Gavin’s Love Story Part IX

Felicity had grown accustom to the shackles as she moved about the house.  She cleaned the kitchen slowly and made sure that each nook and cranny was given attention.  Dawn had not arrived in a week.  Felicity had wanted to ask but had learned not to speak unless spoken to.  Since Jane’s death Gavin had been on edge.  Her punishments had been almost daily upon her return upstairs.  Felicity swallowed hard as the time on the rack floated through her mind.  A shiver skated up her spine and she shook her head to be rid of the memory.

“Felicity where are you?” Gavin called as he entered the house from work.

“In the kitchen,” Felicity removed the gloves and let her hair down as she knelt on the floor.

“Very good,” Gavin petted her head as he entered the kitchen, “I know I am home early.  I do expect you to put a rush on dinner.”

“Yes sir,” Felicity responded quietly.

“I’m going to shower.  I will return shortly.  Dinner should be served,” Gavin turned and left the kitchen.

Stone faced, Felicity rose to her feet and put away the cleaning supplies.  She washed up and went to the fridge.  Felicity mentally made the recipes as she looked over the contents.  She knew his typical showers after work were enough to make a decent meal.  Felicity moved as efficiently as possible and pulled out items.

Gavin sauntered in to the room half an hour later.  He eyed the table and gave a pleased smile.  Gavin patted her head as he took his seat.  Felicity remained on her knees by his chair as he ate.

“Today was a very productive day at work.  I think that I have done well this last quarter.  I had earned a vacation.  I could take a week off don’t you think?”

Felicity knew that the questions he asked while he ate were rhetorical.  She kept her head down and tried not to let the worry of what a vacation from work would mean for her.  Felicity stayed quiet and kept her eyes down cast.  When Gavin had finished she cleared the table.  She silently slid his cup of coffee in front of him as she had grown accustomed to.

“You have been doing very well the last several weeks,” Gavin stood and sipped his coffee as he walked around her.

Felicity remained silent since he had not given her permission to speak. Her head was bowed and hands clasped behind her back.  Gavin stopped behind her and pressed in close.  Felicity swallowed hard and closed her eyes.  She locked her jaw to keep the quiver from her lips.

“With Dawn’s absence you have taken up her role and excelled at it.  You have accomplished not only your tasks but also her chores.  I am pleased.  You should be rewarded,” Gavin pressed his lips to her ear, “but you will not be.  You are still in the red.”

Gavin stepped back from Felicity and walked around to face her.  Felicity kept her head down but opened her eyes and watched his feet.  Gavin took a few steps back.  Her eyes flickered across the floor unsure of what was expected.  Gavin lifted his arm and she stilled herself for the slap.  When Gavin’s other arm lifted and he tossed the steaming coffee Felicity wanted to scream but swallowed it down.  Her arms automatically flew up and her mouth fell open.  She stood on her toes and shook as she tried to push the flight response down.  Tears poured silently from her eyes as her body began to convulse in response to the violent action.  Felicity collapsed as her body tried to cope.  She wrapped her arms around her waist and she curled in on herself to control her sobs and body movement.

“Clean up this mess and be in bed before I come from the library,” Gavin’s cold eyes looked her over then he left the room.

Felicity’s eyes darted around the parts of the room she could see.  She closed her eyes tight and the sobs began to shake through her.  She forced herself to her knees.  Felicity wanted to take care of the blisters that had begun to form but knew that she would be punished if she left the room a mess.  She swallowed hard and cleaned as fast as she could while she kept her movements as shallow as possible.  The pain washed over her with every move. Felicity finished and went to her room.  Locked in her bathroom Felicity cleaned her skin as safely as she could.  She applied the burn cream that she had found in the medicine cabinet.  She looked at her reflection and knew there would be scars over her chest and part of her face.  Felicity dressed in a loose gown as she readied for bed.  Felicity took a deep breath and knelt at the side of the bed.

“I haven’t done this in over a decade and I am not sure you’re still listening to me.  I am indifferent to your existence,” Felicity’s voice was raspy as she folded her hands, “if you are a fair and just being then you will have him kill me.  Put me out of my misery.  I,” she wept as she continued with words broken and slurred, “I cannot do this anymore.  I wanted to live but this is no way to live.”

Felicity leaned her forehead against her folded fingers. She didn’t wipe the tears away.  She let the energy drain as she cried and gave a mumbled ‘Amen’.  Felicity eased in to her bed and hoped that the door to the bedroom would remain closed.

*****

“Felicity do it!  If you do not do it then it will haunt you forever.”

Felicity looked at Gavin as he struggled to get free of the strong arms that held him.  Her eyes flickered to the knife in her hand.  It was the knife that had taken Jane’s life.  It was the knife that had scarred her left shoulder.  It was the knife that had been Gavin’s security blanket.  Felicity looked down at her battered and bruised arms and cracked knuckles.  Felicity flipped the knife in her hand to a more comfortable grip.  She moved to Gavin.   She locked her eyes to his.  Felicity saw the action before he moved.  She turned but it was too late.  Gavin knocked his captor back and he advanced on Felicity.  Gavin tackled her around the waist.  Felicity’s face smacked into the floor as she fell.  She scrambled to turn over and not give him her back.  Felicity swiped the knife at him and the blade caught his cheek.  Gavin out maneuvered her and pinned her to the floor.  Felicity tried to free her arm.  When she realized she would not get another chance at him she dropped the knife and flicked it across the floor away from him.

“This is much better,” Gavin snarled down at her as the blood began to trickle down his cheek.

Gavin’s Love Story Part VIII

Gavin pulled his arm back and swung the flogger down hard across Felicity’s backside.  Felicity eyes flinched  but she remained quiet.  Gavin moved to the other side and brought down the flogger again.  Gavin repeated the action several times from her shoulders down to her calves.  When one arm got tired he switched to the other.  He ignored the tears that silently fell down Felicity’s face.  Once both arms were tired Gavin stepped away breathless.

“This is your fault.  I would not have had to do this if you had obeyed.  Stand up,” Gavin dropped the flogger to the floor, “I said stand up,” he repeated when Felicity failed to move.

“I-I can’t,” Felicity voice broke.

“I said,” Gavin yanked her bound hands and dragged her from the bench, “stand up.”

Felicity howls echoed through the room.   She struggled to her feet and stumbled after Gavin as he pulled her from her room through the house.  Felicity bit back the sounds that begged to be released.  Bile rose in her throat as her vision blurred from the pain that ran sharp through her entire body.  She swallowed hard as Gavin flung the door to the basement open.  Felicity braced herself for the stairs.  She  was appreciative that the momentum kept her upright.  Gavin stopped at the bottom of the stairs and she fell to her knees with no strength left to hold herself up.

“See,” Gavin pointed, “look at what you made me do!  You see that.  That is because of you.  You failed and it had a great cost.”

Felicity stared at Jane’s unblinking eyes.  Jane’s skin had already gone ashen and her eyes clouded.  The blood settled around Jane’s lifeless body. Felicity could not choke back the bile as it rose.  Her stomach emptied as the tears flowed heavily down her face.  She idly wiped her hand across her mouth.  <I’m so sorry Jane. So so sorry.>  Felicity began to hiccup as she tried to control her sobs.

“You forced my hand and it cost a friend her life.  I wanted you to have someone to talk to, someone that could be your friend and be an ear to listen.  It should not have been Jane.  I warned you both.  How was she going to help you escape huh?  What was the plan?  Were you going to wait to gain my trust and let you go out with her and she would never bring you back?  Was that the plan?” Gavin’s voice rose the longer he spoke.

