Not mine, never were, never will be. They belong, first and foremost to Vera
Caspary. And secondly to the fantastic screenwriters of 20th Century Fox.
Summary: Lydecker and McPherson meet for the first time while the detective is investigating the murder of Laura Hunt..
Note: if you read the book or saw the movie, no spoilers; if you didn't, then yeah, I guess you'd better bewar. ;-) This is based on the movie characterization. Clifton Webb played Waldo, Dana Andrews was Mark McPherson.
That Sunday, That Summer
That Sunday morning, the front page of the Tribune was splashed with the reports of Laura Hunt’s killing. Ostensibly, I was thumbing through the pages seeking my own column, “And More Anon,” but I was avidly seeking all news on the death.
And then there he was, the police lieutenant, on page two, those pale, pale eyes glaring into the camera that caught him in the act of assigning a uniformed officer to keep onlookers away from the crime scene. The image of that lean and hungry body seized my insides, arrowing right to my private parts, and I stared in amazement as flesh that for too many years had lain dormant, suddenly became highly aroused. I could no more resist touching myself than I could resist the look in Laura Hunt’s eyes the first time I’d met her.
I flung aside the Tribune and hesitantly reached into my pajama pants, stroking the silken contours of my erection, marveling at it. The soft skin of my palm closing over the hard flesh started me to whimpering.
I had not done this since I was a boy, and had gotten caught with my hands in my trousers. Mother had wailed and wept, certain she was a failure and I would go to hell; after I went blind and my palms became covered with hair, of course.
The mid-morning sun was peeking through the voile curtains that shielded the floor-to-ceiling windows of my bedroom when a gentle tap sounded on the door. My hand jerked away from my groin. “Wha…” I had to clear my throat. “Harrumph. Yes, Roberto, what is it?”
My Filipino houseboy eased open the door cautiously. He knew my uncertain temper. “Flat foot to see you, Mister Waldo.”
“Policeman, Roberto,” I absently corrected him. Why were the New York police paying me a visit at this time on a Sunday morning? My houseboy was shuffling from one foot to the other and his discomfort in my bedroom irritated me. “Did he give a name, Roberto?” I snapped. Here at least was one person who knew better than to cross me when I was in a mood.
He approached the bed on soft-soled slippers, holding out a card. I snatched it from his cool fingers and turned it over. Mark McPherson. The name was written across the back in bold, slashing letters.
McPherson? The policeman from the photo? I could feel the blood pool in my penis, causing it to swell and grow even harder, and I struggled to retain my composure. What could the detective in charge of poor Laura’s case possibly want with me?
I swung my legs over the side of the bed and extended my feet until my houseboy slid my slippers on over them. He stepped back and picked up my dressing gown, holding it out for me to slip into. I knotted the belt and nodded for him to return to his quarters.
Like a ghost he was gone, not a whisper of sound to mark his passing.
I ran an agitated hand through my hair, my vanity demanding that I at least attempt to appear calm, debonair, controlled. Above all else… controlled.
I sauntered into my drawing room and struck a pose, casually tamping a cigarette down on the silver case Laura had given me when my endorsement of that silly pen resulted in her first big advertising campaign. McPherson was reaching up to my globe and pedestal vase, twin to the one in Laura Hunt’s apartment.
“Don’t touch that!” I said sharply, forgetting all about the importance of first impressions, almost causing him to knock the mercury glass over.
A surprising rush of enjoyable heat flashed through my groin. A normally graceful man was clumsy because of me.
In a much better mood, I gestured expansively to the sofa. “What can I do for you McPherson? Why does one of the brightest stars in the NYPD firmament need to visit my humble abode so early on a Sunday morning in August?”
He glanced idly at his wristwatch, and grinned sourly. “Some people have to work no matter what the time or the day.” He obviously favored his right leg, the silver tibia, souvenir of the Siege of Babylon, Long Island, and he eased himself down onto the plush cushions of my delicate couch. It suited the room, but this Cassius in blue serge made it seem …fussy. I frowned.
What had he been saying? He had to work the weekend? “The Deputy Commissioner does not love you very much?”
I knew the Deputy Commissioner, having interviewed him for one of my columns concerning necrophilia. A small man, in every sense of the word: small in stature, small in spirit, small in… ways that count with a man. I had thoroughly enjoyed making mincemeat of him in print.
McPherson scowled at the trail of smoke leaving the bowl of his pipe. “He knew I wanted to go see the Dodgers play the Braves. Fuck him!” His eyes narrowed as he caught my frown of displeasure. “Language too rough, Lydecker?”
I sniffed dismissingly and walked to the sideboard to pour myself a drink. “I prefer to leave that kind of language in the gutter, where it belongs. Is it too early for you, Mr. McPherson?” I proffered the decanter of fine scotch whiskey.
He leaned back and smiled into my eyes, and my breath caught in my throat.
