Could This Be Love? (10)

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A Story by Deborah Benson

Catch Me I’m Falling

When love is for the highest bidder there can be no trust…

“…Guns and Gangsters suit me fine— Al Capone is a buddy of mine. He’s my big shot valentine, lets be bad Kimberly’s voice sung out over the sound of costumes jingling as the dancers moved around her in perfect harmony with the music.

Each dancer seemed to be moving faster than the next as they overtook Kim in a matter of moments. The faces of her male partners passing her as they spun her on with her role. Her words lost in a haze of glittering dresses and smiling faces as she tried to keep up with the song. Her breath would run out, her feet would slip, she missed move after move as the dance went on without her.

She was truly lost.

The stage and the show were eating her alive as her eyes scanned the crowd. Her voice failed the song but no one else broke character as she fell to her knees. She needed to have something to anchor to, someone to dance for as her character did. Her gaze became frantic as she searched for the one person who could pull her out of the haze.

And like the red sea parting there he sat, flanked by other patrons enjoying the show far more than his deep blue eyes gave away. Kim felt her voice return as she tried to sing out her next lines as if they were for him, knowing they rang out stronger than any of her previous attempts. Yet the man sat unfazed.

Hands crossed over Kimberly’s body as she was pulled up off her knees, forced back into the dance. She could feel herself being passed from one man to the next, and as everyone in the theater took it as flirtatious the sullen man’s face seemed to drop into what could only be described as utter disappointment.

Kim could do nothing as he stood to leave her to the horde of dancers pulling her through the steps. She felt herself reaching out to him in a desperate attempt to bring him back, to remind him he was the only one who mattered, but her effort was in vane. As soon as her arm extended past the stage floor a new man’s hands closed around her wrist, moving her arm like a puppet’s back to her chest.

The new man’s hands roamed over her body with a delicate care as they forced her through the remainder of the dance. Her anchor had left the theater. Her puppet master now held her in his arms. Her body started to feel sick.

The stage went black.

“She fell?” A familiar voice steered Kim from her sleep.

“That’s right. Hit her head pretty hard, she was delirious when I found her so I thought I’d do like you said and take care of her. She’ll be fine after a little rest.” Her head felt fine, dizzy and confused, but certainly not from a fall.

No, falling would have been easier to deal with.

This was entirely her fault. She knew it Dakota told her the pills would help nerves but she should have known better than to take so many over the idea of telling John about the dinner. She couldn’t remember what she was so frightened of, they’d been so close already he wouldn’t leave her over a simple business dinner.

Yet he had left her in the dream.

And she knew very well she wouldn’t be talking about business over her dinner.

“You should have called me sooner, Mark. I don’t need you taking care of someone who’s actually sick.” As Kim woke up she could distinctly recognize John’s voice.

She never realized how easy it was to hang on every word he spoke or how terrible she felt when she heard his worry. It certainly wouldn’t be the last time she’d hear it either.

“I take care of you when you’re sick all the time. All she needed was to lay down, she fell asleep in a second.” She made a note to thank Mark covering for her when she could think clearly again.

While the two continued their bickering Kimberly took a moment to become aware of her surroundings. Mark had somehow managed to move her to the master bedroom in her half- unboxed penthouse and tucked her in with the utmost care. Her head had been resting on a pillow but once her body felt a shift of weight on the bed she found her head nestled comfortably against John’s chest as he ran his hand through her hair as if to check that she was still in one piece. His heartbeat was quicker than she had expected, almost as if he was angry over something before finding her.

She’d be damned if she didn’t feel a warm sense of calm wash over her body as John pulled her closer against his chest. She’d feel guilty for what she had to do later. Whether the medication still had a hold of her actions or if they were her own Kimberly wasn’t certain, but she held no complaint when she found herself wrapping her arms around John’s broad chest to ensure the calm feeling lasted as long as possible.

The bickering stopped the moment she moved. “Kimberly… .?” John asked tentatively, his grip on her waist tightening lightly.

“M’sorry,” she slurred in response. “‘Should’ve been more careful…”

“It’s not your fault, Kim. You didn’t know.”

Mark’s voice was sincere but she knew he wasn’t talking about some imaginary fall. “It just can’t happen again.”

I can’t promise that… “I’ll try my best… the floors are very slippery,” she said, allowing John to support her weight.

Mark didn’t like her response and she could tell, but he wouldn’t ague with her in her current state or while John was around and for that she was thankful. Neither he nor John would understand the pressure of being in the show without him and Luscious added to the mix. She could count on her hand all the actors she knew who used more than she had regularly, even Marilyn Monroe had.

