Crossroads

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Chapter 38

Chapter 38: Lincoln

“Because the truth is, my mind isn’t strong enough to withstand this connection, this powerful inception of passion and desire between us.”

PRESENT

It was one of those days again.

One of those days where nothing went right and absolutely everything went wrong - on so many levels.

But I know I have to focus now, have to work through my coping techniques to not let those emotions overwhelm me. Because truth be told, I can’t fucking wait for this dinner tonight, and I already texted Mia to make sure she knew just that.

“I’ll be done in twenty minutes and come pick you up then. Can’t wait to see you xx”

I didn’t have much time to go back home and change, but I luckily saw that coming this morning and came prepared with a fresh set of clothes. This job takes a lot of time out of my life, but it’s everything I ever wanted to do, and I learned to cope with the struggles it offers on a daily basis.

After a quick shower and getting changed into my clothes I glance on my watch, realizing I need to hurry, and so I rush out of the hospital, checking my phone to see a message from Mia on the screen.

“Can’t wait ;)”

I’m grinning from ear to ear by the time I reach the hospital entrance, taking a deep breath of the fresh air outside until my eyes settle on something that steals that exact breath right out of my lungs.

Mia stands there, leaning against her motorcycle with a smile on her face, her eyes trained right on me. I swear to all the gods up there - she looks so stunning, every damn thing about her just screams confidence and mystery. It’s the sexiest look I have ever seen, and it’s becoming harder and harder by the second to not just throw all reservations over board and do whatever the hell I want with her right here and now.

She just gets all my attention as soon as she steps into my view. When she showed up here a few days ago she had that exact same effect - all worries and the heaviness of the day just dissipate as soon as I lay eyes on her, as soon as I see that bright smile on her face.

I must have stood still for a moment, people are throwing me weird glances and Mia raises an eyebrow, obviously asking what’s wrong with me. God, the answer to that is a long one, that much I know. I make my way over to her, trying to ignore all the stares the male population throws her way, even though they irritate the fuck out of me.

“Hey, handsome,” she says with a sexy as sin smirk on her face when I reach her, and I almost have to stifle a laugh from the surreality of this situation. Here she stands in all glory, leather jacket and some tight jeans showing off her perfect figure.

“Hi.” I reach for her hand and tug her in my direction as soon as I’m close enough, and she immediately gives in, smashing against my chest with a quiet thud. I can still feel people’s eyes on us, but I especially feel the surprised stares of my male colleagues, taking in the woman that now belongs to me.

And maybe it’s that, or maybe it’s the residue of irrational jealousy from last night’s meeting with her friends, but I don’t even hesitate when I see the look in her eyes, the spark that makes me feel alive in more ways than one. I lean down and just take her, capture her lips like they were my own. And I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this feeling - this high that’s coursing through my veins as soon as our lips collide. I just know that I’m a full-blown addict again, craving another shot, another mind-blowing collision of our bodies.

“Link…” she whispers her warning against my lips, and for once I actually listen to her, knowing that I’m already losing myself in her touch. I lean back and look at her, that fire in her eyes warming every frozen inch of my soul with its intensity.

“I thought I said I’d pick you up,” I say, trying to get my mind out of the gutter for just one goddamn second.

Mia just smiles, wiping some of her own lipstick from beneath my bottom lip when she answers, “I know, sorry if I messed your plans. I just…” She studies the rings on her fingers that are resting on my cheek and takes another breath before she answers, “I guess I couldn’t wait.”

I can’t help but smile at her admission. “Well,” I say while tipping up her chin, meeting those blazingly hot ocean blue eyes, “Neither could I. I’m glad you’re here.”

“Good,” she gets up on her toes to press a kiss on my jaw, “You up for a ride?”

She nods to her motorcycle, and I can’t help but laugh, somehow being thrown back to that night two years ago, the night that changed my life in so many ways. Even back then, I just knew the second I laid eyes on this woman, that she’s a force to be reckoned with.

“Oh, shit. I didn’t even think… I know you haven’t, since…” she mutters, obviously remembering that I don’t particularly fancy motorcycles and that I haven’t been on one since that night.

“Mia…” I don’t want her to get into this spiral, to start worrying again when she doesn’t need to. We’ve been there - I don’t want that. “I’m good,” I whisper, hoping to hell she believes my words, because they’re true.

She nods her head, getting on her toes once more to press a kiss on my cheek before handing me the spare helmet with a smile. “Well, buckle up then, buttercup.”

I’m laughing when I get on the bike behind her, my arms securely fastened around her body when she drives off. She’s a great driver - I know that. What I forgot was how exhilarating this motorcycle is, the force of the wind and the thrill of sharp turns instantly sends adrenaline through my veins.

We arrive at the restaurant after a short while, and I’m almost sad to get off that machine when she stops at the side of the road. I might not be a fan of the danger they inflict, but I can’t deny that their effect is literally breathtaking.

