The entire move from Vancouver to Seattle took much longer than Maisy had anticipated. She hadn’t really comprehended how much there was on the Cirque’s grounds until it was all packed, lined up and ready to go.
Hundreds of big rigs with flat decks were the first to leave, one by one. They carried things like the tents, the infrastructure, ticket booths, furniture and such.
After this was Alexi driving a smaller truck and trailer housing the tigers. Maisy was jumpy just thinking about Lucille’s giant teeth riding on the back of the truck. She’d given her room mates a glossed over version of events, downplaying the seriousness of the bite. She hadn’t mentioned a thing about Eduardo’s offer.
Last but not least were the performer trailers and RVs. Maisy’s trailer was hooked to a pick up truck, Cara and Rose took turns driving. Maisy sat in the back seat, but wasn’t left out of the conversation.
The entire ten hour drive was spent gossiping, giggling, and singing road trip songs. It was, by far, one of the best days Maisy had ever had. She loved Cara and Rose, and happily they totally got her weird sense of humour.
She supposed you had to be a little off center to travel with something like Cirque des Curiosités.
Once the arrived, Maisy was told to stay in their trailer until things were set up. She cringed at the special treatment, but it was a direct command from Eduardo himself.
She was lounging on the couch again, watching shitty television from the trailer’s satellite dish, when Carl popped in to check on her.
“How are you feeling, girlfriend?” he asked and motioned for her to show him her arm. “Oh my god, you could have had that torn right off.”
He was dressed in casual clothing, and once again she found it a little unsettling to see him out of costume.
“It’s not that bad,” she said and laughed, “Lucille just got surprised when I took a photo. I should have had the flash off, it was all my fault.”
“Lucille? Lucille did this?” Carl asked, his eyes widening.
“Uh yeah, why?”
“Lucille is the dangerous one. Desi is the sweetheart, but Lucille’s been a bitch from day one. She’s had quite the rep. What the fuck was Alexi thinking?”
“He was probably just a little distracted with everything that was going on, I’m sure he didn’t mean anything by it,” she replied. Still, it did bother her that she’d been sent to the tigers in the first place, so why had Alexi left her with a dangerous animal?
“I heard you might get a performer’s slot,” Carl said, changing the subject. She loved him for it, he was very perceptive for a man.
“It’s a possibility.”
“What’s your talent? Or are you a closet freak? Tell me,” he said and leaned in, “do you have a tail? Or two pussies? Or a tail and two pussies? Oh my god, don’t keep me guessing.”
His words spilled out so rapidly she couldn’t squeeze in an answer. She waited until he ran out of ideas and laughed at the anticipation on his face. “I’m sorry to disappoint,” she told him, “but I just have a genetic condition. I can’t feel pain.”
His face dropped as he processed the information. “Can’t feel pain? That’s it?” he asked.
“Sorry,” she said, “I know, double vaginas would be so much better.”
He smiled and said, “It’s not that bad. Oh, I’m sure dear old Eddy will come up with something spectacular. If there’s one thing that man does well, it’s exploit his performers.”
“That sounds rather ominous,” she said.
“Kidding, you know I’m overly dramatic,” he replied and brushed it off. Maisy couldn’t shake the warning in his words though, but he changed the subject smoothly and went on to tell her about a few of the logistics of setting up the Cirque. She was interested, and thought about following him back out to alleviate some of her boredom, but decided against it.
For some reason she felt as thought when Eduardo gave an order, he expected nothing less than complete compliance. She didn’t want to test her suspicion and find out first hand if he was an angry man.
A little after six Cara texted to meet up with her and Rose for dinner. Maisy had spent the day dozing in the trailer, only interrupted when somebody was checking up on her at Eduardo’s orders.
Her arm wasn’t throbbing at all, and as predicted, the puncture wounds had already begun to heal. They’d scabbed over and were dry.
Eduardo’s razor cut however hadn’t stopped leaking blood. It was strange, generally the finer cuts and injuries healed faster. It felt almost as though his toxicity remained on her skin, a reminder of his plans for her.
She found her friends, grabbed a sandwich and a hot chocolate, and sat at their table.
“Shit, you lucked out today,” Cara said immediately. “It was miserable, rainy and cold. And we’re back in Marymoor Park, which is essentially the middle of nowhere. We’re stuck in Cirque even more than ever.”
“I don’t feel like I lucked out,” Maisy said, “To be honest I’d rather not be under Eduardo’s scrutiny.”
“She’s got you there,” Rose said, “I’d rather do pretty much anything than have Eduardo watching you.” She turned to Maisy and asked, “What exactly does he have in mind for you?”
“I have no idea,” Maisy said, “I was bitten and he found something out. He got excited and said he was promoting me to performer status.”
“Oh, wow,” Cara replied, “That’s amazing. Performer! What are you going to do?”
“No idea,” Maisy said.
“What’s your talent?” Rose asked.
“Um, it’s kind of a weird one,” Maisy said.
