In the years following the theatrical comeback and curtain-close finale of the Arabic symphonic metal band Elk Garden, the aging, anonymous frontman - The Black Stag - wants to give a gift to his daughter. Their strange relationship has cut them off from the rest of the world, and the girl craves a public intimacy with the man she holds in her heart as her father and her husband. A normalcy; a luxury neither of them can be afforded.
They seize on an unexpected opportunity as the seasons turn and the leaves begin to change: a Halloween-themed masquerade ball. They play the part of total strangers to heighten the intensity of their game, and risk drowning beneath the heady allure of being just another couple in the crowd...
This is a work of fiction intended for adult audiences only.
Ila's eyes flicked up at her table-mate's small gasp, peering at the woman she knew through a friend of a friend... of a friend. Her gaze wandered to where she was gawking, and she felt an immediate flare of heat rush beneath her skin.
"Who is --" The high, lilting voice of the woman next to her cut off with an indignant huff. Ila wasn't paying attention to why. Her name might have been Susanne. Did names matter here, really?
"What, the old guy?" A softer, fuller voice. Her name was... Clara? Ila hadn't paid attention to who was who, beyond a vague recollection of the one to her left.
Susanne sometimes called Ila to go out on the odd girl's night - usually when no one else she'd rather call was available, and she had said so to Ila's face. It was a bummer to find that out, that she was only an afterthought; at least until she realized she could capitalize on that indifference in a way not even she could've seen coming...
"Are you seeing this, look at him --" A commotion that Ila ignored from a third girl whose name she definitely did not know, and didn't care to find out. She was too focused on the stranger that had walked into the hall, at least a foot and a half taller than everyone else in the room. He was impossible to miss.
He liked to be dramatic in his own way, so he'd come to the masquerade party dressed in one of his vintage suits, tailor-made to fit his towering height and broad frame. She watched nimble, dark fingers tug at his cufflinks, and let the smallest smirk slip across her face. She could see a sliver of his tattoo sleeve on his right wrist, the edge of a near black-red rose petal crowding onto the top of his veined hand.
"He's... Who is this guy?"
"No idea." Ila finally added her voice to the conspiratorial murmurs at her table, but didn't listen for a reply.
It hadn't helped his entrance that he'd had to duck extra low to even get in - his mask was a bone white half-mask with interlacing, curving black patterns over its surface, dripping silver threads with dewdrops of emerald glass on each side. For a final touch, that added unneeded height, a small - if impressive - rack of bone-white and black-tipped elk antlers swept up and back from the mask.
Ila rested her jaw on her knuckles, tapping a nail on the stem of her wine glass. She hadn't seen him when she left the house a few hours before, and he hadn't let her be privy to what he'd be wearing, just as she hadn't. This was... A very nice surprise. A stag to her doe. A matched pair.
Ila breathed a quiet sigh of relief at getting her name right. This was some formal, Halloween college function up north in their city; plenty of distance between the familiar and the unknown.
"You keep staring at him, you should go say hi."
She grinned at how her table-mate's brown eyes went wide. No idea if he was even her type - but this wasn't for Susanne. Not really.
"I... I, uh --"
"Scared?" Someone to Ila's right - Clara, maybe - asked, with a tittering laugh.
Another huff, from another girl unknown to Ila, "You can have him Suzy. Easy enough to gawk at, probably ugly as sin under the mask, if what I'm seeing is anything to go by."
Ila clenched her jaw. She chose to drown out their quarreling back and forth again in lieu of slipping and responding in anger. She tracked him to where he'd walked - and she set her glass down a little too hard when her eyes found his pure black ones. Eerie, intense, almost frightening eyes, made even more so from behind the death's-head mask.
An idle smile morphed into an easy, roguish grin when he spotted her. He tipped his head forward as she straightened in her seat, sipping at one of the dark reds on offer. Had he driven, then, or come by taxi? Ila felt a twinge of anxiety at the thought of him driving, a half-remembered pain tingling in her arm. A reminder of an accident that had changed the course of her life - but he knew that. He knew it as painfully as she did. He wouldn't be drinking if he'd intended to drive her home himself.
She came back to the conversation her table-mates were having, doing her best to look alert enough to not rouse suspicion. She didn't know him, after all - she didn't know the tall, dark man across the way, the one in the skull half-mask. Her friend... thrice removed seemed interested, though. Who was Ila to deny her?
Ila looked at Susanne, touching her shoulder with an easy smile.
"He's lookin' at you," she giggled, and the brunette flushed red enough that her beaky, bird-like mask couldn't save her; It couldn't begin to give her even half of a shitty poker face.
"I, I - should I...?"
Ila's gaze returned to his, her head tilting so slightly to her left that only someone with his singular focus would catch it. His eyes were so dark that it was impossible to tell who he was looking at at the table; easy enough to lie about where he'd been looking with such a heated intensity. Susanne was next to her, at any rate - and wouldn't be so attuned to the minute cues in his body language. The flick of fingers, the bob of his Adam's apple, the slight tilt of his head and the shift of his weight to another foot.
"If you're gonna go for it, go for it," Ila hissed, playful, pressing on Susanne's shoulder. She finally relented, standing and weaving through the murmuring crowd toward her target.
It took the mysterious man almost a second too long to take his eyes off Ila, to follow the other woman as though he'd been watching her all along. It made her skin heat with a possessive thrill; made the idea of finding a partner of her own to stoke the covetous fire of his nature all the sweeter.
If Ila only knew one person here, Idris definitely knew not a single soul. The age group was not as varied as it could be, and he was positive that he beat out even the oldest person here by at least three decades, if not four.
He rubbed his fingers together and took another sip of the bitter wine that coated his tongue, watching the woman approach him. She wasn't the woman he wanted, the one he could scarcely take his eyes off of... But, he reasoned, he knew no one here.
Especially not the pretty girl across the room, the one with white hair coiffed in curls coiled to the back of her head, enough hanging loose to frame her face. It lended itself as a blank backdrop to the scarlet drops of glass dangling from gold threads, from a mask that made her look like a speckled, fair fawn. Yearning for a stag counterpart for the night...
"H-hello sir," a voice said at his front, and Idris realized he'd drifted back to staring at the woman across the way again, and not the one he was supposed to be looking at. The doe would have to wait.
He cleared his throat, swapping the glass to his left hand. "Hello, beautiful bluebird."
The woman in front of him seemed stunned for a second. Were it even possible, she flushed brighter red, shaking and offering her hand. He slid his fingers beneath hers, bending low to press his lips to her knuckles. She made a surprised sound; he wondered if that's all she would do tonight.
"Oh, m-my name is --"
"I thought there were no names here?" Idris cut her off with a purr, pitch eyes half-lidded in the shadow of his mask.
The woman stammered, then blew out a breath, and Idris chuckled low in his throat. He knew he was intimidating but this felt - almost - like a cruelty to the poor girl. An entertaining one, but a cruelty nonetheless.
"Right, you're right. Well, you called me bluebird, w-what should I call you?"
Idris straightened to his full height, letting go of her hand. He tilted his head down and swirled the wine in his glass, pursed his lips and hummed, then said, "Elk. Deer. Stag. No one else, as far as I can see," he gestured with his free hand, "is themed after such an animal."
She made a sound, craning her neck to look at his face. "Elk it is. Sounds... Different when you say it," she reached toward the long table next to them and grabbed an empty glass, pouring herself a sweeter white.
