The Seduction - Art Bourgeau (3 page)

BOOK: The Seduction - Art Bourgeau
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She directed them to the cul-de-sac, where they
stopped, the car hidden from view, the first drops of rain beginning
to splatter on the windshield. For a brief moment Terri's Catholic
upbringing told her to wait, to reconsider.

Peter seemed to sense her hesitation. "I know
what you're thinking, and it's all right." It was enough.

He waited while she walked up the freight ramp,
opened the window, and climbed inside. Using the matches he had given
her, she lighted a candle and, with the candle, lighted other candles
until their light encircled the pallet of blankets like a frame of
flickering gold.

She opened the door and motioned for Peter to join
her. He climbed the freight ramp and closed the door behind him, the
rain outside coming down harder now.

She was very nervous. If he laughed at her or treated
her like a child she would just die. Getting up all her courage, with
a sweep of her hand she said, "Well—?"

He didn't answer immediately. Instead he took his
time, carefully looking over the room, like he was a movie director
checking out a location.

Terri's hand shook as she unscrewed the top to the
bottle of Folonari white wine and poured them each a cupful.

"Marie helped me. Do you like it—the place, I
mean?" she said, lying about Marie's help to cover her
nervousness. She had told Marie about the place but hadn't shown it
to her yet. That would come later.

When Peter finally finished his inspection he turned
and in a mock-serious voice said, "What we have here is a
clear-cut case of breaking and entering. I'm afraid I'm going to have
to take you in."

For a second Terri's heart stopped, then she saw his
smile. And as he approached her with handcuffs gleaming she knew he
was of course teasing, so she only put up a little girlish resistance
when he pulled her hands behind her and snapped on the cuffs.
Strangely, the restraint comforted rather than frightened her. Now
she was no longer in control and responsible for what she was going
to do. No longer was she the seducer; now she was the seduced-the
captured queen of the castle—and the role, with its blamelessness,
pleased and calmed her.

He took her in his arms, kissed her with sharp,
biting kisses that sent tiny needles of pain through her lips. She
did not flinch.

"You know you're in big trouble, and your only
chance is to make me happy, very happy," he said in a hoarse

"I'll be good, I promise," she whispered
back, playing the game.

His hands went over her body, touching her
everywhere, each touch seeming to light fires inside her. When he
lowered her jeans and panties, he touched both her vagina and her
anus. She gave an involuntary start when she felt his gloved finger
slip inside her rear, but after that she stood still. With her
nervousness gone, everything felt so good that she hoped he would
never stop.

In time he led her to the pallet and motioned for her
to kneel down. It seemed a little strange to her that by now he had
made no move to take off the handcuffs. This wasn't the way she had
pictured her first time. She had thought she would lie on her back,
gloriously but shyly nude in front of him, and then he, also nude,
would lay his beautiful body on top of her, and they would be joined
down there in a pure, white and perfect union. But handcuffs . . . ?
Well, maybe this was the way the uptown women of Society Hill did it,
and she didn't want to appear unsophisticated. Besides, Peter was her
man; she trusted him. This night she would not back away from him, no
matter what. When he left her, he would know he had really been
loved. And she would be a woman.

Kneeling was difficult, but with his help she
obediently leaned forward until she was on her knees with her head on
the blankets.

She heard him lower his zipper, and held her breath
waiting for the pain to come. But it didn't. She felt the hardness
only penetrate her slightly and then withdraw. Peter did this over
and over until by his gentleness, rather than force, he gradually
broke through all her physical resistance and filled her. As she
became accustomed to feeling Peter inside her, she began to respond,
pushing back, and trying to match his rhythm. It was awkward for her,
but she was dead set on being the best damn lover that ever was.

Soon she began to feel his body jerk and to hear him
moan. Even though she had never experienced it before, she knew what
was happening. It was the magic moment, and pregnant or not, she was
happy and proud.

When she finally felt him relax against her, she knew
she was no longer a girl. Now she was a real woman, and the tears
began to flow.

When he took hold of the dangling chain and proceeded
to tighten it, Terri's last thought was of the warm look on her
mother's face when both the fighting and the loving were done.



COCAINE GAVE the night snap and tingle for Missy
Wakefield, ripping away her blues. Gone momentarily was the
depression that had dogged her every step since her father's recent
death, and in its place was a rush that heightened her senses, giving
the lights and action of Second Street in Society Hill, with its
street peddlers and glut of Saturday night celebrants sporting bright
colors and bright smiles, the blue-white crystal clarity of a glass
of gin.

Of all the drugs she had tried over the years, and
there had been many, cocaine was her favorite. With it, so far, the
best of the best was even better, and the worst of the worse was
nothing to worry about. It was an almost valley-proof high, like
makeup: a little at the right time always made you more beautiful,
especially in the right light.

A few doors north of Chestnut Street, in front of
Sassafras, an old man wearing a blue cap with gold braid and sitting
on a milk crate caught a glimpse of her and began to play "Give
My Regards to Broadway" on a harmonica, accompanying himself on
the spoons; they sounded like a set of wind-up false teeth. Stapled
to the utility pole beside him was a poster that pictured a
dark-haired, teenage girl and offered a five-hundred-dollar reward
for information concerning her whereabouts. The girl's name was Terri

Missy did not notice the poster as she deposited a
couple of bills in the old man's coffee can and kept walking. In the
middle of the block she paused long enough to give Tem, the tall
Mongolian doorman at Lagniappe, a chance to get rid of two suburban
couples who were trying to get into the in-club that was not for the
likes of them. As they walked away one of the women was grumbling at
her husband for not standing up to the doorman. When she saw the
amused expression on Missy's face she flashed her a look that could
kill weeds. Fueled by the cocaine, her mind echoing with her father's
dictum never to run from a fight, Missy did not look away, nor did
her expression change. The other woman did not rise to the challenge.

