Kelly smiled as she pulled up to her new home. She couldn’t help it. Everything she had was everything she had always dreamed about. The perfect home. The perfect husband. The perfect marriage. It was all so perfect.
Tonight was going to be perfect as well. It was their first anniversary of marriage. It was a time of celebration and she was ready to celebrate.
Opening the trunk of her Lexus, she grabbed four of the bags and made her way to the front door. Pushing it open, she called out, “I’m home.”
It was home for her. Everything in the house was picked out personally by her from the wall colorings to the flooring. She had spent hours each day for three months going over every little detail with the contractors and decorators. It had to be perfect, and it was.
She set the bags down on the granite countertop. Unable to resist, she ran her fingers over the cool stone. Perfection once again.
“I’m home,” she called out again. The sound of footsteps on the basement stairs told her that Gregory had heard her.
The door to the basement opened as she put away the carton of eggs. Kelly looked around to see her husband walking in with a towel around his neck to catch the sweat dripping from his hair.
“I see you were working out.” She looked her spouse over from head to toe.
He was the most handsome man she had ever met. Gregory had always had the perfect physique. Every girl in the company had been vying to catch the eye of the company’s rising star. His dark eyes were legendary as were the talks of his bonuses. It didn’t take long for her to get his attention. It just took the right skirts and a few ‘accidental’ meetings near the copier to get him to give her those lingering looks that melted her.
Now she was his. There was no need to have catfights with the other women. He had put the ring on her hand and the credit card in her purse. She was loving her married life.
“Yes.” He moved to the fridge and took out a cold water bottle. “How was shopping?”
“Just went to the grocery store for tonight’s dinner.”
“I forgot the date. I didn’t mean the date, but what day I scheduled a meeting.”
Kelly frowned. “It’s our first anniversary.”
He moved forward but stopped as she took a step back. “I know. When they said Thursday, I didn’t connect it with the date. It was just Thursday.”
Kelly set her mouth and turned to put away the groceries. She slammed the steaks onto the counter along with the package of sliced mushrooms. Fury surged within her, but she contained it as she always did. Letting her anger go would do no good. Yes, she would feel better for the moment, but she knew in the long run it might do too much damage.
Gregory stood still for a few moments but slowly left when he realized it wouldn’t do any good to say anything else. He had to do something to make it up to her.
Kelly felt her eyes burn from unshed tears as she shoved the food into the fridge and pantries. She didn’t even put away the empty grocery bags as she balled them up and threw them on the floor. With a muttered curse, she stomped out of the kitchen and made a beeline to the entertainment room.
Not stopping to admire the expensive decor she had painstakingly chosen, she walked up to the wet bar. Roughly grabbing the decanter, she filled the short glass to the rim with the amber liquid. Kelly tilted her head back and drained the glass. With a sigh, she sat it on the bar and stared at herself in the mirror that covered the back of the bar.
She was an attractive woman. Only twenty-six, she looked like a supermodel but with a little more in the curves department. She took pride in how she looked which was why she used their workout room on a daily basis and even made sure she did a few laps in the pool. With the expensive skin care products she used even before accessing Gregory’s money, her caramel skin glowed.
Kelly patted her hair and breathed in deep. If she could survive the hours it took for the weave to be put in, she could cope with a change of plans. Who said they had to celebrate that night? Another night would do though it would not be on the day they got married. There was only one first anniversary.
The anger swelled back up. Her chest tightened as she felt the flush on her cheeks. Eyes narrowed. Nostrils flared. She raised her hand and slammed the glass back down. Glass exploded around her.
She didn’t flinch as tiny shards sprayed her face. They bit into her neck and exposed shoulders. One large glass shard was buried in the heel of her hand. Blood dripped slowly onto the smooth granite bar.
Kelly closed her eyes. Seconds ticked by as she breathed evenly. When her eyes snapped open, she glanced down at her hand and shrugged.
A half-hour later, the bar was cleaned up, her hand was bandaged, and she was sitting next to the pool with a glass of wine in her hand. Her injured hand lay next to her as she looked at the sunset and sipped her wine. A blank expression rested on her face.
