This story is by Adrienne Baile and was part of our 2017 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the Spring Writing Contest stories here.
Her breath stops in her mouth. Thump…. thump…thump…Noises all around her fade beyond the hypnotic pounding in her flesh. His hand heavy on her shoulder.
Just breath, Joslin. She tells herself. Five, deep breath in. Four, exhale out slowly. Three —-
The heaviness moves down slowly to the small dip in her lower back. She freezes.
“You look beautiful tonight,” Chase says with that warm, inviting smile like the Cheshire Cat from Alice and Wonderland possesses.
One shall be weary of a smile like that, but who can resist such sweetness. At school, no one smiles at her that way.
“Do I make you nervous?” he says. She shrugs her shoulders.
I am so lame. I can build a game program that would baffle any Ubisoft developer, but why can’t I do this?
Chase interrupts her thoughts, “I am not trying to make you nervous. It is because you like me and don’t know how to show it. I can take this slow. You are worth waiting for.”
He slides in closer and slithers in her ear, “I love your mocha skin, sweeter than any chocolate.”
She bursts out a loud laugh. That is the worst line ever, but he is still so cute. It is obvious that he doesn’t talk to many black women.
She analyzes his features. He is sort of handsome with his straight, strawberry blond hair, his green circuit board colored eyes, his broad shoulders. He looks just like one of the characters in her new game.
“What are guys doin’?” Natalie wiggles her way between them. “I thought all the senior managers are supposed to buy the interns drinks!” She giggles. “I’d like a sidecar, because that is what us adults drink”.
She turns. Her blonde ponytail knocks Joslin in the face.
“The kid will have a virgin Shirley Temple.”
Joslin stares at Natalie and opens her mouth, but nothing comes out.
Oh, my gosh! No, she didn’t. Natalie always has to have everything, like my crush, Jacobi, in our 7th grade class, but not this one, Natalie.
Joslin grabs Chase’s shirt collar to pull him close. Bam!! An explosion within her, first hot and then a cold sensation from her lips to her fingertips on his collar. Someone yanks her arm and pulls her to the side. She is still weightless from the moment.
Of course, it is Natalie. Joslin thinks, she is salty because she can’t have this one.
“Joslin, what are you doing? Have you lost your mind? You read the file. All those poor ladies. Remember, Marcelle.”
“Whatever, Marcelle is flaky and always late. I don’t know if I believe anything in that file. Maybe it is the wrong guy.”
“The Establishment is never wrong.”
“He is so sweet. He says he loves me. I don’t know if I can do it.”
“Oh, no, girly. Snap out of it! Seduce, not fall in love. Remember the rules. The Establishment will not accept defiance.”
Dang, Joslin hates when Natalie is right. She really needs the money. She is behind on credit cards bills and tuition payments.
“I am sorry. This is my first, but I know the rules. No witnesses, no loose ends, finish the job.” Joslin says.
“Good, now go on or I will take him off your hands,” Natalie Grins.
Chase comes out of the corner of her eye.
“Hey, there you are. We should keep a low profile. I am not saying that the kiss was not cosmic, it was damn girl, but let’s go somewhere more private,” he flashes her that inviting grin again.
His touch, rough, and then soft as he grabs her arm and leads her down a dark hallway. The warmth from his touch.
You don’t hurt the ones you love. No I can’t! What am I doing? Get it together, you cannot screw up this job!
The hallway is dark and musty. Then in the corner, a flickering light of candles and flowers sit on a beautiful table.
He turns with her favorite, Orchids. “These are for you, one for each moment I think of you.”
He is so cheesy. “Thank you,” Joslin responds.
He sits her down in the booth and then slides in beside her.
“I love you Joslin. You are so smart and beautiful.”
“Yes, you say that a lot,” she giggles.
“I mean it Joslin, I …
Her grip on the sides of the chair tightens. His smooth lips graze on her skin. He plays connect the dots with each of her beauty marks on her neck with his tongue. She lets out a slow, low moan.
“Oh, so you do love me too,” Chase says.
She snaps out of bliss.
“I think we should get back to the others,” she whispers.
His lips right on her bottom lip. She sprouts her legs up.
“No, no, let’s stay here, don’t be scared. I will be gentle.” he says.
Gentle, he is so sweet.
Joslin replies, “No I am going back. Sorry, I believe it is better this way.”
As each step of her second-hand heels clunks against the floor, she knows this is the right thing to do. SLAM! She looks up.
“Oh, my beautiful, you are not going anywhere. I am patient, but I know you are into me,” he says.
The inviting smile appears again, but this time it seems darker even menacing. A predator playing with its prey. Joslin is not the prey this time.
“Chase this is too complicated. Please move away from the door,” Tears escape from her eyes.
She has to find another job this isn’t going to work. Chase wraps himself around her.
“Please let me go,” she pleas.
“Let you go, why would I do that. I have you exactly where I want you.”
Man, was he strong she thought. Where is the gentleness?
