Jeff met Maggie six months ago at the office. She was the secretary sent by the temp agency to fill in while his regular secretary, Judith, was out on maternity leave.
Tall, with long strawberry blond hair pulled up with a twist in the back; gorgeous bright blue eyes and appearing to be in her late twenties, she was one who would make any man look twice in her direction.
Of course, Jeff was a happily married man and had no fantasies about other women. He had found the love of his life in Laura. She was beautiful, smart and she was his best friend. He was lucky to have her and he knew it. Still, appreciating the beauty of another female wasn’t a sin; it was a harmless pastime for most married guys he reasoned.
He had seen too many marriages break up when the guy took looking to the next step and actually had an affair. The truth always came out, and the guy ended up the loser; seeing his kids every other weekend and living in poverty because of spousal and child support.
That was never going to happen to him. He cherished the life he had with Laura. He would never jeopardize it for a fling to satisfy a sexual urge he told himself.
However, there are some women who seem to seek out married men and attempt to seduce them to cheat. Maggie Carpenter was one of those women. She’d come on to Jeff in the first week on the job, flashing that smile of hers at him; while leaning over his desk in her low cut v-neck sweaters, that fit one size too small for her ample breasts.
She would sit in a chair in front of his desk, crossing her long slender legs while taking dictation.Her skirt always riding up to the point of almost giving him a peek at her ‘hidden talents’, that lay just above the hemline.
One day, Jeff had a deadline to meet and planned to stay at work and work on his presentation for an upcoming meeting with a very important client.
“Ms. Carpenter, could you get me copies of our past campaign documents for DeMure Cosmetics? I’m going to go over them this evening.”
“Of course Mr. Chamberlain. Oh, and since I’ve been here for several weeks, could you call me Maggie? Ms. Carpenter reminds me of my mother. I’m not that old yet.” She laughed.
“Ok …Maggie. I’ll need those documents as soon as possible. It’s going to be a long evening.”
“If you want, I’d be happy to stay late, in case you need something. I don’t mind. I don’t have much of a social life. It would be better than warming up a frozen dinner and watching re-runs.”
Jeff was too distracted by the enormous amount of work he had to do that evening to see her offer as any more than a nice gesture by his secretary to help him out.
“Well, if you truly don’t mind; it would be a help to me if you could be here to make copies and type up some of my notes. Oh, could you get my wife on the phone? I don’t want her to keep dinner waiting for me.”
”Of course Mr. Chamberlain. I’ll do that right now.”
When the green light flickered on his desk phone, Jeff picked up.
“Hi sweetie, I’m going to work late this evening. Yeah, the DeMure account is huge and I want to work on my presentation for Thursday. No, don’t bother, you and the kids have dinner. I should be home by ten o’clock. Ok, you’re a doll. I love you too. Bye.”
Jeff had worked for Bradford and Conrad Advertising for a little over six years. Now, there was a position opening up soon that could mean a big promotion for him if he kept his nose to the grindstone and landed the upcoming renewal contract for DeMure Cosmetics.
Jeff and Maggie worked until about eight o’clock, when Jeff told her to take a break and get something to eat, while he prepared some paperwork for her to do later.
She took him up on the break, grabbing her purse from behind her desk she headed for the elevators. She came back about thirty minutes later with a large bag and sat it on his desk.
“What’s this?” he asked.
“This is dinner Jeff. You have to eat too you know. I brought you Chinese, from Lun Chow’s.”
After some insisting, Jeff agreed to a short dinner break. They sat and talked while eating the take-out food. Just idle chit-chat about work and the new ad campaign at first; then Maggie started talking about his personal life.
“So Jeff, I know that you’re married. I’ve seen the pictures of your kids on your desk. They are adorable. You have such a nice family.”
“Yes, Paul is ten years old and Beth is six. They’re great kids. Beth has me wrapped around her little finger and Paul; well he is going to be a major league star one day. That kid can throw a baseball like you wouldn’t believe.” He stated proudly.
“That’s great. I want kids one day, and a handsome husband. Laura is a lucky woman to have a guy like you.” She smiled,leaning forward to look at the picture of his wife. Her cleavage showed as she drew in a deep breath and then sighed slowly out again. She placed her hand on his; only for a second, but it made Jeff uneasy.
“Uh…well, Laura might disagree with you about that; especially with all the hours I spend here at the office. Let’s get back to work, shall we.”
