Illustrations by LunA
2. LUST FOR A LADY"No, Ellie last saw her around eight," Tracy said. "Three hours later she checked again and Catherine was gone."
"Let me in her room," Grace said.
Tracy unlocked Catherine's room and Grace went inside. An open pair of handcuffs lay on the floor, and the door showed no signs of forced entry. Grace checked the bars on the window. They remained solid and sturdy.
"Damn it, where the hell did she go?"
Grace hurried down the hallway. She passed by an officer guarding the door to the stairwell and headed up to the next floor.
It was Joe's voice. Detective Pratt hurried up the stairs.
"How'd I know you'd get here first?" Joe asked sardonically.
"I think she's still in the building," Grace said.
"Did you check the-"
Joe was interrupted by a blood-curdling scream. The detectives hurried up the stairs, with their guns drawn and ready. They found George Buttrey lying on the landing to the next floor- in a puddle of his own blood. Grace gasped when she saw one of his eyes hanging from its socket. His other eye lay on the floor.
"THAT BITCH! THAT BITCH SCRATCHED OUT MY EYES!" George screamed.
Grace's jaw dropped open, and she covered her open mouth with her hand.
"Whe- where did she go?" Grace said, stammering.
"I DIDN'T FUCKING SEE HER, YOU CUNT!" George screamed. He writhed around, soaking his scrubs in blood and clutching his bloody eye sockets with his hands.
Joe took out his phone.
"We need an ambulance! Tell them to get up here to the fifth floor, now!"
"She can't have gone far! Stay here with him," Grace said.
George screamed and wailed, as he writhed around on the blood-soaked floor.
Grace hurried up the stairs. It seemed counter-intuitive for Catherine to go upstairs rather than down, but she did want to avoid the police. Grace spotted a drop of blood on the next landing and knew Catherine was not far off.
Grace arrived at the top floor, and stopped. Following a hunch, Grace went through a door marked "roof access." She was hit by a gust of cool winter air as she stepped outside. The door slammed behind her, leaving her in near darkness apart from the moonlight.
She spotted something lying nearby. It looked to be a gold chain, lying across from the doorway. Grace ignored it and continued searching the rooftop, sensing what she was searching for was nearby.
Grace almost didn't recognize her. Her hair, which had been mostly black just a few months before, was ghost white. Her powerful stature had diminished into an exhausted slump. She stood at the ledge, staring at the flashing sirens below.
"Stop right there, Catherine!" Grace shouted. She trained her Glock on the withered old woman; ready to fire the second Catherine gave her an excuse.
Catherine slowly turned to face the detective. Grace gasped when saw the toll her time in Havenswood had taken. Varicose veins snaked up her legs, which were barely covered by the flimsy gown the facility provided her. Her hands were little more than skin and bones. Wrinkles lined her face, disclosing her advanced age for the first time in decades.
"She wasn't a virgin," Catherine said, shaking her head. "It has to be virgin blood. Or it won't work. That damn whore lied to me!"
"Move away from the ledge, Catherine!" Grace commanded.
"Or what?" Catherine asked.
Grace paused, realizing Catherine had the upper hand, however insignificant it was. Catherine simply breathed in the cool air.
"He's going to find you, you know," Catherine said. "Lukas likes his privacy. If you keep coming after him, he's going to come after you."
"Unless I find him first," Grace said firmly.
Catherine gave just a hint of a chuckle.
"You might. But it will cost you everything," Catherine said, knowingly. "Your career. Your marriage. Your home. Even your daughters."
Grace arched her eyebrow.
"My daughters?" Grace asked, curiously.
"Yes. Kayla, and the one inside of you right now."
Grace backed away a step.
"I'm not pregnant," Grace said.
"You're not far along," Catherine said. "But you are. And if you care about your childrens' lives, you'll leave Luke alone."
"Not a chance," Grace said. Catherine smirked, almost as if she'd been hoping Grace would ignore her warning.
"DON'T MOVE!" Joe shouted. He hurried across the rooftop and stopped next to Grace, training his gun on Catherine. His arrival didn't alarm Catherine in the slightest.
"Well detectives, I think it's time I said farewell," Catherine said mournfully, turning to face the ledge. She raised her arms like wings; with George's blood still dripping from her fingernails. "I do hope you'll consider my warning, Harker?"
"DO NOT JUMP!" Grace screamed. "DO NOT JU-"
Catherine closed her eyes, and let her body gently fall forward. Grace and Joe rushed to the ledge. Catherine was already on the pavement by the time they saw her. She lay lifelessly on the walkway as a pool of blood grew around her.
"Damn it! You okay?" Joe asked.
"Yeah," Grace said, holstering her weapon. Joe hurried downstairs, and Grace followed.
She reached the roof access door, and stopped. Lying in front of the door was the gold chain she'd noticed before. Curious, she picked it up. She could see a brass key attached to the chain, with the emblem of a skull on the handle. Grace stuffed the key in her pocket to log into evidence.
Catherine was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:12am. Grace sighed and slumped to the ground as she watched the paramedics drape a cloth over Catherine's body.
Joe leaned against the wall next to where Grace sat. He popped a cigarette in his mouth and lit the end.
"Hell of a way to close a case, huh?" Joe asked. The paramedics slammed the ambulance doors shut.
"I could think of worse ways," Grace said.
* * * * *
Grace arrived home hours later. She crept into the house quietly to avoid waking her family. She could hear Ted snoring peacefully in the master bedroom, so she let herself into the bathroom and softly shut the door.
As Grace emptied her pockets onto the bathroom counter, she realized she still had the brass key she picked up from the hospital rooftop. She'd completely forgotten to log that into evidence.
Cursing quietly, she vowed to turn it in the following day and pray the captain would be understanding.
Her encounter with Catherine had rattled her. Not just because she'd killed herself, but what she'd said to her before. Grace should have known better than to let Catherine get inside her head, but she made a stop at a 24-hour drug store to be certain.
Grace removed the pregnancy test from her shopping bag, which she'd hidden inside her jacket in case Ted was awake. She knew it was crazy. She knew there was no way, even if she was pregnant, that Catherine could accurately know that. But she also knew she'd been feeling ill lately, had cramps, a slight weight gain, and her period was overdue. All of those things could have been because of stress or lack of sleep, but there was no harm in testing.
Grace dropped her pants and sat on the toilet, and urinated onto the strip. She could feel her heart pounding; somehow she found herself dreading the result. When she finished, she tapped the strip onto the toilet seat, and waited patiently for the result. While she waited, she looked at the brass key that lay on the counter top. The red eyes stared back at her knowingly. The key looked old, expertly crafted, possibly a valuable antique- and it gave her the willies. Grace stuffed it into the top drawer and shut it tightly.
When five minutes had passed, Grace examined the strip. Negative. Grace let out a nervous chuckle and tossed the strip into the trash. She crumpled the box and decided to tell no one about this. She couldn't afford to appear unstable again. Not while she was on a case this important.
Content with the pregnancy test's answer, Grace stripped out of her clothes and turned on the shower. The ceiling lights flickered momentarily. Grace grabbed her silver wedding band and pulled it from her finger, and found it would not budge. She considered perhaps if her weight gain was to continue she would need to get it re-sized.
Deciding to leave the band on, Grace stepped into the shower and basked in the warm spray. The water washed across her body and soothed her nerves.
The lights flickered once again, and suddenly the room went dark.
"Damn it," Grace whispered, and wondered if she kept a spare flashlight in the cabinet. She was about to check when a candle resting on the bathroom shelf suddenly ignited. Grace looked around the room, confused. There was nothing that could have lit the candle, which now illuminated the room with a dim glow.
Grace heard her name, not with her ears, but in her mind.
"Who's there?" Grace called out, her voice cracking.
All she could hear was the spray of water splashing into the tub. She grabbed the shower curtain nervously. She was nearly about to exit the tub when she felt a pair of arms wrap around her.
Grace squealed, and turned to face her intruder. There was a man, a naked man, standing in the shower with her. He stared at her and smiled wickedly.
There was no mistaking who this man was. Dark eyes, narrow brows, he was the same man Grace had been tracking and investigating for the past three months.
"Hello, Grace," Lukas said.
Grace felt her heart come to a standstill. Lukas stepped towards her. He did not flinch when the water sprayed him in the face. He stepped through the stream until he was mere inches away from her.
"Oh my-" Grace began, but was at a loss for words. This man was Lukas Balko, no doubt. But Lukas Balko was ninety-eight years old. The man standing before her looked exactly as Lukas did- in the 1940s.
He was strong, solid and muscular. His abs were toned and well defined. She could see a scar on his chest; it looked as though a crucifix had been branded onto his pectoral muscle. She didn't dare look down, but through the corner of her eye, in the dim light of the candle, she could see the silhouette of his penis, long and thick, hanging between his legs.
"It's so nice to finally meet you, Grace," Lukas said.
"You're... you're-" It took a moment for Grace to register the magnitude of how much danger she was in. She opened her mouth to scream, but Lukas placed his finger to her lips.
"Shh. You don't want to wake your family. I didn't come here to hurt them."
"What- do you want from me?" she stammered.
"Grace. You know who I am. You know what I do."
He was right. She knew exactly why he was here. The images of Gabby Becket's and Riley Pierson's crime scene photos flashed in her mind. Their twisted, naked bodies sprawled across the floor. Brutal scratches in their skin. Semen leaking from their orifices. And their blood drained from their bodies.
