This may or may not be Halloween-inspired! 😀 #Suspense #Horror
#52weeks52stories: Week 41
Word prompt: aroused
Word count – 2656
Reading time – 7 mins
He blamed Monica Montgomery for his predilection.
Four years his senior, the nineteen-year-old had lured him to her bedroom and introduced him to sex… and erotic asphyxiation.
Terrified at first, he soon learned how the right amount of pressure on her carotid arteries enhanced her orgasms. Her heightened arousal and reaction was a turbo boost to his own and soon he couldn’t have sex without the strangulation hold.
When he arrived at Monica’s for one of their weekly visits, she stopped him at the doorway with a kiss on the forehead and informed him she was headed to Europe to continue her education.
His devastation only worsened when he learned days later, Monica Montgomery moved to Germany… with her fiancé.
Despite his good looks and wealth, high school girls weren’t throwing themselves at him and he was miserable until he got to college.
He found some college coeds were more adventurous and had no problem with his request, yet most girls found it a total turn-off and whispers of pervert and weirdo grew around him.
By his senior year, he was frustrated and humiliated. He stopped frequenting the local favored eateries and pubs of the college crowd and ventured into more adult hot spots, which is how he met the lusty Vanessa.
Encouraged by the older woman’s enthusiasm as she dragged him from the nightclub, he didn’t make his usual sexual request.
Which was a mistake.
Vanessa had screamed in pleasure twice as he still struggled for his release.
Leaning on his elbows, he’d slipped his hands around her throat. He increased the pressure with each thrust and a smile grew on his face as his climax neared.
But the moment was short-lived when Vanessa bucked him off her with such force he ended up on the floor on the other side of the bed. She ran from his apartment naked and screaming he was trying to murder her.
It cost his father millions in legal fees and to buy Vanessa’s silence.
And, he’d lost his spot in his family.
Directed by his father’s attorney, with lightened hair and a new beard, he’d been uprooted from his home in the toney Chicago suburb of Lake Forest and dumped in Denver, Colorado.
No one asked him if he wanted to leave Illinois or where he wanted to go.
The attorney purchased a three-suite office complex and small estate in his name and handed him the keys, an envelope containing several credit cards and banking information… and the business card of a psychiatrist. After admonishing him to keep his therapy appointments and to not cause his family any more embarrassment, the stone-faced counselor walked away, headed for a return flight home.
So began his exile.
But rage and resentment burned in his soul. He should have stood his ground and protested. They had no right to cast him out. He was one of them. He was just like them.
His father called it an enrichment program for girls, but he knew the only reason Peter Stanhope created the nonprofit, Girls Can was to give himself easy access to nubile young girls.
His mother knew all about his father’s habits and couldn’t care less. Rita Stanhope had a thing for blue-collar men and spent her time cruising the construction sites and pubs of downtown Chicago. Stanhope money had lured dozens of working-class men to hourly motels.
And his older brothers? Peter, Jr. and Jarrett worked for the same law firm and between the two of them, had screwed every man and woman in the building, sometimes at the same time.
Joseph had a violent temper and was an abuser. Peter Stanhope had spent millions to silence two ex-girlfriends and two ex-wives.
Even baby sister, Rhonda, at twenty-four, wasn’t an innocent. A hard-core drinker and self-professed pain slut, she’d been thrown out of and barred from most of the BDSM clubs in and around the Chicago area. They didn’t like the type of public attention Rhonda’s behavior attracted.
But he was the deviant. He was the one judged for showing aberrant behavior.
For two days, he sat in his sparsely furnished mini-estate replaying everything in his head. As he railed at the hypocrisy and double standards and fumed over the judgmental glares from his mother and siblings his mind fractured.
With an eerie calm only the psychotic could understand he decided if his family didn’t want him, he didn’t want them, and they didn’t deserve to know his whereabouts.
A quick Internet search brought Marley Hennicks to his front door.
The bottle blonde grinned too much, exposed too much of her breast implants, and reeked of Caron’s Poivre, just like his mother. But she was a competent realtor and in less than a week, she’d sold his home and office building and found him a place in California.
He packed up his Mercedes GLS 450 SUV the same day he signed his sale and purchase documents and left Denver. Eleven hours later, he stopped for the night in Las Vegas. When he checked out of the Double Tree Hotel the next morning, the disgusting hair dye rinse and offensive beard were gone… and so was his mind.