“N-no.  I was not planning,” Felicity’s mind worked to form the proper words, “to leave.  I just wanted to get to know her experience and learn to make you happy,” her voice shook as her eyes darted around the room.

“Ha!” Gavin lips turned up in a humorless smile, “and I’m the king of France.  I thought you were done but it is obvious you are not.”

Gavin yanked her to the back of the basement and down the hall.  With his free hand Gavin pulled the keys from around his neck and unlocked the hidden apartment.  Gavin shoved her through the door.

“Clean yourself up while I figure out the next steps,” Gavin pulled the knife from his pocket and cut the bonds on her hands.

Felicity saw the disappointment in his eyes before she bowed her head.  She nodded but did not move. Gavin slammed the door behind him.  Felicity listened to the locks being engaged before she allowed herself to weep.  She lay on the floor curled into herself and wept until dry sobs rocked her body.  Felicity crawled to the bathroom and ran a bath.

Felicity made her way slowly to the bedroom after the bath.  She applied the cream as best as she could and fell onto the bed.  Her eyes closed and Jane’s screams filled her head.  Felicity’s eyes opened back immediately.  She tried to think of other things but nothing came.  Gavin’s repeated draw back of his arm and the slosh of the blood repeated in her mind.

Gavin lifted a screaming Jane by the throat and pressed her into the wall.  Felicity ran to him and pleaded for him to release Jane.  Gavin snarled as he shoved Felicity away.  Jane tried to press her chin down as she grabbed for the inside of Gavin’s wrist.  She had been assaulted too much to focus her strength.  Gavin dodged her knee and slammed her into the wall.  Jane’s mouth opened to scream but there was nothing since Gavin’s grip tightened around her throat. 

Felicity picked herself up off the floor and lunged across the kitchen at Gavin again.  She hit him hard enough that his grip slipped on Jane.  Jane managed to get away.  Gavin spun around and brought his elbow up hard across Felicity’s face.  Felicity stumbled and fell back to the floor as she tried to keep her stomach contents down.  Jane had gone for the rear doors in the kitchen.  The lack of oxygen and over all distress dulled her senses.  Gavin pulled her by her hair and she fell back into his grasp.  With a well placed blow to the back and a strong hold around her neck Jane could barely stand. 

Gavin dragged her to basement door.  He yanked the door open and shoved Jane through it.  Jane covered her face and neck as she tumbled down the stairs.  She lay at the bottom too battered to react immediately.  Gavin turned his attention back to Felicity. Gavin grabbed her from behind as she tried to shuffle out of the room. Felicity stepped back into him and brought her elbow up high but only grazed him.  He had seen the move coming.  Felicity stomped back on his foot and when his grip loosened she spun around and lead the heel of hand in to a power upward shove toward his face.  Gavin caught her by the wrist and snapped her hand back.  Felicity yelped in pain.  She tried to bring her knee up between his legs but she had broadcast the move before any actions had taken place and he countered.  Gavin landed a punch to her temple then one to her throat and she collapsed half conscious into him. Gavin smiled down at her.

“I adore that about you Felicity.  So much fire,” Gavin cradled her as she tried to struggle, “there is no need for that. There is no dismissal yet.  Now come along.”

Gavin pulled her with him to the basement.  He shoved her through the door.  Felicity caught the banister and clumsily made her way down the stairs.  Jane had moved across the floor and was almost hidden.  Felicity could see the bruises that had begun to form along Jane’s body.  She wanted to move to comfort her friend but was too frightened.  Gavin sauntered down the stairs to them.  He yanked Felicity over to the cage.  Gavin grabbed the handcuffs from the table and cuffed Felicity to the cage door. She pulled at the cuffs and pleaded with Gavin.  Gavin shook his head as he moved across the room to Jane as she whimpered.

“You were free.  Someone risked everything to make you free,” Gavin was soft and kind, “they gave so much to get you where you wanted so bad to be.  Now look what you have done.  You threw it back in their face.  Such a waste of a good favor.”

Gavin pulled the knife from his pocket.  He never left home without it.  With a flick of his wrist the blade flipped out.  He grabbed Jane by her hair and turned her to face Felicity.  He watched as Felicity and Jane shared a look.  A chuckle burst from Gavin.

“Tell her thank you Jane.  Tell Felicity how much you appreciate her getting you in this position,” Gavin held her up so she was on her knees.

A sob escaped Jane but she said nothing.  Gavin pulled her hair tighter and slid the tip of the knife down the side of her face. A trail of blood trickled down her face where the soft tissue had been split.

“Do as I say,” Gavin commanded.

“Thank you Felicity.  I will never have to look over my shoulder again,” Jane’s eyes were soft.

Jane had accepted her fate.  She had known Gavin would be back in her life and she would run or fail.  Her thank you to Felicity was genuine. Felicity nodded. Her eyes never left Jane’s.  When the sharp blade slid from ear to ear under Jane’s chin and Jane gasped their eyes remained locked.  Gavin released Jane and knelt over her body.  Felicity lost count of how many times his arm drew back and the sickening sound of torn flesh slopped in her ears. Jane gurgled and one hand rose defensively but never made it more than a few inches before it flopped back to the floor.  Felicity closed her eyes when Jane’s eyes lost focus.  She forced herself to swallow repeatedly.

Gavin stood, wiped the blade clean on his pants and moved to Felicity.  Gavin unlocked the handcuffs and dragged Felicity up to her room.  The shock had taken over Felicity.  She felt Gavin’s hands undress her and she felt them as they forced her to lay across the wooden bench with the leather pillow top.  She felt each strike of the flogger and she accepted her punishment.

Felicity shook as the dry heaves settled to hiccups.  <So so so very sorry Jane.> Felicity pushed herself up off the bed and limped over to the small dresser.  She pulled on the soft satin night gown and went back to the bed.  Felicity pulled the covers up and stared at the ceiling.

*****

Felicity opened the door to the fridge.  It was stocked.  She glanced at the door.  Someone had been to fill it.  Felicity had lost track of time and was not sure if it had been days or weeks.  The lights no longer changed with the daylight hours and there was no clock.  The television and the phone had been removed at some point since she had been returned.  Felicity made a meal and tried to close her mind.  She was sure that her therapist would say she had PTSD and without coping mechanisms would fall into a dangerous state of mind.  Felicity had torn the journals into pieces when she tried to express her feelings in written word.  Felicity did not know what was expected of her and she was sure that there was another punishment headed her way.  Felicity had accepted the fact that Gavin had probably torn her room apart and she prayed that he didn’t find the hidden messages that had been delivered to her when her supplies were restocked before she had moved into the house.

Felicity woke and there was noise in the apartment.  She dressed quickly and headed to the living area.  Gavin tossed books into empty boxes.  His lips were in a fine line as he completed two shelves.  Felicity walked forward.

“What are you doing?” Felicity asked in a soft voice.

“Do not speak.  Assume the position and do not move until I give you permission,” Gavin ordered without a look in her direction.

Felicity knelt by the chair in the welcome position with her head down.  She listened as Gavin packed up the books.  Gavin opened the doors and stacked the boxes outside.  The door stood open as he made his way across the room and back again.  About forty-five seconds between each side.  Felicity’s legs twitched with the desire to run but she did not move.  Felicity visualized the house layout and thought of the fastest route and how to get to each exit.  Once at the exit she would be trapped without the handprint for the scanner.  Felicity closed her eyes and calmed her heart.  There would be no escape.

