This is a the first part of romantic story written by Ted Phido. It is as close to 50 Shades of Grey as you can get. There are six parts in all. Read the story below…
Sophia Trepidation knots my belly as I shave my legs carefully. I can’t believe I’m doing this, going over to his house for a first date. I’m so nervous I’m nearly numb, can’t even feel the cool enamel of the bathtub, moist from the shower, against the back of my thighs. Maybe I should call to cancel, but he’ll be so disappointed. And truth be told, so will I. It’s been a year since I went on a proper Date. I reapply the shaving gel and shave upwards this time, against the grain, getting the last bits of hair. I’m thorough and methodical, no nicks, no cuts, perfect for him. For Alexander.
Alexander I sit in my father’s study. Even though he’s been dead twenty years, I still refer to it as his study. Sometimes I can still hear his voice in here, smell his cologne. I try not to think about how much I miss him, to ignore the dull ache in my chest.
I focus on my task, cleaning my crossbows. My prize possessions glint in the mood lighting of the study, beautiful and cruel at the same time. The room is silent but for my elbows skimming over the old newspaper I’ve spread on the antique desk to protect it from the wax and lubricant.
I’d already restrung the bow and now I carefully wax the new cables and lube the rail and trigger box. My hands shake but I ignore their tremors. Nothing matters until tomorrow. Tonight must go well. I don’t know if I will be able to hunt next year.
A knock at the door. Mr Hound, my butler slash valet slash bodyguard, stands in the doorway holding two outfits. I pick the light blue cashmere sweater. I don’t want this to be too formal. Plus, it makes me look kindly and welcoming.
“I’ll go and pick her up now, Master Alexander,” he says.
I nod. He takes the sweater and the khakis up to my dressing room. A few minutes later I hear the faint jangle of the automatic gate letting him out into the night.
Sophia I get his text. His driver is on the way. I realize now why I have so many misgivings about this night. He has way too much power over the situation. His car, his food, his house in the middle of nowhere. I pack my things in an overnight bag in case I get lucky. In case he gets lucky, I remind myself firmly. I repeat my self-affirming mantras again. Confidence blooms in my chest. I check that I’ve got everything I need.
It bothers me that I’ve not been able to find anything about Alexander’s family, friends and loved ones. Maybe he is alone in the world, like me. Nevertheless, I still pack my leather roll bag. Even if it doesn’t work out, I still have a couple of valentines I can send out later; last year was very fruitful, though not like this.
The car arrives. I instinctively smooth down the front of my black strapless dress and throw on my red bolero cardigan. I am beautiful, I am fierce, I say to myself, taking a deep breath. I’m seeing this really great life coach.
I grab my bag and meet Alexander’s butler. He is tall, all angles and edges, radiating malice. I wonder if he has any family. There might be a Plan B here. “Would Miss like to listen to any music?” he asks me after he stashes my bag in the boot.
“No thanks,” I say.
The calf leather seat gives a sigh as I settle into it. The windows are almost opaque. This makes me uncomfortable. It means that despite my best efforts, I don’t know the way to Alexander’s mansion. The butler puts up the privacy screen separating the spacious back from the front of the car and pretends I don’t exist.
An hour later, we arrive at the house that has supposedly been in Alexander’s family for generations. It’s huge, but not tacky at all. He’s been waxing lyrical about his grounds and garden. Yes, he actually has grounds.
I’m shown unto the raised patio. Alexander is waiting for me on a small balcony overlooking the pool. It looks like a slab of raw turquoise.
“Did you bring a swimsuit?” He asks. I feel him appraising me. I will myself not to blush.
“No; you forgot to mention you had such a lovely pool.” I say, laughing nervously.
“No worries. If you want a dip later, I’m sure we can find you a suit in my sister’s things.”
My eyes light up. He does have family! I can send them a Valentine. “You have a sister?”
“We’re not close. She lives far away.”
His voice takes on an edge and I chastise myself for being nosy and sounding so excited about it. I can’t help it. It’s been so long.
…romantic story to be continued.