Six Months Later
Tonight was date night, she just didn’t know it yet.
But she would. Soon.
He’d planned the evening down to the last detail.
Taking one last glance in the mirror he was pleased with his appearance. New navy dockers he paired with a button-down shirt the same shade as his ice-blue eyes. A fresh haircut to tame his unruly dark curls complimented his look.
She would be impressed.
He went into his back bedroom and peered out the window.
She was home from work.
He could see into her kitchen and dining area and watched her prepare her evening meal.
Gone was the conservative dark business suit she wore every day to City Hall. He wondered what her staff would think of the city’s senior accountant dancing around her kitchen in boy shorts and a tank top.
He knew she was putting on a show for him, teasing him. Running his hand over his crotch he anticipated how sweet she would be, how he would get what he’d craved since the day they met.
She was struggling with boxes in her driveway and he’d rushed across the street to offer his assistance.
“Hey, new neighbor! Can I give you a hand?”
“Oh, thank you! I don’t know what I was thinking of packing so many books in one box.”
He grabbed the box and followed her through the garage to the mudroom, setting the box down against the wall.
“I appreciate the help. Thank you again…” Her words trailed off and he didn’t miss a beat, thrusting his right hand forward.
Accepting his hand, she looked into his eyes for the time.
His stomach flip-flopped and his pulse raced. She had gorgeous brown eyes and smooth clear mocha-kissed skin. A few wispy strands of gray graced her temples, making her older than what he’d assumed.
Hart liked that.
But it was her neck, her long, feminine neck where his eyes rested. He imagined his hands around her neck, squeezing, taking them both to heights of pleasure.
“Thank you, Hart Stanhope. I’m Penelope Driver. Friends call me Penny or PD.”
Startled from his fantasy, Hart stuttered and rebounded.
“It’s… nice to meet you, Penny, and welcome to the neighborhood.
Focusing on the mudroom to hide his embarrassment, Hart took note of all the boxes already stacked along the walls.
“Wow. Are all these filled with books? What do you do?”
“I’m a senior accountant in the city comptroller’s office, and yes, most of these boxes are filled with books.” She looked around as though checking for eavesdroppers. “I’ll let you in on a little secret. These books have nothing to do with my job. I just love to read.” She chuckled and headed for the door.
Hart followed her out to her SUV.
“Need help with any more boxes?”
“No. The movers have everything else and should be here soon.”
It was his cue to leave.
“I’m just across the street if you need anything. I’m sort of the neighborhood geek-to-the-rescue for computer problems. Most of our neighbors are older and every time there’s a Windows update it gets crazy around here. But I’m a consultant and work from home so don’t hesitate to knock on my door. For anything.”
“Thanks, Hart. I’ll do that.”
Only she hadn’t.
Hart waited weeks for her to come to him. But other than friendly waves and smiles as she came and went, she ignored him.
Was there another man?
He’d never seen anyone visit Penny other than friends on the weekends.
Hart took advantage of the high walls and shrubbery people used to isolate themselves, using them as cover and entered Penney’s house several times while she was at work.
She was neat and had good taste in furnishings.
Her bedding was exquisite and he couldn’t help but admire a woman who lived alone and slept on organic linen chambray.
One side of her walk-in closet held the severe suits she wore to work in the obligatory navys, grays, and tweeds, but the rest of the closet was all silks, cashmeres, and wools.
Penny’s wardrobe was worthy of any supermodel or CEO’s wife. But he found no evidence of another man or that anyone was taking care of her.
Hart liked that.
She took care of herself and had standards. Just like him.
She was meant for him and they would be together.
It was time.
The lights in her dining room dimmed and Hart knew she was cleaning the kitchen.
He headed for his garage, stopping to pick up the handcuffs, chloroform, and dagger from the kitchen counter.
He’d never hurt Penny. She was his. But he had to be safe to avoid another Vanessa-episode. His family would find out and he never wanted to see them again… or the disgust and contempt in their lying eyes.
He backed out his driveway, stopping to wave at the Sondheims who were just arriving home from dinner.
He turned right at the corner on to Corral Cove but instead of continuing on to the Huntington Drive main drag, he took another immediate right onto the access alley which ran behind the houses on Penny’s side of the street.
