I don’t say a word, but I’m not afraid. I don’t know for sure if he would kill me or not, but I don’t fear him either way.
He winds his fingers tighter against my scalp and I feel the cool barrel of the gun trailing down the center of my neck. But more than that I feel his hardness between my legs and the knowledge of the gun being anywhere on me takes a backseat.
“If you’re going to let me go,” I whisper, unable to see his eyes, “then let me have this one last thing from you.”
He pulls my head back even farther. The gun is pressing into my stomach now.
“I’ve never been with a man that I wanted to be with,” I say. “I want to be with you. Just once. I want to know what it feels like to be the one in control.”
He’s conflicted, I feel it in the heat emitting from his skin, in his tense, uncertain movements. In one instance the gun digs deeper into my gut and I feel like my hair is about to come out within his hand. But then he relents, loosening his grip just a little, allowing my neck some reprieve. I can see his eyes now, peering up at me so deadly and yet so seductive even though I know he’s not doing it on purpose.
“You can’t be in here,” he says, also in a whisper.
I feel his eyes on me, sweeping over my body, my bare br**sts, downward to where my nak*d thighs are latched loosely around his hips.
“I don’t care, Victor.”
His gaze moves back to my face where he studies the curvature of my lips.
Then I witness something else flash over his eyes, something frightening that I’ve never seen before in him and I tense up within his grasp. He studies me quietly as if I’m something to be ravaged and then ultimately…killed. Despite my growing fear, I still want to be right where I am, trapped in the merciless arms of a killer.
Without releasing me he raises his back from the bed, the arm with which his hand is speared painfully within my hair is pressed against my shoulder. I sit straddled on his lap, both of my nak*d thighs touching his sides which warm my skin in the same way I pictured it. I can tell that he is completely nak*d underneath that thin sheet that separates us.
“If you want to kill me, then do it.”
His lips move closer to mine.
“But if you do,” I say breathily, “let me be with you first, please….”
My eyes close of their own accord. I wait for whatever is going to happen; death or sex I welcome both, my body stiff against his, my heart beating so fast I feel it in my head and in my fingertips. When I feel his lips brush against my own, I wilt.
But when I feel the cold metal against my temple, my eyes slowly open to look into his again.
“This can’t happen, Sarai,” he says.
I lower my lips to his. “Yes, it can,” I whisper onto them before covering them with my own.
My thighs tighten around his waist and I feel myself pressing against his erection, tremors moving through my pelvis and down into my knees. I lift myself up and yank the sheet from between us, setting myself back down on his nak*d lap, instantly feeling the stark difference the sheet made. I grind myself against his cock, feeling his hardness through the fabric of my panties and it makes me tremble.
But I can tell he doesn’t want this. He doesn’t push me away, but he’s conflicted.
“Please, let me have my way with you,” I say, looking down into his beautiful eyes.
He searches my face, his fingers gently touching my cheeks, a look of uncertainty in his features as though this exchange between us is something entirely new to him. I can tell that he’s probably never been with a woman he could not ravage and spoil and tame. And while I think I prefer him that way, right now in this moment I want to be the one who makes all of the decisions.
I’m unsure why, but that doesn’t matter.
I feel his body relent even more.
I press the palms of my hands against his rock-hard chest and push him gently against the bed, hoping that he’ll let me.
He does. He lies down, leaving his hands to rest on the tops of my thighs. We look at each other and no words are spoken. They aren’t needed. Tucking my middle finger behind the elastic of my panties, I slip them off one leg at a time, and I never move my eyes from his.
Feeling him between my legs, skin on skin, alone is overwhelming. I lay forward, wanting all of him, the warmth of his chest against mine, the heat of his breath against my neck. Everything. I kiss him hard and deep, his tongue tangling with mine in a dance of dominance, his fingers pressing into the back of my head until he drags one hand down the length of my body and to my hip. He squeezes it, thrusting his h*ps toward me. He wants the control so bad, but I remind him that it’s mine by pushing my h*ps back against him and holding them there.
When he gives back the control, I peck him lightly upon the lips and then both sides of his jawline.
He watches my face, glimpsing my lips, wanting to taste them.
And then I start to cry.
I always cry when I’m angry.
I’m becoming someone else, that girl lost at fourteen-years-old, forced to live a life of bondage and pain and broken dreams. Flashes of Javier’s face go through my mind erratically. I feel like I’m on a merry-go-round and it’s spinning so fast, all of the faces of Javier come and go before I can reach out and grab one. I can’t get my hands on just one so that I can beat it to death. And I just cry harder, screaming out into the night and before I realize what I’m doing, Victor has become the face of Javier that I can’t otherwise catch. I swing my fists at him, beating him over and over again on the chest and on his arms and he doesn’t stop me. Because I know only he can understand why I need this moment so desperately.
