There were at least twenty missed calls on my phone by the time Friday night rolled around.
When did Thursday even pass?
Some were from my parents and others from Kay.
And then there were those from Dom.
I didn’t want any company in any form, not even from Imo.
I was in a daze after my encounter with Hilda and I didn’t know what to do or think or say.
I had replayed all the things that I could remember of what she’d said and it all seemed to stick out.
What was this card she was talking about?
Was this some kind of club? She’d made it sound like there was more than just one woman in his life – like he had a system for picking them up.
And she thought that I was one of them.
They were still in contact with each other.
Their relationship was something that was clearly intimate enough for them to be close confidantes to each other.
And she wasn’t the only one he’d had.
And they all knew each other and he had cheated on her with one of them.
Was that why he was so readily forgiving about Kitso and I?
The tears fell anew from my eyes and I felt like screaming.
Dammit, if Kitso was here, I would have gone right over to her place and let her do whatever the hell she wanted with me.
Maybe I should have taken a taxi like they’d said.
My stomach growled confidently and I groaned from the pain.
There was nothing in my fridge because I thought I’d be staying at Dom’s all weekend.
I needed food.
I got out of my clothes and had a quick shower and after brushing my teeth and making myself look presentable, I headed down and out of the building. I wouldn’t need much, just enough for two days. Maybe I could even just go to the canteen in the hospital and get peanut butter, bread and eggs.
I had just crossed the gates when the sound of the unforgettable engine roared passed me and the tyres squealed as the Mustang came to an unsteady stop by the side of the road.
Dom stepped out, slamming the door behind him and I could swear that the car itself rocked from the force.
He was the most beautiful creature I had ever beheld.
He was still in his suit, all of it black, with the shirt startlingly white.
I winced as the tears escaped my control and I wanted to run but I had no energy to move.
I had missed him with every single piece of my soul, even in all the pain.
He stopped before me and I wondered if he’d known that I was coming down.
No, clearly all that hypoglycaemia was getting to my brain.
I shook my head, staring down at my feet as the tears fell silently from my eyes.
“Come away with me, please.”
I wiped my eyes and looked at him. “No,” I said.
I tried to move past him but he stepped in my path.
“If you’re going to leave me, then do so knowing the truth, please.”
I stood there, looking at him, thinking hard.
I told myself that it had nothing to do with him, when I agreed to hear him out.
In that moment, that was me and I was fair and I needed to see all sides.
It had nothing to do with him.
I got into his car, affording him none of the graces that he’d held before in opening and closing the door for me. I did this all of my own free will.
As the car sped toward his place, I kept telling myself that this was all about me.
It was not at all about him.
The drive was silent and fast and I barely had time to think straight about anything.
We rode the elevator with three other occupants and I was glad to put some distance between myself and him as I stood on the other side of them.
They all got off on their respective floors and we headed up to the penthouse.
He entered ahead of me and I remained in the foyer, closing the door with what little energy I had left. I was starting to shake and I was sure that I would soon collapse if I didn’t get some sugar in my system.
He headed for the kitchen and I followed him there, grateful to the powers that be when he prepared our usual drinks – coffee for him and hot chocolate for me.
Neither of us had spoken to each other since we’d left my place behind, but it was hard to keep my eyes off of him as we drank.
I had missed him.
I had missed his voice.
I had missed his smile.
I had missed his eyes.
I had missed his scent.
I had missed his frown.
I had missed his lips and his body.
I had missed the way he looked at me, how gentle he was with me.
I missed him!
But when my cup was finally empty, I could not wait to get away from him.
I needed a minute.
I found myself in the bathroom, staring at my reflection in the mirror.
My eyes showed their tightness in my battle to keep from crying again. I splashed water over my face and dried it quickly before I headed for the library.
I didn’t want to see my own face.
I looked pathetic.
I didn’t want to see my own sadness – I didn’t want to cry.
I sank into a chair, looking around me as the memories called themselves forward.
I was exhausted.
What was I doing here?
Why did I agree to this?
The tears began to sear the backs of my eyes.
I buried my head in my arms on the table before me.
I heard the chair scrape against the carpet and I was already on my feet.
I didn’t hear him come in.
I needed to get away from him. He stopped moving toward me and I stopped when he did.
I covered my face, feeling that cold sense of misery fall upon me like a wet blanket.
“I’m sorry…” he said quietly.
The tears burnt my fingers when they fell and I couldn’t stop them. My breathing was broken by a sudden sob that I could not take back. I swore I wasn’t going to do this when I learnt the truth. I swore that I would be calm and accept the facts for what they were.
