Sweet Sinful Nights(3)

By: Lauren Blakely


“But I thought you were looking for work here,” he said, his arms spinning in circles, as if she’d understand he meant all of the United States of America. “Not overseas.”

“I wasn’t looking, Brent. Don’t you get it? And unlike you, I didn’t take the job. Yet. I said I’d need to check with my fiancé, which is evidently more than it occurred to you to do.”

“I thought you’d be happy for me. I thought you’d want to come with me. C’mon, Shannon. I said yes because it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. And you’ll come with me, won’t you?” He stepped closer and slinked his hand around her waist, her body under his fingertips sending that electric charge through him that only she had the power to do. Since the moment he laid eyes on Shannon Paige-Prince two years ago, in the audience at an open mic night at a local comedy club, he knew he had to have her. He’d nearly forgotten the next line in his bit. He’d barely been able to look away from her, from those jade green eyes and those ruby red lips, slightly parted as she’d watched him on stage, and laughed at the punch lines. His friend Hal had told him in advance that he was bringing along someone he had to meet, since both Brent and Shannon grew up in Vegas.

The second his bit had ended, he’d jumped off the stage, made a beeline through the crowd, and introduced himself to her, and asked her out one minute later. “I’m going to say the one thing that I hope doesn’t make you laugh tonight. Go out with me, please,” he’d said, and she had laughed, but she’d nodded, too, and said yes immediately.

He called up that lifeline now, tried to recreate the success that had won him his first date with this fiery, fierce, intense woman. “Go with me, please." He had to convince her. Make her see that Los Angeles was where they belonged. Where they could start their life together after college. “There must be tons of choreographer gigs in L.A.”

She narrowed her eyes. “No. Choreographer jobs are a lot like jobs for comedians. They’re hard to come by. So maybe you should come with me.”

“To London?”

She nodded. “Yes. Would you like to? Because, see what I’m doing right now?” She gestured from him to her. “I’m discussing it in advance with the man I love.” Her voice softened then, as she seemed to strip away the anger for a moment. “We could try long distance.”

The look on her face was so sweet, so hopeful, and it nearly made him say yes.

But he couldn’t bear to be apart from her. He shook his head vehemently. She had to go with him to Los Angeles. “No. I can’t do long distance. It’ll be awful not seeing you. Besides, you’ve always been there for me. You always came to see my shows. This is the same idea. You’re my rock. You’re my woman. I’ve got to have you with me.”

“So you want me to turn down West Side Story?”

“Shan, can’t you put it aside?” he said, then the next words tumbled out before he could stop them. “You can’t even dance anymore.”

She closed her eyes and pursed her lips, red clouds billowing out her ears. “You ass. You know that hurts. You think I wanted to tear my ACL and never be able to dance again? At least you can write jokes no matter what.”

“But it’s true. Doesn’t it make more sense for you to go with me? This is a big deal for me.”

“And West Side Story is a big deal to me. This is my chance to have a career after dance. To do the only thing I might possibly be able to do and still be in the dance world. And at least I didn’t accept it. I waited to talk to you.”

“I thought you’d go with me. C’mon, you’re my wife.”

“Not yet.”

“But you will be.”

“Not if you keep making decisions without asking me.”

Shit. This was bad. This was the jet spiraling from the sky. This was an engine spitting out fumes and spinning out of control. He had to lean on the one thing they’d always done well. He cupped her cheeks in his hands, his six-foot frame towering over her.

“C’mon,” he whispered, as he kissed her neck. “How about some fucking and fighting? That’s what we do best.”

She banged her fists against his chest. Yup. That was how it started. That was how they played this game.

“Yeah. Like that, babe. Just like that,” he said, as she squirmed in his arms. It was the moment before. Before she let go. Before she gave in. Before she was consumed with the same desire he had—to fuck it out. To fuck out their anger. To turn all their frustration into a coming together.

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