A Killer of a One Night Stand Ch. 01byMaxSebastian©
Stepping off the Underground train, Jonah Fielding was more nervous than he'd ever been in his life, and it made him realise just how sheltered his life had been up until this point.
Negotiating the crowd on the bright platform, he felt a little light-headed, nauseous, at the thought of what was to come.
He could still turn back. Only the girl would ever know, and she wasn't in a position to do anything about his cowardice. Just a little step back through an open door, and he'd be embraced by the warm safety of a train carriage once again. Never mind the expensive hotel room he'd booked.
Nathan would forgive him, but there would be that little twinge of disappointment no doubt, knowing that his brother had taken the easy route again.
He would show Nate. If Nate could do this, so could he. He would make his brother proud that he was leaping out of the boundaries of his safe little life.
Standing on the elevator, he was visibly trembling. Clasped together in front, his hands were clammy, yet sweaty. He tried drying them on his jeans, worried that the girl would laugh at him after shaking his hand for the first time.
Maybe she wouldn't be there, waiting for him. Maybe she would have second thoughts.
No, she had done this before. She'd been there.
Emma. Might be her real name, might not. Chances were it probably wasn't, since this was the game they were playing. Jonah was going under the name "Robert" – a nice, clean name that any City boy could have.
Would she believe he was a City boy?
Emma. Pretty, according to the picture in her profile, though those could be easily faked. Blonde, five foot two, slim, small but "pert" breasts, long legs, looking for no-strings-attached sex with a brash stockbroker or banker or slick corporate lawyer.
Not the kind of girl that shy academic Jonah would ever mix with in a social situation. But was she a killer?
Rising to the top of the elevator towards street level, Jonah wondered if he'd bitten off more than he could chew. The hotel key card jabbed him in the thigh, almost taunting him. Did people really do this? Did people really select strangers for sex like this?
Maybe he should have practiced a little first, done something easier as a way to dip in his toe before taking the big plunge. He could have done some ordinary online dating, or even answered an ad in the newspaper personals page. Perhaps he was stupid to be going straight for it like this.
If he seemed nervous, perhaps she'd realise he wasn't what he'd said in his profile. Perhaps she'd leave her drink untouched and excuse herself to the ladies', then slink away while he wasn't looking. The hotel room he'd booked between Leicester Square and Piccadily Circus would remain unused that night.
Through the ticket barrier, he took a deep breath, holding his nerve.
He had to do this. It wasn't just for kicks, he had a purpose here. Nate would forgive his beloved brother for welshing out, but there would always be that sadness that he was not quite brave enough to do what was necessary. There might be a question forever hanging over him, a doubt over his commitment to his twin.
He had to do it.
What made him keep going was the thought that failure would mean returning, dejected, to that ghastly apartment, knowing he had not done his best.
To the outsider, it was a plush apartment, spotless in appearance so that Jonah could put it on the market. But to him, it was a place tinged with the memory of Nate. His twin brother had had so many good times at that place during his days in London, some of which they'd shared together. But he'd also had that one awful, awful last night there.
The thought of that place, haunted by his brother's murder, drove him on, to step out into a dark London night, to meet this girl, Emma.
Now he was stepping out of the Tube station into the comparative darkness of the street. A lot of people outside waiting, walking by, watching the buskers and the street magicians or peering at A-Z guides seeking the next place to go.
For a second, he relaxed, thinking she had stood him up. As bruising to his ego as that might be, it was easier.
Then he caught sight of a face in the crowd that he recognised. Pretty, blonde, waiting for sex. Sex with him. Or at least, sex with some City boy called "Robert" who happened to have a profile picture that resembled him.
Seeing her, watching her face as it reacted to her recognition of his own features, it felt like a nuclear device had exploded inside his stomach. God.
To late to turn back now, she was walking towards him as his own treacherous feet kept carrying him closer.
Why had he not been on some internet dates before? Some safe, quiet, casual encounters that might have turned into second or third or even fourth dates, but probably not. Why had he gone straight into this?
A match-making service specifically for one night stands.
She smiled at him as she approached, and he hoped it was because she perceived him to be the City boy he'd claimed: sharp suit, combed hair. Not a flaky academic currently putting the finishing touches to his doctoral thesis.