Although her obvious flirting was uncomfortable for Jeff; he also enjoyed it too. It was nice to have someone other than his wife, find him attractive. But that’s all it was, a harmless flirtation. He would never give her reason to think she stood a chance with him.
Jeff got home a little before eleven that night and headed upstairs to join Laura in bed. He was exhausted and a good night’s sleep was just what the doctor ordered.
“Hi honey .A long day, huh?” Laura said sleepily, as Jeff got into bed beside her.
“I’m sorry Baby; I didn’t mean to wake you. Yeah, a long day, but I think I’m ready for the ad presentation on Thursday.”
“Good.” She said as she rolled over to face him.
She gave him a kiss on the lips and put her arm across his chest. She snuggled next to him, while his shoulder cradled her head. He loved the smell of her long brown hair and the fragrance of soap on her skin. It was a natural scent; better than any perfume he could think of. Even after two kids, her body was still slender and firm; fitting together with his perfectly. He drifted off to sleep.
Over coffee the next morning, Laura reminded him about Paul’s upcoming game.
“Will you be able to come to the game Thursday? They’re playing Westbrook’s Mustangs. If they win, they’ll go to the regional game.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world; are you kidding me? Seeing my kid pitch in that game is all I’ve thought about since the beginning of the season. I’ll wrap up with DeMure around two o’clock; so I should be able to get out of the office early.”
The phone rang on the kitchen wall and Laura picked it up.
“Oh hi Laura, this is Maggie Carpenter. Is Jeff there or has he left for the office already?”
“No, he’s still here Maggie; hold on a second.” Laura handed him the phone.
“Hi Jeff, I’m sorry to bother you at home, but my car won’t start and I wondered if you could swing by and pick me up on you way in this morning. I know it’s a nuisance, but its pouring rain and I really don’t want to stand out at a bus stop. I live at 223 McAllister Street, apartment 18.”
“Uh…sure, I guess I could do that, just this once. I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”
“Maggie’s your new temp right? What’s the problem this morning?” Laura asked.
“Her car won’t start and she wants a ride to the office this morning.”
“Hmmm, she sounds young, and pretty. Should I be jealous?”
“Now how can someone sound pretty I ask?” Jeff laughed, pulling Laura against his chest and giving her a playful kiss on the nose.
“We women have our ways ya know. So, is she pretty; tell the truth now?” She winked.
“I suppose she is; I mean, I don’t notice these things. She doesn’t need to wear a bag over her head; I guess she is attractive. Why is it that I feel I’m not going to say the right thing here no matter what I say?” He laughed.
“I’m just kidding silly. Go to work and have a good day. I’m secure in my marriage, no matter how cute she is.” Laura said. She gave him a kiss and a pat on his rear.
Jeff arrived in the pouring rain to the address Maggie had given him. With an umbrella over his head, he rang the buzzer for apartment eighteen.
“Yes?” Maggie’s voice said over the intercom.
“It’s Mr. Chamberlain; uh, Jeff. I’ll be waiting for you out front.”
“Good morning Jeff. Come on up; I’m almost ready, no need to wait for me in the rain.”
Jeff could have waited for her in his car; but for some reason, he decided to go up to her apartment.
Knocking on Maggie’ door he had a split second of doubt about coming up, but he had knocked, so it was too late now to go back to his car.
Maggie opened the door wearing a shear white robe which reviled a black one piece camisole and panties underneath.
Jeff was shocked; expecting her to be dressed in her office attire and ready to go. He tried to focus his eyes beyond her and her skimpy attire.
“Sorry, I just have to slip on my clothes and we’ll be ready to go. I spilt coffee on my blouse and now I have to change outfits. Would you like coffee, the pot’s still on. Help yourself while I get dressed.”
Jeff watched her walk away toward her bedroom; her hip swaying and the scent of her cologne lingering behind her for him to take in.
He waited nervously for several minutes; when she came out dressed in her usual short skirt and deep cut sweater. Her hair fell loosely on her shoulders; she leaned over slightly to step into her high heeled, open toed shoes. As much as he wanted to look away; his eyes were fixed on her full breasts as they heaved against the pale blue sweater that covered them.
She glanced up; not at all embarrassed that he was watching her.
“Ok, I’m ready to go.” She said, grabbing her purse from the arm of a chair.
