A Kept Woman(6)

By: Daryl Devore

“Are these cards good all the time?”

“Until I deactivate ’em.” He slid his card through the reader and the doors opened.

Arianne peered inside. Dark wood, polished brass and spotless mirrors adorned the sides, but the back was another set of doors. “Like a hospital elevator.”

Derek chuckled and pressed the pause button to hold the doors open. “I never looked at it that way. The back doors open into another apartment. There are only two on each floor.”

Looking at the blue card she held, Arianne puzzled it out then spoke. “This is like your front door key. You don’t have to give me your apartment number because when the doors open I’ll be at your apartment.”

He nodded. “I’m not going up. You go look around and make a decision. If you’re in agreement, send the elevator down empty. If you meet me at the bottom then I will know that you are unhappy and wish to terminate this deal. I’ll pay you, call for a cab and send you on your way.”

Arianne stepped inside and watched the doors close between them.

Her eyes stared at the numbers as they counted up to floor fifty-six. She put her hand on her chest to try and calm her pounding heart. This is so stupid. What am I doing? I’m not that kind of a girl! Something caught her attention. She paused. Sniffed. His cologne? Elevators don’t smell of men’s cologne. Most of them just smell. I may be in over my head here, but wow, that is one gorgeous guy. He’s built the way I like’em--long and lean. And those eyes. Such a deep blue. And that mouth. It’s—

The upward movement stopped. For a moment, so did Arianne’s heart. She swiped her blue card. The doors started to open. “O. M. G!” Entering the apartment, Arianne steadied her nerves. “I have seen this room on the cover of City Interiors.”

She stepped from the marble entry and sank into lush carpet.

Masters, not reproductions, hung on the walls. Before her was the main living room. A black leather sofa divided the entry way from the living room. On both sides were matching chairs with ottomans. A glass coffee table sat in front of the couch; a tinted blue oval sheet of glass resting on a dolphin statue. A flat panel TV hung on the wall above the requisite fireplace. The balcony doors displayed a city view that few people saw.

All the furniture gleamed with obvious attention. Peering inside doors and drawers, Arianne discovered everything was empty—no stored CDs or DVDs. She glanced down. The coffee table was empty. There was no big expensive coffee table book, only a lone remote.

Guessing which door lead to the bedroom, she pressed the door handle and peered inside. The room was decorated in soft mauve and ivory. The bed dominated the room with its size and four ornately carved posts. More original paintings adorned the walls, scenes of the ocean, of a tropical island and a soft sunset with a woman staring at a distant ship. The dressers and closets were huge but empty. There was nothing secreted away anywhere.

She stepped through the bedroom into the master bathroom. “That is not a bathtub. It’s a swimming pool!” The tub faucet was a small section of black marble over which the water would pour like a water fall. The taps were gold. Arianne rubbed her hand along them. In the corner stood the shower—a large affair of glass and gold fixtures. Numerous spouts on three sides would cover a person in spray from all angles.

“This is so unfair. Gawd I’d love to be rich. Look at this stuff.” The sink’s gold taps and faucet were designed, again, like a porpoise. Opening the vanity drawers, she found new toothbrushes and toothpaste, bars of soap, body oil, razors, shaving cream, shampoo and towels.

She completed the same inspection of the kitchen. There were no pots or pans, or serving dishes. Opening the cupboards and refrigerator she found no food, but six cans of beers sat chilling in the door. The sideboard in the dining room held a small set of china and silver, enough to serve a meal to two people, but the kitchen held nothing with which to prepare a meal.

One room had a desk, chair and a computer—nothing else. The other four rooms and two bathrooms were bare. Smiling to herself, she conceded that she had found no hidden terrors just an elegant partially decorated apartment.

She stood before the elevator doors. The moment of truth. She pressed the button and the doors opened. It was empty. “He seems polite. Underneath his it’s all about him bravado, there is a large portion of compassion for me. He has been very up front with me. Why am I talking to an empty elevator?” She reached in and pressed the button to send the car to the parking garage. “You’ve done it Arianne. You have sealed your fate.”

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