Dana kissed her husband at the door and smiled as he pulled away the second time. Her hands lingered on his clean-shaven face.
"I love you," she said, her tone husky with forced passion. "Have a wonderful day."
"Every day with you is wonderful." He ran a finger down her smooth cheek, brushing aside a stray lock of platinum hair. "I'll see you tonight."
Dana leaned on the oak door while tracing a heart into the wood as she watched her husband start the silver Cadillac in the driveway and pull out of the mansion's grounds. Pouting, she closed the door and went back to her room to sit on the window sill in torturous wait. She pulled apart the lace curtains, letting the sun warm her pale body through her silk nightgown. It could hardly penetrate the way she needed. Her foot began tapping the air until she couldn't stand to sit anymore. She rose and paced the room, white with fury and rouge with conflicting embarrassment and coyness. It was the only color that touched Dana's body without assistance.
The glass wall clock beat each second into her brain like the devil whipping a condemned soul and iron shackles clamped her lungs and made her chest heave with each labored breath. She grabbed her head, pulling her blonde hair from its pins, and fell back onto the canopy bed with a frustrated cry.
"Impatient, are we?" A smooth voice split through the unbearable silence and Dana leaped to her feet.
"W—where were you?" she cried to the other woman occupying the room. "What took you so long? I'm dying here!"
A smirk flickered onto the new arrival's ashen face. It was a different type of empty paleness than Dana's that always gave her a chill when the woman arrived, but she needed her so she did her best to put the fear aside. To stop shuddering would involve more practice—practice she didn't intend to need.
"So eager today. It's absolutely delicious." A pointed tongue ran along her pierced lower lip as she stepped towards Dana, brushing dark dust off of her suit. Her polished black heels sank into the carpet, leaving a trail of scorch marks. "How's your husband doing?"
"Fine," Dana said curtly and then felt a wave of her previous self overtake her. She fought to keep it under control, but it took more effort than she could maintain. "Now give me what I need and leave—please."
The devilish woman cackled. "Oh, it's please now, is it? Dana dear, you really must learn to control these emotions of yours." Dana bit her lip and turned away from those callous crimson eyes. "Well, since you're so excited to get your weekly dose, let's get started." The woman sized Dana up and she felt stripped under the scrutiny. She hugged herself as if it might cover her shame. "Yes, you look like you're in serious need."
"Please don't speak anymore," Dana said, her voice meek. "This is the last time." Her statement only made the other woman succumb to an even greater fit of merciless mirth.
"The last time? You mean like how last week was the last time? Like how the week before that was the last time? Dana, who do you think you're fooling?"
"I'm not—I'm not fooling anyone!" She gathered any last meager strands of her natural courage to raise her voice. "Arnold loves me for who I am. I don't need your tricks anymore."
"Oh, of course he loves you," the woman cooed, trailing her fingers along a row of beautiful trinkets that shimmered in the sunlight. They were gifts from Arnold that Dana cherished, but looked sullied under the touch of the foul woman. "He loves you...and the racy young mother down the street and the beautiful exotic dancer at the gentlemen's club and those talented street corner performers and most importantly for you and this luxurious way of life, he loves his experienced boss. I don't deny that he loves you too, Dana. He certainly knows how to love."
Each example was a slap to her face. Her eyes stung with welling tears and she sat on her bed, clutching one of the icy support poles for the canopy. How many times had she and her husband shared that bed? But who did he really love? She had become so accustomed to what the woman could do for her that she began believing Arnold truly loved her again. The real Dana, whoever that was. However, she had been okay with the uncertainty because Arnold was by her side. He stopped coming home late after business meetings and he spent all of his free time with her. They were the perfect couple in the perfect home with the perfect lives. There was just one loose end that had to be cut.
A tuft of red hair fell over Dana's shoulder and she shivered again as she felt the weight of the woman's head and the cool touch of her breath on her neck. Her heart raced with a disgusting mix of fear and excitement. Dana's eyes widened as she saw her hand reaching for the woman's face through pure habit. In a brief instant of control, she sprang from her seat and backed away. The seductive smile on that ashen face was one that Dana had come to know too well.
The woman shrugged. "All right, Dana. This will be our last meeting. I wish you the best of luck with your…fulfilling marriage."
