tagNovels and NovellasFalling Prey Ch. 01

Falling Prey Ch. 01

bythemightyoak©

********

For Literotica readers: There is no sex in this chapter and there will be very little sex in the entire story. There will not be any graphic sex.

The following story is fiction. Any resemblance to real people is purely coincidental and unintended.

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My daughter, Lauren, was home for Thanksgiving break from her first year of college. She and I were on an emergency trip to the grocery store, and she trotted behind me trying to keep up as I rushed up the main aisle. I turned down the cookie aisle and breezed past a woman as I directed my voice toward Lauren.

"Does your mother want one or two?"

Lauren's voice, full of youthful zest, shook from her quick pace. "They come two in a package."

A voice called from behind me. It was a womanly voice, self-assured, almost presumptuous.

"Russell?"

I turned around hearing my name. The woman I had passed was standing in the middle of the aisle looking at me.

"Oh. My. God," she said. She held out her arms and trotted her tall pumps past Lauren. Her ripe melons bounced under a tight gray sweater, threatening to spill from where a few more buttons should have been fastened. I leaned down to politely receive her, and she gave me a hug that lasted too long as her pleasing fragrance washed over me.

"Hello Amber," I said, "How are you?"

She pulled back and gently placed her manicured hand on the side of my face. "It's so nice to see you!" She let her delicate fingers linger on my cheek.

Lauren was not amused and she eyed the petite woman up and down. Besides the tall pumps and the cleavage, Amber was wearing jeans that only accentuated her seemingly immoral curves. And it didn't help Lauren's attitude to see that Amber was such an attractive woman, made even more alluring by the way her dirty blonde hair was adorned with platinum streaks.

Lauren's critical eyes left their target and she looked at me with an attitude that said, "...for real?"

"Amber," I said, "this is my daughter, Lauren. Lauren, this is Amber Featherton. Amber and I used to work together."

"Hi," Lauren said with a fake smile. "It's nice to meet you."

Lauren, an athletic five-feet-six, had to look down at Amber. Amber touched Lauren's forearm.

"It's nice to meet you! I worked with your father for fourteen years, and honey let me tell you, he was the smartest man in the whole company." Amber turned back to me and her words slowed like sweet, golden honey. "The best looking, too," she drawled.

Like a little boy getting a pat on the head, I tried to suppress a smile.

Lauren made a big roll of her eyes and mumbled, "Oh, please..."

"So what are you doing on this side of town?" Amber asked. Her joyful, smiling eyes made me feel special.

"We just moved over here."

"Where?"

"Tuscany Drive."

Amber slapped my arm. "You did not."

"Yeah."

"The Braselton house?"

"That's the one," I said.

She slapped my arm again. "Russell! Were you going to tell me?"

I hadn't seen Amber since leaving the company, so I didn't know how that was supposed to happen.

"Yeah, of course," I replied, and I shrugged a shoulder. "If...if I saw you. We've only been there a few days."

Amber turned to Lauren. "You know that little bridge across the creek in your new backyard? That goes into MY backyard!" Amber lifted her petite shoulders and scrunched her nose at the "cuteness" of our new proximity.

Lauren looked at me through the tops of her eyes. Her thoughts glared, "You've GOT to be kidding me."

I averted my eyes.

"That's your house?" I asked. "Right behind us?"

"Yes, silly!" Amber said, and she slapped my arm again. "Oh, you knew that."

But I didn't. I thought she lived another street or two over.

"Y'all have to come over," she said. "Yes! You all have to come over for dinner...soon! Bring the whole family!

Lauren was shaking her head and mouthing the words "No! No!"

"Dinner?" I hesitated.

"Yes! You have to!"

"Umm...well...."

Lauren was shaking head and waving her hands, "NO! NO!"

"C'mon!" Amber encouraged. "It'll be fun!"

"Well..." I stammered.

Ah hell. I couldn't think of any excuses.

"Yeah...okay...that would be nice."

Lauren slapped her forehead.

"Wonderful!" Amber gushed. She clapped her tiny hands with glee and a hundred bangles jingled like sleigh bells.

I had left Cray Bionics a year earlier and I would never have forgotten that Amber was a bit "flighty," but as we chatted, I realized that she was far more beautiful than I remembered. My eyes savored her ravishing face, her petite nose, her shapely lips. She must have been in her late thirties, and yet her skin was still as smooth and pure as Lauren's. She and I stood in the middle of the grocery aisle and caught up. Lauren faked a smile every time Amber turned to her.

"Oh," Amber said, and she held up her rhinestone decorated pink phone. "You've got to give me your number. What is it?"

