The rest of my time in Denver was boring in comparison to how the trip went. I said goodbye to Mindy and Henry, we hugged, and Mindy cried, and we promised to see each other again soon. Lauren and I headed to the airport together. She was flying back to London to resume her program while I was headed back to New York to resume mine.
I wish I could say I didn’t look for him at the airport. I secretly hoped Josh’s flight had been delayed and he would be sitting at the gate for the flight to Chicago. But I was not that lucky. Actually, quite the opposite mine own flight was delayed, and I didn’t get back to New York until almost midnight.
By the time I got back to my apartment in East Rockaway it was well after one in the morning. Unfortunately, I gained three hours on the way back and the time change had my body and mind ready to activity and my clock telling me it was time for bed. I finished unpacking and crawled into bed, looking through the photos I had taken over the last few days.
We all looked so beautiful in our dresses outside of the vineyard. The cute little bridge made the perfect prop to take the photos from traditional to extraordinary. My fingers stopped on the photo of the entire wedding party. Each bridesmaid standing with their groomsman, Josh standing behind me, but his eyes aren’t looking at the camera. His eyes are focused on me. His smile is contagious, and I find my own spreading across my face as I screen shot the photo to just the two of us.
I trace my fingers across the screen trying to touch the man through the photo. Just as my fingers reach his smile my phone vibrates and a message from Lord Satan reads across the top of my screen. Josh. The butterflies in my stomach awaken but I settle them. It’s only a text and I don’t even know what it says yet. Jeez. So much for “closure.”
Hey Sunshine. Hope you made it back safe. xo
The butterflies escaped entirely and were swarming like a school of fish. He didn’t say much but the fact he was thinking of me set my heart into a frenzy. My mind however being the responsible part of my body tried to hush the excitement. It’s just a text.
Safe and sound. I write as my reply and send it.
The phone vibrates again only a few seconds later.
What’s on your agenda today?
Editing, reading, and grading. I add the crazy eyed emoji at the end.
Sounds like the perfect day for you. He replies.
The reminder that Josh knows me so well fills me with an emotion I had been avoiding for years. I allow myself to feel the giddy happiness that his text brings me ignoring the warning bells going off in my head. I know the dangers of letting myself get attached to someone. Josh taught me how much that loss can hurt but when it comes to him my will power is nonexistent.
I tuck my phone into my bag with my laptop and make my way out the door. My parents owned this house before they moved to the Carolina’s after I graduated from Stony Brook University a few years ago. They left the house for me which is the biggest blessing I could have asked for. Not paying rent while going to grad school is every college student’s dream. The house is a ten-minute walk from the beach and today is the perfect day to set up by the bay.
I take the short walk to the sandy shore and find my place just close enough to the water that I can keep my bag next to me on the sand and not worry about the tide taking it into the ocean. I spend at least four hours getting toasted in the sun while reading the latest articles on critical race theory. By the time I’m done my eyes are sore and my skin is starting to get burnt.
I get back to the apartment and shower before setting up at my desk to begin writing my notes and observations for tomorrow’s discussion. An email pops up in the corner as grabs my attention.
Please read ASAP!!!
I don’t recognize the email address but the company name at the end sounds familiar. Microdynamics. I went to an event a few years ago to network with some tech guy I was dating. I don’t remember much of that night and less about the company hosting it. I open the email and quickly realize why the title said ASAP.
Good Evening Princess,
I hope you had a productive and inspiring day in the literary world. Cyber security is as exciting as it always is, so I won’t bore you with the details of my latest tech developments. I do however need your quick reply to a few questions.
First, I need your availability for the next few weeks. Second, I need a new photo of you to save as your screen saver in my phone. The one from ten years ago doesn’t capture the you I see every time I close my eyes. Thirdly and probably most importantly I need you to change my name in your phone. Lord Satan seems a bit much don’t ya think? Unless you’re planning to be my Persephone? If so, I will rule hell with you any day.
Thinking of you. In so many ways.
My smile hurts as I reread the email at least four times before I finally begin writing my reply. I check my calendar and write down the dates I know I’m available. My fingers are shaky as I open the new email and begin writing.
Dear Lord Satan,
First, I want to know how you knew that was your name in my phone? Are you stalking me? If so, please know that I will continue to have that as your name until I find you are no longer in cahoots with the Devil himself. My availability is Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for this month. Attached you will find the photo of us from the wedding which should serve as a replacement for my current one. I agree that photo isn’t the best and secretly I've always hated it.
I am curious though in what ways are you thinking of me? Call me a cat because I’m curious. 😉
Looking forward to your reply.
I close out of my emails and continue working for a few more hours. My stomach growls and reminds me I’ve been running on coffee and toast all day. I close my laptop and go into the kitchen to start making dinner.
I’m just about finished when a knock on my door startles me. I’m not expecting any visitor's tonight. I look through the peephole but find no one outside the door. I unlock and open the door to find a small package sitting outside. The package is addressed to me but doesn’t have a return address on it. It has no indicator of how it was shipped or what company delivered it. I look up and down the hall to see if someone is there, but I only find emptiness.
I bring the package inside, closing and locking the door behind me. Normally the delivery guy just leaves it but maybe this one wanted me to know it was there? I open the box and realize why there is no return address. Whoever sent this doesn’t want me to know who they are.