Gavin’s Love Story Part VII

Felicity sat in the tub as the shower sprayed her with warm water.  Her knees were pulled to her chest and her arms were wrapped around her legs.  Felicity rested her chin on her knees as she stared at the wall.  She strummed her fingers on her arms as she fought to focus. Felicity closed her eyes and willed the water to wash away the last several weeks.

Felicity, now clean and dressed, moved in to the small kitchen area.  She casually moved from the counter to the fridge seemingly without a goal.  Felicity had gotten accustom to the new home and she had heard the sounds of the electronics.  The almost silent whirl and whine of the cameras had been distinctive once she focused.  Felicity opened the fridge and stood there with the door open then closed it.  She paced back to the bookshelves.  Felicity paused when she heard the keys.  She quickly grabbed a book and sat on the couch. Felicity relaxed once the door opened.

“Good evening,” Dawn entered with a smile.

“Hi Dawn.  How are you?” Felicity pretended to mark her place and placed the book on the table.

“I am well.  How are you feeling today? Gavin said that you had cold symptoms,” Dawn placed the bags on the counter in the kitchen area.

“Much better after the rest and soup.  I think it may have been allergies.  The seasons are changing?” Felicity knew it was a risk but took it anyway.

“Oh my. I must tell him to make sure he removes his shoes and such before he comes to visit.  With autumn air come complications.  I’ll be sure to get medicine for that the next time I go to the store.  Here are your feminine care products and he requested a new shampoo and soaps.  Everything else is for here.  Go on and put those things away,” Dawn handed the items to Felicity.

“Thank you Dawn,” Felicity took the things to the bathroom.

Felicity closed the door a quarter of the way.  She placed the shampoo and soaps on the side of the tub.  She edged herself at an angle behind the door and opened the cabinet there.  Felicity took a breath and opened the box of tampons.  She quickly slid the envelope from it and stuffed in her bra.  Felicity kicked the door closed and made show of putting the box in the cabinet there.  She returned to the kitchen.

“Gavin will not be with you tonight.  He has a meeting with a client from Japan.  Would you like me to cook for you tonight?” Dawn folded the bags.

“No I will be fine thank you.”

“Alrighty then.  I will see you.  He has programmed the house number in there correct?” Dawn pointed to the phone that hung on the wall.

“Yes.”

“If you need anything ring me dear.”

“Yes ma’am.”

*****

Gavin watched as the interior designer put the finishing touches on the bedroom.  He was pleased.  The new security had been installed and all the adjustments had been completed in the days prior.  Gavin felt the tingles in his chest and his mouth slowly turned up.  He waved the last of the crew out and rushed down the stairs.  Gavin pulled the keys from around his neck and opened up the doors.

“Felicity my love,” Gavin called out as he entered.

“Yes?” Felicity appeared from the bedroom.

“Did you pack the bag like I advised?”

“Yes sir.”

“Remember it is okay to call me Gavin now,” Gavin took her hand into his.

“Yes Gavin I have packed my bag.  Should I retrieve it now?” Felicity kept her head bowed.

“Yes.  Put on your slippers and grab your bag.”

Felicity did as instructed.  She felt Gavin’s eyes on her.  His nervous energy made her anxious.  Gavin took her hand into his.

“Felicity today is the day.  Fifteen years I have searched for the perfect mate.  I have been stern I know but I have loved deeply.  I knew when I saw you the first time almost two years ago now that you would be the one.  Felicity,” Gavin took a breath and a grin spread across his face, “you are now part of my life.  I am taking you to the house.  In the house the same rules apply.  Nothing has changed except you will have more freedom and responsibilities.  I am ecstatic to be able to share this with you. Only one other had made it this far.  She was nothing.  You are the only one worthy of me,” Gavin kissed her hand.

“I am glad to share this with you,” Felicity forced on a smile for his benefit.

Gavin led her up the stairs to the main house.  He gave a quick tour to familiarize her with the layout.  Gavin ended the tour with the bedroom they would eventually share.

Felicity eyed possible exits and weapons as they  moved through the house.  She realized in most of the house the cameras were not hidden, all windows were barred, and all doors connected to the outside required finger prints to open since there were no door knobs.  Felicity took a deep breath as he lead her up the stairs to the bedrooms.  She gasped as they entered the master.  Felicity did not want to be impressed.  She moved around the room and touched everything.  There was a large television mounted on the wall, all the furniture was cherry, the bed was a king size, and it had all the closet space a woman could ask for.

“How?”

“I did observe you.  I know your likes and wants.  I probably know you better than you know yourself.  I designed this room with you in mind. There are new clothes in the closet for you as well, the television has cable, and the bathtub in the en suite has jets.  Before you ask yes the there is a shower as a separate stall.”

“My perfect master suite,” Felicity mumbled.

“Anything for my love,” Gavin pulled her into his arms.

“Gavin this is too much.”

“Nothing is too much for you my dear,” Gavin kissed her lightly.

“Th-thank you,” Felicity pressed her face to his shoulder brow creased and lips in a fine line.

“Alright. I do have to be on my way.  There will be a dinner party next week.  Think of what you would like to cook to meet my friends,” Gavin let her go and moved to the door.

“Your friends?” Felicity felt the blood drain from her face. <Great other sociopaths.>

“Yes.  You have earned outside contact. Stay beautiful my dear,” Gavin blew her a kiss and left the room.

<His friends? This is a trap.> Felicity moved to her bag.  She opened it and unpacked to distract herself.

*****

Felicity watched as Gavin instructed on the place settings for the dinner table.  Felicity tried not to roll her eyes at the repeat of the last hour.  Felicity had completed finishing school and was aware of how to set a table properly but Gavin was persistent in teaching her how it was to be done.  Gavin cleared the table and stacked everything on the roll out serving tray.

“Alright now your turn,” Gavin crossed his arms over his chest.

Felicity nodded and stepped to the tray.  In less time than it had taken Gavin, the table was set and candles lit.  Felicity placed her hands behind her back and stepped aside for Gavin to look it over.  Gavin walked around the table and nodded his approval.

“Well done.  Now have you picked out the recipes that you will be making tomorrow?” Gavin stood by her side.

“Yes.  Do you have a list of any food allergies?  I would not want to make any of your friends ill.”

“There are no food allergies.  Let me see what you wish to cook.”

“There is nothing to show.  I have it all in my head.  I used to cook for my family.  I know several family meals that I can prepare.  I have selected a chicken and a seafood dish.  That way they have the options of what they would like,” Felicity bowed her head as Gavin moved to stand in front of her.

“Memory.  I do not like that.  I prefer to see the meals that you wish to prepare so that I may make sure they are appropriate,” Gavin held out his hand.

“Of course.  I can pull something similar up on the computer for you,” Felicity allowed herself to be lead to the office.

Gavin pulled the keys from around his neck and unlocked the doors.

“If you please,” Gavin gestured for her to enter first.

Felicity sat at the computer with her eyes closed.  Gavin reach around her and typed in his password.

“You can open your eyes.”

“Here,” Felicity pointed to the screen after she found something, “my recipe is a little different because it is a family hand me down.  Then there is the other.”

“Hm,” Gavin read over the meals, “these are acceptable.”

“Thank you,” Felicity let a small smile grace her lips.

“Dawn will be here soon and she can take the grocery list to make sure it is completed today,” Gavin shut off the computer and walked Felicity out of the office.

