It's just a job.
That's the mantra that repeats over and over in his head when nights get too stressful, too hectic, and a little too rowdy —and judging by the volume of the crowd from backstage, he's got a feeling tonight won't be any different.
With a slow exhale, Link seals the last of the velcro on the side of his tear-away slacks and checks his reflection in the mirror.
He's wearing nothing besides suspenders clipped to his black slacks, a bow tie around his neck, and a classic black fedora. The choreographed dances he and his crew perform are nothing as complex as a show on broadway, but any raunchy outfit they wear will please theirs fans —especially when they start to take them off.
He doesn't have to prove that he's good at his job, the amount of shrieks and squeals from the audience are proof enough. Over the past couple years, the screams have gotten louder when he walks on stage (or backflips off it), requests for him more frequent, hands grope harder at his bare back and chest when he mingles through the crowds of bachelorette groups, birthday parties, and all the other women eye-fucking his body, sloshing overpriced drinks in their hands.
"Guys, ten minutes before showtime," a voice chimes behind him.
Turning from the vanity mirror, Link smiles to the stagehand dressed in all black.
"How's the crowd tonight?" He asks.
The stagehand scoffs and looks up from their clipboard, "Already drunk."
"Good," another voice interrupts. "The more booze those girls drink, the more tips daddy makes." Groose points to himself with both thumbs, flexes his muscles, and flashes an award-winning smile.
"Oh, please," Granté sneers. "That g-string is so tight up your ass, even the most sober girl'll scream when your dong pops out."
"That's what they all came to see, baby," Groose says maniacally and slaps Granté's exposed backside.
Rolling his eyes with a grin, Link grabs for the mid-length peacoat draped off the chair nearby, puts it on, and pops the collar.
He loves it all; the music, the lights, the corny outfits, the dance moves that took him forever to perfect. He loves how close him and the other male dancers have become and how much money he leaves with at the end of every night. He loves giving the women exactly what they paid to see and experience, to be able to put the brightest smile on any of their faces whether it's their birthday, celebrating an upcoming wedding or recent divorce, or for those who come just to enjoy the show. His favorite part of the job is simply knowing he's made someone happy, has satisfied someone, somehow because all he's ever wanted is to please the wants and needs of others.
If only he could meet a woman that wouldn't immediately reject him as soon as she learns he's an exotic male dancer.
On stage, the girls love him, scream his name, touch his glistening body while he wears ridiculously skimpy firefighter gear or barbarian furs, eagerly wait in line to take a picture with him as they straddle his lap, but when it comes to anything more, anything real, his job just doesn't make the cut. Apparently, him and his line of work are not serious enough for a legit relationship.
Some of the other guys have no problem finding partners. Ganon is happily married, Pipit has a long time girlfriend, and Granté is in a polyamorous relationship with a guy and a girl. Conversely, Groose and Karson like to pick up women after the show or search dating apps for a hook-up, but that's not what Link wants. He wants to spoil a woman as much as challenge her, make a connection that's more than just physical attraction, but he can't seem to get much further than the question: what do you do for a living?
"You better put your pants on before the show starts, or you'll have nothing to take off." Pipit narrows his eyes at Groose, so Link turns from the mirror to watch them bicker.
Groose is lounging in the seat beside Link with his phone in his hands, swiping through a dating app and wearing only a red g-string and masculine-scented body oil. "What's the point?" He says with an exaggerated shrug, "I'm getting too big for these slacks. As soon as I bend, they rip right off."
"Getting a glimpse of our dicks is the main objective anyways," Karson adds as he applies deodorant under his arms.
"If they came just for that, we wouldn't have to wear leather chaps while we lasso them," Link mentions. He's a little bitter towards that costume —it always rubs in uncomfortable places.
With a laugh, the guys murmur their agreements and Karson says, "I mean, you're not wrong. The show would be over in five minutes."
Pipit pulls on his matching peacoat, then turns to Ganon who's been silently brushing his hair in the mirror, and asks, "What kind of girl are you going to pick for your number?"
Per male dancer, each of them takes a woman on stage for a special costume-themed lap dance. Pipit's number is a knight who's searching for his princess, Karson's is a construction worker on his break, and Ganon's is a malevolent God, looking to take a devilish woman back to the underworld with him.
Ganon sighs and delicately places the hair brush back on the vanity, his dark tan skin and red hair almost sparkling in the dim, fluorescent lighting.
"I always love the divorcees," he smiles politely. "They have the best sense of humor."
"I love the Maid of Honors," Groose cuts in, eagerly sitting upright in his chair. "Most of the time, they're single."
Pipit groans, then looks at Link. "What about you?"
"I don't know," he crosses his arms over his chest and leans his backside against the vanity. "I usually pick the birthday girls, or the bachelorettes, but maybe I'll pick someone random tonight."
"You mean... someone without a sash or tiara?" Granté gasps sarcastically.
"Yeah," Link chuckles softly. "Yeah, maybe."
This isn't her typical night out.
Lately, her nights consist of sipping on a glass of white wine while she organizes her most recent data from the analysis lab, or she'll immerse herself into yet another book on botany that she's most definitely read before. When she can't sleep (which is often), she'll wander the crooked cobblestone streets, exploring the midnight markets and boutiques, sit outside at a café to people watch, or bring herself to the cusp of being lost —to wander and admire how the street lamps always seem to blanket the city with a romantic charm whenever the sun goes down.
But Paya —the sweetest girl in the world— is getting married, and the look on her face when she asked if Zelda would come to her bachelorette party was too dangerous to deny. Admittedly, Zelda was going to use the excuse of working overtime in the lab, but when she tried to sneak in on her day off, Urbosa kicked her out.
"What are you doing here on a Saturday?" Urbosa gawked at her earlier. "Go. Get drunk. Have fun. Be wild. Actually enjoy yourself while you're still young."
She didn't want to argue with Urbosa that she, in fact, is.
Zelda had her fun in college; went to every sports event, house party, and dive bar, dated any person she had chemistry with —no strings attached. But then she applied to grad school and fell completely in love with her research. Quickly, the parties were replaced with PCR tests on flora containing bioluminescent isothermal DNA, romantic dates swapped out for analyzing soil respiration and carbon cycling, and most of her days are now spent happily overseeing the research of a class of undergraduates —Paya included.
With a quiet inhale, Zelda looks down at her fruity cocktail drink which cost twenty-five rupees, and swirls the bright blue liquid as she tunes in to the party's conversation beside her.
Paya turns to her friend excitedly and asks; "How many guys are there and which one is your favorite?"
"There's six," the sultry girl named Midna answers. "Lots of ladies love Groose, but he's too big for my liking. I love me some Pipit or some Granté, but it's Link that carries the whole show. He's the main guy."
"Is he your favorite?"
With a wicked smile, Midna replies; "he's everyone's favorite."
They're all sharing a round table in the middle of a crowded, dim-lit hall that's situated at the end of a runway jutting out from the main stage. The male revue rents a large hall within a hotel casino that houses numerous five-star restaurants and shops, a spa and overly-decorated pool with fountains and waterfalls. The casino has endless rows of roulette tables and coin slots, blinking and flashing with lights so bright they beckon any passerby to gamble their money away. If Zelda wasn't with a group of loud, tipsy women, she would have gotten lost in this place almost immediately.
Zelda rests her stare on the empty stage again. Their table is at the perfect location for any male dancer to visit if they decide to mingle through the crowd —which will most likely happen— and just like the rest of the women in this establishment, there's a part of her that shamelessly hopes she'll get a lap dance. Even just a quick one.
"So..." a flutey voice says next to her, making her shoulders jump. "How do you know Paya?"
"What? Oh uh..." she clears her throat. "I oversee Paya's botanical research on organic compounds from endangered boreal forests."
"I see," the girl named Mipha nods politely, but it's written on her face she doesn't know how to respond. "Are you standing in the wedding?"
Zelda shakes her head. "You?"
"Yep, she's marrying my brother."
"Will you be standing on the grooms side or the brides?" Zelda chuckles, but judging by the unamused look on Mipha's face, her comment didn't land very well. Even she can admit her joke was pretty lame, but her social life has consisted of one-way conversations with bryophytes and lichens lately.
