Tough Enough(8)

By: M. Leighton


Just enough sin . . .

She concentrates on dabbing at the scar that runs through my left eyebrow. She makes no comments as she goes about her work, but for some reason I want her to. I want her to talk to me. Most of the women I’ve been with won’t shut up, but not this one. Again, she’s different.

“Bet you’ve never had to put makeup on this many scars before,” I wager, eager to hear her voice again. It’s got the same understated sex appeal that the woman herself does.

“You’d be surprised,” is all she says.

Is she really so shy, or does she seriously find me distasteful? Does she truly think I’m the selfish, arrogant asshole she described? Or was that just blustering? I shouldn’t care. But I do. I don’t want this girl to think I’m a dick. I want her to talk to me, smile at me, tell me what her favorite movie is, how she likes her coffee. Random shit. I don’t even care what she says. I just want her to say something.

Inwardly, I cringe. I sound like a damn woman. Talk to me! Open up! Why won’t you let me in? Whine, whine, whine.

Bloody hell! There must be estrogen in this damn makeup!

Yet, it doesn’t stop me from trying to draw her into conversation.

“I remember when I got that cut. It was during a fight for the middleweight championship two years ago. The guy pulled an illegal head butt that the referee didn’t catch. Split my eye wide open and just about put me on my ass. Luckily, I’ve been hit a lot harder, so it didn’t knock me out. I took a step back and planted an elbow strike to his face. Blew the guy’s cheekbone out. Won the fight forty-one seconds later.”

“And who says violence doesn’t pay?” she mutters sarcastically.

“You don’t approve?”

Finally, I get her full attention. Katie leans back and looks right at me. Her eyes are puzzled, but all I really notice is that there are pale gold flecks in the dark blue of the iris, like stars sparkling in a midnight sky.

She stares at me, her mouth opening for a second to issue one little noise before her lips snap shut. Whatever she was going to say, she thought better of it. Now I’m even more curious and determined to get her talking. Usually I don’t have this problem with women. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Her face straight and serious, Katie proceeds to ignore me, leaning in and continuing her work. She carefully covers all my various scars and scuffs, which are a helluva lot. She brushes something under my cheekbones and then gives my eyelashes a dusting of some kind of girly shit before rubbing something on my lips. For all I know, I could see a drag queen when I look in the mirror. I haven’t checked my reflection. I’ve been too wrapped up in watching the artist inflicting the damage, too busy wondering what that little pink tongue I keep seeing tastes like.

The longer I’m around her, the more I want to kiss her. Not that it’s such a surprise. I mean, I’m a guy. With an above-average sex drive. And I like kissing. And what comes after kissing. The thing is, I’m getting ready to go on set with some of the world’s most beautiful women, but something tells me not one of them will intrigue me as much as this one does.

I can tell she’s finishing up. She keeps leaning back to look at me and then coming back in to tweak stuff here and there. “You’re really not very impressed by me, are you?” I blurt, wanting to hear her answer before I leave her little bubble of cosmetics.

She goes perfectly still and her eyes dart over to mine. I smile when I see them widen guiltily, her reaction an answer in and of itself. She starts to straighten away from me, so I reach for one of the long, loose auburn curls that hang over her shoulder, tugging it to keep her close to me. “You should prepare yourself, then.”

“For what?” she asks in a whisper.

“For me to impress you.”

Her delicately arched brows draw together over her sapphire eyes. “I-I’m not like other women, Mr. Rogan,” she says, her voice more soft than stiff, like she regrets that she’s not.

“And that’s a bad thing?”

She licks the corner of her mouth again, drawing my eyes back to those lips. I wonder if they taste like pink cotton candy. I force my eyes up to hers and lean forward just a little bit, testing the waters. Her pupils swell and I hear her suck in her breath. She looks like she wants to run, but she doesn’t move. Not one inch.

I’m just about to do something very unprofessional when another voice intrudes.

“Coffee’s here! Extra hot, extra cream,” comes her friend Mona’s announcement.

Katie jerks back like she’s laid her hand down on a red-hot stove. Her curl slips right through my fingers. It escapes me. She escapes me. Just like this moment has.