Felicity walked around the kitchen and itemized the appliances and pantry items.  She made a mental list of what she needed for tomorrow night.  Dawn arrived that afternoon prepared for the active evening of precooking.

“Dawn,” Felicity greeted her with a smile, “you don’t live here?”

“Not any more.  Gavin has you in the main house so there is no need for me to stay here.  You have the honor of keeping him company and taking care of him.  I will be here Monday through Friday part time.  He will be all yours on the weekends,” Dawn sat down her bag and looked around the kitchen, “no prep work yet?”

“I have a few things that I need from the store,” Felicity handed her the list, “will I be able to come with you?”

“Unfortunately not.  At this time you have not been integrated into the lifestyle enough,” Dawn looked over the list.

“Am I going to die here?” Felicity muttered.

With a sigh Dawn turned to her, “that is up to you my dear.”

“I don’t really like that answer at all.”

“I understand that this is not the ideal situation or the perfect courtship.  I have done this time and again.  You have excelled where others have failed.  I believe from your nature that you will survive.  I trust that you know yourself as well as you know the rules here.  Felicity you have a fantastic survivors instinct,” Dawn held her eyes for a long moment, “alright deary I am off to the shops.  I will return shortly.  Go on and begin the prep work for what you can.”

“Yes ma’am.”

 

Dawn brought in the knives and other cutlery when she returned.  Felicity eyed the items as she worked with Dawn in the kitchen.  She glanced at the cameras and knew that it was not worth the discipline.  Felicity turned her attention back to the work in front of her.

“These are beautiful knives.  This kitchen is a dream,” Felicity filled the silence to keep the tension down.

“He has set it for his perfect wife,” a grin crossed Dawn’s lips, “Gavin is thoughtful even though he in unconventional.  After we finish here we will begin review for tomorrows rules and expected behaviors.”

“Yes ma’am.”

Felicity resigned to make the meal and evening as spectacular as she could.  She was a captive but no less a perfectionist.

*****

Felicity was amazed at her appearance in the mirror.  She had taken time and followed the guidelines and the result was stunning.  The dye had faded in her hair so her natural vermillion had returned.  It was swept back in an elegant French braid. She wore no makeup per Gavin’s request.  Felicity looked down at the empire waist dress.  The blue brought out her eyes and the green  pattern made her fair skin flawless.  Felicity took several deep breaths.  She slipped on her shoes and put on the earrings that had been on her dresser when she returned from her shower.

“You look gorgeous,” Gavin entered the room.

“Thank you.”

“The guests will be here shortly.  Dawn has arranged all the food.  All you have to do is be amazing.  I know that you can accomplish that,” Gavin took her hand and kissed her finger tips.

They settled in the foyer.  Gavin gave her a refresher on the evening as they waited.  The bell rang and Felicity jumped.

“You will be outstanding,” Gavin reached the door and opened it, “Will.  So glad you could make it.”

“I wouldn’t miss it for anything.  This must be the wonderful Felicity,” Will reached out his hand.

“It is a pleasure to meet you,” Felicity held out her hand.

“Oh the pleasure is all mine,” Will kissed her hand.

“Please come and have a drink before dinner,” Felicity led him to the sitting room.

“I certainly will.”

Felicity maintained her place in the sitting room.  She greeted the new guests as they arrived.  Felicity realized as they sat down at the table she had enjoyed the meet and greet.  Once all plates were filled Felicity stood.

“I would like to give thanks to you for traveling here tonight.  It is a pleasure to have my table full.  I look forward to many more gatherings.  I hope that the cooking is pleasing.  To a wonderful evening with great friends,” Felicity raised her glass.

“Cheers,” Gavin raised his glass from the other end of the table.

Felicity kept the topics light and steered the conversation as Gavin had instructed her.  She accepted the compliments of her cooking with a simple nod and thank you to each guest.  Felicity maintained her position two steps behind once dinner had concluded. She stayed behind Gavin as he made conversation with his friends.  Gavin ushered her to a corner and she took the seat without hesitation.

“One more glass of wine then the sparkling water.  We do not want them to think of you as a lush,” Gavin instructed.

“Yes sir,” Felicity kept the smile on her face as he leaned to her ear.

“You have been excellent tonight.  Do not do anything to cause me to punish you,” Gavin kissed her ear and walked off to where the men had moved to a separate corner.

“Your Gavin is mighty handsome,” Mary took the seat across from Felicity on the couch.

“He has always been easy on the eyes,” Jane sat next to Mary.

Both women were unremarkable in appearance.  Felicity saw the ordinariness of the women challenging.  There was nothing that stood out.  She tried to hold them in her memory in case the information was needed.  The small talk was a bore and Felicity allowed her mind to flow to her life before Gavin.

“So how did you and Gavin meet?” Amy brought her back to the present.

“Oh well we met in my self defense class.  He came in to help an instructor and it was love at first sight,” Felicity hoped her smile was as wistful as it had been when she practiced it.

“Oh my how charming,” Mary giggled and held her hand over her chest.

“He didn’t think so when I hip threw him,” Felicity chuckled.

“Gavin does like control so I can only imagine,” Jane smiled a little too familiar for Felicity to ignore.

“You speak from experience?” Felicity gave Jane her undivided attention.

“Oh you didn’t know,” Amy leaned in after a glance to the men, “Jane and Gavin were a thing years ago.  Jane just fell in love with someone else.  Gavin was upset about the break up but moved on.  I think her name was Claire but then she left town for a job in Paris.”

“The way Gavin speaks of you I doubt he will remember the numerous others,” Mary laughed, “he kept this wonderful secret for over a year.  It is so fabulous to finally meet you.  I can see why he kept you hidden.  You are intriguing, charming and a fantastic host.  I would keep you for myself as well.”

“I think that is enough wine for you,” Amy took the glass from Mary and handed her water.

“How long were you and Gavin together?” Felicity moved to Jane’s side.

“Maybe six months.”

“How was he back then?”

“Oh uh,” Jane eyes quickly went to Gavin’s figure that had his back turned to them, “I don’t think that I want to talk about that.  Maybe we can have lunch together and we can talk about it another time.”

“How are you going to manage that with Felicity’s agoraphobia?” Mary asked.

“My what?” Felicity shot a look at Amy.

“That is why we had not had a chance to meet you isn’t it? Gavin said that you have agoraphobia,” Amy narrowed her eyes.

“I,” Felicity stood and moved back to the chair against the wall, “I prefer not to call it that.  It is more of a social anxiety and panic disorder.  It isn’t all of outside that terrifies me.  It is part of dealing with my PTSD.  Agoraphobia is just a generalized label that people that are unaffected like to use,” Felicity held her head high as she improvised from the given script.

“We should change the subject,” Jane suggested as she gulped down the rest of her wine, “I don’t think we know each other well enough to get personal.”

“Thank you Jane,” <plain Jane brunette.  I can remember that.> “you are always welcome to come over for lunch.  I will check with Gavin on what is acceptable,” Felicity gave a polite smile.

“That sounds like a great idea,” Jane mirrored the smile.

The conversation returned to the mundane lives of the other three women as Felicity plastered a smile on her face and nodded.  Gavin called an end to the night and the guests hugged and kissed before they took their leave.  Gavin escorted Felicity back up to her room.

“Undress.  I will draw you a bath,” Gavin rolled his sleeves up as he headed to the bathroom.

“As you wish,” Felicity  replied as she removed her jewelry.

