1st and Lonesome

1st and Lonesome

By ©Shannon Blackwater

{Special thanks to the wonderful and talented Sean Tarallo for the artwork!}

 

-One-

“Shit hole.” I mumble to myself, looking around as the equally shitty bus moans away, stirring the dust from the dry silt underfoot, and blowing my hair full of retched plumes of hot, gray exhaust.

I look around, my eyes squinting to see in the darkness, my small suitcase in one hand, my briefcase in the other. I’m not planning on staying long. At least the motel is just across the street, I won’t have to get my new black, heeled boots too dusty, although, after the long bus ride with the ‘pillars of society’, I feel filthy anyway. Crying babies and their frustrated mothers; groaning, farting and belching drunks echo in my aching head as I stare across the street at my destination- sleep and a hot shower.

 

The flight from San Francisco wasn’t noteworthy, but the day had been hell since then. The rental car company had locked doors upon my arrival, only a handwritten note on the door to explain why- ‘It’s a boy!’ was written there, as if I’m supposed to care about that- I needed a vehicle to get to this redneck crap-heap, and looking around, its quaint charm doesn’t amuse me. I suppose they don’t even have a rental car agency, which means I’ll be back on the bus after I seal my deal.

Oh well, I’ll worry about that later. Right now, I just hope the beds are clean.

 

The motel is pretty much what one would expect by looking at it from the outside. There’s a moronic-looking, glutton of a man at the front desk whose nametag reads ‘Matt’, but he looks more like a Tucker, Bucky or Trapper to me.

At any rate, the room appears clean enough, although it is terribly outdated with a brown and orange quilt covering the slightly sagging mattress- brown shag carpeting and dark counter-tops in the adjoining bathroom.   There is a fireplace, however, which I’m always a sucker for.

 

Walking into the bathroom, I flip the switch on the wall, a single, bare bulb popping on to illuminate the small space. I pull open the plastic shower curtain, the metal rings scratching along the rusty chrome bar, and turn on the spigots. When it feels hot enough to cook potatoes, I remove my clothing, letting each piece pool onto the floor at my feet, and step in. Heaven.

 

What seems like an inordinate amount of time later, I pull the quilt off the bed and toss it to the floor in the corner of the room. God knows what that thing has seen and touched. I open my laptop and place a quick entry in my journal, as is my usual evening routine.

 

January 13, 2017

I’ve made it here okay. This little town is about what I expected it to be- no real surprises thus far. I’m exhausted from the trip.

I love you dad. I’ll make you proud.

-end

 

My eyes are heavy. So is my heart.

 

I must have passed out from exhaustion, because the weight of a big body coming down over mine awakens me. In the near total blackness of the room, his eyes are darker still, like lipid pools of shinning crude oil capturing mine and I am unable to look away- Don’t want to look away. I want to drown in their depths forever. I strain to see his face, but I cannot make out the details. It is only his eyes that capture mine and hold them prisoner.

The bed creaks a protest as he bends at the elbows to lean into me, breathing in the scent of my neck and hair, humming what sounds like an approval.   His nose runs up and down, from under my ear to my collarbone and back again, over and over, a light stubble rasping over my cheek and jaw line. I can’t speak. I can’t fight, not that I want to, but shouldn’t I? This stranger in this bed, coming to me in the middle of the night, waking me from sound slumber, but I am in a near trance-like state, comfortable as if with someone that I have shared a bed with for many years, even as my body heats and becomes aroused with the promise of more.

Somewhere deep within my psyche I know that I should be afraid, should be terrified, should be fighting for my life, but the thought feels like a distant dream upon waking. Where you can only recall the echo of a feeling.

 

He licks my neck- I moan. I want more. He seems to know, somehow. His hand slides down my stomach, over my pubis mound, then to my inner thigh.   Teasing. A shivered chill rings through me. I want him to touch me. Moreover, I want him to want to touch me. I moan a protest at his near miss, my eyes pleading for his touch, craving more of his warmth, his scent, his body.

 

-Two-

 

As daylight breaks through the curtains, my eyes pop open wide.   I blink, feeling as though I haven’t slept at all.