“Do you have a tail?” Rose asked, leaning forward in excitement.
“Why does everyone keep asking me that?” Maisy replied and laughed, “No, I do not have a tail. I can’t feel any pain.”
Both girls looked at her, confused. “What do you mean no pain?” Cara asked.
“No pain. Nothing hurts,” Maisy said.
“That is awesome,” Cara said.
“Fucking epic. That’s like the best thing I’ve ever heard,” Rose agreed.
“It’s not as great as you’d think,” Maisy said, “For example, dinner. This sandwich here. I take a bite, I might be chewing on my own tongue and not notice it until the blood comes pouring out of my face. I might bite my cheek while I’m sleeping and wake up choking in it. I might break a foot and walk around for a week, doing damage that’s irreversible. It sucks actually, if you want to know how epic it is.”
Maisy hated that her little speech sounded so bitter, but it was the cold, hard truth. There was nothing glamorous about feeling nothing.
“I’m sorry,” Cara said, “I never would have thought about it that way.”
“Me too,” Rose added, “I promise if I ever see you with a mouth full of blood, I’ll tell you discretely.” She smiled and held out her hand. Maisy shook it and relaxed. She had to remember in a circus full of freaks and oddities, she wasn’t that shocking.
It felt nice.
She was chewing away, carefully avoiding her own tongue and listening to Cara and Rose argue over which of the new acrobats was the hottest when a shadow fell across her. She looked up and saw Cairo staring down at her, an unreadable mask of anger on his face.
“Hey you,” she said and smiled at him. He didn’t smile back.
“We need to talk,” he said in a low voice.
“Sure, what’s up?” she said and put her sandwich down.
“Not here, follow me,” he ordered and she jumped up and trailed behind him as they passed through tables of performers and front end staff. She looked back and shrugged her shoulders at Rose and Cara’s inquiring faces.
They ended up behind the concession tent in a dimly lit impromptu alleyway formed by several trailers and storage containers.
“Why didn’t you tell me,” Cairo said, his voice a hiss of accusation.
“Tell you what?” she asked, but knew immediately what he must be referring to.
“I had to find out from my father. My fucking father. You’re a performer?”
“I’m not a performer, I mean I’ve never done anything in front of an audience.”
“Then why is he featuring you next week?”
“Next week? That seems awfully soon,” she replied. She fidgeted and forced herself to remain calm when thinking about the crowds of people who would be staring at her soon enough.
“What are you going to do with him?”
“I don’t know, I really don’t”
“Then what’s your talent?”
“I don’t have a tail, if that’s what you’re wondering,” she said and smiled, hoping to lighten his dark aspect.
“This is no joke, Maisy,” he replied. His voice was just as tense as before, but he seemed to be losing steam in the anger department. She loved his voice, and she loved how protective he seemed right now. Normally this kind of behaviour from anyone would have her demanding they back the fuck off and give her space.
Cai was different.
“I know it’s not a joke. I think it’s terrifying. And my talent, if that’s what you can all it, is that I feel no pain.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” he asked. He almost sounded hurt.
“You never asked. And I kinda liked being Ms. Normal for a while, after a lifetime of being abnormal.”
“I can understand that,” he replied and exhaled. The tension left his face completely and he softened, smiled, and said, “you’re still Ms. Normal to me, for what it’s worth.”
Her heart did its usual little flip flop at his beautiful smile and she said, “Aren’t you going to barrage me with questions about it?”
“I know a little about it from med school,” he said, “congenital analgesia? Pain insensitivity?”
“Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner,” she said and gave him a thumbs up.
“It’s pretty serious though, are you okay? Are you healthy?”
“Well, other than being bitten by a tiger yesterday, I’m doing pretty damn good,” she said.
“Alexi’s tiger bit you? Which one? Desi?”
“What the fuck were you doing with Lucille?”
“You father sent me to help Alexi pack up, and Alexi left me with her. It was one hundred percent my fault though, I took a stupid pic and the flash scared her.”
“Lucille’s dangerous, you should have never been left with her,” he said. He was angry again, but this time his face was distant, he was rolling an idea over in his mind.
“It was just an accident. But that’s how your father found out about my…condition.”
“Talent,” he said, “we call it talent around here.”
“I’ve noticed, but really it’s no talent. It’s a freak of nature.”
“You are not a freak,” he said and cupped her face in his large, rough hand. This was the hand of a man who wasn’t afraid of hard work, the hand of the type of man her mother had always said to marry. “You are beautiful, mysterious, a little bit skittish…but not a freak, Maisy. Never say that.”
“I don’t mean it in a negative way,” she replied, unable to tear her eyes away from his. Her own eyes were green, a stark contrast to her pale skin and dark hair. His were deep, rich warm brown and at the moment they seemed endless. A portal to a secret world, his internal world, she wanted to get there.
“It’s a negative word,” he said and leaned over her, not breaking eye contact. “You don’t deserve anything but goodness, light, and positivity in your life, Maisy. Never sell yourself short.”