Idris's jaw clenched, and he blew out a slow breath from flared nostrils as he watched her drink deep from the very full wineglass. That didn't bode well.
"What kind of accent is that? You don't sound like you're... from here." She asked with an easier smile and a hand gesture, once she'd come up for air that wasn't suffused with alcohol. He raised an eyebrow behind the mask. Might as well have pointed to his skin, too, and wondered why he wasn't white like most everyone else in attendance.
"Arabic. I was born and raised in Lebanon; English is a second language." He didn't bother to mention the specific dialect, nor that he'd grown up in Byblos at the last half of the forties and through the fifties, nor that his mother had immigrated from Sudan and given him her darker complexion and eyes, while the rest was from his fairer, harsher-featured father. Her pretty brown eyes were already glazing over.
She swirled her glass, then asked with an edge to her voice, "Arabic - doesn't that mean you're Muslim?"
He smiled, and it didn't reach the glittering intensity of his eyes. "Mm. You are from America, and you speak English - does that mean you are Christian?"
"Well... not technically," she admitted, rubbing at the back of her neck, "I --"
"It is fine, I understand," he took a breath, "but, no. I do not practice Islam. I have not for many, many years."
Idris bit the inside of his cheek, and rubbed at his beard, tugging at the tied end of it as if in thought. "I was not... The best Muslim, is all."
She shifted from foot to foot as he fell silent, and he had to stop himself from pinching the bridge of his nose; for the sake of politeness, and because he'd grab with futility at the mask on his face instead. He was used to the mixed immigrant population closer to downtown - it had been a long time since he'd seen someone unnerved by him, not his height, and it set his teeth on edge.
"So... How long have you been here?"
He took a deeper draught, sucking on his teeth after and wishing it was something hard enough to get him hammered with any notion of speed.
"In the US for... Mmh. Over thirty years? It has been a long time."
He smiled another easy, confident smile, hoping it would disarm the bluebird in front of him. She relaxed from her tense posture, and he wasn't sure if it was his smile or his answer. Either way, he wasn't sure he liked the answer much.
To try and clear the air, he asked her with all the sincerity he could muster, "You are from here. What about you?"
Bluebird started talking about... Something. College, maybe? Born in this city, raised in this city. He made a noise of acknowledgment when she mentioned marine biology, and he sidled just a bit closer. Playing the part of an interested, charmed man - while searching for the one he'd almost forgotten he wasn't supposed to know for tonight, in stolen flickers towards the crowd. That knowing her would ruin the fun, though their familiarity ran blood and bone deep.
Idris spotted her, then, and when he did, his heart skipped. He, mercifully, nearly forgot about the woman yapping away at the height of his ribs.
She'd paired up with someone, petting a hand down his arm. He was taller than her, a head of tousled black hair, suit jacket discarded somewhere. His mask was gray and white with inlaid silver, a jutting muzzle and pointed ears giving the impression of a wolf. Wolves ate little does - and this wolf looked hungry.
His teeth clenched and he swallowed, making another noise to keep up the appearance of paying attention. The stranger's lilac eyes flicked to his behind the visage of a wide-eyed doe, and a slow smile spread across her face. She went back to talking to her partner, sliding her arms around his neck in an uncharacteristic gesture of affection. His heart slammed against his sternum, an energy vibrating in his blood, ready to snap --
"... why are you so tall, anyway? I don't think I've ever met anyone so tall --"
Idris's eyes closed as he came back to reality, and a nearly inaudible growl hummed in the back of his throat. He cut her off with a short sound of acknowledgment, and then answered in stuttered, snappy Arabic.
The woman finally stopped talking, and he sniffed. Why didn't she respond?
He tried again - and then realized mid-word, when he looked down at her very blank face even behind the blank masquerade mask, that he wasn't talking to the one he wanted to talk to. Of course she wouldn't understand him. He cleared his throat, frustrated, and tugged at his shirt collar to hide it.
"I am sorry, I - I sometimes forget, not many understand Arabic here in America," he smiled and swapped his glass between his hands again, pouring more from the bottle set on the table, "my daughter does not speak it, but she can understand me, and she is usually the only young woman I talk to."
"Ah." Bluebird took another generous swallow from her glass, then refilled it from the bottle on the table.
At this point Idris was ready to hand her another whole damn bottle, for all the trouble it took to keep pouring glasses of wine.
"Are you married?"
Idris peered down at her. "Why do you ask?"
She gestured to his left hand, "You've got a ring, so I figured... Better safe than sorry." Laugher - unnerved laughter. Much as he hated the thought, he hoped the girl across the hall was having a better time with her partner.
"No. Never married. My daughter gave it to me for my seventy-second birthday a few years ago," he said; a half truth. She hummed, and were it possible, became even paler at his answer.
"My dad left when I was a kid, so..." she shrugged, not looking up enough to catch the distasteful curl of his lip, the way he leaned away from her the looser her tongue became, "Your daughter is very lucky --"
"Would you like to dance with me?" Idris cut her off, an edge to his low, rough voice. A cat whose fur was being rubbed the wrong way - that's what he felt like. Anything to get her to quit rubbing his fur all wrong.
She blushed, mumbling, "I mean, is that... Safe? You're, um, older than I thought --"
He cut her off with a short, sharp sound, took another swallow of wine, and grabbed her glass from her hands. He set them both on a tray that bussed by without taking his eyes off of hers. The message was clear: do not underestimate me.
Bluebird burned brighter under his scrutiny, and slid her hand into his offered one without comment. Idris's grip was firmer in leading her than it had been when he met her; especially with the added wobble to her stride.
He took the time to look into the crowd again - towards dancers and onlookers alike - and found the pale, pretty doe led by the hand at the exact same time by her wolfish partner. Black met lilac, and when they stopped an arms length away from each other with their respective partners, they both took up positions as lead and follow, and began to dance.
Now - now Idris understood why she'd asked for lessons with him two months prior, and why she'd asked to practice the week before.
Ila had been having a much better time with her partner - until, that was, she hadn't.
"So...?" Ila asked, a smile teasing at the corners of her mouth.
The wolf had been chatty until this point, and his thoughtful silence began to unsettle her; out of place as they stepped along the dance floor.
At the third sweep, her skirts fanning out enough to brush another dancer, one of his hands settled just a little lower than her waist and he asked nonchalantly against her ear, "So... Does the carpet match the drapes?"
Ila went rigid with shock, but kept moving. A stiff automaton, exerting enough force to almost - but not quite - lead her leader in their dance momentum. She clenched her jaw, exhaling a quiet laugh that might have sounded nervous to an untrained ear.
"Well," an easy smile that made her gut twist, an ignorance - or arrogance - that made her grow colder by the second, "I've never met an albino before, and, I dunno, idle curiosity?"
A saccharine smile, a baring of teeth more than a gesture of affection, "So, you figured you'd ask the first one you've ever met, my dear, dear Wolf?"
He twirled her again, and she felt the brush of a body behind her that made every last hair stand on end; made her forget her disgust, if only for right then. When they stepped and quarter turned, she glanced over her partner's shoulder and... up.
The mysterious man in black in the patterned skull mask stared back at her. He led his partner with a confidence she wished she was following - though it looked like he was having as tough a time as she, with how sloppy his follow was.