“It’s got to be afternoon somewhere in the world.”
I set the decanter down so hard some of the whiskey sloshed over the side. I stared at the puddle of good liquor that began to dribble onto the white area rug beneath the antique piece of furniture it sat on, my lips twisting in annoyance.
McPherson got leisurely to his feet; he was my height, or just a trifle shorter. He took the glass from me. For the briefest flare of time our fingers touched. My mouth went dry and I had to run my tongue over my lips. McPherson’s pale eyes stared deeply into mine then dropped to my mouth.
He seemed to be fascinated with my mouth. He was leaning toward me and I stood there unmoving, I was going to let him take my mouth. I was going to let this legendary cop, this detective investigating my dearest Laura’s murder, do whatever he might want with me. Things I had dreamed of, but shied away from in the light of day. I moistened my lips.
He would strip me naked and take me, here, on the white rug in front of my elegant sofa. He would place my legs over his shoulders, exposing all my body below my waist, spreading me, holding me open. His privates would rub against mine, making me so impossibly hard. And then he would start to push it into me…
My eyelids felt suddenly heavy and began drifting closed of their own accord. My lips parted. I could feel his breath on them.
“That’s a very interesting clock you’ve got there, Mr. Lydecker.”
I drew back in shock.
“There’s one just like it in Miss Hunt’s apartment.”
His face was bland, but his eyes told me he had noted every nuance, every flicker of emotion. My face flushed.
“The clock? Yes, it was mine. I gave it to Laura for her twenty-fifth birthday.” I couldn’t bear it. “What are you doing, McPherson?”
“Just letting you know who’s running this investigation, Lydecker. Don’t get in my way.” He knocked back his drink like it was mother’s milk and gently set the glass on the sideboard. “I’ll just let myself out.” His grin was cocky and he walked jauntily to the door. “Oh, and Waldo, I wouldn’t leave town, it I were you.”
And then the cheeky devil had the unmitigated gall to wink at me.
It was Sunday. The antique shop should have been closed.
Mr. Claudius, nee Cohen, was fidgeting behind the counter while I examined a new specimen of mercury glass. It had been on display in his window when I had sauntered past on my usual constitutional. I had called him and ordered him to come down and open his shop immediately for me.
He had complied, but I could see his reluctance, especially when he realized what had caught my attention.
“Lovely! Positively lovely!”
“It’s not for sale, Mr. Lydecker.”
I had been caressing the smooth, cool lines of the bowl with sensitive fingertips, almost orgasmic at the thought of owning such a fine piece. My gaze shot up to pierce him like a dagger.
“What do you mean, it’s not for sale? You had it in your window!”
His face was becoming a rather sickly green. “It was a commission I undertook for someone else, Mr. Lydecker. Another customer. I took money for it. I can’t sell it to you!” His tone was becoming desperate.
“Nonsense! I’ll give you twice what you paid for it!” Carefully I set it back down on its pedestal and picked up my Irish hardwood engraved walking stick. I reached into the breast pocket of my topcoat for my billfold.
The bell over his door jingled, and Mr. Claudius jumped. “I’m closed!” he snapped tensely.
The man who entered stepped casually out of the shadows. The light of the dim bulb that swung fitfully above the ancient cash register illuminated the contained features of Mark McPherson.
My breath caught painfully in my chest, and I felt myself grow hard.
“Lieutenant McPherson!” The antique dealer visibly relaxed.
“You know Mr. McPherson?” I queried irritably. I wanted those pale eyes looking at me. Only at me!
“The Lieutenant got me out of a jam one time. What can I do for you, Lieutenant?”
The two men settled into a friendly conversation, and I began to seethe. I turned sharply, and my walking stick connected with the mercury glass bowl. It fell off its pedestal and the sound it made when it came into contact with the floor was like chimes mourning the passing of something beautiful.
Claudius whirled around. His cry of dismay pleased me, although I took pains to conceal my glee. “Oh dear. So sorry. I had no idea it was so close.”
Claudius was actually pale, wringing his hands as if a member of his own family had been killed. I swallowed my smile and smoothly extended a handful of bills. “This should cover the damage. Next time, perhaps, you’ll contact me first.”
I turned to find McPherson watching me with cold eyes, and a shiver of lust burrowed deep inside me. I wanted those eyes warm with appreciation as he took me, buried himself in me.
My eyebrow rose, and I stared down my nose at him. “You wanted something of me, McPherson?” The tone I used had been known to make maître d’s quake with trepidation.
The police lieutenant merely cocked his own eyebrow at me and gestured toward the door. Behind us, Claudius was bemoaning the lovely piece of glass as he swept up the broken shards.
When McPherson spoke, his breath was warm on the back of my neck. I hadn’t realized how close he was to me. More than anything I wanted to lean back into him, letting him bear my weight. And then his hand on my back was urging me out of the antique shop.
