She’d wanted to sit in silence and sulk. She was so terribly unhappy about this situation, and perhaps fearful, though the anger was drowning the fear for now.
She wasn’t allowed to sit and brood, however.
He drew her into conversation, about her work, her family, her likes and dislikes. All done so suavely she didn’t notice the passage of time. He was interesting to talk to and answered her questions with candor. She could almost imagine that they were sitting at a club, getting to know one another, a potential client, or a friend of her boss. Almost.
It was a long while before she noted that they were still driving. He told her of his estate in the country, his smile unworried as the frown slicked across her face like oil in a pond.
“Why?” She finally asked, interrupting his descriptions of his gardens.
Ah, at long last, that question! He was surprised he’d been able to forestall it for as long as he had.
“I wanted you.”
The bald statement staggered. She was in turn appalled and shocked and amazed. It had been a long while since her own husband had wanted her…and this…this stranger came out with it in the first 90 minutes of their having met?
“Wh-.” She stopped, reformulated. “How could you “want” me?” she asked, once more using air quotes which he found charming. He laughed, annoying her, and spurring her onto the start of a tirade.
“Are you so hard up for a fuck that you just jumped on board for the opportunity to get a fucktoy? I find it hard to imagine, unless you have some terrible deformity…”
He interrupted her by placing a hand over her mouth.
“No, little one, no deformity. Last Christmas you attended a business function at the Cailridge Inn. Do you recall? You wore a deep green swirl of velvet, a confection that drew eyes to you from around the room, though you barely noticed. You were in full “network” mode. I was leaving, my convention over, yet when I saw you, I made it my business to find out about you. Your husband was a lucky man, I thought at the time, when I discovered you belonged to another.”
“I don’t belong to anyone…” she began, heated.
“Ah, but you do. You belong to me, mind, spirit, body. For the next month, you are my property. Not my wife. Not my lover, not even an employee. Just a possession.”
Her mouth moved, but no words came out.
His head canted, his expression, amused.
The limo turned between two thick bodied trees, into a winding drive. She looked away from him, at a loss for words, and watched as a heavy wrought-iron gate, set between two enormous stone stanchions, swung open, admitting them to his property. A long, high stone wall rolled off through the woods on either side. Entry into this place would be formidable, as would exiting. She let that thought send nervous shivers up her back for a moment, before taking a slow breath. She continued to ignore him, looking at the place she would call “home” for the next month.
A thick grove of trees continued along the winding drive, the road a small slashing line through the forest, which was dark but not menacing. Along the edge of the drive the growth was pruned back, opening the roadway to traffic without diminishing the impact of the woods. She felt like they were driving into primeval forest, and forgot him as she gazed in wonder at the extent of his holdings. They drove on.
He sat back and waited. Eventually the trees changed, from thick stands of pine to maple, birch, elm. Grass began creeping into the borders, and in a moment, the rolling grounds of the estate came into view. Another turn, rounding the final approach and his home came into view.
Her mouth fell open. It seemed she was fated to do that around him.