"The brides..." Mipha smiles awkwardly then slowly turns to join the other girl's conversation. Reflexively, Zelda chews the inside of her cheek and looks away. She's never met any of Paya's friends before tonight and stiff jokes like that won't carry very well with a gaggle of women that are almost a decade younger than her. She makes a mental note of it.
Paya, bless her heart, is even more of a light-weight than Zelda is. She's laughing hysterically over something Midna said, borderline wasted from pregaming before the show earlier. There's a white sash across her front that reads 'Bride to Be' while the other girls are wear matching black sashes that have different sayings. Midna's says 'Bad Influence.'
In fact, almost every girl in here is wearing a sash or tiara, matching outfits, bridal veils or angel wings —but not Zelda. Less than an hour ago, she hung her lab coat up and came here wearing heeled boots, high-waisted blue jeans, and a shirt with doodles of potted plants on the front. She doesn't stand out from the crowd in the slightest.
A voice blares over the loud speakers, startling Zelda from her spiraling thoughts again. "Ladies, take your seats, the guys are eager to meet you!"
The crowd buzzes with shrieks and howls, women dance giddily in their seats with pricey drinks held high in the air and Zelda can't help but let that electricity flood into veins, until the lights go out and everybody screams.
Seconds later, a spotlight shines on a man wearing a well-fit suit and glasses, walking on stage with his hands raised high as he hypes the crowd even further. "I see we have some beautiful women in the crowd this evening," he says and flashes a smile at the closest tables. "My name's Shad and I'll be your host for the evening and let me just start by saying; you're in for a real treat."
More hoots and hollers and smiles ever wider. Even Mipha squirms a little.
With a smirk, Shad pauses for effect. "I want you to promise me that you'll forget about your hubbies at home, your fiancés and boy toys and all those unlucky fellas you were too damn good for." The crowd goes wild at this statement, some girls even shout "I promise!" back at him. "That's right," Shad nods approvingly. "By the end of the show, you'll forget about all those chumps because these men you're about to meet aren't your typical male macho. No ladies, these are gentlemen, and they're going to treat you exactly like the dirty little freaks you are. Would you like to meet them?"
The crowd answers back in all different lengths and volumes.
"Then please give a hot, spicy welcome for the Hyrule Hunks!"
Everything after that moves at once; girls scream and jump in their seats as the music blares loud and deafening and the spotlight that followed the announcer evolves into many as the curtain on stage drops dramatically, displaying six silhouettes in a power stance with heads bowed and hands in parade rest and just when Zelda thinks the girls couldn't scream any louder, bright lights reveal the faces and bodies of the performers, raising their heads in perfect unison and perfect smiles.
They're all wearing matching peacoats and black fedoras, elegant oxford shoes and bowties. Shad wasn't kidding when he said they're gentlemen because that's exactly what they look like; dapper and dashing and striding along the stage with an elegance that would rival the charm and grace of any classic movie star. With a humble bow, all six men tip their hats to the audience, making everyone sigh and nearly swoon, and the music is sultry and rhythmic with a deep male voice singing sensually, "let's get it on."
But it's not long until the beat changes, the pace quickens, and Zelda soon finds out they're not wearing any shirts under those coats. After a flawless spin, each dancer starts to pry at the buttons, motioning with hand gestures for the screams to get louder because the louder they are, the quicker those coats come undone.
Like a domino effect, the guys strip their coats away. The large male dancer with the red mane spins his coat over his head like a propellor, showing off his huge muscular arms, as the one who has to be Groose puts the coat between his legs and rubs his groin with it like a towel, sticking his tongue out in quick lapping movements that are extremely sexual, and it receives numerous laughs. The whole scene is silly and goofy and over-the-top corny, but nevertheless unusually arousing because despite how silly the outfits and vulgar dance moves are, there's still six insanely gorgeous men on stage wearing bowties around their necks and suspenders over bare, broad shoulders.
It definitely takes a real man to do a job like this.
With a daft grin, Zelda's eyes flicker over their chests and groins, enjoying the freedom to stare and gawk and lecherously ogle as she pleases, but her eyes can't seem to stop going back to the center guy like magnets. Maybe it's because he's the best dancer out of the six of them; hitting every move flawlessly with a soft grind to his hips and flow of his body. Maybe it's his freckled olive skin and blue eyes, the way she wants to claw her fingers through his thick, shaggy hair or find out exactly what he could do with that teasing tongue, but above all, it's because of that smile.
She gets a better look at it when he walks to the edge of the runway —right in front of their table. He drops to his knees and spreads them wide, plants a hand on the ground behind him and runs the other through his hair, all the while thrusting his hips nice and slow. He's clearly lost in the music and energy, the obvious vibe of how every woman in this place wants him doing that same move between their legs repeatedly, over and over, until she can't remember her own name. At least... that's what Zelda's thinking.
Her eyes are fixated on the dimples that curve around his lips even when he leans forward on his hands and knees and ruts his hips quick and smooth and again and again, sending shivers straight down her spine and she's so distracted by him Zelda barely notices that a couple dancers have started to mingle through the crowd. That's when a shriek rings out beside her.
It's Mipha. She's been picked up by one of the dancers and spun upside down in the air. He's holding onto her legs as her hands flail frantically, her face squished against his crotch as he presses himself into her and before Zelda could even stop herself, she laughs so hard she snorts.
Unceremoniously, she throws her head back and cackles as the other girls whistle and shout for Mipha to "get some!" and as quickly as he spun her like a baton, he spins her again, right-side up this time. The dancer, Granté, gives her a sweaty hug for participation, for being a good sport about it, then moves on to the next table.
When Mipha sits back down, her face is bright red. It could be from all the blood rushing to her face, but it's probably more to do with feeling absolutely mortified by what just happened to her. She probably wasn't the best candidate for something like that. Midna maybe, but not Mipha.
She turns to Zelda with a resentful face and grumbles, "I can't believe you laughed like that. It wasn't that funny."
"It was pretty funny."
"Maybe one of us will get pulled on stage for a —a lap dance!" Paya interrupts with a hiccup.
Upon mention of the stage again, Zelda turns her eyes back to Link only to be met with his own and suddenly she's forgotten why she was even laughing. He rises to his feet as the straps of his suspenders hang around his waist and he gazes down at her for as long as he dares. Her cheeks flush ruby red when Link cocks his head curiously and tucks his thumbs into his slacks, beckoning her eyes to linger over the trail of hair that slips beneath the waistband of his pants like an airplane runway, directing her where he wants her attention most. Slowly, his thumbs push his slacks down passed his hips lower and lower and lower, until the apex of his thighs are exposed and Zelda just barely catches a glimpse of the base of his shaft when her eyes snap back up to his.
He's watching her with a soft smile on his lips and a mischievous look in his eyes, then turns and walks back to the rest of the men to finish the dance number.
The next inhale she takes almost chokes her. No wonder all the girls love him. If he could diminish her composure to nothing but flushed cheeks and a racing heartbeat, Zelda can only imagine the reactions he gets from other, less sober women.
The opening number ends just as it began; with silhouettes lined on stage as the audience screams for more. The next few scenes are solo acts that live up to the expectation of being both corny and sensually stimulating. Karson arrived on stage shirtless, with a yellow construction hat and bleached jeans that were ripped off almost immediately. He dragged a rather busty woman on stage and plowed her with his jackhammer.
Groose's solo was absolutely hilarious. A benchpress was placed in the center of the stage as he came out in a tracksuit and carrying a gym bag full of thongs that he tossed into the audience. Midna caught one that was gold. Groose mingled through the audience for what seemed a little too long; slowly stripping away the velvet jacket and sweatpants until he was sporting only a red g-string and giving any woman a lap dance that screamed loud enough. Eventually, he brought a Maid of Honor on stage, laid her on the bench press, and bounced his groin on her face for so long, Zelda was growing concerned the poor girl wasn't getting enough oxygen. What was so funny about his whole performance were the scrunched-up faces he made, the enormous amount of flexing he did, and the sheer, shameless demeanor he carried that just screamed he's all that and then some.
Pipit's solo was adorable and surprisingly very heart-felt. He came out in a yellow tunic and quickly picked a girl in the crowd wearing a tiara, then sat her down on a plush chaise lounge. He didn't get extremely vulgar like Groose or Karson —he did more dancing than anything— but eventually he stripped to nothing but a thong and then delicately took the girl's hand and guided it down his bare chest.
