Broken Locks:  A Tale of Orpheus


    It was simple, really…nothing more than a trite game.  Watching the last of the fabled five young men depart down richly carpeted corridors in search of wicked wisps of pleasure, the hotel’s owner allowed a secret grin to play across his face.  He had transformed this, a tiny patch of the earth, into a towering empire.  The owner of Orpheus was never far from the center of the action, whether the hotel’s clients realized it or not.

    Smiling smugly, he rose from the walnut-topped table and nodded formally at the gentleman behind the oak bar, who bowed his head in acknowledgement.  Sliding his fingers reverently along the polished blocks of wood, he embarked on his usual rounds, checking the corridors and rooms and ensuring that the outrageous sums of money hidden in the inconspicuous wooden chests at the end of each aisle were properly concealed.  Occasionally, he could hear cries of pleasure and moans of ecstasy, and his groin tightened involuntarily with thoughts of what went on beyond the solid doors.

    He ambled along the hallways, studying the Picasso and Monet originals and smiling at the images of wealth and power they evoked.  Who knew that this little venture would grow into something so powerful as to draw men of importance from the world over?

    He had made the purchase shortly after a particularly trying lawsuit; a last-ditch effort paid in cash to spirit away any liquid assets the courts might see fit to seize.  At the time, his prospects were abysmal.  He had wanted to create a sanctuary; a resplendent heaven of ecstasy available only to the very rich and very famous.  He wanted the opportunity to wield others like pawns, to control and manipulate others as he had been controlled.  Bitter, bewildered, seized by the brutal hand of vengeance, he vowed to create for himself a world of financial stability, regardless of the outcome of his “public,” professional life.  He wanted to be revered as a king.

    And women.  He wanted women to fall at his feet, to do his bidding and obey his every command, and, in a slightly less egotistical take, follow the commands of his friends and consorts, with no fear of retribution or manipulation.

    And so he had begun, offering wages and enticing women found on street corners, in coffee shops and offices, in parks and in subways, seducing them all with a single offer:  unparalleled power and wealth.  Gradually, as time’s unforgiving hands swept away the weeks and months, he had seen the modest chateau transform into a hotel of mythical grandeur, with a clientele more rich and famous and powerful than any list Forbes’ had to offer.

    He had chosen the women because they were goddesses, specimens of the gentler sex so sublime that even the most faithful of husbands would be tempted to stray.  And tempted they were.  Time and time again, they came.  With guilty looks and downcast eyes, they came.  They came to stay in the Underworld of his making.  He.  Orpheus.

    JC smiled.

    It was an accident, really.  He had been lying in bed after a particularly satisfying tryst with a shy young writer when he happened to glance at the books on her nightstand.  In heavy brown leather they sat stacked like gargoyles, almost daring him to open their yellowed pages and glimpse the worlds hidden inside.

    He had chosen a plain-titled mythology book and had begun reading, somewhat familiar with the ancient tales but curious nonetheless.  He quickly found himself enrapt, spellbound by tales of mighty empires and ruthless Gods and Goddesses, ruling their worlds with absolute power…until he came to the tale of Orpheus.

    Orpheus.  A mortal, a regular man, who played the lyre as well as Apollo and sang as beautifully as Artemis.  Orpheus, who had so enchanted the people of Athens that they followed him as one would a pied piper, weeping with joy at the music he created.  Orpheus, who had fallen in love with one beautiful young girl, only to see that love…

    His jaw hardened, his eyes shone with anger.  No.  Not tonight.

    Waltzing into the penthouse suite on the top floor of the hotel, he pressed a gold-plated button on the wall and waited for the voice to come floating from hidden speakers.

    “Yes, Mr. Chasez?  How may I assist you?”

    “Send me Aphrodite,” He snapped, then disconnected the line.

    His blood began boiling without him even realizing it.  He was angry…bitter…he did not belong this way.  He should have been able to charm the feathers off a dove if he saw fit, but yet, when it came time to argue, when it came time to plead his case…he had lost.

    Aphrodite.  Alyssa.  Goddess of Love.  Key to his heart, though he guarded the lock fiercely.  He loved her.  But she loved another.

    His grimace broadened, the muscles in his temple tensing under the constraints of his clenched jaw.  Damned Hephaestus.

    With a bitter little laugh, he wrenched open the bottle of Stolichnaya sitting on the cherry nightstand, and pressed it to his lips.  How dare she?