“I need you to answer some questions.”
“Am I a suspect?” I asked sharply.
Oh, he was smooth. “Not at all,” he responded as he ushered me into an unmarked car. “Miss Hunt’s apartment,” he instructed the driver.
I felt a frisson of unease. “Why are we going there? Don’t you want to take me down to headquarters?”
He leaned back against the seat and pulled out his pipe. Helplessly, I watched as his long fingers competently handled the bag of tobacco. The rich scent flooded the back seat of the car. I moistened my lips. He filled the bowl with the tobacco and pressed it down, then lit it.
Again I was drawn to his mouth, those chiseled lips, and I wondered with a kind of desperation what they would feel like ravaging my own mouth.
“Actually, I’m meeting Laura Hunt’s Aunt Susan there.”
With difficulty I recalled that he was taking me to Laura’s apartment. “Why do you need me there?”
His mouth twisted in a sardonic grin
Laura Hunt’s home was in the exclusive area of town. In the six years since she had come to New York from the Midwest, she had done very well indeed.
Due in large part to my friendship with her.
Traffic was scarce that August Sunday. People were either summering on Long Island or were glued to their radios listening to the baseball game. Still, it took a good twenty minutes to get to Laura’s apartment from Claudius’s antique shop.
I tried to make conversation with the detective next to me, but he was silent, his eyes fastened on the little child’s game he held between his strong hands. Tilting it first one way and then the other in order to get the little steel balls into the holes, he ignored me completely.
I couldn’t tear my eyes away from those long-fingered hands. There was a sprinkling of fine hairs on the back of his hands and the nails were blunt and neatly kept. More than anything, I wanted those hands on me, those nails gently scoring the flesh of my buttocks as he pulled me close to his own arousal.
The car drew to a halt. “We’re here.”
I stared stupidly at the brownstone where Laura had lived.
No, but that was something I would truly like to enjoy. With him.
I followed him up the shallow steps and into the vestibule of Laura Hunt’s apartment.
Shelby Carpenter, Laura’s fiancé, and her Aunt Susan were already there when we finally got to Laura’s door. Shelby flung it open, exuding Southern charm, playing the bereaved fiancé to the hilt. I sneered at him as I tossed my walking stick aside and went to pour myself a drink.
“What are you doing here, Carpenter?” I demanded as I took a healthy sip of my highball.
“The lieutenant asked Susan to meet him here. Since I was with her at the time, I volunteered to accompany her.”
“You were with her? How long had you been with her, Shelby? All night perhaps? How would Laura have felt about the fact that the man she no longer intended to marry was keeping company with her aunt?”
“Shelby has always been very good to me!” Mrs. Treadwell hastened to intervene. “He’s been the soul of kindness during this trying time!”
“Of course,” I said dryly.
“See here, Lydecker, what do you mean to insinuate when you say Laura no longer wanted to marry me?”
“Simply this, you cheap gigolo: Laura had come to her senses. She told me Friday, when she broke our dinner date, that she had decided to call off the wedding.”
Shelby lunged for me, and McPherson casually stepped between us, tossing the big Southerner back toward the couch with negligent ease. Oh, I wished the others were not there. I wanted to melt in his powerful embrace, taking his mouth hungrily.
Just through that door there was Laura’s bedroom, frilly and feminine, and McPherson’s masculinity would contrast pleasingly with it. I wondered if he had spent the previous night in this apartment, trying to decipher the mystery that was Laura Hunt. If I’d walked past her house, as I so often did, even before her death, if I’d climbed up those flights of steps to this apartment, and crossed to her bedroom, would I have found him sleeping, exhausted, in her bed?
Standing in the doorway, I observed the strong, sleek lines of his back, naked to my avid stare. The sheets were bunched at his waist, but I could see the outline of his body beneath the delicate pastel material. My fingers itched to trace the muscles.
His knee flexed, and the sheet fell away, revealing the scars that marred the smooth beauty of his thigh and calf. I reached out and stroked his leg. With a soft sigh, he turned onto his back, and the sheet might as well not have been there. His erection was tenting the material to an alarming extent. Could I accept something that large inside me?
It was all I dreamed of, since meeting the detective.
I leaned over and hesitantly touched my tongue to the moisture beading on the tip of his arousal. Liking the taste, I began lapping at it, setting it to quivering. And then I slid my lips over him, loosening my throat and taking as much of him as I could.
I tilted my head back and saw that he was awake now, watching me with slumberous desire. His hands tangled in my hair and showed me the rhythm that pleasured him most.
I knew that eventually he must ejaculate…must come. Could I swallow that?
Could I not?
He was thrusting harder and harder into my mouth. I was quaking with unfamiliar passion. I needed to have him touch me. I needed this more than anything I had ever needed.
Shelby must have been sniping at the detective. “Methinks yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look.”
