It was the bruises that caught Kelvin’s attention. Even as he dressed in the shadows of 4 am, they were obvious.
Candy had, again, been with her dom the night before and come home late. As usual, she had crawled into bed beside Kelvin without disturbing him.
That he was sleeping under the influence of a large bottle of spiced rum made it unlikely much would have woken him, but it still seemed impressive to Kelvin to always find her morning reappearance. The extent of this morning’s hangover was feeling the gag reflex kick in as he tightened his necktie.
In her haste, Candy had fallen asleep with her pale, naked pale skin on top of the chocolate brown king-sized duvet. Her brunette hair splayed out beneath her head across the white pillow she had found.
Walking around her side of the bed, Kelvin knelt on the edge of the bed and leaned in to kiss her cheek. “Love you,” he whispered. “Have a good day.”
She moaned something and seemed to offer a groggy smile. This was followed with a sigh as she rolled over on her side and revealed her bruised ass and thighs to Kelvin.
The starkness of white skin made the hand marks Myer, Candy’s dom, had made look harsher. They were badges of honor to Candy, and reminders of the pleasures she had endured.
To Kelvin, they were reminders that his wife now belonged to Myer.
She was now owned by a man that Kelvin did not know. A few pictures and the hand prints were the only knowledge Kelvin had of Evan.
The morning tradition of searching for glasses on the side table began. It seemed the spectacles were experts at camouflaging themselves on the dark woodgrain.
Finding them, Kelvin moved on to the much easier task of finding his mobile phone.
The mobile could learn a lot from the glasses, but it’s size was enough to make it too easy to find. Being it was a marketing device that Orwell would have been afraid of, it truly wanted to be found and offered a red blinking beacon as assistance.
Swiping right and holding his thumb in place, he checked for messages.
Candy had checked in just before 1 am saying she was coming home. There was an earlier text from her happily mentioning she’d been watching an award program where one of Kelvin’s favorite musicians won something.
Kelvin rolled his eyes. He was happy that she was checking in more than she initially had with Myer, but it still sent ill pangs through him when she told him of things she did with Myer that Kelvin would have enjoyed doing with her.
It was getting easier, though. Kelvin was getting better at accepting the situation.
His eyes caught the shine of the bottle from a streetlight somewhere outside the window.
Okay, maybe his acceptance still wasn’t where it needed to be.
He picked up the bottle and snuck out of the room to leave it with the kitchen recycling. On getting to the kitchen, he found two fingers of spiced rum still left at the bottom and turned the bottle up to empty it down his throat.
Locking the apartment door behind him, he made his way down to the parking garage where he silently eased his copper Ford Escort out to the street.
The Eagles were the radio’s first offering as Don Henley crooned at him to “Get Over It”.
Much as he liked the savings on gas, he always found his hybrid vehicle creepy with how it could silently sneak up on pedestrians. It was something he had first experienced on a trip to Zurich when one of the city’s hybrid buses almost clipped him as he went to cross a street without looking.
He turned the wheel to guide the car onto Carson Road. The thought that this poly situation with Candy might be another no-look street crossing of his occurred to him. He shook his head. “That’s a horrible metaphor.”
The car headlights veered onto Lancer Street just as the dashboard clock clicked over to 5 am.
Billy Joel took the radio reins and sang about a “Big Shot”.
The early morning drive had Kelvin pulling into his parking space at his agent’s office ten minutes before his scheduled breakfast appointment.
Lucy Kapoor worked from her home office as agent for ten novelists.
Walking up, Kelvin always felt the historical house on the quiet back street would be the perfect setting for a horror novel. Inside the house, with its reworked modern, minimalist interior design, he knew he had to just so he could imagine blood on these eggshell-blue walls.
“You’re early,” Lucy was at the top of the grand stair case that curved around the front foyer with metal steps down from her living quarters. Her navy robe was silk and hung to above her knees and her hands held it closed in front.
Kelvin checked his phone. “Two minutes.”
She sighed and walked down the steps. “You don’t have a deadline, so I assume you’re here for something else? Sex, maybe?”
“I’m pretty transparent, it would seem.”
“Let’s go then.” Her robe fell open, revealing only ample flesh beneath. Her left hand grabbed his tie and pulled him with it. “You’re in an open marriage, right?”
She nodded. “And you’ve not told Candy of us?”
“You do fall into your role well.” She pulled him into the living room towards a long sofa. “Why haven’t you told her? Are you ashamed of this? Of me?”
Kelvin was silent for a moment. “Not ashamed of you, no.”
“Of yourself, though. You have the chance to honestly explore an open relationship, yet you still choose secrecy.” Turning to him, her right hand planted on his chest and pushed him down on the sofa. Puckering her lips. “Tisk, tisk. But interesting.”
She slapped him. “I’m sorry, what was that?”
“Better,” she said with a nod. “There’s a drink on the table for you.”
He followed her gaze and found the glass on the side table. Lifting it, the aroma of sweet rum filled his nostrils before it heated his throat.
She took the glass from him and sipped before returning it to its beginning point. Lifting her right leg, she leaned forward and placed her foot on his shoulder. “Good thing I’m flexible, ‘cause I need you to lick.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Kelvin applied his tongue to her pussy without further encouragement. His left hand reached up to caress her leg as his ear pressed against her thigh.
“This is very personal, isn’t it?” Gordon Rutherford dropped the thin manuscript on his desk with a slap of plastic on melamine.
Darryl grinned across the desk at him. “My stuff usually has some thread of reality in it.”
The office was four undecorated cream walls under white fluorescent lighting. At the centre was a small meeting table pretending to be a desk and two plastic chairs that the men sat in. The door behind Darryl was worn through wood veneer showing some hollow beneath it. The conversations coming into the room were a sign that sound proofing was not considered when the office was designed.
“But you usually write science fiction. This is different.” Gordon’s gray eyes studied him. “Everything okay with you and Meg?”
Darryl nodded. “Never better.”
“Okay, I’m calling bullshit on that, but not my business if you don’t want to talk about it.” Phil squinted and gave a tight nod. His eyes returned to the manuscript in front of him. He flipped a few pages over, as if in search of something. “I will say that this disturbs me, but I think I can sell it.”
“Disturbs you how?”
“I’m your agent, dumbass. I don’t own any silk robes that I’d let you see me in.” Phil smirked. “Although, I wish I had her legs.”