Brandon did not miss his old life. This was one fact he was absolutely, one hundred percent certain of. He did not miss his so-called job, or his poky apartment, or the constant empty hours he’d become used to wasting away. In the scorching summer sunshine of Las Vegas, everything looked and felt better. Sure, maybe he missed the people, like the neighbours he barely knew, and the witty landlord and obviously Caroline, but apart from that he was perfectly happy with the choice he’d made.
Things were going well.
There’d been some unabated feeling of euphoria as he left everything behind. He didn’t pack much; just threw the few essentials into a backpack and headed out, promising his landlord that he’d sort out the rest of his stuff by the end of the month.
And then he’d walked along the smoky, dirty city streets towards the airport and felt at peace. He was leaving all this behind. All these people who were too rich and busy to acknowledge him, all these women, all the superficial shit was over. He had nothing left to stay for. Nothing to bring him back. He was leaving his life behind and he’d never felt so free. He could go to any place he wanted. Anywhere in the world.
Well, not anywhere. He had to consider the practicalities and he didn’t know the first thing about immigration and visas so he figured he’d stay in the country. He did what he did best and headed towards the bright lights, the brightest lights of them all in fact; the neon lights of Las Vegas.
The dry heat took some getting used to but he rented a bedsit with surprising simplicity and it was unexpectedly easy to talk his way into a job, thanks to the high staff turnover rates. Vegas felt like a place he might want to stay. He enjoyed watching the rich people; the flashes of cars and jewellery, and he loved the nightlife. Not that he went out. No, he worked behind one of the endlessly busy bars, pulling and mixing drinks and charming his way into good tips.
The girls liked him and he liked them back. He wasn’t put off by the shows of confidence and bravado; he liked the feeling of being actively hit on, and beneath all the make-up and clothes, he saw their intentions and admired them. There was something so refreshing about people going after what they wanted with no hidden agendas and no secrets lurking beneath the surface.
He loved the sunsets and the views and the oasis like feel of the whole city. He felt like a kid on his first visit to a toy store and he figured that while the novelty would soon wear off, the city was still a fun place to be.
Life was busy and the endless work shifts kept him occupied. He had to pick up the work fast or else he knew he’d be out the door and replaced by the next person in line for a job. Bartending was more physically demanding than he’d expected; shaking drinks in each hand, eyes constantly flicking up and down the bar for customers who hadn’t been served. He felt like he was constantly in motion, mixing cocktails even as girls chatted to him. He had to be alert all the time and thankfully, the hectic pace kept his mind occupied.
Scooping ice, bending to get bottles from the lowboy fridges, rinsing tins; all the while keeping an eye on the tickets coming into the service bar area. It was tiring but it was fun and social and while he was working he could forget all his old problems and smile, as the tips in his pockets grew and grew.
And there were lots of pretty girls who made it easier too.
Like Amy who became his new favourite customer because all she wanted was a simple Miller Lite.
She was sitting at the bar watching him as he rushed from one end to the other, sprinting between customers. Brandon had come to the realisation that if he kept this job, the constant dashing around would mean he’d never have to exercise again.
Amy was blonde and stunning. She had long hair that went all the way down to her waist and her blue eyes were as clear and warm as a summer sky. She waited for a break in the traffic before she struck up a conversation with him.
“You’re not from around here.”
Brandon frowned at her and wiped the sweat from his brow. “What makes you say that?”
Her lips stretched into a smile as she jerked her chin towards him. “That face. I would have remembered it.”
Brandon leaned his arms down on the bar and smiled at her.
“I’m guessing that’s a compliment.”
“Well, I’m flattered.”
She checked his name tag. “You should be, Brandon. I’m Amy.”
“Are you drinking alone, Amy?”
She rolled her eyes. “Yeah. I didn’t even want to come out but my friend begged me and now she went off with some guy. I mean, why would you do that?”
“I have no idea why anybody would abandon you
Brandon hoped he didn’t sound like a fool. It’d been a long time since he’d actively tried flirting with a girl and his appearance didn’t always make up for blundering lines.
Amy didn’t seem fazed though. She smiled widely at him.
“Well, I guess it’s for the best, because otherwise I wouldn’t have met you.”
“I like your thinking,” he grinned at her and then had to leave as a group of four people waved for his attention. “Give me a sec.”
He took their order and fixed the cocktails. Pour, shake, strain, garnish, push, and repeat, four times over, simultaneously doing the math in his head. Nights like these were a strain and his eyes kept flicking to the door, waiting for someone to arrive for their shift and take some of the pressure off. He’d been here almost three weeks and although he felt like he was working faster every night, the pace still kept him on his toes.
He kept the conversation going with Amy, between serving and collecting and cleaning but he couldn’t feel any attraction. Sure, she was pretty but that pulsing energy that would hang in the air between him and Caroline was noticeably absent. Maybe he just needed time to start appreciating the qualities that other girls possessed. Surely, Caroline wasn’t perfect. There must be girls who had things, talents, which she lacked, talents that could divert his attention and keep him as happy as she did.
Somehow, all the girls he talked to reminded him of her.