My blood turns cold and my stomach churns as I sift through the photos inside the box. Pictures of me in class, outside my apartment, in my car, everywhere and anywhere. On the bottom of the box is a single note card with one sentence on it.
He’ll never love you like I do.
I quickly shove all the photos into the box as if the sight of them would further his ability to see me. I go around the apartment shutting all the blinds and checking the window locks. The last thing I want is to be alone right now. I grad my phone and call the one person who always answers. He picks up on the second ring.
“Hey lady what’s going on?” Jax says. He sounds out of breath and by looking at the clock I assume he’s either at the gym or running with his dog.
“Could you come over.” I tried to make it sound calm but everything about me felt uneasy. I could feel the creep watching me even though I knew no one could see me.
“I’m on my way.” Jax said his care free attitude replaced by his stoic EMT calm. Jax is great under pressure which makes his job as an EMT easy for him. He’s ready for whatever comes his way with a calm unbothered demeanor.
Fifteen minutes later Jax and his dog Deku arrive at my front door. Deku barges in and makes himself at home on my couch. Jax looks me over checking to see if my worry was from something physically wrong.
“You look okay. What's going on?” He cocks his head to the side and give me a confused looked.
I take him into the kitchen and show him the box. He opens it and begins sifting through the photos and note. After a few minutes he places everything back in the box and turns to me.
“Did you call the police?” Jax asks.
“Not yet. I don’t think there's much here for them. No return address, I didn’t see who delivered it.” I say. I feel defeated and scared. My stalker could be outside right now waiting for the right opportunity to steal me away.
“You still should take it to the police. Maybe go in person so if he is following you, he sees you reported it. Maybe it’ll scare him enough to stay away.” Jax says as he grabs Deku’s leash and the box.
“What are you doing?” I ask following him toward the door.
“We are going to report the box and give it to the police. Then we are stopping at my house to get my clothes and Deku’s food so we can stay with you tonight.” He hands me my shoes from the front hall and slides his own on.
We head to the police station and as expected the police tell us there isn’t much they can do. They will put and officer on surveillance around my apartment in case my stalker returns but Jax insists he’ll stay with me tonight.
We finish the whole trip in about two hours stopping at my favorite Chinese food place to pick up dinner. Deku finds his place in my room on the bed I bought for when he visits and quickly passes out while Jax and I eat dinner and watch last week's episode of Grey’s.
When the episode ends, I look over to find Jax passed out on the couch. I grab the throw blanket from the chest and place it over him. Then I start cleaning up our dinner and getting myself ready for bed. Deku finds me in the kitchen, and I give him a treat before taking him outside to use the bathroom. Then we head to the bathroom, and he stays with me while I wash my face and get into my pajamas.
I crawl into bed and pull out my iPad. Before opening the latest romance novel I’m reading I see the notification for an email from my favorite demon. But this time the email address is much more recognizable.
I will have you know your name has been updated to show your new title as Queen of the Underworld. As much as I would love ruling anything with you, I hope that one day you will see me as more angelic than demonic. Let’s plan our next date for two weekends from now. I will send you my flight information tomorrow.
As for my thoughts, the imagine of your perfect body standing before me ready for me to devour has been locked in my mind since the moment it happened. I am in a constant state of need that can only be filled by you. Even now as I write this email my cock aches to be inside you again.
Do you miss how it feels Princess? Do you miss me too?
His email sends a shiver of desire through my body and my pussy clenches at his words. God yes, I miss him. Minus the incident with the stalker most of my day was filled with the distraction of our time together. The wind on my skin reminded me of the walks from the tasting room to the villa. The sun toasting my body reminded me of the way his hands seared into my skin as he touched every inch of me.
I click on the second email from him which contains the details of his flight. He’ll arrive mid-day on Friday and leaves late Sunday. The second email has one small note.
14 days and counting. xo
I stare at the screen weighing my choices. Part of me is dying to reply with how much I missed him while the other part wants to make him work for it. But I’m a hopeless romantic at best and I cave and start my reply.
I’m happy to know I have left some sort of mark on you as I find little reminds of the marks you left on me each time, I look in the mirror. If I close my eyes, I can feel your mouth nipping at my neck right where the purple bruise now sits.
I look forward to having you back in New York. I have so many places I can’t wait to show you! Be sure to bring your swim trunks or not. I know I'd enjoy the show.
It’s been a long day so I’m off to bed. Hopefully my dreams will be filled with thoughts of you.
Queen of the Underworld
I hit send and close my iPad too wound up to read. I stare at the ceiling for what feels like hours and Deku eventually comes onto the bed and tries to calm my racing mind. So much has happened in the last week and I can barely process all of it. All I know is that I feel safe for right now with Deku next to me and Jax on the couch. But what about tomorrow, the next day? The silent thought I’d been trying to ignore works its way into my mind and takes control of the happy feeling I had before. No longer am I reliving the nights I shared with Josh but as I drift to sleep my mind is filled with images of me tied up and beaten, drugged and kidnapped, stabbed and left for dead. All at the hands of someone I can’t see. I toss and turn until the sun starts to rise and Deku gets up and heads to the door to be let outside.