I listened to his heart beat, felt the rise and fall of his breath in the darkness, knowing he was mine. This man had sworn to protect me, this man who now possessed me, body and soul. This was the man I would own from the moment he looked at me, his gaze angry and unyielding. The first time his eyes met mine, I knew it, deep within me. I didn’t regret any part of the winding journey on which our love had taken us. My only regret was that it was going to get us both killed.
"Oh yeah, Dani, that's good." Billy leaned in close and kissed me. When he pulled back, I saw them- his pupils, dilated as big as saucers. I didn't realize he had taken anything. I guess I should have known something was off when he went to the bathroom after I helped him tie me to the bed. Billy was not one to keep a girl waiting.
"Billy, what did you take?" My words were punctuated with ragged breath as he thrust himself inside me, my body responding to the familiarity of him inside me.
“Shhh,” he whispered. “Don’t ruin it, baby.” He kissed my neck, teeth dragging across my skin, and I felt a rush of pain when he twisted my nipple between his fingers. Heat flowed through me as my body responded to his movements, but my thoughts were racing, detached from my physical reaction.
This was dangerous, being tied up in my apartment, with Billy as high as a kite. Shit. "Billy," I said, trying to make my voice sound lighthearted, not whiny. "We agreed not to take anything if either of us was going to be tied up, remember?" Not after that time in St. Barth’s, the time he had gotten stoned and crazy, leaving marks on my arms where he grabbed me.
"Don't worry so much," he said. "Relax."
His movements grew faster, increasingly intense, and I could feel myself getting more and more aroused. He had a way of bringing me close, so quickly. Our sex had always been explosive, fireworks from the very first time.
Don't be paranoid, I told myself. He won't do anything. It's a little coke, that's all. He may be wild, but he’s not a psychopath.
Even so, I tested the restraints around my wrists, the rope he had ordered from Japan, the most expensive he could find. Only the best of everything for Billy. That's how things went when you were a Randolph, a member of one of those iconic families, like the Rockefellers or the Kennedys.
Billy gathered momentum, and I began to lose myself in his touch. I started to let go, even though I was scared- or maybe because I was afraid. I struggled against the restraints half-heartedly, the ties cutting into my wrists.
He’s a hook-up, not some abusive boyfriend. Everything will be fine.
I was close to orgasm when he put his mouth near my ear, his breath warm on me. "You'll feel more relaxed soon," he said. "I put a little something extra in your drink." Then I started to panic.
"Shit, Billy, what are you talking about?"
It was like he didn't hear me. “Have you ever been choked?” he asked.
“I’m not into that kind of thing, Billy. I think you should untie me.” His being here was a bad idea; doing this was a bad idea.
But he kept going. “Shut up,” he said. “You’re mine, you know. I can do anything I want to you.” Why had I let him use actual cord to tie me up? Why hadn’t we used the silk ties we’d used before, something that had a little more give, something I could slip out of?
“Say it,” he said, slapping me hard across the face, my skin stinging where he struck me.
“I’m yours,” I said.
“You’re mine. I own you.” His eyes were glazed, unfocused, and I wasn’t even sure he was seeing me. That was when I felt real fear, for the first time since I had been out of my father’s house.
“I’m yours, Billy,” I said. He put his hand around my neck, and my mind raced. I’m going to die here, I realized. Stanford Senior Murdered in Apartment: Kinky Sex Crime- that’s what the headlines will read. I'm too fucking young to die.
“Billy, please,” I begged. “Please don’t.” Tears streamed down my face, warm on my skin.
He ignored me, bringing his other hand to my neck, his expression dark.
“You'll love it,” he whispered, hands soft against my skin. Softer than they should be for someone who was about to choke me.
“Billy, don't. I don't like it. Stop.” I could barely get out the words, but it didn’t matter. He didn’t hear me.
“Do you think you might die?" Then he squeezed. Fear coursed through my body, my vision blurring at the edges as my air supply was cut off. I could feel him inside me, his face over me, yet he seemed far away. Before I felt myself slip into darkness, I had a memory of going to a palm reader when I was sixteen, of sitting across from her while she traced her finger down my hand and told me I would live until I was seventy. I guess she was wrong.
Sunlight. It took my brain a minute to register that I was not actually dead. I gulped, deep breaths of air I pulled down into my lungs. I had been freed. The cord was cut from where it was attached to the headboard, but the rope was still attached to my wrists, a kitchen knife tossed carelessly on the floor.
Billy was passed out beside me on the bed, his breath heavy as he slept. I have to get out of here.
I stood and walked slowly to the bathroom. My legs felt like lead. I stopped short when I saw myself in the mirror. My hair was wild and disheveled, like I had been mugged. It was someone else looking back; this girl, the one with the welts on her neck, was not me. My fingers traced the red marks on my neck where Billy's hands had been. Those would bruise. My father will kill him. Then this sense of calm flowed through me, like I'd taken a Valium or something- or whatever the hell Billy had given me last night to "relax."
As if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, I went about my morning routine, showering and applying makeup, attempting to dot on a layer of concealer over the marks on my neck. I was eerily calm, detached, like Billy had not just wrapped his hands around my neck and squeezed. As if he had not just tried to kill me.
I folded clothes carefully, put them in the Louis Vuitton duffle, periodically glancing at Billy just lying there asleep. It would be so easy to pick up the knife and plunge it into his chest. Instead, I slid it under the cords still looped around my wrists, the ugly welts underneath leaving a reminder of what had happened. It wasn’t like I’d be able to easily forget.
Slinging my duffel bag over my shoulder, I gave the apartment one last glance. It was probably a mistake leaving him here in my place, but it couldn't be helped. I scooped up his clothes, phone, and wallet, removing the cash before I tossed the rest of it in a dumpster in the parking lot. I'm not sure why I took his stuff. It’s not like he couldn’t get new everything; his family had more money than God. At least it would inconvenience him.
I tied a scarf around my hair, matching the one already around my neck, and got the fuck out of there.
“Daddy?” I pressed the cell phone close to my ear, cupped my hand around it, hoping he wouldn’t hear the sounds of traffic passing. I had pulled off on a side road on the way out of town, so traffic was minimal, but still, my father was a perceptive man.
“Dani? Don’t you have finals this week?” He asked the question like any of my friends’ fathers would, their doctor, lawyer, hedge fund manager fathers. Except my father was not the doctor-lawyer-hedge fund manager type.
“Yeah, finals.” My voice faltered. Tell him you finished early. Tell him what happened. Tell him you’re on your way home.
“Listen, Dani,” he said, before I could confess. “Something’s happened.”
My heart leapt. Did he know about Billy? He couldn’t, could he? My father was omnipresent, everywhere; I would never escape his grasp.
“No,” he said. “Don’t even start arguing with me. I’m sending someone for you.”
“What? No.” Had he been spying on me, bugged my place? I wouldn’t put it past him. That sounded exactly like something he would do.
“Don’t say anything until I finish. It’s important. It’s about the man who killed your mother.”
“What are you talking about?” No, no, no. This is not happening. “He’s in prison. You said.” Not that I’d ever believed that story, even when I was fourteen. My father would have killed him. A Cuban necktie, I’d heard him say back then. He didn’t think I knew what it meant.
“You’re in danger. Threats have been made.” There were always threats.
“I don’t need an escort,” I said. At least not from one of his thugs.
“This is non-negotiable.” Nothing was ever negotiable with my father. He would control everything in my life, always. It was a fact.
“I’m not finished with finals for a few days yet.” It just came out. Lying to him is dangerous, I reminded myself. Just tell him now. You’ll have to tell him when you get there. He’ll be livid.
“I’m sending someone tomorrow.”
“I’m twenty-one. I don’t need an escort,” I protested. I’d be home by the time he found out I was lying. The last thing on earth I was going to do was sit around here and wait, in the same place where Billy had tried to kill me.
“End of discussion, Dani.”
Top down on the convertible, the scarf I had wrapped so tightly around my hair threatening to unravel itself in the wind, I pressed harder on the gas pedal as I meandered down the scenic Pacific Highway on my way back home. Home. Just like any other normal college student during summer break. Except things would never be normal for me. Not as long as I was my father’s daughter.
I could only imagine what my father would do now, when he saw what Billy had done. The trouble is, by going home I wasn’t sure whether I was signing Billy’s death sentence or my father’s.
The blonde in bed beside me stirred. What the fuck was her name again? Jessie? Jessica? Jane? Something with a J. I hope her name is "Judy". I've always wanted to fuck a "Judy," I thought. My head pounded like someone was driving a nail through my temple, and I tried to focus. Shit. I needed to take it easier on the partying when we made runs up the coast. I was getting too old for this. I went to take a leak, still groggy, but when I came back, I definitely started to perk up at the the sight of the blonde.
She was sprawled across the dirty sheets, her ass bare, tribal tramp stamp snaking across her lower back, accentuating her curves. Not that they needed accentuating. She had a nice ass. Of course, I didn't remember it from last night. Not at all. This morning, though- today was a new day, even with my splitting headache. My cock was getting hard just looking at her.
I slid my hand over her rump and she looked over her shoulder at me, face tired. Yeah, I’d definitely worn beer goggles last night. No matter. I didn’t need to look at her face.
“Aw, baby,” she said. “Aren’t you tired?”
“I was,” I said. “Now I’m not.” I pressed my cock against her so she could feel my hardness. Reaching around, I cupped her breast, feeling her nipple stiffen at my touch. She moaned softly, and I knew I had her.
