Collin led Lo down the hall and up the stairs to Suzanne’s bedroom. They were about to enter when Lo stopped, realizing where they were.
“What’s the matter?” asked Collin.
“I don’t want to go in there,” said Lo.
“It’s ok,” he said. “She was belligerent earlier. She had had too much to drink. But she wants to apologize to you as well. She asked me to bring you here so she could do so in person and in private.”
He opened the door.
To Lo’s surprise, he didn’t go in with her. She felt like she was being led to the lion’s den.
Shadow and Bandit, who had been at the foot of the bed, immediately stood up and ran to Lola, sniffing her crotch with great interest.
Lo walked in furtively. She pet the dogs on the head, both to be friendly and in an attempt to keep them at bay. Suzanne was sitting in a reading chair next to the bed nursing a drink.
“Sit,” she said.
Lo didn’t know if it was a command to the dogs or an invitation intended for herself. As a result, she felt at an embarrassing disadvantage.
“Me?” she asked, upset that the first interaction they had in this exchange was a confusion about whether Suzanne was talking to Lo or the dogs. It put Lo and Suzanne on very unequal footing and Lo couldn’t help but think that it was intended to do so.
“Yes. Have a seat.” The only place to sit was on the bed.
“That’s ok,” said Lo. She stood awkwardly, like a schoolgirl who had gotten in trouble and was asked to stay for detention before the teacher.
The dogs were by her. Bandit, the taller of the two dogs, was licking her ass. Shadow licked the droplets that had oozed down to Lo’s ankles. Lo didn’t know how to stop them or to stop the leak from between her legs. She squeezed her ass cheeks tightly.
“No, really. Sit,” said Suzanne.
Lo sat on the edge of the bed. Bandit and Shadow crowded between her legs, trying to get their snouts up and in there.
“Stop it you two!” said Suzanne to the dogs. “I don’t know what’s gotten into them. They’re crazy about you.”
Lo tried to shut her legs, unsuccessfully.
Suzanne pulled the dogs back.
“It’s my fault,” she said. “I spoil them. That’s why I asked you to come here. I wanted to apologize for Shadow’s atrocious behavior earlier.”
“It’s ok,” said Lo, flatly. She wanted the apology to be over with already. The amends were worse than the offence.
“You see,” began Suzanne, “ever since Collin’s unfortunate accident, I’ve been bereft of his spousal consortium, as the courts put it.”
“He hasn’t been able to fuck you,” said Lo bluntly. She didn’t like Suzanne and she definitely didn’t like that she was being treated like a hostage in Suzanne’s room at the moment. She tried to turn the tables on her.
“Yes,” said Suzanne without emotion.
“There are other methods of partners sharing intimacy,” added Lo, switching to her helping mode.
“As you no doubt have found,” began Suzanne with more than a hint of accusation in her voice, “Collin is hardly capable of intimacy. He is a man of means, a person who pursues power, a physically imposing presence. All things I found attractive about him before the accident. But the accident changed everything. It was hell seeing him disabled. Living with him was unbearable. But, to his credit, he was not only a self-made man, he was self-made twice! He remade himself after the accident, in every way except one. And that one deficit has defined him. It eats away at him. He has a terrible need to be everything he once was and is crushed by the disappointment that in the way that mattered most to him then is lost to him now.”
“I can understand that, but there are other ways to. . .” began Lola.
“He’s a tyrant!” interrupted Suzanne. “He can’t connect. He won’t allow me to have another man, or many men, like you,” she said. She again sounded accusatory.
“How do you know about me?” asked Lola.
“Lily,” said Suzanne, simply.
“Lily is and has always been madly in love with Collin, and with good reason,” said Suzanne. “He treats her like a daughter.” There was a long pause. “Better than a daughter. Almost like a daughter and a mistress. Don’t get me wrong, there was never anything untoward about his relations with her.”
Oh no, she just has lured female companions to him like a procuress.
“He has shown her the attention she craves and she has reciprocated by trying to please him in every way.”
“So why wouldn’t she just bring young studs back here to fuck you?”
Suzanne laughed, amused at Lo’s innocence. “Haven’t you heard what I’ve been saying? That would be a double insult to Collin. First to his ego and second to his relationship with Lily. He has to be the center of attention. He has to be the alpha-male. He can’t handle any other man, even a young man, fucking his prized possession.” She said this with great irony since, rather than be treated as a prized possession, she was treated as a prisoner within her gilded cage.