The power with which he said it left her breathing shallow and her pulse rapid. She could feel his intent behind those words, his kindness and force. “Okay,” was all she could say.
And then he kissed her.
She had almost been expecting it when he leaned over her, but it still took her by surprise. He pulled her close with one hand behind her back, under her thick, long hair and the other still cupping her face.
His beard tickled. It really tickled, but it rubbed her skin and woke up sensations she’d not felt before.
His lips were exactly as delicious as she’d imagined. He tasted of coffee and mint, they were thick and soft, pliable and forceful at the same time.
His tongue was demanding, pinning hers down, claiming her mouth as its territory and demanding she submit.
She would have fought such entitlement with previous boyfriends, flings and one night stands. She would have taken affront to such presumption, that she was that kind of girl. She never had been, she would have wrestled their tongue with her own, pushed their hands down under hers, and become the aggressor to put them in their place.
With Cairo, she was that kind of girl. The kind who held onto his strong forearms for dear life to prevent herself from toppling over on trembling knees.
The kind who was breathless in anticipation, awaiting his next move, his next command.
He was so much a man that any trace of her tom boy ways was chased out the window, and in its wake was a weak, breathless, giddy girl.
She couldn’t help herself, her body was warm from her deep centre, radiating out in waves of goodness. His scent was intoxicating, musky and deep, sweat and hard work and masculinity.
He was all man, and he was invading her every sense.
She couldn’t feel pain, but she could feel him, and good god, she wanted more.
The day after the kiss was a fog for Maisy. They’d pulled apart when Rose came looking for her. Maisy’s cheeks had been flushed red and she’d stuttered an excuse to Rose and Cara and feigned illness to rush back to their trailer and go to bed.
She’d lain under her covers and replayed the kiss over and over in her head until she’d fallen asleep.
She was able to stay in bed a little too long and had killed time trying to find any information she could about Cairo. She wasn’t able to find much, she wasn’t even sure if he shared his father’s last name, Rojas. She did find some information about his return to the circus on a website devoted to circus news. Strange that there was such a thing, she never would have imagined it.
There was a knock at the door just after she finished her shower. She yelled, “Hang on,” and pulled on a pair of yoga pants and an oversized sweatshirt. She opened the door and found Eduardo standing there.
“I would like to go over your routine,” he said, “follow me now.”
She scrambled to slip on her shoes and ran after him. He was the kind of man you didn’t say no to.
It was disconcerting to her, the tents were all arranged in much the same was as they had been in Vancouver, but everything was just slightly off. Eduardo was fast, she had a hard time keeping up with him and was relieved when he stopped at the performers tent.
He swept open the door flap and strode up to the stage. “Everyone leave,” he announced. People rushed away, picking up their equipment and costumes as they left.
Maisy stood facing Eduardo in the centre of the stage and waited for him to speak.
He looked her up and down and she was sure he found her lacking. His expression was unreadable, but he exhaled a sigh full of impatient disgust.
“What do you want me to do?” she asked, her defiant streak kicking in.
“I’m going to use you in my act. You will be outfitted with a costume and have a medic on standby in case of serious injury.”
“What is your act?”
“I throw knives,” he said and stretched his mouth into the semblance of a smile. He tore off his jacket and revealed a double knife belt, knives of several different varieties tucked along them.
“You’ve got to be shitting me,” she said under her breath. Of all the things he could want to do with her, knives were the one thing Maisy hated. Knives represented danger to her, from day one. Knives represented stabbing and cutting and accidents beyond count, rending limbs and slicing off fingers. Every fear she’d tucked away since her childhood came rising to the surface and she backed away from him. “No way,” she said, “I can’t do it.”
“Stop,” he replied in a low forceful voice. She obeyed. She hated that she obeyed, he had that power over people. From his own son and second in command, all the way down the food chain at Cirque, people jumped when Eduardo demanded it.
She held up her arms, with the bandage and myriad of scars and puckered flesh from wounds long past. “Knives and I don’t mix,” she said, “I can’t risk it. I won’t feel it if you hit anything.”
“That’s the point,” he said and slowly withdrew the longest knife from the top. The sound of metal on leather was like a snake on sand. A dry hiss of warning.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“I want to cut you, for the show,” he said and crossed the stage between them in three long strides. “I want to hit you at some point, to get the crowd on the edge of their seats. I want to make you bleed.”
“That’s not a show, that’s sick,” Maisy said and shook her head.
“The way I see it, you don’t have much choice, “ Eduardo told her, his face close to hers now. He smelled similar to Cai, as if they used the same soap, but on Eduardo the musky scent of masculinity was menacing. Where Cai would take her and fuck her like a man, Eduardo might tear her apart like a feral dog. She reached up and rubbed the spot where he’d cut her before, a reminder of what he represented.
“I can leave,” she replied, keeping her voice calm but the tremble in it belied her fear.
