BEHIND THE LIGHTS

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Chapter 13

October 23rd, 2016
Munich, Germany
Good to be alive - PVRIS

“Hey!” Leah waved her hand when he saw him sitting at a table.

“Hey!” Søren smiled, making her heart skip a beat when he got up to greet her, his height towering over her.

Holy Jesus on a stick!

Again, she had to remind herself to breathe. It was as if every time she stood in front of that man all her organs stopped functioning to focus only on him and the sensation he caused, more like shook, inside of her.

He was wearing black jeans a bit ripped on the knees, combat boots and burgundy, long-sleeve Henley shirt—buttons undone, muscles noticeable under it. His hair was in a low ponytail, letting his strong, appetizing neck on full display. He was undoubtedly and annoyingly hot. It was weird because he looked like in the magazines and on TV, but at the same time he didn’t? She didn’t know how to explain it.

“H—How d-d-did you know about this place?” she asked, tripping over her words as she tried to get her mind out of that dangerous world.

“I was here the last time we came to the city and I liked it.”

“Oh.” She was out of words.

“Shall we?” He motioned to the table.

“S-sure.” She nodded, feeling uneasy, as if she didn’t remember how to interact with other human beings. Well, he was not a normal human being, more like a God walking the earth. She wanted to touch him, confirm he was real. Maybe she was just dreaming.

Søren cleared his throat. She had been staring at him like a creep.

“Sorry, what were you saying?”

He chuckled, making her legs shake like jelly. “I just asked how you were feeling after that… encounter last night.”

“I’m fine,” she lied, avoiding eye contact.

She was feeling better than the previous night, but she was still a bit jittery. What happened with James was disturbing and she had a hard time falling asleep, but the fact she lost control was what really scared her.

“He just wouldn’t take no for an answer, so I had to try to make him understand another way.”

“Good.” He smirked.

“And Alex?” she asked, glancing at him before returning her gaze to her fingers twirling one of her rings.

Søren stayed silent for a few seconds but finally decided to speak, “he argued with a friend and got a bit upset, but he’ll get over it.” He was being elusive. “So… why didn’t you tell me you played in a band?” he asked out of the blue, his eyes shining with amusement.

“What?” She looked at him, eyes opened wide.

“Yeah…” Søren leaned forward, elbows resting on the table as he crossed his arms, lips curling up in that crooked smile that made him look so fuckable. Why did he enjoy making her feel so flustered? “You complimented me the other day because I was so amazing and—”

“Well, you are.” She shrugged, hoping that talking about him would make him forget about her. Maybe?

“Yeah, but the way you talked about it made me think that you might also have some knowledge. Then, I saw this picture of you and your friends in a magazine… By the way, you don’t look anything like in your concerts,” he said as he poured some water into their glasses.

“Wait. What? You’ve seen the videos?” Warmth rushed to her cheeks as her heart somersaulted inside her chest. She couldn’t believe he had looked their band up on the internet. And was he talking about the official ones or the live concerts? Or both?

Oh, God!

Their eyes locked and she felt dragged to that tidal wave of intense blues and greens. Søren crooked an eyebrow and pulled his bottom lip between his teeth, trying to hold a grin. Well aware of the effect he had on her.

He hadn’t answered her question when the waitress approached their table. He ordered the pepperoni pizza and she chose the caprese—even though she wasn’t sure she could eat with the party going on in her stomach.

Leah glanced at him as he talked to the twenty-something girl. She admitted that after seeing him in a tattoo magazine a few years before—posing as a model because, yeah, he had the looks for that—she started listening to Dark Omen’s music, discovering her liking for that kind of music thanks to them.

He smiled and softly laughed at her compliments, signing her an autograph before she left. It was like seeing two different people in one—the kind and the cocky one. The fucking Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

“Well?” he said as the waitress walked away.

“Hm?” Leah played dumb, gripping her glass with both hands.

“You know what.” He smirked before sipping from his water.

“H-How could I tell you I also have a band?”

“I don’t know. It’s a good start for a conversation, having something in common and all that,” he sarcastically noted.

“But we’re not that important and that could have spiked your curiosity.”

“And what’s wrong with that?” He kept taunting her, eyes squinting a little while one of the sides of his lips curled up again.

“I—I can’t brag about my band in front of you, it’s ridiculous. Besides, I’m very self-conscious and having a renowned artist to judge our performance it’s… weird.”

Søren laughed. “You’re unbelievably cute.”

“Okay, now you’re lying.”