I rolled over, reaching for a condom, and she watched me over her shoulder as I unrolled it on my length. She wasn’t a terrible looking girl- still young, probably early thirties, a few years younger than me, with a good figure. Not like some of the girls you’d see around the clubs, their tits sagging to their stomachs.
Fuck. My head was pounding.
The door swung open, and Tank stood, framed by the doorway. “Get up, Blaze.”
“Hey!” The blonde’s voice was shrill. “Can’t you see we’re about to fuck here?”
I grinned. “Get the fuck out, Tank.”
“Itchy’s ready to go.”
“Head out. I’ll catch up with you guys later.”
“You sure, Veep?” he asked, not caring that I was lying in bed with a naked girl, holding my cock. If I had to sit here and converse with him, I was going to lose my boner.
“Yeah, I’m sure," I said, doing nothing to keep the irritation out of my voice. “Get the fuck out of here.” I heard the door shut behind him.
Back to the business at hand. I ran my thumb over the girl’s nipple again, listening to her moan softly as I cupped her breast. Her tits were nice, soft and natural, not like a lot of the girls who hung out at the club. The club whores were mostly strippers or girls who wanted a free sample, either of the merchandise or the bikers. I hated that, more than anything. I might booze up a lot, smoke some weed, do a line of coke every so often, but real drugs? Meth? Not my scene. That shit would kill you. I had way too many other potential ways of being killed to overdose or have that shit eat out my brain.
“Like what you feel?” she asked. “I bet you don’t see natural tits like these on the girls in L.A.”
“No way, baby,” I said. “These are Palo Alto originals.” She liked that. She would have liked anything I said. She was ready and willing, eager to please, probably hanging around the clubhouse angling to be someone’s Old Lady. It wouldn’t be mine.
I nuzzled her neck, kissing the back of it as I slid my hand down the length of her body, slipping my fingers between her legs. Nice.
“You ready?” I whispered.
“I'm always ready for you, Blaze,” she said.
Pushing her legs apart, I plunged my fingers into her, spreading her. She was tight. I wished I remembered last night.
“Here.” I pulled her by the waist, helping her to her knees as I got behind her, my cock rigid.
“Oh yeah,” she said, looking over her shoulder. “Come on, Blaze.” I teased her opening with my cock, and pushed into her, entering her hard. She threw her head back as I began fucking her from behind, her hair falling down her back.
Gripping her waist tightly, I held her as I gathered momentum, my thrusts short and quick. I wanted it fast and hard, didn’t give a shit whether she came or not. But she moaned anyhow, apparently liking what I was doing. She reached up to rub herself as I fucked her, my movements hard and rough. But the rougher I was, the more turned on she was, and her moans grew louder as I plunged deeper inside her.
"Yeah, baby," she said. "Do it just like that."
I smacked her ass cheek, the flesh jiggling from the impact of my blow, and heard her scream, but not from pain. Her muscles clenched down around me as she came, triggering my orgasm, and heat flowed through me. When I was finished, I pulled out of her, slapping her on the rump.
"That was good, Jessica."
"Fuck you," she said. "It's Brandi."
"Sorry, Brandi," I said. "See? That's how good the sex was. It made me forget your name."
"Nice try," she said, pouting. She reached for a cigarette on the table beside the small bed, lighting up as she pulled the dirty sheet around her waist. She blew smoke, the smell contributing to the cacophony of odors in the small room. The room was a crash pad in the clubhouse, a room for guests of the MC or a fuck pad for the brothers. If someone ran a black light over it, the whole place would turn white. It was filthy. I tossed the used condom in the trash and looked up at her.
"Sorry, Brandi. No offense."
She blew smoke at me. "None taken."
"I have to shower and jet. Need to get back to LA.”
She pointed toward the door.
I wound down the road, hugging the coastline, the bright blue ocean stretching for miles beyond the cliffs. Lucky for me, it was all clear skies and sunshine; I’d driven this before when I’d had to inch along the road at barely a crawl because the fog was so thick, worried I might miss a hairpin turn and plummet to my death. Sure, I could have driven the highway back to Los Angeles, but I needed the distraction of the scenery. The drive would buy me time, time to figure out what to tell my father, how to tell him. I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to be driving. I wasn’t in the best frame of mind to meet him, either- the man who would change everything.
I zipped down the stretch of road as it opened up, no longer on the winding cliffside death trap area of highway. I flicked on my turn signal, about to pass a minivan packed to the brim with kids and suitcases, a family probably headed on vacation, and pulled out around the car. I glanced at them as I passed. They didn’t know how lucky they were to have that. I would have given anything to be loaded into a minivan when I was a kid, driving to a vacation cabin to make s’mores with my normal parents, with the dad who was a boring accountant instead of the head of an organized crime ring. The kids in that car looked like they would be singing songs around a campfire, not refilling their criminal father’s bourbon glass while he gave cryptic orders to his thugs.