by Nicolas Travers ©
Boston effectively signed his doom two weeks before Christmas. He thought
he had it made - he was seeing Natalie one night a week and telling Christine
that he was working late: always the same night, always a Friday. He explained
it as a kind of compulsory overtime, and of course he was always exhausted
when he arrived home, because Natalie was demanding. He would leave work
early, it was a joke with his boss, because his routine never varied. 'It
gives me a long weekend,' he would say, and his boss would smile a knowing
smile, because Martin did not fool him. But he was good at his work, and
Campbell, his boss, was prepared to turn a blind eye. 'Drive carefully,'
he would say, and both men would smile, because Martin commuted by train.
They would meet at the station and walk the short distance to her apartment, and Martin would marvel, because Natalie, always so prim and proper in public, would turn into a real harlot the moment she closed her door. No scratches, no bites, no bruises, because Christine was always watchful. But Natalie would turn with the closed door behind her, and guide his hands to her small breasts as they began kissing, and then kneel on her carpet before him, to cup his manhood in her hands, and the urgency within him would make him pull her to her feet and push her before him into her small bedroom, and they would entwine their bodies together until their passion released them.
But once was never enough, and they would couple again, and sometimes again, with their sweat flowing freely, until time crept up on them, and Martin would glance at the small alarm clock on her bedside table, and Natalie would make him fresh coffee. Always fresh, always newly ground.
Neither ever mentioned Christine, though her presence always hung like a menacing shadow above them as they clung together. Neither spoke of the future. Martin wanted children, but Natalie was proud of her progress as a medical technician at the local hospital - they had met when Christine had been to see a specialist, to be told that she was possibly barren. 'One day', each of them would silently mouth to the other, in between kisses, and 'one day' would drift away into a land of dreams. Meanwhile both were content.
Then Martin made a fatal mistake. He had promised Christine that he would do some Christmas shopping, bring home some champagne for Christmas Day dinner - they were expecting Christine's parents, and possibly his own. Christine had planned a big treat, with roast goose and stuffing, and carefully chosen presents for all: they were not short of money, because she worked as well. Martin's parents had telephoned her to confirm their acceptance, and she had telephoned Martin to tell him to buy more: perhaps four bottles, perhaps even five. But he had left his work early, and forgotten to brief a new office boy still learning the ropes. The phone had rung, and the office boy had answered before Campbell could intercept him. 'He's gone home,' the boy had said, ' he always goes home early on Fridays', and he had looked at the phone in surprise as the woman caller had hung up abruptly.
It had been Christine, of course. Campbell had shrugged, but had never mentioned the call, and the office boy knew his place. So Martin had known nothing of the incident. But whilst Christine was a trusting wife, she had also brooded on the incident, and her brooding had made her suspicious. She had asked a male colleague at her travel agency, a man who sometimes shared a lunchtime table with her in the little Italian restaurant two doors down the street, to call Martin at the same time the following Friday, with instructions to hang up if Martin should answer. 'It's a game,' she had told him, and the man had nodded wisely. But of course Martin had already gone.
She had said nothing, biding her time, until Christmas had passed. They had dined with both sets of parents, and Martin's mother, who was not privy to Christine's defect, had joked about 'the patter of tiny feet'. The remark had not gone down well. Then they had toasted in the New Year at a smart restaurant, and Christine had pondered what she should do, whilst Martin drank a little too much and pictured Natalie standing naked and waiting for him.
Finally Christine decided that she must know for certain. She waited for three weeks into the New Year, and then took a Friday afternoon off from the travel business where she worked. She sat patiently in a small coffeehouse in the same street as Martin's office building from midday on, seated at a table where she could see and not be seen, smiling politely and shaking her head when men sought to join her, for she was a good-looking girl, pleasant and neat, the kind of girl men like to take home to meet their mothers. She had watched, and waited, and seen Martin leave his building at a time when he should have been working, and anger had begun gathering within her. She had followed him to the station, always lagging some way behind, and hidden behind a pillar, her anger now mounting, because she had glimpsed a smugness about him that augured bad tidings. She had jumped into the carriage next to his as his train began moving, and taken a window seat. The carriage was virtually empty. It was still early in the afternoon.
She had seen him leave the train and had followed like a shadow. Martin should have seen her, because the platform was virtually empty, but his mind was filled with Natalie, and it was his undoing. Natalie was waiting for him outside the station, and they did not embrace, because they had no need, so close to their pleasure. But Christine saw the way they walked together, hand in hand like two lovers of long standing, and followed them to the corner of the street where Natalie lived, and saw them enter her apartment building, and her anger was a cold wind of fury. Ice filled her heart, and for a moment she thought of finding a hardware store, of buying a long knife and standing outside the entrance, to watch and wait for him, of confronting him with his shame and extracting a reckoning. But she took a deep breath, and walked back to the station.
What was the point? She might kill him, but she would suffer. She might merely injure him, and suffer more, thinking in some prison cell of him bedding his whore. She traveled back to their house, her eyes blank and unseeing as she sought in her mind how best to reap vengeance. She decided to confide in a friend, a girl of the same age as herself, whom she knew disliked Martin intensely.