A dream?   You’ve got to be kidding me!   I lie in bed for some time thinking about my strange visitor from the night before. It had all seemed so real, but as the clarity of the new day seeps into my bones; of course it was a dream. Of course it was. Marina, you really need a boyfriend.

 

“Gofff!” I throw the bedding off of me and spring to my feet, nearly stepping right onto my laptop, which is on the floor next to the bed. Definitely not a place I would normally set it. I must really have been tired last night. Actually, I don’t even remember actually setting it down and going to sleep, as in the ritual of the actual lying down and closing my eyes sort of scenario. Obviously, recent events have me spun out and worn down.

No matter, I’m ready to grind down this little town with the heals of my boots like the butt of an old cigarette. I shower and dress in my customary all black; slacks, blouse, and boots. When you’re a force of nature, you wear black.   It’s just the way of it.

A brush run through my long dark hair, a touch of mascara and lip gloss, a long wool coat, black of course, and I’m out the door to get answers from this town’s chocolate maker, whom I currently only know as Nicolae, but I fully intend to change that. Christiansen Confectioneries, one of the most renowned and closely held Chocolatiers in the nation, arguably the world, will continue on. A company passed down from generation to generation of Christiansen men, that was until my father’s recent passing, when the company came to me; his only heir. Now that this company is mine, I’m determined to make this Nicolae sign on to us exclusively. Or, you know, maybe he already is exclusive.   The weird thing is, I don’t know.   After pouring through all the paperwork, I could find no contracts, no receipts, no written dealings of any kind, and my father didn’t believe in lawyers. The single piece of information that I have on this guy is the wax seals, which come affixed to the paper packages the chocolate arrives in.   As in, melt the wax stick and affix your seal, old school and archaic bullshit. Okay, it’s kinda cool, I guess.

Anyway, the seal reads “N. V. Chocolate Makers, Orland, CA” and since I could find no telephone listing and no website, here I am, making a house call.

Besides, there’s no time to waste as this Nicolae must be an old geezer by now, and I’m determined to snag him and all his chocolaty secrets before he croaks. His chocolate is the best, and the best is what I need for my company.

 

The day is chilly, socked in with a dense fog that feels extra wet. There’s a spooky, horror movie vibe and it doesn’t help that there’s hardly any people around. The redneck at the motel counter wasn’t even at his post.

There’s a motor home parked in front of the motel, travelers, obvi, so they won’t be able to help me. There’s an old shopping center across the street but the storefronts are all boarded up, closed. “Well, shit.”

“Pardon me, sir.” I said, turning and lightly touching the elbow of an old man who suddenly appears beside me. “Can you tell where I may find N.V. Chocolate Makers? There’s no listing on Google or anywhere, it seems.”

He appears shocked and confused at how he got there, looking around himself at his surroundings and nearly stumbling backwards into a fall.   His appearance is shabby, his wispy hair is unkempt and his clothes are filthy. If I had to guess, I’d say the old man was homeless.

He takes several shuffling steps away from me and for a moment I think he will ignore my question completely. His back is hunched and twisted, his thin wispy hair white as snow.

Just as I was about to give up and look elsewhere, I hear him scoff and murmur something under his breath. His head turns ever so slightly in my direction from his hunched posture.   He eyes me carefully, up and down, peering at me from beneath his brushy white eyebrows through pale, watery blue eyes.

It’s a rare occasion when someone can make me feel uncomfortable, but he stares at me for so long, I find myself beginning to fidget like a child in church.

As I return his gaze, he appears to be becoming more ugly as the seconds saunter by, his body more twisted, his skin ever more pale, with large wide-open pores and dark liver spots. I have a sudden urge to get away from the wretched man and when I cannot stand him a second more, he points a shaking finger, bent and surely as dry as the branch of an old oak tree, Southward down the road and mumbles “’bout five blocks…”

“…Thank you.” I say quietly, not wanting to even speak to the man. Quickly, I spin on my heel to head down the street in the direction he had pointed.

“If yer a headin’ there now, yer wastin’ yer time.” He calls hoarsely after me. Even his voice is dry.