Grace knew exactly why Lukas was here. He intended to rape and murder her, and leave her bloodless body for her husband to find.
"No! Please don't!" Grace cried, shaking. Years as a detective, and here she was reduced to a blubbering mess when actually confronted by a monster. She wondered if the coroner would know how frightened she was when he examined her corpse tomorrow.
"Grace. Please," Lukas said. "If you care for your family's lives, you'll remain quiet and obedient. And let me-" he placed his hands on Grace's hips, "-do what I do."
Grace's body trembled within Lukas' grasp.
"Do not worry," Lukas said. "They will sleep soundly, the best sleep they've ever had. And they will discover your body in the morning, when I'm long gone. This will happen, if you submit to me, and let me do what I do. Will you do that for me, Grace?"
Grace felt her heart race as she looked up to meet his gaze. He was strong, far too strong for her to overpower him. The autopsy photos of Gabby Becket and Riley Pierson flashed in her head once again. They were not weak women. Both were athletic, healthy and young, yet Lukas had raped and sodomized both women before he'd murdered them, and drained every drop of blood from their bodies. Now, he intended to do the same to her. And to protect her family, Grace was going to let him. She looked Lukas in the eye and nodded.
His penis swelled with excitement at this. He loved the complacent, submissive expression on a victim's face when she accepted her fate. It was almost as enjoyable as the act itself.
"Good. Now, on your knees," Lukas said.
Grace knelt down, bringing herself eye-level to Lukas' penis. It was large, much larger than her husband's was, and uncircumcised. She grabbed the penis, and marveled briefly at the size, before pressing the tip to her lips.
She sucked it, slowly but briefly, before Lukas spoke.
"All the way in, Grace."
Grace paused, tentatively, before sliding the erect member all the way into her mouth. She licked the head and sucked the shaft as she always did, but reluctantly, for the good of her family.
Lukas moaned, basking in the erotic touch of Grace's lips. Precum seeped from his penis and onto her tongue. It tasted like her father's semen, foul and rancid, but Grace continued on anyway. This wasn't the first time she had subjected herself to rape to protect a loved one, but at least it would be the last.
She sucked him for several long minutes. She hoped he would cum soon, and dreaded it just the same. Lukas then stopped her, and removed his swollen phallus from her mouth.
"Rise," he commanded.
Grace wiped her lips with the back of her hand, and rose to her feet to face her tormentor. He leaned in close to her, so she could feel his cold breath on her neck.
Surrender to me. Give me your soul. Give me everything.
Grace felt her body go limp. He grabbed her by the hip with one hand, and her shoulder with the other. He held her against the shower wall and stepped towards her.
Tears poured from her eyes as she felt Lukas move into her. He penetrated her vagina quickly and fully, leaving her gasping at the sudden violation of her body. He rubbed against her viciously, like a wild beast devouring its prey. Grace let out a cry of despair, which led Luke to silence her with a quick hand across her mouth.
"Quiet now, quiet now," Lukas whispered. "You must endure this. You'll be in Hell with the other girls soon enough."
He treated Grace to a vision. She could see dozens of naked women being consumed by fire. They screamed and wailed, writhing about on the burning ground, as fire licked their flesh and filled their bodies with eternal agony. She recognized Gabby, and Riley, and many, many others.
Soon, Grace, soon.
Lukas ended the vision, and brought Grace back to reality, the reality of being savagely raped. Grace sobbed, and begged for mercy. Her cries fell on deaf ears. Lukas was in full beast mode, devouring his prey and savoring her flavor. Grace could do nothing but endure it.
"Stop!" Grace begged. "Please stop, please!"
"Never," Lukas said with glee. He continued to thrust inside her, growing more and more excited the more Grace sobbed. She cried until she could cry no more. It was only after she went silent that Lukas finally withdrew, and stared at her hungrily.
"Turn around," he said.
Obediently, Grace did as he asked.
Grace nodded. Not even her father had ever raped her this way, but with Lukas, Grace knew it was inevitable. She rested her forehead against the shower wall and stuck out her bottom for Lukas to claim.
It didn't hurt as much as she expected. He slid inside her with relative ease. But when he began to thrust, the discomfort was near unbearable. Grace squeezed her palms against the shower wall and prayed he would finish quickly.
Lukas grabbed Grace's hips, and massaged her buttocks as he rubbed his member between them. He could have ejaculated any time he wished, but held back. Her pitiful crying, her squirms of discomfort, all of it prolonged his enjoyment and intensified his pleasure. He wished he could do this to her forever. When he got her to Hell, he promised himself he would.
His excitement reached a crescendo, and he exploded inside her anus. Grace could feel his cool cream fill her rectum, and she let out a relieved sigh in the midst of her tears. Lukas withdrew his penis, letting some of his aftercum dribble down her thigh. Grace stood up, but felt Lukas' arms pull her towards him.
"It's time," Lukas said. Grace felt hope seep from her body, as Lukas placed his lips to her neck. "It's time to say goodbye to this world, Grace. You will be very useful to me in the next."
She tried to think. She tried to summon a way to fight him, or stop him, but she was empty-handed and in the beast's grasp, and she could not fathom a way out. Lukas sprouted a set of fangs, and Grace felt a shock wave through her heart. She struggled to escape her imminent doom, but Lukas held onto her firmly, and sank his fangs into her throat.
Grace went still. She could feel her blood leaving her body; she could feel Lukas sucking it from her, like a vortex absorbing her soul. Her strength diminished with every passing second, until she could no longer stand, but simply hang in Lukas' grasp.
Feeling as though she was not long for the world, Grace took a final gasp of air, and readied herself for death.
No, she decided.
With all of her might, she raised her arms. They felt like they were made of cinder blocks, but Grace lifted them up. She grabbed Lukas' arm with her right hand, and pulled with all of her remaining strength.
His arm did not budge. It was as if he was a statue and she were a flea, powerless to budge him. Grace pulled hard, but what remained of her strength gave out. The more blood of hers he drank, the stronger his grasp became. Grace grabbed him one last time, first with her right hand, then her left.
Her silver wedding band hissed as it touched Lukas' skin, and he let out an inhuman howl. He immediately released his grasp, dropping Grace into the tub. She used her limp arms to break her fall, but was too weak to pull herself up again. Reaching behind her, Grace grabbed Lukas' ankle, and he screamed again, and leaped from the tub.
"You little bitch!" Lukas hissed. He stared down at Grace threateningly, hunching like an animal.
Grace clutched her neck with her right hand, desperately trying to keep the remainder of her blood inside her, and grabbed the tub rim with her left. Lukas backed away when he saw the silver ring come near him.
"I'll tear off your hand!" Lukas cried, his voice hoarse and demonic.
The bathroom door burst open, and Ted Harker stood in the doorframe wielding Grace's Glock. His jaw dropped at the sight of the naked man in his bathroom with blood dripping from his lips, and of his wife with blood gushing from her throat.
Lukas hissed at Ted. Trembling, Ted aimed his gun, but did not fire. His hands shook. His finger was on the trigger, but he could not pull it. Lukas simply leered at him menacingly. He turned his attention to Grace, dismissing Ted's presence as a mere distraction.
"You'll pay for this, you bitch!" Lukas screamed at the cowering Grace. "Everyone you love will pay!"
Lukas charged out of the bathroom, knocking Ted to the floor as he did, and galloped away like a feral horse. The subsequent sound of smashing glass made evident that Lukas had escaped out the Harkers' living room window.
A loud cry came from Kayla's bedroom, prompting Grace to pull herself up from the sticky puddle where she lay. She only caught a glimpse of the massive pool of blood beneath her, that coated the entire bottom of the bathtub with a bright red glow, when she passed into unconsciousness.
* * * * *
She dreamed she was at her grandparents' cottage. She looked to be around ten, her sister a few years younger, as they played in the backyard. Grace ran to the cliff side, looking down at the waves crashing against the shoreline several dozen feet below. She was careful; her grandmother warned her about getting to close to the edge to the cliff, but the beauty of the crashing waves from this distance was too great for Grace not to look.
"Grace! Nora! Dinner!" her grandmother shouted from the kitchen window.
Grace and Nora hurried back to the house, racing each other as they had so many times before. Grace arrived at the doorstep first, as she always did when Nora didn't have a head start.
Grace opened the front door to see her grandfather seated in the easy chair. He smiled at the girls as they walked inside, while he cut a small block of wood into the shape of a soldier with his pocketknife. Grace and Nora ran to the kitchen where their grandmother set dinner onto the table.
It was one of the few places where Grace was genuinely happy. Here she felt loved, and protected. Being at the cottage meant one thing: her father was in jail. Grace and Nora came here every time Ed Dwyer was in lockup.
A dark cloud approached ominously from the ocean.
"Storm's coming," her grandmother said, shutting the window. "You girls might have to stay in tonight."
Grace didn't mind. The storm would pass.
Here, she was safe.
* * * * *
Grace awoke, and heard a heart monitor spike as she did. A breathing tube was in her nose, and an IV was in her arm. Grace looked around the room to see flowers on the windowsill, and a "How are you feeling?" pain chart posted on the wall of this unfamiliar room. She felt little pain incidentally, but instead found she was extremely groggy.
Grace could hear someone to her right. She turned to see who it was, but the bandage on her neck prevented her from moving her head.
Whoever it was knew she was awake, and walked to her bedside.
"Hey there, sunshine!" Nora said.