Lauren glared at me.

"My number?" I said hesitatingly.

Lauren's pretty brown eyes squinted, oddly resembling flashing signals at a railway crossing. I swear I could hear the train coming.

"It's umm..."

Lauren's eyes became slits and she clenched her jaw, warning, "Don't do it."

"...Umm..." My hands were getting clammy. I couldn't think of what to say. I looked away from Lauren's scowl. "Eight seven three..."

Lauren dropped her head in her hand.

Amber and I talked a while more, and then we finally began our goodbyes. She gave me another too-long hug with her hand against the nape of my neck, and as she pulled away she gently dragged her white-tipped nails. I felt a siren's call run up my spine and I think I floated an inch or so off the floor. Amber turned around to Lauren.

"Lauren," she said, "it was so nice to meet you."

"It was nice to meet you too," Lauren said politely.

Amber turned to me and waddled her phone. "I'll be in touch," she winked, and with a drippingly affectionate voice she signed off, "I gotta go. Take care." She rolled her pretty fingers, turned sweetly, and strutted down the aisle. She took short steps in her provocative stiletto pumps, heel to toe, swaying confident strides like she was walking a painted line. Mesmerized, I watched the two most delicious rounds of womanly ass move up and down in a fervently appetizing dance that -

"AHEM!" Lauren interrupted.

I spun and began searching the grocery shelves in an effort to cover my tracks. She crossed her arms like her mother does. Her lustrous brown hair fell across her shoulders. "Daddy, what are you looking for?"

I had absolutely no idea. I had completely forgotten what we had come to get, but I kept frantically searching. "Umm, you know...the...the stuff."

"Really?" Lauren challenged. She was tapping one foot. "What stuff?"

"The umm...the..." My eyes scanned and my mind searched through a look-up table of possibilities: "Oatmeal cookies, ginger snaps...sweets, it has something to do with sweets. Candy. Dessert."

"...or was it green beans?"

I dropped my shoulders. "Heck, I don't know, sweetie" I said contritely. "I don't remember. What are we here for?"

Lauren, my responsible, go-with-your-dad-or-he'll-buy-the-wrong-thing daughter, gave me a sarcastic smile. "Pie shells," she admonished. "They're in the frozen section, Casanova."

I turned proudly and started walking. "I knew that."

When we arrived home, Karen was straightening magazines in the family room in preparation for the in-laws who would soon arrive to share Thanksgiving dinner. I walked into the kitchen, smelling the delicious aromas of warm, browned turkey and sweet potato casserole, and I set the cold pie shells on the black marble island. Lauren joined her mom in the adjoining room, kicked off her sandals, and sat on the couch with her feet under to her.

"Mom, do you know Amber..." Lauren looked at me as I entered from the kitchen. "What was her last name again?"

Now I was the one rolling eyes. "Featherton."

"Mom, you know who Amber Featherton is?"

Karen stopped arranging magazines and stood straight. Her dark brown hair fell in a razor cut that was even with the bottom of her jaw. I hated her hair cut short, but I never admitted it.

"Yeah," Karen said. "She worked with your father."

Lauren pointed out the French doors that lined the back wall. "She lives right there."

Karen, perplexed, furrowed her brow at me. The finest lines ran from the corners of her eyes, lines I had come to adore as reminders of twenty eight years of happily married.

"She and Dad were all touchy feely in the grocery store," Lauren added.

"Now wait a minute..." I countered.

"Daddy gave her his cell number too."

Karen looked incredulous. "You gave Amber Featherton your phone number?"

"Well what was I supposed to do? Say no?"

Those two answered in unison. "Well, duh!"

"Oh for crying out loud," I started, "you guys..."

"Russell," Karen interrupted, "you mean to tell me you bought this house knowing that woman lives right behind us?"

Lauren slid off the couch, picked up her sandals, and turned to me. "Okay," she said affectionately, mimicking Amber, "I gotta go set the table. Take care, you sexy hunk of man, you." She rolled her fingers at me like Amber had done, giggled, and strutted her way out of the room.

Karen raised her eyebrows. "Sexy hunk of man?"

"Hold on a minute," I said. "As I recall, you got in the car, right here in this driveway, and you said, 'This is the house. Even if we have to pay the asking price, I want this house.' Remember that?"

"Well that wouldn't have happened if I knew Jessica Rabbit was going to be living behind us."

"Jessica..." I stopped. It suddenly occurred to me that Jessica Rabbit might actually be a really good description of Amber. I looked off in thought, seeing Amber's enthralling curves, her silky hair, that sensuous pout, and I mumbled, "Jessica Rabbit?"