The show is more than halfway done and Zelda is having a great time, despite the cold shoulder from Mipha and the obvious division happening at their table. She takes one of the last few sips of her drink when Shad's voice blares over the loud speakers again.
"Ladies, I hope you're ready for things to take a ferocious turn with this next guy." A round bed full of furs starts to be pushed on stage and it makes the crowd hum with excitement. "Be careful; he's an absolute savage and he's got a massive sword."
As she chuckles at Shad's euphemism, the lights dim a deep, reddish purple and the curtain in the back opens to reveal a chilling silhouette of a man wearing a helmet of bones and a sword so comically large, it's almost as tall as he is. When he steps into the light to show his smirking face, high-pitched screams of pleasure fill the air. Link is wearing nothing but a leather vest and a fur-lined garment with paint drawn across his arms and abdomen, and he looks rugged and beastly and everything barbarian.
With talented hands, he swings the sword up and around his body, clearly displaying a legit talent of his, before he tosses the fake sword to a stage hand, along with his helmet, and charges down the runway.
Zelda braces for impact, but it never comes. He stops just on the edge of the stage and peers over the audience, showing teeth like a feral animal. He's definitely going for humor and entertainment before he even begins to pry off his clothing —leaning into the rhythm of barbaric music that plays over the loudspeakers; fast and heavy with tribal drums, like something primal and warlike.
When he's created a rise of wild, heathen energy, Link turns his back to the audience, throws his head to the sky and howls. Some girls howl back before he does a backflip off the fucking stage, but instead of interacting with their table, Link continues his barbaric performance by striding across the room to mingle at the outer tables and while everyone's eyes are on him, she hears Midna say; "I want that dick in my face."
And honestly, Zelda couldn't have said it better.
He mingles through the crowd, letting any and all hands grab at his chest and legs, he even gives a couple hugs to those wearing bridal sashes or screaming that it's their birthday, until he's a table away from Zelda's, turns abruptly, and looks her directly in the eye.
For the flightiest moment she thinks Midna might get that wish, but as Link gets closer and closer that thought vanishes entirely —her mind devoid of anything else besides him and that skimpy leather armor because he steps right in front of her chair and places his hands delicately on her knees, awaiting the invitation to open up for him, and she does. She spreads them wide and in response a smoldering smile curves over his lips. He leans in close, closer, mouth just a breath away from hers and she follows his lips no matter where they hover around her face and with that smirk he's giving, there's no chance in hell he's choosing anyone else to give a lap dance to besides her.
Suddenly, she feels herself become weightless, rising from the ground, and it doesn't take her very long to realize he's lifting her chair with her on it. Instinctively, she wraps her arms around his shoulders, locks her ankles around his waist, and in one swift movement, Link lets her chair drop to the floor.
He catches her before she even has a chance to fall. With fingers splayed wide, he cups her backside as she can't stop laughing —not even when he sways sensually to the drums, or thrusts into her quickly, or bends so far forward that she's clinging to his neck and hovering parallel to the floor. It's only when he starts walking to the far end of the stage where the stairs are does she finally process he's about to give her a lavishly pornographic dance in front of a bunch of strangers, so Zelda does what she does best when she gets nervous; babbles.
"Aren't you cold?"
"What?" He shouts over the crowd, pulling her closer in an attempt to hear her better. In response, Zelda hunches down slightly and brushes her lips against his ear.
"Are you cold? I mean, it's freezing in here and all you're wearing is a loincloth."
He laughs, and it's smooth and husky and perfectly masculine. "A half naked man is carrying you on stage to have his way with you, and you're asking me if I'm cold?"
"Well… are you?" She smiles back.
Link shakes his head and some of his messy hair covers his eyes. When he starts to walk up the steps to the stage, Zelda combs the hair out of his sight with her fingers.
"Thank you," he says and chances a look at her.
"No, thank you," she smiles. "My name's Zelda."
"Yeah, I know, it was on the ticket I bought for a hundred and fifty rupees."
"Wow, they raised the prices."
"You must be really good then."
"I'll let you be the judge of that," he says, and throws her on the bed of furs.
She hits the mattress with a thud, but Link doesn't pounce on her straight away. Instead, he turns to hype the audience, switching between roaring savagely and dancing sensually and Zelda props herself on her elbows to watch him, just now noticing the music has remixed into a slow, thick beat —something he can grind to.
He rips off the leather vest, leaving only the rugged loincloth around his waist and her pulse quickens knowing that she'll have the best seat in the house when he strips that garment off, too. Before she can fully admire his toned body and the way he makes dancing so provocatively seem so easy, Link drops to his knees and spins until he's at the edge of the bed, then yanks Zelda's legs apart and forces himself between them.
To the beat of the music, Link sways all up her front until he's towering over her, then very delicately, tucks a loose strand of hair behind her ear. The way he goes from rough and hard to soft and sweet in a matter of seconds is captivating and endearing and it's no wonder he has every single person in this room practically drooling over him. The thought makes another dumb question rise from her throat at the same time he plants his hands on the bed by her shoulders and ruts himself into her, light and steady and everything lascivious.
"Are you married?"
"Are you kidding me?" He pants, barely loud enough to hear over the roaring crowd and the lights just bright enough to see he's about to laugh.
Before he answers, Link grabs one of her thighs and pulls it high over his hip until it's grazing his torso, then bucks into her again, harsher this time. "No, I'm single. You?"
"Good," he hums, and with smooth movements, rises from the bed to spin her over.
His hand slides around her belly, securing her tightly against him as he flips them effortlessly until Link is sitting on the bed and she's sitting on his lap, legs dangling on either side of his thighs. The position change is so fast she has to blink a couple times against the blinding stage lights, but when her brain finally catches up, she bursts into laughter.
Leaning them sideways for a moment, Link ruts into her several times before he slips out beneath her, leaving her alone on the bed as he entertains the crowd again. More than anything, he's an entertainer; knowing exactly when and where to lavish the attention. For the quick moment she has to take a breath, her thoughts wander to the type of guy he is when he isn't dressed like a barbarian; just a guy in regular clothing, and the thought turns her on just as much as that leather loincloth does.
Her thoughts are interrupted when he turns to meet her eyes. His cheeks are flushed and his long hair is a mess and his gaze is sweet but playful when he walks up to her. With an entertaining sway of his hips, he kneels down between her legs, hooks the back of her knees over his shoulders, and buries his face in her crotch.
The crowd erupts into screams and laughs and Zelda has the same reaction because only she can see that he's meeting her eyes and smiling unabashedly at her. It's a smile she could definitely get used to having between her legs.
"How long have you had this job?" She asks.
"Two years," he says, then starts to crawl onto the bed with her. Slowly, they both move together towards the middle of the bed as he chases her lips and she's staring so intensely that she almost misses the question he asks. "What do you do?"
"I'm uh.. I'm a medicinal plant biologist at the university."
"Clever girl," he smirks, then takes her hand and guides it down his bare chest. The crowd hums.
"I'm here for my student's bachelorette party," she blurts in an attempt to distract herself. "I'm surprised you didn't pick her, or her Maid of Honor. They were practically droo—ooling at you." He yanks her flush against his groin.
"I've had my eyes on you all night," he says hungrily and something tells her that he means it.
Quickly, Link flips her over so she's on her stomach now and she can feel his inner thighs tights over her buttocks and his hot breath traces up her spine, sending shivers with it, when he grabs a fistful of her hair and yanks her head back.
A gasp is caught in her throat as he presses his cold nose against her neck and her eyes flutter shut, and that's when the dumbest question comes out.
"Do you have any pets?"
A puff of air hits her ear —he's laughing. "Yeah," he says, then turns them both over on their sides as he ruts into her even more. "I have a cat."
"What's their name?"
Now it's her turn to laugh. He gets on top of her, hooks one of her ankles over his shoulder, and scissors into her. "Did you come up with that name?"
"Yeah, I did." He's on the edge of a laugh again.
He switches positions once more and this one is so provocative, her mind goes blank of any furthers questions. He spins on top of her until his crotch is flushed against her chest and then perfectly to the beat of the music, Link rocks his whole body like a wave crashing into her over and over again as he shifts up the bed, groin grazing her breasts, her chin, her nose, until he passes over her head and she just manages to get a glimpse of what's underneath that loincloth when he gets off the bed entirely.