“Where will you go?” he asked, “you have no money, no reason to be in the US and no passport.”
“I don’t need a passport or a reason to be here,” she replied, “I’ll go back to Canada.”
“You’re here illegally,” he said, “you’ll be taken into custody the moment you hit the border.”
“It isn’t like we’re in the middle east, I’ll tell them what happened.”
“And I’ll deny you were ever with us. Or I’ll tell them we fired you for drug use. Your choice.”
“You fucking bastard,” she said and felt hot tears sting the back of her eyes. “I’ll go back to selling tickets.”
“I won’t let you,” Eduardo said, “I need you for this.” His face was calm, but his eyes revealed a madness, a singular determination to get exactly what he wanted.
And right now, he wanted her.
“Can I think about it?” she asked. “Please give me a day?”
“You can think all you want, but meet me here tomorrow morning at ten. We will begin rehearsals and you will need to be ready in four days. We’re going live on Friday night.”
“Okay,” she replied and turned to leave.
“Maisy,” he said. She stopped and looked back at him. “Enjoy yourself tonight, we’re having a bit of a celebration.”
She nodded and said, “Thanks.”
“But stay away from my son.”
“I hadn’t planned on going anywhere near him.”
“I think we both know that’s a lie. I’m warning you now, he’s not for you.”
She didn’t know how to respond, so she did what she could to maintain her dignity, turned and left.
“I can’t believe you’re going to be part of Eduardo’s performance,” Rose said, “that’s so scary and amazing.”
They were getting ready for the Cirque staff event. Every time they made it to a new city and set up, the night before opening was reserved for relaxation and fun. Maisy thought they all could use a little of both.
“I’m more scared than amazed though,” Maisy replied and leaned in to apply her mascara. She rarely wore makeup but was making an effort tonight. Being surrounded by showgirls and glamourous performers made one want to step up one’s game.
So she told herself. She also wanted to prove to Cairo that she wasn’t all tom boy. As much as she had protested and claimed she was, she wanted him to see her feminine side.
She was even borrowing a dress from Cara, a red sequined thing that apparently made her dark hair and eyes pop. Whatever that meant.
She sat back and assessed herself in the mirror and was actually pleased with the results. She knew she was an attractive girl, she knew it because of the way people treated her. She just didn’t feel attractive, there was a difference.
Tonight, she felt it. Her dark eyes were lined with smoky eye shadow and her lashes looked about a mile longer than usual. Her cheeks were flushed pink with excitement…and booze…and her lips were painted a dark red to match the dress.
“Wow, you’re fucking hot,” Cara said when she came out of the bathroom.
“Holy shit girl, why do you hide all that from the world?” Rose asked and handed her another glass of wine.
“I don’t know,” Maisy replied, “ I don’t like a lot of attention I guess.”
“Well, you’re going to get it tonight,” Rose told her. “So, are you ever going to tell us the details about kissing Cairo?”
“There isn’t much to tell,” she said, “we were interrupted.” She stared pointedly at Rose who squirmed under her accusation.
“I wanted to make sure you were okay,” she protested.
“It’s all right, you saved me from doing something stupid,” Maisy said.
“Why stupid? As long as you are both on the same page, and you know he’s not the type to settle down, what’s the big deal?” Rose asked.
“I guess there’s no big deal. But…” Maisy trailed off. She wanted to tell them about Eduardo’s command to stay away, but was embarrassed that he thought so little of her that he’d order her to leave Cai alone.
“But what? You can’t leave us hanging.” Cara said.
“Eduardo kinda told me to leave Cairo alone,” Maisy admitted.
“Fuck him, it’s not his dick, right?” Cara said and the three of them laughed.
“That’s true, Cai’s a grown ass man who can make his own decisions,” Rose said. “Here’s to grown ass men making the right decisions.” She held her glass up and the three girls toasted to it.
Maisy just hoped that Cairo really was man enough to make his own decisions. Now that the drink had cocooned her in a fuzzy glow, she couldn’t wait to see him and find out.
The party was loud by the time they got the performers tent, and all three of them were well on their way to drunk. Maisy stumbled a little, grateful she hadn’t been talked into high heels as well as a slinky dress. At least she’d remain upright as the night went on.
There were enough people inside the tent that the crush of bodies warmed her up. Along with her lack of pain receptors came an inability to regulate her body temperature. In short, she could easily freeze to death because her body didn’t fucking tell her, “hey, dude, we’re dying over here.”
Tonight would be good though, she put Eduardo’s demand on the top shelf and found the buffet table. She was mid way through a plate of pasta salad when Cairo found her. Of course he couldn’t have found her with an elegant glass of wine in her hand, or dancing seductively on the impromptu dance floor.
No, she had a forkful of curly pasta and broccoli stuffed in her face when she saw him. His perfect teeth, beautiful smile, and those lips.
She flashed to last night, his lips pressed to hers, his tongue swirling endlessly in her mouth.