It was Dana's turn to size up the woman. "Good. I—I won't need your help anymore." She wished she had the courage just then to slap the demeaning look off of the woman's face. In time it would come to her. She had to believe that.
"Then let's begin," said the suited fiend, crawling to the end of the bed and reaching her manicured hand out to Dana. Reluctantly, Dana stepped forward and took her frozen hand, lowering herself to the carpet. The woman caressed Dana's hand and then let her fingers slide up her soft, goosebump pocked arm until she reached her neck. Her other hand came up behind Dana's head, tenderly at first until she yanked her hair back and squeezed her throat, making Dana cringe. A solitary tear traced her cheek from clenched eyes. "Now now," the woman said, pressing her cheek to Dana's. "Just relax. You remember how this works. You must be willing. Are you willing, Dana? Just one more time?"
"Y—yes." She relaxed in the rough grip of the sensuous hands.
"Then tell me what you want."
Dana took a deep breath and recited the words pooling in her heart.
"I—I want to be the only lover in my husband's life." Painful memories of deception and cheap perfume and lipstick stains on shirt collars tore at Dana's mind as she voiced her wish. "I want to be the perfect woman for him. I want to be sexy and bold and desirable. I want to have the power to draw him to me and—I want him begging for more. More of me! Only me!"
The cruelest laugh followed her yearning cry. The pristine white room shivered and then darkness blotted it out. Dana's skin prickled, then poked, then stabbed. Her heart brimmed with lust and desire and power. That power strengthened her against the harsh clawing of those hands on her hair and neck. Ruby blood trickled from beneath the demonic woman's palms like trails of lava searing her skin, but it felt so right. That burning was all she wanted. The flames of passion flowed over and through her. She moaned as her heart raced out of control in the most spectacular, asphyxiating pain.
All too soon, the darkness flickered around her and that full-body sensation of torturous perfection fled with it, leaving Dana blind to reality and quivering from head to toe. Her blue eyes were as pale with death as those of the devil's spawn. Dana's quaking arms reached out, groping the air and then hugging herself with a crazed smile. She licked her plump, pink lips for practice and her smile became the deep, sensuous look she had come to love. She needed it and she had it and it was perfection.
"So, Dana dear," the woman mocked, speaking into her ear while she was still lost to blind desire, "just one last time?"
"As you say." The woman sucked the dobs of red from her fingers and then adjusted her suit as she stood. She crossed the room, now returned to its former ethereal glow from the sunlight streaming through the window. Glancing back once more, she said, "Good luck, Dana." And then she was gone. Only a trail of soot and smoldering fibers indicated that she had ever been there at all.
Moments or minutes or hours could have passed before Dana was conscious enough to stand. Her shapely legs rattled beneath her, but she found her balance and hobbled across the room to the window sill. The sun, farther along in the sky, beat down on her. Its warmth was a mere tickle compared to what flared beneath her skin. She stared up at the sun, savoring the light that burned at her eyes. It reminded her of when she had once looked into Arnold's desk lamp and it was that unimpressive.
The sound of tires bumping a curb and pulling closer to the house drew her eyes from the sky. Dana smiled; the expression was sweet and innocent like she once was. She felt the sugary expression and slapped herself.
"Dana, love! I'm home!" came her husband's voice a minute later.
Dana opened her dresser and searched for the sheerest negligee she owned. A red bra and panty set that she didn't recall being there before lay on top of her night gowns. It was perfect. She slipped into it and admired herself in the vanity mirror for a minute, savoring the healthy glow of her skin around the red lace and how the blue of her eyes returned, deeper than before. She practiced smiling again and a lustful smile that no man could resist shined back. Now she was ready.
She left her room, stopping at the top of the staircase to the entrance hall where her husband was shrugging out of his suit jacket. She cleared her throat and leaned against the railing, trailing the contour of her body with her fingers.
"Welcome home, baby." She sauntered down the steps and met him at the bottom. It was delicious the way his chocolate eyes groped her and she knew he was hers. Only hers.
"Look at you," he said, wrapping muscular arms around her small waist. "Every Friday you get all dolled up like it's my birthday."
"I didn't do anything special. This is just me, baby. All of this is me and it's all for you."
"And I love you so much." He drew her close and kissed her with such fervor that Dana had to force them apart. Her eyes remained locked onto his. "You're so beautiful."
So, Dana dear, just one last time?
Just…one more time couldn't hurt…