Ila exhaled, biting her lip. The man in black flashed his teeth at her - and when their hungry eye contact broke apart, she came to and realized her wolf partner had been chattering the entire time, heedless to her indifference. Maybe to save face, maybe he hadn't noticed how inappropriate the question was, maybe --
"Hey, you've got a ring on. Are you engaged, or something? You seem a little young to be engaged."
Ila tuned in at just the right opportunity to be gobsmacked again, it seemed. She glanced at her left hand held out in his right - where he'd been looking to watch the traffic of other couples - and caught the glint of plain silver in the dim light of the hall. Right.
He grinned with his glance back towards her, and Ila's eyes fluttered shut in unbridled annoyance.
"I think I'm older than you, actually. I'm twenty seven."
She took a step forward with his step back, deliberate in scuffing the toe of his shoe, her smile broad but hostile, "And, no. My father gave it to me for my birthday a few years ago. It didn't fit on my right hand."
"I'm twenty three," he mumbled, then went mercifully quiet. It felt like an eternity later that the strings and piano faded, allowing the two of them to step back. Ila excused herself as the band began to play again, muttering about water. He didn't look very upset to see her go.
Ila weaved her way through the break in the crowd toward the refreshment table, ending up next to an equally alone woman in the empty stretch of floor, leaning forward on the table. She grabbed a bottle of water and was about ready to crack it open when the woman beside her turned to her.
"He's so... Weird," she whined, with a sniff. Ila did a double-take before recognizing the voice's owner. Really?
"The guy! The super tall guy, he's really," she wiggled a hand and swayed on her feet despite leaning on the table, then stage-whispered behind that same hand, "really... foreign."
Ila stopped herself from curling her lip in disgust. Not that the drunk girl at her side would notice.
"Don't you think that's rude, Susanne?"
She reached for a tiny pumpkin tart, while simultaneously taking the sloshing glass of alcohol out of a swaying hand. Susanne made a noise of protest, but didn't react beyond that, her entire face several shades redder than it had been thirty minutes before.
"So, when they say liquid courage, honey," Ila turned to face her, her voice on this side of sarcastic, "I don't think they mean three bottles of wine in an hour."
She held up three fingers for emphasis in front of her face, and bleary brown eyes all but crossed to look at them. Susanne shook her head, pushing Ila's hand away, and sniffed again. Ila wasn't positive three bottles was all she'd had.
"You don't get it! He's so --"
"Please. Please. Hush." Ila ground out between clenched teeth.
She didn't seem to hear her. "He spoke Arabic at me!? I didn't even know Arabic sounded like that! He's been here for thirty years he says, but his accent is so thick, and he used to be Muslim? Aren't they supposed to be ter --"
Ila went bug-eyed, and she put a hand down none-to-gently on Susanne's shoulder to get her attention, halting her mid-word. She looked vaguely offended, glowering with unfocused eyes at Ila.
"Hey. Hey. If he's too much for you, maybe you'd like mine instead?"
Ila squinted. Really? Really? That was his name? "His name is Paul?"
Susanne opened her mouth, but Ila emphatically shook her head and grabbed at her hands, "Wait. Don't answer, I don't want to know. Yes. Wolf Boy. Paul - whatever - take him."
What Ila didn't say was that he danced like a limp noodle and that he was a whiny fucking prick - not that Susanne cared right about now. She at least knew his name; she probably knew what she was in for... Whenever she sobered up.
"Please take the weird old man from me," she whined again with a pout, as if she hadn't comprehended the last couple minutes of conversation. Or had forgotten. Either possibility made Ila have to count backwards from ten in her head.
Ila breathed through her nose, her smile tight-lipped to stop from grimacing in a way even a very drunk Susanne would pick up.
"Sure, yes. But, you owe me one for this. And," she shoved the unopened bottle of water into her hands, "please drink all of this water, and five other bottles like it."
"Yep, mhm, mhm --"
She grabbed at the glass Ila had taken from her, downed what was left and placed it back in her hand, about-faced, then made a wobbly beeline for Wolf Boy - Paul - without looking back. At least she was still holding the water bottle.
Ila finally sneered at Susanne's back. She hoped she would be too drunk to remember owing Ila anything the following morning. She scanned the crowd for the next few minutes to cool her flared temper, picking at the vaguely-reminiscent-of-Halloween hors d'oeuvres in favor of finding an actual meal. She wasn't sure where the night - or the stranger - would take her, so she was conservative on the food and drink for right then.
Outside of Susanne - who she could only say she sort of knew when it was convenient - she didn't know a single person here. The anonymity lifted a weight off her, if only for a little while. No obligation to know her full name, her work, her accident, her living arrangements that kept being questioned -
"I see I have been stood up at last. Was waiting for that."
Ila wished she could say his presence relaxed her, made her breathe a sigh of relief. In any other circumstance, it would've; in the here, the now, it sent a jolt of electricity up her spine, her hair standing on end. It made her want to scream, to purr, to bite and kiss and know --
"Was she really all that fun, anyway?" Ila bit into another tart without looking at the one who stepped beside her.
Idris hummed, his fingertips skimming her exposed shoulders in a subtle, familiar gesture. Gooseflesh rose in the wake of his long nails and the heat of his hand.
"Do I know you well enough for you to touch me, Sir?"
A pause in what was a very wanted gesture, but one that would spoil their game if it continued. His hand withdrew, and he cleared his throat, hands clasped behind his back instead, "My apologies, Ms...?"
The slightest hint of amusement beneath his rough voice gave him away; not that anyone else would pick up on it. It didn't matter - it wasn't for anyone else.
"I'm a little Jane Doe tonight, Mister Stag," Ila looked up at him for the first time without a crowd between them, a wicked gleam in her eye.
Idris huffed a laugh, sliding his gnarled, bony hand over the curve of her back. It was an intimacy Ila allowed this time, her eyes fluttering shut.
"Do you want to know me better tonight, pretty fawn?" A gravel rasp that held untold promise, as his fingertips trailed over the top plane of her shoulder.
Ila's eyes snapped open, and she brushed a strand of hair behind her ear, looking out at the crowd and not at the man next to her. His hand withdrew, and she fought with herself, yearning to drop their game instead of keeping this artificial distance.
He chuckled - a rich, dark sound that thrummed through her. "Would you prefer somewhere else...? We could taxi wherever you like, little doe."
Ila bit her lip at the endearment, then asked, "Did you want to dance with me first? Or are you tired from one dance, old man?"
She reached behind and tapped at his flank with the back of her hand, a gesture that said, with boundless care despite her teasing within their shared game: Are you okay?
Idris - the stranger - responded by shifting his weight and grabbing her hand in his. That simple, full touch ignited Ila's skin, and his other hand smoothed up the length of her captured arm. As if to wick away the minute shudders of excitement tumbling through her limbs.
"I do not think," he pulled her body to face him, black eyes glittering from behind the death's head mask with its crown of antlers, "that I will dance without proper introductions."
Just as he had before with Susanne, he leaned down to press his lips to her knuckles, but unlike Susanne, he lingered with Ila. Her fingers flickered, feather-light touches against his grizzled beard, her bottom lip between her teeth. One kiss became two, two became the smallest nip of teeth, and on the third he reared up to his full height, thumb brushing where his lips had been.
"Your skin," his free hand tipped up her chin between his thumb and forefinger, "is a very pretty pink. Is an old man like me flustering a young girl like you, hmm?"
Ila's lips parted, but no sound came out in reply to his growling cadence - nothing that could be heard through the din of the crowd at least - and his hand left her chin. Reluctant, in how it hovered a fraction of a second too long just beneath her jaw.
