He laid the outfit on the bed carefully. Black satin dress, black elbow-length gloves, black high heels, black thigh-high stockings and a string of pearls. He meticulously smoothed it out and picked every speck of lint from the fabric. Taking a sip of wine, he simultaneously admired the outfit and scrutinized it for any imperfections.
“Flawless,” he said. “As always.”
The violins of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons swelled on the stereo as he wandered out to the living room. Dropping down on the couch, he sipped his wine, checked his watch and waited. She would be here soon and their special evening together could begin. Across from him on the mantle above the fireplace sat a photograph of them together in Paris. With the Eiffel Tower glowing in the darkness behind them, they’d looked so happy, so young. They’d looked so in love.
“Happy anniversary,” he said as he raised his glass. “You miserable, stinking bitch.”
The doorbell rang as he drained the last of his wine. Carrying his glass with him, he walked to the front door, opening it to reveal a beautiful and leggy brunette with crystalline blue eyes wearing a short, black mini-skirt, knee-high boots and a shirt that left little to the imagination. Tacky but stunning.
“I must say,” he began. “You are an absolutely beautiful creature. And I appreciate your punctuality.”
“I live to serve,” she replied with seductive smile. “I’m Maggie.”
He held the door open and motioned her inside. She followed him into the kitchen, accepting the glass of wine he offered her before refilling his own. They both stood in silence, sipping their wine. He appraised her body, feeling his lust rising but he could see that she looked somewhat awkward beneath his gaze, perhaps even a bit shy. He could see that she’d rather be anywhere but there with him.
“You are beautiful and look exactly like you do on your website, Maggie” he said as a way of breaking the ice.
“Yeah, thanks,” she said. “So what’s the plan here?”
“Right,” he said. “Down to business then. Fair enough.”
“Something like that.”
“Tonight’s my anniversary,” he said. “And as I do every year, I commemorate it with something special.”
She set the glass down on the counter, visibly annoyed. “You didn’t mention you were married on the phone,” she said. “You’re paying me for straight-up sex. The girl-on-girl shit is going to cost you extra.”
He laughed and poured himself another half-glass of wine. He needed to remain sharp.
“Relax,” he said. “My wife… passed away four years ago.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I had no--”
“It’s okay,” he said. “You didn’t know.”
An awkward silence stretched out between them as he considered her. She shifted her feet and looked at the ground, seemingly unable to meet his eyes.
“So… like my ad said, it’s a hundred bucks for the hour,” she said finally.
“Right,” he said as he pulled some bills from his pocket and handed them to her. “I assume then that five hundred dollars will buy me a few hours of your time?”
She thumbed through the hundred dollars bills and looked up at him, a wariness in her eyes.
“What do I have to do for this?” She asked.
“I just want you to accompany me somewhere this evening,” he said. “That’s all. Beautiful companionship always lifts my spirits.”
“Go with you somewhere? That’s it?”
He smiled. “Well, we’ll see what else the evening holds in store for us.”
The man smiled when she stepped into the living room dressed in the outfit he’d laid out. She stepped into the room and twirled around, a smile upon her face. He scrutinized her, admired her toned and lithe physique, carefully examined the way the dress hung on her, the way the pearls looked against her olive complexion. The hair was wrong and her skin was a couple of shades darker but he could live with that. She was otherwise perfect. She no longer looked like the pretty but trashy girl who’d come through the doorway a short time before. She could just about pass as a lady in the circles he was accustomed to socializing in and he felt his blood rising.
“I feel so elegant and fancy,” she said.
“And you look absolutely amazing,” he replied. “Shall we go?”
The moon hung high in the sky and cool, night air was heavily scented with pine. Leaning against the car, he breathed it in and smiled. The girl stirred in the passenger seat of the car, the effects of the light sedative he’d laced her wine with finally starting to wear off. She came to and looked at him through the windshield with wide, frightened eyes.
“Did you sleep well?” He asked.
“What’s going on,” her voice trembled. “What happened? Where are we?”
“I told you that my wife had passed away,” he said. “But I didn’t tell you the manner of her death. Would you like to know?”
The girl shook her head, trying to clear away the fog that undoubtedly clouded her brain. She rubbed her eyes and started trying to unfasten her seatbelt but was having a difficult time with it.
“She’d always been an art enthusiast,” he started. “She loved going to see the new exhibits and gallery openings and the like. She had quite a refined eye and exquisite taste, truth be told.”
The girl rocked back and forth, still fumbling with the seatbelt. “Please, let me out of here.”
“There’s nothing wrong with the belts, dear,” he said. “You’re just a little foggy right now. But don’t worry, it will wear off soon.”
“Let me the fuck out of here!” Her words were still slightly slurred.
“Anyway,” he went on. “I have a habit of working long hours. I’m a professor at the university and always try to be accessible to my students. I get so caught up in my work sometimes that I lose track of everything else. Including my wife. Former wife, actually.”
Maura’s face floated through his mind eliciting a sigh from him. He had loved her intensely and time hadn’t dulled that in the least. Not a day went by that he didn’t still think of her, still didn’t miss her, still didn’t hate her.
“Eventually, as these things go, my wife found comfort in the arms of another man,” he said. “It sounds like a soap opera doesn’t it? I suppose I’m partly to blame for it all.”
The seatbelt came loose with an audible click and the girl looked at him, her eyes looking like those of a cornered animal, terrified of moving, terrified of staying. The man smiled at her.
“There you go. See? Nothing to it,” he said. “So one night I followed her to one of the galleries she frequented. I watched her draping herself all over one of the artists, this kid half her age really. I saw them off in a corner kissing, their hands all over each other. I was as furious as I was heartbroken.”
