I throw my arms around his neck. I feel so much love for him I am almost in tears. ‘Thank you,’ I whisper. ‘Thank you so much.’ I pull back and look deeply into his beautiful eyes. ‘I really, really, really love you, you know. With all my heart.’
He bends his head and kisses me tenderly. Why won’t he tell me he loves me? I know he loves me. Someone who is not in love could never do something this generous and delicious.
I go with him to the door. He stops. ‘Who did you think the apartment was for?’
‘You?’ He seemed genuinely confused. ‘Why would you think that?’
‘I thought it was my kiss-off gift.’
He caresses my cheek with the back of his hand. ‘You have no idea at all, have you? The papers are on the ledge over the fireplace,’ he says, and then he is gone.
I stand in the balcony and watch him leave the building, cross the road and get into the back of a waiting dark blue Rolls-Royce with a silver hood. Then I call Billie.
‘Billie, what are you doing right now?’
‘Watching my nails dry.’
‘Can you get a cab and come meet me in Maida Vale.’
‘Why, what’s in Maida Vale?’
‘Do you want to spoil the surprise?’
‘Why would I wanna do that?’
The bell rings in less than half an hour.
I open the door with a stupid grin on my face. I can’t help it. I am so happy and excited for Billie.
‘I’ve smeared my nail polish so this better be good,’ she says, waving her ruined nails in front of my face.
‘Sorry,’ I say and she steps over the threshold. Just like me she goes immediately to the balcony.
‘Wow, this is some view, isn’t it? Whose place is it?’
She turns around slowly. ‘Sorry?’
‘It’s yours. Blake bought it for you.’
‘For me?’ She is frowning.
Her eyes are narrowed. ‘Why?’
‘I think he hates Sorab’s godmother to live on a council estate. He was kind of put off by the syringes and the smell in the stairwells.’
‘What do you mean by for me? What happens when your 42 days are up?’
‘You still get to keep it.’
She breaks into a mad grin. ‘A flat right in the middle of classy Little Venice just for little ole me? Wow. You know what, if he hasn’t been straight as a die in all his dealings with you from the moment he met you, I’d never believe it.’
‘Well, it’s in my name at the moment, but as soon as our business picks up and you stop being on the dole, I’ll transfer it into your name.’
I hand her the papers.
She looks at them. ‘Wow, who’d have thought?’ She lifts her face to mine. There are tears in her eyes. She blinks them away proudly.
I smile at her. ‘And you know what is even more exciting? Blake has agreed to pick up the decorating tab. You have carte blanche to decorate it in any way you want.’
‘I just don’t know what to say, Lana,’ she says suddenly.
‘Is it worth messing your nails for?’ I tease.
‘Can you put that child down for one moment,’ she asks gruffly.
I put Sorab into his stroller and she envelops me in a bear hug. ‘Thank you, Lana. I know you don’t pray, so every day I get down on my knees and I pray that everything will work out for you,’ she whispers in my ear.
I pull back. ‘You do?’
She nods solemnly.
‘Thank you,’ I say, and smile. Grateful that she is my friend.
He made me lie on the bathroom floor and gave me a hot coffee enema. Twice he administered it. It was uncomfortable. And twice I sat on the toilet until there was no more to void, and I felt strangely light and cleansed.
At the edge of the bed he pushed me back and holding onto my thighs he spread my legs wide and pinned them on either side of my head. My lower body rolled up to accommodate his needs. Now nothing was hidden from his eyes. Completely exposed to him, I looked into his hooded eyes,
He laid his palm on my open sex.
‘You are very damp,’ he said, and immediately after sank into my wet cunt.
He buried himself deeper still. I cried out, but he only said, ‘You were made for me. This body was made to take me and only me. When I am finished with you there will be no part of your body that I will not have been in or on. Every f**king inch of you is mine and mine only.’
He pulled out of me and without taking his eyes off me smeared his thumb with lubricant.
‘Now lie down on your face and present yourself to me.’
I turned over and lay down with my cheek flat on the mattress and my butt rounded and pushed up towards him.
‘Spread your legs more for me.’ I obeyed and he slowly inserted his thumb into the ring of clenched muscles.
‘I own this,’ he said, dipping it in and out. In and out.
Strange, but not painful. Pleasurable even. I knew what he was doing. He was stretching me. Touching the sensitive walls, pressing on vital nerve endings until my body began to move restlessly on the bed. Now he knew I was excited and ready.
He covered his erection with jelly and began to press it against me.
This time I cried out in protest. A sharp, unfamiliar pain. A frisson of panic in my lower belly. He is too big. I won’t be able to take him.
‘You have to relax,’ he said. ‘Let me in… Pain has possibilities, holds a different kind of pleasure.’ His voice was low, seductive.
I wanted to take him in, but my muscles remained clenched, uncooperative. He could not have moved an inch further.
‘You have to trust me, Lana,’ he said and reaching under me began to stroke my clitoris. I began to tremble. Taking advantage of my distracted state, he pushed suddenly into me.
The pain was immediate and sharp, and I screamed out, but he had become motionless, to allow my body to absorb the foreign intrusion, the strange sensation of hot fullness. When he judged my body had come to accept him, he pushed all the way in.
I moaned restlessly.
There was still pain, but more than the pain was the pleasure of being taken by him. In that position that I should have considered debased and humiliating I found decadent pleasure.
He began to move inside me and I couldn’t help the strange animal sounds that came out of me. Firmly gripped by my rectum and the foreignness of what we were doing he came fast, spilling his seed deep inside me, crying out my name. He buckled against me, but he did not pull out of me. Instead he reached over and began pleasuring my clit.