Fragile Crystal: Rubies and Rivalries (The Crystal Fragments Trilogy) (10 page)

Maria smiled, again somewhat sadly. “No. But my job involves me discovering many things about my clients.”

“And what do you know about me?”

“Very little—yet.” Maria glanced at her watch and then her face became serious. “But time is getting on, and I’m afraid that I have work to do. I’m late, but then I suppose I can call for a lift, that was the arrangement, after all. Well, this has been a most pleasant meeting, Miss Avelar.” As Kris began to speak, to say that there was more she wanted to know, Maria raised one hand to interrupt her while, with the other, she reached into a pocket of the bag beside her.

“So many questions. Here, let me leave you my card. If you want to know more, then give me a phone and we can meet again, perhaps, when I’m free.”

The card was dropped nonchalantly on the table as Maria stood, pulling her coat free from the chair. Kris picked it up and stared blankly at the name, Maria Gosselin, with a series of letters afterwards and phone numbers beneath. As she looked at it, Maria reached back into her bag and withdrew a purse.

“Thirty Euros should cover it, if I recall the menu correctly. Not that it was worth it. I wouldn’t add to the tip, if I were you. The service was even poorer, and that waiter’s French...”

Without waiting for a reply, she turned on her high, wedge-heeled shoes and walked to the door, retrieving her own phone and speaking into it on the way. As she left, Kris watched her hips sway, shoulders high and confident, one leg placed before the other with stern precision. The twinge in Kris’s own leg was a bitter, stabbing pain.

 

 

Chapter Eight

 

The room was all in darkness when she heard the phone. Lifting it groggily to her eyes, she saw that it was not quite five o’clock in the morning. For a second or so she was confused. Where was she? Cascais? London? The bed beside her felt familiar, on the side table next to the bed a photograph of her parents. She was home.

Her first response had been to switch off the phone, but when she saw it was Daniel, she answered as soon as she could.

“I’m sorry,” he said when he heard how sleepy she was.

“It’s okay,” she replied, enjoying the deep timbre of his voice. Simply listening to him made her feel warm inside.

“What time is it?”

“Nearly five.” As Daniel cursed on the other end of the phone, she swiftly added. “It’s okay. I’m awake now. What time is it with you?”

“Midnight, more or less. I should call you again, later.”

“No, no. You haven’t phoned for two days.” She tried not to make it an accusation. There had been messages, certainly, but she had not heard his voice for two days.

He groaned slightly. “It’s been... difficult.”

“Anything you want to talk about?”

“Not really.”

She hesitated. The question she really wanted an answer to was who he had been with.
Daniel Stone is a man who enjoys the fine things in life
, she remembered. Instead she asked: “And where are you now?”

“In the hotel.”

A hotel? That troubled her slightly. She was sure he had an apartment in Manhattan. Why was he staying in a hotel?

“Alone?” It was a stupid word, and she bit her lip as soon as she asked it, but Daniel laughed. “Alone,” he replied. “And with no one else to see for another eight hours at least.”

Is it the same every night, she wondered, then shook her head in anger at the thought, along with the foolish notion that perhaps he called Maria Gosselin as well. He must have sensed her uncertainty. “Are you okay?” His voice was full of concern. “How’s your leg?”

“It’s fine, really. I walked a little too much yesterday, but don’t worry. I’ll soon be fit and well. Honest.”

“Good. But you should really have stayed in Cascais. Anna and Joana would have looked after you, you know that.”

“I prefer it here. It’s fine.” Kris was both comforted and exasperated by his concern.

“Well, if you need ferrying around, Filipe will be on hand.”

“Filipe? I was growing rather fond of Jorge.”

There was the briefest of pauses. “Unfortunately, Jorge is busy for the next couple of weeks.”

Kris went a little cold at this snippet of information. Deep down she had a suspicion of what Jorge’s job consisted of for two weeks and was about to speak but decided better of it. Instead, they talked about her painting for a little while, and he told her about the freezing weather in New York and how he was missing her.

“That’s good to hear,” she said, snuggling down into the bed a little more. It was still dark outside, but in the glimmering half light of the room she could just make out some of her furniture around her. “I can’t wait to see you. I need you.”