The door opened with a soft click and the girl got out, slightly unsteady on her feet, her dress softly rustling. The girl looked torn between a panicked sprint away from him and the knowledge that she hadn’t yet sufficiently regained her wits about her.
“I confronted her in the parking lot after the exhibition,” he said. “Not wanting to make a scene in public, she got into the car and we drove around, talking like civilized people. Of course she denied it at first. Eventually she came around to the tearful confession and apologies. She made promises. So many promises.”
“What do you want with me?” The girl’s voice was soft but still defiant.
“It wasn’t my plan but we somehow ended up out here, actually,” he said. “In this very spot. And she wore exactly what you’re wearing this evening. She looked lovely. I mean no disrespect but she was far more beautiful than you are tonight. She was as beautiful as I’d ever seen her and I could feel my heart melting. She led me out to this small clearing and we made love beneath the stars. She did things to me she’d never done before and it was just amazing.”
The memory drew a shudder and a salacious smile from him.
“Please just take me back,” she said. “I just want to go back.”
“When we finished,” he continued. “I looked into her eyes and she smiled at me. I felt my love for her overflowing in that moment. I thought I’d burst with it and knew that things could never be the same between us again. So I killed her.”
The girl visibly paled and began to tremble. She took several halting steps away from him and he made no move to follow.
“So every year, on our anniversary, I celebrate it,” he said. “By recapturing that feeling of power and beauty I felt that night. You can’t imagine the intensity of it.”
“Please,” she whispered, her eyes wide.
“No, please,” she said. “Please don’t do this.”
Cold moonlight gleamed on the blade of the long, wicked looking knife he slid from beneath his jacket. The girl whimpered as she kicked off the heels and took off at a run toward the trees. He took his time, picking up the shoes and tossing them into the back seat, whistling a tune as locked up his car. Glancing at his watch, he figured he’d given her enough of a head start.
He jogged onto the path he already knew well, stopping to listen. Ahead and to his right, he heard the girl crashing through the undergrowth of the forest, dry limbs snapping beneath her feet.
“I hear you,” he called. “At least give me a challenge!”
In no real hurry, he sighed and headed in the direction the girl was running. She was making so much noise that he wasn’t having any trouble tracking her and it grated on his nerves. Part of the rush he felt was the hunt. He’d lied to the girl when he relayed the story of his wife. Oh he’d caught her cheating alright but he’d known all along what he was going to do. He’d carefully planned it out. He’d dragged her out here, into the middle of nowhere and had raped her repeatedly before beating her to death. He’d tossed her body into the river, driven home and had played the part of the grieving widower to perfection. What he hadn’t lied about was the feeling of power killing his bitch of a wife had given him. It was intense and exciting and this was the only way he’d ever been able to recapture that feeling, by killing his wife again and again and again. Every year for the last four years, on their anniversary, he indulged himself.
He stopped on the path to listen again but was greeted only by silence in return. She’d probably stopped to catch her breath or was trying to hide in the bushes somewhere. A smile stretched across his face, at least she was going to make him work for it a little bit. He continued on, knowing the general direction she’d been headed and knowing where all of the hidey-holes were along the way. Tightening his grip on the knife handle, excitement flowing through his veins, he began to whistle again as he walked.
A dark object lying in the middle of the path caught his attention. Kneeling down, he picked it up. The dress. An electric feeling of rage flooded his body. No. She had to be wearing the dress. Had to be. She was fucking everything up.
“No!” He screamed into the darkness. “You’re ruining everything! Get back here and put this dress back on right fucking now!”
He caught a flash of movement from the corner of his eye. The girl stepped out from behind a tree and swung a thick stick like a baseball bat at him. It whistled as it cut through the air and he realized too late that he’d never be able to avoid it. A lightning flash of pain burst behind his eyes as the stick connected with the side of his head. He dropped the knife and clutched at his head as he fell to the ground.
“Fucker!” She roared and swung the stick again.
His breath left him in a whoosh and pain flared in his side as the stick came down on his ribs, cracking several in the process.
“Stop,” he gasped and raised his arm to her.
She swung again and connected with his wrist, snapping it with a sickening crack. He howled in pain as his hand flopped uselessly on the end of his arm. Rage flooded his body as the girl screamed at him. Who did this little bitch think she was? Doing his best to ignore the pain that tore his body, he got to his knees, determined to show her that she’d screwed with the wrong person. He was going to take his time with her, show her what degradation and pain really were.
The blood pounded in his head and his vision was blurry making it difficult to focus. He was only half-aware of her screaming but felt his body being knocked backward and the feeling of intense pressure in his chest and the coppery taste of blood filling his mouth. Tendrils of fire spread out from his chest, racing through the rest of his body. He looked down, confused as he found the handle of his knife protruding from his shirt. He looked up at the girl who stood over him, breathing hard, a look of triumph mingled with terror in her eyes. His eyes shifted from her to the handle of the knife again and saw blood, vivid and red spreading out across his shirt.
He shook his head, trying to dispel the darkness blurred the edge of his vision as he looked at the girl. A slow smile spread across her face. This couldn’t be happening. This was wrong. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.
"You've ruined everything."
“Happy anniversary, asshole.”
This has been my entry for therealljidol Season 8, Topic 33(A): Ensemble. As always, thank you SO much for your support over these crazy, crazy weeks. Thanks for always stopping by to give me a read! If we have a poll, don't forget to swing on by, read some really fantastic stuff and spread a little voting-love around! Thanks, guys!!!