You don’t need it!” Jason yelled back.

“Don’t come home without at least having necked on with him!” Olivia cheered. Shutting the door after myself, I snickered like a young brat while I skipped down the stairs.


I had barely stepped out of the tube station when I found him leaning against a streetlamp at Leicester Square. Stopping in my tracks, my lips parted. Was it truly he? For a moment, I couldn’t be sure. Black Ray-Bans of a golden frame were shielding his eyes from view. He was also sporting blue jeans and a white t-shirt that clung to his muscular upper body in a way that shouldn’t be legal. But his grin gave him away. When he bared his pearly white teeth to me, I felt my heart threaten to combust. He had the most winsome smile.

This was truly happening. I was going on a date with William Night. Had somebody told me that this would happen two months ago, I would never have believed them. In all honesty, I could hardly believe it now.

He sent a nod of acknowledgement as he pushed himself away from the streetlamp. Then he approached me with that dreadfully handsome smile on his delicious mouth, and I wanted to jump on him, ravish him with kisses, and praise his beautiful body with my hands.

He’d nearly reached me when he withdrew something from his back pocket. Into my field of vision, he brought a single red rose. My blood simmered in my veins, and I was certain that my pupils were dilated to absorb the entire beauty of him. Every single one of my senses heightened the closer he drew, while the purest form of electricity charged between us.

A half metre in front of me, he reached a halt and raised the rose to his mouth to bite off most of the stem. After he’d managed, he tucked the beautiful flower over my left ear and smiled crookedly to himself.

“Initially, I was thinking to give you a bouquet, but I gathered it would just be a hassle to have to carry it around,” he explained, as if I’d expected more than this. “Rest assured, I’ll make certain to give you a bouquet at a later time.”

I could hardly breathe. I hadn’t suspected him of harbouring romantic traits at all. Not a single man had ever done something quite so sweet for me before. Wherever had he picked up his skills? His ex?

Upon my failure to offer a response, he chuckled and placed his curled index finger beneath my chin. Using it, he tilted my head back and placed a tender kiss to the middle of my forehead. His lips felt to burn straight through my skin, and even when he pulled away, the spot still tingled immensely.

“Ready, then?” he queried as he retreated.

“Y-yeah,” I stammered and adjusted my purse on my naked shoulder.

“You look edible. So much, in fact, that I’m seriously contemplating whether I should just have you for dinner instead,” he complimented me before he clasped my hand in his much larger one. Because I was so nervous, my hand was clammier than usual. I was certain that he noticed it, but to my relief, he didn’t seem to mind. Nonetheless, I swallowed and felt a light pink colour dominate my cheeks.

“Right back at you,” I murmured and looked shyly away from him. I was rigid. This entire experience was a complete novelty to me, and it was nothing short of overwhelming. I didn’t know how to behave, or what to expect.

“Fancy seeing me out of my suit, do you?” he teased, and I did not fail to catch the reference.

I smirked up at him. “I fancy seeing you in all sorts of ways.”

“Why, Cara, what could you possibly be getting at?” He chuckled and raised my hand to his mouth to offer the back of it a peck. As he was lowering it, he stalled his action to study my freshly painted nails.

“Lovely colour,” he complimented me sincerely. I decided not to tell him that it matched his eyes. It would be far out of line, and it would make me a creep. Knowing how conceited he could be, I was reluctant to feed his supermassive ego. He’d misread it for certain, thinking I’d done it on purpose.

“When did you leave the office today?” I enquired when he started leading the way toward Chinatown. Was that where we were going? I found myself hoping for it. I was terribly weak for Chinese food, and street food even more so.

“About one and a half hour ago,” he replied disinterested.

My eyebrows lifted. “That’s very early, for being you.”

He shrugged his shoulders while a lopsided smile dominated his perfect lips. “Well, I was scared of being late. You made yourself abundantly clear yesterday. If I stood you up, that’d be it. That’s why I stayed in the office until midnight yesterday, so that I could leave earlier today.”

I pressed my lips together to hide my smile, but it was a failed attempt. My lips curled up regardless, and a faint snicker leapt out of my nose and mouth. Perhaps Olivia had been right. Perhaps William truly was as affected as I. Either way, he hid it well. Did I, too?

“I hope you like Chinese,” he murmured, bringing me out of my thoughts.

“I eat everything. I’m not particular.”

“Good to know. Low-maintenance trait,” he noted aloud.

“And you?” I asked, curious.

His proportionate nose of a straight bridge wrinkled. “No allergies, but I’m not very fond of ketchup. Tastes far too synthetic. Too sweet.” His eyes flickered toward me to gauge my reaction.

I giggled. That was very specific. “You don’t fancy sweet?” I enquired with a playful tone to my voice and batted my lashes at him.

Sincere amusement swam in his hypnotising eyes. “Taking into account who I’m currently on a date with, no, I definitely do not fancy sweet. Spicy is more like it. Hot, sarcastic, sassy. And you’re the whole package,” he countered and squeezed my hand.

I laughed, and it was a carefree, genuine sound that derived from the depths of my belly. “Having you break a sweat, am I?”

“Later tonight, sure. If I’m lucky,” he said and my laughter immediately ended.

My face flushed, and I harboured no doubt that he could see it. “I didn’t bring clothes to wear in the morning,” I mumbled without looking at him.

“Then we’ll sort it out on our way back, if you want,” he suggested and released my hand to instead wrap his arm over my shoulders. Welcoming his embrace, I circled my right arm around his muscular waist. Walking with linked hands along the crowded streets of London was never an easy feat, and it was especially difficult seeing as it was the midst of tourist season.

Overlooking the financial benefits, I’d always despised the amount of tourists that flooded London during summer. Very few of them seemed to adjust to Londoners’ innate practice of quick speed when walking along the pavements. Tourists would flock around red telephone booths to snap photographs, sightseeing groups would block the pavement while they admired historic monuments, and squeezing into the tube amidst humid and sweaty bodies was never pleasant. Never did they pay a thought to the fact that the people who lived here were trying to get from A to B as quickly as possible. So holding each other this way was undoubtedly the more practical solution. As if that was why we were doing it...

It struck me as a revelation that I just couldn’t keep my hands away from him. Constantly, I wanted to touch him. And when I couldn’t, I’d be yearning for it without pause. It was a longing that resonated through my core, echoing through my bones. Truly, I had become addicted to his touch. It was ridiculous. I felt completely unlike myself. Men had never intimidated me like this. I’d never felt a single thing under their caresses. But under William’s, the sheer magnitude of a feather light stroke would trigger an emotional and sensational mayhem within me.

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