The heat from the pan as I worked on my chorizo helped against the chill of the winter night. For February, it was freezing, and I only turned the heat on enough to keep the pipes from freezing. I figured that there would be plenty of activity to keep me warm after dinner, and I didn’t want excessive sweat to ruin that moment. I hummed while I cooked. This Valentine's Day was my first time spending it with someone else. Usually, I worked and went home to sip on wine and spend the night with my trusty battery operated boyfriend.
This year, I’d set up his house before he arrived home from work. I bought a dozen of those chalky candy hearts from the dollar store, gluing the ones with the nicknames he called me around the house. Sweetheart, baby, babe, doll, cutie pie. Those terms of endearment were placed all over the house for him, and anyone else who dared to enter the house, to see. The whole house was lit by candles of lavender, crimson, and rose color. I had sprayed the house with perfumes marked as sensual or erotic. They were said to induce arousal through the atmosphere. I had gone full out for the day.
Going full out had included a trip to the adult store. I didn’t purchase anything too severe or naughty; restraints and gags only. Everything else, I wanted to go about creating naturally. I finished up dinner just in time if the desperate moaning from the living room was anything to go by. Fixing a plate, as we only needed one for the night, I took a deep breath and smiled.
Ford believed that he was God’s gift to women. I couldn’t entirely argue that he wasn’t. He was objectionably handsome, according to modern standards. His hair went white while he was still a teen, and he hadn’t colored it a day in his life, wearing it comfortably at his current age of 47. His muscles were still enough to drool over if such was one’s preference. They looked absolutely gorgeous in his current state.
Chained to the chair at the dining room table, he put every bit of energy he had into trying to get free. “Not going to work,” I sang while taking the first bite of my dinner. He angrily fixed his teal eyes onto me. “I explained to the lady at the shop that I needed restraints that were meant to hold you in. Told her it would assist us in our little game.”
He swore at me. Or, at least, I think he swore at me. The huge ball his teeth were sunken into turned it all into unintelligible sounds while he drooled all over himself. He could have spoken and I would have understood him if it weren’t for his anger getting the better of him and making everything run together. He kept pulling at the chains. I laughed, knowing he’d never get free.
“Well, you wanted my attention, didn’t you?” I took a sip from my water bottle. He watched with a glimmer of envy. He had to have been dying for a drink by now. “That’s why you kept harassing me at work, calling me all those names you know I hate so much. You wanted me to pay attention. Here I am.”
I worked at the local gas station, attempting to keep my job until I found somewhere to put my degree to good use. I wasn’t the greatest in customer service. I tended not to speak to people when they came in, and Ford had pushed against me the entire time I worked there. He came in and called me sweet nicknames, smiling and laughing like I should have been complemented by his affection. I told him at least five times a month not to call me anything other than my name. The other people at the station brushed it off. They claimed he was harmless and I should ignore it instead of letting it get under my skin. I tried to.
Then he became more persistent. He’d touch my shoulder, my hair, fingers brushing against my throat. All of those, he claimed to be accidents. What wasn’t an accident was when he lifted up the back of my work shirt when I was bent over, stocking the beer cooler. He had slid his hand up my back, searching for a bra, and made a lewd comment when he couldn’t find one. The comment, asking if he could see my breasts since I clearly wanted to flaunt them, had been enough to push me from only fantasizing about Ford’s suffering to knowing that I had to see it before I died.
I watched him struggle while eating. Seeing him go through the different stages of being caught was the greatest show I could imagine. I saw fear and panic set in when the anger subsided. Once the fear settled into him, he started to plead and beg. That was my favorite part. I finished my meal, propping my chin upon my palms, and drank in the pleasure of watching him break down and cry. Sob the same way I had felt like sobbing when he tried to grab my breast. Beg for mercy in the same way I had begged the hot water of the shower to disinfect me of the virus that was Ford. I wrapped my fingers around the knife I brought to the table. Pristine and untouched, it reflected all of the candles on the table. I sashayed over to his side of the table. He whimpered when I pulled his head back by jerking on a fistful of hair.
“You didn’t stop,” I whispered in his ear, laying the knife against his throat. “Why should I?”
The first cut was shallow. A phantom slice to increase his fear. Not a single droplet of blood was produced by it. He still shed tears as if I had actually hurt him. There was a thin line across his throat with the second cut, and small trickles of blood smeared against his skin with the third. I had time and patience.
I counted to fifty before my lust to see him dead took over. I couldn’t wait any longer. I delivered the final blow, though it would still take time for him to bleed out. I took the knife with me, along with a picture from the mantel before knocking over the candles closest to the curtains in each room. Exiting out the backdoor, I watched the house while it was engulfed in flames from the forest shortly behind his backyard. When the flames no longer interested me, I looked down at the photo I had swiped from the house.
His wife looked so joyous and beautiful in her wedding gown. She looked like a princess drenched in a dress pure as snow and a veil ever so gently kissing her shoulders. A princess like that deserved a real man, not the facade of one that she stood next to in the photo. Staring at the gold frame and the photo laying within it, I knew I had done the right thing.