Ray took slow steps around the dance floor, his attention drifting from person to person until it stopped on a woman who danced on her own, arms wrapped around herself, head tilted down and her eyes half closed. A blue card was clipped to the hem of her short dress.
He remembered seeing her at the club before. He had a good memory for faces. He recalled watching her follow at least two different Doms into one of the play rooms, neither of whom he believed to be particularly attached to her; in any case, she wore no collar or other sign to show she had been claimed by anyone in particular. She wasn’t the only one who came to the club to satisfy her needs but who didn’t care to push things any further than that. It worked quite well for Ray’s purpose.
Stepping away from the periphery of the room, he walked to one of the armchairs placed around the dancing floor, directly opposite the woman. For the next few minutes, his gaze never left her as he waited, waited…
Her half-closed lids lifted, and a startled flicker lit her brown eyes when they met Ray’s. The eyes were the wrong color, but her hair, the bright red of glowing coals, framed her face and fell halfway down her back: perfect. Without looking away, he brought his glass to his lips and took a slow sip of blood. He liked to get what he was out in the open and forestall unpleasant surprises later on. If someone had an issue playing with him because of his fangs, it mattered little to him, but he’d rather know now than in the middle of a scene.
The girl didn’t turn away, nor did she give any sign of being put off by the blood in his glass. Her gaze did drop for a second, but Ray realized she was looking for his card. He remained still and waited for her to look up again, cocking an eyebrow in a silent question.
There was no ostensible answer from her, but as a song ended and a new one started, the rhythm as slow and sultry as the last, she continued to face Ray, her hands now running up and down her body although without touching. She didn’t meet his eyes again, instead keeping her gaze lowered and submissive. One slow and torturing inch after the other, she came closer to the armchair in which he waited.
He hadn’t always been a patient man, but this was another way he had changed while in Mistress Red’s care. A few years earlier, he’d have stood and gone to that girl long before she reached him. Today, he watched her dance while sipping on the rest of his glass of blood and imagined the many ways he could play with her, along with a few that wouldn’t happen.
No more than thoughts, but they were enough to light the fire of need in his veins, enough to make his cock press against the leather of his pants until its length could be seen as clearly as if the leather had been painted on.
“Really?” The slightly incredulous word was the only warning he had before Grace sat on the padded arm of his chair, leaning down to add closer to his ear, “A redhead? Could you be any more obvious?”
He flashed her a smile. The end of her braid rested on her shoulder, and after a recent visit to her hairdresser her red hair was as vibrant as the satin of her corset. He couldn’t resist giving it a light tug. Had his card been flipped blue side up, this simple act would undoubtedly have earned him a punishment, or so said Grace’s eyes. All she did, however, was give a light shrug of her shoulder so the braid slipped to her back.
“Who said I was trying to be subtle?”
He returned his gaze to the girl. She’d noticed Grace, and had stopped coming forward. She was trying to keep the disappointment off her face—and failing miserably. Ray made a small gesture with his fingers, and her eyes flickered upward to meet his. He gave her a small nod and a smile, putting every ounce of certainty he possessed into his gaze. Yes, he told her silently, you and I will play together soon. Keep dancing for me.
“I want to watch,” Grace said, her tone as commanding as ever. “Get an open room.”
Ray didn’t move his eyes from the girl, but he allowed himself a chuckle.
“You forgot to say please, Grace.”
The use of her name was deliberate; she was forgetting what game they were playing tonight. Or maybe she did remember and was trying to change the rules. That just wouldn’t do.
A burst of bitterness in her scent spoke of her annoyance.
“If you think I’m going to say please, you’re sorely mistaken.”
“And if you think I’m used to obeying other Doms when my card is red side up, you’re equally mistaken.”
Had he ever spoken to her in such a cold voice? He didn’t think so. The hissing breath she took through her teeth certainly hinted that his tone had surprised her as much as it had surprised Ray himself. Strange how comfortable he still felt as a Dom after all these years. It was like he’d slipped back into that persona like an old, favorite pair of jeans that fit as well as ever.
“This,” Grace said in a tight voice, “is turning out to be harder than I expected.”
“For you, maybe.” He glanced up at her, a smile softening his words. “I’m finding it easier than I thought it’d be.”
She held his gaze for a few seconds, then nodded.
“I can see that, yes. It feels very odd to see you like this.”
“And it’d be even odder to watch me do it,” he said, not bothering to make it a question. “So, no, I won’t take a room with a view.”
Leaving his empty glass on a low table next to his chair, he stood. His eyes were back on the girl; she was close enough that he could have touched her by reaching toward her. Instead, he blindly reached back. Grace took his hand. He squeezed her fingers.
“Trust me,” he said, and he wasn’t sure which of the two women he was talking to. Both, maybe.
Continued in Switching Sides