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**Author’s note: this is the 3rd chapter of the series, you might want to check out previous chapters (My Master and My Teacher, in that order) to get the whole picture***
Table of contents:
Part I: Monochromatic evidence.
Part II: A dirty deal.
… … … … … …
Part I: Monochromatic evidence.
I threw whatever clothes I found into my luggage, not giving a damn about seasons, colors or any sense of fashion. In my frenzy, I even tossed in some dirty laundry laying on the floor.
D├ęj├á vu! History does repeat itself. Twelve years ago I’d also turned drawers upside down, packed in a haze, and ran away to meet my fate.
“This is a bad idea, I’m telling you.”
My husband, Bruno, shook his head as he stood, arms crossed, leaning on the door frame of the room we’ve shared for over a decade.
“Bad idea or not, I have to do something,” I said, grabbing anything at hands reach regardless of how useful it was. “I can’t stay here sipping wine while my baby is in danger.”
“You promised you would never mention them again.”
“I don’t care what I promised!” I snapped, my voice louder than I intended. “You’ll never understand what is like being a parent!”
He averted his eyes, pressing his lips together. Once, when loneliness ate me alive and I had nothing to pass the time but his body in my bed, it seemed like a good idea to forsake my entire life to follow him across continents. We agreed never to talk about our lives before Paris, and I’d tried hard to keep that promise, but in light of recent events I could not hold up to that promise anylonger.
“I knew it. You’ve always resented me for it.”
“I have no time for your drama.” I managed to zip my luggage close, and drag it off the bed onto the floor, heading for the door. “I’ll save my daughter, and if you are not going to help at least don’t get in my way.”
“You are wrong,” he mumbled, steeping aside to let me get me through. “What you think is happening here, what that man told you, is wrong. There’s more to it than meets the eye.”
I took a crumpled black and white picture out my pocket and shoved it to his chest.
“Do you call that a mistake?” my voice voiced trailed off, finding it hard to believe what the image was showing. “That’s my own son fingering his sister on the bus!”
… … …
“Don’t look back, never look back.”
That’s what I told myself when I ran away with Bruno.
I married too young, a relationship doomed from the start with an absent husband and several financial struggles. Of course, a bohemian life in Paris sounded ten times more appealing than being a bored stay-at-home mom. I told myself over and over I had the right to be happy, that my two precious children would be better off without me, that I would forget.
But I never did.
As years passed by and the excitement faded away, even with all the money and fame Bruno racked as photographer and my own success as fashion coach, the lingering guilt and regret I felt for leaving my babies behind only grew bigger with each passing year.
“Ma’am…you are not gonna like what I found out.”
I hired a private investigator to trace them down for me. At first, I was just happy with getting occasional news from them: Laurie’s ballet recital, Henry’s award at the science fair. How she turned out a fashion enthusiast like me, how Henry was building his own IT consulting company with friends from colleague. It made me so proud.
“You not gonna like it one bit…”
The man handed a me a stack of compromising photos, and my stomach turned upside down when I went over them: He was touching her in public, ripping her clothes off in their living room, forcing himself on her at any given opportunity.
There’s more to it than meets the eye.
I would not fall for his cheap philosophical crap. What else was there to “meet?”
Henry was taking advantage of my little girl, and I had to rescue her.
It was the only though that occupied my mind.
… … …
By the time I got off the plane, it was night already. I had their address from my P.I., and headed there at once, without a plan nor a course of action, only a desperate need to take her out of that house and into safety as soon as possible.
“Come on up!”
The voice came thru, cheerful and carefree, and the gate buzzed open.
As a foreign woman in a tough business, I was used to nervousness. Dealing with top, powerful executives, major stars and top branded models was my day to day, but nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to face. As I rode the elevator to the fourth floor where they lived, my knees trembled and my heart raced so fast it threaten break my rib cage.
Knock, knock, knock…
Seconds passed and I had to remind myself to breathe. The door finally opened. And there it was: a face I knew too well, if only thru faded pictures, peeked through, casual at first, then froze in place.
My voice failed as I said her name. All my maternal instincts atak├Ây escort came back to me; she might have grown up, but she still was my crazy, little squirrel.