Mia locks everything up and takes my hand in hers, smiling up at me as we walk up to the restaurant, her eyes narrowing when she notices the dark curtains everywhere. I know she loves Italian; I also know she loves trying new things, and this seemed like the perfect way to avoid that danger zone she was talking about.

“Welcome to Tenebra,” the man in a black suit with a bowtie greets us, his heavy Italian accent effortlessly flowing off his tongue. “Please, follow after me, I will introduce you to our restaurant.”

We walk into another room, giving our jackets and bags to an elderly man who swaps them for a cloakroom ticket before waving toward the end of the room with a smile. Mia looks up at me with wide eyes when we walk to the man who greeted us before, and we listen to him with caution when he explains the concept and rules of this restaurant.

“Our waiters are all visually impaired, which is why this is a safe space for them. Please respect that,” the man explains and we both nod our heads, although I still don’t exactly understand how this is supposed to work.

It doesn’t take long until we’re led into the pitch black room, Mia’s hand in mine when the waiter slowly walks us to our table, helping us to get seated in the darkness. Not seeing Mia has me somewhat anxious, even though she’s still firmly clasping her hand in mine, not having said a single word since we went in here.

We order our drink choices, and I honestly can’t tell if the waiter is gone yet or not, but when we don’t hear anything for a few minutes Mia suddenly whispers, “You’re bloody insane, you know that?”

Her voice sounds amused, but it’s hard to tell what she thinks, not seeing her face is giving me anxiety somehow. I still can’t help but laugh nervously, suddenly second-guessing this extravagant decision of a first date.

“I hope you’re okay with this,” I say, clearing my throat to hide this weird feeling inside of me. I can’t deny that I’m nervous as fuck. This is our first real date, after all, and I really don’t want to mess things up.

Mia’s hand on my own tightens its grip, and soon enough she pulls it toward her, the feeling of her lips on my knuckles in this darkness doing something inexplicable to me.

“Link… I love it. I’m just impressed, that’s all,” she whispers, the feeling of her soft skin beneath my palm instantly calming my nerves. I rub my thumb over her cheek, that all too familiar gesture awaking all kinds of emotions suddenly.

Someone clears their throat right next to us, throwing us out of the tension that built in a matter of seconds. “Your drinks are served to the far right corner of the table. The food you pre-ordered will arrive shortly,” the waiter says, and I reluctantly move my hand from Mia’s face to glide over the table, following the patterns of the tablecloth until I reach the glass, being extremely grateful for the included glass holder in the table.

“To new experiences,” Mia says, probably raising her glass now. I follow the notion and raise my glass as well, only to slam right into Mia’s, spilling both of our drinks on the table.

“Oh, shit…” I mutter, patting the table to feel just how much we spilled. Mia fails spectacularly at stifling a giggle opposite to me, and after a minute or so I give up, shaking my head with a laugh. “Fuck, this was such a bad idea…”

“Hey, my glass is still half-full. We’re good,” Mia laughs, and I can’t help but join in, taking a sip of my own drink.

“Well, at least it tastes good,” I comment, still unable to hide the amusement of this situation.

“It doesn’t taste as good when you have to lick it from the tablecloth, though.” Mia’s whispered words make me snort, almost spitting out my drink in the process.

Her laugh resonates around us, completely disrupting the rather intimate and hushed conversations in the background. “Fuck, I’m such an oaf,” she suddenly says, and it sounds like she has her hand on her mouth to stifle her laugh now.

“No, you’re not,” I almost knock over my glass when I instantly reach for her hand again. I luckily find it resting on the table, and I immediately lace my fingers with hers. “You’re everything but, Mia.”

She’s quiet for a moment, the hushed chatter around us slowly starting again while I rub my thumb over her palm in a soothing rhythm. Her warmth seeps right into me, and she suddenly turns her hand, placing the back of it on the table with her palm facing upward. I continue to draw patterns on her palm, the feeling of her skin beneath my fingertips becoming dangerously electric with every passing second, every stroke of my fingers sending jolts of appreciation straight through my veins.

I don’t know how long I do this, but I know that I soon feel my heart beat so violently, I can literally hear how much this intimate gesture affects me with every beat that resonates through me. “Link…” Mia whispers, and I can almost hear the despair in her voice, this motion obviously has the same effect on her as it has on me. I stop drawing and place my palm above her own, my fingers resting right on the raging pulse on her wrist.

And with every beat that thunders against my fingertips, I feel my own heart jump in my chest, the exhilaration of this simple act has me electrified like lightning, ready to strike when I get the chance. I’m so close to just standing up and getting the hell out of here, every single nerve ending in my body feels like it wants to explode, suddenly.

But I don’t get the chance to even consider doing that, the waiter’s voice right next to us makes both of us jump. “Fucking hell…” Mia whispers, and I can’t help but chuckle, although I already miss the feeling of her hand beneath mine when we pull apart to let the man do his work.

“The vegetarian meal for the lady, and the fish for the gentleman,” the waiter explains, placing the plates right in front of us. “The cutlery is to the left and right of your plates. Enjoy your meal.”