    Arnold Matheson, or Hephaestus as JC had so blithely christened him, had come to Orpheus as a guest of one of the more powerful stockbrokers in the area.  He was a lowly meatpacker, a wretch of society, ugly and unpolished and entirely beneath the clientele of the exotic hotel, at least in JC’s opinion.  As a lark, JC had instructed Ayuda to match Hephaestus’s key to the lock of Aphrodite.  JC and the beautiful nymph had fought viciously the night before, after she refused to pleasure him and he screamed in her face that she had no choice.  She had stormed out of the room, tears flowing like raindrops, amidst his hysterical, alcohol-soaked cries that she would pay.

    And so the chessmaster glowered and laughed evilly while sending the gnarled little troll known as Hephaestus into the room of the most beautiful girl in the hotel.

    It was his most critical mistake.  For whatever reason, for whatever cause, the laughing mistress of fate had waved her wand, and Aphrodite had been smitten with the little man.  Three months later she professed her undying love.

    JC blinked away tears he didn’t realize were present.  How could she love another?

    A soft rap at the door and suddenly there she was, dressed in crimson silk and midnight lace, as he liked it.

    He gritted his teeth and quelled his immediate arousal, preferring instead to extract a slower form of punishment.

    “Take off your clothes,” He whispered lowly, and when she turned around he spoke more harshly, “Face me.  Eyes on me the whole time.”

    The faint quiver in her lips and the sadness in her eyes did not escape him, nor did the way she hung her head ever so slightly in shame.  They had an agreement.  She would work there as long as she saw fit, but every night, without question, she must go to him.

    “Lean forward,” He breathed, feeling the first stirrings of arousal rise in his belly.  “I want to see your tits.”

    She gulped, but obeyed, jutting her chest forward, flinching under his hungry, unrestrained gaze.

    “Good, good…Now touch yourself.”

    Her hands stilled from their positions on her thighs, and she looked up at him sharply.  She paused for a few moments, debating, before he interrupted her thoughts.

    “Alyssa,” He warned, his voice quiet, hissing like a rattlesnake, wielding her given name like a weapon, “I don’t want to ask again, and you don’t want me to come over there.  Touch yourself.  Now.”

    Her whimper was barely audible in the charged electricity of the room, but JC felt it like a thunderbolt.  His own hands had steadily snaked a trail down his body until they were resting just inside the waistband of his carefully tailored trousers.

    Alyssa gingerly trailed two fingers down the column of her pale throat, and drew them across her stomach, swallowing heavily.  She loathed her job..loathed the man who sat smirking before her…loathed the wretched things she was forced to do, night after night.  She had been but eighteen when first coming to Orpheus, attracted by endless promises from a very bright, very famous young man.  It would be better than working the streets, he had said.  A safe, clean, environment.  Money beyond her wildest dreams.  Influence with some of the most powerful people in the world.  She had fallen, and fallen hard.

    She had loved JC, although her heart burned with self-hatred at the admission.  She had believed his promises, his breathy confessions of adoration, his beautiful words of praise.  She had believed him so wholeheartedly that when tales of his infidelity had reached her ears, she had scarcely been able to breathe.  She was dumbfounded that this man who had proclaimed his love to her alone would be also squiring a more public, more classy girlfriend.  This man, this gorgeous creature who had called himself Orpheus was sleeping with each of the twenty-six women in the hotel, sometimes two and three per night.  It didn’t seem to fit.  She could easily picture one of his bandmates, Joey or Justin or Lance, completing such treachery, but not JC…not Orpheus himself.

    She was powerless to say anything, for she had signed the same explicitly worded contract as the others, binding her to absolute secrecy on the pains of millions of dollars in damages.  She was powerless.  She was captive.  She was his.

    Suddenly her head was yanked backwards and she could feel his body pressed against her, his raging want jutting into her back.

    “I.  Didn’t.  Tell you.  To STOP,” He hissed, and with a jerk he pulled her into his arms, plundering her mouth in a brutal kiss before flinging her backward onto the bed.

    “Do it,” He ordered, and trembling in fear she complied, easing her fingers down to the juncture of her thighs.

    “Put them inside you.  In your pussy,” He commanded, a low groan erupting from his throat as his own hand increased its pace.

    Eyes closing in shame, Alyssa gently began probing her wetness, stopping only on JC’s command.

    “Now put them in your mouth.”

    The tears came then, a slow assault down her fragile white skin, as she moved her fingers into her mouth.
    “Come here,” He said roughly, and meekly she walked toward him, sitting down when he indicated a spot on his lap.