Grace broke into a full smile.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, incredulously. She cringed at the raspy sound of her voice. It hurt to talk, but she was too happy to remain silent.
"A girl's got to look out for her big sister," Nora said. "How ya feeling?"
Nora squeezed Grace's hand and gave her a smile.
"Like I got hit by a train," Grace said. She had to think for a moment why she was here.
Sensing her confusion, Nora replied, "You were attacked. Stabbed in the neck, twice. You lost a lot of blood. Fortunately, I had some to spare."
Grace noticed a sticker reading "Be nice to me. I gave blood today" on Nora's blouse. She also noticed Nora was wearing a pencil skirt and high heels.
"Did you just get off work?" Grace asked.
Nora chuckled. "Like, four hours ago. I was hoping I'd be here when you woke up."
Grace was grateful she was. She looked around the room; trying to take in everything at once and feeling exhausted as she did.
"Down the hall, sleeping. He's been up all night. His parents are watching Kayla."
Grace breathed a sigh of relief.
"Will you let him know I'm awake?" Grace asked.
As she stepped out of the room, Grace looked at her hands, and found, to her horror, her wedding band was gone.
"Oh my God," Grace panicked. "Where is it? WHERE IS IT?"
A nurse entered Grace's room, and smiled as she saw Grace was awake.
"We were worried about you!" the nurse said.
"Where's my wedding ring?" Grace demanded.
The nurse stopped.
"The doctors had to remove it. Whenever a patient is brought in, we-"
"Give it back! I need it!" Grace cried. She was in near hysterics.
The nurse hurried over to the far end of the hospital room and opened the top drawer. She removed a clear plastic zip lock bag and handed it to Grace.
"I'm sorry. The doctors were unable to remove it, so they had to break it," the nurse said.
Grace examined the plastic bag to find her silver wedding band broken in two pieces.
"No-" Grace stared up at the nurse, pleadingly. The nurse shook her head sadly.
Grace removed the broken ring from the bag and squeezed both pieces in her palm.
"The doctor would like to speak with you," the nurse said, consolingly. Grace nodded to let her know she was ready to hear from him.
The doctor arrived, accompanied by Nora and Ted. Ted rushed to Grace's side and took her hand.
"You gave us quite a scare," the doctor said, smiling. His shiny bald head glowed in the dimly lit hospital room.
"How long was I out?" Grace asked.
"Two days," the doctor said. "You suffered severe blood loss. Fortunately you got some donations, and we were able to save the baby as well."
"What?" Grace asked.
The doctor looked at Ted.
"We weren't sure if you knew," the doctor said. "You're pregnant. Just a few weeks along. Hopefully too early for any damage to the baby."
"Oh my God," Grace said. "It's a girl, isn't it?"
The doctor shook his head.
"Too soon to tell. For now I want you to get some rest. When you're feeling up for it your partner wants to ask you some questions."
The heart monitor spiked. Thousands of thoughts poured through Grace's head. A baby. She was going to have a baby. The news was a shock, and yet it wasn't. Somehow she knew. Catherine. Catherine had known. How could Catherine...
The doctor left, and Nora raced over and gave Grace a warm hug.
"Congratulations!" Nora squealed.
Ted had tears in his eyes as he gave Grace a long kiss on her lips. He stopped, only to see Grace looking back at him, terrified.
"Ted," Grace began, "what are we going to do?"
* * * * *
The hospital had a playground just outside the rear entrance. After taking a few days to rest, Grace was able to walk down to the park to watch Kayla play while she spoke to Detective Pratt. Joe took a seat on the park bench next to his recovering partner.
"We confirmed it was Balko," Joe said. "The DNA he left on you, it matched him at near a hundred percent."
Grace stared off into the sky.
"It was him. I'm sure of it," she said.
Joe flipped through a few papers in the folder he carried.
"There's just one thing though," Joe said. "Your husband said he saw a young guy. Late twenties. But Balko is ninety-eight according to our file. How the hell is that possible?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," Grace said. She took a sip of coffee as she watched Kayla scurry across the playground. Kayla tripped, prompting Grace to jump in panic until she saw Kayla climb to her feet and continue running.
"Try me," Joe said.
Grace looked Joe in the eye.
"Balko can assume the form of his younger self. My husband aimed a gun at him and it didn't even phase him. The only thing that hurt him was when I touched him with my wedding ring. The silver- I think it burned him. That's why he ran away."
Joe stared back at Grace.
"I'm supposed to put this in my report?" he asked.
Grace sneered at the accusation. Joe sighed.
"Look, you were bleeding pretty bad at the time. Do you suppose it's possible- you imagined some of what happened?"
"Ask my husband if I imagined it," Grace said.
"I did. He thinks the guy was on drugs. He guessed bath salts."
"I can only tell you what I saw," Grace said.
Grace couldn't blame Joe for having trouble accepting her story, but it hurt her all the same. Her memory of Lukas biting her neck and sucking her blood was ingrained in her memory; and she did not accept the possibility she'd merely imagined that. Until she could get proof, Grace saw no use in trying to convince Joe of what she already knew. Lukas was a living demon.
"You know, I've had this theory," Joe said. "What if we got it wrong? That the guy we're chasing isn't Lukas Balko? Maybe some guy who lived with him, a family relative? It would be easier to explain than a centenarian raping all those women."
Grace shook her head mournfully.
"It was him, Joe. I saw his eyes."
Joe sighed, and slapped his folder on his lap.
"Okay, if you say so."
"Uncle Joe, will you give me a push?" Kayla shouted, sitting on the swing set.
Joe looked at Grace.
"Go for it," Grace said, smiling.
"Sure kiddo!" Joe said. He ran towards the swing set and gave Kayla a mighty push, sending her soaring into air and swinging back again. As Joe pushed Kayla again, Ted approached the bench, and sat down next to his wife.
"You tell her about the baby yet?" Ted asked.
"Soon," Grace said.
* * * * *
Going home didn't feel like going home. Grace didn't feel safe in her own house. The entire ride back from the hospital, Grace found herself remembering the Beckets' home. How Dylan and Jaclyn had mounted a cross in every room of their house. She remembered the broken window in Jaclyn's bedroom. It was when Ted pulled into the driveway and Grace saw the broken front window of her own home that it all came together.
Dylan and Jaclyn had been attacked by Balko. They'd fought him off somehow, only to die soon afterward at the hands of his sister. But they'd found a way to keep him out of their home.
Grace made a trip to the local Christian community store and stocked up on wooden crosses and holy water, and got her wedding band repaired and re-sized to fit her new pregnancy-sized fingers. When Lukas came back, and she was sure he would try, she would be prepared.
Ted walked in the front door to see Grace nailing a cross to the wall of the house and guffawed.
"You've got to be kidding me."
Grace turned to her husband and sneered.
"Clearly I can't count on my husband to keep fucks out of my house."
Grace swung the hammer and missed, and slammed it down against her thumb.
"God damn it!" Grace squealed.
Ted stormed out of the room. Grace dropped her hammer, and grabbed her swollen thumb painfully. She shouldn't have said that, she knew it, but when everyone including her own husband had dismissed her, she could only contain her temper so much.
She hurried to the bathroom to grab a bandage. She felt a sense of unease walking into the bathroom again. There was still a faint orange tint in the bathtub that she would need to scrub out when she got the chance.
She opened the top drawer, grabbed a bandage, and wrapped it around her thumb. It was then that she remembered the key. The one she'd found on the roof of the hospital when Catherine jumped. Grace remembered she had brought it home, and placed in the top drawer.
Grace looked in the drawer again, only to find the key was gone. She searched every drawer, and the pockets of the pants she wore that night, but found no trace of it. Had Balko taken it? Or perhaps the police took it when examining the scene? Grace made a mental note to inquire the next time she went to work.
With a cross mounted in very room, and a glass of holy water on every windowsill, Grace felt a shade safer. Praying her new home security system would even be effective; Grace checked and double-checked the cross she'd mounted in Kayla's room. No doubt Balko would come after her, if he couldn't have Grace. She placed a small silver-plated cross necklace around her daughter's neck, and prayed that would keep the young toddler safe.
For now, all she could do was wait.
* * * * *
A month passed, and Balko had yet to exact vengeance on the Harker family. While Grace took this to mean her home defense was effective, Ted was more of the opinion Balko was biding his time. Both he and Grace slept better knowing Grace's sidearm was not far from her bedside, but only Grace feared the gun was not the weapon that would help them. She kept her silver wedding band on at all times, even when she showered and slept, waiting for Balko to strike.
Ted crept into Grace's office one night, unsurprised to find that once again she was on her laptop, scouring the Internet for clues to Lukas Balko's whereabouts. He rested his hands on Grace's shoulders. She flinched momentarily, then relaxed after recognizing her husband.
"Sorry," Ted said. "Any luck?"
"Nada," Grace said. She rubbed the side of her neck where her twin scabs were gradually healing.
Ted kissed Grace on her cheek, and slowly ran his palms down her sides.
"Ted, no!" Grace snapped. She grabbed his hands and pulled them from her.
"What the hell, Grace!" Ted snapped. "It's been a month! What's it going to take to get my wife back?"
Grace spun around in her chair shot a glare at her husband.
"I was raped, Ted!" Grace snapped. "That bastard was going to-" she trailed off, breaking into tears.
Ted stared out the window.
