We submit for your consideration the first part of an eerie short story.
"What's that?" Emily said, nudging her husband awake.
"What's what?" he said, punching his pillow as he turned away from her. "Tapping. I hear tapping, might be the attic, possibly in the walls."
"Probably mice," he said. "The house had been empty a long time before today."
"Maybe it’s from next door."
"It's three in the morning."
He lifted his head and peered at the alarm with only one eye partially opened. "Yup, means it's time to sleep. I hurt all over."
"The movers did most of the work," she said.
"But I had to supervise. A forty-year-old man shouldn't be running up and down three flights of stairs," he paused, flopped to the other side and readjusted his pillow once more. "Especially an out-of-shape thirty-four-year-old man."
"I'll call the exterminator tomorrow," she said, shuddering, “Mice!”
"Ah, always knew you had a killer instinct."
"They’ll set humane traps."
"Sure, so you can let them go and they'll come back."
She didn't have a response for that. Instead, she gave him her back and curled up in the warmth of him.
"We'll discuss it tomorrow," he said, suddenly not sounding tired as he inhaled slowly, "You smell like roses."
She sniffed the air. "Hmmm...not me. I think it's in the air."
He nuzzled his face against her throat, licked her salty flavor. "No, it's you. Intoxicating."
Emily had just showered and had used plain ole generic body wash that didn't have a hint of roses, but if he thought it was rosy smelling and this turned him on, she wasn't going to argue. His husky voice, and the sudden passion blazing in his clear eyes reached inside her, triggering heat. He began to move, touching her, kissign her, not asking for permission as he normally did but just diving into the moment.
Their love making over the last few years had settled into a routine. Though they adored each other, something had gotten lost, and it had become more the obligation for her rather than the true enthusiasm that she once possessed. Not that she didn't get excited or have orgasms, but it took so much more time and encouragement to get her into that place of want and need.
This move into such an old well-preserved home had stirred something inside her, and lust that she hadn't experienced in years had started earlier in the day. She had watched Sam with new eyes, seeing his muscles move beneath his shirt as sweat forced the fabric to adhere and outline flesh. He called himself out of shape but he wasn't, not really. He still had tree trunks for legs, calves thick and corded, shoulders wide and hard. He still had rough-looking hands that could caress with surprising gentleness. He adjusted her beneath him, pressing her against the mattress with abrupt fervor as if they hadn't made love in years rather than just a few nights before. Hips grinding into her pelvis, his hands slipped beneath her nightshirt, seeking the fullness of her breasts, squeezing.
She responded immediately to his quick hot kisses. Her hands clawed at his t-shirt. She couldn't get enough of his scent, his heat, his hard, taut muscles.
He ripped off her panties, discarded his own shorts and without another bit of foreplay entered her, an action totally unlike him. He was a slow patient lover, and a talker as well. They oft spent time just toying with each other until he sensed her yearning. It was as if he didn't care about her needs just his own, but amazingly, she wanted it, and wanted it now, hard and hot and long.
She got all three, and by the time she arched into him, seeking that ultimate release, she knew her body couldn't have taken another moment of thrusting and man handling, that she'd actually be bruised and swore come morning, and the thought of just that send her over the edge and he with her.
Long moments after, they clung to each other neither saying a word as if fearing to acknowledge what just occurred. It was as if they weren't themselves, yet more fully themselves than ever before. Neither wanted to jinx what had happened by commenting on it, nor did they want to make it out to be something more than it was. What if it never happened again? By unspoken consent, they remained silent until another tap occurred. This time it was overt and then there were several more in a row.
Sam blinked as if coming out of a stupor, and said in even tones as if the last forty-five minutes had never happened. "I'll set the traps."
"Yeah, yeah," he said, pulling her closer.
Emily smiled, the lovemaking strangely forgotten as she allowed the tapping to lull her to sleep rather than annoy her.
Days later, with everything unpacked and put in its place except for all wall hangings and objet du art, Emily and Sam stood in the backyard of their newly renovated historical home that looked out upon a wide lavish river. Crouched at the end of a row of near look-alikes, it was the most distinctive. Tall and brick-faced, like most houses of its kind, it might be too old-fashioned for some. Emily and Sam, though, saw it as the culmination of a dream. Both professors of history at the local university, they felt they had finally found their niche in this eighteenth century townhouse. It possessed all sorts of cubbyholes and nooks and their top floor bedroom led to a dream attic, crammed full of left-behinds from previous tenants.
They never met the previous residents, for the house had been vacant for years. The couple could never understand why and inquiries had gone unheeded. The realtor informed them that the property had been an inheritance and the owner just did not want it.
"I still can't believe it's finally ours," Emily said, leaning against Sam, relishing the feel of his arm around her shoulder.
"Yup, ours and Medallion Mortgage Company," Sam chided. "Mice and all."
Emily frowned. Sam had set traps, but the tapping had refused to stop and not one mouse had been caught. They might have to call the exterminator after all, but at the moment she did not wish to think about mice. She wanted to revel in her contentment. They had saved for years to obtain this, applied to all the proper authorities, went through rigorous background checks, for not just anyone could own an historical house on the riverfront.
"We can afford it," she said with a smug smile.
"Sure we can. They just expect our first born if we default."
She elbowed him gently in the ribs, smiling. "We don't intent to have a first born."
"They don't know that."
"Then you'll just have to give them your Mike Biggs collection."
"Don't be messin' with my collection, woman. Besides, the mortgage will be paid off by the time they are worth that much. They're an investment."
"They don't fit the decor of the house." March wind tumbled Emily's dark, long hair, caught up on both sides with tortoise shell combs, though strands clutched her face, forcing her to pull them free.
"Don't you just love this view?"
"Actually, it seems quite old world to me. There's even a tall ship out to the left." He pointed toward the shoreline on the opposite side of the river where a sailing ship was anchored. He didn't mention the industry smokestacks that also occupied the opposite view.
She hit him playfully. "I meant the Biggs' art collection."
"We could picnic out here in the summer."
"Stop changing the subject."
"It's what I do well."
"All right, princess, let me think where we can hang them."
"In the attic?" she asked hopefully.
"I think they'll go great with the Elizabethan furnishings in the parlor," he offered with a grin.
Her eyes grew round with shock. "Sam!" she exclaimed again.
He laughed. "Just kidding."
“I was thinking about placing them in the eating area of the kitchen, floor to ceiling. It's in the basement after all, the most modern part of the house."
Emily preferred the entire house to look authentic, but then again the kitchen did have a modern stove in the guise of an iron cast one, up to the moment refrigerator, microwave and dishwasher, hidden behind cabinetry and a computer that hadn't been hidden at all.
"How about we head over to Jess' Tavern for some chai tea or coffee. Or a Stewart’s black cherry soda."
"Now who's changing the subject?"
She suppressed a grin and nudged a chin toward the yard next door, perfectly manicured like a miniature Williamsburg garden with pansies and daffodils freshly blooming. "One of these days our garden will look just as good as theirs."
She laughed. "Kitchen is fine."
As they turned to go back into the house Sam noticed a movement in the attic window. His pulse momentarily quickened until he considered it could be their cat, Nathaniel. At second glance he realized the shadow seemed somewhat elongated, not at all like a cat. Did they have an uninvited guest?
TO BE CONTINUED
Angelica Hart and Zi ~ Vixen Bright and Zachary Zane
www.champagnebooks.com - www.carnalpassions.com - angelicahartandzi.com