(Warning sexual content R rated, I think)
She made a fire while he put away the groceries. She knelt in front of the hearth and he watched her out of the corner of his eye, pleased she was with him.
“How about sautéed chicken and pasta?” he asked.
She nodded. “That sounds good.”
“I bought crusty bread.” He held up the uncut loaf, but she’d turned toward the fire.
The icy wind, when it gusted, could be felt coming in under the door. “I’ll have to put the storm door on tomorrow,” he said, pouring a small amount of olive oil in the large black skillet.
She stood looking at the flames as they grew higher, the tips lapping the top of the fireplace lintel. Her outline reflected golden in the light from the fireplace.
“You’re using too much kindling,” he said. “We don’t want flames shooting up that chimney, it’s old, needs to be cleaned.”
She took an iron poker from the set and knocked down some of the kindling. The flames receded, but burning sticks fell onto the floor in front of the sofa. Garret ran over and kicked them back into the fireplace. Rose stood back, her eyes wide as she stared at the flames. He took the poker from her and smiled. “It’s something you get used to. How much kindling to use.”
She walked into the bedroom and closed the door. Garret lit the gas burner under the pan and when the pan was hot, he laid the chicken breasts side by side, and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.
After a few minutes, he left the stove to peer into the bedroom. She lay on her side, covered by blankets. Her clothes were in a pile at the foot of the bed. The floor creaked where he stood and she turned. Her eyes were sleepy. She smiled and waved him over. Smoke began to come from the pan and he ran over and pulled it off the hot burner. He placed a cover over the partially cooked chicken and turned back to the bedroom.
There was a slight chill in the bedroom. He sat next to her on the bed and ran his hand over the covers, down her side and hips, to her legs. She lay with her head resting on her right arm, her eyes barely open.
“Do you want-” he started to say, but she put a finger to his lips. She pulled the covers back. Her naked body dimly lit from the window. She placed his hand on her breast. Her skin was cool and dry. He removed his clothing, letting his pants drop where he stood, and flung them aside. He sat next to her and kissed her side, her hip, her breasts, then turned her onto her back. He climbed into the bed and slid on top of her. She received him as he had hoped, warmly, lovingly, without words. He grabbed the covers and pulled them over his back.
“I want-” he started to say, but again, she held her finger to his mouth. He gently kissed it. She rubbed her finger on his lips, feeling the gentle undulation of his philtrum. She drew her finger across his cheeks, and pulled him close as she stared into his eyes. She brought her lips up to meet his and they kissed for a long time. Her mouth was small and warm, her lips full. He could feel her lips move and press into him as they kissed. She was passionate and strong, growing more aggressive. He locked his eyes onto her blue-white irises and pressed himself into her.
She gasped as she fully received him, then closed her eyes and kissed his neck. He gently turned her head to face him. They moved in rhythm, their hips together, in a slow dance. They were lost to time, but floated above, locked in a moment of total joy. When they felt, as one, the orgasm coming, he said, “Look at me.” She opened her eyes and they stared at each other as he released. When they were finished, he kissed her on the lips, and they lay in each other’s arms, their bodies glistening with sweat. They listened to the wind rustling through the trees and shrubs outside, cleansing the air, cooling the earth.
At first he thought the banging on the porch was a tree branch blown in on the wind, but he quickly realized it was footsteps. A man’s footfalls rang hollow on the porch. He sat up. More banging. Garrett got dressed, and stood in the bedroom doorway, trying to see out through the windows. It was still light outside, although the cottage was in the shadow of the pine trees, and cloud cover obscured the sun. The man leaned in and looked through the window. Garrett walked to the front door and waited. A loud knock came. He opened the door and stood looking at Bill.
“You have my wife?”
“I don’t know, do I?”
“Is she your wife?”
“Let me see her.”
“She doesn’t want to see you.”
“That’s not for you to say.”
“And yet, I said it.”
Bill tried to push past Garrett, but couldn’t move him. They grabbed each other’s shirts and as they struggled, stumbled into the kitchen. Rose stood in the bedroom doorway, staring at them. When they finally let go of each other, Bill turned to her. “Come on. We’re going home.”
She turned and walked into the bedroom. He tried to follow, but Garrett wrapped an arm around his neck. They fell back against the stove, pots and pans slamming onto the floor. In a headlock, Bill screamed for Rose, but Garrett held him tighter. Bill kicked the sink and pushed back, knocking them both into the table. Garett hurt his back, but didn’t let go. He tightened his arms. Bill thrashed back and forth, but couldn’t get free. Garrett held on until the man fell silent. Garrett fell on top of him, his hands squeezing his neck, his weight pressed on him.
Rose came out of the bedroom and stood silently watching. After a few minutes, she said, “Let him up.”
Garrett looked up at her and then down at the man he was still choking. His hands fell away. The man beneath him held no breath, showed no evidence of life. His chest was still. Garrett got to his feet and staggered to the sink. He pumped water and put his head under the spout. Rose knelt at Bill’s side and shook him. “Bill. Wake up.” She rubbed his hands, then felt for a pulse, but there was none. “You’ve killed him.”
