I woke to find the grayness of dawn filtering through the drapes. Avram lay on his back next to me, his black-thatched chest rising and falling with the even breath of deep sleep. I resisted the urge to brush my palm over those appealing curls. I didn't want to risk waking him.
In less than two minutes, I was dressed, minus panties of course. I transferred the notebook and my flash from the robe to my bag. Boots in hand, I tiptoed down the stairs.
I didn't look back. I didn't dare.
For a long time I stared at the front door. Avram had said that it was alarmed. Did I believe him? Anyway, what choice did I have? Turning the bolt, I slowly pulled it open, then waited, listening. Nothing. Lying bastard.
The morning was wonderfully cool and damp as I made my way down the country road lined with stone walls and fancy gates. The breeze smelled of growing things. Huge old trees twisted above me, their boughs drooping with summer foliage. I didn't know where I was, but I figured that at some point I'd find a phone where I could call a taxi. Or maybe I'd happen upon the commuter rail station. I hummed to myself, sincerely glad to be alive, to be free.
I had been walking about half an hour when I heard the car. With gated mansions on both sides, there was nowhere for me to hide. I waited until the Mercedes pulled up next to me and the window rolled soundlessly down.
"Blaine," he said. "You have something that belongs to me." The car was too dark for me to read his expression. His voice was calm, without any discernible emotion.
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"You can't lie to me, Blaine. I know you. Give me the notebook."
I pulled open the car door and confronted him. He looked disheveled and weary, dressed in a teeshirt and jeans. "Give me the photos and tapes, then, and we'll call it a deal."
He sighed. "There are no photos. No tapes. I invented that story to make you come with me. Now, why don't you be reasonable, get into the car and give me the notebook?"
No photos. No tapes. No evidence. So now he was in my power. Triumph surged briefly through me.
But why should I believe him?
"Please. Get into the car. Come back and we can talk."
Oh, I was tempted. At the same time, I was seized with a sudden panic. I remembered the feeling, only a few moments ago, the intoxicating sense of freedom. I didn't want to lose that, not ever again.
Then I remembered something else, his mouth, and the way he had opened me, set me free in a different sense altogether. Maybe I could trust him after all?
I held his eyes. "No photos? No tapes?"
His slow smile bloomed like a rising sun. He nodded again, reached out his hand to me.
I climbed into the car and let him take me away.
So, what did you think? Leave me a comment and I'll add you to tomorrow's giveaway.