But it hurt so badly.
“It didn’t happen like she said it did.”
“Then why are you apologizing?” I asked, my voice barely there. “What are you sorry for, huh?”
“I’m sorry that you’re hurting.”
I shook my head, dismissing his words.
“Should I be?” I asked him, swiping the tears away from my face as I turned to look at him again. “Do I have the right to be –”
“No,” I said, stepping back when he stepped forward. “Clearly she knows more than she’s letting on. She knows about all these things that you’re hiding from me –”
“I’m not hiding anything –”
“She knows about us, Dominick!”
He was silent.
“How could she know unless you were telling her…”
My voice broke on the last word and the tears fell anew.
“She knows more about us than I do!”
His eyes fluttered, like he was struggling to process whatever thoughts were on his mind.
And then he sighed heavily, swallowing hard.
He looked up at me then, his expression showing nothing.
“Come,” he said.
I swiped at my eyes, sniffling. “Where?”
He didn’t answer, just simply started backing away toward the door of the library. I followed at a safe distance and when he was sure that I would follow, he turned around and walked on.
I followed him up the stairs and into his bedroom.
And he stopped in front of the doors to his closet.
I held my breath.
He pulled a key out from nowhere and unlocked the dark doors and slowly, they swung open. Dom did not look at me at all, he just stepped into the closet, prompting the lights to go on, and hesitantly, I followed him. The tears had frozen in my eyes and I wouldn’t lie – I was somewhat petrified.
I did not miss the step this time.
He put his jacket on a hanger and set it on a rack with other jackets that were similar to it.
“My grandfather insists that all the sons of Tyree should have a collection like this one – like his,” he said flatly. I nodded when he glanced at me.
His expression did not match his tone.
The sadness was there, but so was something else – fear.
What was there for him to be afraid of?
And what did this have to do with what Hilda said?
Why was I scared to begin with?
He faced his front again and we kept moving.
I noticed for the first time, a shelf dedicated to watches only.
He stopped again and I stopped too, looking at him.
There was that mysterious door.
He placed his palms flat on it for a long moment and I swear, he was holding his breath.
He punched a code in on the key pad that I’d seen that day.
A dull thud filled the small space and he pushed the door gently so that it swung forward.
He stepped through the door and into the next room and I could see that it was poorly lit within. I followed him slowly through, remaining in the doorway while he disappeared to his right.
My heart was a wild beast in my chest, racing a million miles a minute, my blood, a raging storm as it rushed to my head.
I thought I was going to be sick –
The room was then suddenly filled with light and I blinked.
It was empty.
The room was completely empty.
I swallowed hard, stepping further in on wobbly legs, crossing the threshold. I was on carpet again.
But this was soft, lush and thick.
And dark as night.
I raised my head, intending to look at him, but I couldn’t because my senses were taken by the rest of the room. Everything was black, from the walls, to the ceiling to the drapes that hung over whatever was on the walls to our right.
He moved to the corner of the room and pulled the drapes away to reveal a bank of windows of various sizes.
The setting sun shone into the room and he returned to me and turned the light back off.
No, it wasn’t just one light – there were many, many pendant lights in the ceiling, like stars.
And then he looked at me with a dark expression on his face.
I would find no comfort in his eyes.
So I stepped forward again.
The door swung shut behind me and I jumped, spinning round as the dull thud followed.
“It closes on its own,” he said. “It’s locked again.”
My eyes snapped back to him where he was strolling toward me, fists dug deep into his pockets.
He was distant, in every way.
I could feel his absence even though he was standing right there next to me. I ventured further into the room, moving toward the windows.
The city pulsed beyond and the view stretched for miles – light and concrete mountains and metropolitan life. And a setting sun that looked as beautiful as when it had risen that Sunday morning, days ago.
I swallowed hard and faced my front.
A bank of doors were on the opposite wall.
When I moved, he moved and I faltered.
And he stopped.
I looked at him.
What was I doing?
He should have been the one leading me.
I didn’t know where we were, after all.
I gestured for him to precede me and he seemed hesitant, but he obliged.
“The bathroom is through that way,” he said, pointing to a closed door in the corner, to the extreme right of the wall before us. “These are cupboards, drawers and a closet.”
“This is a bedroom,” I stated and he nodded.
We continued toward the third door in this room that apparently would lead to somewhere. Through it, I was taken down a hallway which led to a staircase, going all the way down to a landing that looked like the foyer in his penthouse. On this landing, it looked exactly like it, down to the colouring, but there was no front door. As I ventured further, I noted that the design of this area was slightly different in that the kitchen was the first room that we passed and the lounge was set at the back of this area. There was no guest toilet down here and the room where the library would have been was instead a workout area.