She heard a low laugh and perhaps a sigh on the other end of the phone. “And I need you,” he replied. “Here, in my bed now.”

“What are you wearing?” she asked.

“Me? Nothing. What about you?”

A vision of Daniel naked flashed through her mind. His shoulders, with the curve of his deltoids falling to the strong pads of his shoulders and his biceps, damp after a shower, her behind him kissing his back while her hands moved down his body, stroking his chest, his abdomen, her fingers stroking his cock. She groaned a little.

“What a nice thought,” she told him. “As for me, you know I always sleep naked.”

“I thought as much.” His voice was lower now, with the faintest hint of a growl. As the vision of his body filled her mind’s eye, her own fingers pushed the cover from her skin, feeling the coolness of the air across her breasts and nipples, then down as she slipped the cotton sheets further along her own belly.

“No one will disturb you, will they?” she asked. Now the covers lay over her thighs which she stretched apart slightly, her sex opening a little. As she lazily stroked herself with a finger, she could feel the moisture on her fingertip, the smooth inner skin of her labia parting, her clitoris curling into a hard, tight bud.

“Not at all. What are you doing? Tell me.” His voice sounded a little strained, and now she imagined him erect, his cock huge in his hand as he stroked it.

“Yes, sir,” she answered with a smile.

“I like that. Sir. It’s a while since you treated me with the proper respect.”

“Oh, I always show you the respect you deserve,
sir
.” Her voice was light and mocking for a moment, and she lifted her hand away from her loins, stretching it above her head and arcing her entire body in a blissful coil. “I’m waking, sir, and imagining you. And it’s getting me very, very turned on.”

With her hand pressed to her ear, his voice was whispering directly to her. He was so far away, so very far away, but in that instant she felt as though he was lying next to her in the bed and her limbs, her mouth, her sex, were hungry for him.

“That... I’d like to see,” he told her, and the slight grunt told her that he was sharing the same feelings about you.

“Are you touching yourself?”

“Yes. Remembering you in Sintra, sitting on my lap, motionless while I told you not to cum.”

“I like it when you tell me what to do, sir,” she said, her hand resting on her breast.

“And are you touching yourself now?”

“Yes, my breast. The nipple, it’s getting so stiff. I can feel the texture hard against my fingertips, and it’s so sensitive.”

“Squeeze it.”

She did as she was told and laughed.

“How does it feel?”

“As good as it can without you doing it.”

“Then squeeze it again, harder. And... pull it.” His breath was becoming hoarse on the other end of the phone.

“Yes, sir.” She tugged at her nipple, closing her thighs, pressing them together while she delicately abused herself. She could just make out the flesh of her breast, distended with a thin stretch of skin rising up beneath her fingers.

“Harder,” he said, a single word choked out.

“Yes,” she whispered, then moaned as she dragged her nails into the soft volume around her areola before clenching the nipple hard and stretching it up again, twisting it as it did so. “It hurts, oh God, it hurts so good!” Between her legs, her lips were opening up and she could feel a trickle of her juices flooding down towards the sheet.

“That’s it, bad girl... Fuck. Now stroke... stroke along your pussy. Finger it.”

“Yes,” another whisper. “Yes, sir.”

Her nimble digit began to stroke the unfurling labia again, and when she came to the top of her sex she gently slapped her clitoris, creating a buzz that shot through her abdomen.

“Oh God,” she moaned. “So fucking want you.”

“So fucking want you
sir
!” he growled. “Slip your finger in, then pull it out and lick it... taste it.”

She did as commanded, and when she placed the finger in her mouth she rolled her tongue around it, sloppy and covered with saliva.

“How does it taste?”

“Salty, warm... fuck. Mmm... not just what I want to taste now. Want your cock in my mouth... fuck!”

“I’m so hard—God! So hard!”

“Yes, for me!”

Her hand dipped to between her thighs again, and when he told her to insert two, then three fingers, she complied eagerly. Pressing her chin to her neck, she could clamp the phone next to her ear, leaving her other hand free to begin rubbing her clitoris as she masturbated inside the hot, sticky walls of her vagina.

“If you could see how hard... how hard I am,” he gasped to her. “Fuck! Want you! Need... need you.”

“And I need you.”

“Finger your asshole for me, then your cunt. Go on. Do it!”