Of course that wasn’t a comparison she was too eager to complete.

“I should sue Dakota, she’s not fit to run the theater like that,” John said with certainty.

Kimberly could feel his voice reverberating in his chest and something told her he meant the alleged fall was only the tip of the iceberg for him. She would deal with whatever he knew about the theater later. Right now the only thing that mattered was for her to keep him as close as she could, she couldn’t risk losing him like she had in the dream.

“It’s fine, John. I can handle this,” Kim said in an attempt to be reassuring, cuddling against his chest to keep him calm. “I just need some rest like Mark said, I’ll make it up to you after rehearsal tomorrow.”

“You should take tomorrow off to rest, we can be together Friday, even Dakota would understand,”John said, his voice softening as he held her.

Kim couldn’t let her feelings for him get in the way, however. Dakota wouldn’t understand her throwing away all that money and a completely financed show. She’d made her bed the day she let Dakota in and she’d gotten her claws deep enough into Kim that the idea of escape was harder to imagine than the idea of balancing her act with Luscious and her time with John.

The certainly couldn’t be together Friday.

“Serena’s teaching me something then,” Kim lied with an ease that frightened her. “It’ll have to be tomorrow.”

She could feel John’s full lips against her forehead as her stomach sank. She doubted his adoration would last but she’d be damned if she didn’t hold onto it as long as she could. She needed, and come what may, she loved him despite herself.

“Then it’ll be tomorrow,” he said gently, his strong arms holding her as if he feared he’d break her. “I’ll let her borrow you on Friday but I’m not going to share you with someone else so easily, you remind her that okay?”

There was no escaping her guilt. She hated how much she’d be hurting him but she feared what would become of them if Dakota knew he was the source of her apprehension over stringing Luscious along.

Kimberly had attended the next morning’s rehearsal but it was obvious to anyone giving her more than a single glance that she was absent mentally. Serena noted how her dance with Paul was messier than usual, her steps dragging as her weight shifted awkwardly. Even the constantly kind man couldn’t pretend to be attracted to her while she danced, he and the rest of the cast simply seemed too concerned over Kim’s sudden distraction to care about her performance.

Serena, however, recognized exactly what was making Kim sick. She’d come into rehearsal with the same dazed hangover for weeks at a time before she grew too cold to need the medicine. Dakota had already begun destroy Kim as she had destroye Serena, but she’d made a promise to protect her.

The last thing she intended to do was to give Dakota the satisfaction of making a new servant to take her place. Helping Kimberly would kill two birds with one stone and for the first time since she arrived Serena wouldn’t be hurting someone innocent to get back on top. The only person she’d be harming would be Dakota and that was long over due.

Morgana sat in the back of the theater, the sickeningly sweet smile plastered across her face as she spoke to the investor. Serena recognized the scene with frightening ease and suddenly her promise to keep Kim safe became more than just a means to an end. The woman Serena had replaced must have known what she was in for yet she let her fall nonetheless. She couldn’t bring herself to condemn another girl to the same fate she had suffered.

It wasn’t as though Dakota had anything to threaten her with anymore anyway. Losing someone out of spite would risk exposing the second half of the theater’s profits to the media. Even Grey money couldn’t keep that hidden if it was discovered.

“We’ve been going through the endings, Kimberly is much fonder of her character staying in the club and to be frank I think that’d be easier to sell to a crowd.” Dakota’s hand covered Luscious’s lightly, her smile as sweet as the one she used to convince her girls to take whatever medication she presented them with.

“You’d recover the money you’ve invested within the first week I assure you.”

Serena grabbed a tray of drinks from the bar, heading in Dakota’s direction.

“I understand that, but I don’t believe it makes sense,” Luscious said, his voice far more endearing than Serena liked to admit. Keeping him from Kimberly might prove difficult. “I want the second ending, it’s still your love story just tweak a few things.”

The tray of drinks found their way to the table as Serena leaned over Dakota’s chair. As far as Luscious knew they were still on good terms and they both knew Dakota was too involved in her nice-woman act to argue in front of an investor.

“What kinds of things? We’re having a hard enough time teaching Kim as is. You can’t just pull out the rug from her feet now,” Serena said, her gaze fixed on Luscious’s.

“Nothing that would hurt her!” he defended. “Just turning her more towards the gangster, you could even throw in a number between just them in exchange for one with the Dakota was visibly uncomfortable and Serena had no intention of easing her pain.