She couldn't speak. What could she say that wouldn't ruin their game, that wouldn't halt this descent into pretend alienation and take them back to the danger of the familiar? She could not know him here, could not express their kinship, despite the words that lodged in her throat, words she loathed to swallow.
I love you, I love you, God, I love --
She hadn't realized he'd started moving until there was a tug on her hand, she'd been so focused on the intensity of his pitch black eyes. Idris tilted his head and gently - but firmly - pulled her with him to the floor, grounding her back into some semblance of reality.
They were both thankful they'd taken the few lessons that they had - their height difference was a challenge even with them, never mind attempting completely blind. Idris's posture never compromised, standing at his full height in spite of the two foot drop before even the very top of Ila's head.
Ila kept adjusting, trying to reach for his shoulder after having a partner closer to her height, despite him being the one she'd practiced with. Idris tapped at her shoulder each time she tried to adopt a more standard posture as his follow - and after two failed attempts and taps from Idris, she settled with her hand resting just above his elbow. His purred, gravelly good girl vibrated through her, leaving her trembling in his hands and aware of how hot her skin felt; how many eyes were on them.
"People are staring at us, Sir."
He twirled her away by the hand; when she returned to him, her back was pressed to his front. They both sidestepped, Ila's skirts unfurling and twisting around her legs with the leftover momentum. His dark hand settled on her chest, trailing up to where her jaw met the delicate column of her throat. A violin note rose and held, somewhere in the hall.
"Been staring at me all night. I do not care," he said, gruff.
A shiver, and Ila sunk against him for a moment - then he led her into another twirl away that had her face to face with him again when she returned, their hands clasped out to the side. Idris led with his left hand, and Ila felt the hard pressure of the only ring he ever wore on that hand, reminding her exactly who he was. Grounding her; he could never be a true stranger to her.
He radiated a sureness that was infectious, in spite of them only taking a few lessons and doing sparse practice together in their living room, with the curtains drawn tight. Ila had forgotten half of what she learned, and yet she became half a better dancer with a confident leader. Another step forward then back, another fanning of dark red skirts; neither could look away from the other's eyes until it was unavoidable.
Idris took a breath and stepped them both around the outside perimeter of the floor once, spun Ila out from his body - only to snap her back, ensconced in his arms, and dip her so low her head just brushed the hardwood floor. She would've flinched, tensed, and probably ruined it had she not trusted this man - her partner, her husband, her father - with her life. As it was, all she could do was grip his arms, lost in the sensation of his hands so boldly holding her, in the heat of his breath on her skin.
He tilted his head, enough for their masks to be a non-issue, and pressed his lips against hers. Everything else fell away as Ila's arms wrapped around his neck. Idris pulled up and swept her off her feet in another calculated spin; for a brief moment, both of them were of an equal height to sustain their kiss. It made the heat of it linger, their bodies pressed so firmly together; it suffused a rampant desire into the beat of their blood. A public display of boundless affection, anonymous yet open; dangerous, but safer than even being intimate in their own home sometimes was.
Ila's feet touched ground again just as her thoughts did, after only a split second of being airborne. They both slowed to a stop at the edge of the floor to a scattered applause, unable to look away from the other had either of their lives depended on it.
The applause didn't matter, the stares didn't matter, their lackluster partners didn't matter when Idris crowded Ila into a secluded supply closet not five minutes later, his lips and hands brands of fire on her aching skin. Her arms looped around his neck, finding his hair tie and coaxing his lengthy mane of silver out of it, snaring fingers in thick softness.
"I need you, Idris," Ila half-whispered against his mouth, peppering a kiss to the corner of it - only for his teeth to catch her lower lip, clicking against the captive bead labret piercing. Their eyes locked from behind surreal masks - a stag and a doe, black and lilac, hunger and need - and he let go of her lip, pressing her petite body against him.
"I never gave you my name, little darling doe," he rumbled into her ear.
"Your name is my name, Idris Abdur Rahim Faheem Al-Fasih," Ila hissed back, her fingers digging into the back of his neck.
He leaned down to kiss her again, supporting himself with a hand on the sturdy cabinet above his hunched body. They both broke apart and panted in the space between, her hands caressing what skin she could reach beneath the masquerade mask. When that failed to satiate her, her fingers curled in his hair again, pulling her closer to his face. An act of aggression, an act of possession.
"You're not a stranger anymore."
Her words rasped, spiraled into silence, and Idris stilled, lips relaxing from baring his yellowed teeth. Several more tense moments of quiet followed before he, too, dropped their game in favor of the familiar, the intimate, the taboo.
"Have me," he finally growled, capturing her lips in his before she could think to reply.
He shucked off his tail coat and shoved up his dress shirt sleeves, one huge hand fisting in what had been Ila's perfectly coiffed hair, his other holding her hip, fingers curling into fabric and flesh alike. He pressed his lips to her neck, then bit - muttering something in Arabic Ila almost couldn't catch.
"Quick?" She panted. He made a purring sound somewhere in his chest and licked a stripe of wet heat over her clavicle, over a tensing muscle in her neck beneath near-translucent skin.
"Be quick - o-oh," Ila groaned. His hand snaked beneath her dress, knuckles rubbing her clothed clit in slow circles, sliding over the damp seat of her black panties.
"Be q-quick and we can be slow l-later."
"How quick is quick?" He muttered into her hair, using his fingers to push aside her underwear.
"Do I make you come? Or is that too slow?"
Ila whimpered, then moaned against her father's still somehow-not-disheveled silver waistcoat, hands scrabbling at his shoulders as he sunk his long middle finger into her aching cunt. She flexed her hips, grinding down against his palm - enough to make him groan in appreciation.
"P-please, please, God --"
"Don't want me to take these off?" Idris asked in Arabic, his thumb brushing over the fabric of her panties. Ila shook her head, panting, then yelped when a second knobby finger joined the first.
"Ff - fuck me please, baba...!"
Idris's free hand grabbed a fistful of her disheveled hair again, his fingers curling up inside of her, and he sped up the rocking motion of his arm with a breath sucked between clenched teeth.
"Fuck, fuck fuck -"
Ila's hands settled on his sinewy forearm, splaying over the soft, still prominent peaks and valleys of veins snaking beneath his dark flesh, over the tensing of dense, fibrous muscle.
"Should leave you like this," he hissed into her hair in a mishmash of Arabic and English, his hand thudding against her vulva and eliciting short, breathy gasps from her throat.
Idris pulled her head back by the fistful of hair, pitch black eyes searching what he could of her flushed face behind the delicate doe mask with its clicking, dripping, blood-red beads of decorative glass. "Have you wait and beg for me, when we are finally home. What is a little more waiting for an old man like me, mmh?"
He twisted his hand, sliding a third finger inside of her and growling low in his throat at her moan, "I can fuck you right now - I have been hard all night for you habibti, even listening to that stupid girl you sent over to me, even seeing you with that fucking boy."
Ila whimpered, a plea on the back of her tongue, her nails digging into his forearm. He pulled her head to his broad shoulder, purring against her ear with a quiet, rolling laugh. He slowed the pace of his hand to a steady, deep thrust.
"I can fuck you, make you come on my prick, make you see fucking stars without trying..."
"O-oh fuck, p-please papa --"
"... But I will not."