“I’m not!” he exclaimed, failing to fake innocence with that damn, shitty, sexy smile of his. He knew what he was doing.

“Whatever…” She muttered, eyes glued to the table as if there was something super interesting about the white and red tablecloth.

“This is exactly what I’m talking about. You’re so refreshing!”

“Meaning...?” She gazed at him, eyes slightly narrowing.

“I’m not used to women acting like this around me… So honest.”

“Hm… Okay.” She drank from her water, her throat and mouth had become dry as if she had been running a marathon in the Sahara.

“You’re different. I’m so used to people wanting to use me for different purposes or to sleep with me that this actually feels nice.”

“Don’t get me wrong, that’d be quite an experience but—” The moment she realized what she had just said, heat crept up her cheeks, eyes opening wide. That fucking habit of blabbering without thinking.

Someone, kill me.

With one brow lifted, he smirked, making her want to peel off the skin of his face and tear it into millions of small pieces until she had a handful of Søren-face confetti. The conceited bastard.

“I’m sorry!” She wanted to be buried so deep nobody could ever find her body.

Søren laughed whole-heartedly, with one of those laughs that made his whole body vibrate. “Don’t worry, I like blunt! Besides, that’s some information worth knowing.” He flashed her a naughty smile.

“Shut up!” She facepalmed herself.

Leah wasn’t the impressionable teenager she once was, and she was so used to being around men she never felt so edgy anymore—watching her bandmates walking around almost naked whenever they were on tour had made her lose all sense of shame. But with him it was like going back in time. Why in the hell? Without even trying he was making all her confidence fly out the window, turning her into some fangirling creep with jelly legs.

“Anyway, how long have you been playing?”

“W-we’ve been playing together for about—two years,” she stammered again. What the fuck? Had she forgotten how to speak?

Get a grip of yourself, idiot!

“They’ve been together for a bit longer though.”

“You weren’t in the band since the beginning then?”

“No, I was living in Hamburg back then. College, you know?” He simply nodded. Was he actually listening to her babbling? “But all of us have been playing since a young age.”

“That explains your skills.” He smiled. His mood, completely different from before. How could he do that?

“Yeah…” She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, unable to shake the nervousness of sitting across that man.

“So, you sing and restore instruments for a living, do you play any?”

“I used to play the guitar when I was in college, now it’s just from time to time, mostly when I’m composing.”

“Nice.”

The conversation went on until lunch was over. Then, coffee followed. As they walked to a cafe nearby, she glanced at him as he smoked a cigarette. She had never imagined she could not only meet him in person but talk to him as if they had known each other forever.

Once she had managed to ignore the physical reactions she was having to his deep voice, the intensity of his stare, the way he moved, and how his Adam’s apple bobbled up and down every time he laughed, Leah began to feel more comfortable around him—the fact that he was so laid back helped a lot.

Bouncing from one topic to another they talked about their bands, places they wanted to visit, movies, and more music.

They were sharing a couch before a coffee table in a calm corner of a cozy book reading cafe she liked. There was a couple a few feet away from them and the rest of the clients on the main floor or the tables near the windows, which made the space around them more intimate and special.

With a knee bent on the beige leather, they were facing each other, as if that proximity was the most normal thing in the world. No matter how much time passed, she still felt on a daze, floating in the air as his deep voice tingled her ears.

“That might not be your favorite style of music, but you’ve gotta admit she’s a great singer!” Leah protested.

“Fine, she has potential!” .

“Potential? Are you deaf?” Leah snorted. “I don’t care what you say. I haven’t heard, in my whole life, such a strong and powerful voice. She could kick your ass. Period.” She still had to hide her shaky hands between her legs and breathe in weird patterns to compensate for the erratic heartbeat, but at least she had managed to stop stuttering.

“Okay, okay! You’re right!” He chuckled. “Do you get so heated when someone speaks ill of me?” he asked, smirking as he leaned in closer.

“You’ll never know!” Leah laughed, looking up to the clock hanging on the wall. “Fuck, I didn’t know it was so late.”

5:54 P.M.

“Guess time slips away when you’re in good company,” Søren said, staring at her.

“I guess…”

“I really had fun today.” His words came out soft. “Thanks.”

“Me too.” She gave him a half-smile, afraid to look him in the eye.

Admitting out loud that she had enjoyed his company made her feel as if she was betraying herself.