Eagerly, Zelda sits up on the bed and watches as he grinds and sways and hypes the audience a little more. She's still slightly dizzy, eyes glazed over from the sheer amount of crotch that was just in her face, but then he walks up to her, pulls her on the edge of the bed and flashes a smile that makes her weak. Delicately, he takes both her hands and guides them to the waistband of his final piece of clothing still wrapped around his midsection.
Folding over her slightly, he asks, "Care to do the honors, Miss Questionnaire?"
She bites her lower lip and grips his loincloth harder, already understanding what he wants her to do. Zelda meets his eyes again, smiling wickedly and cunningly and with a twinkle in her eye, she yanks his loincloth off.
The eruption of the crowd going insane doesn't reach her ears until she's taken in the view. He's standing in front of her with purple body paint that snakes underneath a thin silver g-string, and bless, she's the first out of many that's able to see what he's been concealing underneath all that leather. With his bare ass to the audience, Zelda drags her gaze away from his groin, up his chest and neck to see that smile and when she does, she realizes he's laughing.
So she laughs back. "What?"
"Nothing," he smiles sweetly, then lunges at her.
He picks her up from the bed and she instantly wraps her legs around his waist, feeling oddly comfortable around him albeit he's still basically a stranger. Keeping her pressed close against him, he turns to face the crowd with his parted lips brushing against her neck and the way he holds her firmly and bounces her up and down his abdomen does wonders as she imagines what it would be like to actually fuck him like this.
"I was half expecting you to ask me another question," he says, loud enough over the ecstatic applause.
"Oh yeah?" She smiles stupidly and hugs him closer. "Like what?"
"Like where I went to school or what my favorite color is."
"What is your favorite color?"
He doesn't answer her immediately. Instead, he loosens his grip so she can plant her feet on the ground and when she does, he twirls her to face the audience, wraps his arms around her torso, and answers honestly. "Green. Like your eyes."
"Smooth," she hums, and he laughs. If she didn't know any better, she'd think there was a spark lit between them.
Together, they bow to the audience, gifting the crowd with another sensual display; she hinges at the hips and he's right behind her, folding himself over her back like a risqué sex position, but at this point she's not even fazed by it anymore.
The crowd gets louder when Link steps out from behind her, dancing and jumping and doing everything to keep all eyes on his crotch —like they aren't already. It makes her laugh that a guy in nothing but a g-string is dancing right next to her, standing on a stage in front of a bunch of strangers after having that same suave dancer grind his way all over her body, but it's a bittersweet thought considering she'll probably never see him again.
And she had been right for nearly an hour, until that same familiar smile caught her eye in the casino.
Typically, the girls he brings on stage don't talk to him. Most of the time they're stunned silent, nervous about what he's going to do to them. Sometimes they'll try to say something slurred or incoherent or warn him that they have stage fright, but she was talking. Like, a whole conversation.
Honestly, it cracked him up so much he almost faltered.
Maybe that's what he gets for picking out a woman that wasn't a bride-to-be or birthday girl, but someone who looked like she just came from the garden. She had been genuine and silly, sweet like sugar and smelled like a combination of lilac perfume and laboratory latex gloves. She seemed like just the kind of woman he'd like to ask on a date.
Too bad he was working. It would have been super weird to ask her out while wearing nothing but a g-string.
When his number was over, he guided Zelda off stage and the rest of the show ended like normal; Granté and Ganon's solo's and that cowboy outfit finale, finishing with a long line of audience members waiting for an overly-priced picture taken with all the dancers, but at that point Link just wanted to get home. He has a bunch of episodes to binge and a fat elderly cat to snuggle up with.
Moving faster than usual, Link changes into his regular clothes; a thick long-sleeved flannel and an insulated vest, jeans, dark brown boots and a green beanie. The night temperatures have dropped to a chilly, bitter cold that nips the cheeks with autumn's return. It would be the perfect night to have a midnight stroll beneath the street lamps, with the fallen leaves crunching under every step.
After he's dressed, Link tosses his sweaty outfits into the laundry bin, says goodnight to his worn-out crew, then swivels on his heels and is out the door.
Instead of leaving through the dreary employees only exit, Link decides to walk through the casino. Sometimes the droning noise of slot machines and liveliness of gamblers help to distract him from his spiraling thoughts —like the ones fluttering in his head right now. Thoughts consisting of green eyes and tight-fit jeans, that ridiculous cackle of a laugh that drew his attention to her in the first place and the unrealistic hopes of seeing her again when... he sees her again.
On the far side of the casino, beyond rows of obnoxiously blinking coin slots and blackjack tables, Zelda leans against the wall with her arms crossed over her chest, a coat drapes over her forearm as she fidgets with a phone in her hand. Her mouth is slanted like she's chewing the inside of her cheek and she's switching between glancing down at her phone and gazing around the room, like she's searching for someone.
This isn't the first time he's seen an audience member in the casino, but it's the first time he's considered walking up to them. Before he could even question if he should, those deep green eyes meet his across the casino floor, through puffs of cigarette smoke and flashing neon lights and when Link feels his cheeks begin to flush with nerves and heat and butterflies collecting in his belly for the first time in years, she smiles back at him.
She's the one that starts walking first.
Link floats across the bustling casino floor, dodging dealers dressed in red vests and monotonous faces, waiters carrying drinks, and hotel occupants that are probably just as lost as she is, and when both of them meet somewhere in the middle, Zelda blatantly drags her eyes all over his body.
"Clothes," she smirks. "They suit you."
"Yeah?" He laughs and looks down at his flannel that definitely has a couple food stains hidden within it's pattern. He's not exactly the cleanest eater. "Are you um... are you here to gamble? 'Cause the Invaders of the Forgotten Temple is probably the best slot machine. That —that's what I hear at least..." He says, clearly nervous and points in a haphazard direction.
Grinning at his bashfulness, her smile slowly starts to lean. She lets out a long, defeated exhale. "I went to the restroom while my friend said they were going to the roulette tables and now I can't find her, or any of her friends for that matter."
He starts to look around, pretending he has the faintest idea what these women even look like. "I know this place pretty well, I can um.. I can help you look for them if you'd like?"
"Oh... um, no," she says hesitantly. "I couldn't possibly take up your time. You're probably really busy—"
"Actually," he looks at her shyly. "I was gonna go home and watch Great Hyrule Bake Off."
"You watch that show?" An adorable smile starts to form at the corners of her mouth again, relaxing and softening her eyes.
He nods and scratches the nape of his neck absentmindedly. "I love to bake and... and the clueless hosts are really funny. I like the puns they make. It's a perfect combination."
"You mean recipe."
Caught off guard by her comment, Link halts his mindless scratching and stares at her. "What did you say?"
"You mean 'what a perfect recipe,' because... y'know—"
"It's a baking show," they say at the same time. Her cheeks are tinted pink and he loses himself to that blush for several long seconds until he realizes he's been smiling at her like an idiot.
"Right," he glances down at his boots, trying to gain back some composure. Why was it easier to be suave when he was dressed in nothing but a fucking loincloth? "There's a couple roulette tables down that way we could check," he points.
"Alright," she says, lofty and sweet and her voice holds a playful interest in it. Interest in him.
He guides her down the long, crowded hall, but she's the one that controls the pace. Based on how slow they're walking, it doesn't seem like she's in much of a rush to find her friends.
It comes as no surprise that she's the one who carries their conversation. She asks him what it's like to work within a hotel-casino; if he gets special discounts or free meals at the Michelin star restaurants and he tells her that he does, but never gets the opportunity to take advantage of it. She asks if he's a gambler or if he knows any card games and he very honestly answers no. His favorite casino game to play are the penny slots, and that makes her laugh.
They're in such a fluid conversation about the card games she knows how to play that they pass the roulette tables not once, but twice. On the third time passing, they stop to scan over the features of participants, trying to find any familiar face, but come up short, and that's when Zelda sighs and says, "I'm pretty sure I've been ditched."
"Well... I wasn't exactly hitting it off with my student's friends. I may have embarrassed one of them for laughing too hard when she was picked up by your coworker and um..." she looks away and rests her stare on a nearby slot machine flashing a cartoon pirate and saying, 'you'll never get me booty.'
