I approached him, trying to look as confident as possible, while inside my mind was tripping over words to say to them in a way it had never done before.
"Hi," I said to him. It had meant to be flirtatious but came out weak and pathetic sounding. Internally, I winced.
He looked at me as if he'd only just noticed me.
"I've never seen you around these parts before. What's your name?" A little confidence returned to me as this time my tone ended up being curious rather than terrified.
He crossed his arms across his chest and looked kind of amused. "You must be looking in the wrong places then."
I smiled. I liked this guy. "I'm sorry. You obviously weren't the right sort of person if you escaped my radar."
He chuckled and leant in a tiny bit, making my heart accelerate to near dangerous speeds. "If I'm not the right person, then why are you talking to me, hmm?"
I had fully regained my normal attitude now and was able to reply complacently.
"I like to check the guys who aren't popular are surviving without knowing me."
"Oh, I'm plenty popular. Just not in the same way as Alex. I never was a jock. Or a joke."
I laughed along, pretending I thought Alex was a joke too. And you know, that wasn't so hard, standing before this guy.
"What are you, then?" I asked, raising an eyebrow provocatively.
"A Texas cowboy, ma'am." He tilted an imaginary hat and laughed.
I laughed back. So he was funny as well as attractive. Ticking the right boxes.
"And what do you do as one of those?" I asked. "Round up girls like cattle and watch them closely?"
The man winked.
"Well, good luck catching me. I don't think any guy could handle me."
"I like a challenge"
"Interesting. I like to see guys fail - they're so funny when they cry."
He smiled. "I know"
"Ah, do you like guys too?"
"Sometimes. But I meant 'I know' as in I've seen how amusing you find it"
"How amusing I find it? Have you been watching me?" Well, this could turn out to be interesting... I was half flattered that he might have been stalking me, yet half amused because I knew every guy secretly watched me.
"No," he answered, smiling.
"Oo, you're mysterious. I like a bit of mystery." I leant in towards him. "You gonna tell me your secret?"
He laughed softly. "Definitely not"
Right answer, mister.
"Excellent," I whisper, enchanted by his laugh. "Shall we go somewhere less... crowded?"
"What about your friend?"
"She's off taking someone else's boyfriend home. She won't care where I am while she's gone."
"Then it all depends on what you want from going somewhere quieter doesn't it"
"Well, if you could choose, what would you want me to want?"
He chuckled. "I'm all in favour of free will, doll, so you're gonna have to tell me"
I gazed up into those pupils, so much like black holes. "A good time would be nice."
He took my hand and started walking with her someplace outside. "What kind of good time?"
"I don't think I need to say much other than that," I replied, shrugging
The man said nothing.
I spotted a hedge cast in shadow in the gardens and walked towards it.
"This looks quite private," I observed. "Some nice shade."
He hummed in agreement.
I stopped as we neared the hedge and stepped in front of Ash, turning so that I was facing him with my back to the plant.
"You gonna try and catch me now, cowboy?" I whispered playfully.
"Might do." He smiled.
I took his hand and placed them on my waist. When they didn't move, I helped them down a little lower than would be comfortable if I weren't so willing.
He pulled me up against him so our bodies were touching.
I leant up and kissed him on the lips, but broke away almost as soon as contact had been made.
"Didn't know you were a tease."
"Well, you don't seem to be very quick on the uptake. I like my guys to know what to do."
"Who says I don't know what to do?"
"I think I need some solid proof," I said serenely.
He kissed me lightly, whispering against my lips, "You might just have to work for that proof"
"That's better. And yeah, I'll work. Now that I know it's worthy my time and effort." I leant in to kiss the man passionately.
He kissed back hard, sending delicious tingles all through my body like I had been subjected to a scientific experiment where a static shock was sent through every inch of my skin.
I was now forced up against the hedge. It was quite difficult to break away but I did so briefly to say "You really do know what you're doing." I laughed a little before leaning back into the kiss.
His kisses travelled down my neck a little, causing me to shiver. I held his waist, keeping him as close as possible to me.
He grazes his teeth on my neck, making me feel glorious and like I'd never been kissed properly before, before he moved back up to my lips.
"Hm, did you have to stop that? Or am I not working hard enough?"
"I don't think you're working hard enough."
I started to unbutton his shirt, becoming slightly more breathless now. I pulled the item of clothing off, flinging it to the ground to the right. I pushed him onto the ground falling to my knees. I kissed him while stroking his chest.
He sat up and pushed me down instead. He kissed my neck again. He seemed to enjoy kissing that part of me as much as I enjoyed being kissed there.
I lay on the ground underneath him, feeling oddly as if this were the right position for me to be in due to a strange compliance with his will that had arisen in me. I guided his hand to the zip at the back of my dress, rolling over so he can undo it. He undid it swiftly and efficiently, liberating me from the prison of the tight material.