She loves Chase, but this side of him is new to her. Joslin’s limb breaks free from his grip. She scrapes the side of his face.
“Oh, you Bitch, I am going to really enjoy this.”
His soft hands swiped across her face. He rushes to pin her down on the floor.
As she comes back to reality, she pleas, “no, no stop, please don’t do this. You don’t want to do this.”
She frantically uses all her strength to force him off her, but no use. Her body goes limp.
“Oh, that is a good girl, you are enjoying it too. I know you love –,” he coughs as she knees him in the abdomen, then a kick to his groin.
She forces herself up as she clings to pieces of her top.
“Hell yeah! We are playing games now. I will be the big bad wolf and you the little red riding hood,” He says.
She goes left and he beats her there. She goes right, there he is again. She goes back left, but he catches her and slams her into the concrete wall. She hears parts of her spine crack. Swelling pain spreads through her left arm.
“See I love this game.”
His grip tightens, she yelps out in pain. She tries to extend her right arm down to her heel. His grip tightens again.
“Please let me go,” she replies.
He slowly squeezes tighter around her neck. She finally clasps the heel.
“Oh, come on,” she whispers.
She feels the snap, then the tip. She plunges the heel through his hand around her neck. He jumps back.
“What the hell, Joslin! That shit hurt!”
He looks down at the wound and licks the blood like candy. She runs at him with all her force and slams the heel into his neck. Blood starts to spill out like a tiny river down his collarbone.
“Ahhh!” He screams out in pain. Then quiet.
“You do like it rough. Well I can play too,” he says.
The candles dance in his eyes.
She mutters, “What the hell. You even human? You should’ve been down in few seconds.”
He punches her in the stomach and throws her onto the table. Candles and flowers smash into the floor. She loses the heal, but out of the corner of her eye she spots something else. Joslin slowly moves toward it.
“Oh, come on, you’re not making this fun,” he says.
Chase walks over to her and pulls her leg towards him and tosses her on her back.
“I want to see your eyes. Where is the fear… “
A shy smile forms in the corners of her mouth. He lumps over in pain. He looks down to find a corkscrew sticking out of his groin. He tries to get up, but he can’t. She walks over to the wine bottle still intact on the floor.
“You were so sweet to me. I love you, but how could you try to hurt me.”
“I love you too, Joslin.”
Joslin heart stops at those words. “If you love me, we would not be here.”
“Yes, I love you like all the others.”
“Other’s? Other’s like Marcelle from Accounting?” Joslin says.
So, it is all true. The Establishment is never wrong.
In a fit of rage, she swings the bottle, his neck snaps to the side.
“Dang it! The bottle didn’t even break,” Joslin shrieks.
She swings it again, this time at an angle. The bottle breaks into tiny pieces.
“Oh, my God, I think I am going to be sick,” she whispers, “He’s a monster and a liar. It was you or him.”
Joslin stands there in a daze. Clack, clack, sounds of heels grow closer. She tears the bottom part of the lace on her dress. She slumps to the floor with the spout of the broken wine bottle in her hand. Wet streams flow down her cheeks.
“Please someone help me!” she screams in between sobs, “help … me.”
The heels speed up. The door flings open and a figure rushes to her. It is Marcelle. Joslin didn’t even see her at the bar.
“I … he …. um… he…” she whimpers.
“Oh honey, don’t you worry, come with me,” Marcelle says.
Marcelle helps Joslin to her feet and she leans on the Marcelle’s shoulders.
Marcelle stops at the door and looks back. She sighs, “Finally! You deserve worse. Asshole!”
“Thank you for your statement, ma’am.”
The police officer nods at Joslin and walks toward the detective.
“Detective Williams, I have the witnesses’ statements,” the police officer says.
“DOA, Chase Stevens. We couldn’t get any charges to stick for assault on those other women, but now this,” Detective Williams says, “This is a banana.”
“Yes, Rookie, a Banana. An easy case to solve. It is clearly self-defense.”
Detective Williams shakes her head and walks triumphantly towards Joslin.
“Miss Green, we have everything we need. You can go home.”
“Is he ok?” Joslin asks.
The Detective answers, “Oh…. mm…. he is dead.”
The crunch of Joslin’s upper lip starts to tremble, then tears form.
“Oh, Miss Green, it is ok, he won’t hurt you ever again. Don’t you worry. You go on now.”
Joslin tries to lean on her foot, but falls. The detective catches her arm and helps her into the car.
Joslin lightly touches the detective’s hand and murmurs, “Thank you…”
For that moment, she can tell the detective thinks she is the victim. The car skids on the wet tar.
“Ugh! That was a complete mess!” Natalie screams as she swerves down the road. “You are so lucky Marcelle backed up your story.”
Joslin drowns out the rest of Natalie’s rant. She wipes her cheeks and pulls out her cell.
“This is Black Orchid. The contract is complete,” she says.
The computerized voice responds, “contract completion confirmed. Payment deposited.”
Great. I can’t wait to graduate and leave love alone.