Like Amy. The way she sipped from her glass with her eyes still fixed on his was exactly the thing Caroline would do. He shouldn’t have noticed it but he did.
Everywhere he looked he saw flickers of her in other girls; dark hair, sparkling green eyes, tanned skin… so infuriatingly similar but then so different too. They were nothing like her. They seemed like copies; cheap replicas of the real thing. He knew in his head that they were probably all fine girls on the inside but in his heart, they didn’t hold a candle to her.
He remembered a quote he’d read about how absence only increased desire. Like the wind fans a fire, but douses a candle
… Too much of something never worked and too little only made you want it more, only increased the passion that burnt in the soul. No. No damn passion. It’s over.
He’d said that to her and he’d meant it. There would be nothing between them now. This was his new life. A life without Caroline. Of course other girls were bound to be similar. She wasn’t perfectly unique. It was just all those single attributes added together that fused to create some unnatural feeling inside him. Don’t think about it.
He turned his attention back to Amy who by this time had grown more interested in the suited guy who’d sat down next to her. He felt disappointed which made no sense because in all honesty, he didn’t see her and him happening anyway. He went back to zipping between customers and making an effort to smile and stay friendly even though by this time he was thinking of nothing but the solitude of his bedsit.
His shift still had a good hour left when someone else turned up to work and he took the opportunity to steal a quick break and cool off. He headed towards the staff toilets in the back and splashed cold water on his face. It didn’t have any effect.
He felt hot and uncomfortable and for the life of him, he could not get Caroline off his mind. He needed to focus on other things, stop thinking of her, but her image simply would not shift from his mind. The noises from the bar reminded him where he should have been and he could hear feet constantly traipsing past the door. It wouldn’t look good if he got caught shirking in here while everyone else worked their asses off.
He slipped into a toilet cubicle and leaned his weight against the door, staring measuredly up at the tiled ceiling. Withdrawal symptoms. That’s what these were. All these fucking thoughts and distractions, they were all perfectly normal withdrawal symptoms. He just had to wait it out until the memory of her dwindled; whether it took, days, months or even years. He let himself think of her then, really think of her, as he stood there, his mouth dry and his palms sweating.
He remembered her laugh, the way she threw her head back and laughed in that way that lit up her whole face and made him feel like he was the funniest guy on the planet. He remembered the curves and angles of her body, the way her neck slid into her shoulder, the delicacy of her collarbone. Pearls around her slender wrists and neck, and rings on her fingers. That fucking diamond ring.
He remembered the sickening size of the rock and wondered how differently things might have worked out if the engagement had never happened. Maybe it would have been easier for her to break it off with James if that damn fool hadn’t gone and proposed.
She was so beautiful that even her fake smiles could seem real. Everything about her was perfect. Well, everything apart from her mind. Brandon wondered whether she loved him. When their eyes would lock he’d believe it, but then he wasn’t even sure she knew what love was. She could be cold and distant and so maddeningly practical with her decisions; it was incredibly unfair.
He remembered the glide of her body against his, her mouth on his neck, her hands exploring his chest. Sweet Jesus. The scent of her perfume, the vanilla of her hair and more than that, the scent of her
; the natural smell of her skin. It was intoxicating. He found himself wishing he’d taken more time to consciously memorise all those little traits that made her who she was. Goddamn it
. He was supposed to be forgetting all about her.
Maybe he should have made more of an effort to hook up with Amy. He imagined taking her back to his place and maybe it would have turned into something more; something that lasted more than one night. He should have given it a try. Any of these girls who hit on him could so easily be his future. But he couldn’t do It. Ridiculously, he felt like he’d be betraying Caroline. It was senseless. He knew that despite how attractive any of these girls were, it would always be her at the forefront of his mind, he’d imagine it was her
body under his; he’d close his eyes and picture her
face on the pillow.
She was going to get married. That was the cold, hard reality and he seriously needed to face it. Him and her were in the past; over. He needed to rid himself of the memories and just… forget her! It was so hard though, so fucking hard. Sometimes he felt like crying. He remembered the way she asked him not to leave and wondered what would have happened if he’d stayed on her terms. No, that wasn’t an option and never would be. He couldn’t live that life anymore.
But her emerald eyes haunted him every time he lay on his bed. When he was alone in the night and the inky blackness consumed everything, he’d see her and she was all he could think of. He filled his every waking moment with other activities to keep himself occupied. Aside from the bartending, he did shifts at a hotel as a bellhop, simply to stay busy. The menial work was hardly making him a fortune but it was enough. It was more than enough. It was the beginning of his new life. A life without Caroline; a life without the shame and without the decimated dreams.
He wondered if another woman could ever touch him the way she had. They had a connection, he was sure of it, but that didn’t make them soul mates, did it? He found himself wishing that he’d be able to feel that way again because if not, he’d never be able to find someone to fill the space she’d left in his life.
It was a big space.
She enchanted his mind. And his soul. And his body.
Her fingertips on his chest, dragging across his skin, tracing the muscle and bone.
Further down. Shit.