We walked past the kitchen area and through the lounge and he produced another key and opened the only other door there.
“If you recall,” he says, “My front door is the only other door on the fifteenth floor. This is the second one.”
As we leaned out of the door, I could see his front door at the opposite end of the hall.
“So you basically own this floor?”
He nodded his head slowly.
I took a deep breath, processing all of this.
We stepped back into the apartment and he locked the door behind me, placing the key back in his pocket.
I forgot, what led us to this point, I realized – I forgot for a moment, why I had been crying in the first place.
But this moment, brought it all back.
As we moved back through the penthouse, I realized that it was fully furnished.
“So who lives here then?” I asked, gesturing toward the perfectly kept living space.
There was a roundabout couch that circled what looked like a fireplace with a vent that exited out the side of the building. There was no television set but there was a sound system. The window wall in this area resembled the one in his penthouse and a quick look in the kitchen showed that this too was a clean and polished area.
The fridge hummed to life in the corner and I looked at him, waiting.
He simply looked at me, effectively telling me nothing.
I followed him back to the master bedroom, where the atmosphere changed again.
He moved to the door that sat between the one that we had just come through and the one that led to the bathroom area.
He stepped through it and flipped a switch on the wall beside the door and stood there a moment, his form perfectly still.
I followed him down this hallway, which opened up into another room which was brightly lit.
There was a mirror directly in front of us and I realized this when he stepped out of the way to allow me entry into this new room. I had never thought about it – his height.
But now, standing in this mirror, seeing him and seeing me, I realized how right it all was. We fit together, just right.
And I wondered if God made people like this.
When He pulled Eve from Adam’s ribs, did He do so with the intention that she’d know and he’d know that they fit together?
He kept moving, leading me further into the room.
The carpet was just as lush as it was in the bedroom and it was black, but the walls were white, as were the drapes. The furniture was black.
There was something not quite right about it.
To my immediate left was a four-poster bed.
Or maybe it wasn’t a bed.
It was a dark kind of grey, made of the same stuff that made the bed board in his master bedroom, but it pretty much made up the entire bed. The mattress looked just like the bed board and everything was cradled in the dark wood that made the posters that surrounded the bed at each corner.
He moved toward the bed and I followed him slowly.
“It isn’t soft,” he said. “But it isn’t hard either… Feel it…”
I pushed down on the surface and felt what he meant. Sitting on this for the hours I’d spend reading or writing would be inadvisable.
And then he ran his fingers up the post that was closest to me and indicated what looked like small metal hooks, three of them always, on each of the four posts.
He moved to one of the bedside dressers and pulled it open, retrieving something.
They looked like handcuffs, but with extra padding.
When he handed them to me, I noted that they were weighted. He then pulled out a thin silver chain and fit one of the links into one of the hooks and another into a link on one of the cuffs.
And then I understood.
“For your wrists or your ankles,” he explained.
I looked at the bed and then at the posters and then at the cuffs.
“Why would anyone want to do that?” I asked quietly.
“In case you lost your grip on the bed board.”
I gasped as my whole body trembled, my sex coiled tight between my thighs, as the memory hit me.
Me, gripping the bed board, riding his mouth and his tongue.
I swallowed hard and looked away, handing the cuffs back to him.
He put them back into the drawer and I noted that there were a number of such drawers stacked one on top of the other.
“What’s in the rest of them?” I asked, indicating the drawers.
He stood there for a second and then pulled them open, one after the other.
I knew that I had next to no experience with sex, but I knew sex toys when I saw them.
He pulled out a silver object that looked like a small egg. It was heavy in hand and fit snug in my palm.
“What is it?” I asked, looking up at him.
He came around me so that he stood almost behind me and then he put his hand under mine and then balled both our hands into a fist. The object came alive in my hand, vibrating like it had a life of its own.
“It activates with just the right pressure…” he said, his voice having dropped an octave.
He let go of my hand but I continued to hold onto the vibrating egg.
“Where do you – I mean – how do you use it?”
He made a sound like a laugh that had failed in his chest and then he turned away from me. To the side of this bed that wasn’t a bed, was a contraption that looked like a rather small table with benches on each side – and it was all padded.
On these apparent benches were straps.
“For your legs,” he said. “And for your wrists…”
And then I understood.
What I thought was a table, was not a table at all.