“We’ll consider it. Any more Luscious’s dark brown eyes lit up, a small smile on his lips as he looked over to the dancers.

“Well I had been thinking it would be exciting to kill someone off in the end. You are dealing with the mob, and I’m sure the crowd would love it.”

Serena felt her stomach clench up. They had never done a death scene in the company before because men didn’t seem fond of spending money on a woman they had seen die.

That meant if someone was to be offed it would have to be one of the people who weren’t up for private meetings and there was only one girl promised exclusivity.

But before she could protest Dakota’s own face lit up, her perfectly applied lipstick parting as she smiled. “That will certainly be considered, though the price may go up for a death sequence. If we want to do it right.”

“That will be fine. I look forward to it.”

Luscious’s smile was incredibly innocent for a man paying money for a woman.

Suddenly Serena realized John wouldn’t be the only person aiming to take Kimberly away from the theater. Her job had just gotten twice as complicated.


The hangover would not leave easily and Kim soon began to doubt that it ever would.

Rehearsal had come and gone without any major flaws mainly do to the fact Reed Paul were so concerned for her health that they didn’t bother to point out whenever she slipped up. She could hardly think outside her pounding headache, but whenever she did manage her thoughts turned directly back John.

She felt terrible for what she was going to do to his trust in her but she refused to take the pills to dull herself again. The pills put too much at risk, her own autonomy seemed to give way to whatever her body was feeling at the moment the pills took over. If she was hungry she’d have eaten anything she could, if she was hot she’d take off all her clothes, if she was in pain she’d have taken anything to stop it. There was no way she would willingly give the pills control while she wanted to numb herself.

If she could only keep John for a little while longer she had every intention of remembering it on her own accord.

“That stage suits you.”

She would have recognized his voice from a mile away. It resonated in her chest with a warm that surprised her in the emptiness of the theater and managed to chase away the remainder of her hangover.

Looking down at him from the stage as she had when they first began speaking she felt her heart quicken. He stood at the edge of the dance floor staring up to her with the same small smirk he had worn the first night.

To say the stage suited him as well would have been a dramatic understatement; he simply seemed to fit as if that was exactly where he was meant to be.

“I’m glad you think so at least. Serena’s worried it’s all too much for me,” Kin said as she sat down at the edge of the stage, her legs dangling above the ground.

“Well you are rather short,” John smirked. “You’d think that stage would swallow you up.”

With an exaggerated roll of her eyes Kimberly helped John onto the stage beside her. She knew he didn’t need to be helped up, but any excuse to pull him closer was greatly welcomed. “I’ve got people to balance me out. Paul is at least a head taller than you and most of my scenes are with him,” she teased, telling go of his arm to walk around the makeshift stage.

“Paul? Now there’s another man running around besides that investor?” The hint of jealousy in his voice was obvious as she sat atop a raised platform.

“There’s Reed too, I dance with him an Paul the most.” Kim couldn’t help but smirk, at least with her partners she knew he had nothing to worry about. Teasing him about something purely innocent couldn’t hurt.

“Reed’s more hands on than Paul though.

I’m supposed to learn a tango piece with him later.”

John was practically brimming with jealously as he moved over to stand in front of Kim.

Even while she sat on the raised platform he managed to stay slightly taller. His hands on either side of her legs as she smiled down to him, the twinkle in her brown eyes giving up her game before he had the chance to confront her.

A pout breaking out across his lips at the small blow to his pride as he realized he had been played.

“Oh that’s just not fair, how am I supposed to compete with three other men?” he played along, keeping close to her with his endearing pout plastered across his face.

“Luckily for you I can’t seem to win over Paul. ” Ignoring the pout became increasingly difficult the longer she watched him. “I’m not very good at making people love me apparently.”
“I wouldn’t say that,” the playful tone in his voice dropping immediately.

Kimberly felt her heartbeat quicken at the shift in the conversation. It was too much to ask that he felt anything for her when she knew she would only hurt him. They could sleep together and enjoy each other as much as possible but the idea that they could share more than a common attraction hurt. She would never be able to forgive herself if anything past flirting happened with Luscious if that was true.

“I’m sure of it, the dance is supposed to be able to seduce the audience and I only manage to step on Paul’s feet,” she said, unaware of the small space between them being closed. “Sophie thinks I’m just not that good an actress.”

“Maybe it’s Paul’s fault. Come on, show me the steps and I’ll try to help.”

“You just want me to dance for you.”