“Hey there, Ms. Normal,” he said and flashed his smile. “You look amazing tonight, even with broccoli stuck in your teeth.”
Maisy set her plate on the table and covered her mouth with one hand and picked at her teeth with the other. She grinned at him and said, “How’s this?”
“Perfect,” he said and leaned in to kiss her cheek. She was startled and moved her face towards him to say something and his lips landed on hers.
She sucked in her breath and waited for him to pull away, but he didn’t. He kissed her, there by the food table, in front of the entire Cirque.
It lasted a couple seconds, but it felt like a lifetime. It felt significant somehow. Public, open, acknowledged.
She pulled back and drew in her breath, sighed deeply and said, “Hey there.” She smiled and he smiled back.
“Hey you,” he said and picked a piece of pasta off her plate, popped it in his mouth and chewed like nothing was out of the ordinary.
She felt deeply aware of people watching them. She glanced around the room and saw Rose and Cara staring in twin expressions of shocked admiration.
“So what did you do today?” Maisy asked.
“What didn’t I do?” he replied, “Set up is always crazy for me. I generally love it, the distraction makes things go by so much faster. Today though, I just wanted to see you.”
“Me?” Maisy asked and felt her cheeks yet again grow warm.
“Yes you,” Cairo said and laughed, “why does that seem so unbelievable to you?”
“I was with your father,” she said and the smile dropped from his face.
“What did he want with you?” he asked, his voice low and demanding.
“He’s using me in his show,” she said.
“The knife act? What the hell does he have in mind?”
Maisy felt weird, talking about his father to him. She didn’t want to let him know the full story, to tell him all the crazy things Eduardo had told her. She wanted to shield him somehow, protect him from the bizarre encounter. “We didn’t have a chance to go over it,” she said, leaving it simple.
“What did he tell you?” Cairo asked. He grabbed her forearm with his hand and grew intense in his questioning.
“He told me nothing,” she said and immediately felt guilty for lying to him. She dropped her gaze, unable to maintain eye contact with him.
“I know there’s more, Maisy. You have to let me know what he said. My father’s a dangerous man, if you’re going to be working with him I have to know what was said.”
“He told me to stay away from you,” she blurted, “and if I didn’t agree to the show, he’d have me arrested at the border.”
“Fuck,” Cairo said under his breath. He sounded pissed off, but not at her. “You need to stay away from him. We’ll figure something else out. My father has…let’s just say once he gets something in his mind, it’s hard to get him off it. But I’ll work on him.”
“You’re freaking me out, Cai,” she said. “He’s not going to try and hurt me, is he? Because he can’t, but he could harm me.”
“He most likely won’t do anything deliberate,” Cairo said, “but sometimes he’s a bit of a loose cannon. He’s unpredictable, especially when he feels threatened.”
“How would I threaten him? That’s ridiculous.”
“He’s threatened by me.”
“What do you mean?”
“He knows that I like you,” Cairo said and shook her world upside down with those few simple words. He liked her?
“I like you too, you’re a good friend” she said, trying to blow him off. She wasn’t ready for this kind of admission.
He went on though, and her stomach clenched as he said, “I think we both know that’s not what you mean. That’s not what I mean.”
Yes, her stomach was clenched, but her heart was fluttering and her mouth felt dry. She was usually so calm and slightly aloof when it came to matters of the heart, but Cairo demanded her full attention, and she wanted to give it…in spite of Eduardo’s disapproval.
“I think I do,” she said and didn’t think it was the wine she’d drunk that was making everything have a warm glow, she thought it was his presence. Being close to Cai was like being drunk, it made her feel reckless.
“You wanna dance?” he asked and she agreed. Anything to be close to him, anything to keep him distant from her racing heart. She could touch him, but couldn’t kiss him in the crowded tent.
The music was throbbing when they started to move on the dance floor. It was simply a wooden platform, wide and low, but enough for people to move to the DJ’s sound. He was South American, a little person, part of the Freakshow as his regular job but made music as his secret identity.
The beats were electronic with Latin undertones, sensual and energetic. Cairo held her in his arms, and they moved their hips against each other. She could feel the heat of his body as the wine began to wear off.
“You are so sexy,” he said in her ear, his breath was as hot as his body. She felt warm herself, and could only imagine how intense it would be if the music slowed down.
“You’re not bad yourself,” she yelled at him and laughed. It was impossible to have a conversation in the midst of this noise.
The made it through a few songs, Maisy saw Cara and Rose each time they made their way close to them. Finally she saw them with two hot young guys, the four of them laughing and talking. She was pleased to see her friends getting a little attention and having a little fun too.
She covertly caught Cara’s eye behind Cairo’s back and gave her a thumbs up. Cara laughed and returned the gesture, her guy saw her looking at Maisy and turned to see what was up. Maisy dropped her hand to Cai’s ass to cover up her silly communication and Cara laughed.
They made it another fast song and the DJ finally slowed it down. Cairo pressed himself against Maisy, she parted her legs and he nudged his thigh between them.
