Perspective: The Good, The Bad, The Beautiful part 2

Shiloh stood in the corner of the elevator. Ricardo, the waiter from the restaurant many floors below, was obviously more than a mere ‘waiter’. Obviously Mr. Mabon employed him for many other tasks. He was a silent, steady buffer between her and her husband on the ride up, and he had held her back as Russell stormed off when the doors opened, leaving her behind.

He did not return for her. After a few minutes, she turned to Ricardo.

“Should I…”

He laid a comforting hand on her wrist.

“It will be alright, cara, Mr. Mabon will send someone to collect you when he is ready.”

She closed her eyes, drew in a deep breath. Her heart was racing. She was really surprised that she was still standing. How had Russell fooled her for all these years? Stealing?? They did not lead an extravagant lifestyle, and her work at the gallery… here she paused, gulped down the hurt from Russells’ cruel remarks about her work.  What a bastard! But to steal from the guy who gave you your first big break? The boss who was helping him to climb that ladder to the top? Mr. Mabon had always been encouraging to Russell. On the few occasions that she had met him, he was always gracious, always kind to her. And he touted Russell from power mover to power shaker. She’d seen him do it again and again. And Russ would throw that all away for what? A few extra grand a year? She shook her head.

A guard came to the open elevator doors.

“Mr. Mabon is ready for you, miss,” he spoke kindly to her, recognizing shock in her pale face and wide eyes.  He took  her limp hand, pulled it through the crook of his elbow and escorted her into the apartment.

***********

The bedroom was the embodiment of a fairy tale. Dark wood, pale silk walls contrasted each other. A deep rich carpet was plush underfoot, a waterfall of silk tulle cascading from a central hub and gliding down the sides of the bed. When closed, the tulle would encase the occupants in a tent of silken hues, shutting out the world beyond.

The wide windows would show the sunrise over the Atlantic not so far away.  The far wall was nearly all window, and she watched the twinkling lights as an airplane banked and headed for a runway at Logan International Airport. The moon was a silent witness to what would happen here. Her reflection was captured, pale, frightened. Behind her, to her left, sat her husband, handcuffed to a chair. Her heart beat faster.

She watched as Mr. Mabon’s reflection came closer to hers. Until she could feel the warmth of him through her back, feel his breath stirring her hair. She noted he was much taller that she really had noticed, before, a full head taller than her own 5′ 8″, even considering her stiletto’s. She watched his hand come around to cup her waist, at the same moment that she felt it. His hand came over hers, wrapped protectively around her. She felt the strength in him. Shielding her. She knew.

“He gave me to you.” She spoke flatly.

“Yes.” He spoke matter-of-factly. She needed honesty, brutal as it was.

“I could have put him in jail. Ended his career. And things happen, sweetling, in prison.”

She choked back a sob.

His arms came around her.  Held her tightly. She watched in the glass as his cheek rested on her head. His silver hair a bright contrast to the deep night outside the glass.  In the reflections before them, their eyes met. His were serious, and dark, hers light colored and shimmering with tears.

“I am very demanding sexually. I may hurt you, but it will be to our eventual, mutual satisfaction. I promise you, Shiloh, you will not leave my bed unhappy.”

She turned in his arms. Stood face to face, nearly nose to nose with him.

“But why?! Surely we can repay you? How much? How much has he taken? A few thousand…”

He interrupted her with a droll laugh.

“oh, you sweetly innocent baby. Seventy-five thousand dollars. And that’s only what I’ve found this year. He’s very clever, your husband. Very greedy, but also ingenious at hiding the losses. If he had stopped, it may have taken me quite some time to find where I was bleeding from. I knew someone was doing it, but I didn’t come to suspect Russell until recently. But the greedy always want more. ”

She looked at Russell. Pulling away from Caleb, she crossed to him, and slapped him hard across his face.

“You. Fucking. Stupid. Fucking. Asshole. Bastard.” Each word, punctuated by a slap. Turning away, head high, she went back to Caleb. She looked at his face. Turning her back to him, staring at her husband, she spoke.

“Unzip me, Caleb.”