I resented the fop using my label for the man with whom I was enamored. “If Lieutenant McPherson is Cassius, then who are you Shelby? Envious Casca?”
Carpenter’s refined features tightened in anger. I loved those little battle of wits with him; he always came to them unarmed.
“Perhaps I am Casca,” he snarled. “But I see you as Caesar!”
I knew better than to preen, I had cut too deeply his amore proper. “Oh?”
He continued, paraphrasing Robert Graves this time, “No woman’s husband, every man’s wife.”
I blanched and recoiled.
“Not only was Shelby Carpenter very chummy with Laura’s aunt, but he was sleeping with one of the models who worked for her as well!” I told Mark McPherson gleefully. “Of course Laura found out.”
We were in the elevator riding up to my suite.
“About her aunt?” He was playing with that damned game again. When I’d scoffed at it for being a child’s toy, he simply replied, “It takes coordination, and good eye/hand control.”
I’d dropped the subject.
“Not about her aunt, about Diane Redfern!”
His eyes flashed up to meet mine, then went back to that damned toy. “Interesting. Describe this Diane Redfern, if you don’t mind?”
I really couldn’t say much about her. “About Laura’s height, I would imagine, and the same coloring as well. I don’t pay much attention to women who model lingerie.” My tone was arrogant.
I didn’t want to talk about the little tramp who had stolen the affection of the man with whom Laura had imagined herself in love.
The object of this conversation was to point the finger at Shelby Carpenter, to paint him so black that his guilt would be a foregone conclusion.
“Really? Most men would. Most men would sell their souls to keep company with a woman as beautiful as Diane Redfern.”
“My dear fellow, I am not most men. I have better taste than that.” I sniffed and exited the elevator, leading the way to my door.
“Laura Hunt was more to your taste?”
What was he implying? “Oh, not to begin with,” I hastened to assure him. “I molded Laura into what she was.”
“And what would that be, Waldo?” His pale eyes were lit with something I hadn’t seen before, and I fumbled as I tried to insert my key into the lock.
The way he said my name curled around my penis, causing me to grow painfully hard. As if he was actually stroking it. I could feel his hands on my cool flesh, heating it…
I shuddered and dragged my thoughts back to Laura Hunt.
“When Laura first brought herself to my attention, she was a simple, inexperienced girl from the Midwest, working for a third rate ad agency. I made her into the cultured, sophisticated woman who owned that apartment in which you’ve been spending so much time, McPherson.”
“You know that, do you? And how is it that you know so much, Waldo?” He crowded closer to me.
I backed away a single step, breathless, and hit the wall. I forced myself to stand firm, wanting nothing more than to throw myself into his arms.
My reaction to the lean detective annoyed me.
No one else ever did that to me. I permitted no one to encroach on my personal space; I was the one who violated others’ comfort levels. Yet this man constantly challenged me, pushing past my borders, past the boundaries I set.
And I allowed it. Because I wanted him.
He reached toward me, and I couldn’t tear my eyes from his mouth, from those lips that I wanted on mine, on my… penis, on any part of me he cared to claim.
And then his hand was on my doorknob, twisting it, thrusting open the door and I stumbled backwards into my apartment.
This was unacceptable. I straightened my cuffs and squared my shoulders, determined to ignore the heat that flowed off McPherson in waves.
My entire adult life I had kept people at a distance. Not because I feared being hurt by them, but because they were, quite simply, unworthy of me. When I found Laura, I thought I had found my soul mate, my female counterpart; or at the very least, someone who, with a little judicious molding, could be.
Instead, she fell in love with the first unsuitable man to come along and catch her eye, the artist Stuart Jacoby, who, if nothing else, had enough talent to paint her as I saw her, elegant, untouchable, an ice princess.
Of course, I discouraged that romance and put an end to it simply by pointing out his foibles and silly affectations. Jacoby was too pretty to be taken seriously. I remembered Laura’s startled glance, but then she laughed lightly and ended their relationship.
And as one failed love affair followed another, I was the one to put the pieces back together again. It was getting most trying, but I was convinced that Laura and I would live out our twilight years together, contented old bachelors.
But this… this whatever it was she had with Shelby Carpenter was the final straw, as far as I was concerned.
I had to work exceptionally hard to destroy that engagement, and then it was Shelby himself who put the final nail in the coffin of their idyll.
I could never understand how he could go to a woman like Diane Redfern after having the essence of Laura in the palm of his hands.
What a pity that Diane’s indiscrete note to Shelby found its way to Laura instead. So careless.
I couldn’t imagine how a thing like that could happen.
“Where’s Roberto?” McPherson asked casually as he went over to pour himself a drink.
“You’re making very free with my expensive liquor, aren’t you McPherson? I don’t remember inviting you in for a drink.”