Right behind her, loomed the figure I was afraid to face. A tall, broad man, with honeyed tanned skin, messy brown hair and thick framed glasses. So much like his father, my first son and now my enemy: Henry.
… … …
So much happened within the next few seconds, it was as if time had slowed down.
His face went from shocked to rage faster than a heartbeat. It looks could kill, I would have sure fell on the spot. Even in regular circumstances I wouldn’t blame him for it, yet the possessive way he stood behind her, his hand on her delicate shoulder, made my stomach revolt.
I braced myself, expecting a similar reaction from her. But she let out a joyful laugh, and threw herself at me to hug my waist, her head resting on my chest as if to hear my heart beating.
“You came back! I always knew you would!”
Her euphoric welcome was as unexpected as Henry’s resentment look. He stood there, with a clenched jaw and hands curled into fists to the side of his body. He’d grown so tall, taller than me in high heels.
“Henry,” his name felt sour on my lips. It took all my inner strength to hold his gaze and not to run away right then.
“Woman.” He spat the word with vile, with all the obvious intent to hurt me. It worked.
“Come on in! Oh Mom, Dad will be thrilled!”
She took me by the hand, dragged me into the house and made me sit on one of the ample couches in the living room, the one facing the flat screen. It was the view from where most of the pictures were taken. I felt disgusted, but did my best to conceal it.
“We have so much to talk about!” she kept going, “Oh, I love your dress! Is that a Valentino? I have one, too! Will you stay in my room? Oh, maybe you want to see Dad’s room? We can make some space in his closet for you and-“
“She’s not staying.” Henry’s words cut the air like daggers. “That’s not the luggage of someone planning a long stay.”
“He’s right. I’ll just be here for a few days,” I dared to hold her hands in mine. “I was about to check in a hotel, but I wanted to see you first.”
The disappointment on her face broke my heart.
“What do you mean for a few days? You…you are not leaving again, are you?”
“Laurie,” Henry said, “Why don’t you go and try to call Dad? I’m sure he’ll want to know about this.”
She squeezed my hands, as if too afraid to let them go.
“Go on, darling, I’ll wait,” I said, reassuring her with the well practice smile I used with my clients. “I did drop by unannounced, its best if someone gives him a heads up.”
Not without reluctance she let go of me, to disappear in to the hall.
The air felt cold, heavy with an imminent sense of danger. Left alone with him, that man I refused to call my son, was excruciating. He crossed the living room to stand before me, arms folded in his chest, unreadable, poker face on.
“Why are you here?” He said, squinting his eye at me. “I doubt you were looking for a happy family reunion.”
I rubbed my hands together, measuring my words.
“You must be shocked, it’s been so long, right? You’ve grown so tall-“
“Stop that, woman. Laurie might be na├»ve, but I can’t be tricked this easily. I will ask again: why are you here?”
“I was just in town, and I-“
His eyes pierced through me, I might as well have had my hidden agenda written on my forehead. This was no ordinary man I was dealing with. It was right to say he was a cunning demon.
“Can’t a woman try to make amends with her past?” I said to save some time, “I understand if you hate me, but at least listen to what I have to say.”
“And what’s that, exactly? Tell me the real reason, or I swear to God I’ll kick you out this house as we stand here! Are you dying? Is it one of those twelve step programs? Do you need money?”
“What difference does it make?”
“None to me, but I won’t have you hurting my little sister again.”
To hear him talk like I was the one doing damage here got on my nerves. I took the picture of them on the bus and handed to him. For a fraction of a second his eyebrows a flinched, a tiny wrinkle appeared on his forehead, only to fade just as fast.
“I’ll take Laurie back to Paris with me.” I said at last, sitting tall, just as I learned to do when talking to tough clients. “I won’t let you touch her again.”
Steps on the hall announced Laurie was back. He folded the picture like it was nothing and stuffed it in the back pocket of his jeans, not a single emotion betraying his dark eyes. How could anyone be this calm after being called out on their dirty deeds, was something I could not comprehend.
“Dad’s on his way!” she said, crossing the room to throw her arms around my neck. “He was so surprised! We should have a big dinner to celebrate! Henry makes the best pasta in town, you should try it out sometime!”
“I just remembered,” avc─▒lar escort he said ever so casual, “I agreed to meet some friends tonight. We’ll have to leave it for another day.”
