He doesn’t look up again, which gives me plenty of time to ogle, starting with the thick, black, almost feminine lashes resting at the top of his olive cheeks. The young man may be concentrating on his salad, but he’s undeniably compelled by my presence. The unspoken bond between us tugs at me even as I make small talk with the paunchy, balding, recently-divorced uncle on Bella’s mother’s side seated to my left.
A thrum of excitement pulsates through my veins; yet, a perfect calm settles over me. For the first time in a long time, I’m exactly where I want to be—at the start of something.
Never mind that this attraction makes absolutely no sense.
My purpose shifts. Dinner has just become a fact-gathering, reconnaissance mission. I’m determined to learn everything I can about this boy who has captivated me without saying a single word. Sure, I could get out of my seat, cross the room to the head table, and end the mystery with one simple question to the groom, but the puzzle intrigues me. Fortunately, Cousin Uley (Uley, really?) is the blowhard type—one who cheerfully yammers on about crossbow hunting, not noticing my eyes are on the enigma across the table.
Without lifting his eyes, the stranger makes it nearly impossible for me to discern his connection to this event. Third cousin twice removed? Friend of a friend of a friend? A valued employee from Swan Enterprises? Surely, the Swans’ social position requires at least a few obligatory invitations, and yet I cannot imagine this unassuming young man in such a role. He’s also not anyone’s “plus-one,” sitting here alone at the cast-off table.
Edward has said nothing to me about this creature, so I know he is not meant as some kind of well-intended fix-up. And why would he be? The boy can’t be more than thirty-five to my fifty-eight years; he’s fit but far skinnier than I’d go for. Edward knows twinks aren’t my style. I like a man who can take a crop and show some endurance on the Cross; a man with a broad chest, powerful thighs, and a pair of ass cheeks that bounce back when your hips slam against them.
God, I’m actually struck by the urge to fatten him up. What the fuck is that about?
The boy wears his tuxedo well—almost despite himself—as if someone has dressed a beautiful doll for the occasion . . . Of course—Riley! The same man who dressed the groom and his own fiancé, Sean. Each one of them looks delicious—far more appetizing than the spinach and goat cheese salad I’m pretending to eat.
The longer dinner wears on, the more I’m plagued by questions. Okay, so he’s friends with Riley. Or is it Sean? Business or pleasure? And that submissive behavior—either he was someone’s sub, is someone’s sub, or wishes to be someone’s sub. Of all the wonderings, this is the one that holds my interest as the dinner plates are cleared away.
After a respectable period of time has passed—which makes me believe he might’ve even been deliberate about not appearing conspicuous—he gets up and heads for the men’s room. My heart leaps out of my seat, but my ass is wise enough to stay put.
Now, you’re getting giddy, old man.
“. . . unless you have a decent umbrella policy . . .” Uncle Uley is babbling. Is this guy trying to seal the deal on a liability policy before the couple cuts the wedding cake?
My mind travels to the bathroom, pushes open the heavy door, finds the boy at the urinal. Yes, I’m going there. It’s impossible to keep my eyes open as I “watch” him pull out his dick, take it in hand, and spray the porcelain wall. Goddamn it all to hell if that thought doesn’t get me just a wee bit excited, pardon my own damn pun.
Fucking hell, Marcus. Are you really going to watch the door, waiting for his return like a cheerleader with a crush on the high school quarterback?
The server refills my cabernet, and I relax back into my chair, comforted that I have a room upstairs to fall into at the end of the night. If I don’t stop this ridiculous pining, the end of my night is going to come all too soon and none too cheerfully.
Seventeen men exit the bathroom before the boy emerges again. He’s either lactose intolerant or trying like hell to fight off this thing between us, and I’m not sure which one holds the better outcome for me. When his eyes seek me out, then immediately shift away, I have my answer. Clearly torn about returning to his seat, the boy is intercepted by Riley and Sean, who coax him out to the dance floor.
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