Kevin took a long, slow sip of the sweet tea one of the waitresses had brought around, sighing happily at the perfect southern blend of sugariness to tea flavor. It was so good to be home again, even if it was only a momentary visit. He and the boys had all taken the opportunity to join in the yearly festivities of the Kentucky Derby. He stood alone at the edge of the balcony, observing the parade of horses and jockeys in brightly colored numbers. The majestic beasts were being displayed to all the spectators before they trotted towards the starting gates.
He blocked out his surroundings for a moment, closing his eyes and lifting his face towards the warm May sun. Though there had been the threat of rain all morning, the glowing orb continued to shine undaunted by the scattering of silvery gray clouds in the sky. The smell of the stables and horses had bothered Nick and Aj when they first arrived to Churchill Downs, but Kevin inhaled deeply, pulling as much of the spicy sweet smell into his lungs. On his second intake, a fresh, delicious perfume invaded his nostrils. His jade stone eyes opened slowly, attempting to cling to the serenity the mingling scents gave him. From his peripheral vision, he noticed someone standing at the rail a few feet from him.
Upon first glance, all Kevin could see was the large brim of a traditional, extravagant Derby hat, midnight black with a cluster of peacock feathers decorating the band. The wearer of the jet-black hat wore a curve-hugging tea length dress, in a color that seemed plucked right from a peacock's long shimmery teal neck. The slick, satiny material sheathed her every arch and bend, all the way to just below her knees, a slit all the way up to mid-thigh to grant her mobility. He could not help but let his eyes continue to drift upwards towards the well-rounded posterior accentuated by the snug blue-green fabric.
The mysterious peacock shifted her stance, waving towards someone with a long graceful hand. She finally turned towards him, leaning on the rail of the balcony to look out towards the track. He noticed her take a long, slow breath similar to his own, chuckling to himself when a small smile formed on her dewy rouge lips. Her eyes were hidden by large Audrey Hepburn style sunglasses, but he could tell when she glanced over at him.
"You must be a Kentucky girl..." Kevin smiled charmingly at her, enjoying those full lips to smirk at him. He wished he had worn sunglasses himself at that point, fully aware his eyes were roving down to the cleavage created by the tight v of the dress. He noticed a thin silver chain with a small crooked heart adorned the bare, tan skin, glinting radiantly, as if winking at him invitingly between the two pillows of flesh.
"Mm, what gave me away?" She asked in a smooth, barely southern drawl. The contented smirk remained on her lips, fully aware he was checking her out. But, it was something she was used to, and waited for the expected next lines of the usual script. She took an opportunity to drink in the darkly handsome features in the crisp white suit. Short ebony hair was slicked down under his hat, matching the thick black eyebrows topped the most stunning pair of emerald green eyes she had ever seen. The smile on his face seemed to soften what looked to be a rather serious face, the hard line of his lips relaxed and hooked upward at the corners. A well-kept mustache and goatee bordered the smirk on those inviting lips.
"Nobody I know smiles like that at the smell of stables and horses, unless they grew up with it..." He held his hand out to her, "I'm Kevin, a home-grown Kentucky boy."
Her face held a momentary look of surprise before slipping her small hand into his larger one. "Stephanie. And you got me. I spent many summers on my grandpa's tobacco farm in Hardin County. I used to ride his old Clydesdale, Marvel."
Kevin squeezed her hand gently and shook it. "Stephanie, it is truly a pleasure. Who's your lucky horse today?"
"All my cash is on Platinum Avalanche. It's silly, and rarely does me any good, but I always bet on the gray horse, if there is one in the race. Silly superstition, I know." She admitted, pulling her sunglasses off so that they could make eye contact. Her dark hazelnut eyes met his sparkling green ones and in an instant, they were laughing for no apparent reason.
"Well, maybe today will be your lucky day... I usually pick by the name I like best, which is an even sillier superstition, really. This year, I've got some dough on Poetry in Motion. Can I get you a drink?"
"I saw one of the waitresses with a tray of lemonades, I've been watching for her to come back by, but no luck... Never any luck." She giggled softly, very aware he had yet to let go of her hand.