Felicity stepped into the tub once she was undressed.  Gavin washed her as she remained silent and obedient.  Gavin handed her a towel and left the bathroom.  Felicity dried off quickly and met Gavin in the bedroom.  She stood before him nude with her hair loose around her shoulders.  Felicity kept her eyes down cast as Gavin circled her.

“You are wonderful.  Tonight you were marvelous.  I could not have asked for better,” Gavin touched her with his finger tips, “I am very pleased.  I will see in the morning for breakfast.  Sleep tight,” Gavin kissed her lightly and left.

Felicity stayed in the spot.  Gavin had been known to return without notice and expect her to be where he had left her.  Felicity remained unmoving for two hours.  With weak legs and sore shoulders Felicity dressed and got in bed. Her mind drifted to Jane then immediately to the security system.  Felicity swallowed hard fear thick in her throat.  She closed her eyes and prayed to a god she had not believed in for years.

Endlessly Goodbye V- Finale

*Just in case you cannot see tags, this is extremely graphic.*

Four months later…

Ezra stepped into LAX and grabbed his one suitcase.  He spotted Dadrian right away and ran to him.  Dadrian wrapped his arms tight around him and kissed him hard on the mouth.  Ezra held his hand as they walked to where he had parked.

“I’m so glad that you were able to make it out to my show.”

“So am I.”

They were back at his hotel and Ezra fell flat on his back as Dadrian climbed over him.  Ezra scooted back so that his legs wouldn’t hang over the edge of the bed.  Dadrian kissed his stomach and up his chest to his neck.  Ezra moaned loudly as he felt his hand wrap around him.  Dadrian captured his lips with his and proceeded to jerk him slowly as he slipped his tongue into his mouth.  Ezra had made him wait until he felt he was ready.  Ezra had decided away from home was the perfect time.  Ezra would let Dadrian enjoy himself for a few more minutes then he would flip him.

“You are so beautiful,” Dadrian traced the tattoos on his skin as he admired his nude body.

“You’re not so bad yourself.”

Dadrian laughed as he looked over Ezra’s body.  He kissed and touched every inch of him until he had committed it all to memory.  Dadrian kissed Ezra’s hip and the black and red ink captured his attention.  Ezra shifted to his side to reveal the tattoo.  Dadrian traced the image with his finger like he had done the others.  Dadrian sat back and looked at Ezra.

“A unicorn?  That’s a little…gay,” Dadrian scrunched his nose.

“Says the man with the dragon tramp stamp,” Ezra pointed out.

“It is a dragon.”

“Unicorns are of legend one of the most mysterious and powerful creatures ever.  They hold so much power and their presence alone drew millions to them,” Ezra sat up on the bed.

“Unicorns are myth, you know that right?”

“Yes but their imagery encompasses all the great things about me,” Ezra felt the tides between them change and he was not happy.

“Are you a creature of myth too?” Dadrian whispered.

“You have no idea how real I am,” Ezra responded low with a growl in his throat.

There had been so much promise for Dadrian.  Ezra made a mental slash mark on the wall in his mind.

Ezra pounced on him and kissed him hard on the mouth.  Ezra roughly groped Dadrian as he pushed his hips forward.  Ezra pulled off him and turned Dadrian so they were more comfortable on the bed.  Ezra grabbed his toiletries bag and pulled out the lube.  Then he began to prepare Dadrian.  Dadrian gasped at the almost violent intrusion but enjoyed the sensation all the same.  Dadrian pushed down against Ezra’s hand.  Ezra nibbled and licked his thighs.  Ezra added a third finger and pushed in as deep as he could.  Dadrian squealed and still pushed against his hand.  Ezra engulfed him with his mouth and took him as deep in as possible.  When Dadrian hit the back of his throat he relaxed his muscles and took in the remaining length.  Dadrian buried his hands in Ezra’s hair and pushed his head down some more.  Ezra pulled back and his teeth lightly grazed his flesh.  Dadrian’s hips bucked up for entrance back into his mouth.  Ezra sucked him into his mouth again and caressed him with his tongue and lips.  Ezra kissed the tip and sat back.  He withdrew his fingers.  Ezra turned Dadrian over. He didn’t want to see his face anymore.  Ezra spread Dadrian’s cheeks and pushed into him.  Ezra let out a loud groan as he pushed all the way.  His fingers dug into Dadrian’s hips as he began to set the rhythm.  Ezra didn’t care if the other man felt good anymore.  Dadrian had lost his place and was now just a body for Ezra’s pleasure.  Ezra shoved repeatedly into him as hard as he could.  Dadrian tightened around him and he knew he was about to release.  Ezra slapped him hard on the bum and clawed down his back.

“Fuck. I’m coming,” Dadrian managed in between pants.

Ezra just continued to press into him.  Ezra felt Dadrian shiver as he ejaculated onto the sheets.  Ezra wasn’t done yet though so it didn’t matter to him. Ezra knew he was close and didn’t stop but pushed even harder into Dadrian.  Ezra leaned forward and bit Dadrian’s shoulder as he rode his orgasm. Ezra pulled out and collapsed on the bed beside him.  Ezra looked at the man who was on the edge of sleep from their sexual activities.  Ezra ran his fingers through Dadrian’s hair and almost felt something when the man rubbed his face against the palm of his hand.

Two days later…

Ardyn sat on the tailgate of the pickup truck.  She swung her legs as Ezra placed the bag into the hole.  She stood up in the back of the truck and tossed him the last two bags.  She sat back down on the tailgate and lit a cigarette.  Ezra shoveled in the last of the dirt and patted the surface.  He dipped his hands in the bucket of water and rinsed off the dirt.  He wiped his face clean and stripped out of the clothes.  He put on a new pair of jeans and a tee shirt.

“He was so right for you,” Ardyn handed him a beer.

“He shouldn’t have made fun of my tattoo,” Ezra stated flatly.

“He was so perfect.  He was your match,” Ardyn pointed out.

“I thought so too.”

“Even Jacob liked him and you know Jacob hates most of your boyfriends.  It was just a silly comment.”

“It is what it is,” Ezra shrugged.

“Sometimes I just feel like it’s endlessly goodbye with you.  And why was he in so many pieces?” Ardyn actually was moved by Dadrian’s passing.  She would never tell Ezra.  Her first secret.

“I couldn’t ship him back in a body bag.  I had to make it as easy as possible,” Ezra finished his beer.

“I guess.  Sure that makes sense.  Why in your backyard of a house that you never use?” Ardyn asked almost in a whisper.

“Because Dadrian was more than just another boyfriend.  I’d like to leave it at that,” Ezra stood.  His first secret.

“As you wish.  Let’s get home.”

They got in the truck and she drove them back to the city.  Ezra was glad that it was the middle of the night on a deserted road with no lights.  Ardyn would never notice the tears in his eyes or the extra key around his neck.

Dadrian woke in pain on a cot.  His eyes fluttered open.  The cold clasp of the bracelets let him know that he was no longer his own man.  The cage added to the facts.  There was food, water and a bucket.  He shivered.  The bellhop’s screams echoed through his mind.  He saw Ezra bash the man’s head in before he lost consciousness.  Dadrian heard the faint sounds of car as he left from outside of wherever he was.  There was no hope for escape.  But he still loved Ezra.