"I know. It was a month ago, and you won't get counseling, you won't talk to me about it, you won't-"
"It doesn't work!" Grace shouted. "I got counseling when I was a kid. It didn't help me then; it won't help me now. This is just something I have to deal with!"
In spite of her husband's, and Joe's insistence, Grace had put off getting any professional help after her attack. The hours she'd wasted as a teenager, struggling to make her therapist understand what it was like being abused by her father left her more angry than comforted.
Being a detective was the only therapy that worked for Grace. Using her wits to track down criminal scum and slapping handcuffs on them did more good for her mental health than all the hours talking with a shrink ever had. If her family and friends could understand this, Grace wondered if that would be enough to make her all right again. She would never know.
"What am I supposed to do?" her husband asked. "How can I help you?"
"You can stay out of my way," Grace said. "Things will get better. I promise."
"I'm going to the gym."
He slammed the door on his way out.
* * * * *
The Harper Hills Fitness Center was open twenty-four hours a day, but after ten p.m. on weekdays there were few patrons. The parking lot was empty save for a bus when Ted pulled up. He grabbed his gym bag and headed inside.
The facility was equipped with a gym, pool, and an outdoor track behind the building. It looked as though the San Amaury University women's swim team was practicing in the pool, leaving the gym empty.
Ted made his way into the locker room where he quickly changed into a T-shirt and shorts and stashed his gym bag into a locker. He slammed the locker shut, and winced as the sound echoed throughout the locker room.
He was glad he was alone. If he stayed around Grace any longer, he would have said something he would have regretted. Instead he would take his anger out on the exercise machines.
Ted started on a chest press machine. He took a seat, grabbed the handlebars, and pushed them forward. Steadily, and repeatedly, he pushed the bars forward and backward, lifting the heavy weight behind him.
He was a few lifts into his set when he noticed he wasn't alone in the gym. A few rows in front of him, a young woman ran on a treadmill. She wore a black tank top and yoga pants, and had her brown hair tied into a ponytail.
Ted watched her as she ran. Her ass- she filled out her yoga pants so nicely with her round, firm ass; bounced pleasantly with each step she took while her ponytail bobbed up and down. He found himself imagining how her ass would feel cupped in his hands- if he could only run his palms across her cheeks and squeeze them.
He would squeeze them together, pull them apart, and rub them up and down. He loved to touch his wife's ass this way while she lay on top of him while they made love. But this woman's bottom was just a little bigger, and a little curvier; it would be such a pleasure to explore something new after four years of marriage, especially when the intimacy had been a bit lacking as of late.
Ted got up and moved to a different machine to get a better view of the running babe. The excitement of watching her ass move about kept him exercising longer than he'd normally be able. He thought he might have topped his best time, but he hadn't been keeping track on account of being distracted.
The woman stopped the treadmill and hopped off. In a stunning display, the woman peeled off her tank top, revealing a tight sports bra underneath. Panting, she carried her tank top in her hand and made her way down the aisle to the elliptical machine.
For the briefest moment, their eyes met. The woman shot him a smile, a warm, sweet smile. It made Ted's heart skip. Her breasts were large, at least a D cup, perhaps more. Her sports bra didn't quite contain the massive mammaries, as quite a bit of cleavage peeked out the top. Ted certainly wouldn't have minded if the woman had elected to dispense with the bra as well.
As his energy gradually wore down, Ted lifted extra hard, hoping to impress his sexy gym companion, but the woman had already averted her gaze. He continued anyway, hoping she might look his way before he wore out.
Several lifts later, Ted was finally feeling the strong burning sensation in his arms and decided to take a rest. He stole another glance at the exercising lady, admiring her ass as well as her firm muscular thighs. With her energy, Ted was certain she had to be a wildcat between the sheets. She definitely knew how to keep her body looking good.
As it was, she was not the only woman in the gym who knew how to look good; the swim team was finally making their way out of the pool. Ted took a swig from his water bottle as he casually watched through the window at the assortment of blondes, brunettes, and a few redheads climbing out of the water, drenched in their uniform blue and white one-pieces. Their wet swimsuits clung to their curvy figures tightly, while their bare legs glowed under the bright fluorescent lights.
If Ted were a few years younger, and not married, he would definitely have been in there getting phone numbers. Instead, he simply watched; his college days long behind him.
It was then that he realized he was sporting a rather sizable erection. His shorts did not conceal it well. The bathing beauties were making their way to the locker room and unable to see him, and the yoga pants babe was still exercising, but Ted felt it necessary to be wary in any case.
He headed outside, and hit the track, running as quickly as he could.
All of his frustration came out in one long burst of energy, sending him storming down the well-lit but empty track under the starlight. He ran lap after lap, reflecting on the gorgeous women parading into the locker room where their bathing suits would soon be removed.
Between them and the yoga pants babe, and the lack of privacy at home, Ted found himself seriously considering masturbating in the gym locker room. His erection was not going to go away on its own tonight. Even after a long run the adrenaline rush would stay with him. He would have to do it. The alternative would be lying awake in bed next to his unresponsive wife for the rest of the night, and being exhausted in the morning.
With his mind made up, Ted headed back inside. The gym and pool were both empty, so Ted would have the locker room to himself. He could do it in the shower. Perhaps he would be able to overhear the women through the ventilation shaft and stroke himself to the sound of their laughter while they showered. Ted smiled to himself at the thought.
Before he made his way into the men's locker room, Ted grabbed a cup of complimentary decaf provided by the gym. There wasn't much left in the vat. He squeezed the very last of the warm liquid into a paper cup and headed into the locker room, taking small sips as he went.
Ted quickly stripped and stuffed his clothes into his locker, while leaving his coffee on the bench. He still had a semi-erection, and determined he would take care of business before washing himself off and heading home.
Wearing only flip-flops, Ted headed towards the shower with his towel in hand, when he noticed a purple gym bag lying on the floor. It wasn't there when he arrived.
And then he heard the shower turn on.
Ted edged towards the shower and peeked inside. There he saw the yoga pants woman, no longer wearing her yoga pants or anything for that matter, standing under the shower nozzle and basking in the warm stream.
Ted let out a gasp, louder than he intended, and the woman turned around. She screamed, covered her large breasts with her palms, then awkwardly shot one hand downwards to cover her well-trimmed pussy with one hand while attempting to cover both breasts with her other.
"I- I am SO sorry!" the woman squealed. "I- the ladies shower was completely full, and, I thought you'd left, and-"
The woman looked Ted in the eye, then her eyes drifted downwards at his penis, and quickly shot back up to his face.
She scampered out of the water and quickly wrapped a towel around herself.
"There's usually no one here this late! I-"
"It's all right!" Ted chuckled. He wrapped his towel around his waist; not realizing his erection still protruded through.
"I'll be out of here in just a second!" the woman said. Ted was about to tell her it was fine, and she was welcome to stay, but stopped, realizing the invitation would be inappropriate. She picked up her gym bag and set it on the bench, accidentally knocking over Ted's coffee. The brown liquid spilled onto the tiled floor.
"Oh God!" the woman cried out. "This is not my night! Let me get you a new coffee!"
"It's all right! I'm going home soon anyway," Ted assured her.
"I am so sorry about this," the woman repeated, as she opened a locker. She quickly stuffed the contents inside her gym bag, while Ted stepped into the shower to turn off the water. It was then that he noticed the pink rubber dildo resting on the soap shelf. He glanced back at the woman, who looked first at him, and then at the dildo.
Her face dropped. She opened her mouth, as if to say the rubber phallus wasn't hers, and then shut her mouth, and her face glowed deep red. She hurried into the shower, grabbed the dildo, and stuffed it into her gym bag.
"Don't judge! My husband is NEVER around!" the woman said, defensively.
"Don't worry. My wife hasn't touched me in weeks. I know the feeling."
They stared at each other, neither saying a word.
"So, you come here at night to work out?" the woman laughed, nervously.
"Yeah, that's how these things go."
She shrugged understandingly.
"Listen, let me buy you a new coffee. It's the least I can do."
"That won't be necessary. I'm just going to get showered and head home."
"Maybe some other time," the woman said. "I'm here most nights. Days too."
Ted detected a trace of hopefulness in her voice.
"Hope it won't be too awkward running into me again," he said. The woman laughed.
"I'm Liana," she said, extending her hand. Ted shook it.
"Ted. You take care of yourself, Liana."
"I will," Liana said, finally smiling. She hurried out of the locker room, still wrapped in only a towel and carrying her gym bag. As she left, she passed two young men entering.
"Sorry!" she said to the men, and scampered out of the room.
The two men looked at Ted, impressed.
"It's not what you think," Ted said.
* * * * *
He arrived home shortly after one. Grace winced when he opened the bedroom door, shining the hallway light in her face. Ted quickly shut off the light and slid under the covers next to her. Grace rolled away from him. He hadn't masturbated in the shower on account of the two men arriving, and now being in bed next to his wife, he found that his erection had returned.
He rested his hand on her hip, and gently tugged on her panties. She responded by grabbing his wrist and pushing his hand off her.
Ted sighed, and rolled onto his back. He stared at the ceiling, while visions of Liana's naked body played in his mind. He didn't sleep a wink the entire night.
* * * * *
Kayla hopped onto the seat next to her mother and held her head to Grace's belly.
"I don't hear any baby!" Kayla said.
"It's still too small," Grace said, patting Kayla's blonde hair understandingly. The obstetrician handed Grace an envelope.
"Here's your copy to keep!" the doctor said. Grace opened the envelope and showed the contents to her daughter.