She left a cold meal for him in their kitchen refrigerator and a note on their livingroom coffeetable to say she would be late, and dressed herself carefully. She was angry still, perhaps angrier than ever, but now her anger was a cold flame, controlled and deadly. She would make Martin pay, she knew not how, but in some way that he would never, ever forget. She would sear guilt through his soul, and brand him for life, in some way not for undoing, and trample his repentance underfoot. She would make him pay for his crassness, and balance her barrenness, in some way that would make him never want to look at another woman again. Ever.
Angela, her friend, was wholly understanding. "He's a bastard," she said, as she poured Christine a large whisky. They were sitting together on Angela's settee, and Christine's eyes were puffy and red from weeping out her fury and rage for vengeance.
Christine swallowed a mouthful of the whisky and began to cough. Angela moved a little closer, to thump her lightly in the small of her back. She and Christine were friends of long-standing, they had been through college together, alternately dating the same boys, comparing advances and defences. Christine had married, and Angela had come to her wedding, despite grave misgivings. She had counseled Christine to stay single, and build a career, but Christine had been drawn to motherhood, until she had discovered her defect. Perhaps that was why. Perhaps she had known inside herself that she could not bear children, and had sought to defy fate.
Marriage had worked against her: Angela was now an employer, a woman of wealth, with her own thriving business, a highflyer in data processing already talking of seeking a stockmarket listing, with fashion boutiques on the side and a slice of a smart restaurant, and still single, whilst Christine packaged tours. They lunched together, from time to time, and Angela always fed her the very best her restaurant could offer, as a sign of commiseration. They were friends of long standing, and once they had lunched too well, and Angela had hugged her closely. Christine had wanted to reciprocate, but she had not known of her defect at the time, and had thought it a distraction.
"What will you do?" Angela's voice cut into her thinking, and they looked at each other. Christine could see that her friend was watching her closely.
She shrugged. The whisky was warm within her, and dulled some of her pain.
"You want to teach him a lesson." It was as much answer as question.
Christine nodded, wiping away an errant tear triggered by her growing sense of impotence. She had wanted blood when she seen him with his woman, but had done nothing, and now she felt power slipping away from her. She fought to regain herself. "I want to make the bastard burn." Her voice shook as she spoke with the intensity of her feeling.
"We could do it together." Angela's eyes were gleaming.
Christine stared at her.
"We'll set him up." Angela smiled, and it was a look of cruelty. "We'll wait for him at your home, and pretend we've been drinking, we'll tempt him with sex, and he'll be ours for the taking." She tossed her chin, fanning her dark shoulderlength hair out in a halo, and forming her mouth into a cherub pout. "I'll make him think that I'm desperate, and you'll egg him on. Then we'll take him apart."
Christine looked doubtful. "He knows you don't like him."
"I'll pretend it's the wine."
She was still not sure. "And then?"
"We'll get him to undress, and tie him up." Angela licked her lips, and her eyes were like hard chips of obsidian. "We'll get one of your kitchen knives, the really sharp ones..." She let her voice hang on the word.
Christine's eyes widened. She could picture Martin's face, moving from lust to terror, and she felt a cruel, atavistic rejoicing sweep through her. "You wouldn't dare." Her voice was little more than a whisper.
Angela grinned. "We could try."
Christine smiled back at her, and their eyes shared their expectation.
Martin arrived home the following Friday on schedule, feeling on top of the world, and still a little randy. Natalie had filled him with pleasure but not quite drained him of lust, because she had a hospital dinner that evening, and she wanted time to make herself smart. He walked up the street towards his house, wondering whether Christine might oblige with dessert, though he knew that she had rather lost interest in the physical side of marriage since seeing her specialist. He noted Angela's car parked in their driveway, and licked his lips. He did not like Angela, and he knew that she did not like him either, but he often thought of bedding her. It was a male fantasy, to overcome rejection and have it away with his wife's best friend. Sometimes he even thought of rape, forcing her back onto a bed and having his way with her, cutting her down in stature from her conceit in success to rank more acceptably as a mere woman. He licked his lips again, his mouth dry with a sudden adrenalin rush. Perhaps tonight dessert would be served in a double portion. Then his hopes subsided as suddenly as they had come. They were probably gossiping together, and Angela would leave, rather than have to talk to him, and Christine would sulk, because he had failed once again to charm her best friend.
His pushed his key at his front door, fumbling momentarily with the lock. The door swung back, just as he was about to push again, and he stood dumbfounded. Angela stood in the open doorway facing him, but it was no Angela that he knew. She was dressed as a maid: a housemaid, perhaps, in a shiny red and black uniform that gleamed in the evening sun. Martin swallowed. The uniform seemed to be cut in black latex or PVC, with red trimmings and borders, and it was cut very low, with a very short skirt, and Angela's legs were shapely in black fishnet stockings. He realised that she was smiling at him, and that her eyes were hungry, and he blinked to return to reality, because her breasts were full and large and nearly bursting out at him, and he could not believe what he was seeing.
"Welcome home, sir. I'm your maid for the evening." Angela backed away from the door, and he did not know her voice, because it was a kind of purr, a tigress sound, drawing him in. "Can I offer you something?"
not find words to speak. The shadow of little flesh pits surrounding one
of Angela's nipples seemed about to break free, and he could do nothing
|Another top quality story by Nicolas Travers.|
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