Link waits a moment before he coaxes her along. "What else?"
"It's just..." she looks at him sheepishly. "Some of them seemed a little jealous that you chose me for a... a lap dance."
"Seriously?" His mouth hangs open in surprise. "But I—"
"Honestly," she chuckles, interrupting him from trying to apologize for something that clearly wasn't his fault. "It's probably better this way. I would've brought nothing but stale jokes and botanical ramblings to whatever bar they decided to hop to next."
"For the record, I don't think your jokes are stale and you can ramble to me about plants all you want."
"I appreciate that, but you may have spoken too soon," she smiles and he laughs.
They're silent for a spell, unsure of what to say or do. There's a hesitation between them, clear as day and as loud as the casino buzzing around them, but if he doesn't make a move now, this may be the last time he ever sees her, and he doesn't want that. He wants more. "So... does that mean you're free tonight?" He asks.
"Is that your way of asking me out?"
"No," he shakes his head and sends her a smile. "Let me do it properly." With a smoothness he's been lacking since he saw her across the room, he asks boldly; "Would you like to grab a bite with me tonight? There's a night market not far from here that has a lot of food options and an espresso bar. We could talk about plants if you'd like, or you could ask me any questions you didn't have time to ask earlier." She laughs at his final comment and it's wholesome and sweet, but his heart's pounding, waiting for her rejection. Waiting for her to say there's no way she's going on a spontaneous date with an exotic male dancer.
But she doesn't say that at all.
"I'd love to," she says.
Zelda's text to Paya: Hey, I'm sorry we got separated, but I'm leaving the casino with Link (the dancer). Thank you for inviting me to the show tonight and have fun with your friends!
They exit through the grand double doors of the casino and start a leisurely stroll from the congested main strip of the city to the older district, lined with cobblestone alleys and cafés on every corner. It's only twenty minutes into their date, chatting comfortably and chuckling softly, but Zelda's thoughts have drifted back to the show on more than one occasion. Mainly thoughts about his body and the way he moves it; practiced and talented and strong, but also about something Shad had said at the beginning of the show; how the dancers are gentlemen, and just how accurate that was.
So far, Link has held every door open for her, assisted when she put her coat on in the hotel lobby, he even places a hand lightly on her mid-back when it's appropriate. He's attentive and caring, polite and shockingly subtle, but there's a shyness about him that she wasn't expecting. Maybe it has to do with being an exotic dancer; always constantly worried about how others perceive him, but she desperately wants to convey how that doesn't bother her. It's been a long time since she's met a guy that has literally swept her off her feet, especially this quickly, and she's not about to let someone so sweet and intriguing slip away for having a unique job. After all, he's a professional.
Link guides her down crooked alleyways lit with string lights and filled with night owls standing outside tiny bars smoking cigarettes or sipping coffee behind foggy windows. She's definitely been down these same streets before during midnight strolls on restless nights when her thoughts refrain her from sleeping, but when the city is this charming in the dark, who'd want to sleep anyways?
Eventually, the narrow street opens up to a cozy courtyard teeming with groups of all ages chatting at worn picnic tables and bar stools. Food stalls vibrant with sizzling grills beckoning the next hungry customer to step up to the window, and food trucks parked atop the cobblestone as workers shout order numbers over the already voluminous scene. It's lively and warm and all the scrumptious scents make her mouth water and her stomach start to grumble.
It's easy for them to agree on what to eat because Link will literally eat anything. "You could blindfold me and place any dish in front of me and I'll still eat it," he confesses.
"I like the blindfolding part," she flirts and his cheeks turn so red, he has to look away. She'd feel bad about her comment if it wasn't for that ridiculous smile, unwavering across his lips.
They decide on two personal pizzas from one of his favorite food trucks. Link orders a meat lovers and Zelda gets one with mushrooms, balsamic, and chèvre. As they wait for their order, Zelda finds a place to sit amongst the long picnic tables while Link gets them two locally brewed Oktoberfest beers from another vendor he recommended.
Over cheesey slices and cold brews, Link and Zelda spend nearly two hours sitting and chatting, laughing and flirting, letting the world around them rush past like fuzzy blurred lights in the dark, only focusing on each others words and smiles and body language. Of course, a big portion of that time was when Link asked about her studies at the university and she rambled on and on about the secret wonders of fungi, recommending several books on the subject, but it was okay, refreshing even, to see that Link absorbed every enthusiastic word that tumbled from her mouth, including mycorrhizae.
When there's nothing left but empty glasses and cold pizza crust between them, they both decide to grab a coffee from the espresso bar and walk off their late night meal. With warm lattes in hand, they leave the market and continue their date walking down streets aligned with river canals and willow trees, cute boutiques and lively bars, but there's been a question on her mind for hours and she can't hold it in any longer. Just because his job description doesn't bother her, doesn't mean she's not interested.
"I have to ask," Zelda says hesitantly and looks down at her coffee cup, swirling the liquid inside. "How did you...?"
"Get into this line of work?" He finishes and she nods.
The click of their boots on the cobblestone fill the silence between them for awhile. His expression is soft, but there's a worry in his eyes, like he's predicting just how the rest of this conversation is going to go.
"I was a... a sword fighter before I became a dancer."
"I'm sorry, you were what?"
He laughs and her reaction seems to ease his nerves. "Have you ever been to the Renaissance festival in the summer?"
She nods and takes another sip of her coffee.
"I played the 'Legendary Knight' during the Medieval Championship Show for several years."
"So let me get this straight," she says, unable to wipe the astonished smile from her face. "You're professionally trained as a sword fighter?"
He nods. "And archer. And jouster. And fire artist. I also dabbled with axe throwing for a bit."
Unable to conjure any words right away, Zelda's mouth hangs open, surprised and utterly impressed. "I have so many questions."
"I bet you do," he chuckles. "Most people just call me a nerd for working at the Ren fair, or try to explain to me how bad jousting would look on a résumé."
"Are you kidding? That sounds like a fantastic job," she smiles into her coffee as her eyes meet his briefly. "When I was younger, I wanted to play the role of the Princess."
"You would make a beautiful Princess," he says.
If his comment was just a way of flirting with her, a move he's made with other women in the past, then he wouldn't be blushing this hard, with his cheeks tinted rosey and expression shy as he realized he said it out loud. Either way, it's working.
After awhile, she asks; "How did you go from legendary knight to exotic dancer?"
With a sigh, he looks down at the sidewalk. "The manager of the Hyrule Hunk's saw one of my performances at the fair and asked if I could come in for an audition," he says. "At first, I wasn't going to. I loved my job at the Ren fair, but it didn't pay much and I always had to get a temp job in the off season, which I never enjoyed. At least with this job I still get to entertain, and I get paid really well, hours are easy, and there's an annual bonus at the end of the year. I even get benefits."
"Wow, that's great," she replies, but there's something in his tone that suggests otherwise. "Do you plan to stay with this job for a long time?"
He's silent for a moment, looking down at the sidewalk again. "I'm not sure," he eventually says. "I love it, but... it conflicts with my social life."
He glances at her out of the corner of his eye, then looks away. "Most women I meet don't exactly want to date a male dancer."
She scoffs, unsure if he's joking. "You literally spend 90 minutes in a room full of women that are begging you to take your clothes off."
"I don't pick up women from the show."
"Just me then?"
Link doesn't answer and when she turns to look at him, she finds that he's already looking back, his blue eyes holding a heaviness and fervor that flutters the butterflies in her belly.
"Just you," he says honestly.
Under the warm glow of the street lamps, they both come to a stop on the sidewalk, pausing to absorb each others smiles and tinted cheeks. If someone would have told her this morning that she'd be falling for the bashful dancer that gave her a lap dance, she'd tell them they were insane. But here she is; standing in front of the Fang & Bone bookshop, admiring the shy smile of a man that is so sweet and humble when he's not stripping down to a g-string, and she has a nagging suspicion that her life's about to get turned upside down by this guy —almost like how Mipha was with Granté.
Realization dawns on her as Zelda gasps and exclaims; "The Fang and Bone!"
