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Chapter Text

Alarcon gives a polite little cough as she side-eyes her bodyguard.

“Give us a moment alone, would you?”

So the bodyguard nods, leaving to stand just outside the doors. We’re in the windowed entryway, just the two of us then, with panels of sunlight streaming a heavenly glow across her figure. Alarcon wears a tuxedo with tails, and her dark hair is slicked back to show off her handsome face. She’s radiant in the afternoon sun, and her elegant eyes keep watching me while a peaceful smile plays across her lips.

She holds out her hand and introduces herself.

“Duke Victor de Alarcon.”

I glance down at that hand as though it’s dangerous. I’m pretty sure it is. But I shake it.

“Major Rafael de Vistachio.”

She raises her brow with a funny little smirk. “Pistachio?”

I feel a stunned look smack across my face. “N-no, it’s-”

Alarcon is chuckling aloud. “I’ll call you Rafael,” she says, and I feel that comment swipe color across my cheeks.

“Then I’ll call you Victor,” I respond. I’m serious as ever, but Victor is grinning this adorable little grin. Did I say adorable? Oh, no.

“You’re very good at your job,” she says, and it’s not because she knows - she’s only guessing - but she’s right.

So I nod, firm and resolute.

Victor paces a circle around me, and I stand stick straight while my eyes follow her. She steps into the shadows, but her delicate features are still bathed with light. She’s close. I can see her eyes glisten, and it makes me uneasy. She’s just watching me with this look on her face - forgive the comparison, but - it’s a look like she’s sizing up a call-girl before she makes the deal.

Finally her hand reaches out, that long-fingered, dangerous hand, and she strokes at my lapel.

“What a nice uniform,” she says. “Is it quite comfortable?”

I nod, and she begins to trace the outline of each of my buttons. I shudder at her touch, and I have to remind myself - she’s not even touching me, really. She’s barely even touching my clothing.

“You look very handsome in it,” she tells me, and then makes a little “tch.” She’s reaching toward my head. “Your hat is crooked, let me fix it.”

“Don’t-” I try to cut her off, but she grabs my wrist, quite literally taking the upper hand. Then she’s just smirking at me, sinister and terrible - so terrible - but god, if I didn’t know any better I would say she was sexy as hell.

“What’s the matter?” she asks, and her voice is smooth as top-shelf liquor. “Don’t you trust me?” Her brow furrows, and her feigned concern is so utterly creepy. I feel myself shiver, and Victor takes notice. “You’re shaking,” she says, and maybe some of the concern on her face then is real. “Won’t you tell me what’s wrong?”

She’s let go of me by then, but I still feel violated just being near her. Is it bad that I don’t mind?

Oh, it’s bad. I’m hot - not just in my face, but between my thighs, and my head is spinning. How can she do this to me?

“Rafael… Have I made you upset?” She sounds sincere. “I’m not trying to make enemies.”

“I’m not upset,” I tell her.

“Too bad…” She’s chuckling. “I was going to say that you’re cute when you’re angry.”

That pops my eyes wide open. Victor is cackling out loud.

When she’s done, she just gazes at me, and finally reaches up to let her fingers stroke my cheek. She’s honestly touching my face with that hand, and it takes every ounce of military training in me not to lean in to the touch.

“You don’t seem like someone who would lie to me,” she says.

I nod.

Then her hand takes my chin, as though she might kiss me. My heart thuds at the thought.

“Your wife is a lucky woman,” she says, “to have such an honest husband…”

I swallow. “I’m not married.”

She smiles at that. Her hand is stroking down my chest now. “Your girlfriend?” she suggests. “Don’t you like girls?”

I like filthy rich creeps who dress in tuxedos, apparently. But before I can come up with an answer, Victor goes on.

“Your work is more important to you,” she says. “How noble.”

I just nod, but my heart is pounding. She’s holding onto my arm.

“I like you, Rafael,” she tells me, and the faintest smirk plays across her lips.