Yelling into the night, I let it all out. Tears barrel from my eyes.
I collapse on him and he engulfs me in his arms. I can’t catch my breath as I sob into the crook of his neck.
Beautiful but defeated and damaged. Damaged for the rest of her life and no amount of emotional mutilation will ever fully give her back her innocence. The girl is a ticking time bomb, a danger to herself and very possibly to others. I wasn’t sure before, but now I know that she is more unstable than I ever could have imagined. And because she is so skilled at hiding it, not only from me but also from herself, she is more dangerous than I am. I am discipline. Sarai is rage. I am aware of my choices at all times. Sarai’s choices are more aware of her, lying in wait to decide for her based on the severity of her mood with no intention in leaving her any conscious control over it.
I know what I have to do.
I cradle the back of her head in the palm of my hand, my gun resting beside me on the bed in the other. I feel her tears soaking my shoulder, her body wracked by sobs that coalesce into my muscles. And her sweet spot still presses against my c*ck every time her body tenses. But I leave her there despite the moral need to pull away.
“Sarai,” I whisper against the side of her head, “I am sorry.”
I raise the gun slowly behind her.
She tilts her head and lies her cheek against my chest and I pause, waiting, though I don’t know for what. Her sobs begin to settle, her left hand drawn up near her chin where her fingertips rest lightly against my collarbone.
“I have an aunt in France,” she says softly, distantly. “My mother’s older sister. I know France is a long way, but you don’t have to take me there, just help me get on the plane.”
I raise the gun a little higher, settling the barrel at the back of her head, but not touching it. I don’t want her to be afraid before she dies and although I know she fears nothing, death is something we all fear in our final moment even if only the smallest part of us is conscious of it. I don’t want her to fear it at all and she can’t if she doesn’t know that it’s happening.
“How old were you when you became what you are?” she asks.
Caught off guard by the question and maybe more-so by the shifting of the mood, I hesitate before answering.
“I was nine.”
She sniffles and wipes her eyes with the hand near her cheek.
“You were very young,” she goes on. “I guess in a way like me, you never had a chance to live a life of your choosing. I guess maybe we aren’t really so different from each other.” She pauses. “Except I might be more like your brother than I care to admit. He’s as angry as I am.”
I release my finger from the trigger and slowly, so she doesn’t know, move the barrel away from the back of her head.
“It must’ve been hard growing up with Niklas,” she says.
I set the gun back on the bed next to me and before I know what I’m doing I’m cradling the back of her head in my hand again.
“Yes,” I answer, “considering the unconventional circumstances.”
“Instead of who’s the better baseball player it was who’s the better killer.”
“No,” I say. “Niklas never tried to be better than me, he only wanted to be my equal. We never competed with each other, but he’s been competing with everyone else who has ever been close to me for as long as he’s been alive.”
“Close to you?” she asks.
I nod and lightly comb my fingers through her hair.
“Vonnegut, Samantha, my mother, our father,” I say distantly as I picture these events, staring up at the scaling ceiling. “And now you.”
I hear her sigh, but she doesn’t raise her head.
“You see that you have one thing that I don’t,” she says carefully, though I get the feeling she’s saying it more to herself. “You have someone who loves you and who is loyal to you and who will kill for you.” She raises her body from mine and stands up from the bed. Then she looks down at me. “You are very fortunate to have him, Victor.”
She takes her panties from the end of the bed and slips them on. Then she picks up her shirt from the floor and pulls it over her long, disheveled hair and over her br**sts.
“I am grateful,” she says looking back, “for everything you’ve done for me. I guess in the end none of it will really matter, not saving my life, or sparing it. But I’ll always be grateful to you.”
Sarai leaves my bedroom, but in a sense she has taken me with her.
For a length of time unknown to me, I stare up at the ceiling, picturing the way she looked before she left, how she used me to take revenge on Javier. In the beginning, I know she didn’t come into my room for that. She wanted to be with me. She wanted to feel something she’s never felt before, but rage and vengeance were not part of her plan. Self-destruction was not part of her plan, and despite using that moment to release some of the hatred inside of her, the only thing I sense that it did was make her realize just how f**ked up she truly is.
The dark, melodic sound of the piano carries softly through the house, breaking me from my trance-like daze. The piece stops three times and begins all over again as she tries to get the keys right. On the fourth try, her fingers move more confidently over the keys, fluid and careful and perfect. And before long I find myself standing beside my bed and stepping into my underwear. The piece carries on, so elegant and beautiful and heart-wrenching that it draws me from my room and I’m helpless to fight against it. I take the hallway in a quiet stride, following the sound. The music gets louder, Moonlight Sonata in its most sorrowful interpretation yet, filling the vast, empty space all around me.