He tilted his head and looked at me with those pale eyes. “Oh, I think you have no objections to my drinking your whiskey, Waldo. I think you have no objections to… anything I might want to do. Where is your houseboy?” he repeated.
My mouth went dry. “He’s not… it’s his afternoon off.”
The detective smiled, a cool quirk of his lips. Those lips…
“Then we’re alone.”
I couldn’t speak, simply nodded. He was walking toward me again, the amber liquor in the glass washing gently over the single ice cube he had dropped into it. Again I backed away. The wall stopped my involuntary retreat. Our eyes met and held for a second, for an eon.
Without taking his eyes from mine, he raised the glass to his lips and took a healthy swallow. Moisture glistened on his mouth, and the scent of the fine scotch teased my nostrils.
And then it was on my mouth, and I could taste it, could drink it from his lips. His knee insinuated itself between my thighs, pressing high against my… my cock, and I was rubbing myself against him shamelessly, and it was better than anything I had ever felt, better than my hand all those years ago, better than my imaginings, better than…
I returned to reality with a jolt, flushing furiously.
“I want you to show me that hidden panel in your clock, Waldo. And then…”
I knew I was looking at him like a child who had just been offered an all-day sucker.
“And then, McPherson?” Was that husky voice mine?
“And then…? Well, we’ll just have to see, now won’t we?”
The phone rang, breaking the tableau. I pulled myself together and went to answer it. I held out the receiver mutely.
His pale eyes never left mine as he took the phone. “McPherson.” And then he hunched his shoulder and turned his body away, the voice coming across the line a soft sibilance I strained unsuccessfully to hear. “All right, I’ll be there as soon as I can. I said as soon as I can,” he snarled and slammed the phone down.
“Is there a problem, Mark?” Time seemed to stand still.
“Yes there’s a fucking problem. Every time I start to get close to you this fucking case gets in the way.” His eyes were hot, and they raked over me from top to tail. Especially tail. I couldn’t help but notice how drawn he was to the way my trousers molded over the contours of my buttocks.
Until his gaze snagged on the material that tented over my arousal.
For I was very aroused, more so than I had ever been. I wanted him. I wanted him in me; I wanted to be in him.
I needed that physical contact.
“Mark!” His name was a prayer.
“Fuck this!” He threw his hat aside and strode toward me, seizing me in his arms. And then he was kissing me, his hard lips forcing mine open so his tongue could surge inside and duel with mine. One hand held my head motionless for his assault, while the other reached down my torso to stroke the front of my slacks, finding and fondling my cock.
“Mark!” I moaned. My hands were around his taut buttocks and I squeezed. His fingers wound in my hair and jerked my head back.
“Do you want me, Waldo?” He leaned forward and his teeth grazed the curve of my throat.
“Yes!” I was trembling with desire. He took my mouth again, biting my lips, swallowing the groans that were becoming a melody of passion.
“Are you thinking of me?”
In answer, I thrust my hips against his hand. “Yes! You do this to me!” I said hoarsely. “You, and no one else!”
And then somehow we were on the bed and he was tearing my clothes off, careless of how he left them, flinging them on a chair, on the dresser, on the floor. When I was naked, he sat back on his heels and looked down at me, at the flesh that was hard and aching and dripping with fluid.
He leaned forward and with a broad swipe of his tongue tasted me. I shuddered and angled my hips up, mutely inviting him to dine on my flesh. His hot mouth began to take me in until I was buried deep in that wicked throat, and then his head was moving, bringing me closer and closer to a climax such as I had never before experienced.
And then he stopped, when I was so close I could have seen the face of God, could have reached out and touched it. “Please!” I begged.
“Please what, Waldo? Fuck you? Or would you rather fuck me?”
That image was my undoing, and I began spilling myself over my chest, over the bed. Over Mark’s suit.
He was still dressed, while I lay before him naked, sprawled in abandon, my legs over his thighs. The corner of his mouth kicked up in a grin. “Looks like we don’t have much choice now, Waldo.”
I tried to sit up, but he pushed me back down. “Stay where you are and don’t move,” he ordered, and helplessly I watched as he began to peel that blue serge suit off, revealing one pale stretch of body at a time. He watched me watching him, and by the time those trousers were removed, I finally got to see his erection for the first time, a rod of steel encased in velvet.
He was prepared for this, and I was ashamed that I was so easy. And excited that I was so easy. He had a tube of some kind in his hand, and pressed it into me. The feeling of having something there was disconcerting, arousing, and the feel of the cool lubricant being squeezed into me was voluptuous. I arched up to accept more of it.
But then it was gone, and before I could wail a protest his fingers were inside me, stroking me, stretching me, finding a spot that I never even knew existed. My breath was coming in harsh pants, and I was wantonly pleading for more, begging for it.
Mark pulled his fingers out of me and flipped me onto my stomach so rapidly I was almost dizzy. He hoisted my buttocks up high and then, for the first time, I felt a man’s cock slide into my ass.
