"Are you enjoying yourself?" Robin's lips were too close to my ear, but then again so was the rest of me. The waltz was meant to be something graceful and beautiful. At least that's how it always seemed in movies. Yeah. I've seen those. But this? This was an excuse to sexually harass me without everyone noticing. Everyone except Mason of course. I caught his blazing eyes staring at both of us and we locked in a sort of longing stare before Robin twirled me around and engaged in a challenging glare with Mason. I don't know what was going on between the two. I knew Mason's reasons for acting the way he was, but Robin had no particular reason to provoke this kind of behavior from his brother. It never occurred to me that the son of a bitch leader of the Ducks Family was interested in me. Unless he was interested in dissecting me. That would make a lot more sense.
"No." I told him and tried placing as much space between him and me as possible His disgusting hands held on to me though and he continued speaking as if my answer didn't face him.
"What is it you see in my brother?" For this question he pulled back and looked me dead in the eye with his icy blue eyes. I felt cold and clammy as i pondered the question. I didn't have to answer it, but I was curious of my own thoughts. The fact that Robin was the one asking it instead of me asking myself is just a twisted addition to the collision of puzzle pieces scattered in my brain.
"I never figured you for the jealous type, Robin. Aren't you the one with a new woman every week?" Every intention of sounding hateful and disgusted was there, but it only made him chuckle and twirl me around before crushing my body into his.
"Careful, Jinx. I'm starting to think you might be the jealous one." He loosened his hold. "Really. What is it?" There was a difference in the way he asked this time. He sounded somewhat sad, maybe even longing. I wouldn't put it past him to be all an act, but the oddity of it truly caught me off guard.
"Mason is protective. Sometimes overbearing, but he cares. He's not heartless. Even when he tries to be I can see him struggle. He's a good man." I hand't noticed myself leaning into Robin. It wasn't the need to be close, but talking about Mason like I did made me imagine him holding me instead of this human for manifestation of the earth's pollution.
"Touching." He said with bitterness. He shifted and freed one of his hands to grab a glass of champaine from one of the girls wondering about with trays. His sudden thirst for alcohol almost made her stumble and drop the remaining glasses.
"Do be careful. Whatever breaks comes out of your pay." Robin grinned at the girland she nodded, obviously intimidated by the goon threatening what might be her only source of income. I saw a little bit of myself in her. Struggling and getting by with whatever scraps I could manage just so I could live another day. It has to be tough working for this family, but I gotta say it is a lot better than cleaning up at Benny's.
Our dancing was interrupted by Loon. "Sorry big bro, but Jinx needs to go backstage and get ready to play." She said, and it made Robin nearly growl at the perky blonde. Either way she looked up at him with an ever lasting cheer that made even me want to slap the happy out of her. Robin never said a word. He simply left and Loon shrugged it off before turning towards me and grabbing my hands. "Go. You're violin is already there." She said.
"Can I at least drink something? The dancing tired me out." I confessed. It wasn't so much that I was tired, as it was that I was mentally exhausted and needed something to buzz my system back to life.
"Fine. One drink." And she bounced off. I'm not kidding.
I caught one of the girls serving drinks. it was the same one Robin messed with while we were dancing. She gave me a small smile and barely looked me in the eye. I didn't get a chance to talk to her since she ran off as soon as I grabbed a glass. A sigh escaped my lips and I tilt my head back the slightest. The bubbly drink washed over my tongue and for a moment it was sweet bliss.
"I didn't pitch you for a drinker." I knew that disproving voice anywhere.
"I didn't pitch you for a stalker. Are you talking to me now? Or is this you being a disproving brood as always?" I set the glass down on a table and turned to face Mason. He looked down at me with the smallest of smiles, smallest than the one the girl serving drinks gave me.
"I was only doing as you told me. Staying away." The smile was gone now, replaced by the shadow that cast his face. "I meant what I said. About you having to leave."
"I figured. You don't joke."
"No. There's something else. I want to tell you before you go." He moved in closer and leaned down enough so I didn't have to crane my neck so much. "It's not easy feeling anything but hate. Being part of this family has turned my heart to stone, but you found that soft spot. Only God knows how you did that. Thank you." His hands hovered over my cheeks before his fingers caressed them. His touch felt warm and welcoming, as did his eyes and lips. There wasn't that much space left. All I needed to do was lean in. Lean...
"Jinx!" Loon popped out from between a cluster of people and in the moment it took her to reach me Mason had disappeared. "I said one drink. Have you been drinking the whole bar?"
