She’d invited me to dinner. And she was striking. We met on an elevator in the downtown Sanford & Sons, Inc building. The doors opened on the 16th floor and there she stood, looking down and to the right. One brilliant face in a sea of blurred eyes and noses and mouths. They mattered naught. Obviously uncomfortable, she had tear-stains barely noticeable in the corners of her eyes. A beautiful sight. Poor thing. Weak and distressed. Perfect. I chose to occupy a space beside her. How could I not?
“Take this,” I whispered as I pressed a small handkerchief against the outside of her left hand. She pulled away slightly, paused, then turned her palm open to mine, and accepted my small gift. Connection. No one else in the elevator would’ve even noticed her delicate movements. She dabbed the sides of her eyes with swift precision, as though she’d done it before….many times. The memory of those first few moments are as sharp and piercing as, well, the final.
Her skin was like the finest velvet, the passes of blush on her cheeks danced just ever so slightly on her supple skin. Her eyelashes were like tiny palm leaves, but thick, languid…and dark. But her lips, her lips, they were like something carved from marble. Full, curved, red, inviting. And yet…they were attractive in an unusual way as well. Attractive in their…familiarity? We left that elevator, the quickest descent I’d ever experienced, together. And we walked. I stayed by her side and she never flinched. With each step she staightened further, her steps became less inconsistent and she gained confidence. Her shoulders pulled back and her chin raised. She lifted her lashes in my direction.
“Well”, she breathed “I suppose we should at least have a coffee”. I nodded. Coffee. A walk through central park. A movie. Another coffee. Lunch. Dinner. Another dinner. And by this time our third day of acquaintance had arrived I was yearning, dreaming, enveloped in the thought of those beautiful lips. Her warmth and attraction was inexplicable. I wanted her. The decision was made and decisions aren’t made to be retracted. She invited me to her place for dinner.
The table was set beautifully. Champagne awaited us. Her dress, though, my goodness, it was exquisite. White and slender, gently wrapping her curves in a halo that only silk can achieve, she occupied every thought, every moment. I was drunk at the very sight of her, but accepted the champagne with a welcome pause. She asked me to be seated while she prepared final touches. I could think of no better thing than to remove myself from an upright position, I was already afraid of stumbling. This woman, so foreign yet so familiar. The mystery, her beauty, her mystique…I was dumbfounded.
“I made your favorite,” she cooed from the kitchen her back to me. I could only muster a murmur of acknowledgment. I was fixated on her visage. She turned with two plates in her hand and smiled. I almost died. She set her place first, then came sround to serve me. The plate came into view, and so did the harrowing glisten of a medical-grade syringe. But her movements were too swift, and it was too late to question, to jerk away, to do anything…the steel tip had already found a home in my side. I winced…and slumped. She returned to view in front of me. Her chin up, and eyes piercing downward from under those incredible lashes. She pulled her long gloves from her wrists and I saw them. The answer to the questions that’d been swimming in my head for these few days. The reason. The explanation. The tattoos.
This was the Jezebel I had tried so hard to avoid. This was the woman who, deep down, though I avoided the thought for knowing it’s truth, I knew would always be the end of me. This was her sister. This was the woman she said would hunt me down for all of my indiscretions. Here she was. Staring. Her sweet smile turning sinnister. Sickly. She was looking at her one hatred. She pulled a photograph from under the table and opened it before me. I could feel myself fade, whether from shock or the drugs, it didn’t matter. The energy of my life was rushing from my body….each second a decade of life, gone. There she was, the photo, my ex-wife. I had had it taken before I’d done the deed. I wanted something for her family to have, after all. How haunting it was to see her now. How haunting it was to see her lips on the paper as well as before me, pursed and seething. But they were so beautiful… “I want you to see her face as you die,” she growled. “I want her face to be your last and everlasting thought. And consider it a favor, you sick pig. If it had been anyone other than Daisy I would’ve dismembered you section by section and had you watch your own body be fed to dogs”. I looked at her, imploring. No speech. No words. Nothing left. This was my due. This was that moment. Her lips curled upward. Her lashes lowered…and she looked down and to the right.