The rhythm he established was indescribable. I was hard again in an amazingly short amount of time, and I was enclosed in his fist. But as much as I needed to reach climax, Mark held me back, taking me so far and no farther, starting at the beginning again.
I was backing onto his hard flesh, wild with the feel of it deep inside me, completely out of control for the first time in my life. “Mark! Please! Oh, God, Mark!”
Time seemed to slow, and stand still….
“Why, no, there’s no problem. What made you think so?”
I turned my back on him, trying to hide my dismay. Oh God, what was happening to me?
“I just need to get back to Laura’s apartment. It seems they’ve found one of her diaries.”
One of her diaries? Shortly before her death, Laura had assured me that she had destroyed them all, dismayed at the willing dupe she had been, determined to never again allow a man to influence her.
Of course, she didn’t include me in that group.
“I’ll go back with you, shall I?”
He grinned at me and I felt the blood pooling in my cock again. “You might want to change.”
I was puzzled. “Why? This is one of my favorite suits. Laura loved it.”
“Well, you’d give her a bit of a shock if she saw you like this.” He stared pointedly at a spot below my waist, and in confusion I glanced down.
At the damp stain that marred the cool gray front of my trousers.
Laura was such a beautiful woman, I mused as we drove in the unmarked police vehicle back to her apartment on Fifth Avenue. Whoever rang her doorbell late Friday night had destroyed that beauty with a shotgun blast at extremely close range.
No man would now defile her cool loveliness. She would be a goddess, out of the corrupting reach of mere mortals. My thoughts began to wax poetic. I would write a column about her that would immortalize her in the minds of the American reading public, and her memory would be forever enshrined.
Of course, those who did not read my column wouldn’t have appreciated Laura anyway. I shrugged the thought of them aside. In any event, they were unworthy of my consideration.
McPherson and I climbed the stairs to Laura’s apartment in companionable silence. Perhaps he was thinking of the doll who once got a fox fur from him. Perhaps he was ruing the fact that he would never get to meet the living, breathing treasure that was Laura.
Or perhaps he was planning on how to best get me into bed with him.
I considered that notion carefully, breathlessly, and thought I would make him work hard for that pleasure. And I thought that I would be the one to… fuck him.
Although, if any man could persuade me to be sodomized, Mark McPherson was the one for whom I would do it. Almost able to feel him pumping away inside my tight channel, I licked my lips and savored the images that flowed through my mind.
We arrived at her door, but instead of knocking for admittance, McPherson reached into his pocket and withdrew a key.
The key to Laura’s apartment. He let us in!
Detective Ryan, who had been assigned the duty of keeping the morbidly curious away from the crime scene, nodded briskly to his superior and glanced toward the bedroom.
I ignored him, and strolled to stand before the lovely clock, twin to my own, that stood in its place of honor. It was so delicate, so finely crafted. The epitome of everything I had worked so diligently to bring out in Laura. “I gave this to Laura. I shall want it back, of course, along with the mercury glass bowl.”
“Aren’t you being a trifle premature, Waldo?”
I gasped and whirled around, my vision blurring at the sight of the ghost who stood in the bedroom doorway.
She took a step toward me. I teetered on the verge of collapse, and then crumpled unconscious to the floor.
It was a momentary weakness. I recovered in time to hear her say reproachfully, “You should have told him. You should have let him know.”
McPherson scowled at her. Foolish man, incapable of falling beneath her spell.
And then my breath snagged. Suppose she fell under his spell?
I struggled to sit up and requested a glass of whiskey. Finally, as she pressed the glass into my hand, I forced myself to look at the woman with whom I had planned to end my days.
Was that only two days ago? How quickly life can change! I had set the scene so carefully, her favorite meal prepared by my own hands, our favorite wines, the popular music she loved more than the classical composers I strove so valiantly to get her to appreciate.
McPherson lit his pipe and watched me sardonically.
I felt sick, and I know my hand was shaking as I tried to lift the glass to my lips. The whiskey spilled over the side, spotting my tie, dampening my vest.
“Yes, darling. Are you feeling better?”
“Sorry,” I apologized grudgingly. “A wee touch of epilepsy. It’s an old family weakness.”
She looked at me with puzzlement in her soft dark eyes, and I bit my lip, determined to restrain the anger building up inside.
“You’re… you’re not dead! Darling.”
“Oh, Waldo, no, and I’m so sorry Detective McPherson let you be surprised like that! It was so cruel!”
“But a welcome surprise, for all that,” I forced myself to say, disturbed that McPherson had known she was alive but failed to inform me. “Er… Laura, if you are among the living, which I’m inordinately thrilled to see, of course, who was the woman who was killed Friday night?” Who had been slain in Laura’s stead?
Tears pooled in her lovely eyes. “Diane Redfern.”