Hart stopped three houses away from Penny’s and killed his motor. He sat there listening to the ambient sounds of the night.
He knew these people and their routines. Those who weren’t already in bed were watching Dancing with the Stars or reruns of shows from days gone by. Some were online chatting with family or hunting down the latest remedy for rheumatoid arthritis.
Locked inside their expensive homes, they were not concerned with what happened on the other side of their doors.
Hart left his vehicle and walked the short distance to Penny’s back gate. He hadn’t been able to master the combination lock but scaled the fence with little effort. His jump to the ground on the other side startled two feral cats and they roared and hissed. Hiding behind a rose bush, Hart watched Penny pull the kitchen curtain back and look out only for a few seconds before returning to her cleaning.
He rushed to the other end of the house and the bedroom next to Penny’s bedroom. He took down the window frame he’d loosened yesterday and pulled the screen back, slipping inside with ease.
Hart stood in the darkened room and relaxed, taking in the scent of Chloe Narcisse. Not pricey like Caron’s Poivre, but distinctive, and its spicy, rich oriental floral blend was a perfect match for his Penny.
His steps were slow but deliberate as he entered the dark hallway. He’d planned to wait for Penny in her bedroom but his need for her propelled him toward the kitchen.
Hart stood just outside the kitchen doorway, still shrouded in darkness. She was still at the sink, singing along and wiggling her ass to some 80s nonsense as she washed dishes.
Just as he was about to step into the kitchen, the feral cats sounded again, this time at war with each other.
She looked out her window again.
“Damn cats! Who keeps feeding you? If they can feed you, they can catch you and take you to a rescue shelter. Damn!”
His heart sank. Her mood had changed and now she was annoyed. She didn’t go back to dancing and singing, but stood with her back stiff, arms perched on the edge of the sink.
He fingered the dagger in his pocket.
He didn’t want to hurt her. He couldn’t.
Hart slid the blade from his pocket. He would only use it to keep her calm… until she realized it was him and this was their night.
He gripped the blade tighter as sweat beaded on his forehead. He looked at the distance between them and counted seconds.
Her shoulders lowered as she relaxed and slid her hands back into the dishwater.
Hart raced toward her, the blade raised in his right hand, but just as he reached her, Penny whirled around to face him.
He froze. The calm in those beautiful brown eyes showed she wasn’t surprised. She knew he was there.
Hart tried to speak but no words came.
Penny’s eyes went to his chest and he looked down… to see the handle of a butcher’s knife—the rest of the knife buried deep in his chest.
His eyes went back to her face. The calm was gone, replaced by a dark, malevolent glare.
She smirked and twisted the knife as she pushed him away from her.
Hart’s brain exploded with pain as he fell to the floor. His mouth filled with his warm blood.
He watched her stoop down next to him, her eyes filled with the same disgust and contempt as his family. She spoke.
“Did you think I didn’t know, Hart? After all this time? I’ve been watching you watching me for weeks.”
He watched her stand, step over him and walk away. He couldn’t go after her. He couldn’t even turn his head.
As his lungs filled with blood, Hart tried to make sense of what happened, but his mind went sideways again and he smiled.
She knew. All the skimpy outfits and sexy dances had been for him.
Hart Stanhope took his last breath and died a happy man. He’d been right. She was his.
Penny Driver checked the window Hart came through… to make sure he hadn’t closed it. She went into her bedroom, grabbing her green silk robe and cell phone.
Back in the hallway, she ripped the sleeve away from the robe, dropping it to the floor. She overturned a slim bookcase and lamp table on the way back to the kitchen. She pushed the breakfast table aside and overturned two chairs. Then Penny left the kitchen, never even looking at Hart’s body.
She stared out her front window at the quiet of the night… as she pulled strands of hair from her ponytail and ripped the strap of her tank top.
She sighed, dreading the next few hours.
The cops would show up, spending more time during their thorough investigation staring at her ass and bare legs than doing any real investigating.
They’d decide on the spot she’d defended herself from an intruder and whisk her away to the ER to be checked out.
A victim’s advocate would stand at her bedside, patting her hand and telling her how lucky she was to be alive. They’d go on to explain how difficult it was for the average person to take a life, but they would be with her all the way to help her get through it.
Penny smirked while powering up her cell.
It was a long time ago, but she hadn’t found the first kill difficult at all.
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