~38~ obsession

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The side of my head feels likes a train wreck. I groan. My fingers feel around for the golfball-sized bump. 

Murky sunlight hits my line of vision. A spring shower patters against the garden windows. A blue picnic rug with a tartan pattern has been draped over me. 

Mr Zeepler’s sitting next to me on the wicker sofa. He sips from a glass of Chardonnay and smiles down at me. His hand strokes rings around the sole of my bare foot.

“Now that you’re awake, we can start picnicking.”

Confused, I pinch the bridge of my nose. “Why?”

He glances at the window and shrugs. “Pity about the rain, but an indoor picnic is just as fun.”

I frown at him. My eyes wonder to the coffee table. There’s a luxury picnic hamper on the table. A selection of meat and fish are neatly arranged on gleaming white plates. There’s hand-sliced ham, a chicken breast, hot smoked trout fillets and wild smoked salmon. The accompaniments include rye bread, green salad, figs, cheese, crackers and chutney. A silky smooth chocolate torte takes pride of place. There are even helpings of juicy strawberries and truffles to compliment the feast.

My mouth hangs open slightly. The fresh scent of food is calling out to me.

“You must be ravenous,” he smiles confidentially. “I know I am.”

I don’t fail to miss that his tone is dripping with innuendo. His eyes are like two burning blue flames.

“Mr Zeep—”

He offers a plate to me. “Try some of the beech-smoked chicken and rye bread. Very succulent. I think you’ll enjoy it.”

The firm set of his mouth tells me that he won’t take “no” for an answer. Seems like I’m trapped until I can find someway of escaping. That shouldn’t be too hard. He’s a psycho — but a brainless one at that.

I give in and take a hesitant bite of the sandwich. He smiles charmingly, pleased that I’m acquiescing to his demands.

I gobble up the sandwich and help myself to some smoked salmon.

“It tastes good,” I agree.

Best to keep him sweet. Then I can pull a fast one. 

Content, Mr Zeepler takes out a silver cigarette case and lights a cigarette. I catch him smiling adoringly at me and, occasionally, he insists that he feed me some nibbles (it’s a chance for him to unashamedly stare at my mouth). I feel ridiculous but as long as he’s fooled. 

My phone begins to ring. Surprised, I stare at the screen. Leo’s number. Oh sh!t. He’s waiting for me right now outside the cinema—

Mr Zeepler snatches up the phone before I have any chance to react. He answers it. Leo’s cheerful voice echoes into the room. 

“Hey, so are we still on for—” 

Mr Zeepler ends the call. My heart sinks. A flicker of displeasure touches his features. He stabs the cigarette on a side dish. 

Again the phone rings insistently. Mr Zeepler’s face is flushed with anger when he sees the screen.

“Amelie—” Leo’s tone is confused.

“She doesn’t want to see you, boy,” Mr Z snarls.

He switches off the phone and tosses it aside.

My hands curl up into claws. I can’t believe he just said that. Now Leo’s never going to want to see me again all because of a crazy, deluded banker. “No! That was my date.”

“Are you trying to make me jealous, Amelie?” he demands. “Hmm?” 

I grit my teeth. Seriously, if I were a man, I’d rip him to shreds. Instead, I down a glass of Chardonnay. 

“Do you like my gift, sweetheart?”

“Huh?” I raise my eyebrows.

Smiling mischievously, Mr Zeepler edges closer to me. His fingers brush against my cleavage as he lifts up a highly-polished, silver locket. 

“Open it,” he urges.

I take the elegant locket from his hand. A fancy flower motif has been engraved on both sides. It looks expensive. My thumb nail manages to lift open the paper thin case.

What I see inside makes me gasp. On one side, he’s carefully cut out a photo of himself to fit into the oval frame. On the other, the same’s been done to a photo of myself. I’m smiling and my face is turned slightly in profile. The light dances off my brown hair. It’s one of my better ones actually. Usually, I always look slightly tired in photographs. 

I wouldn’t feel so disturbed if I didn’t know where and when the photo taken. Two summers ago, The Zeeplers had one of their annual garden parties. I had to go — anything to stop Dad nagging me. Mr Zeepler was taking snaps and he must have taken that particular one when I was talking to his wife. I remember her playfully scolding him to give her camera back.

“You can always keep me close to your heart, Amelie.” 

He allows his fingers to skim across the top of my breasts. Eventually, his hand settles on a boob and he gives a gentle squeeze through the thin cotton fabric. Maybe he’s confused my boob with my heart…

“I can’t wait to see your pert arse,” his voice is a husky, er0tic whisper. Blue eyes flit across my face, devouring each curve and contour.

He’s waiting for my response.

This is awkward.

I wait for him to remove his hand. He has no intention of doing so anytime soon judging by the defiant smile hovering around his lips. 

I shove his hand off me. “You don’t own me.”

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