After they had gone Tem opened the door and gave
Missy a smile of welcome, but where his smile was usually tinged with
a touch of desire—she knew Tem wanted her—tonight it was
different. Tonight he smiled concern.

He seemed clumsy to her, the way he dropped his eyes
and shuffled slightly from one foot to the other. "I'm sorry to
hear about your father. I know he was a fine man and you'll miss

She silenced him by putting a finger to his lips as
if to say, Ssh, enough said, more will only bring back the pain.

Thursday and Friday of the preceding week had been
the worst days of her life, and now she needed to put that part
behind her.

On Thursday her father, Cyrus Wakefield, M.D., had
been struck by a massive coronary while strolling from Brooks
Brothers to lunch at the Union League and had died right there on
Broad Street, his Brooks Brothers' bag with two shirts and three ties
instantly snatched up by someone in the crowd. By mid-afternoon, in
accordance with his known wishes, his medical colleagues had stripped
his body of any transplantable parts, and what was left had been
cremated even before Missy could say a short good-bye to the man with
the hawklike visage, the salt-and-pepper mustache and the great
tufted brows. With Friday morning had come a short service for a few
select friends, the scattering of his ashes in the garden of the
Chestnut Hill home and a buffet afterward—at which Missy had acted

The sight of people sipping white wine and lunching
on crab claws, smoked salmon and cold lobster had been too damn
much—too civilized—and made her own grief seem out of place.
There had been too much vodka, a drive into town she could barely
remember, a bottle of pills and then, almost too late, a frantic call
to Carl Laredo, who had found her nude and unconscious.

Well, get hold of yourself. You're a good actress.
Act. "Is Carl here tonight?"

"He's in the back at his usual table," said

"Good." She turned toward the bar.

After her release from the hospital she had gone to
the family condo in Marigot, St. Martin, for some healing sun, but
within days the peaceful solitude was driving her crazy. To work
through her grief she needed to expend energy, not to sit and stare.

She walked through the crowd, paying no attention to
the sleek men and beautiful women around her as they flashed their
predatory eyes and switchblade smiles, pursuing one another with the
bartering carnality of Armenian rug merchants. At the bar she pushed
into a space between two women and motioned for Marc, her favorite

He hurried down, leaned across the bar and took her

"Darling, you look scrumptious tonight."

He was right. The Gucci blue-and-gold bolero jacket
worn over a darker blue silk blouse with a turned-up collar fit her
perfectly. Highlighted by a turquoise and old silver necklace and
bracelet given to her by Carl and completed with black pleated
evening pants and Charles Jourdan shoes, the outfit showed her
athletic leanness with enough style to raise the hackles of every
woman in the room. It was too New York, too competitive, too daring
for Philadelphia, where women still made fashion statements with
simple little two-piece suits and black pumps. It was too haute
bitchy, but she was the woman who could carry it off. Her short black
hair was moussed and tousled. She had beautiful high cheekbones but
without the cadaverous look of fashion models. Lips that were just a
trifle too thin but with skillfully applied makeup still had the
glistening fullness to give a primitive growl to most men's thoughts.
But her eyes were what kept them at bay, eyes dark and shiny as a
black onyx soul.

She thanked him and, more out of courtesy than
interest, said, "How are things with you?"

She waited patiently if abstractedly through his
reply. When he realized that Missy was only half-listening to his
paean to yet another sullen-looking blond boy with whom he had had
his way, he quickly got down to business.

You want the usual—Stolichnaya and soda?"

She nodded, looking not at him but at the crowd.

"Shall I send it over to Carl's table?"

"Oh, Carl is here?" she said as if it was
news to her.

Tanya Tucker was belting out "Bed of Roses"
on the stereo system, and Lagniappe only played that tape when Carl
was there. They did it partly to flatter him, partly to josh him
about the torch he still carried for her, dating from her days as a
teen heart throb.

Cyrus Wakefield had never approved of Missy's
relationship with Carl, but then he had never understood what an
interesting relationship theirs was. They had met a few years earlier
at a Locust Street art gallery. Carl had just returned from five
poverty-filled years studying in France and was taking his first
career move as the artist-in-residence at the Philadelphia art
school, the Walker Academy. As soon as she saw him, it was like
seeing the right fur coat. She just had to have him.

The reason she had to have him was simple in a
complex way. He gave off signals, subtle but obvious to her, that he
wanted to be possessed by her. She was more than receptive.

In exchange for his devotion and submission to her
whims she offered sex, money and a place to sell his paintings
through her society contacts. It was a devil's bargain for Carl . . .
one she broke according to her mood. His going along with this
unequal pact was most pleasing to her, somehow a confirmation of his
devotion and love. She needed that, needed it badly. She might grieve
for her father, but she'd received precious little show of affection
from him . . .

So Carl became boy friend, girl friend, confidant,
supplicant, savior, sinner, and she cherished him like a favorite
doll from her childhood.

Glancing around the room she saw several people she
knew, including the blonde hostess of a TV talk show who nodded for
Missy to join her. Her attention, however, was fixed on finding
Carl's table, and when she did she was furious.

Four were seated around the table: Lagniappe's owner
Justin Fortier, blond, smooth-shaven and still deeply tanned from a
summer on his boat, next to him a man she did not recognize, then
Carl, and next to him a woman who was obviously with Carl. Carl could
be so tacky with his flirtations. No taste at all. A discreet little
fling was one thing, but she would not have him bringing one of them
here and embarrassing her.

BOOK: The Seduction - Art Bourgeau
8.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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