Tears rolled down her face. Her hair was tousled from a fitful night’s sleep. She pulled her robe closer around her, an involuntary shiver running up her spine. She gripped her coffee cup like there might be Vaseline on her hands. Breathing in the pungent aroma of her coffee, she felt a slight calm come over her.
What had she been thinking last night? She stared out the window, watching the droplets of rain running down her window. Her mind was still groggy, but she was confident it wasn’t from alcohol. She only had three whiskeys neat, not near enough to give her a hangover. She remembered him walking up to her table like he owned the whole place. He was confident, charming and sophisticated. Everything she had hoped to find in a man if she ever decided to commit to any one person.
All her life she has struggled with commitment. It scared her. Last night, well last night she thought for the first time in years it might not be so terrible to be in a long-term relationship. She can count on one hand how many months all her other relationships lasted. Yup, a very bad track record when it comes to men. Her friends have hounded her for years, her mother much longer than that. She is so tired of hearing from them all about this invisible, damned biological clock. Her mother wants grandchildren and with her being an only child, it has certainly been a topic ferociously pushed this year. She is ashamed to admit to anyone that she just doesn’t want children. Why is it so hard for everyone to understand? Her friends call her lonely and untrusting. Her mother calls her selfish.
The toilet flushed downstairs. She wondered again what she was thinking last night. She has never brought anyone home from a bar. She has never slept with anyone on the first night. One thing she never handled well was rejection.
“Hey, what’s got you up so early?” Jeff asked with a Cheshire cat-like smile. “I was hoping you would stay in bed for a while so we can get to know each other better.” He plopped himself down on the couch opposite to her. Her eyes narrowed as she feigned a sip of coffee. “Is there any more of that?” he asked, stifling a yawn.
“Uh, yeah sure. Sorry, where are my manners?” She rose to fix him a cup, he padded behind her, following her to the kitchen. “Do you take anything in it?”
“Just milk if you have it.” He came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, nuzzling her neck. Her body stiffened with his touch. “Whoa, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean….”
“No, it’s okay. I am the one that is sorry. It’s just, well I never bring men home and certainly not after a few hours of meeting,” she replied softly. She turned and handed him his coffee.
“Oh, I get it. Well, if I am making you uncomfortable, I can just go,” he set his coffee down on the counter.
“No. No, it’s okay. I feel a bit ashamed right now and my head really hurts!” She re-filled her own coffee and went back to the couch, half expecting him to sit across from her again. She was shocked but enamored when he sat as close as he could to her. She searched inside of herself and found she had no discomfort with him being so close. He put his arm up to her hair and began playing with a loose strand around her temple.
“I hope you don’t mind,” he whispered. “I can’t help myself, you are so damn beautiful.”
“Uhm, no. I don’t mind at all. In fact, I was just thinking how easy I feel around you,” she smiled. “But this headache! Whiskey has never done this to me.”
“Oh, that’s probably the Ketamine I put in your drink so you couldn’t refuse me last night,” he smiled.
She shot up off the couch, banging her knee, and glared down at him. “You what?!”
“C’mon, be nice. You know you wanted it. I could see it as soon as I sat down. Besides, what else did you have on your agenda today, besides dying?” His smirk turned evil but before she could move, he was on his feet and his hands wrapped around her slender neck. She gasped, her hands clawing at the air before she slipped into the darkness.