She laid her head on his chest and he held her close, encircled her in his arms, and sang softly to the music as they ground themselves against each other.
She felt his cock growing hard and her own pussy responded in kind. She was dripping wet and a little concerned she’d leave a mark on his jeans when he pulled away.
She couldn’t blame the wine now though, and didn’t care. She didn’t want to leave his arms.
He kissed the top of her head and cupped her ass with his hands, lifted her slightly until she was essentially riding his leg to the music.
“Beautiful girl,” he said and kissed the top of her head again. She wanted to tilt her face up and kiss him, but she didn’t want to do it in front of everyone. She wanted their next kiss to be more private. In a business where everything was for show, she wanted something of her own.
The music sped up again, but they didn’t. She was lost in a sea of want and need and lust and could feel it all pooling in her panties. She couldn’t’ quite believe the sensations that were coursing through her body, and was afraid if she broke the spell, she’d never get there again.
“Can we go talk?” he asked, pulled back and set her down. They stopped moving as everyone continued around them, they were in their own world. He touched her elbow to indicate he wanted to leave the dance floor.
She glanced over to Cara and Rose and their two men. Both girls were having a great time. They had big grins on their faces and were getting closer to the men they’d picked up. They had obviously had too much to drink, their cheeks were red and their eyes glassy, she could see it from where she stood, but they were together so they were safe.
Was she too drunk to do this? Was she too drunk to follow him out of the tent to talk? She felt like the wine had worn off, but you could never be certain until you left the party.
She knew what he meant by talk, talking would lead to touching, and then that would lead to fucking.
Was she ready for it? Could she take that step and risk things with Cairo?
She looked into his eyes, his gorgeous, dark eyes and saw a hopeful eagerness in them that matched her own. Perhaps he wasn’t as self composed and cool as he came off. Perhaps his insides were tumbling around to match her own.
And his hard cock pressing into her leg, it had felt pretty big. She swore she could still feel the weight of it on her thigh. There was that. She really wanted to see it.
Besides, when had she ever backed away from something that frightened her? She grabbed the hand that was touching her elbow, winked across the room at Cara and Rose, and told him, “Yeah, let’s go.”
Something in the universe clicked just then, she was sure of it. As they exited the party in full view of everyone in Cirque, she felt as thought something had changed in her life. In their lives. She’d looked her fear right in the face and chosen to take it on.
Her fear was falling in love with Cairo, love that wouldn’t be composed and reserved, like her feelings for Jacob. This love would be messy, hot and unpredictable, like nothing she’d ever encountered.
He led her across the Cirque grounds to his place she assumed. She begged the universe to let him live alone; she would die if he shared it with Eduardo.
“In case you’re wondering,” he said and turned to her as if reading her mind, “I have my own place. Are you okay with that? Coming back with me? Alone?”
“We’re just going to talk, right?” she said and smiled slyly. “I’m perfectly capable of talking on my own.
“I think you’ll be just fine then,” he replied and they continued to walk. They reached the edge of what she assumed was his RV and he pulled her against him without warning. She gasped and found her face buried against his muscular chest. He was so big up close, strong and forceful. “You will have to excuse me for this,” he said, “but I’ve been wanting to do it since we pulled apart the other night. I’ve been unable to think of anything else, you have consumed my thoughts.”
Before she was able to ask what he meant, or stall for time, or add her own admission of all consuming obsession, he kissed her again.
This time it was a much more demanding kiss, his tongue parted her lips and he slid it into her mouth, pinned her own tongue down and groaned against her. He brought his hand up and took a fistful of her thick, dark hair and held her tightly against the side of the RV.
His other hand traveled, moved along the curves of her body to cup her ass and pull her harder against him.
She whimpered, with want and need and uncertainty. And desire, overwhelming, crazy, out of control desire. The wine must have been still in her blood, the entire world felt drunk with lust tonight.
He bit her lower lip and she supposed it should hurt. Of course it didn’t, but the sensation was remarkable. His beard rubbed her skin, his teeth gripped her flesh and his body was hard and huge against hers.
She felt heady, she could feel joy bubbling up inside her chest and felt like laughing.
It was the strangest thing she’d ever experienced. Pleasure and joy racing around her body, taking up residence but for a moment in each sense, then jolting into another part of her body.
She pulled away before she fell over laughing and said, “What was that? What’s going on here?”
“This is what happens when you set flame to paper,” he said and smiled, loosened his hand in her hair and stroked her cheek with it. His other one was still firmly on her ass.
She did feel hot, burning up, which was unusual given her condition. Or talent as they said around Cirque, she thought and smiled at him. “It’s crazy,” she said, “It’s just a kiss but it so…much.”
He leaned down, breathed into her ear and said, “This is so much more than just a kiss, I promise you that.”
He scooped her up in his arms and she let out the building sensations, giggled, and pressed her face to his chest.
He was so broad, his body thick and seemingly almost super human. She wasn’t heavy, exactly, but he picked her up like she weighed nothing.