The soft sound of the pool’s water lapping against the concrete was the only sound that filled the courtyard. Periodically, the sound of a car door echoed, but most people were inside having their meals while she was outside and alone.
Her eyes slid over to the quiet cellphone. With another sip of wine, she leaned her head back against the chaise lounge. It was not how she had planned her anniversary. By now, they would have been on dessert she had planned to make and then she would have shown him his gift of the sexy lingerie she had bought that morning. Now, that expensive piece of lace lay shredded in the dumpster by the garage.
The sound of the garage door rising had her glance at her phone again. Eight o’clock. Gregory was finally home.
Kelly didn’t move from her seat. She stared at the stars that watched her from afar. The garage door closed. She could hear the door in the kitchen open and Gregory step onto the tile floor.
“Kelly? You outside, babe?”
She heard him side the screen door and step outside. Without saying a word, she took a sip of her wine.
“Kelly, what are you doing out here?” Gregory moved to sit on the lounge next to her. He reached out and laid a hand on her bare leg that her dress revealed in a slit.
Without looking at him, she answered, “Enjoying the view.” She didn’t want to look at him in his grey slacks and white button down shirt that accentuated his chocolate muscles. She refused to give into the power he had over her.
“Oh, my God! What happened to your hand?” Gregory jumped to his feet and moved around to her bandaged hand. “Honey, what happened?”
She gave her hand a cold glance. “An accident.”
“What kind?” He held her hand gently in his and examined it.
The warmth of his fingers singed her flesh. She released a small sigh. “I broke a glass.”
Gregory leaned over her hand and kissed the bandage gently. “Oh, babe. Do you need stitches?”
Her breath caught as she felt his lips against her skin. She shook her head. Sitting the wine glass down on the table situated between the lounges, she finally turned her eyes to him.
Within her chest, her heart jumped. It always did when she looked at him. Sexy was child’s play when it came to her husband. So what if he had to work? Things happened. It wasn’t like they couldn’t have a good rest of the night.
Slowly, Gregory leaned forward and placed his lips on hers. Kelly let her eyes drift closed as she opened herself up to him. The man knew how to kiss!
Her arms moved up to encircle his neck. Gregory groaned in her mouth as he pulled her close. She was about to finish the night right there when his phone buzzed.
“No, don’t answer it,” she whispered when he pulled back.
“I have to.” He sat up and pulled his phone out of pants’ pocket. With a reassuring smile, he answered, “Hey, Phyllis. What’s up?”
Kelly clenched her jaw and pursed her lips. Phyllis seemed to call on a daily basis. Yes, she worked with Gregory, but she seemed to work a little too much after work hours. There was always some important thing she had to discuss with him. It got on Kelly’s nerves that Gregory had to always take her calls no matter where they were or what they were doing. She’d have to keep an eye on Phyllis. Just because she had the ring, didn’t mean she had him under lock and key like she wanted.
“No, I think it was clear enough. No need to muddy the waters. Talk to you tomorrow.” Gregory put his phone down. “Sorry about that. I thought it was important, but she…never mind. Where was I?”
He leaned forward, and Kelly allowed him to kiss her again. She pushed her jealousy aside and focused on the sensual feel of his lips.
Running her hands across his chest, she wanted more. It took her only a few seconds to get his shirt pulled out of his pants and her hands under it to caress his skin. She was melting under his touch as he moved under her dress.
Eagerly, they both stood up and moved toward the house without breaking from their embrace. Experience showed as they avoided small garden statues set around the patio, stopped before colliding into the screen, and sliding it open while keeping their attention firmly on each other.
Somewhere along the way, Kelly’s sandals were kicked off. Right inside the patio door, Gregory’s shirt slid off. Before they left the kitchen, his own shoes were missing.
His belt dropped to the floor as they moved up the stairs right as the doorbell rung. They pulled apart and stared at each other as though the other one might have the answer as to why they were jerked out of their unique dance of passion.
