#52weeks52stories “Watching You Watching Me”

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.

“Hart Stanhope.”

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.



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

#52weeks52stories “Begin Again”

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#52weeks52stories: Week 40

Word prompt: memories

Word count – 2328

Reading time – 7 mins


I can do this.

“Sherry? Over here.”

Her belly roiled as the butterflies in her stomach staged an epic mutiny. She ran her thumb over the empty spot on her left ring finger.

Moving toward her coworkers seated by the stage, Sherry Davenport plastered a friendly smile on her face, wishing she was any other right now than Dave & Buster’s.

Millie Kemp, a thoracic surgical nurse with twelve years’ experience, squealed like a teenager.

“Sherry! I’m so happy you joined us tonight!”

“C’mon, girlfriend. We saved you a seat.” Jaynie Pomeroy, new to their department, motioned to the seat next to her.

“Hey, everyone. Thanks for inviting me.”

Sherry took the seat, sinking into the overstuffed lounge chair and spreading her silk scarf across her lap.

“Oh, sweetie, you just stop that right now.”

Sherry turned to the kind smiling face of Sue Grant. At sixty-two, she was the most senior employee in the department and the best surgical nurse Sherry had ever seen.

“You’ve always had a standing invitation to our Saturday night meet-ups, and not just because you’re our boss. You’re one of us, Sherry. We care and we want you to never forget that.”

Sherry smiled, unable to respond because of the growing lump in her throat.

Prep nurse, Lucy Gomez, agreed. “This last year has been a rough one for you and we get that. But you don’t have to isolate yourself, Sherry. We’ve all lost loved ones and understand. It’s damn hard.”

Sherry found her voice. “Thank you. Thank you, all. I haven’t been approachable for quite some time, but I appreciate everyone’s patience and am touched by your concern.”

A single tear slid down her face as she rubbed the empty spot on her left ring finger.

“Dammit, Sherry,” group cynic Melody Simons barked. “I may be ornery as hell but no one gets to cry in my presence without me joining in.”

Eyes welled up as heads bobbed in agreement.

Bolting upright to the edge of her seat, Sherry threw her hands up.

“Nope, we’re not doing this. You all were gracious to invite me out for some fun and good times and I’m ready for that. Who’s up for a game of pool, and why don’t I have a drink in my hand?”

The women laughed and cheered, lightening the mood.

Melody grabbed Sherry’s arm, dragging her toward the billiard room.

Though she was smiling, Sherry was trying to quell the battle of anxiety and nausea burning in the pit of her stomach. She clenched her fist to avoid rubbing her left ring finger again.

They came to an abrupt stop near the bar. Melody yelled out a drink order that minutes later was passed to her through the crowd.

“Wow, who do you know?”

Melody grinned. “I used to date the bartender’s uncle. We didn’t last but turns out his family likes me more than him. His brother is my dentist and his mom still bakes me chocolate chip cookies.”

Sherry laughed, realizing for the first time the ornery persona was a mask Melody wore.

She’d had no time to get acquainted with the surgical scrub teams after she took over the department before Warren got sick. However, it didn’t take long to learn every team member was skilled and dedicated. Bad management, personality conflicts, and favoritism had driven department moral to a new low. Jealousy and infighting had taken their toll and six employees had taken positions with other hospitals and surgery centers before Sherry took over.

She’d worked to exhaustion interviewing the staff and meeting with administration to find the point of compromise and stop the exits of valuable team members.

Sherry had even taken her laptop with her when she sat with Warren during his chemotherapy treatments. The work distracted her for a while and kept her tears at bay. She could forget the powerful cancer drug was only palliative and stalling the inevitable. Pancreatic cancer would take Warren from her sooner than later.

Startled from her thoughts, heat rose up the back of her neck. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Is your drink okay?”

Embarrassed, Sherry took a long sip through the decorative straw and smiled. “Honey Jack. How did you know?”

Melody smirked and shrugged a shoulder. “I overheard you and Sue talking about favorite drinks one day. Figured the info would come in handy one day.”

It was Melody’s turn to smirk. “I’m keeping my eye on you, Simons… and watching what I say around you.”

They both giggled like school girls and Melody tilted her head toward the billiard room. “Ready to play?”

“Ready to lose?”

Melody choked. “Aw, now I gotta serve you some humble pie.”

They laughed as they made their way through the crowd, selling wolf tickets the entire way.

*   *   *

“Woman, where in the hell did you learn to play pool like that? Pros couldn’t have made some of those shots. It was your dad, wasn’t it? He must have been aces.”

The crowd had thinned and they found seats at the bar.

“Believe it or not, it was my mom who taught me, not my dad.”


Sherry guffawed at the woman’s slack-jawed expression.

“Yep… momma.”

Melody frowned, her dark eyebrows forming a deep V.

Sherry continued. “Grandpa Ernie, mom’s dad, was a champion pool player. Even held a national title twice. He started teaching me before I could reach the table. Used to stand me on phone books or in a chair. He passed away when I was seven and momma continued teaching me and my older sister, Angela.”

“How did your dad feel about that?”

“Oh, it irked him that he never beat momma in a game during their entire fifty-two-year marriage, but the bragging rights field was still level. He’s the one who taught me to cook.”

Melody shook her head. “Guess the battle of the sexes didn’t exist in your home.”

“Don’t you believe that. A simple meal of Salisbury Steak and mashed potatoes could turn into a cooking challenge with a simple glare between the two of them. Dad would remind momma the best chefs in the world were men, and she was quick to remind him the best chefs were chosen by men so it was a no-brainer. Some nights I thought I would starve while they perfected sauces and plating.”

Sherry laughed aloud at the memory.

Melody turned away.