His retreating footsteps indicate that the waiter has left again, and just as I’m about to say something Mia asks, “How did you know I became vegetarian?”

I can’t help but smile at that, remembering the conversation I had a few days ago. “You have no idea how proud your grandma is to finally have converted you to her lifestyle,” I laugh, and Mia joins right in.

“She’s so insufferable.”

“She’s pretty awesome,” I say, stating the truth. My grandparents moved away a few years ago, and since my parents’ death we haven’t really been in contact. It’s not that I don’t want to, I just don’t know how to approach them after all that happened. I always loved them, but Summer is just a new level of grandmother, one that ignores all the rules set by society.

“Yeah, she is,” Mia agrees, and I know that she means it, too. I’ve seen how much she loves her family, and I’ve seen where she gets her spirit and devotion from, the fire is obvious in both her mother and especially grandmother.

We spend dinner in comfortable silence, accompanied by laughter from either of our clumsiness. It’s a weird experience, tasting and feeling things in the dark is so different, so unique.

“Thank you,” Mia suddenly says, making me look up at her even though I can’t even see her face.

Her hand finds my own again when the waiter walks away with our empty plates, her thumb rubbing over the back of my hand, continuing right where we left off before. I will never get used to the effect she has on me, the way just her simplest touch sends me on high-alert is exhilarating as hell.

“No, thank you…” I somehow manage to get out, every inch of me feeling ready to explode into bright lightning again.

I close my eyes when her fingers start climbing up my arm, every tap of her fingertips creating a violent storm in my heart. I can see her in my mind, see how she watches her fingers glide up and down my forearm, the subtle friction of our bodies probably sending a heated smirk on her lips.

“Mia…” I’m the one sending out a warning now, knowing that this is code red level of dangerous territory here. But Mia doesn’t listen, she just continues to trace patterns on my skin, my breathing growing heavier and heavier with every second that passes.

I’m so focused on her heavy breathing, on the scent of her perfume, of the feeling of her skin on mine, that it only takes minutes until I feel like I’m about to explode, and so I turn my arm to catch her own between my fingers. “I thought you wanted to stay out of the danger zone, Mia…” I say breathlessly, feeling just about ready to jump her right here and now.

“You were the one who brought us into a dark restaurant, Lincoln…” she retorts, just as breathless as I am, though I hear the smile on her lips.

“Do you want me to get us out of here?” I ask, feeling how her skin breaks out in goosebumps, how she releases a shaky breath before she almost inaudibly whispers her answer, “Yes...”

One word. One word has me almost jumping off the chair, never leaving Mia’s hand as I feel for the nearest wall, following the handrail until we reach the lobby again, the bright light making me shield my eyes for a second until they settle on the man who greeted us before. I throw my credit card and the cloakroom ticket on the counter in front of him, eliciting a smirk on his face when he shakes his head before typing something into his computer.

I turn around to see Mia looking up at me, her pupils dilating, slowly getting used to the light again when she stares at me, that fire in her irises about ready to burn the world down. A few excruciatingly long minutes later the man hands us our jackets and bags before holding up a tablet for me to sign the check, and as soon as he hands me my credit card I’m dashing out of there, Mia stumbling behind me as we reach the exit.

As soon as I get to the last step I turn around, staggering backward when Mia suddenly jumps me, her arms coming around my neck while her lips crash on my own. Her hands grip the hair at the back of my head when she ravishes me like the goddess she is, her legs tightening around my waist as I try to steady us.

But her kisses make me breathless and dizzy, and so I walk forward, pushing her against the wall next to the restaurant, steadying both of us against the cold bricks in the shadows as she keeps attacking me like a lioness devours its prey.

I can’t even object even if I wanted to, because Mia steals my every breath, her tongue chasing my own while she quietly moans into our kiss, driving me absolutely insane with every gasp she swallows. Our thundering hearts create a violent storm between us, an unstoppable storm that’s about to tear down every wall or boundary we set. Because the truth is, my mind isn’t strong enough to withstand this connection, this powerful inception of passion and desire between us.

“Link…” she suddenly whispers, and I can’t help but groan at the interruption of our spell, tightening my grip around her thighs as I minimize the distance by stepping as close to her as I can. I don’t even fight the smirk that tugs at my lips when she moans at the collision of our bodies, it just gives me more fire to burn her down.

But Mia apparently has other plans, her palm on my lips jerking me out of my trance. I open my eyes, seeing her chest rising and falling with every ragged breath she takes, those blazing eyes gazing straight at me.

And I see it in her eyes, I see how much she wants to do this by the book, follow the rules. But we’ve never played by the rules, we’ve never done things by the book. It’s not who we are, it’s not what matters, really. What matters is this unearthly connection between us, the chemistry that’s potent and addicting enough to destroy my taste in women for the rest of my life.

“Fuck it…” she mutters, and I feel another smirk playing on my lips when I see the scorching hot fire in her eyes.

“Take me home, Lincoln.”

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