Even though she admired him as a professional—and he was hot as hell—Søren was the type of man she didn’t want to be around. He was funny and easy to talk to, but Leah didn’t know who he really was, it was as if he kept a wall around him all the time, and that was disturbing. Secrets, lies, and complications with another musician, she didn’t want to get involved in all that shit again. That was not happening.

“Your flight is at nine, so… shouldn’t we get going?” she asked.

“I wish I could stay though,” Søren rasped as he got closer to her, making her feel weird and intrigued.

His delicious woodsy scent mixed with leather and a slight trace of grapefruit swamped her nostrils when he was just a few inches away. It was intoxicating.

He brushed a lock of hair away from her face and put it behind her ear, eyes plunged into hers, captivating her. They stared at each other for mere seconds, but it seemed like an eternity. The atmosphere intense.

Her heart furiously hammered in her chest and her core tightened with anticipation. Frozen on the spot, Leah clenched her hand around her ankle and swallowed hard, mentally scolding herself for letting her body react to him like that.

As she scrutinized that fascinating facial structure he had, she bit the inside of her cheek, the pain reminding her that was real. But then, her eyes flicked to his damn attractive, tempting mouth, ratting her out. And there it was again. That annoying, sexy smirk that made her forget how to breathe.

While her brain kept sending commands to her muscles to run away that they didn’t seem to get, his right hand laced on the back of her neck. A warm caress that triggered a rippling effect across her entire body.

Frozen on the spot, she watched him as he leaned in, eyes locked into hers as his hot coffee breath brushed her lips, making her aware of how close they were.

Before she could process what was happening, his lips touched hers in a lingering kiss. And as a moth drawn to a flame, with the blood already boiling in her veins, she let go.


During the whole time they had been together, he had been wanting to get lost in the chocolate waves falling down her breast. He wanted to touch her, confirm if the skin of her body was as soft as the one of her hands, if she blushed in more than one place when she was aroused… God! He wanted to feel all of her.

Before he realized what he was doing, Søren had leaned in closer, her sweet scent trapping him instantly. It was much better than he had imagined. She smelled like a mix of citrus blossoms and peach. Fuck. He was enraptured.

Hesitation covered her face as she bit her bottom lip, avoiding his gaze, but when her eyes raised to meet his, he didn’t miss the flash of lust that crossed them. Søren smirked.

He hadn’t planned that happening when he invited out for lunch. He knew he couldn’t stay the night because they had a meeting the next day, but that woman awoke things in him he hadn’t felt in a long time—if ever. And he’d be damned if he hadn’t tasted those soft and delicious lips he had been dying to kiss all afternoon.

The way the material of her shirt clinged to her waist and those tight jeans hugged her perfect, round ass the previous night had left him wanting more—like bending her over the counter—but she was upset and he wasn’t that kind of man. Not anymore.

It wasn’t that he didn’t care about other people’s feelings before, but the constant numbness he used to be floating in didn’t allow him to live in the real world. Trying to survive the hell inside his head was hard enough, so he gave himself to other habits that helped him deal with all that shit, becoming a selfish prick in the process.

Growing older and the lack of illicit substances running through his veins had turned him into a pussy—okay, maybe just not an idiot. Whatever. The thing was that he didn’t use people’s low moments to his advantage. And as much as he was attracted to the badass and confident side of Leah mixed with the sweet one, he was intrigued and wanted to get to know her, so he tried to temper that physical, primal need.

The way she talked, the way she moved and laughed made her even more beautiful. She was funny, blunt, and smart, and didn’t miss the chance to talk back to him and take him down a peg when he was too cocky or flirty.

It had been a while since he had enjoyed someone’s company like that. Having a real conversation for once with someone outside of his circle of friends felt nice. The atmosphere around her was soothing, so much that, when the time to say goodbye came, he wished he could stop the time, actually blurting some shit like that.

Søren wasn’t above begging, never needed to, but it was different with her. It was as if she had cast a spell on him, invisible strings drawing him to her.

He kissed her softly at first, letting his fingers tangled in the hair at the back of her neck, not knowing what to expect because she seemed a bit tense. But when her eyes fluttered close, he brushed her jaw, prompting her chin up as he bit her bottom lip, tongue gliding over her lips, begging her to let him in. And she did, her lips perfectly molding to his.

As Leah reached for his neck, gripping tight, and pulled him closer to her, the exchange of heat between their bodies igniting him. The past, the present and the future folding and stopping in that precise moment. God! He didn’t remember the last time just kissing felt that good.