The door chimed again with the musical notes she had fallen in love when she ordered it. Now, she cursed the sounds.
With a groan, Gregory stepped back. “I better see who that is.”
Kelly nodded, her focus on her still racing heart and heated body. She felt a chill now that his own body had put a few feet between them. She watched as he walked to the door in just his pants and socks. The sight of his naked torso kept her breathing erratic.
Kelly’s body froze at the name. She couldn’t see the woman from where she stood. Anger slammed into her like a freight train. The she-witch had the audacity to show up at their house!
“I found these papers of the Sommerset deal that you left. Thought you might need them.”
Gregory sighed. “I’ll be in the office in the morning. They could have waited.” He reached out and took the folder.
Kelly cringed at the flighty giggle. “But I drive by here anyway so it was no trouble at all.”
“Well, thank you.” Gregory moved to close the door.
Kelly watched as the door met resistance. Her eyes narrowed.
“Were you on your way to bed?”
Kelly’s blood boiled at the syrupy sound of the woman’s voice. Knowing Phyllis was staring at Gregory’s bare chest had her seeing red.
“Uh, yes.” Gregory’s eyes glanced over at Kelly still on the first step of the staircase.
“Well, I was thinking we could continue our conversation on my new position. I’d like to show you what I can offer.” An hand slunk through the door and rested on Gregory’s shoulder.
Kelly’s back went rigid. Her eyes flashed at the slender hand. Nails bit into her palms as she clenched her fists. Just as she took a step to remove the hand from her man, Gregory did it for her.
He reached up and took her hand away. “Phyllis, I think we can save that for the office. Right now, I want to go back to seducing my wife. See you tomorrow.” With that, he shut the door.
Kelly watched in amazement as he turned around and strode back to her. A slow smile spread across his face.
“Now, where was I?”
Saturday rolled around quickly. Gregory was in the bathroom getting washed up before heading out to the golf course. Kelly sat in bed and watched the news. It was a routine they had developed over the last year. Once he was out the door and on his way to the green, she’d get ready herself and head into town for tea and shopping.
As the local weather finished, Gregory’s phone vibrated. She glanced over and frowned at Phyllis’s name. With a quick look toward the bathroom, she leaned closer and read the text.
Have proposal finalized. Pick up at my place?
Then she spelled out her address as if her own boss didn’t know what it was. She reminded him of it every chance she got.
Kelly smiled. Every time she did rattle off where she lived, Gregory moved past it and ignored her. The woman was really pathetic.
Over the years, Kelly had watched as women failed in gaining the men targeted. It was mainly because they thought they knew what the man wanted and how to get his attention. Kelly had learned from observation.
She watched men and women interact. From her observations, she had learned the right way to attract a man that included long term benefits. While others ended up with one night stands or complete rebuff, she was the one who had ended with the winner for life. Phyllis hadn’t learned the lesson yet.
A thought introduced itself to her. She let a small smile cross her lips. The day might be a little more interesting that she thought it would be.
An hour later, she pulled her Lexus up to Phyllis’s house and stepped out. Her bright red heels clicked on the driveway.
When Phyllis opened her door, she found her boss’s wife dressed to kill. Her black Versace hugged her figure in a way that told the world that she looked hot and knew it. Phyllis’s wide eyes looked her up and down before she managed to paste a polite smile on her face.
“Well, hi, Kelly. What a surprise. What can I do for you? I thought Greg would stop by for some paperwork. Did he send you?”
Kelly smiled and stepped forward, forcing Phyllis to open the door to her. She gave the modest home a quick glance before she sat her Chanel clutch purse on a small table in the foyer.
“No, he didn’t exactly send me. He is at the country club enjoying a long game of golf.”
“Oh, I sent him a message. I knew he went there every Saturday. I figured since he had to pass this way that he might want to pick up the paperwork on a project we are working on.”