"There it is!" Grace said, holding the ultrasound image for Kayla to see.
"That's a baby?" Kayla asked, incredulously.
"It's still growing," the obstetrician said, smiling at the little girl. "A few more weeks and it will start to look more like a baby."
Kayla examined the grainy ultrasound image carefully.
"When will she be born?" Kayla asked.
"Well, we don't know if it will be a boy or girl yet, but right now, the due date is October 31. A Halloween baby!" The obstetrician chuckled.
"Wow, I hope she's born in time to take her trick or treating!" Kayla exclaimed. Grace and the doctor laughed.
"Well, take care Grace, and I'll see you in a month!" the obstetrician said. He walked out of the room, and Grace slipped the ultrasound image back into the envelope.
As Grace walked Kayla out of the obstetrician's office, Kayla turned to her mother.
"Can we name her Kristina?" Kayla asked.
"Maybe. But it might be a boy, Kayla."
"I think it will be a girl," Kayla said, matter-of-factly.
"Oh? And why is that?" Grace asked.
"The lady in my closet told me," Kayla said, casually.
Grace looked at Kayla, disconcerted.
* * * * *
With a baby on the way, the Harkers determined it was time Ted found a job. A second stream of income would be vital for the growing family, particularly when it was time for Grace's maternity leave.
To Kayla's great displeasure, this also meant the little girl would need to be enrolled in daycare.
"Daddy! I don't want to go!"
"Kayla, we talked about this," Ted said, kneeling down to face his tearful daughter. "Besides, look at how much fun it is here!"
Kayla turned to look at the other young children running around the play area. She had never been left in the care of anyone she did not know before. She clung to her father, and refused to let go.
"Kayla, you'll be fine," Ted said. He checked the cross necklace around Kayla's neck. "You still got the necklace mommy wants you to wear?"
"Keep that on, and you'll be safe here. I promise."
Kayla bid her father a tearful goodbye as he made his way out the door. Jenny, the daycare assistant, gently took Kayla's hand.
"Hey there! You ready to play musical chairs?" Jenny asked the anxious toddler. Kayla walked apprehensively with the assistant and joined the other children.
Ted had an interview at a marketing firm called J.T. Levinson. It was his first interview in years, and he clearly needed practice. Ted fumbled his response to a few of his interviewer's questions, both in part due to his lack of interview practice and his being distracted by the interviewer's very attractive secretary.
Ted never did get the opportunity to squeeze his sausage after his night at the gym, and that was a week earlier. Nor was Grace receptive to any of Ted's attempts to initiate sex in the meantime, leaving Ted high and dry.
It was little surprise that when Ted caught a glimpse of the leggy blonde in the tight miniskirt passing by the office door that Ted found himself incapable of concentrating.
At the end of the interview, Ted shook his interviewer's hand, and was told he would be contacted soon regarding his decision. Ted forced a smile, trying not to disclose his disappointment at clearly not passing the interview.
Ted sneaked another peek at the secretary as he exited the office, but all he could see was her tight round behind as she was bent over her filing cabinet. Ted averted his eyes and quickly made his way out of the building, trying to conceal his erection along the way.
He was in a nervous sweat when he re-entered his car. He unzipped his dress slacks and let his throbbing penis out for air. Ted let out a deep breath. He hadn't been this sexually frustrated since he was a teenager.
As he stared out the windshield across the crowded parking lot, Ted caught sight of a billboard across the street. The billboard depicted a stunningly sexy woman in a string bikini and large bold letters reading "TOP CATS: GENTLEMEN'S CLUB" and below that: "TOTALLY NUDE DANCERS."
Ted pulled the sun visor down to block his view of the billboard, and promptly took out his phone. He entered Grace's number on the speed dial and waited for her to answer.
"Hello?" Grace greeted.
"Hey hon, what'cha doing?"
"I'm at the station, closing a case. How'd your interview go?"
"It went well," Ted replied, trailing off. "Listen, you think you can sneak out of the station for a bit?"
"What for?" Grace asked.
"Well, Kayla's at day care, I thought maybe we could meet up at home for a bit for a quickie?"
"Ted, I'm at WORK!" Grace snapped.
"I just thought, maybe, you could find some time..."
Ted stopped talking when he realized Grace had hung up on him. He slammed his phone down angrily on the passenger seat. He lifted the visor and looked back at the billboard. Below the bikini-clad dancer's busty breasts were the words "OFF ROUTE 9."
Ted started his car and sped out of the parking lot. As he waited for traffic to clear, he deliberated which direction to turn. As a semi passed, and left the nearest lane open, Ted pulled into the street, and took the exit to Route 9.
* * * * *
A sultry brunette in a ripped belly shirt and pink thong had her legs wrapped around the pole when Ted walked in. Ted took a seat at an empty table and watched the sexy stripper twirl around and around, sending the aroma of her sweet perfume in his direction. He inhaled deeply and felt his penis twitch.
Spinning, the dancer descended the pole, until she lay flat on the stage. Rolling over seductively, she crawled on all fours towards the edge of the platform, where a grinning patron had a dollar ready to slip into her garter.
Ted found himself reaching for his own wallet when he saw a cup of coffee placed on the table in front of him.
"On the house," the server said. Ted looked up to see a familiar face smiling sweetly at him.
"Liana!" Ted said with surprise.
Ted's unexpected shower companion from the previous week took a seat beside him.
"I did owe you a coffee, didn't I?"
"I didn't know they served coffee in strip bars."
"It's from the employee lounge," Liana said.
Ted looked Liana up and down. She was in a cleavage-baring blue dress with a sparkling necklace resting on her delicate shoulders.
"You- work here?" Ted asked, incredulously.
"My husband is the owner," Liana clarified. "He's usually out with one of the dancers, hence my need to engage is certain activities when I get some alone time."
"Sorry about that."
"Don't be. I shouldn't have been in there anyway," Liana said.
Ted turned his attention to the stage to see the brunette dancer had shed her belly shirt and bra, leaving her large breasts to swing about in rhythm with her twirls around the pole.
"How about you? Things any better with the wife?" Liana asked.
Ted turned his attention back towards Liana, and shook his head.
"She's been so tired lately. With her pregnancy and being busy at work, she never has the energy when we finally get to bed."
Liana touched Ted's arm sympathetically.
"That's terrible. You're a man. You have needs."
"Yeah, it's not easy being a father."
"Would you like me to arrange a private dance for you with one of the girls?" Liana asked. "Anything goes behind closed doors."
"I- don't know if I want to take that step. I came here, just to, you know, look-"
Liana nodded in understanding.
"You want to be faithful to your wife," she said, sounding almost impressed.
"Yeah," Ted sighed. He watched the dancer on stage remove her g-string and toss it across the bar. It landed on Ted's table. She shot Ted a wink and continued wiggling her bare ass.
"I think Destiny's taken a shine to you," Liana said. "You can have her for $300. I've been told she gives phenomenal blow jobs."
Ted slid his hand into his pants pocket and gently caressed his penis. He let his eyes wander around the establishment until they settled on a tall blonde strutting around the bar wearing nothing but high heels and a garter around each thigh, both of which were stuffed with bills.
"That's Blossom," Liana said. "So called because her pussy lips blossom open like a flower when she gets wet."
Ted sneaked a peek at Blossom's clean-shaven pussy as she walked his way, and marveled at her thick and plump labia. It certainly would be a pleasure to feel those juicy lips around his throbbing hard dick- if he weren't married.
Ted looked back at Liana.
"How much for just a private dance- no extras?" Ted asked.
"Fifty," Liana said.
Ted drew a Grant from his wallet and slid it towards Liana. She picked the bill up and held it in her hands.
"Which girl would you like?"
"Surprise me," he said.
* * * * *
He sat quietly in the booth waiting. On the table to his right was a box of tissues and a bottle of KY jelly. He was glad for that; he might need both if the show he was about to get excited him enough.
He could hear talking just outside the booth. Ted poked his head out the curtain to see two dancers discussing their plans for the evening. He wondered if either of them was the one Liana had assigned to him, but he doubted it.
The table had some adult magazines underneath. Ted grabbed one and flipped through it, and admired the beautiful nude women inside. Since he was waiting, Ted went ahead and unzipped his pants, and took out his penis, which was gradually growing erect. He gently stroked his member as he admired the beautiful babes in the magazine in front of him.
He had just gotten into his masturbation session when the curtain pulled back, and a lady entered. She wore a black kimono and a cat mask over her face. Ted quickly put away his penis and zipped up his pants.
"Leave it out!" the lady giggled.
Ted declined her invitation, and sat back in his chair.
She removed the kimono, revealing her body clad in beautiful black lingerie; bra, panties, and stockings. She removed her mask to give Ted a view of her face. It was Liana.
"Surprised?" she asked.
Liana giggled and switched on a boom box. Sultry, sexy music played as Liana proceeded to gyrate her hips back and forth. Ted watched Liana's body move as she performed a sensual lap dance. Working her way between his legs, Liana leaned towards him, grabbed his tie, and pulled him towards her until her breasts were inches from his face.
Ted simply enjoyed the view as Liana took his hands and placed them on her hips. He slipped his thumbs into the waistband of her panties and tugged at them as she swayed her hips left and right.
Slowly, she took one of her stockings and slipped it down her thigh, inch by inch, teasing Ted as she revealed more and more bare thigh. She lifted her leg high in the air, rested it on his shoulder, and invited him to remove the stocking.