“Why?”

“‘Ee don open ‘till dusk.” He scoffs again, examining me once more with those watery eyes of his, which I would only describe now as horrible.

 

~<>~

 

Just as I was about to curse that old creature for his bad directions, and feeling completely isolated in this coffin of fog, a weathered old sign appears from the sea of white, jutting out over the weed-infused sidewalk.   I quickly recognize the name from the red, wax seals I’ve been looking at all my life. I turn down a cobble pathway and walk slowly until a building begins to appear from the white. As I walk closer, I can see it’s weathered exterior is in a state of disrepair and the building doesn’t look like it could house the equipment needed for commercial chocolate making. The exterior is stone, which had been painted white many, many years ago by the look of it, and brown weeds stand in defiance through the cracks in the cobbles along the front.

20170805_153447

Cupping my hands to my face, I attempt to peer inside through a window. In return for my effort however, only my own reflection do I see; stunning, but nonetheless unhelpful.   Glancing around and seeing no one else on this quiet road, I decide to snoop around.   First, I try the front door handle, of course to no avail, but had to give it a shot anyway. Next, I walk around the building to the Southern side.   Here, I am totally secluded from town, if that’s what one would call it, with nothing but dry yellow fields and railroad tracks behind me. The only witnesses to my actions here are the crows perched primly on the electrical wires, which string by in lazy, haphazard succession for as far as the eye can see.

These crows spy my every action as I riffle through my briefcase, pull out a credit card, slip it into the space between the frame and hardware and, after a quick wiggle and an audible click, slip inside slick as a black whisper. Thank you Uncle Jerry for teaching me that little life skill! He always said one day it would come in handy. He was right.

 

The room is warm- sweltering, almost and humid as the tropics. Gone now is the cold, stark wetness from outside.   Blind and squinting, I try to force my eyes to adjust to the dim light. At first, I can only see dust pixies playing in narrow beams where the sunlight forces entry through this old building’s cracks. Here the pungent, heavy scent of freshly roasted cocoa beans fills my senses. The scent itself has a palpable warmth that spellbinds me with a presence all its own; as if the scent itself is some being reaching out to caress me. Another embodiment pressing into mine, seductive and sweet, making my mouth water as my core twangs with sparks of electricity. The sense of smooth velvet envelops me as I stand frozen against the door, every nerve fiber alive as I draw in breath after slow drawn breath through my nose and mouth. Childhood memories of summers working alongside my mother and father creating sweet artisan confections, of all the times I threw my arms around my father’s neck when he came home from work; a beautiful mixture of his cologne and sugar, heavy cream and chocolate filing my senses; like the warmth of pure sunshine.

 

As my eyes slowly adjust to the darkness, it becomes apparent that indeed, the building’s windows are all painted black on this side- the only paint that looks to be of this century. I can barely make out some of the usual equipment; roasters, winnowers, presses, conches, etc. As my eyes- wide and straining, move about the room, I realize I am standing on a small platform, and that the building actually extends below street level. The chocolate making equipment, although difficult to discern in the dim light, fills the room in an elaborate maze of stainless steel. The expanse is far beyond my imaginings from when I first walked up that path; in stark contrast to anything the outside of the building alludes to.

 

“Marina, I presume.”

Startled, I scream as I twist around. I’m turning in circles, trying to locate the direction of the voice. It seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere.

Trying my best to sound calm, “Who are you? Where are you?” and then totally intelligently, “I’m not trespassing!”

The vast expanse seems to be growing darker, blacker as I blink my eyes, straining to see. Suddenly a small white orb of pure light appears before me. It floats in mid-air and is welcoming and familiar, somehow.   It casts a warmth upon me, and then into me and grows and suddenly my thoughts of fear and darkness are replaced by the vision of white, billowing curtains and early morning sunlight casting a heavenly glow, my once-strong father supine and weak in his bed. His skin is thin, pale, sickly and nearly as colorless as the white linens that surround him. His mouth is moving, the mere whispers that escape his lips as he tries to speak smell of putridity. Still, I lean into him, desperate to understand what he tries to tell me…

 

The vision pulls from me so quickly that I lurch forward, teetering on the edge of the dark platform, my arms reaching forward for something, anything to grab onto.