Still on my front, I ran a hand down along his side stopping a little way down his leg.
The man rolled me back over and kissed me roughly.
I hooked a leg around both of his and started knotting the fingers of one of my hands in his thick, dark hair while stroking his bare skin with the other.
Meanwhile, the man was kissing down my jaw. Wherever he touched me, he evoked great pleasure from me, although it seemed to be best at my neck. Simultaneously enjoying and being tortured by the proximity of his mouth to my neck, I pushed his head down to that area. He brushed the skin there with his teeth again. It was like a firework had gone off inside me. I held his head in place, throwing my own further backwards so that my neck was arched towards him. I was extremely conscious of the fact that the blood was rushing through my veins as my heart pounded frantically in my chest. He planted another kiss there, chuckled and sat back.
I opened my eyes, blinking a couple of times, and looked up at him.
"You're amazing," I breathed. "I've never felt like that before."
He smiled kind of knowingly at me.
"Was I okay?" I asked in a rare moment of an anxiety that was otherwise foreign to me. I was completely caught off guard by my question, wondering where on earth it had come from.
The guy nodded.
"I feel strange," I murmured, thinking aloud. "Like ... I'm weak... But I'm not weak - that's impossible. But I feel ... I need you." I gazed directly into his eyes. "Would you be okay with a serious relationship?"
"Honey, I barely know you."
"I know that. But you could get to know me."
"Maybe. I've not had a steady relationship for a while."
I shrugged, willing to take second best.
"Okay. Well, I don't want to scare you off so if you want to keep it casual for the time being, I'm fine with that."
He smiled a little.
"You're mind-blowing, though," I mumbled, still unable to believe the amount of adrenaline and the sensations coursing through me.
"You're not so bad yourself."
I shook my head a little. "I've not had that much experience, despite what I say. S'pose you could describe me as having high standards. And I think that ... you know that you're better than me. Like I know I'm better than all those guys back in that disco."
He gave a confident half smile. "Of course."
"They're such jerks. They all think they know what a girl wants. But they don't really. They have no idea. And they don't know their place."
"What's their place, then?"
I laughed. "At our feet."
"Ah, but where's your place?"
"Mine personally?" I asked in hushed tones. I looked up into his eyes. "At your feet."
He stroked my hair and smiled.
I blushed, looking away. "I hope I'm not making you feel uncomfortable. This is all so strange for me as well. I'm not usually deferential."
"I like my girls to herd themselves without realising until it's too late." He looked me in the eye. "A good cowboy knows how to control his herd with minimal effort, after all."
I frowned slightly. "Are you being serious? I really hope not because if you are, I think I'm following that rule."
I looked searchingly into his eyes. "Oh damn, you're telling the truth, aren't you?"
He kissed me.
I kissed back, helplessly in love with him and slightly bound to his will.
He played with my hair, before I broke away, panting. My eyes were wide and I felt vulnerable.
"Promise you'll treat me right."
His eyes widened a little. Apparently he was hurt by the implication that he wouldn't. "Of course I will, honey."
"Sorry," I murmured, averting my eyes from his surprised gaze in shame and guilt. "It's just that ... I'd do anything for you in this state. I'm completely at your mercy. I need to know you won't take advantage of me."
His voice was a murmur as he said "It's not usually a good idea to tell someone that you're totally vulnerable. But since I'm an old school gentleman, you have my word, I shan't take advantage."
I nodded. "I know I shouldn't admit my weakness. But the fact I did is like a part of the weakness itself. I can't help feeling this way. I'm glad you're a gentleman. I couldn't bear it if you were something awful."
I gazed up at him, sighing in relief at my luck. Suddenly, I realised something.
"Hey, I don't even know your name yet!"
I grinned. "Can see why you mayn't have been able to tell me earlier though. What is it?"
"Ashley, but most call me Ash."
"Ash... I like that name. Did I tell you mine?"
"No, but I know you're Mirry without you having to tell me"
"Why is that?" I asked curiously. "And you said before that you knew something without having watched me." I laughed suddenly. "Hey, you're not psychic are you?"
"I wish!" he said, laughing. "You're the popular girl. It's not hard to notice stuff about you."
"Aw, thanks. I'm sorry I never noticed you."
"It's okay. I don't expect to be noticed."
"Aw, why not? Everyone deserves to be noticed... unless they're really not worth knowing. And you're better than me: you've shown that already."
"I'm quite the hermit usually"
"I don't see why," I said thoughtfully. I was about to say something else when Sapphire walked out of the disco into the gardens. She was casting her eyes around, evidently looking for me.
I rolled my eyes. "And there's my friend."
"Maybe I should help you do your dress back up before she sees." He smiled slightly.
I nodded, grinning.