Pretty, so pretty. Emma.
His eyes were more accustomed to the light levels now, and for a moment the crowd parted and he was afforded a glimpse of her petite figure.
She hadn't lied. The advice on the website forum suggested that you didn't do anyone any favours if you did lie, but somehow he still expected that if she'd turned up, she would be plain at best.
Emma was stunning in her little figure-hugging black dress, and he couldn't believe someone like this had picked him out to meet for sex.
"Hi, you must be Robert, nice to meet you," she said, and reached up to kiss his cheek and he caught a lung-full of her perfume which was sweet and a little exotic, with perhaps a hint of coconut.
"Yes, hi," he said, trying to sound confident, trying to sound like a City boy. "Sorry I'm a little late."
Oops. Shouldn't have apologised. The chauvinistic banker or stockbroker or corporate lawyer wouldn't apologise to a girl for being late. "Robert" wouldn't have apologised.
"Only a minute or two," she said. "You fancy a drink?"
She took his arm, and they walked off towards the wide, safe plaza of Covent Garden and a nearby bar – the job interview for them both to make sure neither was a psychopath before they eloped to that hotel room Jonah had been trembling as he'd booked.
God, did this girl really want sex with him? Could he go through with it? More embarrassing to pull out of the deal, now.
"You're quite quiet," she said a few steps further on.
"I've... uh... I've never actually done this before," he said. His honest tongue ruining the whole charade.
Still, a City boy had to start somewhere.
"A virgin?" she joked, affectionately squeezing his arm. "So to speak."
"Well, you know..."
"I'll go easy on you, I promise." Then, perhaps worried he would think her some kind of amateur call-girl, she added: "I've only done this a few times before, you know – and it's been a while since the last time."
She seemed too nice to be a murderer.
He said, "It's quite strange meeting you like this."
"For a one night stand?" she laughed, and it was suddenly out there. They were going to have a one night stand.
"Yes. I mean, it's great, but..."
"...but you wouldn't ordinarily expect a nice girl like me to have sex with a stranger like this?"
She looked up at him with a minx-like grin.
"I guess so," he said, feeling his "Robert" persona crashing down in flames.
"That's part of the fun," she said, "doing things you ordinarily wouldn't do. Come on, let's get some booze down us."
She grabbed his hand and pulled him into the Porterhouse, a large, popular wood-panelled pub on Maiden Street, just around the corner from Covent Garden itself.
They wove their way through the other punters to the bar, and Jonah thought to himself that he could easily slip away in this crowd. She'd never know. Emma seemed too nice to be a killer, despite her apparent need to do things she ordinarily wouldn't do. Continuing this apparent one night stand would be a waste of time, wouldn't it?
What would Nate think? What would Nate do? He'd say, enjoy yourself, little brother, just enjoy yourself for once. "Little brother", though he was only two minutes' younger.
He couldn't be 100 percent sure she wasn't a killer, nice as Emma appeared to be. Chances were she wasn't, of course, though he had to try. If she wasn't the killer, all this would be useful practice for the next time.
After all, he wouldn't want to be on one of these dates and so anxious about the date that he missed the signs that he'd struck gold. And if he missed the signs, he could very well end up dead himself.
As Emma ordered drinks, not even asking him what he wanted, he thought to himself that his "Robert" act was not surviving. But, then again it was possible that "Robert" would allow the little lady to do the hard work of procuring alcohol, while he merely stood back. Attractive, female, she was served a heck of a lot quicker than he probably would have – there was that benefit.
Two glasses in one hand, bottle of red in the other, she grinned at him and flicked her head to signal the desire to move upstairs.
He grabbed the bottle from her, lightening her load, and again followed her through the throng to the stairs. Stepping up to the second floor in front of him, he couldn't help but admire how her dress clung to her curves, he couldn't help but stare at her sweet little behind and her nylon-clad thighs.
Could he really have some of that tonight?
Somehow, they found a small table hidden away in a shady corner, timing it just right as another couple was leaving.
As they settled, the first thing she said, rather businesslike, was: "Do you have your..."
