A Predatory Heart ii

One night, at the end of her shift, she saw him talking with the boss. They looked directly at her and leaned together in a whispered conspiracy. This sent her scurrying to her dressing room, convinced her world was about to end. She waited there for most of an hour, hoping James would leave. She was alone when a knock came at the door.

“Who’s there?” she called.
“An admirer.” was the reply. She felt like a helpless human sacrifice on the way to the altar as she opened the door.
“Good evening, Ms. Baker. I hope I’m not intruding. I trust that all is well.”
“Hello, Mr. James. Actually, I’m not feeling very well right now.”
“Oh, no!” he said in way that almost was convincing, “Is there anything I can do to help?”
“No, no…” she begged, “I think I just need some rest.”
“Very well then, I shan’t keep you long, but I’ve been waiting a long time to have a private word with you.”
His voice was soothing, but in a way that filled her with fear. He stepped in closer, so terrifyingly near. An uncanny magnetism pulled at her flesh until she trembled. She knew in her heart that he was dangerous but, damn it all if she didn’t like the fear.

“I know what I want in life, Ms. Baker. I know it when I see it.”
She tried to protest, to deflect his advance in her long practiced way, but from her mouth came only a breathy squeak.
“I want you, Ms. Baker.”
To this, all she could do was sigh.
“I want to take you away from all of this, to make you happy, to love and cherish you for the rest of your life.”

She tried to speak, but found his finger pressed softly against her lips, tracing them slowly. When she tried to turn away, his finger caught her chin and kept her eyes looking into his. She was furious. She wanted to slap his face. But she was held, transfixed…
“I want you.”
Then he receded, leaving an aching void where he had stood. Drawing a card from his breast pocket, her offered it to her.
“Please. just think about it. If you ever need anything, I’m only a phone call away. And if you’d rather not, I promise I’ll never bother you again.”
He left her quivering with a simple, “Good night, Ms. Baker.”

Over the next few days, she could barely eat and only rested fitfully. She tried to forget, but he was all she could think of. She tried to deny it, but the truth was clear. Weary from the battle to resist, she surrendered everything, giving notice and slowly dialing his number from the business line.

 

Joe Stanley

Story by Joe Stanley

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