He stopped then, abrupt and still. Ila made a confused noise while Idris pulled free from her slick heat, eyes focusing in time enough to watch him suck his fingers clean, swiping his tongue between to catch everything. She wheezed a ragged sound in the back of her throat, and he kissed her to cut off her needy, indignant whine; filling her senses with the sweet acrid taste of herself on his tongue with an undercurrent of the bitter, blood-red wine he'd been drinking.
They broke apart, and her fingers weakly clenched in his white dress shirt.
"Oh c-come on --"
"Sshhh," his huge, hot hands cradled her jaw, pressing their faces mask-to-mask, father-stag-to-daughter-doe, "this was your plan, making us wait all week; coming to this place; acting like we are strangers. What is a little more waiting for you, what is a little more of this game for us, hmm...?"
His lips were possessive again; the taste of her a promise of what was to come.
Idris helped her straighten up as much as she could. While it was more difficult to get her hair to behave after being ruined in his grip, they both eventually got it to some level of acceptable. She waved him off, muttering about going to the bathroom to fix it the rest of the way. By that same token, he left his hair down and flowing over his back. His had been simple before - no one would notice it as something amiss now, though they might double-take at the length of it.
All pretense of strangeness forgotten, Ila swiped at some dust on his pitch black suit jacket in a place he couldn't reach. He turned, trying to look, then focused on his front, responding with an idle, gruff thank you.
"S-should I say goodbye to Susanne...?"
Idris looked down at his ascot, attempting to fluff it back to its less disheveled state from a scant few minutes ago. He frowned, then hissed something in Arabic Ila couldn't quite catch.
"I can not believe you sent me a drunk girl with no f-fucking..." He trailed off, trying to find the word before giving up. She got the message, at any rate.
"She was interested, and that was part of the rules, right? No fun if we pretend to be strangers but don't act like it --"
He turned and bent low with a sudden growl, his hands on either side of her on the shelf behind her. Ila started, shut her mouth, then smoothed her palms over his shoulders. He pressed his masked face against hers, huffing while she gathered his hair to one side in an effort to make the curling ends of it a little less unruly.
"Yes, say goodbye to her if she can recognize you anymore."
"And, leaving...?" Ila bit her lip, her fingertips caressing either side of his rough jaw.
He blew out a breath, pressing his broad palm to the side of her head.
"Inshallah, we will not be recognized by anyone," he trailed the backs of his knuckles over her cheek, "say goodbye, I will go around and call the taxi. Will text when it is here."
Idris disappeared by the time Ila wandered out of the restroom and back towards the hall. The masquerade had wound down to a quiet hush in the last half hour, the crowds dispersing. Ila checked out her tiny purse for essentials - her wallet, phone, and keys - and the jacket she'd brought with it from the front desk. She rifled through the contents and reached for her phone as she was walking away toward the hotel double doors, checking the truncated notifications. Nothing yet.
"You danced with him?"
Ila jumped, halting and pressing a hand to her thudding heart. It took her a second to turn and see a much more sober - if still green around the gills - Susanne, her coat slung over her arm.
"Yes, I danced with him. I told you, I'd take him off your hands." Ila frowned. "Do you remember...?"
"Do you know him?"
Ila blinked at the non-sequitur, tilting her head. "What - no?"
Susanne shrugged. "I mean, you sure looked like you knew the Elk guy, Ila."
Ila shook her head, "No, I told you, I don't know who he is --"
"You sure kissed him like you knew who he was, before tonight."
Ila blinked, then straightened, turning to fully face her - staring down the other woman with a gaze as hard as granite. "What the hell is up with you, Susa --"
"I talked to Paul."
Ila's mouth went dry. "What the hell about Paul?"
Susanne smiled, and it didn't reach her glittering brown eyes. "Your ring. You're wearing a ring. The old guy was wearing a ring too."
"A lot of people wear rings?" Ila ground out in a harsh whisper, just as her phone vibrated in her hand.
She glanced down, and Idris's name popped up. Taxi is here.
Ila ran a hand through her hair, an incredulous laugh huffed from a faked smile, "So, it was really nice seeing you again Susanne, but I gotta go..."
"Y'know, it's weird --"
Ila's phone was gone from her grasp in a blink. She stared at her empty hands before looking up, trembling and bewildered, heart in her throat. Susanne scanned the notifications she could see without access to the rest of the phone, lip curling.
"-- that you've both got similar stories with those similar rings. Couldn't put my finger on why; you look nothing alike, and he's so old..."
Ila felt her blood turn to ice in her veins, her stomach knotting with a violent, sudden wave of nausea. This was a mistake, a huge mistake to play such a dangerous game out in the open, where even one person could put two and two together --
"G-give it back," Ila rasped, trying to grab at her phone with shivering hands. Susanne batted her away, sturdier on her feet than she was before.
"Why? Got something to hide?" She glanced again at the notifications, a sneer curling her lip, "Who's Eey-driis? Never heard a name like that."
She gasped then, looking wide-eyed at Ila in mock shock. "Oh! It sounds like it might be the weird old Muslim guy! Did he get you a taxi, Ila?"
"I didn't think anyone was into him! I mean, you pushed me to go say hi, and yet you're the one going home with him? You got to dance so well with him?" She attempted to scroll through to older messages, and made a noise of frustration when she couldn't.
Ila grit her teeth, tears stinging her eyes. She tried again to grab for her phone, but Susanne turned her back. "Give me --"
"Though, y'know, Hannah was right, he was fucking ugly up close. Charming as hell past the accent, but god. Would've had to duct tape his mouth and put a bag over his head if he took me home with him -"
"Give me my phone you fucking cunt!" Ila shouted, sudden and loud enough for it to echo through the hall; loud enough for those left to go silent and stare at the both of them. Fury boiled hot under her skin, and that was finally enough for Susanne to falter and realize what she'd just done within the last few minutes.
After seconds of pause, she held out the phone, mute, and Ila swiped it out of her hand, hard enough to send Susanne teetering on her feet. Her teeth grit so hard her jaw ached, her limbs shaking with an incandescent rage that she'd never felt before.
"What I do with my time and with who is none of your fucking business -" Susanne's eyes found the floor then, a flustered noise in her throat as Ila spoke over her, her voice this side of a shout, "and don't you fucking dare call me again for another phony fucking girls night. Find someone else to take fucking pity on."
Ila shoved past her, trembling harder and harder as her adrenaline spiked high, her heart erratic and hammering so hard she thought it might crack a rib. Even opening the door and drawing in a lungful of ice-cold air did little to cool her scorching blood.
It took her a massive amount of effort to not throw up on Idris's mirror-polished shoes outside of the car when he held the door for her, and once they got in, to not cry on the thirty minute drive home.
He tapped away on his phone, sitting right next to her - awkwardly curled forward, though at least the driver gave him some leg room, and this was not exactly a very small car - and then her phone vibrated in her hand.
His leg brushed hers, their masks settled between his legs on the floor of the car.
She sniffed, holding it together enough to not full on bawl, though a tear did streak down her face as she tapped out a two letter reply.
His phone dinged, and he looked down at it, the light of it throwing the harsh lines of his face into stark relief. He glanced at the driver, then at her, his brows knit. His knuckles smoothed over her hand, while his other tapped on his phone.
Ila sniffled again, reaching up to entwine her fingers with his, resting her face on the back of his dark, gnarled hand.
Yes. Something bad.
Talk about it?
His thumb brushed the fuzzy hair at her temple, and she bit the inside of her cheek hard enough to taste copper.
When we're home... Please?
His hand squeezed hers as he leaned back the best he could and pocketed his phone.
As soon as they'd gotten through the door, Ila rushed straight for the half bathroom on the first floor and puked up what little was in her stomach from the night, sputtering and coughing between heaving gags. Idris immediately followed and smoothed back hair that had fallen from her updo, rubbing firm, kneading circles in the spasming muscles of her back with his knuckles.
Eventually she had nothing left but harsh, keening sobs while she wiped at her mouth and sat on the floor, shaking with every violent tensing of her abdomen. And when those calmed enough for her to stop heaving, Idris helped her up, helped her wipe off her face, and led her upstairs by the hand. They both undressed in silence - punctuated by Ila's constant sniffing - and got in the shower long enough to rinse off the sweat and grime.
Idris carefully pulled her hair from the tie and rubbed soothing fingers over her scalp as she coughed, hiccuped, then spat at the drain. They both took turns letting the almost-but-not-quite scorching water cascade over their heads, bodies, through their hair; then Idris leaned against the wall to let Ila hug him around his middle. They stood there for several long minutes, shrouded in steam and the drone of water hitting the tile, neither of them needing or wanting words.
After they'd both thoroughly brushed the sour tastes of vomit and wine from their mouths, Idris dressed in a pair of sweats and a tank top, and Ila followed suit with a pair of panties and one of his old t-shirts. They both made their way back downstairs, and at the very soonest opportunity, Ila folded herself into her father's lap on the couch with a fresh bout of crying, shivering in his sturdy embrace.
And, when she could finally take a full breath after exhausting herself of tears, she told him what happened. He listened with his eyes closed, petting her wet hair.
"We can't do that again," Ila whispered after several minutes of silence, her fingers curling in his gray tank top.
Idris rubbed his hand down the length of her back, grabbing one of the patterned throws off the back of the couch and covering his legs and waist, covering her up to her shoulders. The fake fireplace below the TV crackled.
"No... We can not. I am sorry."
"I'm sorry," Ila whimpered, a tear streaking over the bridge of her nose, dripping onto his chest, "if w-we hadn't done that, we wouldn't h-have almost gotten caught --"
"It is okay, habibti," Idris smoothed a hand through her hair, "we did not get caught."
"W-we could later. She knows, s-she --"
"She knows what, hmh?"
Idris tilted her head up to look at him, snaring his other hand in her hair. A tactile sensation that made her eyes flutter shut. His hand kneaded the back of her head, slowly grabbing and releasing her hair in a rhythmic tug.
"She knows that we both wear rings... I have a daughter, you have a father. She knows that we danced well together," he snorted and rolled his eyes, "and that is it. Inshallah, the rest is the wild imaginings of a dumb, drunk, jealous girl. She does not know your full name, she will not remember my name, she does not know where we live."
Ila's eyes opened a sliver, her brows knitting together at one of the words he'd used. "Jealous...?"
Idris, were it possible, rolled his eyes even harder and slapped a hand to the side of his gaunt face, "Ya Allah, she started on about her father going away within the first ten minutes of meeting me, habibti."
He dragged the hand down his face, pulling his skin taut while Ila stared at him, bug-eyed and sniffling, "And when we were fucking dancing, talking and talking about her papa, gone, and looking at me --"
The hand on his face then rolled in the air for several seconds, his lip between his teeth while he squinted at nothing. Ila watched him, dumbfounded and feeling more than a little silly. Finally, he grunted and shifted to pull her up higher on his chest, kissing the crown of her head in utter frustration.
"Fuck me. Cannot remember how to say in English or Arabic."
He tucked her head under his chin, his coarse beard scratching at the side of her face. He breathed a heavy sigh, combing his fingers through her colorless hair, the light of an artificial fire cascading over them both. Her palm smoothed over the tattooed sleeve of roses on his right arm, fingers tracing his veins.
"Wait..." Another sniff, "w-wait, she was jealous that you have a daughter --"
"That I did not leave."
Ila blinked, sniffed, then snorted the smallest laugh against his clavicle, "Wait... Wait, wh-what?"
He seemed to deflate below her, his head lolling back over the arm of the sofa. She leaned up and pressed a kiss to the tensing chord of muscle closest to her lips. He grumbled and rubbed the bridge of his hooked nose, his damp gray hair falling toward the floor.
"She was getting too close, kept fucking stepping on my shoes, fucking... dead weight in my arms," he blew out another exasperated sigh, swallowing when Ila placed a second kiss to his exposed neck, "whining about how I reminded her of her papa, asking - no, begging me - to take her home."
Ila's body shivered, then she muffled a high, whining laugh against his broad, sinewy shoulder. Idris frowned and pulled his head up to look at her.
"S-she - fuck --" Ila curled up and shook with laughter for several moments, before she could even begin to take a proper breath. Idris could only blink in confusion, petting his hand through her hair.
"She a-asked if you were a terrorist," she wheezed, "and told me you were so ugly that she would h-have to put a bag on your head if you took her home!"
Were it possible, Ila laughed even harder as she choked out, "She was so fuckin' wasted that she begged me to take you off her hands."
For the third time in scant minutes, Idris rolled his eyes. For the second time in as many minutes, he flopped his head back over the sofa arm and huffed a deep sigh. "She cried after I said I did not want to take her home. She was fucking angry."
At that, Ila howled with uncontrollable laughter until she coughed hard enough to gag, tears streaming anew down her face. He pet at her back, a broad smile on his face that she couldn't see - her laughter was music to his ears.
"Please do not puke on me. That happened enough when you were very small. You are still small compared to your papa, but not very small anymore."
She shook her head, tears squeezing from between her shut-tight eyes, "Mnn-mnn, m'fine, nothin' --" she giggled for several seconds, gasped for air, then - "n-nothin' left."
He huffed and patted her head as her laughter died down to very soft, scattered shudders.
"You feel better in my arms, dancing or not," he grunted, throwing an arm over her and squeezing her for emphasis.
"And - I have heard that hundreds of times. Should see me without -" he gestured to his face, in lieu of bothering to find the word, and Ila gently butted her face into his beard "-- uff - and very short hair. Then she will see ugly."
They both settled, Idris scooting so his head laid on the arm of the sofa and not off of it, though one of his legs laid awkwardly off the other end in compromise. Ila rubbed her face up the side of his, pressed a kiss to his nose, and folded her hands underneath herself on his chest.
"I don't think I've ever seen you with short hair, now that I think about it..." She caught his eye with a tiny smile.
Idris stared at her, deadpan with nary a twitch to his stony face. "Good. It has been this long for over thirty years and will not change."
She combed her fingers through what fanned over his shoulder of his black and silver hair, worrying her lip, her teeth clicking on the captive bead ring. Her eyes flicked up to his again, and she caught him looking with a smoldering intensity at her mouth.
"I like it long... Makes it fun to play with."
Idris was paying less and less attention, his hand wedging under her chin and the pad of his thumb caressing her full lower lip. She nipped at him, catching the digit in gentle teeth and flickering her tongue over the very tip.
He sucked in a breath. All the while, she sustained eye contact as his gaze flicked between her eyes and her mouth, and then she let go after seconds that felt thrice as long. Idris swallowed.
"Are you listening to me old man, or do you need to get your hearing aides?"
His lip curled in mock distaste, then broke into a broad, petty grin that almost looked sinister, "Awwh, is my little habibti teething again?"