She pushed an unfolded sheet of paper across the table, and Jonah caught a quick glimpse of the title, "Medical certificate", before realising what she was getting at.
"Uh – yeah," he said, blushing as he retrieved his own doctor-approved permission slip, as required by the website.
She peered for a moment at his certificate, which he'd been so embarrassed to get from his GP with a faltering cover story about needing it to get married abroad.
"So, that's done," she said with an easy smile, the formality seeming to leach out of her petite frame. "Little awkward, huh."
"Yes," Jonah returned her smile as they returned their papers to each other.
"So you're married?" she asked him as they both . "I know you said in your profile – "
She had a rapid-fire manner of speaking, betraying her excitement at this strange game in which they were now immersed. He liked it – though some men might not, he found it attractive. Both the suggestion that she was intelligent, and also the sense that she was genuinely excited about the possibility of becoming intimate with him.
He answered her honestly, "No, I'm not married."
She didn't quite believe him, saying: "You can tell me, I mean a lot of guys on this thing are."
"I guess I've always been too caught up in work to – "
"Well, that's something," she smiled again, and he wondered if he should have said he was married.
"You like married men?"
She shrugged, "Not really. I mean, I've only been with one so far. One that told me, anyway. Older, pretty experienced. A touch on the desperate side."
"I'm sorry I'm probably not as experienced as you're used to," he said, quaffing his wine like it was some kind of antidote to the raw anxiety flowing through his veins.
He still couldn't believe this girl was intending to go back to his hotel room later. She was sitting back a little, her legs crossed, her short dress allowing him to see some way up her trim thighs.
"Might be nice for a change," she said, swirling her own wine in her glass before sniffing the bouquet. "I'm normally the young innocent, taking orders..."
Jonah took another sip of his drink, not really meaning it as any kind of comment, but she let out a self-conscious laugh, adding: "Look at me, making myself sound like I've been on hundreds of these things."
"Not at all," he said, reassuring her.
He realised that he had lost his way in questioning her – forgotten his prime motive for being there. He needed to dig a little more before their time ran out. Even if she seemed too nice to be the murderer, he had to try. Practice makes perfect, and all that. He needed to perfect his interrogation patter in case he ever did meet the girl he was seeking.
"So you normally go for older guys?" he asked. "Older than me?"
"On this thing," she said, referring to the website, "always. Never tried anyone within even five years of my own age for a one night stand before."
"And you're, what, twenty-five, twenty-six?"
"Twenty-two. I didn't lie in my profile – unlike most people, I guess."
"You seem older," he realised it wasn't a compliment for a woman, and quickly explained, "I mean more mature for your age."
"And was your profile accurate?" she asked, looking at him as though it wouldn't matter to her if it was all fiction, as most of it was.
"I am definitely twenty-seven," he said.
"You're the youngest I've tried, by far. I guess I just liked your picture." She grinned, and he tried to stop himself from blushing. If true, her answer would rule her out from being the killer. But on this thing, could he ever be confident of what was apparently true? He himself was being fairly thick on pretence. Or at least, he was attempting to.
He felt some regret that he had to lie to her. She had to be expecting it to some degree – when she was going with married men, for example.
"This is really your first time on one of these?" she asked him.
"Yeah. Is that a problem?"
"No, no. At least, I don't think so," she peered at him across the little table. Leaning in for a closer look. "You're not going to chicken out on me, are you?"
He felt the fire stoked a little in his belly at that. "Uh... no. No."
"Good," she grinned mischievously, then took a sip of wine. "Kind of hot, don't you think? We've never met before – I don't know anything about you, you don't know anything about me. But we can just get out of here and fuck like rabbits."
He tried to suppress his natural surprise at this, saying casually, "I guess that's the whole point."
"So, you have a room booked somewhere?" she sipped her wine while gazing into his eyes, a gaze so filled with lust that it knocked him a little sideways.
"Uh, yeah," he said, desperately trying to think of something to say. Nerves always made him freeze up, but now he was worried that no matter how keen Emma seemed on the idea of taking him back to his hotel room, she could still get bored of him. He added: "The Thistle. Just of Leicester Square."
"Not bad," she nodded, "nice and close."