She's been so invested in their conversation that she didn't even realize where they were walking. They've stumbled upon one of her favorite used bookstores, with stacks of books against the walls and up to the ceiling, fiction and non-fiction hardbacks that are so old the titles are wearing, but that just adds more to their allure, their unwritten history. Entwining Link's fingers with her own, she yanks him by the arm and pulls him inside.
As they walk past the poor excuse for a cashier counter, Zelda and Link wave to the tired, elderly man with his elbow on the table that is barely registering their presence. The Fang & Bone bookshop isn't much bigger than a hole in the wall, but it's open late for the night owls with a book craving, for those with a desire to discover a precious gem hidden amongst the rough.
Leisurely, they make their way through narrow aisles littered with books and dust, but Link hasn't stopped holding her hand. With the cold of an autumn midnight, Zelda expected his hand to be as icy as her own, but it was warm and homey and calloused, and instead of releasing her hand after the thrill wore off, he just held her tighter.
He only let go when a specific book caught his eye. Lying on a tall tower of wobbly books, Link picks up a white paperback novel with a humble cover and discards of his empty coffee cup so he can flip through its pages. "Zelda, have you heard of this book before?" He asks.
"Hm?" She turns to look at him after having been distracted by a different book a little further down the aisle. He glances at her over the cover as he leans his backside against the table, then drags his eyes into the pages.
"In the beginning, there was the Skyworld," he reads. "She fell like a maple seed, pirouetting on an autumn breeze. A column of light streamed from a hole in the Skyworld, marking her path where only darkness had been before. It took her a long time to fall. In fear, or maybe hope, she clutched a bundle tightly in her hand."
She's read those words before. It's the beginning of a book she's owned for years and have reread more times than she can count. In fact, her own copy is resting on her night stand, just beneath her beside lamp so she can skim through it's pages and let the poetic love of plants lull her to sleep at night. It's one of her favorite books, and for Link to find it and pick it out amongst a plethora of other worthy components must prove that he's been listening, proof that he's gotten to know her tonight and has found an interest in her own. An interest in her.
"That's beautiful," he says as his eyes skim down the page. "Can I buy this for you?"
"I already own a copy."
"You do?" He looks up from the book and smiles. "Is it any good?"
He closes it, but doesn't put it down. "I think I'll get this, then we can talk about it... maybe on a second date?"
She would have really liked to be a bit more graceful in her next movements, but almost tripping over a stack of books to kiss him was worth every ounce of self-humiliation. For the briefest moment, he was startled, unsure if that's what she really wanted, but in an instant he melted and dropped the book from his hands to wrap them around her waist and pull her closer. Her hands grip the collar of his flannel, wrinkling the fabric as she tilts her head to deepen the kiss and he responds with a sharp inhale that Zelda can feel cascade down her spine and settle between her legs and why does kissing him comes so easy? —So easy that she almost decides to completely ignore the throat clearing of another customer, if it wasn't for Link stopping reluctantly.
They both take a glance at a grumbling passerby, giving them a look of pure distaste before they move onto the next aisle. With matching smiles, she turns to face him again and he does the same, their noses brushing as he continues to hold her close. "I've wanted to do that all night," she confesses.
"Me too," he breathes and leans in to kiss her again.
Out of all the expectations she had been wrong about tonight, she was right about this one. He kisses wildly, fervently, without restraint but with a gentleness that makes her dizzy when his practiced arms wrap around her back and secure her tightly, that way he can rise from the table he was leaning on to take control of both their actions. Without interrupting the diligent push and pull of their lips meeting over and over again, one of his hands leaves her back to frame her jaw as his fingers start to tangle into her hair, making her moan against his lips and igniting the flame between them to burn even brighter. With that firm hand cupping her cheek, he tilts her head to expose her neck and his lips make a b-line for new skin, trailing kisses down her chin and to her throat, kissing sweetly until she hisses into his ear and claws a hand through that thick hair and suddenly kissing him isn't enough anymore.
"How far away is your flat?" She pants.
"Short taxi ride." He kisses a spot just beneath her ear and her eyes flutter shut as she moans. But the meticulous movement of his lips come to a stop and slowly he pulls away to look at her. His pupils are dilated and she could tell he wants her just as badly as she wants him, but still, he's hesitant. "Are you sure?" He asks.
"Yes," she says a little anxiously. "We could go to mine, but you have a cat and you left Muffin alone long enough already—" his soft chuckle fills the air for a brief moment before she finishes her thought. "I just really don't want this night to end."
"Me neither," he says.
"Good, okay, brilliant." She sighs, unsure of what to do next, but thankfully Link does. He kisses her soft and slow with a smile teasing at the crevices of his mouth as his hands slowly release her.
"Let me just buy this book and we'll go," he turns towards the previously discarded paperback, but she stops him.
With her hand halting his outstretched arm, curiously he turns to look at her and she says; "Just borrow mine."
His palms are clammy.
It's been this way since they left the bookstore and he was surprised to find they were still clammy in the taxi cab, especially when Zelda placed a hand on his thigh and by the time they parked outside his building, that same hand had moved so far up his leg that there wasn't much space left between her pinky and his groin anymore.
Despite how nervous he felt on the way to his apartment, he kept himself calm and composed and suave as possible, so he doesn't mess this up. In the elevator, he was the one to move first; starting a tenderly soft kiss and cupping her cheek in his clammy hand again, but she kissed him back with excitement and fire and when the elevator doors opened to his floor, her hands were rimming the top of his jeans and his lips were throbbing.
He leads her down the carpeted hallway, lit with fluorescent lighting and artsy pictures of the city. Having just moved in this building a little less than a year ago, he's still getting used to the space, the quiet, and the cleanliness of living in a nicer place than the one he could afford when he was living off tips from the Ren fair, and judging by the impressed look on Zelda's face, she wasn't expecting him to live in such a lavish high-rise.
She seems even more dazzled when he opens the door to his flat and leads her in. It's a studio apartment, but it's a large one; open floor plan with high ceilings and grand bay windows, stainless steel appliances and a balcony just big enough for a loveseat and a couple potted plants. It's clean and smells like the cookies he baked earlier that day, along with the soft notes of his musky cologne coming from the bathroom.
"You live here... by yourself?" She asks as she slips her boots off.
"Well, no," he smiles and sets his keys on the kitchen counter. "I have a roommate that sheds like crazy."
By the commotion they made entering his apartment, a very large, very round orange mass of fur jumps off a section of his couch where a knitted blanket is scrunched up in a ball. Muffin waddles his way over to Zelda and meows at her. It's the most scratchy and feeble sound a cat will ever make, and he's so old it takes his whole body just to conjure up such a tiny noise.
It was all high-pitched squeals and oh my gods from her after that, which delighted Link. There's something about being an animal lover where you can sense when someone else is too, almost like a radar, and he could tell that Zelda loves animals just as much as he does.
While Zelda sits on the hardwood floor petting Muffin, Link tells the story of how he came to adopt him, how old he is, and all his medical issues. He's got cataracts in both his eyes, diabetes, and a kidney issue to name a few, but for being almost fifteen years old, Muffin is doing exceptionally well, though he sleeps almost every second of the day.
For awhile, they stay like that; lounging in his kitchen by the doorway, with Muffin purring contently and shedding all over Zelda's jeans as their conversation flows to the pets they had growing up and the ones they would want in the future and, unsurprisingly, they both prefer large dogs, though they wouldn't pass up the opportunity to pet a small one, either.
By the time Link offers her a beer from the fridge and she actually gets farther than the doormat of his apartment, it's well past midnight and their conversation has resorted to short comments between the sounds of their lips popping against the amber glass of their beer bottles. Zelda looks around his apartment slowly, inspecting the armor and swords he displays on the walls, his book collection of military history and cookbooks, and the state his potted plants are in, but this is the transition he's been worried about the most: from date to bedroom. He doesn't want to overstep, doesn't want to move first even though the thought of her hands slipping beneath his briefs is driving him crazy and the idea of going down on her is making him salivate, but all that anxiety and nervousness drifts away the next time she takes a sip of her beer and meets his eyes with a wickedness that could only mean one thing.
She's standing by his couch just a few steps away from him and puts her beer down on the coffee table. "Come here," she says and he comes willingly.