Kelly kept the smile on her face as she took a stop toward Phyllis. She looked over the poor, pathetic figure. The woman had gone overboard, expecting Kelly’s husband to show up. Her lounge dress hung off one shoulder and confirmed any suspicion of an absent bra. The neckline revealed a generous swell of flesh. For a Saturday, her long, red hair was perfectly set and her makeup flawless, aside from the fact that it was too heavy. The woman didn’t grasp the idea of subtle.
“I came here to talk to you.”
Phyllis’s face fell slightly. “Oh, what was on your mind?”
Kelly moved off to the side and walked into a living room that appeared to have been the site of a floral explosion. Withholding her comments on the gaudy decor, Kelly moved slowly around the room and stopped at a window that looked out onto a small yard.
“I’m aware of what you are up to.”
“I’m not sure what you are talking about.”
Kelly slid her eyes over to the woman before answering. “Oh, I think you do. I’ve watched you enough to know that you aren’t that stupid. You are after my husband.”
“Uh, wh…what are you s…saying?” Phyllis stammered.
“Cut the act, girl. You are an amateur in a game that can be very dangerous. He’s my husband. That means he is off limits.”
Silence descended on them for a minutes. During that time, Phyllis composed herself and pushed aside the mask of innocence. She gave Kelly a slight smile.
“No married man is off limits. Just makes it a little more difficult.”
Kelly shook her head. “While that might be generally true, you should know that before you start the game, you need to assess the players. Then you would know that this was one man that was not playable.”
“Oh, I think he is very playable. I see how he looks at me.” Phyllis pulled her shoulders back to emphasize her cleavage.
“Honey, a blind man can’t help but look at you when you lay it all out there. A man likes to wonder what you have instead of you showing him so willingly. Don’t you notice how even women can’t help but look? It’s not desire. It’s pity.”
“It’s more than that.”
Kelly laughed. “You think he really wants your white ass? Darling, white chocolate is just a poor imitation for those with no palette. My man likes the rich taste of the real thing.”
As Phyllis stared at her in shock, Kelly walked back over to her purse. Opening it, she turned around. Phyllis’s face reflected her shock and horror at the gun in Kelly’s hand.
“This ends today.”
“Whoa! Listen, I get it. He’s your husband. We don’t have to go this far. I’ll keep my distance.”
Kelly shook her head. “No, you won’t dear. You can convince yourself that you can, but it won’t last a week. He’s irresistible. I get that. But I refuse to let the inevitable happen.”
An eerie silence enveloped the room as Phyllis slumped to the floor. The sound of the gun had been nothing more than a loud pop.
Kelly’s heels moved silently over the beige carpet until she stood over the body. Silently, she watched the blood spread across her skin and flow down onto the carpet. It’s dark color against the fibers was a drastic contrast.
“You should have taken him out of the game.”
That evening, Kelly sat before her dressing table and finished up the final touches on her makeup that a professional would have envied. Gregory walked into the bedroom, buttoning his shirt sleeves.
“Who was that at the door?” She patted her hair and turned her head to look at her handiwork.
“That was…that was the police.”
Kelly’s hand froze as it tucked in a strand of hair. Her eyes met her husband’s and noticed his shaking hands.
“What did they want?”
Gregory sat down on the bed and ran his hands over his face. “It’s Phyllis. She’s been shot.”
Kelly turned around. “Oh, no! What happened?” She moved over to sit by her husband and took his hand in hers.
“They think it was a robbery. She was shot once, and there was some missing jewelry. Well, they think there is. The jewelry box was open and there was only a cheap broach left behind. I know she had more stuff than that.”
Kelly rubbed Gregory’s hand and kissed his shoulder. “I’m sorry, babe. Will you have issues at work? I mean, did she do things that would be hard for someone else to do in her place?”
“No. Actually, I was thinking of reassigning her to another department. I talked it over with Mr. Mahoney. He agreed it might be better if she worked on the PR side of things. Well, I guess we don’t have to worry about that now.”
“No, you don’t. Let’s go on out dear. Get your mind off of it.”
Gregory nodded and stood up. “You’re right let’s go.”
Kelly followed him and picked up her clutch bag from the dresser. “Yes, I’m right.” As she turned off the light, she whispered, “I’m always right.”