Jeff opened the door, then stood aside to give her room to exit the apartment. She took a couple of steps, and then caught her foot on something; causing her to fall forward.
Jeff moved a step forward to catch her, and she fell against his chest, her arms around his neck.
Maggie looked up at him; her face only an inch or so from Jeff’s face. Before he knew what was happening, she kissed him. It was a long passionate kiss; her tongue moving slowly over his.
Jeff returned her kiss for a momen, then pulled away from Maggie in one quick motion.
“What are you doing Maggie? Why do you do that? I’m married, happily married.”
“Not so happily that you didn’t kiss me back. Come on Jeff, I saw you watching me a minute ago.” Maggie smiled.
“I…I looked; I’m sorry. But that doesn’t mean I wanted this to happen. This can never happen again; do you understand me?”
“Ok, maybe I misunderstood. I thought we had certain attraction for each other. I apologize. We should just get to the office, ok?”
“Yes, ok…let’s go.” He said.
He walked in front of her down the steps and to the street where he parked the car. Jeffpulled his raincoat around him to hide the fact that he had become aroused.He felt guilty that his body had betrayed him and reacted to Maggie’s kiss. It excited him more than he would ever want to admit to Maggie or himself.
That day was awkward for Jeff, although Maggie seemed her normal perky self each time she entered his office. He was grateful when she announced she would take a cab home at the end of the day. It occurred to him that she could have taken a cab to work that morning as well.
He couldn’t get the image of her in that flimsy white robe out of his mind and that kiss that shouldn’t have happened kept replaying itself though out the day.
You love Laura; she isn’t worth the problems it would cause in your life. Forget the damn kiss; just forget it. But Jeff didn’t forget it; if anything the memory was becoming more vivid with each passing day after that.
He found himself sitting at his desk, smelling her perfume after she had walked out of his office. His mind would go swiftly back to that passionate kiss they had shared.
Damn it! What’s the matter with you? You’ve got a beautiful woman at home waiting on you. She loves you and trusts you; and you love her, get these thoughts out of your mind you idiot!
Just as Jeff seemed to finally put the thoughts of Maggie out of his head, Maggie came in to work one morning looking pale and wearing more make-up than usual. Her eyes were puffy, and she looked as if she hadn’t had enough sleep the night before.
“Are you ok Maggie? Are you not feeling well?” Jeff asked.
“I…I’m fine Jeff. I just had a bad night, that’s all.” Maggie replied.
She turned her head, so as not to face him directly. He thought he’d seen tears in her eyes.
“Maggie, it’s obvious you’re not ok. Come into my office and let’s have a talk.”
As Maggie turned her head toward him, Jeff noticed that her right cheek had a bruise.
Jeff opened his office door. “Come in Maggie.”
Maggie got up and followed Jeff into his office; sitting down in front of his desk.
“I’m so embarrassed Jeff. I probably should have called in sick this morning…but...”she started to cry.
Jeff got up and put his hand on her shoulder. “Maggie, is that a bruise? Did someone do that to you? Who did this?” he lifted her chin up to look at her cheek.
“I met this guy last week at one of the clubs. I invited him to my place last night for supper and everything was going ok, ya know. Then, after supper he wanted sex…”
“You said no, I’m assuming…and he got rough with you?” Jeff said.
“Yeah, something like that. I thought he was going to kill me. He just changed moods so fast; he was beating me and trying to force himself on me. I was screaming and I guess one of my neighbors heard me, because she started beating on my door asking if I was ok. The neighbor said she was calling the police; that’s when the guy got off me and took off.”
“Well, thank God for that neighbor! Take the rest of the day off Maggie. Maybe you should file a police report on this guy too while you’re at it.”
“No! He knows where I live now. He could come back if I go to the police, besides; they’re going to say I was stupid for inviting a strange man I’d only just met to my place in the first place.”
“Ok, well how about I take you home and check out the place for you, so you’ll feel safe, and you can take today to regroup a bit?”
Maggie was quiet on the ride to her apartment; she glanced over at Jeff a couple of times, but Jeff hadn’t noticed.
Once he took her key and opened the door to her place, he told her to wait outside the door for a minute until he checked to make sure her attacker had not come back.
“Ok, looks as if he’s not been back. You’re safe here. Just keep your door locked.”
