Kismet of Submission: Episode 16

‘That was good. I’m stuffed.’

Sir catches Cindy’s attention. ‘Could I get the rest of my pizza to go?’ Seeing Tamara’s expression, he shuffles the plates into a neat stack. ‘Cold pizza is one of the culinary highlights of life.’

She tilts her head and raises both palms in a silent ‘whatever’ gesture. All of her meal is gone and she sighs with contentment. ‘I’m going to be spoiled you know with all this rich food. That, plus gain a few sizes.’

Danger, Will Robinson! Sir wipes his greasy fingers and ponders his response. A. Say her current size is perfect. B. Say she could use a few pounds. C. Curves are sexy. D. Excuse yourself. ‘Excuse me, Tamara, but I need to wash my hands before we leave. Here’s my credit card if Cindy comes back with the bill first.’ Sliding out of the booth he scans the walls looking for the restrooms.

Watching him stride away with a casual lope, Tamara jabs the few remaining ice cubes with her straw. The sharp clinking noise triggers memories of cocktail shakers behind the bar, when she was younger and prettier, and men shoved tips in her jar quoting Billy Joel. Where did my life go?

‘Do you need to go?’

‘I should.’

Sir watches her carefully walk away, her head on a swivel and hands loosely clenched at her sides. He signs the bill with the house pen. Tucking the Visa back in his supple wallet triggers memories of corporate three-martini lunches back when he had money to burn.

‘Ready?’ Tamara slings her purse over her shoulder.

The night has settled in like an abstract painting; all jagged lines of garish colors splashed against a canvas of blackest thoughts. The headlights slash shadowed objects in two as he pulls back onto the thoroughfare, joining the teens cruising for dominance.

‘Do you ever check your phone, Sir?’

‘Why? Did you IM me?’

‘No, I don’t have your number. I was only wondering if your career meant being online a lot.’

‘That’s a fair question. I don’t like checking when I’m with someone. I think it’s rude. Calls? Sure, if it’s important, but I access my blog and business accounts at night via my laptop. Of course, I use a VPN when using public Wi-Fi.’

‘VPN?’

‘Virtual Private Network, it hides your IP address and allows private browsing when on an unencrypted public Wi-Fi. Otherwise, anybody can snoop on your activity and potentially steal your information.’

‘I did not know that.’

‘Nothing’s perfect, but going online without VPN is like having sex without a condom.’

‘Hmmmm.’ Tamara finally notices they aren’t back at the hotel. An instant flash of panic: She grabs the door handle without even noticing.

‘I need to take a stroll through the mall and settle my dinner; otherwise I get heartburn.’

Sir finds a spot near the multiplex entrance and unbuckles. Glancing over, he notices the tension in her arms. ‘Are you okay?’

Tamara shoots him a tight smile. ‘I’m fine.’

There are lies of omission, and lies of expedience. We sense Tamara’s “I’m fine” is both. Her mind is in turmoil. The instant reaction to being trapped in a vehicle with a male is something she can’t control. The garish marquee, featuring the latest cinematic blockbusters, casts red and yellow pools onto the pavement swirling with people choosing their entertainment. Through the windshield we peer in, Tamara’s face is washed out and pale; Sir’s is wary and concerned. He wonders what to say, what not to do. The choices seem to be bad and worse. He clenches the steering wheel and stares at the mall entrance. Would lying to her help?

‘I changed my mind. We can go back to the hotel.’

Like a robot in some dystopian future film, her head swivels forty-five degrees and locks on his face as if scanning into memory banks. Her voice is atonal, mechanical: ‘I said I’m fine. Go. Walk. I will wait here.’

Sir holds his breath as she pivots back and resumes her scrutiny, watchful as a sentry on duty. He pulls out his wallet, removes a card and sets it on the shifter console. The rental keys go on top. ‘I’ll be back, Tamara. My cell number is on the card. If you need to leave, for whatever reason, I’m leaving the car keys with you.’

Before he changes his mind, or gives her a chance to respond, he’s out the drivers’ door. It closes with a soft thud.

She watches, again, as he lopes away: A confident man in a dangerous world, who cuts through the crowd like a shark.

The locks engage with a beep. She jingles the keys in her hand. It’s an old-fashioned ignition switch. The temptation is strong.

I’m lying to myself. If I can’t control an innocent car ride, how am I going to stay calm when we sleep in the same bed? I can’t do this. Sir is too good for me. I don’t deserve his… anything. I’m worthless. Stupid. A fucked up whore who deserved every beating she got. I. AM. SO. FUCKING. PATHETIC! I can’t do this. I can’t. I bet he regrets ever meeting me. I bet he’s thinking he was so stupid to pay for my meals and invite me to the freak show because now he’s the one running away. He didn’t even ask me what was wrong! He just hopped out and left me all by myself in a fucking parking lot! How dare he! He left me the keys? FINE! If that’s what he wants, fine.

After his brisk walk around the mall concourse, Sir is feeling better. Until he notices that his car is missing: along with Tamara. He paces back and forth for a while wondering if she’s idling somewhere along the distant perimeter, watching and waiting. His phone is silent. No messages; no missed calls.

Summoning the nearest rideshare, the driver takes him back to the hotel. It’s a quiet trip.

He watches television and waits for her call.

To read all the Kismet of Submission episodes in order, please go to this page for individual links.

2 Comments

  1. I’m enjoying this story very much…always look forward to reading the next episode.
    Kat

    Like

    • Thank you very much, Kat. I am enjoying writing this story knowing that people look forward to each week. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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