“Hey, you okay? Did I say something wrong? Melody?”

She turned back to Sherry, her eyes downcast. “No, I’m fine. Ready for another drink?”

“Forget the drink, Simons and tell me what just happened. What upset you?”

Her head dropped, her chin almost touching her chest.

“Just forget it please, Sherry? I don’t want to make you angry or have you hate me.”

“Hate you? C’mon, Simons. Have a little faith in me.”

Melody raised her head and Sherry’s heart broke seeing the dark brown eyes filling with tears.

“I remember your first day on the job. When you introduced yourself to the staff, you talked about your husband and how the two of you did everything together so we shouldn’t be surprised if he popped into the department often. So, when you lost him I know it was devastating for you. But, I don’t know that feeling of loss since I don’t let any man stay around long enough to develop true feelings for them.”

Melody blew out a harsh breath and continued.

“You smile and love is written all over your face when you talked about the things your parents taught you… and those family moments.”

Her eyes could contain the tears no longer and they spilled down her cheeks.

“You lost the people you loved the most. The ones who helped make you the person sitting next to me. I’m not trying to be mean or discount any of that, Sherry, but to someone like me, you caught the brass ring.”

Sherry frowned, not understanding.

Melody held her hands out in front of her, trying to explain herself. “At least you had them, Sherry. You were loved and cherished by good people who you loved and cherished just as much. That’s why losing them hurts so much.”

“But, when you’re a biracial teenager with a chip on your shoulder, you don’t have many good memories, only nightmares… of a father who beat your mom until he got bored and walked away for good; of a mom so broken by him leaving, she drank herself to death, and by a foster care system that can’t decide if you’re black or white, so they shuttle you from one disgusting foster home to another.”

She wiped her face with her sleeve.

“The luckiest day of my life was when an older couple showed up at the residential center where I lived to donate new toys for Christmas. They saw me sitting outside on the swing… in the dead of winter. They talked me into going back inside and they followed me around, asking me questions. It hit me, at last, these good people cared, and we sat down and talked. The director hid in corners as discrete as a KGB agent.  When the Simons asked him about the process to become a foster care home and how adoptions from the system worked, I thought he’d swallow his tongue. By Christmas the following year, I was the legally adopted daughter of Ed and Wilma Simons.”

Sherry’s face was wet too. “But that’s a great memory, right?”

“It could have been. The Simons were good people who were good to me, but they had four grown children who were suspicious of the quiet girl with the tawny skin and kinky hair. Instead of siblings, they felt like cops, always watching me, waiting for me to screw up. Even after my adoption was official, I still felt like if I didn’t something they didn’t approve of, they would convince their parents to send me back.”

“I’m so sorry, Melody. That had to be awful for you.”

“I got through it. At least there was no arguing, fighting, or drinking. I went off to college a couple of years later and developed my own routine for living alone, taking care of myself. Mom died six months after I graduated… dad, a year after that. My adopted siblings washed their hands of me and I was on my own for real… and alone.”

“Where you have painful losses, Sherry, you have wonderful memories to bring you some comfort. I have an empty void and only rejection and fear to fill it.”

Sherry smiled, and Melody’s face scrunched up in confusion.

This was her A-ha moment Angela assured her would come.

Having lost her own husband in an industrial accident nine years earlier, her big sister had tried to be encouraging after Warren’s service.

“I can’t tell you when or where, kiddo, but the day will come when breathing doesn’t hurt anymore. Losing mom and dad rocked us, but losing a spouse is different because you feel like a part of you died too… like your soul’s been ripped in half.

But one day you’ll be able to hold your head up without feeling exhausted. You’ll be able to take a step without fear of falling, and you’ll smile without the guilt of betrayal. The best part is it will be the love you shared with Warren that holds you up and moves you forward.”

As teenagers, Sherry would rather cut out her tongue than admit Angela was right about anything. However, the truth and wisdom of her words made Sherry’s smile grow.

I can do this.

She considered her friend who still sat wracked with confusion.

“It couldn’t have been easy to admit those things, Melody. Thank you for sharing them with me.”

“Wait. You’re thanking me for dumping my drama on you? No more drinks for you.”

Sherry laughed. “Yes, ma’am, I’m thanking you. You’ve made me remember all the good things in my life. I had amazing parents, and I loved Warren with everything I am. We did do everything together and I couldn’t have a conversation without mentioning his name. But after he died, I stopped talking about him… and anything else.”

“You nailed it. I am this person because of the people who loved me and that love and the memories it created aren’t diminished or erased because they’re gone.”

She hopped off the bar stool. “And in that spirit, we shall make new memories. And maybe we’ll start with a man worthy of you.” She twirled around and disappeared into the crowd, but she could hear Melody begging her to stop and come back.

Sherry laughed all the across the bar. Stopping in the hallway outside the Ladies’ room, she glanced back over her shoulder and caught glimpses of a nervous Melody Simons through the crowd, looking around as though something bad was about to happen.

She felt bad at causing her friend stress and would apologize the second she got back to her seat. Sherry had no intention of pressing Melody into anything. She wasn’t ready and Sherry still didn’t know her well enough to know if she would ever be ready for that level of trust and commitment.

Sherry Davenport glanced down at the pale spot on her finger where her wedding ring sat for twenty-three years.

It took as much trust and commitment to take it off as it had to put it on, and both times, she found strength in her love for Warren.

She had no idea what her future held but she’d move into it, even if only by baby steps. She and Melody were both shaped by their pasts and they both had the same problem. Life was happening all around them but they were static, not moving in any direction, and that was no way to live.

Sherry pressed her lips against her barren finger. She couldn’t pick up where she left off, but she could begin again.



©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved