Now, last week, I joked about writing something erotica (blame podcasts My Dad Wrote A Porno and We Write Sex for this idea) as it's a genre I don't normally read in so writing in it might be a fun/crazy challenge. I still want to do this, but I'm not sure I will. Plus, with YALC happening this weekend and wondering if I should write something more crime/thriller-like... Well, we shall see. Am going to make a cuppa, get my timer ready and then, hammer something out.
See you on the other side!
The Long Con
The woman in the wheelchair was watching the bartender as she downed her dirty martini. He had the chest and the arms of a man who worked out and wasn’t ashamed to show them off.
She knew she could have him. It would be so easy to get him in her bed. To get his wrists in handcuffs and do things with her tongue that would make his eyes water and have him writhing.
Her mobile phone buzzed. Lowering the glass, she took the phone and, without even looking at the screen, took the call.
“See you in twenty. Bring something nice to play with.”
“You too. I’ll be waiting.”
The call ended. It had gone to plan, this long con. She was against it at the start. But she could see the benefits now it was over.
She eyed the bartender again.
He smiled at her. “Another?”
She smiled, the tip of her tongue licking her top lip, teasing him. “Why not?” she replied. “I’ve been naughty.”
She handed him the glass and his hand lingered on hers.
She had him. Hook, line, and sinker.
“Wait, calm down.” My co-worker and best friend, Satya, said. “We don't know anything.”
“He’s gone.” I repeated, running my fingers through my hair. “Everything of his is gone. His clothes, his laptop, his photos, everything. It’s like he’s never existed in my life! He’s gone!”
“But, Alec, that makes no sense.”
“He has my life savings, Satya! I gave him money for us to buy a house together. And to put deposit down for the wedding. HE’S GONE WITH MY MONEY!”
The horrible truth was sinking in my stomach. I didn’t want to think about it, but it was there. That heavy realisation that I, a private investigator who should have known better, had just been conned.
“I fell in love with him, Satya. I fell in love with him and it was all a lie. He was after my money and -.” I froze in mid-sentence, the barbwire choking me. It was all a lie. He never loved me. Richard never loved me - it was a con. He was only after my money.
“But con artists don’t plan to get married with their marks.”
“They do, if they’re thinking of the long con.” I felt my knees were about to give out so I sat on the sofa in my office. The sofa where, less than a week ago, Richard and I had made love. He was on top of me, pinning my wrists above my head with his warm hands, kissing me as if I was burning him but he couldn’t get enough, putting his hand under my shirt and pinching my nipples hard to make me gasp with pleasure, the way his fingers explored my backside and how I trembled with him as we neared climax.
But that was a lie. He didn’t make love to me.
He had sex with me.
It was nothing.
I meant nothing to him.
“But why?” Satya was sitting next to me now, his hand on my shoulder, his other gripping his iPhone. “Why would he con and PI? It makes no sense.”
“Maybe he didn’t know?” Highly unlikely. “Maybe it was for the thrill?” Possible. “Maybe he was after one of our clients or our files?”
And we have a winner.
I pushed myself up and raced to my computer. I hit the intercom. “Get Mags in here now. Tell her to bring her laptop.”
Satya was looking at me, worry cutting his fine features. “Alec?”
“What if he was after something we were working on? What if he hacked my computer to gain information? Like you said, what would a con artist target a PI? It makes no sense.”
“I’m throwing ideas out there,” Satya stood up. “There could be an innocent reason behind all this. He could have bought a house and is moving stuff. Making it a surprise.”
I laughed at how feeble this idea was. I had thought this ten minutes ago as I stared at mine and Richard’s wardrobe. My half filled with clothes, his half completely empty.
“We need to call the Police.”
“No.” Firm. “We need to know what damage he’s done.”
The door crashed open and Mags rushed in. She’s barely nineteen and probably the best hacker I know. Her red hair is tied up in a dangerous-looking bun.
“Check my laptop,” I ordered her. “Anything that looks weird or out of place, tell me and Satya at once. This isn’t a drill. I’ve been -.” I choked on the word. I couldn’t say it. To Satya, I could. Satya is my best friend, the first person I came out to when I realised I was gay in university, the person I went to when I didn’t get into the Police force and was scared to tell my Police and Army, the guy who helped me build our private investigation company from the ground up.
But to anyone else, I couldn’t.
Mags came to my side of the desk, got into my chair and hooked up her laptop to mine. “This could take a while. A few hours. Maybe till the end of the day.”
“You have ten minutes.” I left the room without a backward glance.
I got into the unisex toilets, and after checking no one was in there, locked the main door. It was only then that I crumpled to the floor, ugly-crying and feeling my heart cracking and shattering in my chest.
It was lie. All of it.
I remember meeting Richard for the first time. It was a happy accident - it can’t have been. It must have been planned so carefully that he would bump into me at that book launch. That he nearly spilt his drink on me but knock my book out of my hands. He must have profiled me too. That I would like guys who smiled and laughed. That I had a thing for glasses. That I would question the tattoo on his black arms, and that would be it. I would be his. And him sneaking me into the back room and us having sex against the wall, next to the Ruth Rendells and the JK Rowlings