Ila's expression fell, frowning as her face blotched a vibrant, angry scarlet. "N-no."
A dark chuckle rumbled from his throat, vibrating her above him. She smacked at his solid chest and went to wiggle off of the couch, but he caught half her forearm in the breadth of one hand. She tugged at her arm, but even with Idris exerting no effort, she couldn't break from his grip.
"Where are you going, hmm?"
"Babaaaa," Ila whined.
"That is one of my many names, yes." He peered at her over the rim of his glasses, "What?"
"I had an awful end to my night," she said, half-heartedly tugging her arm, "please don't add to it."
He let go of her arm, smoothing his palms up to her shoulders, his face losing all sense of silliness. "I do not want to do that. How does baba fix it?"
Ila was sitting astride his hips with her palms pressed flat on his ribs, and hadn't noticed that was the position she defaulted to - until right then, that was. Her pale eyes widened, and she tucked a stray strand of still-damp hair behind her ear. She looked away from his face, trying to make it seem like she was leaning toward the kitchen.
All that really did, despite her best efforts, was press her bottom square into his lap - brushing his half-hard, twitching cock. She bit her lip and looked down at Idris, who looked up at her with a raised, gray brow, his expression still serious.
"You are very shy tonight, my little snow doe..."
"Y-yeah, well --"
"Do you think you will feel better?" He caressed her flushed, tacky cheek with his knuckles, "You can say no."
"Uh - no. Yes. Wait."
She peered down at him, her tongue darting out to wet her lips, "Y-yes. I..."
His hand snaked around the back of her head, tangling in her hair again. While he took his glasses off and set them aside, he pulled her down to his level, pressing his lips to hers in a subdued gesture of affection compared to the kisses they'd exchanged before. Her hands cradled his head, thumbs running over the rough stubble on his jaw, beneath his ears.
"Yes...?" He murmured into her mouth, and she bit his lower lip in response.
"Please." She exhaled as his hand tightened to an iron vice in her hair, the other sweeping down her back to rub over her butt and thigh.
"Mm. Want baba to help you forget?"
A growl wove through his question. Ila responded by pushing herself up, his hand relaxing and sliding out of her hair - then she pulled his t-shirt up and off in one fluid motion, and Idris let out a slow, heavy exhale.
He'd just seen her nude - they had showered together - but that had had a very different context. The context of a parent caring for his progeny. He rested his hands on her hips, his gaze skating over her pale, pretty, petite form. This... was still that, yes - but there was an aching undercurrent of desire, desire that had been present all week, desire that had almost - but not quite - come to a head, only a few hours ago.
Ila blew out a quiet breath, putting one of her hands on his ribs while the other reached between them, her fingertips brushing over his prick still covered by sweatpants. Idris flexed with a tiny groan, and she made to lean back on his thighs for a better angle, but he stopped her with a hand on her arm.
"Mm?" She hummed, looking up.
"I want to sit up." He moved, and Ila grabbed at his shirt with a yelp - along for the ride, more than having any say on how her seven and a half foot father maneuvered himself.
When he settled into his new position on the sofa, instead of Ila hovering above him, they sat face to face, Idris having gained some height on her. She was still in his lap - and he wrapped one of his long sinewy arms around her, peppering kisses over her throat.
"So my legs can be comfortable," he bit at her earlobe, and she tensed with a startled gasp, "and I can hold you closer like this, habibti..."
Ila bit at his neck in turn, her palms sliding up under the hem of his tight-fitting tank top, bunching up the fabric. He got the hint, all but yanking it off over his head, shaking his hair out of his eyes - and Ila leaned up, her arms wrapping around his neck, and kissed him again. Hard this time, breath a ragged pant from flaring nostrils, lips pressed hard enough to bruise.
Idris tensed and responded in kind, his nails digging into her nude flesh. She broke from him, only for their teeth to click together in a gentle - if fumbled - meeting of mouths. He pressed their foreheads together instead, rubbing his hooked, crooked nose on hers.
"F-fuck, touch my prick," he mumbled in Arabic - only to cut himself off with a stuttered groan.
Her hand dipped below his waistband, and just as he'd uttered that, fingers wrapped around his hot, hard length. He shimmied out of his sweatpants enough for his cock to bob free of its confines, straining under Ila's careful, practiced fingers.
"Oh. T-there's, ah --"
"Mmhhh?" He hummed, his hands grabbing for her hips again, his lips and tongue caressing her bare shoulder.
"T-there's a lot of... of pre, baba," Ila huffed, slicking wet fingers over the flushed head of him, bumping the captive bead Prince Albert piercing. He sucked a breath between his teeth and moaned, twitching in her hand. Her fingertips explored down the prominent, branching vein on the top side of his prick.
"Mmhmm," he grit out, his hips flexing up as she stroked her way down the length of him, stretching and bunching skin, "have n-not been getting o-off."
"You haven't?" She asked, half mesmerized by how hard he felt in her hand, throbbing with every gentle roll of his foreskin. "But you were using the fleshlight the other night...?"
"Edging," he moaned, his abdominals tensing under her palm.
Ila turned a bright shade of pink at the memory. "That... Well, that explains some things."
Her hand curled a little tighter, and she sat back on one of his thighs, stroking his cock from base to tip, reaching lower to cup his balls. He breathed deep again, staring at Ila through a half-lidded gaze, a gaze she caught when she glanced up to steal a peek at his face.
"Been thinking about you all week," he rasped, lip curling when she swept the wet pad of her thumb on his head with every stroke up, over and over again, "wanting to feel you on my prick every fucking night you laid next to me."
"What if I said," she leaned up, the hand not stroking over his slick cock sliding up his chest, through the gray hair on his stomach and pecs, "that I wanted that too, every fucking night?"
A kiss pressed to his bobbing Adam's apple, "That I wanted to stop you from using the toy," her hand slicked over the beading tip of his cock, "and beg you to use me instead?"
His smile was almost a sneer, his hips flexing up again as Ila wiggled to straddle his lap, replacing the stroking of her hand with trapping him beneath her wet heat. Idris sucked in a breath, dark eyes fluttering shut, while Ila exhaled, her hands cradling the back of his dipped back head.
"Y-yahllah h-habibti --!"
"Do you want me to take these off?" She asked, an echo of before, rolling her hips above him, the soaked seat of her pale pink underwear a sensation that sent a charged current through Idris's shuddering body.
He pulled her to him, his hands and lips and teeth, the coarse scratch of his beard and body hair, the heat between them a near overload of sensation. Instead of answering, he reached down to rub long, nimble fingers over her clothed cunt, purring in appreciation at the slickness between her thighs and soaked through the fabric. As before, he used his fingers to push aside her panties - and groaned, when the middle two sunk into her with little resistance.
Ila leaned forward against his chest, peppering half-hearted kisses to his clavicle and closest shoulder between quiet, puffed moans. His fingers hooked up, and she ground down against his palm, clenching on his fingers, his prick twitching between them.
"Mmh, no lube?" Idris huffed into her hair, biting his lip when she emphatically shook her head - then she gasped and dug her nails into his biceps, when he used one hand on her hip to guide her to impale herself on his fingers.
"Good girrll," he grunted, holding her head to his chest when she found a rhythm on her own, rocking his arm between her thighs and twisting his fingers with every stroke into her. "Get warmed up for your papa's prick..."
