I slid her a Bahama Mama from two seats down the dimly lit bar, finally working up the courage to say something. Anything. Something cool. Something flirty.
“So, did it hurt?”
Oh, shit. Oh, hell. Oh, God, no. That’s the wrong thing. The lamest, stupidest thing. A part of me hopes she hadn’t heard that above the low buzz of the date-night crowd around us.
I’m not so lucky.
“You’ll have to be more specific,” she sighed, curving willowy fingers around the glass. Sharpened nails tapped a hypnotic rhythm, begging me to fill the silence two seats between us.
I cringed, unable to resist.
“When you fell from Heaven?”
Dear Lord, kill me now. Or at least give me the strength to look away from the most painfully beautiful woman I have ever seen and finish my vodka soda in shameful silence. God, she was pretty. Prettier than God. So pretty, I’d full-on believe she’d dropped off a cloud right onto this tacky barstool: a gorgeous, fiery, fallen angel in glittery eyeshadow.
Surprisingly, instead of sliding the cocktail right back in my face, she sucked down a long sip and softly replied, “Oh, it was agony.”
Heat flooded my cheeks. A mix of absolute humiliation and sweet, sweet relief. The pretty fallen angel had blessed me by playing along after all.
I also squawked like a damn goose—not exactly the schoolgirl giggle I was aiming for. Even the bartender noticed, raising a brow at me before being summoned by a couple at the other end of the bar. While he had no problem gawking at me, his stare seemed to glide over the fallen angel, and he shivered as he walked past. Huh. It was a busy night. The tables were full, but not the bar. She must be lonely, surrounded by all those empty seats, nobody to bump…elbows with.
I cleared my throat and fought the urge to chew the lock of hair I’d been compulsively twirling. “Well, I’m sorry I wasn’t there to catch you.”
She snorted when she laughed. It was the sexiest Goddamn snort I’d ever heard.
“Then we’d both’ve crashed straight through to Hell,” she said. “Rad pin, by the way.”
Her eyes flicked down to the pride flag on my jacket. I sat up a little straighter, pushed my chest out a little farther, and I swear I heard a little moan as she un- and re-crossed her legs.
“Thanks. Uh, I’d say let me buy you a drink before crashing into each other, but…” I gestured to the already half-drunk Bahama Mama. She held my gaze, deliberately wrapping her tongue around the straw before biting down. It crunched and splintered between her teeth. A desperate need—either to kiss her or fill the silence—pooled in my throat. Too lightheaded to figure out which it was, I picked the stupider: “So, um, in which circle do we honeymoon?”
“Which’s the one with the boiling blood?” she licked her lips. “You know, where you’re, like, sunk up to your eyeballs as deep as the amount of blood you spilled in life or some shit like that?”
Oh, okay. Not what I was expecting. Especially not after spying a copy of Dante’s Inferno poking out from her purse when she sat down. There was, if I remembered correctly, an entire layer of Hell designated for forbidden, entangled lovers. I hadn’t read the book since that Renaissance lit class freshman year of college, but I guess it just stuck with me. Like how Pops always used to say if I kept up my sinful lifestyle his baby girl was destined to meet the Devil. Dick.
“Violence. I think Alexander the Great was the one up to his eyeballs,” I said, straining to sound both impressive and blasé.
“Yep. That one’s my favorite. A bloody Jacuzzi.”
Suddenly, she was close to me. So damn close. Silver and purple galaxies swirling on her eyelids. Cold breath tingling my neck. Goosebumps bloomed down my back. She twisted a lock of my hair against her lips and whispered, drowning out chatter of the bar: “How many times you think I’d have to stab you to be sunk in blood up to my eyeballs?”
Again, I blushed, heat creeping across my chest and cheeks and thighs. She must have noticed, her dark gaze lingering on my reddening cleavage. Nuts. I should have worn a nicer bra. I watched her blink and heard myself sigh, transfixed by a forest of lashes fluttering against smooth cheeks.
I wasn’t sure where this game was going anymore. “At least, like, thirty times,” I said, my voice tasting heavy.
She traced the lines of my rainbow pin, smiling, her teeth as white and she-wolf, sharp as the mutt Pops kept chained in our back—”Ow!”
I smacked her hand away, catching sight of the faded dog bite scar I hadn’t thought about in years on my wrist. What a stupid reflex, one I instantly regretted as I saw her pout. She had pushed down on the pin, somehow popping it open and jamming the point hard against my collar bone.
“Does it hurt?”
“Ha.” Am I hearing things, or did she just snarl? A cold sweat broke out along my spine. “Cute. Hey, um, you want another one of those?” I asked, even though she hadn’t yet finished her drink. I just, for some reason, was suddenly having trouble deciding whether I wanted her to kiss me hard or for that jagged mouth to be a little farther away from my neck.
A black fingernail caressed my pin. “Two,” she whispered.