Arms come around me and pull me in. A hard body presses against mine.

“I know you. You’re him. You came to my room last night.” I breathe, my body trembling.

He doesn’t speak; doesn’t release me.

At last, “You shouldn’t be here. It’s not safe for you here.” His voice; a deep baritone, has an immediate, physical effect on me which I try to ignore.

“Are you the chocolate maker? Are you the owner of N.V. Choc–”

“I am.”

“I—I came here to—”

“I know why you are here.”
“… You do?”
“Yes.”
My mind is reeling. The atmosphere seems to be being sucked away, heavy, yet absent. The warmth and scent of roasting cocoa beans, distinct notes of vanilla, something floral– perhaps lavender, and something I can’t equate to anything but a sickening, salty fishiness are becoming so intense I can’t seem to even think straight; it’s all close.
So close.
Too close.
And damn, my body is in overdrive. I’m perspiring and breathing shallowly. My head is beginning to spin but his arms around me never falter. I don’t know whether to feel safe, or terrified.
“I—I think I’m going to pass out.”

I hear him sigh deeply from behind me, his mouth just behind my left ear. Reluctantly, he says, “Here, to my office.”

Through the blackness, I’m delivered through an equally black doorway into an equally black room. I’m completely disoriented and off-kilter until suddenly, a large hearth lights ablaze and the room glows with orange light. A small desk lamp turns on seemingly without aide, the same going for a very elaborate, expensive looking Tiffany style floor lamp on the other side of the room, and I realize we are standing in a windowless office. The walls are painted matte black and the furniture is sleek with modern, clean lines and an exotic looking dark wood. I plop into the nearest seat in a very disgraceful manner, unsure of whether I set myself down or he had forced me to sit. My head is spinning.

“Marina Christianson–” His voice booms unnaturally; startling me. My head snaps in his direction and for a moment, I am jolted awake and alert from my stupor. When I look at him however, standing near the fire, I begin to swoon once more. The light flickers on his pale, olive-toned skin in a hypnotic dance that makes me feel dizzy and lightheaded. His hair is impossibly shiny and black, slicked back from a dashing widow’s peak and long enough to just touch the collar of his fine, black suit which is masterfully cut to his tall, lean body. The material has a subtle gloss to it that you don’t have to touch to know is expensive. I’m held mesmerized by what I can only describe as an exquisite masculine grace and beauty, the likes of which I have nothing to compare to. The firelight bounces off his rugged and yet, refined features; high check bones, square jaw line, nose as straight as an arrow and narrow hawk-like eyes—which appear to be alternating between a bright emerald-green and black, back and forth, terrifying and beautiful. I stare into this impossible constant transition, my heart beginning to quicken once more and yet I cannot look away.
“Your eyes—“
“Your father has passed away, leaving you Christianson Confectionaries.” His dancing irises seem to be melding into solid green as he speaks matter-of-factly.
Trying to come to my senses, “You–you’ve heard.” My voice to my own ears sounds as if I’m speaking in a dream; breathy and slow.
“You could say that.”
My head nods slowly.
“As your sole supplier of chocolate, you thought it wise to just show up here on my proverbial doorstep, to what?” He twirls his long, graceful finger in the air, “Question me? Demand an inspection?” He laughs, his teeth impossibly white and perfect. “Demand exclusivity?”

I stare dully at my feet. Nothing about him seems to correlate to the ratty disrepair of this building, let alone the redneck little town in which it is located.

“I am sorry for your loss.” His voice is almost tender for a moment, but then he continues coldly, “Your father was a man who cared for nothing as much as he did his money, not even his very beautiful daughter, and especially not for the craft.”
“The craft?”
He laughs, “The chocolate, of course. His once-beloved confections.”

For a moment, I think to deny it. But no, I know it to be true and obviously he knew my father well enough to know it as well. It had been many years since anything seemed to make my father happy, other than money and women.

