“How much do I have to pay you to not speak a word of this?” he asks.
“Wh—” The word lodges in my throat, my chest suddenly feeling as if I haven’t taken a breath in what feels like hours. I shake my head and blink several times, not understanding his question. “What?”
“Come on.” He rolls his eyes and glances at his phone, turning it over and inspecting it. With half-closed eyes, he shoves it back into his pocket when he sees it isn’t damaged. “I know you took a picture and I know you’re ready to run to the nearest news station or tabloid you can find.” He straightens his back, sliding his hands into the front pockets of his jeans, and stares into my eyes. “Like I said, how much do I need to pay you to keep this quiet?”
Is this some kind of joke? I look around the hallway, glancing over my shoulder for anyone who might be on this floor with us. No one. Nothing.
This has to be a prank or something. After the day I’ve had, I don’t necessarily trust my surroundings or the situations I seem to be putting myself in.
“I’m sorry.” I stare back at him, my confusion written all over my face. “I don’t quite know what you mean. Why would I take a picture of you? I don’t even know you.”
His eyebrows slowly unknit, resting back in their natural place on his gorgeous, sculpted face. His eyes soften once again, and this time they’re no longer begging. They’re more relieved, if anything. His ocean eyes inject me with an electricity I can’t quite figure out. They’re filled with a sweetness yet laced with poison, a silent poison…the kind that sneaks up on you when you least expect it and then the next thing you know, you’re done for.
The corner of his mouth curls into a smirk and he releases a small breath of air. The smirk doesn’t fade as his eyes land on the bottle still clutched in my hand. My grip tightens around the neck, suddenly feeling the need to be protective over my only source of escape from the sad, shitty excuse for a day I’ve had.
His hand reaches out and his fingers graze mine. Don’t ask me why, but I let him continue. I let him take my wine. No, I let him steal my wine.
Once he has full possession of my bottle of merlot, he holds it between us, his eyes flitting between me and the bottle. His expression transforms into a full-on smile. “Well,” he practically sings, “it’s a good thing you got the kind that doesn’t need a corkscrew.”
My jaw drops open as I watch him grip the cap of the bottle and twist it open in one move. The sound of the seal cracking and breaking causes my stomach to flutter. I don’t know who this man is or what his name is, but I’m completely caught up in his spell.
Maybe it isn’t quite his spell. Maybe it’s the confidence he carries with him as he lifts the open bottle of wine and presses it to his smooth, completely kissable lips. Whatever it is that has me completely entranced, I know it’s bad news. I’m sure Tori could testify to that.