 

Gavin’s Love Story Part VI

Gavin’s limbs shook, his palms were clammy, and the world seemed to tilt. As the anxiety rushed through Gavin he curled up on his bed. Gavin closed his eyes and the white noise settled in his ears. His lips moved as he chanted and begged for serenity. Arms curled around his midsection, Gavin rocked back and forth. Several minutes passed and Gavin maintained his position.

Even breaths passed from Gavin as his arms loosened. His eyes fluttered open. Gavin swallowed hard as he sat up. With three quick deep breaths Gavin stood. He smoothed his hands over his clothes and left his bedroom. As Gavin made his way down the stairs his heart began to race. He swallowed hard as he removed the keys from around his neck. Gavin glanced down at the bag he had dropped an hour ago.

Gavin steeled his mind as he stilled his breath. The keys shook as he pressed them into the locks one after the other. He picked up his bag and entered the basement apartment.

Felicity knelt by the large chair. They had come to an agreement for the ‘Welcome Home’ position. Gavin’s shoulders eased as he looked her over. Her hair was neatly braided away from her face, her arms bare, dark purple leggings, head down, and a white camisole. Felicity’s hands were folded in her lap as she waited for Gavin’s instructions. A smile crept across Gavin’s face. He turned and locked the doors then made his way to her.

“Rise, carry my bag to the bedroom. I wish you to return in less.”

“Yes sir.”

Felicity rose, without looking at him, took the bag from his hand and went to the bedroom. Gavin smiled. He remembered a time he would have had to punish her for disobedience or talking back. Gavin closed his eyes and took a deep breath. None of the others had succeeded to the point where he had arrived with Felicity. He rubbed his hands together, flexed his fingers, and sat patiently for her return.

Gavin leaned back. Felicity returned and lay across his lap. She had removed her leggings and wore shorts so short they were glorified underwear. Gavin patted her bottom softly at first. She remained still as he increased his strikes. As the blush blossomed his excitement grew. Felicity closed her eyes as the tears welled. The sound of flesh on flesh began to echo as he increased the force.

Gavin rubbed his hand in slow circles across her derrière. He leaned in and kissed the warm mounds. Gavin made a move to stand and Felicity stood with her head low in the spot she’d knelt before. Gavin stood in front of her. The steel trap of his mind fell open as soon as he touched her face. A caress of her cheek sent his heart jack hammering. Gavin had placed his lips against hers before the thought had registered completely.

The breath caught in Felicity’s chest as Gavin kissed her. Gavin had never kissed her on the mouth before. He had kissed every inch of her body but never above the neck. Her eyes fluttered close and she returned his kiss. Gavin watched her face as their lips danced against each other. He increased the pressure of his mouth and a low moan escaped her. Gavin pulled back, his eyes wide and mouth ajar. He held her shoulders as she leaned in for more. Gavin had never pulled that sound from anyone. Felicity pouted then opened her eyes. She frowned then looked away.

Gavin stepped in closer to Felicity. Their chests touched and he put an arm around her. His fingers worked her braid loose and her hair was free. Gavin felt his heart skip as he lifted her chin.

“Look at me,” Gavin whispered.

Felicity slowly raised her eyes to meet his. In a motion Gavin was pressed against her, his fingers tangled in her hair, and his lips moved firmly with hers. Gavin swallowed each moan she offered up to him. Feverishly Gavin kissed her until his lungs begged for air.

Gavin pulled back as he gasped for air. His eyes fell to her lips bruised and swollen. Felicity whimpered as he ran his thumb over her lips. Felicity’s chest heaved as she tried to catch her breath. She felt the weight of Gavin’s stare and knew that something had changed between them. Gavin’s touch was soft and his hands were gentle as they removed her clothes. It was intimate. Gavin had never touched her in a way that caused her to feel equal in power. Felicity swallowed as she glanced in his direction. She gasped. Gavin’s features had softened and emotions filled his eyes.

“I would like to be with you,” Gavin whispered as he moved back into her.

“As you wish sir.”

“Call me,” his hands shook as they touched her face, “Gavin.”

“Sir?” <It’s a trap!>

“Have you ever questioned me before?” Gavin tightened his grip.

Felicity shook her head. Gavin nodded. Gavin kissed her hard on the lips as he dipped his fingers into her. Felicity moaned as her legs spread for him. Gavin kissed her neck and wrapped her hair around his hand. She squeaked as his fingers moved inside of her and he bit her neck.

“Gavin,” Felicity whimpered.

Gavin pulled his fingers from her and slid them into her mouth. Felicity, without a thought, obeyed his unspoken command. Gavin moaned then lifted her into his arms and carried her to the bedroom.

Gavin’s Love Story Part V

Felicity stared at the rooms. Gavin had granted her permanent residence in the set of rooms instead of the cage. It was painted in soft colors and furnished with custom furniture. It was more than Felicity expected. She was delighted by the perceived comfort.

Felicity touched the bruises on her arms. The soft ache reminded her of her place something she despised. Felicity frowned and looked away.

Gavin touched her back and she jumped. The stinging from the scars made her clinch her jaw.  Felicity closed her eyes and let the pain wash over her. Gavin explained the rules and set expectations. Felicity nodded her understanding. 

“I’ll leave you to get comfortable. I have to work. The phone will dial straight to me. When you pick up the phone if I’m available I’ll answer, if not then the voice service will pick up. Leave a message and I’ll check on you,” Gavin pulled Felicity close and kissed her forehead, “enjoy your day my love.”

Felicity listened as Gavin locked both doors. She took a few deep breaths to keep the sobs at bay. Felicity opened her eyes and walked to the bathroom. A real shower. She slowly undressed and avoided the mirror. She turned on the shower and adjusted the temperature. Felicity unwrapped the loofah and got in the shower. The water stung at first but she ignored it to get clean, to feel clean. To be truly clean again was a far off daydream.  

Felicity applied the cream to her back and wrists then dressed. She roamed around the her new residence. She pleased with the many book shelves. She glanced at the old television. Felicity wrinkled her nose and moved back to the bookshelves. She picked up the book of Grim Faerie Tales. Felicity chuckled to herself. She was one of those girls trapped by an outside force. Felicity placed the book back on the shelf and grabbed another. She looked around her new settings again. 

Felicity appreciated the new environment. Her senses were also glad to have increased stimulation. Felicity settled on the couch with her old favorite, Bridge to Terabithia

Felicity woke slumped over on the couch. She groaned as she returned to consciousness. She looked at the book in her hands. Page 25, she hadn’t gotten far. Felicity closed the book and stretched. She went to the bedroom and lay on the bed. 

<Why didn’t I do this in the first place?> Felicity sprawled out on the bed.  The lights dimmed automatically. It was late afternoon. <I can afford a nap before he brings dinner.> 

Felicity screamed as the pain shot through her. She sat up on the bed quickly. The room focused in as consciousness returned.  Felicity swallowed hard and clutched her chest as she tried to calm herself. 

“Sleeping in the middle of the day is not permitted. It messes up your schedule for rest,” Gavin reminded Felicity as he put his belt back through the loops.

“Sorry sir. It won’t happen again,” Felicity sat on the edge of the bed with her head down. 

“I know it won’t. Now, up and come to dinner,” Gavin turned and exited the bedroom. 

Felicity rubbed her bum when she stood. She sighed.< Another welt to put cream on.> She stopped in the bathroom to wash her face and hands then went to the kitchen. There were two places set on the tiny table in the corner. Felicity cautiously walked over. Gavin sat as soon as she arrived. Felicity didn’t make eye contact as she took her place. 

“Thank you for joining me. I hope your day was well,” Gavin smiled as he poured the wine into the glasses. 

