Page 13 of The Black Fox

An hour later, night has fallen, and I walk with heavy steps up to the master bedroom. The door is open and I can hear Valeria splashing about in the en suite. Blanca blocks my entrance, her lip curling as she growls at me.

My wife comes out of the bathroom and pads toward the bed, one hand across her brow. “Mi amor, I still have such a headache. I’ll keep you awake with my restlessness. Go and sleep in the spare room, won’t you?”

It’s not the first time I’ve been banished to a different bedroom because Valeria claims to have a headache, but it’s the first time I haven’t minded one bit. My own head is splitting. I cast a final glower at the dog, who seems triumphant now that her mistress has ordered me out, and head down the hall to the guest bedroom without a word.

Sleep eludes me for a long time. I lie awake in the canopied bed, images of Lolita dancing through my mind, her body drenched in sunshine and her silky hair cascading down her back. My dick is rock hard at the memory of her sobbing so sweetly in my arms. Clinging to me. Needing me.

She’s no more than a few breaths away, her naked body lying tangled in sheets.

One breath for me to leave this room.

Another breath to walk silently down the hall and open her door.

A third to get up on the bed with her and wake her gently with a kiss.

Would she scream if she opened her eyes to see her masked hero in bed with her? Or would she wrap her arms around his neck and pull him down to her, offering up her soft breasts and tender thighs to his kisses, and her slippery, tight sex for the plunder of his cock?

I groan and cover my face with a pillow, willing this night to end.

When I finally sleep, it’s in fits and starts, with unsettling dreams that have me waking in a cold sweat. The next day only brings even more torment.

I manage to avoid Lolita all morning and afternoon. Valeria is shut up in our bedroom and has her maid hurrying in and out with herbal teas and hot and cold compresses for her brow. I hear her moaning and crying dramatically over how her head is splitting and she’s going to look dreadful for the ball.

Lolita remains closeted in her own room, and there’s silence from within. I’m dreading tonight. I begin to fantasize that our attendance at this ball is going to be canceled, because no one seems to be in the spirits for it. Valeria’s maid finds me at four in the afternoon in the lounge and bobs a curtsy before my chair.

“Señor, the mistress asks if you’ll be ready to leave for Madrid in an hour.”

I throw my newspaper aside and get to my feet, growling my assent. So much for our attendance being canceled. The maid calls after me that my tuxedo has been laid out in the spare room, and she’s packed my overnight bag. The ball is to be held in one of the city’s grand old hotels, and we’ll be sleeping there rather than driving back tonight.

I shower and shave and dress in my tuxedo, and then check my overnight bag to see what the maid has packed for me. There’s some space inside. I stand over it, thinking. The last few days have been a torment with only one moment of respite. When I became the Black Fox, I was able to do the right thing. Press a kiss to Lolita’s palm and walk away from her. I need the Black Fox tonight. I need him to remind me that I’m a good man. To become him if I feel myself falling to temptation.

I take my overnight bag into the storage room and pack my vigilante attire. Cape. Mask. Sword. Then I head downstairs and reverse the black Mercedes Valeria gave me as a wedding present out of the garage. Once my things are packed into the trunk, along with Valeria and Lolita’s bags, I wait, leaning against the hood, hands deep in the pockets of my pants.

Valeria emerges through the front door in a floor-length red lace gown, heavy gold jewelry around her neck and wrists and her hair swept up into an elaborate knot. She pauses, framed in the doorway, to adjust the red silk stole around her shoulders. With plump, self-satisfied lips, she descends the stairs toward me, no trace of pain lines or any puffiness to her face. You would think that she never had a headache.

I hold open the front passenger door for her and drop a quick kiss onto her cheek. “You look beautiful, Valeria.”

She settles herself into the seat without a word, and we wait for her daughter.