Chapter 33

the sound: Debussy claire de lune, Wilhelm Kempff plays Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata mvt. 1

I’m sunk deep in the bubbles when I hear a noise in the next room. I start to rise up and realize that should I do so it will make me stand naked but for some bubbles should someone enter the room. My eyes frantically search the room for a robe but realize I’ve left it in the next room.

“who…who’s there?” I stammer.

There’s no answer.

I wait for what seems like forever and don’t hear anything else so I climb out of the tub and wrap a towel around myself tiptoeing to the door to see who’s in the next room.

No one.

I hurry to the bed grabbing the flannel dressing gown and begin to pull it over my head when a man’s voice comes out of the walk-in “Bout time”

I clutch the towel and squeak startled.

I turn to run back into the bathroom clutching the towel and flannel dressing gown half on/half off. The towel drops and I am left hung up in the dressing gown, my face covered but little else as I hear a deep chuckle from the direction of the walk-in.

I struggle to get the gown over my wet skin and only succeed in knocking the combs that had been holding my hair out causing all of my hair to join the tangle around my shoulders. I begin to cuss in the manner for which I have become famous.

“Jesus Christ woman – could you make anything else so easy look so hard?”

I spin around to face the man now standing at the foot of the bed. My gaze runs up and down taking in that he’s over 6 foot tall, that he’s got the proverbial “handlebar” mustache, that he’s lean and muscular and has thick dark hair. He’s leaned against one of the four big wooden posts at the foot of the bed, just on his shoulder, faded denim covered arms crossed over his chest and one blue jean leg crossed over the other so that it almost looks like his worn cowboy boots are on the wrong foot.

And he’s smug. I can just see it.

“who the fuck are you?” I demand, angry now that I think he’s laughing at me, and I get to watch all the laughter leach out of his eyes as he barks a quick response:

“Tone bitch! Tone!”

Ever the faulty judge of character I snap back waspishly “fuck you!” and turn to stomp off into the bathroom, thinking to myself, “just who the hell does he think he is?”

He crosses the room to me in one long stride and grips my arm, swinging me around to face him. “What did I just tell you?” he asks as his embrace full on encompasses me and for a moment I am afraid that my arm will snap.

But once again, with the grand judge of character, “fuck you” I respond, and begin to push against his chest in an effort of get away from him.

He chuckles again, but this time it scares me, it sounds dark, not mysterious but scary. He says almost to himself, “this is gonna be more fun than I thought” as he winds his hand into my hair and pulls my head back, “go ahead and struggle Baby…I like a good fight.”

My struggle to escape becomes earnest and the harder I try the tighter his grip gets in my hair till I’m almost bent backwards at the waist, with him bent over me. I can feel my pulse in my temples and neck and I can feel him pressed against me from my thighs all the way to my breasts. I just know I’m gonna hurt tomorrow except now I’m afraid the hurt might not come from my daily hangover, nor from the long trip here , nor even from being bent too far back at the waist.

Now I’m afraid for that the hurt might just come from something else.

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