“Jeff, I can’t thank you enough. It was so nice of you to do this. Please, could you just stay a few minutes; I’m still feeling a little freaked out.” Maggie said, with tears welling up again in her eyes.
Jeff glanced down at his watch. "Sure. I’ll stay for a few minutes. Why don’t you go and lie down for awhile. I’ll check in to make sure you’re ok before I leave.”
Maggie nodded and went to her bedroom. Jeff sat down on the sofa and glanced around her apartment. It was a small place, but tidy and well kept. It was airy and light, with a large window facing the street. The furnishings were modest, well chosen for the size of the living room and had a clean lines; a modern décor. It was certainly a single’s place, with no children to muss up the white linen sofa.
He walked over to the mock fireplace with a small mantle and looked at a picture in a silver frame of a man. The man was about the same age as Jeff, maybe thirty-five; with sandy blond hair and a broad smile on his face.
I wonder who this guy is. Hmm, if he’s an ex, then why keep the picture around I wonder.
About the time he was getting ready to check on her before heading back to the office, he heard a scream from Maggie’s bedroom. Jeff rushed into the room.
Maggie was sitting up in the bed looking terrified and shaking.
“Maggie what is it? What happened?” Jeff asked scanning her bedroom.
“Oh Jeff, it was awful…he was on top of me again and I couldn’t get him off me!” she buried her face in her hands and wept.
Jeff didn’t know what to do to comfort Maggie. He sat down on the edge of the bed and took her trembling hands away from her face and held them in his.
“It’s ok Maggie…it was just a bad dream. You’re safe, I promise.”
Suddenly, Maggie pulled her hands from his and threw her arms around Jeff’s neck. Staring up at him with tears still on her cheeks; this time it was Jeff who bent down and kissed her. A gentle kiss at first; only meant to comfort her. Then as she returned his kiss; it became more than just comfort for her and for him. Jeff’s heart was racing and he began kissing her neck, he pushed her back onto the bed and they fumbled with buttons and zippers until they could be flesh against flesh. He felt a surge of adrenaline run through his body as he was swept up in the moment; feeling her against him, her tongue eagerly exploring his.
With his hand behind her; he deftly undid the snaps of her lace bra with one hand, and tossed the one last thing that lay between him and those beautiful firm breasts, to the floor.
Maggie wrapped her long legs around Jeff and moaned as he kissed her body. He pushed her legs down and parted them; he ran his hands down her stomach and down to that ‘hidden talent’ he’d thought about every time she took dictation in his office.
An hour later, Jeff lay beside Maggie; exhausted and suddenly hit with the realization of what had just happened.
Oh God, Laura. How could I have betrayed her like this? How can I face her; should I tell her and beg for her forgiveness? This was a mistake, a horrible mistake!
“Jeff, that was amazing!” Maggie cooed as she snuggled up against him.
Jeff abruptly sat up on the side of the bed; running his hands through his dark brown hair. He was wondering what he was going to say to Maggie to let her know he regretted what had just happened; without making her feel rejected or embarrassed.
“Maggie what we just did was amazing; but I’m still a married man. I lost control of myself here today; you’re beautiful and I was flattered that a young woman like you wanted me…”
“Shhhh Jeff, don’t ruin what we just did with apologies. It was beautiful and raw passion between us; we both felt it weeks ago. We just gave in to it; I don’t regret one minute of it.”
“But it can’t happen again; you know that, right? This is a onetime thing that happened between us. Maybe it would be best if I called the agency tomorrow and asked them to send another temp over; I mean; I don’t want either of us to be uncomfortable after this…this …”
“This… what Jeff; this hour we just spent making love to each other? You care for me; I could feel that. This wasn’t a onetime thing; how could you insult what we just did like that?” Maggie’s voice took on a venomous tone.
Jeff began to feel a panic wash over him. Maggie was making what happeded between them more than what is was. He didn't care for the tone of her voice or the look in her eyes. He began to realize this woman might be emotionally unstable.
“Look Maggie; this is over, ok? I made a mistake, a big mistake here and I regret it. I’m sorry if it meant more to you; it was sex, just sex. I got caught up in a moment, but it’s over.”
Jeff got up and started dressing. “I have to get to the office; I’ll make sure your last check has a bonus for your good work performance. I have to go now.”