Her nails scratched over his arms, her hips grinding down to meet his hand for a moment more before she whimpered between clenched teeth against his dark skin, "Please - please, please, please fuck me."
His hand fisted in her white hair, slowly but firmly tugging her head back to stare him in the eye. His lip twitched, then his face split into a grin as Ila's eyes went wide. Uh oh.
"My English... Is not the best. Yours is... Better," he pressed his forehead to hers again, keeping his grip on her hair as his fingers slowed to a stop, their gazes locked, and a low, gravel laugh bubbled from his throat, "tell me habibti..."
"Tell y-you?" She rasped.
"Tell me what you want," he snarled in Arabic.
Idris's fingers left her, and this time he slicked them over his prick, huffing with every stroke. Ila's eyes unfocused and she panted, desperately attempting to rub against him, but he held her still, repeating himself while brushing his cockhead against her skin on his terms.
"Tell me, or I will come on you as much as I can, and leave you wanting... I am close now, habibti --"
"Oh G-god that's not fair."
"I am not a fair man, little girl; too fucking old," he growled against her ear.
Ila whined and bit her lip, closing her eyes, but Idris tutted, breath puffing beneath her ear, "Does not count. Look. At. Me."
"D-dad." she whimpered, freezing beneath the intensity of his stare; ensnared in his thrall.
She wet her lip and spoke in a rush before she could stop herself, her face on fire, her entire body trembling. "Please, please I - I w-want to feel you inside me."
He made a point by letting go of himself and pressing his fingers against her slick, spasming cunt, his smile broadening. He'd dropped English entirely now. "Hmm. These, here...?"
"N-no," her nails bit into his forearm and shoulder, "no, your cock, please..."
"What about it?" He rasped, his eyes half-lidded, grabbing the base and shifting to tap the heavy head and piercing against his daughter's throbbing clit. Ila shivered, biting the inside of her cheek so hard she almost drew blood.
"Papa, I - I want to f-feel your p-prick inside me," she whimpered, a tear streaking down her cheek, "p-please."
Idris's voice had gone gruff - so low there was hardly a sound - and Ila sobbed in unfettered relief when he pushed her underwear aside and pressed the head of his cock inside of her, letting go of her hair to wrap both of his long arms around her in an iron grip. Ila sobbed again when his hips flexed up, her body sinking down to meet him halfway.
"Good, good, good girl," he murmured into her hair, leaning back to let her shift her position and get comfortable. She hooked her feet over his thighs, using her hand to balance and flex up on him, sinking back down a moment later.
She found her rhythm within a few thrusts - this was not even close to the first time they'd fucked like this, let alone on the living room couch - and wrapped her arms around his neck, pressing her face against his rough jaw. Their quiet groans mingled together, punctuated by stretches of silence, their sole focus on feeling the other.
Ila melted in Idris's arms, whimpering when he flipped her onto her back, bunching up the throw and some extra pillows beneath her for both of their comfort. Despite the rough, animal heat from before, this was a slow burn; a tender ache magnified with every touch, every cry, every kiss, press, tug, bite.
The excitement, the stress, the anxiety and terror - everything Ila felt that night fell away to a white noise of unimportance, cradled beneath the protective cocoon of her father's body. Lost in the heat of his skin, in the roughly whispered I love yous, in how he shuddered and tensed, gasping as if a man brought back from the cusp of drowning. Ila held on to him, begging, and all it took was a few steady strokes of his thumb on her clit to make her lose herself entirely to every sensation he had to give her.
"M'hungry," Ila mumbled as she came to, her face mushed against Idris's side.
"What time is it," he yawned, sudden and loud enough to make her flinch.
She reached behind herself towards the coffee table, slapping it a few times before she found someone's phone. Didn't really matter who's phone. She rolled over and checked it, her eyes squinting shut against the harsh blue light as soon as she caught the time.
"Fuck, dad, turn on your blue light filter."
"Mmn?" He grunted, an arm over his eyes.
"On your phone. Makes it easier to look at." She switched it off and set it back, attempting to wiggle into a sitting position in the nest of blankets on the couch that they'd turned into a bed; only getting so far as rolling onto her side, propped up on the arm of the sofa and swallowed by the dent her much larger father made in the cushions.
"It's three in the morning."
"Mm. We do not have food," he shuffled and yawned again, stretching his arms above his head, "meant to go shopping earlier."
Idris looked at her, then up above where his head lay, hand slapping on the side table above him. Ila stared at him, bewildered, as he grabbed his wallet and brandished his credit card in his middle and index fingers.
"What's that for?"
"Order two pizzas," he mumbled, his knuckles idly trailing over her shoulder after she'd plucked the plastic from his grip.
"Are you awake, then?"
"Why are you still speaking Arabic?" Her brows knit.
He squinted at her. "Spoke too much English. Brain is fuzzy."
She blew out a breath, rubbing the bridge of her nose. "If I order, do you promise not to scare the delivery guy?"
"I can make no such promise," he huffed, pushing up into a sitting position. He swept his hand down the curve of her back, then tapped her bare ass. Ila made a noise and wiggled in response, only encouraging further taps.
"Naked pizza and a movie?"
Idris looked concerned for a second, finally leaving her butt alone to sweep his palm down her thigh. "I do not want the pizza naked."
Ila looked over her shoulder at him, "Wh - no, baba, do you want to eat pizza, while we're both still naked, and watch a movie?"
"Do I answer the door naked?" He grinned at her, and she smacked a hand on his thigh.
"Now you're just fucking with me."
"No, I was fucking with you."
Ila chose to ignore his comment, tapping in her order on the phone. "Sure, if you want to make sure no place within a fifty mile radius will ever deliver to us again, by all means, answer the door naked."
She looked back at him, eyes roving over his dark, toned, sinewy body, "It'll either be your tattoo or your cock that'll be the talk of the town, place your bets now old man."
He pursed his lips, then grunted, laying his chin on her shoulder and watching her type the order. He muttered something about anchovies and pineapples, reaching down to tap on the phone while she held it up for him, finishing the order for her. He looped his arm beneath hers, around her ribs, and pressed an idle kiss to her temple.
"Hey, um..." Ila bit her lip, and he nudged his nose against her ear in acknowledgment in favor of words, "I... I'm sorry about tonight."
Idris breathed a heavy sigh, squeezing her back to his front. "Mmn. Could not have been helped."
"We could've just..." she tossed her phone into a blanket somewhere, rolling over beneath him, "We could've not gone..."
He cradled the side of her head, and placed a kiss on her nose, then pressed their foreheads together. "No. You wanted to be normal for a night, to be seen. I wanted to give that to you, habibti."
His hand entwined with hers, near swallowing the whole of it, "I would be... lying, if I said I did not want that also."
Ila felt tears sting at her eyes, her lip between her teeth. She pet her free hand down his gaunt, weathered face, her other squeezing his fingers. She sniffed, and a tear rolled down the side of her face. "M-maybe we... Maybe we look for l-less thrilling ways to be normal?"
He wiped his thumb over her temple, catching another tear as it fell. He looked at her with a subdued intensity from beneath dark, long lashes - something that held more, held everything that he wasn't saying.
"Well... Do normal couples eat pizza, while still naked, and watch movies at three in the morning?"
He smiled enough to crinkle his crows feet at her snorted laugh, a few more tears slipping down the side of her head. He caught those, too.
"Yes baba," her hand tangled in his hair at the back of his head, and she pressed a lingering kiss to his mouth, "y-yes, they do."
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