Like an autumn leaf, he floats over to her, unsure of where he'll land, but he knows his lips will be roaming over new areas of her skin. He steps into her personal space and she places both her hands on his chest, lingering over the thick fabric of his flannel as she takes a deep breath of him. She doesn't meet his eyes, not yet, though he watches her curiously, patiently, waiting for permission to take her and kiss her like the way they did in the bookstore because having her in his home feels different, like he needs consent, but then her eyes dart up to meet his and that's the look he's been waiting for.
As if the last few seconds were in slow-motion, the next feel like they're flying. He doesn't remember exactly when their lips met, but he knows it was hard and bruising and her hands were gripping at his shirt before they tousled into his hair and she moans just as loud as he does when his hands slide lower and lower down her back, until he's cupping her ass and he lifts her just as much as she jumps to wrap her legs around his waist and before he knows it, he's walking over to his dining table blindly, with his eyes closed and lips thoroughly distracted.
His hands are on her thighs when he sets her down on the table and she wildly starts unbuttoning his shirt in the midst of trying to keep their lips pressed against the other. Their undressing is urgent and frantic and it makes both of them laugh by how desperate they are to get the other's clothes off, but then Zelda drags a hand over the front of his jeans where his erection is so blatantly obvious, and he just can't stop himself from gripping the back of her thighs and yanking her flushed against his groin.
She lets out a loud gasp, everything lewd and lustful and as she throws her head back, Link takes the opportunity to press his lips against her neck and, with a voice so deep and husky and full of wanting, he says; "it's my turn to undress you."
"That's fair," she laughs distractedly.
He helps her discard of that potted plant t-shirt, revealing gorgeous skin decked with beauty marks and freckles and what's so perfect about the view in front of him is she's wearing a black laced bra that has a patch of a witchy cat over each of her nipples.
His movements slow to admire her bra as he thumbs over her breasts. "This," he leans back with a wide smile. "I love it."
"You should see my underwear," she says and pulls him back again.
It doesn't take him very long to pop the buttons of her jeans and pull them down her legs, revealing the matching black thong beneath them. As an exotic dancer, he's become very practiced with stripping off clothing, and it seems to amuse her because she laughs against his lips before he steps away to pull them all the way down her legs and toss them onto the floor.
"Take these off," she demands, grabbing at his jeans, but he stops her.
"Not yet," he says, wrapping his arms around her once again. "I want to taste you first."
"Not in front of Muffin." Her hands wrap around his shoulders and her legs around his waist, and both of them turn to stare at his cat, who in turn, is staring back at them from the couch, unblinking.
"Good call," he chuckles and starts to carry her to his bedroom.
When they get there, Zelda has already lavished kisses and love-bites all over his neck, making him strain even harder against his jeans, but he wants to do this properly; make her mewl and moan over and over again until she comes so hard, she's shaking.
Just like on stage at the revue, Link tosses her onto his bed, but this time she's wearing nothing but her underwear and her breasts are bouncing beneath that black bra and her excited giggles turn into sensual gasps when he folds over her and presses his ravenous lips anywhere he can. He's not as slow as he'd like to be —he'd prefer to draw this out for as long as possible, but in an instant he's trailing down her chest and belly and soon his lips are brushing over the black thong at her hip bones and she's spreading her legs wider and almost at the exact same time, they both pull off her underwear.
At this point, all thoughts of wanting to take this slow dissipates from his mind completely when he presses his tongue against her clit and her back arches clean off the duvet. It shouldn't have surprised him as much as it did that her moans are deep and loud and often as he drags his tongue up and down repeatedly, circling spirals over her clit that winds her even tighter and makes her legs twitch, and he releases a groan against her skin so she can feel it, so she knows just how turned on he is to have her spread out on his bed as he tastes her, to have her this hot and wet already and when he slips a finger inside her it goes in so easily that he has to take his free hand and press it against his erection still trapped beneath his own jeans, just to release some tension.
Her hands are in his hair, gripping and pulling as she's moaning and gasping to every move he makes between her legs. He's diligent and detailed, keeping her right there where he wants her; on the crest of a wave that's about to break because he can feel her body growing tight around his finger, can taste that she's getting close and he wants her to come so badly, but then her grip tightens on his hair; hard and searing and he hisses when she pulls him out of his daze and she begs; "Link please, take your pants off."
"Okay, alright, okay," he lets out a long exhale and wipes the back of his hand over his glistening lips. "There's um... I have condoms in the bathroom."
Kissing her once on the belly, Link starts to pull away, but her grip tightens. He turns and waits, caught between confusion and curiousness until she clears her throat and says, "I have an IUD."
He sucks in a breath, hand gliding back up her bent leg. "Okay—"
"I mean, unless you're worried about STD's or —but I get checked regularly, and I haven't been with someone in..." She trails off, calculating. If she has to think that long about it, then it must be that long for her, too.
Wanting to be honest, he meets her eyes quickly before he looks away again. "I haven't been with anyone in almost a year," he says.
With a sigh, he rolls over on the bed to lay on his back beside her and stares at the ceiling. "This might come as a shock to you, but most women I've dated don't exactly stick around when I tell them what I do for a living."
"No, sorry" she shakes her head. "I didn't mean it like that, it's just..." When she's silent for a little too long, he lifts his head to look at her. She's smiling shyly as her fingers graze over his bedsheets. "You're a really great guy, Link. You're funny and sweet and you're ridiculously attractive," he scoffs softly and drops his head back on the bed. "And you're a really great listener, and you can afford this amazing apartment and—"
"If only I wasn't a stripper?"
They're both silent for a spell, but eventually his curiosity gets the better of him. He glances at her and all she's doing is smirking and raising an eyebrow at him. "I was going to say... you're much tidier than me."
Propping himself up on his elbows, he stares at her for a while, processing and absorbing such a nonchalant reaction. "So… it doesn't bother you that I grind myself into random women four nights out of the week?" He asks rather slowly.
The way she laughs makes his heart melt. It's genuine and honest and when that laugh dissolves into a smile, she looks him straight in the eyes and says, "Just know that I'd want to date you, no matter what you did for a living."
"You have no idea how glad I am to hear you say that."
This time their kisses are long and languid and unhurried as she pulls herself to the center of the bed to place her head on his pillows and he follows her, chasing her lips and crawling on his hands and knees to catch her. Slowly, they both assist in discarding his flannel and tank top and her hands grope all over his bare chest as he sighs into her mouth. He leans back on his shins to undo his belt and tosses it onto the floor to collect with all the other unneeded clothing, and as she watches him, her own fingers snake between her legs, drawing circles and coaxing that fire to burn even brighter, but as soon as his jeans are halfway down his thighs and his blue boxer briefs are exposed, she starts chuckling.
He stares at her, eyes wide. "What?"
"Nothing," she smiles. "For some reason, I was expecting you to be wearing a g-string."
Her innocent comment makes him laugh in relief, and he drops his lips against her neck to plant a kiss there. "I have a couple in my dresser if you really want me to put one on?"
"No. Off ," she says, insistent. "Take everything off."
Ungraceful and clumsy, he finally discards of his jeans and underwear and now there's nothing left between them except a small amount of space that keeps getting smaller and smaller, and her fingers are spiraling faster and faster as her eyes blaze lustfully over his naked body —especially when he licks the palm of his hand and strokes himself. Her breaths are getting deeper and more pronounced as she lies beneath him, waiting eagerly for the moment he's lathered and wet and then he places his free hand on the headboard above her, directs himself between her legs, then slides into her gently.
Both of them moan —shameless and completely undignified, with jaws agape and eyes shut tight and Zelda immediately frames his face with both her hands and pulls him towards her lips. She kisses him unceremoniously between the soft sighs she makes when he pulls out almost completely and pushes in again, slow and deep and practiced and when they've created a rhythm between their bodies, she releases his face to draw her knees in tightly, until her legs are hooked over his forearms and he's leaning back on his shins and sinking deeper, drowning in the sensation and moaning harder.
He snakes a hand between her legs and starts spiraling his thumb over her clit to every slow thrust of his hips. "Do you like that?" He asks, husky and slightly breathless.
"Yes," she moans as he pushes in —faster this time. "Yes," she says again, even louder.
The word is stuck in her throat on repeat as he quickens his pace, still steady and rhythmic, and he watches in admiration as her eyes flutter shut and her head tilts back, her hair spread out all over his pillows as her breasts bounce against his movements and he wants her to come so badly, but not this quickly.
