Love has a way of being cruel to a person. In this case, it was cruel to him. Desiring a woman who had ruined the once charmed existence of his childhood and forcing his parents to part had to be one of the silliest notions known to mankind. Pearl Baptiste with her creamy café au lait skin and glossy dark curly hair had been running circles around him and his heart for the better of 15 years. And she didn’t know it. She didn’t know that whenever she happened to be in the vicinity of him, his heart would beat a rapid rhythm designed to assault his chest and leave only tender pain in it’s wake. She didn’t know that his palms got sweaty when she would talk to him in that sweet husky drawl of hers and that he’d keep his hands in his pockets to avoid snatching her to him quickly and punishing her sweet pink lips with his kisses. She didn’t know.
There was a lot that Pearl didn’t know and his emotions that bordered on obsession were just the small of it. He also hated her. What was it that he heard some time ago? That in order to hate someone you must love them first. And that could describe this torment he’d be issued for half of his life. He’d been tossed from loving her and of course lusting after her sweet softly curved body one moment then to hating her for being the spawn of a woman that had made her body available to the only man he could ever look up to. Seeing his father creep away from home only to return more distant than before and hearing his mother cry to sleep over it destroyed his hope that Love could ever be kind to him. And this pain he felt when he was in Elise’s space was proof that Love was never kind.
Pearl thought he referred to her as Elise because he didn’t want to use the same name that the clients knew her for, when in fact he called her Elise because calling her a semi-precious jewel day in and day out was torture to his already weary spirit.
As he ambled along the path leading away from Pearl’s apartment building door while being sure to mentally comb the area for clues all without given rise to any suspicion from onlookers, his thoughts returned to the last few years of his mother’s life. She had started to waste away from heartache and also from the opium that she started to ingest ritually to dull her emotional pain. Her once golden complexion started to resemble death, the sheen gone and replaced with ash and the color turning gray. Her once thick auburn hair had started to fall out from the roots and her nails turned yellow and brittle. She was destroyed and eventually died in her sleep. Please God rest her soul although he and his father both knew she drank too much opium intentionally and they had sworn to keep that secret vaulted inside.
Anger quickly became a friend of Stephan. Anger at his father whom, despite it all, he still loved and anger at the monopolization of comfort girls. What could a young man do to help his mother when the source of her pain initially, Pearl’s mother, had thankfully perished? He hadn’t been sure at first what he could do for his mother and his father had continued to partake of the various “sugary confections” at Sweets so devising a plan to honor his mother would also mean a plan to harm his father. Well, father passed and that left time. Time to become a trusted advisor, time to become an unassuming member of their society. These whores trusted him, especially Elise.
What’s this, he thought. He looked around quickly noting everyone seemed to be carrying on with their normal affairs and then returned to his perusal of a stone that didn’t look like the rest. He squatted slightly, taking extra care not to rip the seam of his pants and looked at the gravelly stone. Sliding his hand inside his morning coat (dressed for a formal meal with Gissette, the silky sweet lady he was courting) and removing his handkerchief from his inside vest jacket, he released it casually above the stone as if by accident. He glanced around again and still did not seeing any interested parties observing him, so he looked back down and quickly ran the cloth against the stone. Instead of inspecting it at that moment, he placed the handkerchief into his pants pocket and meandered along the path further, noting that there were other stones with the same discoloration that he suspected was blood and not just any blood- it was Charlie’s blood.
He made his way around the corner and then back again after being sure to follow the trail of blood until it he was staring at a puddle of water that ultimately led to a small wooded area. It was too busy in the day to follow that trail without garnering attention of the fine New Orleans citizens so he circled back around to Elise’s apartment, let himself in with his key and immediately pulled out the handkerchief. He inspected it for only a moment before his suspicions were confirmed. It was most certainly blood. And he would need to follow the trail to see who removed Charlie’s deservingly dead body after Elise left.
But before all of that he needed to decide what he would do once he located the killer. He’d thought about killing Elise before or at least making her life as much of a hell as the one he lived in but that was only when he hated her. There were other times like this morning when she burst into tears and fell into his arms for comfort that the cruel Love for her that he had, bloomed. The plan he had devised to get close to these husband snatchers had yet to be forged because of Elise. And now he was actually contemplating helping her out of a conundrum that would otherwise be pleasing if Love would stay at bay.
“So did you find out anything”? Her voice was near shrill in its intensity as she quickly shuffled off the settee and stopped short of running him down.
“I found a few things-“
“What”? She cut him off.
“But I’m not certain,” he continued as if she hadn’t spoken, “that any of it will lead us to the killer or to who removed Charlie from the apartment.”
He wasn’t entirely honest and he knew it. He had an idea of who may have committed the crime because he was able to go through the wooded area to the other side to find the home of Mr. Charlie Rousseau and to the still living Mrs. Abigail Rousseau. What still had him perplexed was why there hadn’t been any bloodstains inside of the apartment.
“Oh dear. What am I to do? I can’t continue to hide out here? I have customers to see! I have a living to make, Stephan!”
Elise was simply beside herself with distraught and he let her rail on because he wasn’t convinced he had or wanted to share any comforting words. Hate had started to creep its way in so he was torn between getting rid of her permanently so that he wouldn’t have to tussle with her problem anymore and torn between grabbing her, tossing her over his shoulder to go to his bedroom suite, dropping her on the bed before plunging into her wet heat just to shut her up and relieve this ache. This was a thought that continually taunted him but he shouldn’t want her. He shouldn’t want this whore. Not the spawn of the destroyer of his family.
“Have you been listening to me Stephan?” He just continued to stare at her, a war battling within.
She sighed as if he were some fool that didn’t understand how dire her situation was but that was exactly it- it was her situation that was dire. Not his.
But during her anxiety and upset, the gown she was wearing slid off her shoulder some, revealing the creamy soft skin of her collar bone and part of her arm. The dim lighting provided by the lamps illuminated her skin in a way he had never observed because he’d not had the benefit of “being” with her . So he abandoned the spot he’d been standing in since he arrived home and moved into her, her sweet scent captivating him. At this moment she must have noticed the change. He didn’t care about Charlie or his love and hate for her, and when her lips parted and a small gasp of air escaped, he knew she didn’t care about Charlie either.
He ran his palm down her slender neck, her skin as smooth as he imagined and pulled her body into his by her arm. She seemed to have been waiting for this moment for as long as he and she melded herself into him, increasing his ache in his pants, driving him insane. He groaned as she rubbed herself against him placing her palm against his chest over his heart. This skilled game of hers would pull him apart if he didn’t move away but he was part fool because he couldn’t move, he wanted more. Their faces were close now; their breaths in sync, her beautiful brown irises were eclipsed by lids at half-mast while her cheeks were flushed. Her pretty pink tongue slid out of her mouth and she swiped it across her plump lip making it dewy and that was it- he lost it and crushed his mouth into hers, stealing her breath and giving her his. She sighed and grabbed his head holding him to her, taking control, while he slid his arms around her to hold her tight then running his hand down her sweet body to cup her derriere. It was a lush as the rest of her and when she gasped in his mouth he took control back and proceeded to make love to her mouth; his movements designed to mimic the joining that was soon to come.
After a while, the essential element of life-air, was needed and they parted, the sight of her swollen lips from his punishment making his fingers tingle to reach for her again. She was stunned by the passionate interlude if her placing her palm against her breasts as she caught her breath was any indication, but before too much reality about her predicament set in or before she hesitated about the change of their friendship, he grabbed her hand and quickly led her to his private suite.
No, he shouldn’t want her; she was a whore. But the work he put into seeking the killer today, was payment enough for this night.
© Aja 2013