A brandy snifter appears in front of me. I reach for it absently. I hadn’t even noticed him move from the fire, nor pour the drink. “You appear as if you could use this.” He says softly and I look up into his eyes, which are now a shining but steady, brilliant emerald green. He smiles before moving back to the fire and I note he also has a brandy in hand. He swirls the amber liquid in the firelight before taking an appreciative sip. I watch as his throat works the liquid down, the taught flesh moving over his Adam’s apple.
I take a small sip and the warm liquid goes down smoothly. I drink more and warmth spreads across my belly like a hug. It feels safe and good.

“You don’t seem to care much about money. I assume my father has paid you well over these years, and yet this building belongs on the set of a horror flick.”

“Merely aesthetics. I assure you money is well spent on the things that matter… Besides, I don’t care much for unannounced visitors.”

“Wait a minute—how are you so young? Are you the same chocolate maker we have always used? Or was that your fath—er… grandfather?”

He smiles again, that dashing smile that could take a woman’s breath away. I find myself just staring like an idiot.

“I am just youthful in appearance. Call it, a family trait.”

“Uh… right. Whatever. Look, I’m ready to talk bus—“
Before I can finish, he is standing above me—towering over me. He moves like a whisper, seemingly distorting space and time with him and I find myself feeling disoriented once again.
He takes the empty brandy snifter from my hand and pulls me up and into him. My body instantly responds to his closeness and touch; the warmth of his body.
“Marina, a man could take advantage of a woman in your state of mind.”
“…What?”
“I can feel your loneliness, your desire for connection.” He lifts my chin and I’m held by his eyes as they are once more alternating in color between green and black in a hypnotic wave. I raise myself onto my tiptoes and pull his face to mine, my lips crushing into his. I act merely on a carnal basis; rationale has left me. He groans in his throat, lifting me into him; his mouth opens and his tongue presses into mine, tasting of sweet brandy.
I moan.
“Don’t do that, Marina.” He says, his lips barely pulled away from mine. “I’ll ravage you here on my desk.”
I moan again. I can’t help myself.
He makes a sound, like a hiss, relocating me without effort, bending me over his desk. He swipes his long arm across the thing, knocking its contents to the floor, then my wool coat is being pulled down my arms and tossed aside. My slacks and panties are being yanked unceremoniously down my legs. All the while, he holds me with a single hand pressed into the center of my back, between my shoulder blades.
But I’m not trying to get away.
My stance widens, I hear a jangling sound and then the unmistakable spongy, silken hardness of his cock notching into place. He thrusts into me and I cry out from the shock of it. He’s big and it’s been a long time.
A very long time.
My pussy is clamped down on him hard in protest of this sudden invasion. He withdraws slowly before plummeting into me again, breaking past my walls of resistance. My inner tissues are stretching and burning.
And it’s good. So good.
“Marinahhhh…” He hisses through clenched teeth; my cheek to the cool hardwood of the desk, only the fire in my line of sight, but his beautiful face is clear in my mind’s eye. I can see him there; sweat beginning to glisten across his forehead as he thrusts into me.
He slows his onslaught infinitesimally, and then I can feel his fingers come around me, slide through my pubic hair, then slip over my sodden, engorged clit.
I come— hard.
My legs are trembling, wobbling; barely holding my weight, but it doesn’t matter. He swears, slamming into me then growls deep in his throat and I feel hot semen flooding me, spilling out of me, coating my inner thighs.

He stills, then growls, “Don’t move”.
I couldn’t even if I needed to.

He stays inside me, his cock twitching. His hand remains at my back, holding me down, while holding me up as surely my weakened legs would not hold me.
Then, he slowly slips out of me, grabs onto my torso and somehow flips me over to a standing position, my bare ass on the edge of the desk. I fall backward as he pulls my slacks and panties off, having cast by boots across the room, and his face is between my legs which are spread scandalously wide.
Looking down, I’m shocked to see there’s blood smeared across my inner thighs—blood and cum and he’s licking it away with ravenous greed. His eyes flash briefly to mine as his mouth works at lapping up our combined bodily fluids.

They shine, black as his hair.

To be continued.

 

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