I had to shake my head to clear out all thoughts of what might have happened if Loon hadn't interrupted. I didn't realize how eager I was to kiss and feel him until I was so close to doing so. "I..."
"You nothing. Get your pretty little ass on that stage and play." She was pushing me towards the stage and while she did I got lost in the almost moment. For crying out loud. I can't catch a break around these people and Mason didn't make it any easier. Loon stopped pushing me at some point and went off to yell at some poor guy serving some kind of miniature food. So I saw myself to the stage, working my way through and between the suffocating crowed. I was close to the door that leads backstage, but I never reached it. A hand wrapped under my arm and yanked me out of the cluster of people. I was afraid Robin was dragging me away to kill me or rape me but instead I was faced with brilliant orange eye staring down at me with so much affliction.
"What's wrong?" I asked him. I knew Mason was mad at me, but it was silly to think he was still stuck on the petty argument we had. Both his hands held under my arms and with a single motion my body swayed, pressing against his. He wrapped an arm around my waist and lift me before his free hand tilted my head back by the chin.
"You. I've had enough waiting and I know I said you needed to leave..." I didn't get a chance to ask where he was going with this. A tingling sensation surged through my body when his lips hovered over mine. The soft flesh pressed down on my upper lip and my mouth opened to welcome his surprisingly sweet taste. He kept me firmly against him and my arms snaked around his neck, only to pull him in close enough for me to deepened the already intensified kiss.
He hunched over a bit and his hands gripped my hips. I thought he might pull me closer, or hold me tighter, but he pushed me away instead. He wasn't harsh, nor quick about moving away from me. He actually looked like he regretted putting the space between us. The thing is, we were being watched.
Robin was glaring at both of us and Mason stood up straight. Both men looked ready to pounce, so I laced my fingers with Mason's and dragged him away and out of sight. "Don't. Don't do anything stupid." I told him and left him with a simple kiss on the chin. When I found my way back stage I searched for my violin. My lips were still throbbing from the kiss and my body tingled where he had touched and with my mind stumbling over thoughts I took a little longer to find my violin. Only when I forced myself to concentrate did I spot it in plain view over a few moving boxes.
I indulged in the process of tuning the strings and sat over the empty crates of beer and wine. My dress caught with a few nails and I cursed as I heard the brief rip of fabric. This will earn me a good scolding from Loon, but I pretended like it never happened. The band on the stage was already done, and some were coming down with their instrument cases in hand. Loon's voice took over.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to say the Annual Ball has new talent this year. Please give a round of applause for Jinx."
I inhaled and stepped on to the set of stairs that soon exposed me to a lot more people than I could count. A pang of terror washed over me in seconds and I felt Loon gently pull me towards the chair they set up fro me. I sat and in a robotic manner fixed the violin against my shoulder, leaning my cheek over it. The hand holding the bow trembled the slightest before I got a hold of myself. Don't be a bitch, Jinx. I told myself. Snap out of it and just play. Play.
The next sound in the ball room was of my saddened violin. The melody was the same as always, the only one I knew. This time I played it from the very beginning and hundreds of eyes watched. Slowly, bodies tangled with another and more than half of the people watching me before were now slow dancing. I felt they were puppets, their strings yanked, pulled and swayed by the stroke of my bow. It was an amazing feeling, until the wind outside picked up and the tree branches clawed at the high windows. No one took notice, but I could feel nature stirring outside and crying in agony to the sound of my violin. Right then I wondered just how powerful I really was and if Kat had been wrong about just how much power had flowed into me the day they created me.
I peeked at the crowed dancing and found what I was looking for. A brooding Mason was in the far cornet with one foot prompt against the wall and his arms folded over his chest. I wondered if he had been watching me the whole time. Then the expression on his face answered my question. Yes. He definitely had. It wasn't surprising, not when just moments ago we had kissed in front of Robin. And another thought hit me. Is that why he kissed me in the first place? Was it that he was feeling the same as I was, or was it just him claiming me? The two thrilled me either way, but something about the first idea scared me. I've never bee loved, let alone liked. Hobs was merely an attraction from both our parts, but Mason was more. He got under my skin and made my blood boil and yet I could never seem to stay mad too long. He made my head spin.
Lost in my thoughts and my playing I ignored the one sound completely out of place. Hissing and then clapping that was a lot closer than I had expected. I stopped playing all together when cold fingers gripped my upper arms. "Wonderful, darling. Wonderful." The hissing was in my ear and the soft lips crushed my ear. I dropped my instrument and my whole body was dragged out of the chair. "Now let's go home." It happened so fast. My vision blurred and the last I heard was the crescendo of screaming and a single, angered voice calling out my name. Mason.