The Affair:Week 3

By: Beth Kery

Chapter Eleven

Emma had been fooling herself. It shocked her beyond words that she had the ability to blind her own judgment, to delude herself into not seeing the obvious, like a magician with a sleight of hand.

When she exited the bathroom a few minutes later, she found Mrs. Shaw and Montand—Vanni—in the living room of the suite. His gaze landed on her when she entered the room, but he continued talking with subdued authority to someone on the phone. Ignoring Mrs. Shaw, she found Cristina’s chart and began to make an entry in regard to the death.

“When are they coming to get the body?” Emma asked quietly when Vanni hung up the phone. Just thinking his name in her head caused a bitter taste at the back of her mouth. She continued staring at the page as she wrote methodically in the chart.

“They’ll be here within the hour,” he said. “Vera? Leave us, please.”

Emma blinked in confusion. Who was Vera? Her question was answered when she glanced around and saw Mrs. Shaw hastening out of the room, even if her disapproval seemed to linger.

Her gaze leapt over to him, anxiety rising in her when she recognized they were alone. He stood next to a coffee table, his expression rigid. In his jeans, simple white T-shirt, and with the shadow of dark whiskers, he really might have been the familiar man she had begun to know . . . care about, even. She thought she’d begun to know him. It’d been an illusion—a spell—one she’d cast herself. She’d already thought him way out of her league. Her certainty was greater now that she knew he was that man who liked to tie up and whip women whom he cared nothing about.

It was too much think about the details now that the elusive face from that night—from her dreams—was clear to her.

He studied her for a moment; the silence seemed to swell and billow around them.

“What is it?” he asked quietly. “Did Cristina’s passing upset you that much?”

“No. Yes,” she corrected. She closed her eyes briefly in frustration before she met his stare again. “You’re not who I thought you were.”

His eyebrows furrowed. “What’s that supposed to mean?

“You cut your hair,” she said starkly, lost in her ruminations. “If it’d been long, I might have recognized you.”

Something flickered across his stark features. He took a step toward her, his eyes narrowing dangerously. Emma held her ground, but it took an effort.

“What did you say?” he asked.

Swallowing back an enormous lump in her throat, Emma turned and gathered up the hospice paperwork in preparation to leave. “It’s nothing. It’s not important. You haven’t done anything wrong. It’s me. I’ll inform the hospice and contact the night nurse so that she won’t come—”

“Don’t walk away from me, Emma.”

“I have to,” she said miserably before she could stop herself.

“You’re condemning me for what you saw in there without knowing anything about Cristina and me?” he demanded sharply, pointing to the bedroom. “I thought you were less judgmental than that. I’m disappointed.”

You’re disappointed?

She caught herself just in time from saying the words out loud. He didn’t deserve her angst and agitation. Besides, it wasn’t that. Not really. She wasn’t disappointed. He hadn’t done anything to hurt her on purpose. It was just that he was more than she’d bargained for. How could she explain to him? She couldn’t. It was too humiliating. Too overwhelming. She’d agreed to this affair, but she hadn’t agreed while knowing who he was.

While acknowledging the truth fully, anyway. Now the truth was inescapable, and all Emma wanted to do was hide from it again.

“You just . . . aren’t who I thought you were,” she repeated inadequately.

“Well I’m damn sorry for not being what you expected.”

She turned and left the room, hating his quiet, snarling cynicism . . . despising her cowardice even more.

* * *

She only slept for a few hours a night for the rest of her workweek. When she did finally sleep on Sunday night, it was no relief, because she dreamed.

Again, she was blinded by night and was in Vanni’s arms, his cock piercing her, her flesh quickening and thrilling around him. She was secure in the cocooning darkness, safe to move at her body’s urging and at his command, free to take his intimate touches, glad to hear his hot, whispered words as he took control of their fierce joining.

“Arch your back, Emma. Offer yourself to me.”

Her spine curved in supple acquiescence, thrusting forth her breasts as far as her restraints would allow. Restraints? Yes, she wasn’t on the beach, after all. The dream had shifted. Her wrists were bound securely over her head. Her legs were spread wide, and his cock thrust high inside her, pounding her like a relentless wave. She couldn’t move. She didn’t want to.

“That’s right,” he murmured darkly in her ear as if he’d just heard her thought. “There’s nowhere for you to go now. You can’t escape.”

He thrust so hard that a cry popped out of her throat. It hurt. No . . . it wasn’t pain, it was a knot of pleasure so tight, it felt like a brutal cramp. But then the pressure unfurled, and she was climaxing.

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