Ted was all too happy to comply. He pulled the nylon from her leg, only for her to invite him to repeat the gesture with her other leg. He did, and Liana draped both of the empty stockings over his shoulders as she continued the dance. She had Ted's full attention when she did.
Her panties hugged the curves of her ass so nicely. He wanted to chuck a dime at one of her firm little cheeks, just to see if it would bounce. He had little doubt it would.
She sat upon his lap, and pressing her buttocks between his legs, she vigorously wiggled her butt against his groin. He was already excited, but this got his johnson standing at full attention. Feeling the protrusion through his pants, Liana swept her hair to the side.
"Do you see the fastener on my bra?" she asked.
Ted gulped, and nodded.
"Unhook it for me."
Ted's mouth was dry as a bone. His hands trembled, but he was able to get the clasp unfastened in decent time. Liana let go of her hair, and pulled the cups from her breasts.
Feeling his heart pounding a mile a minute, Ted ran his hands up Liana's hips, up her sides, and cupped her breasts in his hands. He palmed them, felt their soft, firm shape in his hands, and squeezed her nipples between his thumbs and forefingers. Liana moaned.
"If you want to take this further..." she said, and removed a condom from her panties and held it between her index and middle fingers for him to take.
Ted stared at the condom.
"I- I can't."
"She doesn't need to know." Liana giggled, and wiggled her hips again. Ted's penis throbbed. "It can be our little secret."
Ted could feel sweat forming on his brow. Liana's body felt so sweet and sexy against his.
"Come on, baby. You know you want to stick it in this," Liana said, edging her panties slightly downwards. She pulled them down as low as they would go without her rising from his lap.
"Yeah, it's just-" Ted stopped. He could feel Liana's hair brushing against his face. She smelled so sweet; her scented hair, her perfume, it was positively intoxicating. He placed his hands upon her hips and tugged on the waistband of her panties.
"Do it, baby. You know you want to. I need your dick. I'm so wet, I need you to fuck me," Liana moaned.
Ted grunted. His erection throbbed so hard it was almost painful. Liana turned around, wrapping her soft thighs around his waist, and let her large bare breasts hang directly in front of his face.
"Please?" Liana asked. "Please fuck me?"
Ted's hands trembled. He thought about pushing her off him. About walking out of the booth, out of the club, and never returning. He thought about going home, and not having sex with Grace. And he thought about staying, and having sex with Liana.
"Pleeeease?" Liana asked one last time, batting her eyelashes.
Ted took the condom from her hand.
"Yes," he said.
* * * * *
Ted was white as a ghost when he walked through the front door of his house. Grace was in the kitchen, preparing dinner, when Kayla charged past her father and ran to give her mother a hug.
"Mommy!" Kayla shouted.
"Hey, baby! How was daycare?" Grace asked.
"It was so much fun! We sang songs, and we ate snacks, and we played this game where one boy hid a ball and we all had to find it!"
"Well, it sounds like daycare isn't so bad, is it?" Grace asked. She looked up at Ted, and her expression melted.
"Just a second, princess," Grace said. She followed Ted into the living room, where he sat down onto the couch.
"Ted, you okay?" she asked.
Ted found it impossible to look Grace in the eye. He gave a barely audible "mm hmm" and stared at the evening news on the flat screen.
"I made pork chops for dinner. Your favorite," Grace said.
"I'm not very hungry," Ted said.
"You feeling all right?" Grace said. She placed her hand to his forehead. "Oh God, you're burning up. Let me get the thermometer."
Grace hurried away, and returned with the thermometer, and placed it underneath Ted's tongue. As she returned to the kitchen, Ted sat, stewing in his own guilt. He had fucked Liana.
She'd given him an incredible blow job, and then sat on his lap and he'd fucked her. Then he sucked her tits for ten minutes, and then he slipped another rubber on and fucked her again. He fucked her doggy style, wheelbarrow style, missionary, and doggy style again. He came a total of three times inside her, completely draining his balls.
When he picked up his daughter from daycare Ted felt physically sick. When he saw his wife when he arrived home he felt ready to vomit.
His marriage would never be the same. Whether Grace found out or not, Ted would never feel the same around her again.
Grace removed the thermometer from his mouth and checked it.
"You've got a fever, mister," she said. "You better take it easy for the next few days. You don't want to mess up your chances for that job."
"I don't want to get you sick," Ted said. "I think I better sleep on the couch tonight."
* * * * *
Within two days Ted felt much better. He'd spent a full day resting, and after taking a long hot shower and vomiting several times, the memory of what he'd done with Liana felt like a distant memory.
He finally was able to look his wife in the eye again, and she didn't appear to be suspicious of him. He breathed a sigh of relief, praying that perhaps he would get away with his crime.
"You're looking better," Grace said, as Ted walked into the kitchen.
"Yeah, just needed to sleep it off."
Ted poured himself a cup of coffee and froze as he stared at the mug in his hand.
"Something wrong?" Grace asked.
"No," Ted said, and sipped the coffee. He would put his affair behind him. He would have to.
Ted took his coffee with him to his computer, while Grace sat at the kitchen table. She spied a few drawings Kayla brought home from daycare resting on the table. Grace smiled, and looked the drawings over.
One showed the entire family. There was Ted, Grace, with a bump on her belly with a tiny stick figure baby inside it, Kayla, and another person. It looked like a lady, drawn with a black crayon.
"Kayla, who's this?" Grace asked, when her daughter came skipping into the room.
"That's us!" Kayla said. She pointed at each figure in the drawing. "That's Daddy, you, Kristina," she said, pointing at the baby, "and me!"
"But who is this?" Grace asked, pointing to the lady drawn in all black crayon.
"That's the lady in my closet," Kayla said, nonchalantly. Grace eyed her daughter uncomfortably.
She prepared a bowl of cereal for Kayla, and plopped her in front of the TV to watch cartoons. She knew it was crazy, but Grace had to check. She crept down the hall into Kayla's bedroom, and opened the closet door.
It looked as it always did. Kayla's clothes hung on wire hangers, and a box full of her toys rested on the floor below. Grace looked between the hanging clothes, and then searched the toy box on the floor.
There were several stuffed animals, a pretend plastic oven and a dollhouse. Grace peeked inside the dollhouse when she spotted something. A key.
Grace removed the key from the dollhouse and examined it. It was the one she found on the rooftop of the hospital. The brass skull, the crimson eyes, it was the exact one.
Grace took the key back the living room.
"Kayla, what was this doing in your closet?"
Kayla looked at the key in Grace's hands.
"I found it in the bathroom," Kayla said, putting a spoonful of Fruit Loops in her mouth.
"Why did you take it?" Grace asked.
"The lady in my closet said she needed it. So I gave it to her."
* * * * *
Ted was in the bathroom when Grace stepped out of the shower. She gasped for a moment.
"Sorry," Ted said. "Just making sure you're okay."
"Thanks." She smiled.
Ted looked on in interest as Grace pulled open the shower curtain, and admired his wife's naked body.
"Your breasts are getting bigger."
"Please. I'm getting fat, that's what's happening."
She covered her breasts with one arm and grabbed a towel with the other. She tied the towel around her torso and grabbed a second to dry her hair.
"It's pregnancy weight," Ted said. "And it's sexy as hell."
He grabbed the towel around her torso and pulled it from her body, exposing her. She did not try to stop him. He stared Grace's form up and down; noting what pregnancy was doing to her body.
Her belly had just a slight bump, but not quite visible yet to others when she was clothed. Her thighs had become thicker. Her butt had grown just slightly rounder; more plump.
"You are so beautiful," he said.
Grace smiled, and wrapped her arms around him.
"I really needed to hear that," she said.
Ted hugged her tightly, and as he did, let his hand wander down her backside so he could give her butt a firm squeeze.
"Mmm, Do that again," Grace murmured.
Ted squeezed her butt a second time, noting as he did, that her nipples stiffened. Ted leaned towards her and whispered into her ear.
"The Princess is fast asleep. I think it's time we took this to the bedroom."
"Actually, I think I'm going to sleep in Kayla's room tonight."
"I'm worried about her."
"It's probably nothing- I just want to make sure she's safe."
"Babe, she's fine!" Ted said. "Come on, let's have a good romp in the sheets, it's been too long!"
"Not tonight, Ted!" Grace snapped. She grabbed the towel, wrapped it back around herself, and stormed out of the bathroom.
"Whatever. I'm going to the gym."
* * * * *
He was only half-hoping she would be there, and half-hoping she wouldn't. After he'd gotten past the guilt of their first tryst, Ted found he couldn't stop thinking about her.
His eyes scanned the gym as he entered, and to his disappointment he didn't see her anywhere. There were a few men exercising in the gym and a small group in the pool area, but Ted did not see Liana or any other women anywhere. Ted made his way into the locker room and opened a locker.
As he changed into his gym clothes, Ted took a glance in the shower where he'd first seen Liana naked. She wasn't there now, but seeing the exact spot where she'd been filled him with excitement. He wanted to see her again. He couldn't deny it.
When he stepped out of the locker room he stopped dead in his tracks. She must have been underwater before, because now Liana was climbing out of the pool. Step by step she ascended the ladder, water dripping from her bikini-clad body. She spotted him immediately.
Ted couldn't walk away. She'd seen him, and now she was walking towards him. He couldn't even avert his eyes, finding himself stunned by her beauty. She flashed him a sweet smile and when she was close enough, she placed her hand on his arm.
