“New year, new you, new experiences,” the advertisement read. Paula usually ignored the junk mail she received, but her body hummed with interest as she held the paper.
The only other writing on the card was a number in gold on the back.
She set the card down and changed, fed her fish, and started supper. All evening her body seemed to hum with energy, and her attention wouldn’t stop wandering to the card. Finally, when she couldn’t find anything but reruns on television she found the card next to her — when had that happened? — and dialled the number.
“Hello, you’ve reached The Dream Circle, Athan speaking.” His voice was a whisper in her ear, as if he were in the room and Paula dropped the phone.
She snatched the device, her face heating, considering ending the call.
“Hello?” the voice crackled from the speaker.
“Sorry, I dropped my phone.”
“I see. You’re interested in a new experience.”
“I received your advertisement in my mailbox.” Uncertainty rose in Paula’s belly.
“Paula, right? We have you scheduled for next weekend.”
“You what? How did you know my name? Scheduled?” She jumped to her feet and paced the length of her living room.
“The Diviner chose you. We allow only the chosen into the Circle.”
“This is creepy, Ethan.” Paula desperately wanted to hang up, but her fingers refused to move. Her muscles were stiff and frozen.
“Athan, don’t worry Paula. We’ll take care of you. Go downstairs, there is a car waiting.”
“Do I need—”
“Only you. I’m downstairs waiting, we’ll have you home for bedtime. Just a short taste of what we offer in our weekend experience.”
Paula took a deep breath as her phone beeped in her ear signalling the end of the call. If this guy thought she would go anywhere, he had another think coming. Except she was curious, and calm as she slipped her shoes on and descended the stairs.
A limousine parked in front of her building, and the door swung open. She couldn't see anyone inside, just a black hole. “Paula, come inside.” A hand reached from the darkness and she looked at the long masculine fingers. Without thought, she grabbed them and warmth shot through her arm into her chest. It startled her backward, but the hand pulled her into the car.
She landed next to a tall solid body. The door closed on its own and the car pulled away. “Wait,” she shouted.
The body next to her stiffened. “You’re safe with me. If you really don’t want anything to happen, it won’t. But you’ve been stressed, maybe stale lately. Bored with work, with your life. You need something new.” It was the dude from the phone, but the car made his voice deeper, more hypnotic, more soothing.
Paula leaned against him. Ever since Jack the Jerk dumped her for Suzy the slut, she’d been off her game. Nothing appealed to her anymore, she worked and returned home, watching TV, scrolling social media. “How did you know?”
“Who is the damn diviner and why are they in my head?”
“I can’t explain them. You’ll find out next weekend. Tonight, we just want you to relax.”
“Well, I am relaxed. I don’t understand how because I don’t know you and this is weird, but I am calm.”
Athan’s hands rested on her leg, and Paula sighed, melting into him. His fingers massaged her and warmth from his presence spread through her muscles. “Better?”
“Yes. Can I see your face?”
He reached a hand up and clicked on a light, illuminating the back seat. The driver remained in shadows, but Athan’s face was startling handsome. Shoulder length hair, eyes so bright blue they were ethereal, and chiseled features. His eyes searched hers, then his fingers caressed her cheek. “You are beautiful, Paula.”
An invisible force pushed her toward him, meeting his lips. Soft yet solid, hot yet gentle, hungry yet restrained. He was holding back… what? She wanted the magic when his hands touched her. She licked the inside of his mouth, searching for the allurement she experienced.
“Let me feel it again,” she asked.
He turned off the light with a click, without breaking contact. “Feel what?”
“Whatever you did that calmed me, made me leave my apartment and get into a car with a stranger and drive off into the night.”
“You aren’t ready yet.”
“I am,” Paula insisted.
He silenced her with a heavy kiss, his hand grasped her breast, squeezing her flesh. “There’s a cost.”
“What? My soul? My heart?”
“Sssh Paula, relax. Tonight you enjoy.”
“I don’t understand.”
He kissed her again, wrapping her tongue in knots. Athan slid his hands inside her shirt and unleashed her breasts. Toying with them, as his sinful mouth persuaded her to forget her questions, her concerns. He laid her on the seat and licked her nipples until she writhed on the butter soft leather.
“Athan, please.” She grabbed for him.
“Yes, dreamer, relax, love. Enjoy.”
“I don’t know how.” His mouth was creating sensations in her more intense than anything she’d ever felt. Her blood was too hot, her skin too tight, her breathing too wild.
He nodded and pulled her onto his lap, unbuttoning her jeans and pushing them to her knees. Hands massaged her thighs until she relaxed. “I’ll do better at caring for you.” The relaxation flowed through her again, making her limp in his arms. He kissed her and her heart fluttered. Who was this man who knew how to touch her for maximum pleasure without allowing her to orgasm? Why was she allowing him these liberties?
His finger swirled her clit, dancing on the edge of bliss. She closed her eyes, letting it flow through her, it pulsed with her heartbeat, which matched his. Two fingers entered her spinning the world around her. The beat inside her was not only their hearts, but the heartbeat of the world. She saw the universe swirling around her, planets, stars, life all filled her head and body. Paula saw everything perfect just as it was.
And then the stars exploded in front of her as the orgasm rushed through her, pulling her back through into his arms, into her body with a thud. Ecstasy pulsed through every cell of her body lifting her off the seat.
When the bliss subsided, she gasped for breath, clinging to him. “Too much?” he murmured.
She couldn’t stop trembling, but she shook her head. “It was perfect,” she mumbled.
He replaced her pants, and the shaking slowed. Her eyes were heavy as he cuddled her tight. Athan kissed her, softly cutting off her words. She wanted to tell him something, to ask something but her mouth wouldn’t work, and her eyes were too heavy. “Sleep,” he whispered, kissing her forehead.
Paula slept. When she woke in the morning, she was in her bed, alone, naked. When she rolled to her side her hand encountered a chain with a golden star on it. It sparkled in the light coming through her slightly open curtains. She’d never been so rested in her life.
Her fingers touched the star and her mind flashed to the universe before her, everything she’d seen during her trip with Athan. She put the chain and as she went about her morning routine, she had flashes of the universe.
Once she stepped into the street, the world rushed in to greet her. People’s emotions, thoughts, needs and dreams. And there in front of her building was the limo. The crowd parted before her, letting her walk towards it. The door opened and Athan’s hand appeared.
She took it, quiet rushing in as she moved inside.
“Everything has a price.” His voice was low, and the car pulled away from the curb.