He tugged at his shirt, loosening it from the sweat on his body. He felt sticky and hot which was crazy because the restroom was air-conditioned as well as the bar. His body temperature sparked and he could feel the blood rushing to his cock, making the heat almost unbearable. He dragged his shirt off over his head and dropped it to the floor in an attempt to cool off. Don’t think of her.
But it was too late. He could feel her soft body curled into his, her hands grabbing at his shoulders in a desperate attempt to cling on. He could hear her short, gaspy breaths, her content sighs and the lingering moans that drove him way past the point of control. God, Caroline. What have you done to me?
He wasn’t thinking straight; that was the only excuse he could come up with as he scrabbled urgently with the fastening on his jeans. This was fucking madness. That goddamn girl
… He unzipped his jeans and dropped them to his knees, doing the same with his boxers. His hand slid over the hardening flesh of his cock, stroking the hot spear as his mouth dried and his muscles tensed.
He imagined her fingers dancing along his length like they had done so many times in the past. He clenched his teeth and remembered the way her eyes would catch his as he gazed at her, helpless, and yearning for her to jack him off until nothing mattered in the whole fucked-up world but the two of them.
Oh, he shouldn’t be doing this. He should have been behind the bar, flirting with some girl who would be happy to have him in her life. Or he should have gone home and pumped his throbbing cock until he was spent and satisfied. He should not have been standing in the small toilet cubicle, with his dick in his hand and his mind alive with images of Caroline fucking Walters. So fucking stupid.
Caroline. Caroline. Caroline. Her hair. The silky waves in his fingers. Her eyes. Gazing into his like he mattered to her. Her body. Pressed up against his as their hips collided time after time. Her voice. In his ear, telling him to go faster and harder.
Brandon gripped his aching cock hard in his hand and ran his fist up and down, slicking his pre-cum along the rigid length. Heat flushed across his body. He imagined what she would think if she saw him now. She might be disgusted. But more likely, she’d be just as turned on as him. He imagined wide green eyes gazing at him as he pumped his hard cock, and the thought only made the ache in his stomach intensify.
He could smell her scent. If he closed his eyes and concentrated on that flawless, angelic face, the vanilla and lemon tickled his senses and he half believed she was standing right beside him. His hand moved with more speed now, relentlessly jacking his rock-hard cock as the thought of her presence overwhelmed him. He would have given anything for her to appear at his side in that moment.
“Fuck…” his voice came out between clenched teeth and he screwed his eyes shut tight, memories flashing through his hazy mind. Her bronzed skin. The way her tight pussy gripped hard to his cock. The soft swell of her curves. All the angles and contours. That fucking mouth.
His fist jerked his cock hard as she flashed through his consciousness. He knew his mouth was hanging open; his breath was coming in short, sharp pants, but he was too lost in the moment to care. His mind was blank but for her memories; nothing mattered but her. His cock pulsed beneath his tight fist and he felt his balls tighten as he uttered a long drawn-out groan.
“God… Caroline…” his lips barely moved, the words were unintelligible, but his mind raced as his body tensed and arched. He clenched his teeth hard, threw his head back and growled as spunk surged out of his cock in hot, wet spurts. Her. That damn body. That laugh.
His hand slowed as the eruptions ceased. Calm took a moment to descend and he didn’t open his eyes for a good minute, regaining control over his breathing. He rested his weight against the door and looked at the splatters of cum on his hand and bare torso. The floor and toilet had caught some too and he dutifully made to clean it up. He knew he should have felt ashamed of himself but he felt nothing but the empty hollowness.
Was this how it felt to miss someone? He’d missed his mother when she’d passed on. He’d lain in his bed at night and missed her smile, her figure at the school gates, the smell of cinnamon that surrounded her and her floral summer dresses. He missed her soft touch, the way she cupped his face in her hand and kissed him on the cheek. He missed the way she’d stick his crappy preschool paintings up on the kitchen wall and bake him ginger cookies as she told him how clever he was. He missed the way she tried to persuade his dad that the artwork was that of a genius in the making.
And yes, he missed his father too. He missed joyriding the car when dad was passed out on the sofa. He missed stealing his beer and his cigarettes and he missed arguing. But mostly, he missed the special golden secret moments they’d share on the rare occasions when dad was sober and in a good enough mood to talk. God, he missed all that. He wished he’d appreciated it all when he’d had it. Maybe if he’d behaved differently, things might have worked out better.
He didn’t miss Caroline in the way he missed his parents though. Probably because she isn’t dead.
A half-smile curved his mouth and he stared at the paint on the bathroom wall. He knew she wouldn’t be coming back into his life, yet he held this tiny flickering candle in his heart that told him otherwise. There was always a chance. He couldn’t write her off just yet. Sometimes he’d consider going home and making another attempt to convince her to follow her heart but he knew his efforts would be futile.
He was being pathetic. He needed to move on. He needed to find someone to break the spell she’d woven around his heart. He needed to forget. But the truth? The honest-to-God truth? He didn’t want
to forget. Her memories made him feel alive. He didn’t want to forget.
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<a href="https://www.lushstories.com/stories/masturbation/dance-for-me-chapter-seven.aspx">Dance for Me - Chapter Seven</a>