“But he’s ok with. . .” Lo didn’t continue the sentence. She just looked down at the two hounds that lay at Suzanne’s feet. They immediately perked up their ears and gave looks of anticipation to Lo, hoping that her noticing them meant that she’d play with them soon.
“Lola, Collin is the alpha-male. The fact that I have needs, that I’m beholden to my body, that I stoop so low, only feeds his own ego. He delights in my desperation.”
“Then leave. Leave him. Leave this. Get a life.” Lo finally said what she had wanted to say since she first met Suzanne, or at least since she first heard rumor of the “special understanding” that Suzanne and Collin had.
Again Suzanne laughed a sad, humorless laugh that rang out like a bell tolling the knell of defeat. “Bless your little heart,” she said, allowing her southern accent to emerge. “If I only could.”
“Why can’t you?”
“Because, Lola, he’s right. I am desperate. I am beholden. I am pitifully and pathetically attached to him in more ways than one. With him, let’s face it, I get everything I want, except one thing. And that can easily be replaced,” she said, rubbing the fur of Shadow with her bare foot.
“One thing?!” shouted Lo. “It’s way more than one thing. It’s not just sex. It’s intimacy. A partner. Companionship.”
Before she could go on, Suzanne stood up and began to pace. The dogs watched her every move carefully.
“Forget all that,” said Suzanne, taking a sip of her drink. “I have wealth, status, amusements,” she said, putting her hand on Lo’s shoulder.
Lo looked up at her, genuinely terrified. She wasn’t going to be talked down to, so she stood up, uncomfortably close to Suzanne who still was a head taller than Lo.
“You’re not interested in getting out,” Lo decried. “You two are co-dependent. You get what you want and he gets what he wants. You. . .” Lo was going to say, “You like it,” but she got cut off.
“Call it whatever you want,” said Suzanne. “He abuses me and I take the abuse.”
“You’re not the victim in all this,” said Lo, confronting her. “You just want to play one.”
“What the hell would you know about it? You have your cuckold of a man who lets you whore your way from door-to-door. It works for you. You are in no position to judge.”
“I’m not judging, Suzanne. I’m just. . .”
“You think you’re so smart. You got it all figured out. You’re what, all of twenty-four, twenty-five? You think you know how things work, how people work. Well, you’ve got a lot to learn. A lot.”
Suzanne’s sinister streak was making its appearance again. Lo was on edge. She didn’t want to be there in the first place. This was supposed to be an apology to her, but now she was on the receiving end of Suzanne’s invectives.
“I don’t have to take this,” she said. “I’m your guest and, until today, you’ve treated me very well. But I don’t have to take this.”
“My guest? Did I invite you here? No. Collin did. Collin and his little niece, Lily.” She said “niece” like it was a curse. “You’re just pretty decorations, like his art or his wallpaper. You just brighten up the room for him. You’re not my guest.”
Lo began to walk toward the door. Suzanne got in front of it, blocking her exit.
“Did you like it?” asked Suzanne.
“You know what.”
. . .
“I don’t have to answer to you,” said Lo. They were looking eye-to-eye, but Suzanne had a height advantage, especially because she was in heels.
“I see you. I see who and what you are.”
“And I see you too,” said Lo right back to her. “Now, if you’ll excuse me.”
In a whisper, Suzanne said, “I can’t leave him. He has evidence.” She drew out the final sibilant of “evidence” in a way that caused Lo to think of the snake in the Garden of Eden. Lo was frozen by Suzanne’s sinister look. “And now,” Suzanne added, “I have something on you too.”
“What do you want?” asked Lo, very scared of what Suzanne might be capable of doing.
“What do you think I want?”
A thousand different blackmail scenarios played out in Lo’s mind. But it was impossible for her to see into the depths of Suzanne’s dark eyes. She was inscrutable.
Lo waited. Suzanne moved from blocking the door. She knew she had a captive audience now and didn’t need to use any physical barriers to prevent Lo’s departure. She took her time and walked around the room as she spoke, her heels clicking on the wooden floor.
[For unabridged, please send an email requesting it: firstname.lastname@example.org]