The person would lie on top of the largest surface, which was in the middle and they would be on their hands and knees on what I thought were benches – and they would be strapped down just like that so that he could –
My mouth dropped open and I looked at him.
“So I’d bend over and…”
He tilted his head to the side, his eyes roaming over me, from my head to my toes and back again. “Or I would bend over…”
I blinked, my breath caught in my throat.
The egg vibrated insistently in my hand and I became more and more aware of it as he approached me. He took my hand, encasing it in both of his.
“Relax…” he whispered.
It felt like a command and I loosened my grip. “That’s warm,” he said as he took the egg from me. “And to answer your question…”
He looked back at the bench. “That’s one of the uses…”
I gaped, knowing he knew what I was imagining right then.
“This is sterile, of course,” he said.
He put it back in the drawer and moved to the front of the bed.
He reached up, almost standing on his toes. He then pulled something down from the ceiling and as it unravelled, I saw that it was a giant, padded ‘X’.
It too had straps at all four ends.
“Adjustable,” he showed me.
But it wasn’t just the straps that were adjustable, it was the entire thing!
He could pull it closer to the bed or further from it.
“And… What’s this for?”
“A story for another time…”
He put the cross back in its place on the ceiling, making sure it was secure before moving on.
We moved into the room where there was an actual couch that stood alone before what looked like a glass cubicle set on a daze, its roof seeming to merge with the ceiling. There were steps that lead to the front of the glass enclosure and also to the back, as I would later find out. Within this enclosure, was a single recliner made of black leather.
He sat me down in the middle of the couch and returned to the bed where he produced a set of peculiar headphones that he placed over my ears.
I could hear nothing.
He opened a small box and took out what were no doubt ear plugs and then clipped something to the lapel of his perfect shirt.
“Can you hear me?”
I jumped, looking at him, startled.
He sounded like he was in my head!
“Speak,” he said.
“I hear you,” I told him.
He moved to the back of the glass cubicle and I watched silently as he stepped right into it, closing the door behind him. It was just about the size of a service elevator cabin, I thought.
“The headphones are made that big because they’re built to pick up sound from the wearer. There’s a built in microphone that links to these buds,” he said, tapping his ears. “So I hear you and you hear me.”
The room went dark when he pressed a button on a remote I hadn’t noticed him holding. But there was light in his little cubicle that reflected off the white wall behind him and that threw him into perfect relief.
He sat down in the recliner and looked at me.
“Why would I want to be hearing you… In there?”
I could hear the friction between his shirt and tie as he pulled the latter off his neck and undid the top two buttons of his shirt.
“It’s more about you giving commands and me responding to them.”
I swallowed hard.
“What kind of commands?”
He shrugged, sitting back in the recliner as he gazed up at the ceiling.
“What’s your favorite book?”
I shook my head. I didn’t think I had one.
“I suppose I get that,” he chuckled. “Mine is an anthology of poetry dedicated to the female body.”
I was strangely aroused, watching him sit there and hearing him speak.
“So,” he said. “I would get that book and have you sit right here. I’d ask you to read me a poem – with my little egg, clenched tight, deep inside your pussy.”
I gasped and he groaned.
I felt the sound reverberate right through my mind.
“And… What would you be d-doing?”
“I’d just watch and listen… And you would obey…”
I swallowed hard.
And then it was all black and I was sitting in near total darkness.
“Relax… Just breathe… I’m right here…”
I took a few deep breaths as I sat there staring in the general direction of the cubicle.
“What would you have me do?” he asked, his voice hypnotic.
He sounded like he was right there in my head.
I clamped my thighs tight, bit my lip.
I didn’t know.
So many things.
“Think about it and I will try to make it happen for you.”
The lights came back on and I watched as he returned to me.
He took the headphones and placed his earplugs back in the box and put it all back into the drawer by the bed.
He opened another set of drawers that were along the wall next to the sofa.
Whips and belts and blindfolds and other things I didn’t know the names of.
I nodded my head and he closed the drawers.
We moved back to the bedroom area.
“Where’s the bed?” I asked.
“Undergoing some – modifications,” he said.
“So you still use it?” I asked cautiously.
“No,” he said.
I nodded my head.
“Okay…” I said quietly, starting to feel the unease returning.
He looked around him briefly.
“You didn’t tell me who – stays here,” I said.
He shook his head. “Nobody, but it remains in constant readiness.”
His eyes sparked at me and I swallowed hard.
“Ready… For what?” I breathed.
His stance shifted slightly and I felt like he just might jump up and eat me, the way that he looked.