Karen folded a magazine and cocked back. "Russell! So help me God!"

********

Thanksgiving dinner was the typical overdone spread. Karen's parents were there as well as her brother, Matt, and her sister, Lara, with their spouses and kids. It was a packed house as usual, but our son, Alex, Lauren's older brother, chose to stay at school. His absence was a nagging void. After dinner, Karen and I stacked the dishes, and as we stood in the kitchen she poured another glass of wine.

"Do you really need another," I asked, trying to be gentle about it, but unlike her normal calm self, Karen's temper flared instantly.

"Don't start with me, Russell." She pointed at me. "I'm a grown woman. I'll what...I'll be..." She shook her head in frustration. "I'll drink what I want," she blurted out. She fumbled with the latch-on bottle cork, gave up, yanked opened a drawer and threw it in. She slammed the drawer shut, walked to the archway into the family room and turned on a smile. "Okay everybody," she announced as she entered the room, "I want everyone to gather for a pitcher...pitch...a PIC-ture!" She let out a great big laugh.

To my right Karen's mother, Claire, was standing outside the door to the dining room. She looked at me with disapproval and then her eyes dropped and she walked away.

In the family room, the annoyed group crammed together at the back wall - Karen insisted - but it was still too many people to fit in the camera's field of view.

"Hold on," Karen said, holding the camera in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. She backed up and checked the camera screen. "Nope." She backed up some more with her eyes on the screen, and some more, and suddenly Claire screamed.

"Karen!"

Karen fell over a small Queen Anne table, spilling wine all over herself and the carpet and breaking a small lamp. She lay on the floor laughing, still holding the camera in front of her like she was ready to make the shot. Embarrassment filled the room like an awkward pall. Lauren, her face flushed red, rushed over to help her up.

"Mom, look where you're going."

Karen kept right on laughing as Lauren and Claire helped her off the floor. Claire's face was stern.

"Karen, you're drunk."

"I am not, Mother."

"Yes you are. You've had at least six glasses of wine since Jim and I got here."

"Oh really? Are you counting my drinks now, Mother?" Karen wrenched her arm loose from Claire.

"Well somebody needs to. It doesn't seem your husband is going to do anything."

"What do you expect me to do, Claire? She's my wife, not my child."

Lauren tried to smooth things over. "It was just a little accident, guys."

Claire ignored her and stayed on me. "I expect you to take her wine from her. This is getting to be a habit."

"And how long's that going to work?"

"You two stop talking about me like I'm not here!" Karen angered. "I'm not some fucking child!"

None of us ever used that kind of language and the mood instantly became as hard as concrete. For a few seconds, we all stood like mute statues. Karen's father, Jim, broke the silence.

"I think we've seen enough," he said to Claire. "Let's go."

"Grand Daddy don't leave," Lauren beseeched, "it was just an accident."

But Jim's a bull-headed spoiled brat who is constantly reminding everyone that he goes to church every single Sunday. He once let Claire work a part-time job, just to prove that he's not a chauvinist.

"Nope," he said childishly. "Claire and I are better people than this."

Lauren's face turned beet red with shame. Jim grabbed his jacket off the back of the corner chair and with his hand on Claire's back, he led his duteous wife toward the front door. The room remained stiff until they reached the foyer, and then, like a light slowly emerging from fog, Karen softly spoke.

"You've always been better people than me, Daddy," she said calmly.

Jim turned around. Karen stood with a sway.

"You and Mother have always let me know every little thing I didn't get perfect. How I missed Summa Cum Laude by only point two points. How I lost the tennis regionals by one game. Mother, you shook Melanie Parks' hand and told her that I would never have made nationals anyway."

Karen looked at the floor. "But why should I care? I hated that fucking game."

She pointed at Claire with her empty wine glass. "And at my own wedding, Mother, you told me that Lara was the most beautiful woman there. You told me that my sister was the limelight. You told me that at my own wedding. What mother does that?"

Tears began to drip from Karen's eyes.

"Daddy," she continued, "you told me that companies don't fire good people. I'd been with Metric for eighteen years! They laid off 600 people, you stupid son of a bitch! That job was my career!" Karen's voice ripped like linen as she began to sob. "That job was my life!"

She tossed her wine glass to the floor and ran upstairs, passing Jim and Claire without any of them making eye contact.

Lauren covered her mouth with a shaking hand. Her chin trembled. Her eyes glistened in pools of water.

Claire scanned the room. Her face was hateful like the bark of a knotted old oak. Jim urged her along with a tap on the back, and they turned and walked out the front door.

Thanksgiving had been stabbed with a knife.

Thanksgiving was over.

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