This story is a part of a blog hop anthology all taking place within the WFGC Hotel. You can see the full list of stories in this blog hop anthology here: https://writefightgifclub.wordpress.com/blog/***
This Time by Mae Baum MATURE
Jessica rubbed her temple. Her head ached from the late night she’d spent at the clubs. She pulled a stack of towels from the shelf and added them to her cart. The high-pitched voices of the other maids made her head pound. She glared at them.
“What’s got your panties in a twist?” Phoebe asked, leaning across the cart.
The red head’s curls fell to the side exposing her pristine neck, and Jessica’s mouth filled with saliva. A little taste would do wonders for her hangover. Jessica swallowed hastily. She knew better than to snack on the staff. She’d learned that lesson early.
Phoebe turned to her, green eyes flashing. “Well?”
“Late night,” Jessica growled.
Laughing, Phoebe jostled her cart against Jessica’s. “Any tasty nibbles?”
Jessica blinked, even though she knew from looking at her friend’s wide smile that she only meant hook ups, not meals. “A couple,” Jessica said evasively. Drunk blood made for an uncomfortable morning, and she was still hungry, dammit. Hopefully, there was a tasty meal on her floor today. “Floor assignments?”
Phoebe jerked her head to a slip of paper pinned to the wall between two metal shelves. The management was old school here, changing their allocations weekly.
Jessica nodded and gave a half-hearted smile. Phoebe grinned, straightening her uniform over her heavy curves, and pushed her cart out the door. Jessica checked her assignment and her smile grew wider. The higher levels were stocked with the well-paying clientele. They were always up for some fun and games.
Jessica adjusted her uniform. The black fabric hugged her curves, and the Peter Pan collar and apron gave it the perfect costume look. She ran her fingers through her straight black hair to give it some body, and swiped a red lipstick across her mouth. Grabbing a handful of towels, she raised her hand to knock on the first door. “Housekeeping!” She called.
No answer, so she opened the door and stepped inside. She swept the room with her gaze but she found no occupants. A suitcase lay open on the dresser and the minibar was still sealed. She frowned. The guests must have gone down to the bar.
She restocked the linens and did a quick straightening and cleaning job, rushing out the door. Hopefully the next one was in. Her jaw was starting to ache from holding the smile across her face. She knocked on the next door. “Housekeeping!”
Again no answer, so she opened the door and stepped inside. A tall male stood before the desk, facing away from her, a glass of wine in his hand. His broad shoulders hinted at the muscle beneath his silk shirt. Curly black hair grazed the shirt collar and his obsidian skin shone in the soft hotel lighting.
Perfect! A real, predatory smile spread across her face. Putting on her best simper, she said, “Oh, excuse me, sir. I didn’t realize anyone was in here.”
The man spun around and she locked gazes with the most delicious pair of chocolate eyes that she had ever seen. Again. “Thaddeus,” she whispered.
A wide smile split his face. “Jessica!” His eyes roamed up and down her body, and she could feel a warm flush spread through her. “Playing the fantasy, my dear?”
Jessica stood frozen, as if by ignoring him, she could make Thaddeus turn into someone else.
He lifted a wry eyebrow at her.
Warmth pooled in her gut as it had every time she’d seen this man. She couldn’t tell him she worked here, too embarrassing, but what other excuse did she have for dressing in this ridiculous costume? She fingered the lace at the bottom of her apron and blurted, “Where’s the ice queen?”
Half of Thaddeus’ full lips turned down and one fang peeked out.
“Nadia deemed it unnecessary to join me on this trip,” he growled.
Naughty Nadia. He certainly wasn’t very happy with her.
“So you’re still,” Jessica took a breath pulling in the male scent of him, “together?”
“Yes,” he said, flowing across the room and curling an arm around Jessica’s back. “But that has never precluded us from having our fun.”
Heat skipped along her skin, and she wanted to sink into him. But she couldn’t. She liked him too much, and he could never know. Jessica shoved those feelings down now, deeper into her gut. When she’d played lover to him and Nadia, Thaddeus had always thought they were just amusing themselves. He’d never guessed even when the ice queen had punished Jessica for daring to love her man.
Now, he played havoc with her emotions, dragging her right back to that time.
“No,” she breathed as he stroked the edge of her jaw. She closed her eyes, savoring the smooth feel of his skin and his cinnamon scent. It wouldn’t be like last time, would it? Surely this time she could walk away.
Jessica shook herself. “No,” she said louder, pushing her hands against his chest. His silk shirt slid under her fingertips. She knew ever curve of those muscles. How the slightest touch across his collarbone made him scream. Her whole being ached for this vampire.
Opening her eyes, she backed away, trembling. “No.”
She gave him a small smile and disappeared through the door. The hallway seemed dim and dank without his presence, but she forced herself to grip the handle of her cart and move forward. Her breaths came hard and fast against her teeth. Maybe Phoebe would switch floors with her tonight. Jessica couldn’t stay here.
She never thought to see Thaddeus again, and he’d appeared, here of all places. It had been years since she’d fled from New Orleans, fled from him and Nadia. Sweat slid down her neck and dripped into her cleavage. Stopping the cart in front of the elevator, she grabbed a towel to sop it up.
The elevator dinged and a human exited. The smell of blood overwhelmed her senses. Her eyes blurred and her teeth sunk into his neck before she’d even realized what she was doing.
Her hunger was satisfied. Maybe it would keep the other cravings at bay. When his eyes turned glassy, she dropped the young man on the carpeted floor. Shit.