“Tonight, Henry? can’t you just cancel with them?” she said, a childish pout on her lips.
“I already promised I would go,” He walked to the front door, and gave a side glance to my luggage still in the doorway. “I heard The Grand Executive Hotel is really nice this time of year. Why don’t you check it out?”
I understood this as a demand, not a suggestion.
“Yes, I might do that.” I said, looking over my shoulder to give him a last severe look.
“Oh, and one last thing,” He said, grabbing his wallet and keys from the cabinet near the door, “I’d be careful with my words if I were you. I, too, have ways to dig for dirty laundry.”
The moment the door closed behind him, I took her hands in mine, and decided to carry out what I’d come to do.
“Laurie,” I said “You know that I love you more than anything, right?”
“You know even after I… I was gone, I kept looking after you, even from a distance, that I never forgot about you.”
“Yes, I know.”
“Laurie,” I took a deep breath, disgusted by the words I had to say, “I know what Henry does to you. Come to Paris with me and I’ll make sure he never touches you again. We can leave tonight.”
Her smile vanished from her face, and she removed her hands from mine on the spot.
“What do you mean, what Henry does to me?”
“I know he’s made you his lover” her expression grew stiff and somber, and she flinched away when I tried to touch her hair, “Honey, I don’t blame you. It must have been hard for you to keep quiet about it for so long. But you don’t have to fear any more, I’m here to help.”
“What are you going to do with Henry?” Her voice was flat, aggressive.
“Nothing. At least, nothing you don’t want me to. But he is a bad person, my dear, please realize that.”
“How dare you.” She jumped to her feet, stepping away from me, the words forcing their way out her gritted teeth, “How dare you insulting your own son that way! How dare you thinking the worst of him, how dare you coming back only to split me apart from the one person who ever truly loved me! What about Jamie, are you going to insult him to?”
“Who’s Jamie?” I asked, a name not familiar to me at all. “Dear, I only want what’s best for you.”
“Taking me away from Henry, is like taking my own life. I think you better leave.”
… … … …
Part II: A dirty deal.
I arrived at the hotel some time before midnight, weary from traveling, torn apart after facing a past I’d tried hard to forget. The front desk lady raised a suspicious eyebrow at the mention of my name, staring at me far longer than any employee of her level should.
“Yes, we do have a reservation for you…sign here please.”
“Get it together, Tatiana,” I said to myself as I counted every step to reach the suite I’d been booked into, “remember why we are doing this… think of Laurie, think of your little girl.”
Not without hesitation I swiped the key card to the door’s reader, the beeping sound echoing in the silence of the hall.
It was a large, elegant room, with a breath-taking view of the city from its window wall. The details, though kept to a minimum, only added to its modern ambiance: a large square bed in the center, some chic sofas at one end, a slick cabinet at the other end on top of which rested a simple, porcelain flower vase, and the semi open bathroom door to the west side of the room. But I was not alone.
“I see you were expecting me.” I said. “What’s this place?”
Though lights were dimmed, I could still make out his figure seated at the edge of the bed, his torso leaning forward and hands laced as if in prayer, his eyes the only thing gleaming in the dark.
“You tell me, you are the one who knows all my secrets.”
He’s voice, calm on the surface, was menacing enough to make me shiver. I took a few steps forward, keeping a healthy distance from him.
He knew I would come. It went to show I was not dealing with just anyone, but a cunning, dangerous man. For every step I took, he had already taken four and traced them back, just to be sure.
“Very well. This is where you met with your lovers,” I said. “The many men and women you’ve had before… your safe place.”
He got up to his feet, his body taller than me in high heels, with clenched fists to the side. I kept my stand, not willing to show any fear. I would not fear. I would expose him and walk out of here victorious.
“I own this room,” he said, “Well, technically, I own half this hotel. You are in my territory now. I’m sure you know what it means in business, don’t you? I have the upper hand.”
“I’m the one who has the pictures, and I will not hesitate to make them public.”
“I’d like to see you try. We both have a lot to lose.”
“You are bluffing.”
“Am I?” He gestured with beylikd├╝z├╝ escort his head to the bed, where a large file rested with the name of my current husband written on top. “You are not the only one playing spy here, woman. I, too, have my ways of getting skeletons out of a closet.”