“You look like a lumberjack,” she said, not knowing where her unfiltered words were coming from, “I thought that the first time I saw you. Like you’d cut down a tree and drag me back to your cabin in the woods by my hair.”
He laughed and said, “It’s the beard. I’m fresh faced and innocent under this thing, I swear.” He opened the door to his RV and stepped up inside, she was still in his arms, her hands around his neck, clinging to him and this moment in a poignant desperation.
She wanted to whisper to him, “Please don’t hurt me,” but didn’t think he’d understand.
Sometimes men took her condition to mean that she wasn’t able to suffer heartbreak, didn’t hurt when they treated her callously.
This, she supposed, was where she’d developed part of her wall, the impenetrable distance she kept between herself and others.
She could feel Cairo at that wall, dismantling it, brick by brick.
Instead she sighed and nuzzled her face into his chest, inhaled his scent and let the entire evening wash over her.
“I like your place,” she said when he finally set her down. He turned and locked the door, pushed a button on the front console and privacy shades dropped down. She looked around and was impressed at how homey it was, for being an incredibly state of the art RV. It was essentially a traveling mini mansion with his personal touches everywhere. She took in the photographs, books and paintings with awe. He was more refined than she’d anticipated.
“Thanks,” he said and reached for her, “I like you.” He ran his hand up her shoulder and took a fistful of hair again. She loved the way he wove his fingers between the strands, the way he held her possessively, as though he were entitled to having her linked to him.
“I like you too,” she said and held her breath as he made his next move. He slid his hand beneath her ass again and pulled her up against him. He kissed her again and walked her backwards towards the kitchen area. She edged up against the table, but he kept pushing with his insistent need.
She moaned and hooked her fingers in the belt loops of his pants and wrapped her legs around him. With his mouth on hers, and her legs around him, and his hands all over her body, it became undeniable how they felt. They wanted this, they wanted each other and Maisy no longer had to worry about how to communicate this to him.
Their raw, naked need was enough. Words were not necessary, with their misplaced meanings or stuttered, awkward replies. Their bodies were expressing what they’d been feeling for the last couple of weeks.
He gripped his fist tighter in her hair, and the act of being held in place by him elicited a thrill that traveled up her spine. He slid his hand down her leg, found the hem of her dress and shoved it up over her thighs. His huge, rough hand found her panties and pushed them aside, fumbling for her clit.
“I don’t know,” she said, wanting to warn him about her lack of orgasm, her inability to feel pleasure. She didn’t want to let him down, but she didn’t want to fake it for him. Everything so far had been so authentic; it felt disingenuous to keep it from him. “I have this thing…”
He moved back and looked at her, not moving his thumb from her clit, circling it slowly as he waited for her to finish.
“It’s really difficult…”she started to say, but he hit something right at the perfect angle and she gasped. “I don’t think I can…” she tried again but he hit that spot once more and she jumped, gasped and grabbed his forearm.
He didn’t break her gaze; he lifted her up onto the table behind her and pushed her thighs wider. “You were saying?” he said and pressed harder, circled faster and stirred something in her previously unknown. She was hypnotized, by his deep, soulful eyes and his persistent touch.
She couldn’t put into words the things she had wanted to say because they no longer mattered. He had her in the palm of his hand, and she wanted to see how far he could lead her. She closed her eyes as he found that spot again and again, with each pass across her clit. “Keep them open,” he commanded and she obeyed.
His eyes and his thumb were her entire world now. She was no longer the girl who couldn’t come, she was hovering somewhere in between who she had been and who she was about to be. She could feel the urge building, persistent and all consuming. She didn’t close her eyes again, but when his thumb made the last pass, that final contact that it took, she gasped and cried out, “I’m…I’m…I think I’m…”
And she did. Maisy came for the first time in her life. She felt so much pleasure inside of her that it almost hurt, for half a moment she imagined she knew what everyone else in the world could feel.
“Come for me,” he said in a deep, guttural voice that connected with her primal self. “Come on my hand,” he said and she quivered against him, feeling it all build, ready to crash at any moment.
And then it was gone, it was released and she shuddered against his thumb and hung onto his arms for dear life and couldn’t close her eyes or look away.
As she sobbed her confused orgasm, his eyes became her entire world. He lusted after her, he wanted her and he was taking her.
She couldn’t have said no even if she’d wanted to.
She started to breathe again sometime after he stopped circling her clit. The entire thing had taken mere moments, but to her it felt like a lifetime. A long bridge filling in the gap between the time she hadn’t been able to come, and the time she’d finally done it.
He’d done it. He’d taken her there, where she hadn’t even been able to take herself. She’d just assumed…
Fuck, if she had known it was like that, she would have played with herself continuously over the last few years. She would have become a professional at getting off, developed elite status self-pleasuring skills and never left the house.
“That’s a good girl,” he said and kissed her again as he drew back his hand. Her panties slid over her, protecting her sensitive clit but adding to the sensations going on in her most intimate flesh.