I was nonplussed. “Why was she in your apartment? Laura, why?”
She sighed, a soft puff of breath. “She wanted to apologize for her behavior earlier in the week. And then she broke down and told me she had been evicted from her flat because Shelby had caused a scene. So of course I insisted that she stay here. I was going away for the weekend anyway.”
I must have looked confused, and she patted my hand as if comforting a young child. “I needed time away from all this to sort things out, Waldo. You know how badly I was hurt by Shelby’s behavior. I went to my place in the country and spent the weekend tending the garden there.”
“Can that be verified, Miss Hunt?” McPherson was watching her closely.
“Why, certainly, Mr. McPherson.” Laura was holding tight to my hand. “Of course.”
Of course. She couldn’t tell them what happened after she had let the beautiful model into her apartment. She couldn’t…
Laura was not looking into my eyes. Her nails were digging into my hand, but she was refusing to meet my eyes.
“I’m really not feeling too well, darling. Would you mind if I took advantage of your delightful bed once again?”
I knew I was making it sound as if Laura and I had shared that bed, although my love for her was above such a crass thing as physical expression. She finally looked at me, shocked, but my whole attention was focused on the detective.
McPherson was watching me through his lashes, and I felt a shiver course through me.
“Of course, darling,” Laura managed to say, and I left the two of them alone.
I was exceptionally tired. I sat down on the edge of Laura’s bed and leaned over to untie my shoes. My walking stick was in the living room where it had fallen, but I had no use for it at this moment.
My fingers froze on my laces. I could hear their low tones in the next room, so cozy, so friendly, so …interested in each other. I could not permit that! I was willing, finally, to let Laura go, but I wanted Mark, more than I had once wanted Laura, and I was not about to lose him.
I had not had a decent night’s sleep since that note from Diane Redfern to Shelby Carpenter had fallen into my hands, earlier the week before. Now the events of the past few days were beginning to catch up with me. My eyes felt gritty, and I rubbed them with the heels of my hands.
I needed to sleep. I needed to deal with this situation.
And then everything fell into place. It was really so simple: I would just get rid of Laura.
It was really so simple: I would just get rid of Laura…
But I was so tired. Exhaustion dragged at my eyelids. I removed my jacket and placed it carefully, neatly across a chair, then lay on Laura’s bed, on the frilly pink duvet. The pillow under my head carried the faint trace of her scent…and something else, but I was too weary to puzzle it out at that moment.
My hands were folded primly over my chest, as if I was laid out for my own wake. After that one episode with Mother, I made sure my hands never wandered below my waist. She had pounded it into my brain how dirty, how very disgusting that act was.
What now, Mother? What would you think about the things I want to do with that lean, hard-muscled detective in the next room? What I want him to do to me?
I closed my eyes and pictured her in the corner, sitting on that fragile Queen Anne chair, next to the piecrust table that I had persuaded Laura to buy.
And the horrified look on her face as Mark entered, closing the door gently behind him, smiling into my eyes. “I’ll leave you to what promises to be a disgustingly earthy relationship!” I could hear her say, but Mark would not let her leave.
“Stay in that chair, Mrs. Lydecker,” he would order her.
“Well, I never!” Mother would sputter, and Mark would turn that smile on her and she would sink back into the chair, breathless.
It truly was difficult to believe Mother had ever copulated with my father, but she must have, at least once. Witness my presence on this planet.
But Mother wasn’t here, and Mark was.
And now his attention was focused back on me. “You have too many clothes on Waldo. That’s your problem. You always wear too many clothes.” Those long, competent fingers began undoing the buttons of my vest, helping me to sit up as he pulled it off. My tie was the next to go, the Windsor knot unraveling easily, and he tossed it aside.
By this point I was quivering with the need to feel his hands on my naked flesh, and was quite willing to agree that yes, there were entirely too many layers between my skin and what I needed.
Now he was working on my trousers, edging them down over my hips, pausing to remove my shoes and socks, and then stripping off my remaining clothing. His smile held the lure of danger, and he leaned over me, taking my lips in a kiss that left me hungry for more.
‘Tell me what you want, Waldo,” he murmured as he nuzzled the point where shoulder and neck joined. His mouth opened on that spot, and I felt his teeth on me.
“Oh my God! Are you biting me?” I shuddered, my cock engorging with blood. I was virile! I was powerful! I could slay invading armies!
“Do you like that? Do you like me marking you as my property? Because that’s what you are now, Waldo. You’re mine!”
He sat back, that smile of masculine possessiveness in place once more, and he began to work on his own clothes, removing them leisurely, driving me mad with each deliberate movement. I reached out to help him, but he forced me back down onto the bed, and placed my hands beside my head on Laura’s pillow.
“No, you stay like that. I don’t want you to move. Do you understand me? Just… watch me.”