He crossed the room to me, standing so close I could feel the heat of his breath on my face. I wanted to hate this man, but by God, he was beautiful: ample forehead at the bottom of which rested a pair of thick dark eyebrows, now furrowed in an aggressive arch, a straight, chiseled nose, high cheek bones and a strong, square jaw; his overall features reminded me of those manly actors in old western films, a fearsome cowboy on a mission, the type not to stop until all his enemies lay around him, gushing blood from their bullet wounds. Even though I tried my best not to flinch, I couldn’t prevent my checks from growing red at the sight of those soft, round lips; lips I had tried, long ago, on someone else.
“You could have anyone you wanted,” My voice broke, betraying my attempt to be brave. “Why did it have to be her? Why did it have to be your little sister?”
In the shade of the room, I seemed to detect something on him, a flicker of emotion far from anger and closer to despair. I wish I could find a way to comfort him, to hold him tight and assured him it was going to be all right, for him, for her, for all of us. After all, he was also my son, my first child and that of my first love: he was my beloved Henry.
… … …
His father, Douglas, and I married during our first year of college. There’s not much to say about him except he was the best looking man I’d ever laid my eyes upon. I couldn’t help myself and slept with him on our first date. I still remember the taste of his cum, his thick member stretching the tightness of my pussy and his firm hands fondling my breasts and pinching my nipples until I cried.
I went wild over that man and swore I’d keep his cock for my own.
As embarrassing as it is to admit it, I did became pregnant on purpose, to force him to take me forever. And he did married me though, in hind sight, I should’ve known he was already married to his job and his career. We lived together but we’d never share a home. The arrival of a second baby didn’t make him reconsider being more present in our lives, either.
The only reason I stayed married to him that long, was because when a miracle happened and he was home, I’d shamelessly do everything I could to send the kids away (so I could have him all to myself) because he could fuck me for hours. We’d entangle in a sex marathon so intense, I’d either fall sleep or pass out after coming several times, but he’d continue drilling my ass or pussy, and made me swallow the gallons of cum he’d been holding onto for days.
But foolish as I was, bored and horny all of the time, I fell into the arms of a young photographer I’d met at an art exhibition. After months of sexy encounters, he asked me to run away with him to Paris and I did. He couldn’t compare to the monstrous stamina of my husband, nor could his dick fill my insides until I felt as if it might split me in half, but he was nice, tender and attentive. In short, any woman’s fantasy. I lived a fairy tale most women only dream of: an exotic, bohemian life in France, filled with art, passion and never ending excitement.
Yet, when the P.I. I hired, at a moment of weakness to find my children, came back with a stack of photos that showed them in various compromising positions, I knew my fantasy had come to an end. I had to recapture my responsibility as their mother. I couldn’t allow Henry to take advantage of Laurie any longer. Meeting him at this hotel was my last resort.
“What do you want?” he asked, his momentary frailty fading away as quickly as it appeared. “Money? I have plenty. Stocks? I’ll give you the ones I have in this place. What will it take to get you out of our lives for good?”
“Stay away from Laurie.”
“No, you stay away from her.”
The proximity of his body, though intimidating, sent my heart racing for different reasons. He looked so much like his father at his age, if only for his glasses. My eyes darted to his lips and they triggered memories of wild kisses, sexy growls and dirty cursing at the moment of pleasure. It was only through sheer will that I’d averted my gaze, though my panties had become wet. I was glad I was still wearing my coat so he wouldn’t notice my nipples getting hard.
Not like my reactions would escape his cunning eyes.
“You’re flustered. Is this turning you on, woman?”
There was a hint of amusement in his voice.
“It’s Tatiana. Show some respect.”
“I happen to have zero respect for a mother who bailed on her children.” He raised a hand to stroke a section of my hair falling over my shoulder. “But come to think of it, I haven’t seen you in years. You’re a stranger to me. I can’t think of you as a mother at all.”
He smelled like his dad. The same musky, spicy cologne that had tickled my nostrils and announced he was near so many times. My body reacted of its own accord, and I couldn’t stop it from getting hotter. The firm grasp of my mind vanished. When I waved his hand away, the brief contact with his skin sent electricity all through me. It was hard to remember I had my son, and not his father, in front of me.
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