“I think I came,” she said, her eyes still wide with amazement, “you made me come.”
“You did,” he replied and kissed her again, then said against her lips, “and I did. But I want more.”
His kisses trailed down her body, he pulled her breast out of the dress and took her hardened, pierced nipple into his mouth. He worked her barbell in his teeth and tongued it as he nibbled.
She felt it. Felt it. An electric jolt moving from her nipple to her brain, somehow the connection was rewired with his touch. She hadn’t felt it when they’d slid the metal through her nipple the first time, why did she feel it now, with Cai’s mouth on her?
“God, what is happening to me,” she whispered and touched his hair, allowed herself to feel him and touch him. She wiggled the hair tie holding his bun back and pulled his thick, black mane loose. It fell around his fierce face as he worked her breast and she gasped again.
He looked up at her from his dark eyes, his beard jutting out in a defiant stance, and she did wonder what he looked like without it. Would his face be as strong and read as so masculine? Would her body react on such a visceral level?
He moved lower and parted her thighs with his insistent face. He pulled her panties back and plunged his tongue onto her clit, sucking and nibbling her swollen flesh. She cried out immediately, his beard tickled and rubbed her inner leg as he worked himself against her.
“Cai,” she gasped and felt something even more intense coming down the line for her. Something burst forth in the back of her brain and she said his name again, “Cairo.”
He looked up at her, his beautiful face framed by her thighs, his nose peaking over her mound and time seemed to speed up. She could hear the wet, hungry sounds of his mouth on her cunt, and her own frantic, panting breath. She threw her head back, cupped his head in her hands and shuddered the second orgasm of her life.
This one was more intense than the first, she almost shouted her triumph as her entire body tensed her release. His guttural groans as he lapped at her sent her over some edge she never knew existed, some darker, hotter spot in her head where her entire body was alight and her nerves were deeply rooted into her body.
She cried his name one last time and fell back onto the table, not concerned for her comfort or dignity, splaying out licentiously.
He came up from between her legs with a grin on his face, still not comprehending the significance of his actions.
He had brought her to orgasm, not the pleasant equivalent of scratching a really bad itch of her previous orgasms…but the sweaty, screaming, upheaval of earth and sky and tipping her world upside down orgasm that she’d always heard about.
“That was…” she trailed off, again unsure how to put something so insanely intense into mere words.
“You’re beautiful when you come,” he said and nuzzled her the smooth place where her thigh met her torso. “Has anyone ever told you that?”
“No,” she said, propping herself up on her elbows, “I can’t say that anyone has ever mentioned it.”
“I find that hard to believe,” he said and stood, holding out his hand. She took it and he pulled her to standing. The dress pooled around her legs like a curtain call, the end of a stage production, and her panties felt twisted.
She was suddenly aware of how quiet it was, how the blood rushing in her ears and her shallow, rapid breathing were the only things she could hear. “It’s true, but then again, I don’t think anyone has ever gotten me to…”
“To what?” he asked, but didn’t let her finish. He kissed her, his mouth hot and hungry and her scent clinging to him now. She kissed back, her own needs rising again, now that she knew what it was all about. He lifted her and she wrapped her legs around him, clinging to him in her heat.
He walked slowly towards his bedroom, kissing her and half stumbling as they laughed and kissed until they hit the door. He fumbled and reached behind him to open it when there was a loud pounding on the side of the RV.
“What was that?” Maisy asked and pulled away, looking behind her, half afraid she’d find Eduardo there.
“Hang on,” he said and wiped his face with the back of his hand. She could still see herself glistening on his beard. It thrilled her and repulsed her, as though Eduardo would be able to sniff her out. She was still worried about his reaction, and had sobered up enough to understand the costs involved if he found out about them.
Cairo straightened up his shirt and smoothed the front of his pants where his cock was visibly bulging. Maisy quietly cursed whoever had interrupted them, after feeling that thick bulge several times now, she was dying to get it inside of her.
She followed behind him and peered around as he stepped down and swung the door open.
It was Rose.
“Is Maisy here?” she asked. She looked disheveled, her hair was messy and her make up smudged.
“I am,” Maisy replied and stepped from behind Cai. “What’s wrong?” she asked, her friend’s terrified state worried her.
“It’s Cara, she’s gone,” Rose said and her voice hitched as though she were about to cry, “This is all I found,” she continued and held up a clutch purse. Maisy immediately identified it as Cara’s, it was blue satin to match the pretty blue dress she’d worn.
She normally wouldn’t be too concerned, people tended to hook up during events such as this, and they’d been with two men when she’d left the party.
The thing that alarmed her, and most likely contributed to the blind panic on Rose’s face was the splash of colour across the purse.
Maisy’s hand trembled as she took it from Rose’s outstretched grip and saw the splash for what it was.
An angry slash of red, blood, spattered across the blue fabric of the clutch.
It was blood.
And Cara was missing.