This story is by Lori Paradis and was part of our 2021 Spring Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Dear Readers, I have so much to convey! So wish I was writing this in my blog, and perhaps I will someday, but for now I want to capture as much detail as possible.
I was styling none other than the Eric Samuels today. He was going to some gala for orphan children or some such and he only trusts me to style him for these occasions.
Well, we have the tux on and his lady is said to be wearing red. “What shade of red?” I had asked. He had replied that it was a regular red, which, don’t even get me started. There are only 10,000 shades of red! So I brought an army of pocket squares in all different shades of red so we could coordinate. We were in the midst of this dilemma when none other than Olivia Larsson enters the room!
Her dress entered before she did. It was everywhere. Tufts of crimson chiffon floated all about her with each step she took. A red angel. She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. And I have styled a lot of the A-listers with the best plastic surgeons in the country!
Her hair had that old Hollywood crimp in it but the way she parts it down the middle takes the look to such a modern place. Her make-up was minimal, clean, and fresh with her lips in a gorgeous matte red lipstick for the occasion.
Her tightly bound chest was heaving. She was in absolute distress and couldn’t breathe. I saw that right away. Eric ushered her into a seat. Her brow was covered in beads of sweat and she gasped for air with her red lips parted. I brought her water from the glass decanter nearby.
“May I? I said and immediately unclasped the back and drew the zipper down several inches.
She took a deep breath and seemed to steady herself then. She grabbed my arm and looked me straight in the eye, “Thank you.“ So simple but so sweetly said.
“Danielle, can we have a minute?” This coming from Eric so I took my leave out the door to the left. This is the room I sit in as I’m waiting for him to change. It’s a small room but it has a lounge and mini bar in it. Tons of magazines and always a load of fresh pastries. I don’t have evening gowns that I’m trying to fit into so I grab a few snacks. I am also needing to stretch my legs so I sit on the floor by the door and stretch my legs out. Lo and behold I can hear everything from this position.
“Have some more water, please my darling. You’re burning up.”
“I feel ice cold”
“What has you so worked up? Whatever it is, I will fix it in an instant. Tell me!”
“Some things can’t be fixed.”
A chill ran down my spine at that moment. I know not why.
I could hear her stand and pace the room. I imagine her arms about her to hold each side of her bodice up. I had undone her zipper quite significantly, I’m afraid.
Rebecca tells me you had asked for a nursery and Au Pair’s quarters added to the blueprints.(Rebecca is said to be the architect for the couple’s new home being built off the coast of Southern Cali)
“Yes, I did.” A slight hesitation. “I promise, your safety will be my number one priority.“
And then I heard a voice that seemed to come from some other being. It was a guttural sound that couldn’t possibly have come from that angel. “There aren’t going to be any babies!” Her words hit like thunder and reverberated about the room.
There was a long pause. The pastries I had been devouring were left forgotten in crumbles now on the floor.
“I promise to protect you! We can’t go on like this. We keep losing hired hands. People are going to start talking…”
“I. Am. Not. Having. Children! Her voice cracked as I imagined her mind had done likewise for she sounded deranged at that moment. She broke into sobs then and cried so that I jumped to my feet and paced the door wanting to go to her. To comfort her from the drowning her soul seemed to be enduring. I was about to lose myself in madness when Eric called for me.
She was pale and shaking. A dove amidst a red, glamorous sea of red that engulfed her. I parted the Red Sea as I imagine Moses once had. She clung to me and buried her face in my white suit. The red stain of her lipstick would never come out but I didn’t care an inch. I sat there, cradling her until the sobs finally subsided. I eased her out of her gown and Eric was able to carry her to bed.
I in turn went back for the minibar where I have been writing this account.
— — —
Dear readers, there is a satanic being in your midst! There is no name for such a creature. He/She/Monster. There are no idioms to describe such a being!
Eric returned, changed from his tux to a Ralph Lauren shirt and jeans. There would be no gala tonight. He glanced my way seeming surprised to see me still about but said nothing besides, “You’re drinking? Good.”
He made his way to the bar and poured himself a golden mahogany liquid from one of the bottles. He came and lay down on the couch across from me placing his hand over his eyes. The silence was so long I could hardly endure it but my fascination and idle curiosity held me to the spot.
The weather had taken a turn from earlier and the large western-facing windows cast a yellow-green tint about the room. It did nothing for Eric’s pallor. I had placed yellow and green on his do not wear list. Lightning hit and the room lit up for one moment striking terror in my soul. As the heavens released their droplets, so Eric seemed to be released from his reverie.
He sat up and I noticed his eyes were bloodshot and instead of speaking in his normal straightforward manner, his gaze wandered about the room.
“It hasn’t been easy for her. She was an orphan, the tabloids have feasted on that information, creating all sorts of origin stories for her. Her real history is darker than most would suspect.”
His sentence was smothered by quick clipped steps making their way down the hall. I recognized Olivia’s gate and breathed a quick sigh of relief until she burst through the doors. A navy nightgown with flecks of gold clung to her. The hems of her sleeves were long and swept up with the long train her gown left behind.
Her face was wasted with longing like some dead thing. Her eyes filled with a bright, agonizing need. I couldn’t look at her so terrible was her agony. For half a second I wanted to bring her some of the pastries from my waiting room but the thought was jarred from my head as I realized that food was not what she lusted for.
“You were so sweet to me this afternoon, so motherly. I long for that motherly touch with the longing only ten generations of daughters growing up without a mother can feel. Not being able to become a mother myself without stepping into madness, it brings out a baser feeling in me too, I’m afraid. I mostly want you dead.”
If Eric hadn’t made a move at that moment, I might not be writing this now. He turned as if to leave the room. I could see the disgust and abhorrence in his face and she must have too. Her bloodlust left her with no rationality and she lunged at him, knocking him instantly to the ground. I propelled myself to my waiting room and locked the door. I didn’t look back even as I heard his screams echo. I have called 911, and am just waiting and hoping to be rescued.
She calls for me like an abandoned child. It unnerves me. I long to go to her, to comfort her and cradle her as I had this afternoon. She isn’t my child but a grown woman! Yet it disturbs me to my core to leave her alone.