<Really?> Felicity fought herself to not look up. When he picked up the silverware she mirrored his actions. Felicity racked her brain and came up empty. There hadn’t been dinner protocol relayed to her. She ate slowly and matched his movements until the plates were emptied. 

“You don’t have to be so quiet. It is okay to talk. Any questions or remarks are welcome,” Gavin touched her hand on the table. 

“W-will we be sharing dinner nightly?”

“As long as my schedule allows it. I am going to spend as much time as possible with you. We must get to know each other. We will be together for a while. I don’t have any secrets,” Gavin have her hand a squeeze, “once you’re ready we’ll share a bed as well. I intend you to be my bride.”

“Bride?!” Felicity snatched her hand back. 

“Tone,” Gavin’s voice dropped and his eyes darkened, “you are mine. We have talked of this.  You are mine or you get dismissed.”

“D-d-dismissed? What is that?”

“As you know you’re not my first fiancé. The others didn’t work out and they were permanently dismissed,” Gavin stood and gathered the dishes, “pay attention here. You’ll be responsible for clearing the table.”

“You’re a murderer,” Felicity replied once the words sank in, “you kidnap and murder women if they don’t work out. I’m never going to leave here,” she whispered as realization hit, “my family, my friends, my boyfriends, my girlfriend, and my poor cats. They’ll never know.”

“I said pay attention,” Gavin brought his hand down hard on the table. Felicity jumped. 

“Sorry sir,” silent tears trailed down her face as she watched him. 

Felicity had figured she would return to her original life. It had never occurred to her that she would never see her loved ones again. Felicity followed him with her eyes as she shook silently with emotion. 

“I have a few more DVDs for you,” Gavin grabbed a bag from the couch and sat back down at the table. 

Felicity curled her toes tight and clinched her jaw. Her gray eyes searched his body language as he excitedly described each movie. Gavin’s shoulders were relaxed, easy smile spread his face, and not a tell in the world that he was anything other than happy. Felicity felt the weight of the situation close in. She belonged to him until otherwise dismissed or she escaped. Escape didn’t seem likely as she studied her captor.

Endlessly Goodbye Part III

Ezra had gone to the gorge. He took a deep breath and looked out over the two plus kilometers of his secret space. There was his history just a few meters under the top layer of earth. Ezra pulled the tightly sealed jars from his bag. He released the dermestid beetles and walked away. He had laid a thick line of acid and pesticide in a deep crevice to keep them inside the area that was to be destroyed. Ezra placed the jars inside the space and jumped back over to the clean side. Ezra left them to do their job.

Ezra gave the gorge one last look and got in his car. He went to the car wash then headed to the restaurant. Ezra checked himself over one last time before he got out of the car. It was their standard lunch once a week. Ezra spotted them right away. Ardyn had placed his order as always. She had known that he had business at the gorge. Ezra kissed Ardyn on the cheek and gave Dadrian a brief kiss on the lips. Ezra sat down and his drink was brought to him.

“Sorry I’m late. Traffic was horrible out there.”

“No problem,” Dadrian smiled.

“I have enjoyed conversation with the gorgeous Dadrian,” Ardyn winked.

“Let’s jump into the plan for the vacation,” Ezra suggested as he pulled out his notepad.

“I’m thinking Canada. It’s a quick easy trip and we haven’t been there for years,” Ardyn brightened.

“That’s a great idea. Toronto is lovely this time of year,” Dadrian agreed as he ate his lunch.

“Fantastic! I think that is perfect,” Ezra was glad they could agree.

They discussed their vacation plans. Ezra had invited Ardyn to make sure that he did not go to bed with Dadrian. Ezra knew she would be a good third wheel. While they talked someone caught his eye. At the same time Ezra caught the man’s eyes and he walked away from the conversation that he had been carrying on over to their table. Their smiles matched as they greeted each other.

“Lance.”

“Ezra.”

They embraced. The attraction was obvious. Dadrian took a deep breath and fiddled with the napkin. They talked for a few minutes before Ezra remembered to introduce them. Ezra blushed and turned to the table.

“Sorry. I’m so bad at that. Lance you remember Ardyn,” Ezra gestured to her.

“How could I forget such a beauty?” Lance kissed her hand.

“Great seeing you again,” Ardyn responded with genuine surprise.

“And this,” Ezra felt his face warm, “is Dadrian my partner.”

“Lucky man. Nice to meet you,” Lance gave him a toothy grin.

“You as well,” Dadrian stood and shook his hand.

“This is Lance an old partner.”

They talked for a few minutes then separated. Ardyn had a few questions that she would have to wait until they were alone to ask. They finished lunch and Dadrian had to return to the showcase for his new line. Ardyn followed Ezra to his place where they took the disposable jeep. It was not registered and had phony plates so it was an easy to replace the plates instead of the vehicle. Ezra drove to the warehouse. They had business to finish. They undressed and put on scrubs then tied their hair back. Ezra handed her a cap and shoe covers. Ardyn was glad for the time away from others so she could raise the questions that had jumped to mind at lunch.

“Lance huh?” Ardyn brought up as she tied the apron around her.

“Yeah. You remember him right? The Wall Street guy,” Ezra pulled on his gloves.

“I do remember him but I assumed that when I stopped seeing him around he was in the gorge with the others. I thought all of your exes were there.”

“No, not all of them. Gosh you make me seem like a monster. Only those that do wrong by me are out there. Jeez. Lance and I mutually split,” Ezra assured her and pulled the key from his neck.

“Wow. So I feel good now. I always worried if there wasn’t a man alive that you had been with,” Ardyn laughed.

“Really? I’m shocked that you would think something like that,” Ezra unlocked the door and put the key back.

“I’m just saying that besides Cary and Nathaniel I don’t know anyone you’ve dated that is still among us,” she replied honestly as she pulled down her face shield.

“Not everyone has done me wrong. Let’s see there’s Marshall, Keith, Dre, Charles, Peter, Matt, Mathew, Gabriel and Trey that are still alive. I do break off relationships you know. Not everyone breaks up with me. Damn. I’m not some sort of maniac.”

Ardyn did not respond.

They entered the dimly lit room. The screams were audible and the temperature had dropped significantly once they entered the room. Ezra had never turned on the heater. It was not intentional but it satisfied him the same. The sound proofing was only the room itself. Anything within the walls was at full volume. Ardyn adjusted her mask as they made their way to the man in the chair. Ardyn pulled the cart over beside the man.

“I-I promise I won’t t-tell anyone. P-p-please let me go. I-I-I’m sorry. I SWEAR!” the man pleaded.

“You should have thought about that before you stole from us. Then you had the nerve to cheat on me. I didn’t care if you saw someone else but you ran around behind my back. You FUCKED someone else in my bed. You stole two thousand dollars worth of items from my apartment and you stole three thousand worth of supplies from Ardyn’s place. You’re lucky this is all I’m doing,” Ezra spat at him.

“He’s right. He’s very much into torturing you for days then ending it. You’re getting off light,” Ardyn agreed as she filled the syringes.

“B-b-but I told you where to get e-ev-everything from. Y-you collected it all!”

“Not everything,” Ardyn growled as she jabbed the syringe into his arm and pushed the plunger, “my grams earrings were heirlooms! The pawn shop had already sold them ya cunt.”

“What…what did you just do?” the man asked as he tried to keep his mouth from drying out.