"So," he said a little lamely, but warming up he hoped. "What happens next?"
"I've never done this before..."
Emma shrugged again. Was he losing her? She said, "Well, I haven't been on one of these for a while myself. I guess we're meant to find out a little more about each other – you know, before."
He was losing her, he could see the energy draining out of her face. He was so useless at this. Bloody academic. What should he ask her? Perhaps he should be a little more forward with her. She was leading the conversation at the moment, he should at least try to keep up.
Maybe he shouldn't give up on the idea of "Robert" after all – practice his bold persona so he'd be more prepared for next time. She didn't know who he was, after all. And if he embarrassed himself, he could walk away and she could tell no one he knew about any of this.
She reached forwards to refill his glass before her own, saying: "Shouldn't give you too much more of this, I suppose."
"No, it's all right," he said, trying to put a bit more life into his voice.
"Don't want you collapsing on me when we get to your hotel," she rolled her eyes, which suggested to Jonah that it was something that had happened to her before.
And, perhaps helped by the wine now, he found his Robert-persona making a play, saying to her: "I'm sure once I've got that dress off you, I'll have no trouble in that particular department."
She positively beamed at that, the complement and the fact that he was making an effort to get into this.
With a sly glance either side to see if anyone was close enough to hear them, she said in a hushed voice: "Have you got a big cock?"
Their little corner was surprisingly private for such a crowded pub, but her blunt question made him look to make sure no one else could hear.
Then, she added: "Not that it really matters to me, of course. There are benefits either way."
Feeling rivulets of adrenaline streaming through his bloodstream as he stepped out of his usual boundaries, he drained the remaining few mouthfuls of wine, and said: "I'm sure I've got enough where it counts to keep you happy."
Emma beamed at him again. Right answer. She said: "Had to ask."
Jonah smiled, feeling that the tension was thawing a little now. Willing his confidence to come out, trying to channel his "Robert" character, he said, "D'you think if I had a small one, I'd really 'fess up before I got you back to my hotel room?"
"I can usually tell when people lie to me."
"So you know I'm telling the truth?" He said, trying to rest on the fact that he had avoid actively lying to her so far, although he wasn't telling her his whole story.
"I think so," she said, her blue eyes flickering as she looked him over.
There was a slight pause as Emma took another swig from her drink, and Jonah topped them both up from the bottle. Then he felt himself asking a question without really thinking about it: "Do you get nervous going off with strange men?"
It was more of a "Jonah" question than a "Robert" question – genuinely curious, rather than brashly seeking sex. The academic in him slipping out, he supposed.
She put down the glass and hit the ball back at him: "Strange men like you?" Then she grinned, "I guess I'm quite nervous. I had a glass or two of vino before I came out. It's pretty exhilarating, though, too. Isn't it? Not knowing what it might be like."
"It could be pretty dangerous."
"With you, or in general?"
They both chuckled, and Jonah accepted that she probably thought him pretty tame. Feeling he had nothing to lose, he said: "I'll bet I'm pretty tame compared to some of your past encounters."
She tilted her head, looking him up and down. "I don't know yet. Are you tame?"
"Maybe, compared to some people. Not compared to others."
"I don't think I've ever been out with someone tame."
"You like it rough?" he asked, and felt himself blushing again.
"I like it all sorts of ways," she said, that twinkle back in her eyes.
She leaned forward then, and beckoned with her finger for him to do likewise.
Drawing close to her, he breathed in her sweet fragrance, which seemed to quicken the pace of his heartbeat. He wasn't quite sure if she wanted to whisper something to him, or kiss him.
Gazing into his eyes, she reached out to pull him further towards him, and it turned out to be a kiss that she was after.
Her lips were so soft, and syrupy sweet while tinged with that slight bitterness from the wine. He felt the noise level in the room dip as she pulled him into her and explored his lips, her tongue dipping gently inside his mouth in what seemed to be an intimate and somehow explicit manner.
How strange it was to be kissing someone so soon after meeting them. He realised it was the inner sheltered academic reacting here, but he couldn't quite believe that other people came together like this, without the weeks of terrified flirtation that his encounters with the opposite sex usually involved.