With his mind totally clouded, engulfed by that exhilarating sensation saturating his blood, Søren worked his way up her leg, feeling her body surrendering to his touch. The world around them vanished as he reached her hip and gripped it.

His jeans began to feel uncomfortable, suffocating even, as if they had shrunk a size. He had never thought that just a simple kiss could turn him on so much, until she softly moaned into his mouth, buzzing in his lips and echoing through every corner of his being.

Mother-shit-fuck!

Sucking her bottom lip, he let her sweet perfume invade him. Left hand cruising up her body, pressing her further against him, the space between them nonexistent. The way their lips and tongues moved together in perfect sync silenced all his demons, making him experience a sense of reality he missed.

Leah’s grip on the back of his neck loosened and her hand sneaked to the front, caressing his jaw, then his chest. With a couple more soft, sensual kisses, she broke the contact, touching her forehead to his, eyes squeezed shut.

“I’m sorry...” Her hot breath grazed his lips.

“What?” He leaned back, still holding her in his arms but confused as fuck.

“I-I can’t do this,” Leah panted.

“What’s wrong?”

“… It’s just—I can’t.” She averted her eyes.

He gently took her chin between his index finger and thumb, forcing her to look at him. “Did I do something that made you feel uncomfortable?”

“No!” She bit her bottom lip, a faint arousal blush coloring her cheeks. “This… I-It’s too complicated.”

“What’s complicated?” His brows slightly creased together.

“This.” Leah flicked a finger between them.

“I’m not asking you to be my girlfriend or anything,” he said, arching an eyebrow.

“I know.” Her voice came out harsh, as if she was annoyed. But why the hell would she be annoyed? He was the one being rejected.

He.

Rejected.

Søren wanted to laugh.

“It’s obvious that we’re attracted to each other. That fucking chemistry was real so, where’s the problem?” He put more distance between them, trying to understand what was going on. She had felt those fucking fluttering, blazing sparks too. No doubt. When Leah didn’t answer and lowered her gaze, he frowned, concerned. “I thought we both wanted it?” Okay, he had started it, but she didn’t put up a fight, in fact, she seemed as lured into that blazing fire as him. He wanted her, and she wanted him, one didn’t need to be Einstein to do the math.

“I’m not going to be another name to cross off your list. I’m not the type of woman you can use and then throw away.” Her voice quivered but the searing determination shining in her irises confused him. He didn’t know how to feel. Offended? Pissed off?

Leah was assuming he was playing with her. Well, he partially was. She was hot, and it wasn’t as if he was looking for something serious, but he wanted to get to know her too. She had a brain, and that made her sexier and much more interesting than any of the bimbos he had fucked over the last couple of years.

Did she think he took the time to talk to the chicks he usually slept with? Like he bothered himself by asking them out for lunch and spending time with them out of bed? Fuck, he could be an ass with them and still would get in their pants a thousand times.

“...” He opened his mouth to talk, but nothing came out. What was she playing at? He had seen the effect he had on her, but if she didn’t want it, why didn’t she stop him before? “Let’s go,” he simply said, grabbing his coat as he got up.

“Søren—”

“I gotta catch a flight.”

“I...” Her eyes glowed with an emotion he couldn’t decode.

“It’s alright. Let’s go.”

This is why you hit and run.

One minute she was horny and so into that kiss, then angry, then sad? Definitely complicated. With more drama than he could handle in his life, he wasn’t up for that. Without adding another word, he walked downstairs and went straight to pay for their coffees, Leah following close behind.

“I can pay for mine.”

“It’s fine.” His tone was dry and cold.

What had been the hottest and most alluring atmosphere he had experienced in a long while had turned into the most upsetting, fuck-me-sideways moment.

If there was something good about his fuddies, it was that they were brainless cock suckers. Yeah, he could be an ass when it came to his personal life. Kind of. He never lied about what they should expect from him and they still agreed, but Leah… Why was she overthinking like that? It wasn’t as if he had forced her to anything. Right?

Ugh!

At least, they wouldn’t see each other ever again. Even if they had to come back to Germany in two weeks for a meeting with BLAST, Munich was big enough for them to cross their paths. No need to talk. No need to be friends or anything else.

“Well… Hm… I’m going to the train station.”

The tension between them was so thick he could have cut it with a knife.

“I’m calling a cab.”

Yeah, no way I’m prolonging this awkward situation.

“Okay, have a nice flight then.” She gave him a half-smile.

“Take care.”

And just like that, their paths took opposite directions.

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