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The Siren

Tiffany Reisz

Page 15

  Author: Tiffany Reisz

  She didn’t look up when the door opened. She knew from the shoes who it was who’d entered. Black riding boots. Men’s riding boots.

  She shouldn’t have said “anything. ”

  He returned to her and released her from the floor. He didn’t remove the handcuffs, though. He kept her hands cuffed behind her back. He’d made her wear her old school uniform tonight in honor of the first time he’d seen her in handcuffs.

  He unbuttoned her blouse and pushed it roughly off her shoulders. His mouth crashed onto hers and he kissed her until her lips were sore and swollen. He kissed his way down her neck and across her shoulders and breasts, leaving a trail of bite marks and bruises. He pushed her onto her back on the bed and wrenched her skirt up to her hips. He yanked her white cotton panties down her legs, over her white knee socks and saddle shoes. His fingers pushed inside her and spread her wide for him. He gripped her arm and shoved her onto her stomach. She felt his hands between her legs again separating her, prying her open. She braced herself and groaned as he pushed inside her. He rode her with fierce thrusts that left her gasping. She didn’t want to moan or cry out. Not with an audience standing at the foot of the bed smiling and watching everything he did to her. But he wrenched the cries from her. She pressed her face into the bed and bit the coverlet trying to stifle the sound of her climax.

  He kept thrusting and she was close to her second humiliating orgasm when he came inside her with a ferocious final thrust. She whimpered as he pulled out of her. She rolled onto her side and brought her legs up to her chest. Now they were both looking at her.

  The man in the riding boots strolled toward her. He crawled onto the bed.

  “Sir, please,” she begged.

  “You did say anything. ”

  She swallowed and nodded.

  “Yes, sir. ”

  The man in the riding boots took her by the ankle and dragged her toward him.

  “C’est à moi,” the man said as he opened his pants. He pushed inside her and she raised her hips to take him deeper.

  My turn.

  Nora turned her head and checked the clock. Zach would probably be here soon. She laughed to herself at the thought of Zach getting stuck in handcuffs. How or why he’d been playing with handcuffs she could only begin to imagine. But knowing that sexy stuffed shirt of an Englishman there was no way he ended up in them for any of the reasons she ever had.

  She stared at the words on her screen—C’est à moi, she read again and sighed. She exited from the document without saving it then stood up and headed to the living room.

  Wesley lay stretched out on the couch with a chemistry textbook balanced on his chest and a highlighter between his teeth. He looked so warm and comfortable in his battered jeans and bleached-white socks and the double layer of T-shirts that she just wanted to stretch out on top of him and fall asleep on his chest. She was deliriously relieved he was home. But as happy as she was to have him back, she worried he was going to make himself sick again. He was supposed to start giving himself his insulin shots in his stomach, but he hadn’t been able to make himself do it yet.

  “You catching up on your homework?” she asked.

  Wesley spit the highlighter out.

  “Yeah. I’ve got three days of make-up work. I know what I’ll be doing this weekend. ”

  “Don’t work too hard. I want to see nothing but decadent laziness on your part. ”

  “I think I can handle that. Where are you going?” he asked as she pulled her coat on.

  “Across the street. Zach’s coming over. When you’re done laughing at him, just send him over. Tell him to go in and look up. ”

  Wesley eyed her suspiciously.

  “Why would I laugh at Zach?”

  She bent down and kissed him on the forehead.

  “You’ll see. ”

  * * *

  Zach hopped the train and headed north to Nora’s. But when he knocked on the door it was Wesley who answered.

  “Feeling better?” Zach asked.

  “Much. Puking your guts out then fainting in a library bathroom is no way to spend a Monday night. ”

  “Agreed. Nora seems quite pleased to have you back. You gave her quite the scare. ”

  “It’s only fair. She scares me half to death at least once a week. ” Zach laughed but Wesley’s eyes showed no mirth.

  “You’re looking mostly restored. ” Zach envied the boy his youth. Three days in the hospital and Wesley still looked hearty and hale.

  “Nora said I looked ‘fit to be tied up. ’ I’m hoping she didn’t mean it literally. ”

  “Apparently someone meant it literally with me,” Zach said, pulling his hand out of his pocket and showing Wesley the handcuffs dangling from his wrist.

  Wesley laughed at him and Zach couldn’t help but join in. It really was quite embarrassing and ridiculous.

  “Don’t feel bad, Zach,” Wesley said when he was done laughing. “Nora made me help her with a scene once. I ended up hog-tied on the living-room floor for half an hour. ”

  Now it was Zach’s turn to laugh. Was there any woman in the world quite like Nora? He was so glad she existed; even more glad there was only one of her.

  “Where is Nora, by the way? She’s going to try to help get these things off me. ”

  “If anyone can, it’s her. She wants you to meet her at church. ”


  Wesley stood on the threshold of Nora’s house with his arms crossed over his chest. He reached out and pointed to a building on the corner of the block.

  “There. Go in. Look up. You’ll find her. ”

  Wesley shut the door and Zach crossed the street and reached the end of the block. Zach read the sign out in front of the church. St. Luke’s Catholic Church, it said with the mass schedule underneath.