"Hi there!" she said.
"Nice seeing you again," Ted said. He wasn't sure if he was telling the truth or lying.
She brushed her fingers through her hair.
"I was hoping you'd come see me again."
"Liana- I made a mistake."
Ted stopped. Liana was right- she'd made him far happier than he'd been in a long time. Being the husband to an obsessed detective admittedly hadn't made Ted feel especially fulfilled.
"I have a wife."
"Who doesn't treat you right." She stared into his eyes longingly as she spoke, and softly stroked his arm. Ted felt himself melt under her touch.
"Grace is-" Ted started, and struggled to think of how he wanted to finish his sentence, "-trying her best right now."
"I'm trying my best," Liana said.
For several long seconds neither of them said a word.
"If being faithful to your wife is what you want, go home to her," she said. "But there aren't any women in this gym tonight. I'll be in the ladies locker room all alone. So, IF- you change your mind, I'll be in there waiting for you."
Liana turned away and sauntered sexily into the ladies room; her hips swaying gently back and forth as she walked. She unfastened her bikini top before she was even inside, giving Ted an eyeful of her bare back. She slipped down her bottoms just as the door swung closed behind her, robbing Ted of his view of her lovely bottom.
The images of her naked body flashed through his head. The last time he'd made love to her replayed in his mind. Her beautiful sensuous body, her delectable curves, every detail of her form tantalized him. His hands shook, a layer of sweat formed across his back. He tried to think of all the women he'd laid in his lifetime. Breanne, the head cheerleader in high school. Allison, his first steady girlfriend in college. His wife, Grace. None of them measured up to Liana.
No woman had ever captured his imagination this way.
With his beating heart echoing inside his skull, Ted broke. In a near sprint, he burst into the ladies locker room, not even pausing to check if anyone was watching. He scampered around the corner, and stood in the doorframe to the showers.
Liana turned to him and smiled.
He was on top of her in a second. She lay onto a changing bench and immediately opened her legs for him. He quickly eased his throbbing member inside her, not even stopping to put on a condom. Liana moaned and thrusted back at him, and his eyes went wide.
"Oh God!" Ted screamed.
"Oh Ted, I'm so glad you came for me!" Liana moaned.
Their bodies writhed about, thrusting, grunting, and wailing. Ted grabbed the bench for support as he watched her large breasts jiggle and bounce around with each thrust.
"I want you!" Ted screamed.
"Give it to me! Give it to me, Ted you want this!" Liana screamed.
"I do! I know I do!" Ted cried. He rubbed himself inside her, back and forth, as hard as he could. Her body felt too good to stop. What surprised him the most was how much she rubbed back against him. Her body had so much energy; she was like an animal he couldn't tame.
"Oooh, Ted! Give me more of that cock! It feels soooo good!" she moaned.
He gave it to her. He gave it to her as hard and as fast as he could, and she only seemed to want more.
"I- I- I'm going to come!" Ted moaned. "I need to pull out."
"No! It feels too good!" Liana whispered.
Ted almost withdrew, but Liana wrapped her legs around his waist and held him in place. She squeezed her thighs around his hips, and Ted burst inside her. A shot of cool cream filled Liana's warm pussy, and Ted melted in ecstasy. Cumming inside her, without protection, sent a wave of pleasure coursing through both his body and soul. He felt something leave his body, he wasn't quite sure, but he felt lighter somehow. It was as if he were somehow less than he was before.
"You are mine," Liana hissed in his ear. "You are mine, forever."
* * * * *
With each passing week, Grace's belly grew, and Ted's trips to the gym became more frequent. Ted gradually lost interest in his wife, and found seeing Liana at the gym, or wherever she wished for them to meet, be it the strip club or a motel room, was all that interested him.
Grace would have been more concerned, if not for her preoccupation with her daughter, whose frequent mentions of "the lady in her closet" left Grace uneasy and afraid. She held onto the key she'd found in Kayla's closet. The investigation had concluded Catherine Balko had used a stolen key from the hospital to escape from her room, and Grace saw no need to hand over something she felt so closely concerned her immediate family.
Grace continued sleeping in Kayla's bedroom, and Ted had stopped complaining.
The first time they both knew something had changed was during the drive home from one of Grace's obstetrician appointments. Grace insisted on driving, leaving Ted sitting in the passenger seat half-wondering if he was even necessary to her anymore.
"Looks like Kayla was right," Ted remarked.
The doctor had just confirmed it. Grace was having a girl. Grace was silent.
Not receiving a response, Ted added, "I guess our daughter has good instincts."
Grace finally responded.
"How could Kayla have possibly known that? I mean, she was certain!"
"A good guess, I mean- babe, can you slow down?" Ted clutched his forehead painfully.
Grace swerved around a slow moving Volkswagen.
"Ted, something's wrong with Kayla!" Grace slammed on the gas.
"Because she knew the sex of our baby?"
"Because she claimed a lady in her closet told her!" The traffic light turned yellow, and Grace sped through. "Last night I woke up to see her standing in front of her closet door staring into it, mumbling something!"
Ted grabbed onto the door handle, feeling overcome with dizziness. A throbbing pain in his head intensified.
"Kids have imaginations, and- babe, seriously, can you stop driving like a maniac?"
"I drive just fine!" Grace snapped. She switched lanes and passed another vehicle. "She never used to sleepwalk, or talk to imaginary people, or-"
"I'm just- Oh God, pull over!"
Grace hadn't even gotten to the side of the road before Ted erupted vomit all over the inside door of the Jimmy.
"Honestly, Ted!" Grace shouted, disgusted. "Ever since you started going to the gym all the time you've been getting sick constantly! You're pushing yourself too hard there!"
Ted grunted, and opened the door. Ted's lunch dribbled down the car door and onto the pavement below.
"Will you just help me clean this up?"
* * * * *
They spent the next evening painting.
Grace had already moved out of her home office, and now that the gender of the baby was determined, Grace and Ted proceeded to paint the room pink for the little girl that was on her way. With Ted holding a can of red paint, and Grace holding a can of white, they carefully poured the contents into an empty can and proceeded to mix the two together.
"Hey, what do you think of Kristina?" Grace asked, rolling a coat of pink up and down the wall.
Ted rubbed his roller in the paint tray, coating it thick.
"As a name. For the baby."
Grace envisioned pasting the letters of her younger daughter's name over her bedroom door.
"Fine by me," Ted replied. His phone chimed. He took it from his pocket to see a text message from "Larry," the name he'd put in his phone for Liana's number. The text simply read, "tonight."
"Who is that?" Grace asked.
"Larry. He wants to go bowling tonight," Ted said, without missing a beat. He quickly put the phone back in his pocket and continued painting.
Grace eyed Ted suspiciously as she ran her roller up and down the wall.
"Why haven't I ever met this Larry?" she asked.
"Cause he'd just stare at your tits and try to get you to sleep with him. I can't let a guy like that near a beautiful woman like you!"
Ted rubbed his roller in the paint tray several more times than necessary as he spoke.
"You've been spending a lot of time with this guy. I feel like I should get to know him."
Ted placed his roller onto the wall, and misjudged the distance and almost let it slip out of his hand.
"Are these paint fumes bothering you?" Ted asked, wobbling slightly.
"No, but I'm serious," Grace said. "I want to meet Larry."
Ted's pulse raced. He struggled to think of something to say to Grace to placate her, or better yet, make her forget about "Larry" altogether, and found he was becoming more lightheaded by the second as he racked his brain trying to come up with an answer.
"Yeah, sometime, sometime you can-"
He lost balance and fell to the floor, knocking over the half-full can of red paint as he landed.
"Ted!" Grace shouted. She rushed to his side and righted the can, but not before it sent a large crimson pool across the floor. "Are you okay?"
Ted sat up, panting. Red paint dribbled down the left side of his face. He groaned, and grabbed a nearby rag to wipe his face.
"Don't know. Just passed out for a second."
"You need to see a doctor!" she barked. Ted winced at her shrill voice.
"I'll be fine," Ted grumbled, and climbed to his feet. He trudged out of the room to the bathroom and got into the shower.
* * * * *
He waited until Grace was asleep.
Ted knew he'd gone too far. He didn't know what was causing his recent sickness, but it started when he began seeing Liana. It had gotten out of hand; the lying, the deceptions, and Ted was ready to call it off.
He grabbed his keys and quietly crept out the house, praying Grace would not wake before he returned. He would never be able to explain to her why he'd left the house in his condition, but he needed to let Liana know it was over, sooner, rather than later.
He pulled into the parking lot of Top Cats, as Liana had mentioned to him she'd be there tonight. A petite blonde in daisy dukes and a plaid denim bra twirled around the pole as he entered. Ted took a second the ogle the girl's long legs before taking a seat at the bar next to a gentleman in a leather jacket.
"What'll it be?" the bartender asked, her lip-gloss shimmering in the dim light.
"I'm just here to see Liana," Ted replied, trying to be heard over the booming music.
"Who?" she asked.
"Liana! The boss'-"
"He'll have a gin and tonic," the gentleman in the leather jacket interrupted. "On me."
The bartender mixed up a gin and tonic and placed it in front of Ted.
"So you're banging the boss' wife?" the leather jacketed man asked.
"I'm just here to talk to her," Ted snapped. He didn't look the man in the eye. He didn't want to be recognized here.
"Sure you are. Like any man could resist that piece of ass."