    “Tell me you love me,” The command was spoken in the quietest of tones, but with the solid strength of ivory, as he stared beseechingly into her eyes.  Before her thoughts could control her actions she slapped him hard across his cheek.  He blinked once, stunned, before seizing her roughly, pressing her body to the floor and attaching his lips to one exposed breast.  She fought in vain to quell the stirrings of desire, but still they came, and shortly thereafter, a moment of clarity followed.  Not like this.  Not this way.  No more.

    “Stop. JC STOP!”  She whimpered, and his hands stilled.

    Their eyes met, icy liquid crystal meeting boiling molten amber, and Alyssa could scarcely remember to breathe.
    “She’s YOURS,” A voice in his head echoed.  “She belongs to you…do what you will!  TAKE HER!”  He could hear the whispering demon begin to cackle but even as his body begged for some sort of release, his mind refused to allow him to continue with his desires.

    “Fine,” He whispered, removing his heavy weight from her body and rising to his feet.  “Get out.”

    “JC, please…” She pleaded.

    “LEAVE!” He roared, and with a start she was on her feet, pulling her skimpy clothes back around her body and skittering away from him like a frightened kitten.  A second later the heavy sound of a slamming door resounded in his ears, and he wearily rested his head against the cool glass of the window.

    Orpheus, the prince of song, beloved by millions everywhere, had descended into hell.

    He sniffled once, allowing the bittersweet indulgence of tears to cleanse the anger from his face.  His body crumbled tiredly and he sank into the plush carpeting he had selected all those months ago.  It was supposed to be paradise.  It was supposed to personify the opulence and excess he had yearned for even as a troubled teen.  Instead, now, Orpheus represented little more than a supremely shackled monster who tried time and again to rescue his love from the clutches of Hades, but when he turned around to make sure she was still there, she disappeared, melting into thin air.

    “Why must you be like this?”

    His head whipped around sharply in the direction of the voice, and he was stunned to see Alyssa still standing there, her impeccably applied makeup softer, stained by tears.

    “What are you doing here?” Thoughts gave way to words, spoken in a harsh, guarded tone.

    “Why, JC?  Why are you doing this?  Is the hotel not enough?  What pleasure does IT bring YOU?”

    Tart, bee-stung lips moved of their own accord though no sound escaped them.  Eyes fluttered like nervous convicts around the constraining prison of the room.  She sank slowly to her knees in front of him, capturing his head with her slender fingers, tilting his face to look into her eyes.

    “Why, Josh?  Why?”

    He stared at her, longing pulsing through his body like a physical drug, aching like a bruise, howling like a tortured dog.

    “Go away,” He mumbled, the sulking voice of a child.

    She kissed him then, soft and sweet and long and deep, swallowing his breathy moan whole, daring the attention-starved little boy hidden deep inside to come out and play.

    “Tell me you love me,” He whispered again, though his voice held more pleading than rough command, and she backed away slightly, unable to offer the simple words he begged to hear.

    A soft, sad smile graced her features, and though the hatred still burned brightly somewhere in the back of her soul, she smiled and gently teased his hair with her questing fingers simply because she could not bear the pain reflected in his eyes.

    “I love you.”  Fear like titan’s hands knocked him over as he spoke the words, and for an eternity he waited for her response.

    Finally it came, shattering him like any other blow.

    “I.  HateYou.”

    She kissed him again, bringing his hand to her breast, proceeding to fulfill the obligation he so cruelly demanded, refusing to be denied when he tried to resist her.  Tables had turned.

    His body betrayed his heart like Judas, accepting her caresses and begging for more.

    “You’re being USED, Chasez,” That same demonic voice cackled.  “What will Orpheus do now?  You’ll turn around and she’ll be gone, and once again you’ll be alone.  Never, ever, in a thousand years of anguish, will you know the simple beauty of belonging in someone’s arms.  You.  Set this up.  For YOURSELF.”

    Even as his body climbed an ever-cresting wave of pleasure, he could feel his heart descending into the bowels of nothingness.

    With a magnificent growl he came, body pulsing and bucking and trembling all over, thirsting for nothing more than soft, reassuring arms to curl across his stomach and stroke the downy hair at the nape of his neck.  Instead, a hiss, the rattle of revenge coming from a voice so clear and beautiful.

    “See you tomorrow.”

    Love wasn’t always beautiful.  Love, he learned from Aphrodite herself, could hurt.


2001  ~A