“She just administered a drug that will paralyze you. I want you to be alive but I don’t want you to pass out from the pain. This will keep you conscious so that I can enjoy it. It would be temporary if you were still alive when it wears off,” Ezra answered as he hooked the hose to the needle.

“Waaz dat?” he slurred as the drug began to take effect.

“This is to make sure the job is done. Your tongue and vocal chords will soon follow the rest of your body,” Ardyn replied as she moved the large tub to the stall where the man would spend his last minutes.

Ezra and Ardyn lifted the man and moved him into the large plexi-stall. It resembled a large shower stall only it would seal air tight once properly closed. Ardyn handed Ezra the needle with the hose. Ezra placed the end of the hose into the tub to drain. His lips turned up as he jabbed the needle into the man’s neck. The man’s eye widened but he felt nothing. The drug had worked. Ezra stepped out and shut the door. The hiss whispered through the air as the door rested in place.

Ardyn and Ezra made sure that they had the bleach and other cleaning supplies. They had perfected their methods and could finish the job in half the time it had taken all those years ago. Since his nightmares Ezra had stepped up their clean up routine. He had also installed security equipment in all of his locations. Ezra rarely used some of the locations but he wanted to make sure he was safe. Ezra excluded Ardyn from most of the kills in the recent past. She was involved in the current situation so Ezra had included her. Ezra figured if he was captured at any time Ardyn would not get apprehended along side him.

“What do you think will happen first?” Ardyn asked as she sat down in the folding chair.

“He’s panicking so his air will run out first. With his position and only the one drain going it will take about 30 minutes to complete. With the lack of air his heart will stop before the blood is finished draining. He’ll definitely suffocate first there’s less than ten minutes of air in there.”

“Have you tested this?” Ardyn’s eyes narrowed as she looked to Ezra.

“I have,” Ezra replied matter-of-factly.

They stayed outside the stall and watched the man that had betrayed them both suffer. He struggled against his bonds automatically even though he felt no discomfort. The man could feel his lungs tightening but that was the only sensation he was aware of. His skin began to pale and his mouth opened as he gasped. Ardyn turned away. Ezra watched the man’s eyes. The panic and worry slowly slipped. His look turned peaceful. Ezra smiled as the man’s skin went ashen and the clouds rolled into his eyes. Ezra knew he couldn’t actually hear it but the phantom sound of the man’s last breath sent a chill of excitement through him. The man’s eye dulled as the last of the light slipped away and Ezra sighed with satisfaction. Ardyn shook her head. The experience was one of delight for Ezra but for her it was just a necessity. The police would never convict the man so they had. They had become his executioner. Ezra enjoyed every second that it took for that man to die.

Ardyn gave him another ten minutes before she opened the door. She punctured the femoral artery with another needle and placed the hose in another container. Ezra pushed another cart over to the side of the stall. Ardyn checked the man’s pulse to make sure that he was dead.

“Should only take another ten to fifteen minutes,” Ezra stated as he pulled a couple of jars from the cabinet.

“What the hell are those?” Ardyn made a face as she sealed the first tub of blood.

“Dermestid beetles.”

“Come again laddie?”

“Flesh eating beetles. They eat any organic material such as leather, cotton, or flesh you name it. Once we’re done I’ll pour them in and they’ll make our job easier,” Ezra answered as he placed them on the cart.

“Where the bloody hell did you pick up that idea?”

“Jeffery is a taxidermist,” Ezra smiled.

“Of course one of your boyfriends helped you out. I hope he isn’t going to regret it,” Ardyn chuckled.

“Probably not. I’m breaking up with him next week. He’s too into me. I’m not looking for anything serious and he is.”

“Alrighty sure,” Ardyn rolled her eyes.

They finished their routine and packed everything into the jeep. Ezra stepped on the step ladder and opened the top of the stall. He poured the beetles in and closed the mesh. He wanted to keep the beetles in but not be dead when he returned.

“By time we come back they’ll be done.”

“Is that what you did this morning in the gorge? I thought you just went to put someone in,” Ardyn questioned as she put the last tub of blood in the back of the jeep.

“Since your psychic friend I have been thinking a lot about our disposal process. In her vision they unearthed bodies not skeletons. As much as I don’t believe in that crap it rattled me. A wake up call really. It takes more to identify bones than it does to run DNA off of soft tissue. They’ll destroy anything that we may miss. Food in between their teeth, wallets, socks, skin under their nails and anything else,” Ezra explained.

“You perfect your art form. Get in and let’s get this done,” Ardyn got into the driver’s seat.

“If it was perfect then I wouldn’t find little flaws. There is still room for improvement,” Ezra responded with a shrug.

Ardyn drove in silence downtown. Ezra was in the mood and she never talked when he was in his mood. Ardyn glanced at him. It had been a few guys too many for her taste. Ezra had also called it off more in the last several months than adding them to the gorge. She saw the changes in him since he had started his relationship with Dadrian.

They reached the butchers and Ezra pulled on the white coat. Ardyn followed as she made sure her hair net was in place. They picked up the tubs of blood and walked in to the building. They put on the confidence and went into the slaughter room. They opened the tubs and poured the blood into the drain. Ezra whistled as rinsed the tubs out and Ardyn went to the assembly line and prepared a few slabs before they made their way out. They took their empty tubs and got back in their jeep. No one paid attention as they left. They came and went and no one was the wiser.

Ezra took the wheel and headed back to the warehouse. While the beetles finished their job they made sure that everything was placed where it needed to be and cleaned. Ezra pulled out the sledge hammer and laid out the body bag. Ardyn watched the bugs as they continued to work and shook her head. It disturbed her on some level. She sat aside and watched Ezra in his zone. It was like he was in another place where he was the emperor. Ardyn looked on as Ezra performed his art. He was an artist in his own right. A dark art but art none the less.

Ardyn assisted Ezra once the process was over. With the body wrapped in the body bag they took the sledge hammers to the bones. Ardyn had gotten accustom to the new behaviors. She followed his lead. Ezra had helped her when she had needed him the most. Ardyn had taken the life of her abusive stepfather after he had nearly killed her sister. Ezra had been there with her to make it easier. She had been his friend back then. They had become brother and sister of the blood. There wasn’t anything that Ardyn wouldn’t do for Ezra.

Ezra showered and ordered dinner once they were back at his place. It had been a long day and they both needed to relax. Ezra talked to Dadrian and promised to set up a date for them when he returned to the city. Ardyn hung up with Jacob and settled in beside Ezra.

“This feels wonderful. I love you and I cannot live without you in my life,” Ezra snuggled into her.

“I love you too. You know that your life would be so much easier if you liked the vagina. You and I would be married with some little ones running around,” Ardyn laughed at the idea of being shacked up with Ezra.

“Yeah I tried once,” Ezra smiled fondly at the memory and its ridiculousness.

“What?!” Ardyn sat up and turned to him.

“Yeah,” Ezra sat up, “I spent a weekend filling all of my surroundings with you and imagining the future with you. I thought about how beautiful you are and our bond. I even planned it out. However my penis was not having any of it,” he smiled softly at her.

“You never told me that,” Ardyn chuckled.

“It wasn’t something I would have you know. It was not a proud moment for me. I questioned who I was. No one is proud of an identity crisis. Plus you’re happily married now. You could not be my beard for the rest of your life. Freshman and sophomore year was enough.”

“You’ll find the one,” she hugged him.

The doorbell sounded.

“Saved by the bell from an emotional moment,” Ezra smiled as he wiggled out of her grasp.