“Yes!” she moaned. It had been too long since he had played with her anally, but she enjoyed stimulating herself this way from time to time. With the phone fallen onto the pillow beside her head, she could still hear him though more distant this time. His voice floated over her as one finger went inside her as she rubbed her clit harder, faster. Then she inserted a second, feeling the soft flesh of her sphincter closing around the pair of digits. Manipulating herself, her knuckles were still sticky from where she had thrust them into her sex and still her wetness continued to pour between her open thighs.

While she masturbated, she could hear him grunting commands, gasping as his own orgasm drew closer and closer. “Close... fuck! Close!” she heard him cry. “Cum! Cum for me!”

“Yes, sir! Yes! Oh Christ! Fuck, yes.” Her fingers were moving faster and faster now, and from time to time she would slap her sex as her other hand pumped herself. When her own orgasm built up, tremors ran along her legs and her thighs went into spasm, lifting up and her feet flexing, one painfully though she no longer cared. Her scream was more of pleasure than pain, and she simply held herself, hearing him shout from the phone as he ejaculated so many miles away.

“That was just what I needed,” he told her when she had begun to settle down again. Her fingers were still slick and sticky, and she stared in faint amusement at the traces they left on the screen of her phone.

“If you could see what a mess you made of me here,” she told him, “you’d just have to punish me all over again.”

“I would punish you again and again and again,” he whispered. “All night long. And each time you’d ask for more.”

She smiled at this. Her body was easy, contented, all but for one tiny thought that hovered at the back of her mind. “Am I the best?” she asked.

“Of course, how can you ask that?”

“Hmm... let me see. I’m head over heels in love with the richest man I’ve ever known, who also happens to be drop-dead gorgeous...”

“...with a face covered in scars....”

Ignoring him, Kris continued, “...and the biggest cock I’ve ever seen, well, in real life anyway. Certainly the biggest cock I’ve ever
felt
. And he leads a vital and exciting life, and I’m not there. That’s how come I can ask that.”

“I wanted you here with me, remember.” His voice was quiet, almost shy for a moment, and Kris felt ashamed of herself for pressing the issue, yet she could not help herself.

“I don’t know what you see in me sometimes.”

“What’s bringing this on, Kris?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Sometimes... sometimes I just can’t help myself. I... I think that if I didn’t look like Karen... oh, dammit!”

He was silent for a moment. When he spoke next, his voice was firm, a little cold even, but in a way that made her tremble.

“Don’t do this. I’m too far away from you—too bloody far! I want
you
. Remember that. Shit. I’m tired, and I just wanted to hear your voice because I can’t have what I really want. Don’t forget it.”

“Yes, I understand. I’m sorry.”

They spoke a little more, Kris annoyed at her niggling doubts. She knew precisely where they came from, and it wasn’t Karen. After he hung up, his turn now to sound tired, she lay in her bed for a little while, unable to sleep but instead watching the silver-grey light slowly filter into the room.

When she finally stirred from the bed, between her thighs was sticky, her own juices drying on the skin. Looking down, she also saw a small cut near her nipple where she had caught herself. She shook her head and laughed. If only it had been
his
hands, any tender wounds would have been even more bearable.

Going to the bathroom, she looked at herself in the mirror which showed her head and shoulders, as well as her naked torso down to her navel. Did he see Karen, she wondered, when he looked at her. Certainly Maria had seen it. Her face twisted a little when she thought of Maria. The woman was, unfortunately, exquisite, whereas she often thought there was something a little too homely about her cheeks and nose, cute rather than beautiful. Her breasts were larger, certainly, and her eyes a deep blue, but that other woman was elegant in every way, she was sure of it. She wondered how old she was. It was hard to tell, but from what she’d said and her appearance, Kris guessed that she was in her early thirties, four or five years older than herself.

Her mind began to wonder. She thought of the movie
Vertigo
. Strange how Kim Novak had sprung into her mind when she had seen Maria from behind, but in some ways it was perhaps Kris who was more like the movie star, in her life if not her looks. Hadn’t there been something in that movie about James Stewart trying to turn her into a replica of a dead woman? Daniel was lucky, she thought with grim irony: he had had his dead wife presented to him, with no need for transformation.

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