From the Front Desk
Toby’s curiously got the better of him. Taking the employee stairwell, he walked towards the hotel lobby. His step slowed on the carpeted hallway as he considered what he would say to her—this mystery woman who kissed like a long-lost lover on the beach. Certainly, he couldn’t say he didn’t enjoy it. Nor, would he say he didn’t want to enjoy a kiss like that again in the future, though his common-sense cautioned him against such thoughts.
Toby paused before turning the corner to where the front desk took up most of the facing wall. He’d walked these floors so many times, yet now, everything felt different. All of a sudden, there was a girl who had caused him to feel sensations he hadn’t allowed himself to even imagine in a long time. While he couldn’t afford exposure, since meeting this woman, he had begun to question whether existing was living?
Standing beside a large pillar, Toby leaned his shoulder against against the column and put a hand in his pocket. With a casual lean, he peered around the edge towards the front desk. Calvin was speaking to a guest, his hands flying around the air in illustration. The clerk’s round face was split with his easy smile and Toby could see why he was a beloved member of the staff at the Del.
Toby leaned further around the edge, but there was no sign of the girl.
“You’re not looking for me, are you?”
The voice from over his shoulder startled him. He lost his footing and would have landed on the floor had he not grabbed the corner of the column. He regained his stance and stood tall, squaring his shoulders, and adjusting his shirt back into place.
In her gold and sand-coloured vest uniform with the beige skirt and matching low heels, she was even more striking than in her runners and baggy sweat clothes. She had lifted a hand to hide her well-formed mouth, covering her snickers. Her eyes sparkled, the edges crinkled with mirth.
Heat and desire mixed a bold concoction to fire through his veins. He stood at least a head taller and looked down on her consumed with the memory of her lips on his. His stomach clenched with the need for more, wondering what it would be like to be with someone so bold—someone so confident to know her own mind and be willing to chase it regardless of the fall out. Toby craved such freedom.
Without further thought, he scooped her free hand into his and pulled her through the corridors to a secluded spot he knew they wouldn’t be disturbed or overheard. This old building was as familiar to him as his houseboat and had been a second home since washing up on the shores a decade ago. He didn’t glance over his shoulder to check her reaction for he could feel it in her hand as she intertwined her fingers with his, her thumb tracing light circles on the sensitive side of his wrist.
Reaching a small alcove, he pulled her into the shadows and turned her so her back was against the wall. Her chest rose and fell with her rapid breath that matched his own. The rose on her cheeks resembled how she looked when she had been running and his need grew. Keeping his fingers laced with hers, he braced his other palm against the wall by her ear.
“I don’t do this,” he said with a voice he didn’t recognize as his own. He took his thumb and traced the line of her full lower lip.
Her teeth sneaked out to pull the lip into her mouth and he closed his eyes to quell his rising need.
Her eyes, big and full, gazed up at him with a mixture of innocence and seduction. “Do what?” A small dimple appeared to the right of her lips as she quirked a grin.
On a groan, he moved his hand to brace behind her neck and lowered his head to hers. Their noses touched and paused a moment. Then her teeth released her lips and her mouth parted. He tilted his head a fraction until his mouth could mould to hers. Electricity shot to the deepest part of his core and he pulled her close.
Her arm circled around his neck and she arched closer until her pelvis rubbed against his. She sighed and moved her lips along his jaw and bit the lobe of his ear. “Yum.”
A door slammed down the hall and the sound reminded him their private moment was fleeting. He pulled back and moved his hand to cup her cheek. “I don’t do this.”
“So, you said,” she replied with a smile. Her gaze travelled from his eyes to linger on his lips and back again. Then she ran her fingers through his hair. “I really wanted to do that.”
He wasn’t sure if she meant mess up his hair or kiss him. “Really?”
At a loss for conversation after such a kiss, needing—wanting more, he shrugged without a response.
She seemed to somehow understand him and not be offended by his lack of words. Her smile widened and she reached to pull his head closer to hers. The kiss was chaste. “I have to get back to work. Break’s over.”
“Quite a break for someone who doesn’t do this.”
Toby chuckled. What could he say?
She started to move away and he grabbed her arm with a light touch, enjoying the smoothness of her skin. “I don’t know your name.”
Her eyes fluttered before turning her gaze back on him. The seductress was back and she again bit her lip as though pondering her next words. After a prolonged pause, she finally spoke. “Why would you need to know?”