Petra

When he came into her hotel room, Petra already knew it was not to tell her of a party that evening or a networking event the next day. David was always in desperate need of an ego boost. He had accompanied her to the conference like a protective chaperone of whom her husband approved. He trusted David, though clearly he shouldn’t.

David walked in, one hand in his pocket, the other holding a bottle of champagne. Still holding the doorknob, Petra glanced at the bottle and asked, “Celebrating something?”

“No, yes.. maybe.” He shifted his weight from one leg to the other. Before he averted his gaze away from her face, she thought she saw a strange look in his eyes. She was used to seeing vulnerability in other men, but David never showed it. She watched as he made his way slowly to the small desk against the wall, where he set down the champagne bottle.

“Close the door, will you?” David didn’t know how to talk without issuing commands.

She loathed it. She loathed him. Nevertheless, she shut the door and walked towards him. She felt a small thrill as he looked at her. She knew he was always attracted to her, catching him staring at her many times before, always trying to impress her with his swagger and wit. She never responded to any of it before, though sometimes she felt she wanted to stroke his biceps mid-conversation just to watch him drop that awful facade in awe of her.

He had that look of awe on his face now. Cruelly, she came right up to him as if to deliver his every fantasy, then pivoted slightly walking right past him at the last second. She thought she could almost hear him exhale that last breath he had been holding in. She smiled. A small victory, but still a victory.

Petra sat in a single armchair by the large glass sliding doors and looked outside.

“It’s raining.” Talking about the weather will make him feel insignificant, she relished the thought. He always inspired this cruel, almost evil side of her. Because he is so full of it. A burning sensation flickered in her chest.

David came over to her, ignoring the identical single chair opposite hers, and perched on the armrest beside her. His thigh brushed her forearm, and she fought the urge to pull it away. Or was she fighting the urge to put her hand on his thigh? Her arm burned at the spot where their bodies touched.

“I want to show you something.” He took out his phone with the big touchscreen. Leaning closer to her still, he held up the phone so she could see the picture on its screen. She didn’t know much about boats or sailing, but with its wood panelling and polished chrome trim it looked expensive. It even had a jacuzzi on the upper deck. A yacht! How rich was he really to afford a yacht? He had money, but not this much. She touched her chest where that burning sensation swelled once more. He was such an arse. He doesn’t even sail. Why on earth would he buy a yacht? Does his extravagance know no limits?

She managed a small smile, “It looks pricey.”

Getting up from her chair, she stood by the edge of the curtains as if to stare out the glass doors. Instead, she turned to face him forcing a smile on her face. For a second, she caught that same look on his face again. Her smile softened. “Only a small fortune.” He shrugged. He looked disappointed and he failed to hide it. He walked over to the desk where the champagne stood getting warm without a bucket of ice.

“I should have called room service to ice this thing. Let me do that right now.” He picked up the phone and asked for room service to bring up a wine cooler and champagne glasses.

When he put the receiver down, he seemed to have retrieved some of his courage, standing taller and reaching into his jacket pocket. “I also got you something.” He pulled out a blue velvet box. Too large for a ring, but too small for a jewellery set. What was it? Her curiosity was piqued. And she couldn’t help herself.

“For me?”

He walked toward her. He seemed taller. She felt smaller, and clenched her jaw. But the blue velvet box in his hand caught her eye, and she stared hard at it trying to sense its contents.

“Open it.” It was almost a whisper.

She took it from his outstretched palm, hesitated, then snatched it and flipped the lid open. Her breath caught in her throat. The flash of platinum links caught her eye first, and then the diamonds. It was a watch. An expensive one at that. All platinum links and pearlescent face. Tiny diamonds marked the time intervals instead of numbers.

“Do you like it?”

She did. “Huh? Yes, it’s lovely.” She traced each delicate link with her finger and bit her lip.

She shouldn’t accept this gift, she knew. Not just because it was inappropriate as they were both married, but this would give him momentary power over her. She would feel indebted to him. It was so lovely. She could picture it on her fine wrist.

She felt his hand on her elbow. The room spun a little. Did they have any champagne yet? She spied it on the table beside them, still without the cooler, and realised she was already losing the game. She shook her head to clear it. Looking up at him to tell him she couldn’t accept this gift, she saw him gazing fondly at her. A mixture of that same vulnerability and awe, and she realised she had him under her power. He had finally dropped that facade. She noticed it as he spoke softly, even warmly to her.

“I’ve always liked you, you know. You’re beautiful.”

She swallowed hard. He still held her elbow and now he moved upwards, stroking her arms.

Don’t. You’ll regret this. You don’t want to sleep with this man Petra, you don’t. It’ll be a one time fling for him, like all the other women, and you’ll have to face him everyday after this.

Still, she let him stroke her arms then her back until she was caught in his embrace. David’s expression was soft and his eyes told her he meant every word.

“It’s okay” he said, and leaned in to kiss her mouth. She kissed him back with more urgency than she intended. Her body burned with that familiar resentment and then with desire. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she pressed her body to his. He nudged her gently backwards onto the bed, and laid on top of her.

Room service never came. Or perhaps they didn’t hear it in the midst of their passion. She wished they came to interrupt last night’s madness. David left soon after they did… it.

She wondered what that meant. He didn’t stay to cuddle or to talk or even to sleep like most men did after intercourse. Her chest tightened. Was it a mistake? Did he pull one over her?

She felt sick at the possibility of falling prey to him. Could he have planned all of that, just to have the upper hand? Having a one night stand with him, would give him total, complete power over her. Threats of blackmail and complete subordination loomed over her. Quickly, she checked her nightstand. The watch was gone too.

She didn’t see David until that evening at dinner in the hotel restaurant. He was with another pretty woman that she didn’t know. Probably he met her that day. She walked up to their table. “Hi David.”

“Hi Petra. How are you?” He smiled, but the warmth from last night was gone. “This is Michelle.”

The young blonde smiled politely. She sipped some wine from her glass. On the woman’s dainty wrist was the diamond encrusted platinum watch David presented her with only last night. Petra turned cold. Without another word, or thoughts about her next move, she spun on her heels and walked away. She took deep breaths, but it did nothing to stop the burning feeling that bloomed in her chest.

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