  With trepidation, Zach slipped through the front doors of the small neo-Renaissance church. Apart from attending the weddings of a few friends he’d rarely stepped inside a church before. And he was certain this was his first time in a Catholic sanctuary. He glanced at the dripping candles and the stained-glass scenes of violence. In this setting the imagery in Nora’s books made more sense.

  Go in, look up, Wesley had instructed.

  Zach strode to the center of the sanctuary and looked up.

  “I’m up here, Zach. ”

  Zach glanced up and found Nora at the back of the church leaning over the ledge of a small balcony section.

  “What are you doing up there?” he asked, trying to keep his voice low. The acoustics were so good he felt as if he shouted every word.

  “Choir practice. Show me the damage. ” Zach pulled his hand out of his pocket and held up his wrist to show her the dangling handcuffs.

  “My, my, my…” She sighed, affecting a Southern drawl she no doubt stole from Wesley. “I see temptation has come a knockin’ and you have answered the door…”

  “Hardly, Blanche DuBois. I have a rather irksome prankster at my office. This was his pathetic attempt at a joke. ”

  “Well, come on up. Let’s see what we can do. ”

  Zach found the tiny stairwell that led to the loft. In the loft he found smaller versions of the church’s pews and an ancient-looking sound system. Nora sat on the balcony ledge and pointed to the pew in front of her.

  “Come here, Kinky Easton. ” She beckoned. “Amateur. You know you should always do an equipment check before you play. ”

  Today Nora wore jeans and a white blouse. With her hair down and loose about her shoulders, Zach was drawn to her despite himself. She reached for his hand and he felt a current go through him when her fingers touched his wrist.

  “So what do you think?” he asked, trying to ignore the pleasant sensation of his hand in hers. “Some sort of wire cutters? Or can you pick the lock?”

  “I can pick it. But I don’t have to. ”r />
  Nora reached into the pocket of her jeans and pulled out her keys. She flipped through a couple of them, stuck one in the lock and turned it. The cuffs popped open and fell off his wrist.

  “Wonderful,” he breathed. “Thank you. ”

  “You’re welcome. ” She stuffed the keys back in her pocket and picked up the cuffs. “These are police issue cuffs. The key on them should have worked. ”

  “It didn’t. Both Mary and I tried. ”

  “Your prankster was really trying to cause trouble then. Handcuffs are mostly standardized in America and Canada. He wanted one or both of you to get stuck. ”

  “You know your stuff, don’t you?” he asked, impressed despite himself.

  “I strive for authenticity in my work. ”

  “So that’s why you keep a handcuff key with you?”

  She smiled slyly.

  “Gotta be prepared. We guttersnipes are always ending up in trouble with the coppers. ”

  “You know, I should apologize for being so rude about you. The work is going rather well. ”

  The tiredness temporarily disappeared from her eyes.

  “Thanks, Zach. I appreciate that. ”

  “Don’t thank me yet. We aren’t even close to the finish line. ”

  “I know. That’s why I came here. This is a good place for praying and meditating. ”

  “Praying? Really?”

  “I grew up in the Catholic Church, believe it or not. Cradle Catholic, they call us. I was probably born in a pew. Knowing my father I was probably conceived in one, as well. I don’t attend Mass much these days, but I do get homesick now and then. ”

  “They must stand in line to hear your confessions. ”

  Nora released a hollow, joyless laugh.

  “No,” she said, not quite meeting his eyes. “I don’t go to confession anymore. ”

  “So what brings you here then if you’re no longer practicing? Faith or just nostalgia?”

  “Maybe it’s nostalgia for my faith. ” She shrugged and laughed again. “I still believe. I do. My life has been too blessed not to believe. Faith just isn’t as easy as it used to be. Not since I left Søren anyway. ”

  “Was it easier with him?”

  Nora nodded. “It’s easy to believe in God when you wake up every morning knowing you are completely and unconditionally loved. Søren gave me that. ”

  “But still you left him. Why?”

  “There are only two reasons why you leave someone you’re still in love with—either it’s the right thing to do, or it’s the only thing to do. ”

  “Which was it?”

  Nora exhaled slowly. “The right thing. I think. You?”

  Zach turned his head and saw an icon of the Virgin Mary holding the infant Jesus in her arms.

  “The only thing. I think. Suffice it to say Grace and I never should have been together to start with. ”

  “Sounds like me and Søren. We definitely shouldn’t have been together. ”

  “Why?” Maybe if he could find out why Nora left the man she loved so deeply, he could begin to understand why Grace had pulled away from him.

  “He had—” Nora paused and seemed to search for the right word “—other obligations. ”

  “Is he married?”

  She raised her hand and touched her neck. He followed her eyes. She gazed at a small iron Jesus impaled on his cross.

  “Something like that. ” She shook herself from her reverie and met Zach’s eyes again. “Come on. Let’s get back to the house. You can look over my new chapters. ” Nora gave Zach her hand and he let her pull him up. But she didn’t stop with up. She pulled him straight to her.

  Face-to-face, their bodies were only separated by a hairbreadth. Nora looked down and back up again.

  “Oh, dear. No room for the Holy Ghost. ”

  “You are incorrigible, Ms. Sutherlin. ” Zach’s smile died as he noticed the dark circles under Nora’s eyes. “You look exhausted. Are you not sleeping?”