"Maybe your luck is changing. Excuse me, miss, could we get one of those lemonades over this way, please?" Kevin called to someone behind her, pulling one of the tall, skinny glasses from the tray when the black and white garbed waitress responded to his request. "See, your luck is improving already..."
"I can't disagree with you on that, Sir. Thank you." Stephanie accepted the perspiring drink, and took a long sip. "Would you like to maybe have a seat? I'll even let you keep holding my hand, I just need to get out of these heels for a sec..."
Kevin's angular cheeks seemed to darken with a blush when he glanced down and noticed his hand was still grasping hers with a gentle sway. "Oh, yes, of course. A seat sounds good."
Once they had settled into a pair of seats away from the crowds of people, Stephanie leaned down and yanked her black heels off. Kevin watched intrigued as she stretched her toes out and wiggled them. She took another long sip of her drink and gazed up at him again expectantly.
"I heard it was supposed to rain today..." Kevin started, and groaned internally at his sudden lack of good conversational skills but kept going with a tone of embarrassment, "... but, it looks like we have plenty of sunshine for the race."
"Mmm, yes, one of the constants of Kentucky weather, give it an hour and it will be like a different season." She grinned, aware of his embarrassment, sensing he was the type who always knew what to say to women to make them swoon. She originally assumed he had recognized her and was perhaps shy, but he had not once brought it up. It dawned on her that he might have no clue who she was, just that he might just be intrigued by her, "Are you going to be in the area for a while after the races are over?"
"For a few days, maybe a week. Got some work to get back to in New York in a couple weeks. I never get to stay as long as I would like. But I'm making time to visit my mom in Lexington while I have the time to." He frowned a little at the thought that he would be so limited in his time with his family.
"Oh, I know exactly what you mean. I've managed to book a few days stay over too. A couple of my lady friends are letting me show them the sights. Sadly, I don't know that I will get to see my granddad for this trip, unless I can squeeze in a quick visit. But I'll be staying here in Lou for the duration of the stay..."
It was a soft pitch and Kevin caught it happily, "Well, if we are both going to be in the area, perhaps we can... if you wanted to do something..."
"That would be wonderful. I would really really like that, Kevin. Let me give you my number..." She responded cheerfully, plucking an abandoned pen from one of the nearby tables along with a napkin, a red wine ring stain present on it. Inside the burgundy ring, she wrote down her cell phone number, with a double x and o underneath it.
"Wonderful, I will..."
Whatever Kevin had been planning to say was interrupted by the announcement that the jockeys and horses were ready to begin. Stephanie quickly slipped her heels back on, grabbing Kevin's hand to guide them back to the balcony railing so that they could see the track.
"Hey Kev... how about a kiss for luck?" She smirked at him boldly, pressing her index finger to her cheek. His half smile brightened to a wide grin and he leaned towards her, his dry lips caressing her warm skin. He felt her cheek shift as she beamed, "Thank y..."
Her thanks was cut off as those firm lips skirted over hers. She could swear she heard bells, whistles, bullhorns in celebration. Her fingers stroked the dark hair at his temple and pressed a little closer to his mouth, even more excited when his arm wrapped about her waist. When he pulled back to look at her, her dark doe eyes were sparkling. He opened his mouth to apologize for being so forward, but her lips crashed against his before he could utter a word. Her soft, moist tongue touched his lips and he almost groaned aloud, opening his mouth to join the teasing game. He swallowed her ecstatic mewl with delight, his hands stroking the silky material around her waist. Her nails found the nape of his neck and scratched delicately, eliciting a similar sound of pleasure from him and his grip to tug her closer to his frame. The sound of hoots and applauding made her pull back in surprise.
The pair looked around them confused and embarrassed at first, realizing they had missed the entire race. They grinned sheepishly at each other, cheeks in matching shades of deep pink as the chatter around them indicated a great neck and neck race. Kevin's hand remained tight around her waist, while hers cupped his cheek. She felt him move towards her again, and leaned in receptively before a loud, jovial voice interrupted the motion,
"Steph, oh my GOD! I won! Dude, I bet on the right horse!" A voluptuous blonde in a short strapless hot pink dress bounded up to the pair, her generous chest bouncing obscenely in the barely managing confines of the dress. Her exaggeratedly large straw hat was covering her honey blonde head and shielding her devastatingly beautiful cherub face and bright cerulean eyes from the sunshine.
