Jill Marie Denton
Strangelove - Part 11
When the pizza and pasta arrived, he tugged her away from the table, settling her onto the living room floor with a roll of paper towels, a heavy fork and the TV remote.
“You know I don’t eat out here,” she argued, glaring up at him. “One dropped pepperoni and I’ll lose my security deposit.”
“You spend one more minute at that table and you’ll lose your mind. You commandeered the communal space so this will have to do.” His toe nudged the paper roll. “Take precautions.”
She growled and leaned back against the couch.
“Good girl,” he murmured, petting the top of her head before stepping back to the table to retrieve his phone.
Her heart leapt, her eyes wide. What did he just say?
“Hey, actually, you wanna save and close this document just in case?” He called from the next room.
“Yeah, I’m coming,” she replied, climbing to her feet. If anything happened to that spreadsheet, she’d throw herself off the closest bridge.
He pecked her cheek as they crossed paths. She craned down over the glowing screen. Save. Click the corner X. Under that window was the browser, still stuck on the order confirmation screen. With the food safely delivered, she closed that window also.
The last screen’s display squeezed the breath from her lungs.
The stark white background of her email was on full display, with correspondence between her and her coworkers in sharp black text. Mixed among them were read messages from “G Gahan” and the first line or two of the email’s body was visible under each subject line.
Hey, thanks for meeting me yesterday. I hope you had fun at the movies even though…
Good morning. It was great seeing you. I’m excited that we’re seeing so much of…
The most recent one, dated the week before, was the instructions for their step two meeting.
We’re done playing nice. Here’s my address; be there at 1p sharp. Don’t make me wait…
She signed out and closed the web browser, her heart in her throat. Her eyes flashed to Peter, who sat with his back to her, his eyes fixed on the television with a slice of pizza in his hand.
She released a deep breath, shook out her sweaty palms. She’d been gone sixty seconds, tops. He wouldn’t even have had time to read through them. And he would’ve accosted her, accused her, if he had. There’s no way he would’ve let it go. He was far too jealous, too possessive and too protective of her to ignore messages like that.
With a resigned sigh, she escaped to the living room, sat alongside him and lifted a slice for herself. She glanced over and met his gaze, a bright smile on full display for him.
Garrett finished with a client at six-fifteen that night. He returned her relatively unscathed to her shiny new sports car in the shopping center’s parking lot a few miles from his secret lair. She waved and blew him a kiss as his truck sped off, a few hundred in cash weighing down his wallet.
She’d been a good customer for a long time, with at least three appointments scheduled a month. Prompt payment, zaftig body and high pain tolerance. Former wife of a prominent political figure who cheated on her more times than she could count. And she was spending the alimony on release and pleasure at Garrett’s hands.
He snickered to himself, remembering the advice his father had given him years before.
Find something you love doing and figure out how to make money doing it. Then you’ll never work a day in your life.
He wondered if his dad would be proud of his career choices now.
The phone in his pocket vibrated as he pulled to a stop at the next red light on his path home. Gwen’s and Xander’s smiling faces were pressed together on the display. He answered without pause, turning on the speaker and setting the phone down on the center console.
“Hey baby,” he began. “Just finished up. I’ll be home in twenty or so.”
“Dinner’s waiting. How’d it go?”
“Standard procedure though I think she’s getting a bit too comfortable. She blew me a kiss a minute ago. I might have to reinforce who’s boss.”
“No one gets to kiss my husband but me. Well, and maybe you. Now get over here!”
Garrett laughed as the sounds of incessant smooches echoed through his cab. His son giggled maniacally in the wake of her onslaught. “I get to kiss both of you all I want. That’s my right as hubby and papa. Hey, I wanted to ask. What do you think of Jessica?”
“She’s not your standard client. Why?”
“I think I’m nailing it as far as prep goes. She listens to me, she trusts me, but there’s this fear in her that I can’t quite place. It might be guilt over potentially cheating on Peter, or maybe she’s still too influenced by her conscience. But I don’t think that’s it. She’s brazen sometimes. She’ll look me right in the eye, she won’t back down, she’ll even taunt me, but she freaks herself out about nothing sometimes. I’m wondering if she’ll loosen up enough to even enjoy part three or if she’ll just go along with it for fear of disappointing me or something.”
Gwen was quiet a moment. He checked his phone display to make sure they hadn’t been disconnected. When he murmured her name, she finally spoke. “You’re captivated by this girl, huh?”
He curled his fingers around the steering wheel a little tighter. “What makes you say that?”
“Oh, Garrett,” she countered on an exhale. “You’re clearly enamored with her. Hell, you’ve spent five hundred and twenty-four bucks on her already, including over a hundred on that crazy bearskin rug you bought, and you haven’t made a penny on her yet. You’ve been coming home raring to go. I’m all bruised and bitten up. And the trash has been taken out every morning, the garage is spotless, and you’ve been keeping your face scruff-free. You haven’t been this excited at a prospect maybe ever.”
He snorted. “All right, all right, guilty as charged. I’m just not sure why, though.”
“Because she’s beautiful. And she’s unspoiled.”
He gnawed his bottom lip, the description swirling in his brain. “Yeah, maybe. She’s been this perfect angel for so many years, so prim and proper without a hint of rebelliousness in there. Then she calls me. Now she’s all-in and I guess I’m just dumbfounded.”
“Do you remember what you were like before Victoria?”
He turned onto the winding road from highway to driveway. “Um, I guess a little.”
“Well, I do. You were the sweetest, cutest guy, so plain and meek. I’ll never forget how earnestly you asked for that loan. Automotive school didn’t seem like the right move for you, but I processed your student loan paperwork anyway. And when you got the approval and started your coursework, I was so happy for you.”
“I had to take the banker that changed my life out to dinner. That was before all your piercings and tattoos, too, as I recall.”
“I never would’ve gotten the job if I’d indulged in sleeves and gauges back then. No room on the sales floor for that kinda stuff.”
“You changed the entire trajectory of my life,” he breathed, eyeing the photo of her on his phone screen. “Literally my entire life changed when I sat down at your desk.”
“And about six months after that, you asked me if you could learn about domination. Talk about life changing.”
“You were a very patient woman, still are. Not every girlfriend would let their boyfriend spend so many hours being whipped and tied up by someone else.”
“Nope, but you always came home to me. And you still do.”
“And I am right now. Maybe you’re right about Jessica. She doesn’t have the support at home like I did back then. I keep forgetting that she’s doing this alone. She doesn’t even have friends to back her up, at least not that I know of.”
“They’re probably as prudish as she is. She’s hiding a proclivity that not a lot of people understand and even fewer people participate in. I think she’s a nervous wreck for good reason. Give her a little more time. She’ll get there. I just hope it doesn’t destroy her relationship.”
“I hope not, either, but it might. She might realize that she needs more than what Peter’s willing to give her.”
“But she can’t have you,” she ordered. “Are you close?”
“Five or so. And Gwen?”
“You are my everything. I love you more than anything, and I will never ever let you down.”
“I know,” she murmured. “I love you, too.”
His phone vibrated on the console. Incoming call, unknown number. “Hey, I got another call. I’ll be home in a few.”
“We’ll be here.”
He touched the screen to accept the incoming call.
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