A drop of precome leaked from me, and he leaned over and licked it off.
“Do you want to be inside me, Waldo? Do you want to fuck me until I scream from the pleasure of it?”
“Yes!” My voice was a hoarse whisper. Laura was in the next room, she could walk in at any time and see me naked on her bed, my legs spread as I offered myself to this hungry detective looming over me, but I didn’t care! I was mindless with desire. His words painted a picture that drew me to the edge of the precipice, daring me to throw myself into the fiery depths. “Please, Mark, let me fuck you!”
His smile turned cruel, and I was reminded of a predator scenting its prey. “I don’t think I will, Waldo. I don’t think you deserve that privilege.”
He was naked now, and he straddled my body, his cock just before my mouth. “Open wide, Waldo. Take me in your highly educated mouth and suck my cock. Show me how much you like it.”
My lips parted in excitement and he took advantage of that to slide his engorged flesh between them. He began rocking his hips to a tempo that became increasingly more violent. His fingers entwined with mine, forcing my hands to remain motionless, when I wanted nothing so much as to clutch the taut curves of his buttocks and urge him even deeper into my mouth.
And then he was pulling away, no longer fucking my mouth with that glorious cock of his. I uttered a moan of protest.
“I’m not done with you yet, Waldo.” His voice was like dark velvet, gliding over my nerve endings, making me impossibly hard.
For a moment he was gone, and I was bereft, empty and aching, but then something hot and tight and slick began to engulf my cock as Mark lowered himself on me, finally giving me what I had been begging for all day.
All I could see were the pinpoints of light exploding behind my eyelids. My lips parted as I struggled to draw in enough breath to survive.
Mark pulled me up to him as he crouched and worked my cock in and out of his ass. His tongue surged forward to fill my mouth, and I sucked on it as if it was my last hope of heaven. His cock was pressed tightly between our abdomens and I reached down to take it in my hand, squeezing and stroking and out of my mind with the joy of having him, of being buried deep in his body.
My own orifice was empty and aching. “Please Mark, I need you to…” But before I could finish my plea, I erupted in a Vesuvius of visceral pleasure. For long moments I hung suspended, then fell helplessly to earth once more.
I still felt empty. Mark lifted himself up and off of me, then shoved me onto my back and settled himself between my legs, pushing them back, parting my buttocks, pressing his cock into my ass, setting up a hard, pounding rhythm.
And I was filled with him, surrounded by him, inundated by his touch and his taste and his feel. With a hoarse cry he climaxed, his mouth descending to take mine as he pumped his life’s essence into me.
“I’ll love you forever, Waldo. Only you. Always you!”
I sank into a peaceful sleep.
I woke with a start, to find myself fully dressed, down to the proper knot in my proper tie. I stretched and moaned, my body stiff and aching in places that had no business to ache.
When I stood, my legs refused to support my weight and I staggered before I could regain my balance. What had I done?
What had been done to me?
Dismissing that errant thought, I decided it was time to rejoin the others. With a tug, I straightened the lines of my vest, and reached to put on my jacket. A shrug of my shoulders settled it comfortably. I ran a hand over my hair and got it into some semblance of order.
Sure that once more I was my dapper, debonair self, I opened the door of Laura’s bedroom, to come to a shocked halt.
Laura was in Mark McPherson’s arms, her hair a fall of amber satin against the curve of his shoulder. Her mouth was pressed to his in a kiss “long as my exile, sweet as my revenge.”
My heart felt as if it was being cut out with a very dull knife. Wildly, I scanned the room. My walking stick!
I stumbled to it, making some small noise that shocked them out of their little slice of heaven. Where they had had no thought of me.
The smooth hardwood of the stick was a cool comfort in my hand. They stared at me, she with nervous defiance, and he… calmly, as if to see what I would do next.
“When a man has everything in the world that he wants, except the one thing he wants most, he loses his self respect.”
Laura recoiled from the venomous glare I aimed at her before I turned to Mark.
“Do you think I’ll leave you to the pawings of a woman who cannot tell dross from gold? Do you think I could bear the thought of her touching you, loving you?”
The walking stick, a cleverly contrived weapon, was in my hands as if was an extension of them, and my forefinger squeezed the trigger.
The explosion sounded like the end of the world, in Laura’s elegant sitting room. Her eyes were wide in horror. McPherson’s were cold with satisfaction.
It was the end of the world, my world.
I stared down stupidly at my chest, where a blossom of red was spreading over my vest. My shot had gone wild, hitting the clock I had given Laura, ricocheting off that to shatter the lovely mercury glass bowl, and ending its trajectory by destroying the portrait done by Jacoby.
Mark’s bullet had found its target. I wavered for a moment, and then fell to the floor, catching myself on the arm of Laura’s sofa. My eyes sought and held McPherson’s.
“Goodbye, Mark. Goodbye, my…love.”