Gripping her by the waist, he yanks her flushed against his hips and closes her legs together to hook her heels over one of his shoulders. Her legs are straight up in the air and on his chest as his hands graze all over her thighs and hips and back up to her ankles and toes. Mindlessly, he closes his eyes and kisses her legs anywhere his lips can reach —caught up in how pleasurably tight she is around him and how hot the fire is burning between them and as he ruts a little faster, her jaw clenches and she grips the bedsheets —like she's climbing up that same peak right along with him.
Suddenly, she opens her legs wide again, says eagerly; "Pull me on your lap," and he does.
As he pulls her over his thighs, she plants both her heels on either side of his shins and now she's fully off the bedsheets with the weight of her on his lap and he's so deep inside her that they both shiver. As soon as she starts to move, he wraps his arms around her back, stabilizing her and her movements. The new position allows her to be in control, allows her to ride his length perfectly and faster, heavenly and deeper, clinging onto him like a vice with her hot breath sending more shivers down his spine as she rides him —and fuck, he's not going to last much longer, but she seems to hear his thoughts when her moans get higher. Every time her thighs slap against his hips, it just turns him on even more, but then she throws her head back and, with his name caught somewhere in her throat, she whines, "I'm gonna come."
Almost instinctively, he removes a hand from her back and presses it onto her clit firmly, spiraling circles to the rhythm she's made bobbing up and down his length, and he can immediately feel her twitch and clench around him —her coil taut and tight and ready to be coaxed over the edge, and if he thought her clenching around his finger and mouth was nothing short of heavenly, he can only imagine what it'll feel like when he's buried so deep inside her.
"Fuck, Zelda." he groans, short and rugged with his lips moving against her neck. "I wanna feel you come."
She's frantic now, her movements sporadic and wild, letting herself lose control, lose herself to him and that perfect heat between them. He's thrusting up to meet her every time she slams down to fuck him deeper, and even with his fuse running short and his mind completely clouded with sex and she's perfect and ZeldaZeldaZelda, he still manages to work at her with his fingers until those short, lofty breaths get desperate and faster and incoherent words spool from her mouth and then she just—
When she comes, she holds nothing back. Her hand snatches his wrist between her legs, anchoring him there incase he tries to cut her orgasm short, but he wouldn't dare dream of it because the second he feels that shockwave of her release, clenching and thrusting as deep as she can take him, that same wave hits him, knocks him over the edge, and he comes so long and so fucking good that his vision goes white and he's moaning as he grips her backside with his free hand to bury himself so deep, so deep he feels like he might shatter, until their movements slow and their foreheads meet and they're breathless and dizzy, floating back to reality with racing hearts and matching smiles.
When he floats back to himself, he realizes he loathes to let go of her. He doesn't want her to put her clothes back on or use some excuse that she has work in the morning and leave him alone in this empty bed. He knows that things are moving really fast between them, but everything has been so magical and perfect and he's afraid that if he wakes the next morning without her beside him, it may have all just been a dream.
So he kisses her.
Soft and slow and lazy, minds addled and breaths almost steady again, and he removes the hand between her legs to cup her cheek instead, going from rough and heavy to tender and loving, but she seems to want the same because she's the one to deepen the kiss —just slightly— just enough to convince him; she doesn't want to let go either.
Delicately, he places her back down on the bed and he kisses her as he pulls out slowly and she sighs against his lips. When he's catered enough time to just sweet kisses, he rises to meet her eyes with a smile, then reaches across the bed to grab a tissue.
He cleans himself off before grabbing a new tissue and dabbing lightly between her legs, careful to avoid any sensitive areas, then tosses the tissues into the waste basket. When he looks back at her she's chuckling softly, flashing that gorgeous smile at him and he thinks to himself he could definitely get used to seeing that smile more often.
Then that smile leans a little, like she's getting a little nervous, and he can almost see the question bubbling from her throat before she even asks it. "Um, Link? Can I—"
"Hm?" She bites her bottom lip and blinks at him.
Rubbing the nape of his neck, Link clears his throat and swallows before elaborating. "Please stay the night, I— I don't want you to go."
"I don't want to go either."
"Good, okay, brilliant," he sighs, using her own words from before, and it makes her laugh.
"Can I borrow some clothes to sleep in? I didn't exactly predict I'd be meeting someone like you tonight."
He doesn't answer her straight away because he's a little dazed, a little high off this new feeling. That there's something fresh and exciting happening in his life that's making his heart flutter and it all revolves around that smile and those green eyes —which are staring at him curiously, wondering why he's been silent for several long seconds.
When he finally answers, he's bashful and a little embarrassed that he'd been staring at her for so long, but she doesn't seem to mind. With a comforting smile, Zelda gets ready for bed with him. He gives her a pair of sweatpants to sleep in and an over-sized Hyrule Hunk's t-shirt from the show, and when she sees it, she laughs and asks, "Can I keep this?"
To which he replies; "Only if you make coffee in the morning."
"Deal," she says, and tosses her bra over her shoulder.
» . «
It was all just a dream, he says in his head.
He's lying on his back, staring at the ceiling through glazed, sleepy eyes, debating if he should lull himself back to sleep or not. Last night felt too dreamy, too good to be true for Link to land a woman like Zelda. Apart from being smart and beautiful, with a great body and even greater sense of humor, she accepted him. All of him —no strings attached.
With a deep inhale, he rolls to his side and closes his eyes when... he smells coffee.
His head snaps from the pillows to glance around his bedroom. It's disheveled; last night's clothes crumpled on the floor along with a pair of black underwear —the same one from his dream, and then he spots a few make-up stains on the pillow beside him, and just beyond that, draped over the drawer of his cabinet is a black, lacy bra.
Still in a daze, Link springs from his bed and starts searching for a shirt he can put on quickly. He finds one and stumbles out of his bedroom, tripping over clothes in the process, then scans over the living room and kitchen. There's no one in sight, but the coffee pot is on and there's an empty mug that's been placed beside it and— where is Muffin? He walks up to the screen door of his balcony and that's when he sees such a perfect view that melts his heart a little bit.
Sitting on his tiny loveseat with a knitted blanket and Muffin asleep on her lap, Zelda holds onto a steaming mug of coffee and has her phone pressed against her ear as she chats softly with someone. She can't see him prying because he's standing just on the other side of the sliding door and the couch she's sitting on is positioned towards the sunrise coming up over the waking city, and Link doesn't want to eavesdrop anyways, but he can't help but hear a small portion of the conversation she's having.
There's commotion on the other end of the line before Zelda speaks. "Yes, yes, the dancer," she says.
More screams from the other end, even louder this time.
"Well, I would typically reply with, 'that's none of your business,' but since it was your bachelorette party, I'll just say... Yes. Yes we did."
Distinctively, Link can hear an oh my god on the other end, and that's when he smiles wide and moves away from the door to give her privacy.
He gets dressed slowly; putting on sweats and a hoodie, uses the bathroom, then pours himself a cup of coffee from the mug she left out for him. By the time he returns to the balcony, Zelda is off the phone and stroking Muffin who's purring contently, and she's watching the sleepy city just beyond the rail, until the sound of the glass door opening gives him away.
"Morning," she smiles and takes a sip of her coffee.
"Good morning," he sighs and sits next to her. Should he kiss her? Oh wait, never mind. She's already leaning in.
She kisses him; soft and light and extremely domestic and god —this feels so right with her.
He stretches an arm over her shoulders, drawing her closer to him, just now noticing that she's still wearing the Hyrule Hunk's t-shirt from last night. "Did you get ahold of your friend?"
"Yes," she nods. "I had to tell her three times who I left the casino with. She didn't believe me."
He laughs lightly and meets her eyes. She's not ashamed of being with him, not even a little bit. "Do you um... Do you have work today?"
Through a smile, she lets out a long, lofty sigh. "Originally, I was going to go in for a couple hours today, but...I think I might take the day off." She glances at him and that look; with her hair all messy and her face clean of make-up, is sultry and enticing and when she looks away and starts petting Muffin again she adds, "it's just a job, right?"
"Couldn't have said it better." He's the first one to lean in for a kiss this time.