All Thaddeus’ fault! No matter how much she loved him, she couldn’t compare to the ice queen. He’d loved Nadia for hundreds of years. Jessica had lived a fraction of that time.
She bent down and closed the dead human’s eyes. What was she going to do now? She could shove him down the laundry chute. Eyeing the metal door set into the wall, she huffed.
After getting rid of the body, she’d have to call in sick. Would the weekend be enough or should she take the whole week? How long would Thaddeus’ business take? She couldn’t take too long. It took time to build up the kind of bankroll that old vampires enjoyed, and she didn’t have it yet. She needed this job.
Hands curved along her hips, and fire roared through her. So much for keeping the other hungers at bay.
Thaddeus sighed. “You have gone and made a mess, haven’t you?”
Warily, Jessica straightened.
Thaddeus wrapped his hands around her waist, twirling her to face him. His dark eyes met hers and a grin played on his lips. “Want my help to clean it up?”
Her world shrank to just his face. This was a bad plan. She licked her lips. This was why she’d left New Orleans in the first place, left all her friends and her life there, just to escape the flutter of her heart when he gazed at her like this. The word yes escaped her lips.
They lifted the body and folded it, dropping it down the laundry chute. Jessica sighed. She’d have to deal with that later. Her main problem was still in the hall, with his velvet voice and irresistible body. “Thank you,” she said.
Thaddeus stepped closer to her, running his hands along her arms.
Shuddering, she leaned back against him. This was wrong, but she didn’t know how to make her body stop responding to his touch. It would have been fine if it was just sex, but she’d known for a long time that what she felt for Thaddeus was more than that. She’d tried to hide by running away and living here as a maid. No one noticed her here. But he’d always noticed her, drawn her out and made her a part of his life, of his and Nadia’s life.
“Let’s go and play,” he said so casually, as if anything about him was casual to her.
Jessica allowed him to lead her back to his room, leaving the cart abandoned in the hall.
He closed the door behind them and pushed her up against it, his lips descending on hers.
The kiss deepened. Jessica let the feel of him rush over her. In a little corner of her mind she allowed herself to dream this was real and he loved her. She dreamed he would stay with her and wouldn’t be gone as soon as his business was concluded. He’d go home to Nadia, and Jessica would be back in that awful place loving someone she could never have.
He pushed her uniform off her shoulder, trailing hot kisses down her neck and her shoulder. She gasped and wrapped her legs around him. He lifted her easily, carrying her to the bed, and dropped her on the soft sheets. She tried to pull her mind and body away from his questing hands, but she couldn’t. How did she say no to the person she loved with all of her heart and soul? What could she say, but yes?
He removed her shoes, one by one, stroking the arch of each foot. Then he rolled down her stockings, kissing each inch of skin that was revealed. Jessica squirmed against the mattress. She focused on being here with him. He stood, undoing the buttons on his shirt and tossing it aside. She smiled at the expanse of smooth skin.
Here. Now. Jessica tried to push her thoughts away, and focus on the delicious sensations running through her body. Pulling the zipper on her uniform, she slipped out of it. She pretended it was only him and her, and Nadia’s presence didn’t linger between them like some malevolent ghost. Jessica had been their plaything in New Orleans, desperate for any scraps of attention they tossed her way. She’d hated herself for it, for being so weak and needy.
Thaddeus had removed his pants, and pressed the length of himself against her. She moaned, thoughts fleeing. Her bra and panties, mere scraps of fabric he ripped away, pressing himself between her legs. His hands were everywhere at once. Fire roared through her and her breath came in pants. Her fingernails bit into his skin, clinging to him, as waves of pleasure surged through her. When he entered her, they merged in perfect harmony. She didn’t know where he started and where she ended. How could this not be love?
Their rhythm sped up and he took her to the cliffs, then surged over. She shattered on the rocks below. He came too, dropping down on the mattress next to her. Their breathing heavy. She curled her hand against his chest. She wanted this perfection, every day for the rest of her immortal life.
But it was a dream and nothing had changed. He was who he was, and she was who she was. Taking a deep breath, she stood. She had to end it now.
“Where are you going?” asked Thaddeus, rolling over to his side and looking at her.
Jessica bit the inside of her cheek. “I have to go.”
“We are amazing together. Why do you resist?” He grinned. “You know Nadia doesn’t mind.”
“Because I love you,” she said, gazing at him. She’d never told him the truth, not until today.
Thaddeus gaped at her. “But I love Nadia.”
“I am aware.” She smiled sadly.
“Is that why Nadia…?” His brow furrowed. “Oh, Jessica. I didn’t know.”
“If I’d known, I wouldn’t have let her,” he said, sitting up. “I do care for you.”
She met his eyes. “Not like I care for you.”
He shook his head.
After picking up her uniform, Jessica slid it on. Then she hunted for her stockings and shoes. Her bra and underwear were a lost cause, but she looked somewhat presentable.
“I’m an asshole,” Thaddeus said.
“Yes, you are.” She slipped her shoes on and headed for the exit. Refusing to look back, Jessica could feel his eyes on her as she walked away. She stepped into the hall and shut the door firmly behind her. Only then did she let the tears fall, just for a moment, then she wiped her face with a towel off her cart. Jessica marched to the elevator and pushed the button. It opened immediately, as if the hotel knew it was time for her to go. This time she left without sneaking around. This time she would walk away and never look back.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the stories in the WFGC Hotel blog hop anthology. You can see the full list of stories in this blog hop anthology here: https://writefightgifclub.wordpress.com/blog/