Garrett pushed the wet hair from his eyes and shook his head. “No. He’s all right.”
“No, look at him. He’s not breathing.”
Garrett knelt down and felt for a pulse on Bill’s neck, but couldn’t find any. He sat back on his heels.
“Do something,” she said.
“What do you want me to do?”
Garrett got to his feet and walked to the door and opened it. He took several deep breaths of the cold air, then turned to her. “He can’t be dead. I didn’t do anything.”
She pressed on Bill’s chest, but he was a dead lump. Nothing moved. He was stone. She stood up and ran into the bedroom.
“Don’t leave him. Do something.”
She came into the kitchen holding a pillow and placed it under Bills neck, “You killed him!”
Garrett dripped water on the corpse. The dead man’s lips were blue, his face speckled with red. He got down on his knees and pressed the man’s chest. He pressed hard, trying to bring him back. He punched his chest and forced opened his mouth and blew into him, but didn’t really know what he was doing.
After a few minutes, he gave up trying to resuscitate him, walked to the fireplace and, somehow, he didn’t remember how, the whiskey bottle came down from the mantle and was in his hands. He drank a quarter of the bottle before he lifted his lips away. He took a long, slow breath, the sting of the alcohol making it difficult to take in air. He sat on the sofa and stared at the dwindling fire. When he looked up again, she was standing above him, her strange eyes glaring in the dull light. “We have to do something.”
Garrett shook his head and took another long swig of the whiskey.
“No? Are you saying no, you won’t do anything?”
“What do you want me to do?”
“We have to get rid of him.”
He got to his feet and faced her. “What should I do, huh? You want me to throw him in the current, let it take him out to sea? Because that just brought you here, didn’t it?”
“No.” She put her hands on his cheeks, and squared her stare at him, trying to think. “We can bury him.”
He stood and pushed her away. “I’ll call the Sherriff. Turn myself in.”
“Garrett, no. You can’t. They’ll put you away.”
“It was an accident. They can figure that out.”
“You think they’ll buy that? You fucked his wife, then you strangled him dead.”
Garrett stared into the fire, and took another long pull on the bottle. “So, you are his wife?”
She glared at him for a second, then said, “Okay, I’ll do it. I’ll take care of him.”
She walked over to Bill’s corpse and tried to lift it. She grabbed him under the arms and dragged him halfway to the door, when Garrett cleared his throat and coughed. She turned to him.
“Where’s what’s his face, Jack?” he asked.
“I don’t know. He’s not here.”
“How do you know? He came with him last time. He’s his brother, isn’t he? And he knows about us.”
“It doesn’t matter. He’s not here. We never saw Bill, that’s all. That’s how it ends.”
“What about his boat? He had to have brought a boat.”
“We’ll sink it.”
“When we went to town, there were people that saw us together.”
“They don’t know who I am.”
Garrett went to the porch window and stared down at the dock, instinctively checking the tide level, to see how much of the cove at the dock was visible. It was mid-tide. The beach would be four more feet visible in a few hours. How far out could he sink the body without worrying where it may come up? Should he use rocks? An old anchor would be better. Gathering the information he had at hand, what his life had come to, adding it all up, he any way he looked at it, he held a losing hand. “You can tell them we didn’t have sex. They won’t check your body.” His arguments rang hollow. The inevitable truth of his downward spiral hit him, like a spider web he’d snagged on the trail. Invisible. Sticky. He’d never seen it coming.
“I don’t think he’s dead,” he said.
He walked over to Bill and took him under the arms and dragged him into the bedroom. He lifted him off the floor and onto the bed. He rolled the body into place and sat next to it, breathing heavy from the exertion. He took Bill’s arm and held it, feeling for a pulse. After a few minutes, Garrett laid down next to Bill and stared at the ceiling. The light was fading fast and the room was darker. Rose stood at the foot of the bed.
“We can bury him,” she said.
“The soil is too rocky.”
“We can take him out to the yard. Bury him under the woodpile.”
“I didn’t squeeze him that hard.”
“Whatever you did, he’s dead. Where is there a place with no rocks?”
He continued to stare at the ceiling, talking as if to himself, now. “I started a garden a while back. Behind the woodshed. I never planted anything. I wanted to grow sunflowers. The rocks have been cleared.”
“Good. We can bury him there.”
“He’s not dead.”
“Yes, he is. I checked.”
“No, there’s a faint pulse. He’ll be okay in a while.”
She took Bills wrist and felt for the artery. After a few minutes she let it drop. “There’s no pulse.”
“I felt it.” He looked at Rose, who stood at the side of the bed now, a stern look on her face. Or was it resolve?
“Go. Get out of here. I need to sleep.”
“You’re not going to sleep next to Bill, that way. How much did you have to drink?”
“I doesn’t matter. When Bill wakes up, we’ll feed him and send him on his way.” Garrett closed. He could feel her staring at him. He popped his eyes open and said, “You can go with him, too.” He closed his eyes until he heard Rose leave, then he opened them again and stared at the ceiling. He didn’t move for a very long time, just watched the shadows moving on the ceiling, then eventually he closed his eyes and fell asleep.