Ted didn't respond. He didn't feel like arguing, not now. He wanted to tell Liana what he needed to tell her and never come back to this place.
"Well, there she is," the man said.
Ted turned to where the man was looking, and he saw her. Liana entered from the back room, wearing a pair of high heels and nothing else. Ted's mouth fell agape.
She was stunning. Her bare skin glowed under the dim neon lights, beckoning all eyes onto her. Her bare breasts bounced pleasantly as she strode confidently into the room, and made her way directly to Ted.
"Hey stranger," she chirped sweetly.
Ted opened his mouth to reply but found he was speechless. All he could do was stare at the perfect female form before him.
"I- uh- we need to talk," Ted finally eeked out.
"So let's talk," Liana said. She rested one hand on the bar and the other on her hip as she leaned towards Ted invitingly.
Liana grinned. "I like where this is going."
She led Ted into the back room and invited him into one of the booths. Ted shut the curtain and looked Liana in the eye.
"Why?" Ted asked, incredulously.
"Why, what?" she asked innocently.
"Why are you naked? You're not a stripper."
"My husband owns this club. I can dress however I like. Sometimes I like to be naked."
Ted swallowed, unable to think of a reply.
"So what did you want to talk to me about?" she asked, flirtatiously.
The sweat on Ted's back spread to his arms, and was now dribbling down his palms. She was sexy beyond words. Her body paralyzed him to the point of near entropy.
"I can't do this anymore," he said.
To say she looked hurt was an understatement. Liana looked at Ted as though he'd slapped her.
"Why?" she asked. She looked at him pleadingly, rolling her shoulders back as she did so her breasts protruded towards him.
"Look- can you put something on?" Ted asked. He hated asking that question because she looked damn good dressed just as she was.
"No. If you're going to break things off with me, you'll do it while I'm nude. You need to know what you're losing."
Ted wasn't entirely certain he could go through with it if Liana was nude. Her body was too tempting. He had to muster all of his resolve to say what he needed to her.
"The time I've spent with you has been-- amazing," Ted began.
"Then why stop?" Liana asked, running her hand up his arm.
"It's destroying me. It's making me sick. I'm married, I have a daughter, and a baby on the way. I can't do this anymore."
Getting the words out made Ted almost as sick as before. Liana cocked her head and stared sweetly towards him.
"That's not the life for you, Ted," Liana pleaded. "You need me. I give you what you need; your wife doesn't."
"Yes, she does," Ted said, exuding more confidence than he really had. Liana smirked.
"What, did she start doing anal?"
Ted shook his head. Liana smiled.
"Well then, maybe what you need is..."
Liana sauntered over to the small end table next to the lap dance chair and bent over, grabbing the table edge with her hands. She aimed her round derriere at Ted and wiggled it.
"Come and get it," she teased.
Ted froze. If she was really offering what he thought she was, she might break him.
"Go on! Stick it in!" Liana prodded. She swayed her hips temptingly.
"I- I-" Ted stammered.
"Ted," Liana said. "This is what you want. Come over here and stick it in my butt."
Ted stared at Liana's bare ass, and Liana's bare ass stared back at him. Her cheeks were divine mountains, and the further she bent over, the more they parted, like an invitation begging him to accept.
"Do it," Liana pleaded. "Please."
His penis throbbed. He could barely keep it inside his pants, and he could forget about sleeping tonight if he didn't bust his nut.
"I-" Ted trailed off, not knowing what to say. Sweat dripped down his forehead. His hands shook. His penis was ready to burst out of his pants.
"You know you can't resist me. Don't try. Come on, just give in." She swayed her hips back and forth, teasing him, tempting him, whittling away every ounce of resolve he had.
Ted swallowed, and unzipped his pants.
"Look. Just this once," he said, more to himself than to her.
"Of course, Ted. Just this once," she repeated, giggling.
Ted grabbed the bottle of lubricant and oiled up his throbbing penis. He wasted no time positioning himself behind the teasing temptress and grabbing her hips. He had never made love to a woman this way before, and he prayed it would feel as good as he imagined.
Liana opened her legs just a bit, and her cheeks opened.
"Go on. Put it in," she said.
Ted ran the head of his penis up and down the crack of her butt; just he enjoyed doing to his wife. He loved the feeling of a woman's cheeks parting as his cock passed between them, hugging it from both sides. He slid his penis up and down between her buttocks gently, leaving a long trail of precum throughout her crack as he did.
At last, he stopped just outside the most forbidden of holes. He paused tentatively. This was the moment where his wife would always tell him to stop. Nothing to see here, move along. And he always would.
"There it is. Go on. Give it a push," Liana urged.
And he did.
Ted pushed, and his penis slid inside her, and damn, did it feel good. Far tighter than any pussy he'd ever fucked, Liana's anus hugged his throbbing dick like two long lost friends meeting one last time.
Ted groaned, and rubbed his cock back and forth. Liana responded, rubbing against him as he did. He felt his penis grow even larger inside her, and her moaning and thrusting turned him on even more.
"You did the right thing, Ted. It feels SO good!" Liana moaned.
Sighing, Ted thrusted more and more, building his excitement. He could hate himself later; right now, he just needed to enjoy Liana's impossibly tight ass. The more he pushed and pulled, back and forth, the more he lost himself in the erotic ecstasy of the moment, surrendering his grip on reality.
He heard the curtain pull open. He would have turned to look, to see who the newly arrived person was, but he couldn't bring himself to turn away from Liana for even a second. He was far too into the moment.
He continued pounding her, rubbing back and forth and back and forth all the while sensing the presence of someone behind him, someone who did not speak, or make a sound. They simply watched, while Ted furiously ravaged Liana's backside.
His curiosity to the voyeur's identity grew as he continued, but it still could not overcome his urge to continue pounding Liana's behind. As uncomfortable as Ted felt being watched, he was too far invested in his activity for him to investigate until he'd finished, and Liana's ass was filled with cum.
"Ooh! Fuck me, Ted! Fuck me! Fuck me harder!"
Ted did exactly as she commanded. He spent only a brief second questioning whether Liana was aware they were being watched, and he committed the remainder of his brain activity to fucking Liana harder.
Gritting his teeth, and clutching his sweaty palms to her hips, he savagely thrusted his organ deeper and deeper into her ass.
"Cum inside me baby. Let it all out," Liana said softly.
"I will, I will," Ted said, panting.
"Let's see if you can handle this!" Liana chirped. Shifting her weight to one leg, Liana bent her other leg at the knee and used it to tickle Ted's scrotum with her toes. Ted gasped.
It was enough to break him. Ted immediately ejaculated, one burst after another, directly into Liana's rectum. She giggled, and moaned as the cool cream filled her bottom.
"I knew that would get you!" she chuckled.
Ted let out a long breath, and finally turned around, only to see no one stood behind him. He hadn't heard anyone leave, but he was far too into the moment to be paying enough attention.
He removed his penis from her bottom, and saw a thick stream of semen leak out as he did, and dribble down her thigh. He quickly zipped up his pants as Liana stood up to face him.
"Come back for more later," she said, sweetly.
Ted didn't reply. He hurried out of the booth, again feeling sick to his stomach. He was disgusted with himself at failing to break it off with Liana when that was specifically what he'd come to do, and the mystery of who had been watching him ate at the back of his head. Was it a nosy customer, a curious dancer, or God forbid, his wife or Liana's husband?
The thought sent Ted directly to the men's room, where he quickly released the contents of his stomach into the first available toilet. Liana watched him scurry in as she made her way back behind the bar, where she poured another glass of vodka for the man in the leather jacket.
"It's almost too easy," she said, sliding the glass towards him.
"It's always been easy for us. The hard part is quitting," Lukas said, downing the shot in one gulp.
"Then why quit?" Liana asked. "Why not embrace who we are? Feed the hunger?"
Lukas stared longingly at the dancer on stage, who twirled around the pole dressed in a sexy schoolgirl uniform. Liana leaned towards Lukas closely.
"She lives alone. I can give you her address if you like," Liana whispered.
Lukas fiddled with the empty shot glass between his fingers as he watched the schoolgirl lift her skirt and flash her panties at her captive audience. He licked his lips hungrily.
"A tempting offer. But I will finish what I began. Grace Harker will be next. However long it takes."
He slammed the empty glass on the bar.
"You might need to feed the hunger sooner," Liana said. She took out a bar napkin and scribbled the dancing schoolgirl's address on it.
"In case you change your mind." She slid the napkin to Lukas. He looked at it for three seconds, and stuffed it into the pocket of his leather jacket.
He turned to see Ted, white as a sheet, hurrying out of the men's room and out of the bar.
"I'm surprised he didn't recognize you," Liana said.
"He won't recognize his own wife when you're done with him," Lukas grinned. "Or when I'm done with her. Now, if you'll excuse me."
Lukas rose from his barstool, and approached the stage, where the sexy schoolgirl danced about. She lifted the back of her red and black checkered skirt and wiggled her butt, clad in lacy white panties, for two young men seated at her feet.
Lukas stepped up behind them and drew a one hundred dollar bill from his pocket and held it up for the dancer to see. She stuck out her hip, lifted her skirt, and Lukas tucked the bill into the waistband of her panties. She winked at him and let the skirt fall back down.
Lukas nodded at the schoolgirl and she resumed her dancing. Lukas watched her knowingly, and made his way out of the bar.
TO BE CONTINUED...
May 17, 2018 in anal