I don’t know how to respond.

“Will you meet me tonight?” she asks. “Eight o’clock… at the Grand Hotel.”

My heart lurches. Her plans are so definite.

“The Grand Hotel?” I repeat.

“You can find me at the bar,” she says. “I’ll get us a room... and wait for you.”

She’s staring in my eyes with such confidence, and all I can do is nod. I almost regret it, but if I’m perfectly honest, my entire being is filled up to the brim with desire. I want her so bad.

Finally Victor lets go of my arm. “Until then,” she says. And it all takes only a second, but she kisses her fingertips and touches them to my lips. I’m stunned, but I do my best to shake off the lust while she goes to fetch her bodyguard.

Chapter Text

It’s a few minutes before eight that night when I walk into the Grand Hotel. The lobby is huge and impressive, with bellboys greeting me and couples in suits and fur coats milling around beneath the massive chandelier. The bar is off to one side, past some velvet ropes that I nearly trip over, I’m so nervous. But I see Victor there. You would think I wouldn’t recognize her so easily having changed into her riding outfit, but she’s radiant as ever, sitting with one leg crossed over the other and her beautiful hand on a glass. She glances up and spots me, and she smiles.

I can feel my heart thud like a drum. She beckons me over. I’m drawn right in.

“Good evening,” she tells me as I sit across her at the tiny table. I just nod. Not a moment later a server comes by with a drink list.

“Cognac,” I say, and the server disappears.

Victor’s eyes are watching me. Undressing me? She’s looking me up and down, and her gaze is intense.

“A soldier who knows what she wants,” she says.

What I want…!?

The drink. She means the drink. Yes, I want cognac. I’m not too sure beyond that... but here I am.

She’s swirling the ice in her glass.

“Thank you for meeting me here, Rafael.”

I nod. “Much obliged.”

She’s smirking. “Are you always so serious?”

“Yes… usually.”

She sips her liquor, then purses her lips and narrows her eyes. God, she’s gorgeous. I get my drink, and I keep an eye on her while I sip. Her eyes are on me too, but I fear it’s more direct.

“Why did you ask me here?” I need to know.

At first she just smiles, and then she’s giving me this overly dramatic low chuckle.

“Rafael…” She shoots her eyes at mine like poison darts. “You know why.”

Suddenly it’s way too hot in this bar. I brush back my hair and sip my drink, but the burn down my throat only fuels the heat. I’m wishing for water, for air, so I think of the sea. Waves crashing green in the sunlight… the salty breeze hitting my face…

Victor clears her throat. “What’s on your mind?” she asks.

“The ocean.” That’s honest.

“You like to sail?”

I raise my brow. “You know I’m in the navy.”

She smirks. “I should show you my yacht.”

Then I’m picturing Victor standing beside me on deck with the breeze caressing her hair, and a peaceful look on her face as daybreak lights up her eyes. In my fantasy, she turns to me, takes my face in her hand as she stares at my lips. Then we’re kissing, and the thought makes me shift in my seat, wishing I could loosen my tie without breaking my stoic facade.

It’s far too hot in this hotel.

She’s talking still, going on about her boat, how surely it’s much better than my military vessels, and I would be lucky to spend time sailing with her. Do I like cigars? And wouldn’t I like to enjoy the finer things in life? She’s chuckling, and it’s so sleazy and sexy at once and all I know is that I want her.

I down a gulp of cognac, and its heat matches the blaze of desire sinking down to my bones. We need to get up to that room she promised, and sooner rather than later.

“Did you get us a room?” I ask.

I’ve interrupted her goings-on about wealthy pursuits. It’s then that I see a spark light up her eyes, and I hope it means she wants me just as badly.

“Yes,” she tells me. “The Palacio suite. On the eighteenth floor.” She pauses to sip her drink. “I’ll have to meet you there, of course. But don’t worry… I’ll let you in.”