There were suited-up waiters serving gourmet canapes, and nobody asked for ID when I grabbed a flute of champagne from one of the silver trays. The music was low and pleasant, the room was huge, and the attending guests all wore designer clothes. I felt out of my league and depressed, my mind consumed with Bastian. Despite getting some approving looks from men in the room, I couldn’t muster up the enthusiasm to chat with any of them. I just wanted Bastian, but I knew how wrong it was, so I did my best to stop the need for him in its tracks.
“Holly!” Sean came over, handing me another glass of champagne. “You seem so down. Are you sure you don’t want to hit up the dancefloor with me and Rosie?” He motioned to my best friend who was busy twerking on an older gentleman, making me snicker.
“No, I’m fine, thanks,” I mutter. “Go have fun.”
“Sure, Holly. Don’t forget though; we’re here for you.” He winked. I nodded gratefully, surprised Sean had turned out to be such a gentleman. That was unexpected.
Even two hours into the party, I couldn’t see Bastian anywhere. I knew I’d recognize him, even with a mask on. It seemed like he’d bailed, and the thought filled me with regret at knowing I wouldn’t see him that night. Not that it was a good idea, but… for days, my body had been aching for him, crying out for the closeness we’d had in his bedroom. I’d tried to replicate it with my vibrator, but it didn’t even come close. I wanted the real thing. I wanted Bastian. I wasn’t sure whether I was ready to admit it to him yet, but his absence made me think of him that much more. What I’d do to be in his arms, feel his strong grip on my butt, his cock spearing me and leaking the treat I’d worked so hard for all over my pussy. God. The thought alone made me wet, and I flushed, putting the glass down and heading to our table.
Rosie and Sean were still busy dancing, but I’d seen the program for the night, and I knew Bastian was one of the speakers for the event. Surely he wouldn’t flake. Throughout the next twenty minutes, my eyes kept darting to the stage, hoping he’d show up for his slot. But no. He didn’t come. The embarrassed host had no idea what was going on, and dread twisted my stomach into knots. What if something bad happened?
My mind latched onto the idea and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. A car crash, a freak accident…. It could have been anything. What if something really happened? Something terrible?
I was getting myself worked up. All the emotions I’d bottled up since my mother had died, closed and locked behind thick doors, were struggling to break free at the most inappropriate of moments. I felt myself getting choked up, the emotion coming to a head inside me. I was going to start crying. I was already hyperventilating, terrified and on the verge of tears. I took off my mask as my eyes scanned the dancefloor, panicking as I looked for Sean and Rosie. But I couldn’t see either of them.
Just then, a hand wrapped around my forearm, and I turned around with a gasp dying on my lips. It was him. The one I wanted it to be the most.
“Bastian,” I whispered.
“Shhh, sugar plum.” He smoothed my hair down. “Are you having a funny turn?”
“Yes,” I managed to get out. I hadn’t heard those two words in a long time. It’s what Mom used to call my panic attacks. Bastian had seen a few in his time with us, but I hadn’t had one since Mom had gone. She’d been the only one able to help me when it happened, the only one who knew how to calm me down. Without her there, I was afraid I’d simply shatter.
“It’s okay, sugar plum,” Bastian went on, his voice soft and calm. “Look at me. Right into my eyes, and breathe deep. Hold my hands. As tight as you can.” His hands took mine and I wrapped my fingers around him, taking trembling breath after breath. “See? You’re being such a good girl, Holly. I’m so, so proud of you. Keep looking at me. That’s right, right here.”
My eyes bore into his. I didn’t feel scared then like I had that morning after. I felt like he was saving me. Like he’d been sent there to save me.
“In and out,” he kept saying. “In and out, breathe with me, Holly. It’s all right.” He gently pried one hand out of my grip and handed me a glass of water. “Drink. The whole glass, nice and slow.”
I gulped down the water, and when I set the glass down, I choked out a sob, and a single tear slid down my cheek.