Friday, November 20, 2015
Chapter 6 - Blood in the Mortar --- Janet got up early. She grabbed her coffee and sat down with her pencil and the tablet with the figures from yesterday. It was a big house. It was fifty feet wide and fifty-eight feet long. But the width of the dining room and the library was only twenty each leaving ten feet in the middle unaccounted for. She felt her heart speed up. She drew the layout of the house on her paper and marked where she had found the rotted drywall. There had to be a hidden room. Janet pulled the sheet of paper off the clipboard and grabbed a flashlight. It was barely daylight. That should ensure that the repairman wouldn’t interrupt her. She stopped at her front door for just a moment to think if there was anything else she needed. She considered calling Abby but dismissed it. She didn’t want anyone to know of her treasure until she was sure. She got in her car a drove to the house. Janet stopped in the driveway directly across from the bottom of the steps. She let her gaze rise up to the front door. She took in the width of the house and tried to imagine the hidden space. She looked up at the second floor windows then at each lower windows. Janet took a deep breath and climbed the stairs. She didn’t even take out her key feeling that the door was unlocked and the inside of the house was waiting for her. As soon as she stepped in, she noticed that the light had changed, brightened. People dressed in evening finery were again grouped and engaged in conversation. In front of the fireplace, lit and flickering with flame, stood Daniel. Janet walked toward him. People shifted to the side, giving her a clear path. They smiled and nodded to her as she passed. She nodded and smiled in return as she walked toward him. Daniel stood there relaxed, smiling as she came closer. He reached out his hand and she took it. Her hand fit perfectly in his and she felt the gentle pressure that sent sparks through her. He turned from the fireplace and walked toward the curved staircase and Janet walked beside him. She looked down and noticed she was now wearing a beige gown and low heels. Around her neck she could feel a necklace. She reached up and felt the large cool stones. Daniel led her up the stairs slowly. She divided her attention between Daniel and the people below. The room glittered and the light laughter danced off the ceiling. The heat from the fireplace rose and she felt it in waves over her bare arms. It was perfect. When they reached the top, Daniel led her to the center of the balcony and they both turned to look over the crowd below. All faces were turned up looking at them. Light applause came from the crowd and Daniel tipped his hat. Janet noticed one face out of place; a small girl, a child, stood with sad eyes, looking up. Dirt streaked blonde hair fell over her face. Janet shifted to her right for a better view. A couple below stepped in front of the girl, hiding her from Janet’s view. Daniel placed his arm around Janet and she turned with him and walked down the hallway. She turned back once but the room below was now out of sight. She knew where he was taking her and she felt the excitement build. Daniel pushed the door open and stood back to allow her to enter first. Janet walked in and immediately felt the warmth of the fire and smelled the aroma of burning wood. Two kerosene lamps on either side of the bed added more flickering light. Daniel shut the door. He bent down and she rose up to meet his lips. Passion ran through her veins and she felt herself respond. Daniel broke the kiss. “Do you feel it too?” Janet tried to speak but her throat was dry. She nodded and reconnected with his lips. His hand brushed her hair from her forehead and ran softly down the back of her neck. Janet looked up into his face, into his sparkling blue eyes. He reached around and undid the necklace and laid it off to the side. Then his hand began to undo the buttons on the front of her dress. The tiny buttons in loops ran to her waist. She raised her hands to his shirt and undid the buttons. She stood back as he took his shirt off and tossed it on the bed. She reached out with trembling hands and ran them across the smooth warm skin feeling the solid muscle beneath. Daniel slipped off her shoulder straps and allowed her dress to fall to the floor. Janet stepped out of it and Daniel picked it up and tossed it by his shirt. Janet unbuckled his belt as he undid her bra. She wanted so much to put her burning body against his. They embraced and kissed again. She let Daniel lay her down on the thick black bearskin rug. She heard the crackling of the fireplace and felt the flickering heat. He lay beside her with his legs outstretched. He kissed her again and his lips left hers and journeyed down her body. She lay there with her eyes closed and her heart pounding as her body shuddered with his touch. Love making had never been like this, ever. His soft touch and exploring hands woke parts of her long forgotten. This time she had a name to shout at the peak and she did. And they lay together by the fire kissing and stroking each other. Daniel shifted, getting ready to get up. She grabbed him around the neck. “Don’t go,” she said. “Why?” he said. “Because.” “Because why?” Janet paused. Her heart wanted her to tell him she loved him but her mind rebelled. How crazy was she, she asked herself. Then he kissed her neck softly. Crazy or not, she wanted him. “I’m not sure.” Janet looked at him and he placed his lips against hers and she felt the heat inside again. Daniel lifted her and carried her to the bed without breaking the kiss. She could feel him respond. She let herself go again and once more called out his name. She lay there catching her breath. The bed soft, the light flickering and muted, the room a gentle off-white, and his warm body against him brought a smile to her lips. Could it get any better than this? She could feel his soft lips on her back and shoulder. “Who are you?” “Daniel.” “This is your house?” “It is until it sells. Then I will have to go.” “Go where?” “Far away. Very far away.” She felt his soft kisses move down her back, “You could stay with me,” she said. “No. That would be impossible. I live here and then— nowhere.” “What if I bought this house?” “Then we could be here together, forever.” Janet rolled over and faced him. “I’ll do it.” And she kissed him. Janet left the house at dusk. She didn’t turn back to look this time. She drove home and got on her computer. She added up all her accounts and found she had enough for a down payment if she could talk the owner down. Her credit was good enough to get the loan but she would be strapped to make payments unless she sold her house. So she would sell it. She would live in the house on the hill. Abby had almost forgotten about the incident at the house. She had been busy with her garden and other activities. Or maybe she wanted the memories to fade. She had questioned herself over and over and finally settled on an overactive imagination. She hadn’t heard from Janet but that wasn’t abnormal. Janet stayed busy. When Abby drove by her house on the way to the mall, she saw the ‘For Sale’ sign on the lawn. Abby turned in the driveway and rang the bell. She peeked through a window and saw the house had been emptied. She dialed Janet’s number. Janet answered but she sounded different, an accent? “Janet, this is Abby. How are you?” “Just wonderful. How are you?” “I just saw the ‘For Sale’ sign in your lawn. You’re selling?” “What? I’d never sell this house.” “What? You’re inside? I rang the bell.” “Bell? Oh. You’re at my old place. I’m at my new house.” “You bought that house?” “Why, yes. I love this house. This house loves us.” “Us?” “Why Daniel and I of course.” “Daniel the repairman?” “The…uh…ye…no…no, Daniel. Daniel. He lives here. He loves me and I love him. I have to go now. Bye.” Abby heard the connection end. Shit! What is going on? Abby backed out of the driveway and squealed as she drove back toward town, back toward Berry road.