John’s smirk was enough to make the chill of the empty theater melt away; her heart beat quickening as he took her hands his in. With one fluid tug he helped Kim down from the platform onto the stage floor beside him.

Neither said a word as Kimberly took the lead to show him to the center of the stage, leaving his side for a moment to set her phone up to play her music from the front of the stage.

“What kind of music is this?” John asked, his smirk growing into an entire smile as he watched Kim return to his side.

“Shut up, I like it.”

Carefully she took his hands, moving one to her side, keeping the other in her hand. His hands were significantly smaller than Paul’s though she doubted anyone’s were larger. Even so his hands held her with a strength Paul never had and they created a heat she doubted anyone else could.

Slowly she began to lead him through Paul’s steps, quietly explaining where to move and when to pull her closer. What normally felt rigid and mechanical soon became lighter. Her own steps mirroring John’s with a natural flow she had only come close to experiencing once before during her audition.

It was then that she realized it wasn’t how she was dancing that had been the problem but who she was dancing with. While with Paul the dance seemed like only a job, with John it fit.

She felt right. She didn’t have to pretend to want him because she did; with every fiber of her being she wanted him.

And she knew he wanted her.

The music slowly started to pick up and with it there steps. Moving in a perfect grace the two took hold over the stage. Keeping to the steps Kimberly pulled away, trailing her hand down John’s arm before he grabbed hold of her wrist, pulling her back to him with a need she had never seen before.

” …Sing out this song and I’ll be there by your side.”

For the show Kim would have to sing to Paul, but for now she took the moment to stay by John’s side as the music played. Their movements getting closer together before one or the other pulled away keeping a safe distance as they revolved around the stage.

John’s hands always managed to hold onto hers to pull her back, to trace her hips as they circled each other, to hold onto her waist when he lifted her. His need for her combined with his strength making each lift better than the last.

“Storm clouds may gather, storms may arise. But I love you…”

He lifted her again, allowing her to place her arms on his shoulders, their gazes heavy as he looked up to her.

“…Until the end of time,” Kimberly found herself muttering the lyrics John’s grip on her waist tightening as he lowered her to his level. “Come what may.”

Their bodies were already pressed together, Kimberly’s hands running John’s broad shoulders to pull his hands off her waist, holding onto them fiercely. She had forgotten any promise to Dakota, to Luscious, or to the theater.

“Come what

John’s lips hovered over hers, a thousand unspoken words covered for him by the song.

“I will love you, until my dying day…”

Before either of them had time to realize if they had uttered the words first or if the song had beaten them to it their lips collided with a force they couldn’t stop. John kissing with such a heated passion Kimberly found her self allowing his tongue in within moments, her hand letting go of his to knot his soft blonde hair between her fingers. Her tongue battling his as he moved her backstage to hide amongst the curtains.

She forgot whatever pain she was bound to cause him, she needed him far too much to let him go.

Against her better judgment she loved him and as she soon heard through a flurry of kisses against her neck as they worked their way out of their clothes before pressing themselves against the wall, he loved her.

Every inch of her body burned aching for his touch, her dance clothes finding themselves tossed to the side with his expensive get up.

Her legs wrapping around his waist as he pressed her back against the wall with a simple strength that she adored. A hard throbbing pressing against the side of her thigh before she positioned him at her entrance, allowing him inside her with a sharp gasp that echoed across the empty stage.

Her grip on his hair tightened as he kissed down to her chest, moving his mouth over one breast with a heat that sent shivers up her spine.

Slowly he began to move inside her, sucking and biting the hardened nub of flesh between his teeth as he did so.

Kimberly’s free hand raked across his shoulders, feeling the definition of each muscle as he moved below her. His hips moving against him inside her faster causing her to moan in pleasure. His name escaping her lips as he moved back up to kiss her neck.

Everything about him made her body shiver with delight as he began to match the fire of his kisses with the strength of his thrusts.

John’s hands trailed across her body absentmindedly, grabbing at anything and everything they could as her legs tightened around his waist. With one careful movement he pushed the arm she had around his shoulders back against the wall. Holding onto her hand tight to give him something to grip he began to move quicker until he felt her body tighten around him when he made contact to the sweet bundle of nerves that caused her to arch her back.

His body melding with hers until neither could tell whose pleasure came from which person. Their bodies tensing up in tandem as the pleasure overtook them both. Moans of ‘John’ and ‘Kimberly’ filling the theater long after the music had ended but they had no care over being heard.

They loved each other and come what may they would not let the other forget it.

At least not willingly.

…to be continued

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