"Wow, that is really awesome Theresa! Good job! Who did you bet on?" Stephanie smiled politely, pulling back from Kevin just enough to put a breath of space between them, but grabbing his hand and squeezing it gently.
"Charging Forward or something like that... Oh, I, uhh, see that you're otherwise occupied." Theresa's flirtatious eyes roved over the handsome older man before continuing, "I just wanted to let you know we're probably headed to one of the parties tonight. Did you want to take the limo back to the hotel with us?"
"Aww, are we leaving so soon?" The lusciously full lower lip poked out like a toddler's for a brief moment, giving Kevin a strong desire to suck on it before she turned her attention back to him. He met her eyes and noted the apologetic smile.
"Yeah, Holly says her allergies are going crazy with all the stinky horses and stuff, so we're all headed back... You don't have to leave yet, if you didn't want to."
Stephanie's eyes held Kevin's with a hint of longing before she answered. "Will you be out partying the night away? I'm supposed to at least make a few appearances for the evening."
"I'm not much of a party animal, but I had thought about going to one or two. I'm kind of expected to be spotted too." His hold on her hand unconsciously tightened, nonverbally hinting at his displeasure of her sudden departure. Theresa just watched with a broad grin on her face, about to burst at the seams with excitement and questions. She forced herself to stay quiet to give them a moment, but once alone, she'd get information from Stephanie, no doubt about it.
"Well, you have my number, in case you want to bump into each other again. Call me, maybe we can... do this again." She offered a wink, and while not wanting to, stepped from the circle of his arm. Her hand still held his and she squeezed his fingers once more, "Promise you'll call?"
He smirked at her, secretly pleased by her lingering hold and the glitter of pleasure in her mahogany eyes. "You'll be lucky if I don't call within five minutes of you walking away..."
"Hmm, and suddenly I don't mind never having any luck..." She grinned and leaned into his face again, pressing a soft kiss to his cheek. His arm tightened around her waist, pulling her close to him for a hug.
"I hope I see you soon." His warm breath rustled the black coffee hair pinned behind her ear and she immediately squeezed him tighter, delighting in how perfectly the two fit together. He pulled back slowly and place a chaste kiss to her mouth, surprised but thrilled when her fingers grasped the hair at the back of his head again and pulled him closer. The kiss had to be memorable, he wanted her to be thinking about it every time her phone rang until they could meet again. When their mouths finally parted, their breathing was ragged but both held mischievous smiles.
"I really have to go. Bye..." Stephanie stammered softly, tugging free from him and strutting away, her tall heels making her hips swing in a salacious and enticing way. At the top step of the upper balcony, before she disappeared from sight, she turned back to him with a smile and blew him one more kiss.
Kevin stood stunned and floating in the spot she had left him, oblivious to the ruckus of his two band mates approaching him with less grace and double the urgency. When Aj's ring clad hand waved in front of his face, he finally came back to reality. "Oh, hey guys, enjoy the race?"
"No where near as much as you did, man! Am I right?!" His tattooed friend chuckled wickedly, "I cannot believe you got Miss July's number and you're asking us about some stupid race... I only need like two more months to round out my 12 bunnies. Think she could hook me up with Miss February? That girl has a body that just won't quit!"
"Miss July? What are you talking about? Was she a pageant winner or something?" Kevin's thick brows furrowed together in confusion, growing a bit annoyed when Nick laughed and slapped his back playfully.
"Kev, man, you were making out with a Playboy Centerfold..."
Kevin's stomach dropped to his brown loafers, "That is not funny, Nick. You don't even know her!"
"Ahem, Stephanie Thayer, age 24, born in Louisville, Kentucky. Hobbies include horseback riding, running, and cooking. Likes her fellas tall, dark, and handsome and is a sucker for green eyes. Which explains her jumping on your shit until waiting for me to arrive, I guess... Do I need to go on?"
"Stop it. What are you guys trying to say? She's a model?" He asked hopefully, dreading the overly excited faces in front of him.
"No, dude, that honey is a Playboy Bunny!"