“You son of a bitch; you think you can pay me like a common whore? I love you Jeff, and you know you love me too. You’re just afraid of losing that wife and family of yours; I get that. We can still have our time together Jeff, I’m not asking you to leave her…at least not yet.”
“Not ever! Now listen to me carefully Maggie. I don't know how you could think that after one lapse of judgment on my part, that we're involved; but you're wrong.I love my wife, understand? Both of us need to foget this ever happened Maggie."
"How can you love your wife so much and yet make such passionate love to me? Answer me Jeff; you know you felt it, it was more than just sex! I wonder if your dear little Laura would think it was just sex if she learned about it?"
"Is that a threat Maggie? Because if it is, I'm warning you; stay away from my wife or you'll be very sorry!"
Jeff slammed the door behind him as he left the apartment. On the way back to the office, he rehearsed his excuse for being gone for so long.
If anyone asks, I’ll just say I stopped by my house to drop Paul’s baseball mitt off that he left in my car. He has a game today, no one will doubt that excuse.
He tried to look composed, as he walked through the door to his home later that day. Laura called to him from the kitchen.
“Hi handsome, you made it home on time for a change. That’s my guy; Paul’s game starts in a couple of hours. He went home with Jerry, Bob and Stefani will get him to the field. Are you hungry? I thought we’d just have burgers and fries tonight it that’s ok with you…Jeff?”
Jeff rubbed a hand over his face and sighed before answering his wife. He called out from the front foyer to her in the kitchen.
“Sure honey, burgers sound good to me. I’m going to run up and shower before we eat; I want to get a good seat at the game, so I’ll go ahead and change clothes and we can leave right after we eat.”
Jeff bounded up the stairs to the bathroom; feeling like he had the word “Cheater” burnt into his forehead. He was sure if Laura saw him right now, she’d just know somehow what he’d done.
After stepping out of the hot shower, he wiped the steam from the full length mirror with a towel and looked at himself. He didn’t look any different; at least Maggie hadn’t left any scratches on his back or love bites on his neck, thank God.
He was still the same semi-attractive man his wife Laura had fallen for twelve years ago. His waist size had changed minimally, and he kept fit by going to the gym and playing racket ball a couple times a week with Steven Berkshire, his best friend since college.
Although Laura proclaimed him the unofficial sexiest man in the world; Jeff didn’t see himself as sexy. He thought of himself more of a wingman for Steven all through college; not bad looking; but definitely not the one the girls clamored around at a party, like they did Steve.
“You’re quiet this evening. You’ve hardly said a word through supper; everything ok at work?”
“What did you say honey? Oh, yeah I just a bit tired is all; another big account coming up soon.”
A few seconds latter the phone rang. Jeff's heart felt as if it skipped a beat. Is it Maggie? Before he could jump up and grab the phone, Laura had it in her hand.
"Hello? Hello, is anyone there?" She hung the phone up. "Must have been a wrong number."
Jeff concealed a sigh of releif that if it was Maggie, she had said nothing to Laura. She was playing games with him now, he was sure it was her calling.
Damn her. Damn me for doing something so stupid! Maybe I should just confess to Laura and deal with the consequences; but not tonight. Maybe tomorrow.
Bob and Stefani had saved them a good seat at the game; and they sat down and looked toward the home team dugout to try and catch Paul’s attention. Jeff spotted him, and waved to let him know he’d made it to his game. Paul gave his dad a big grin and waved back before returning his attention back to his teammates.
Just a few minutes before the game was to start; Jeff saw a woman making her way up the bleachers. It was Maggie!
What the hell is she doing here at my son’s ballgame? Oh God; what if she tells Laura about today?
Maggie sat down on the bleacher just above them. Leaning down, she put her hand on Laura’s shoulder.
“Hi you must be Laura; Jeff’s told me so much about you. I’m Maggie, nice to meet you face to face instead on over the phone Laura.”
Laura looked a little surprised that Jeff’s temp secretary would come to one of their son’s ballgames, but she looked up and smiled.
“Hello Maggie. Do you have someone in the game?”
“Oh no, I’ve just heard Jeff talk so much about what a great pitcher Paul is; I decided to come and see for myself. I had a brother that played baseball when we were younger; I just love the game.”
Laura’s friend Stefani shot her a look; then whispered in Laura’s ear.
“If Bob had a secretary that looked like her, I’d put him on a very short leash.”
“Yeah, Jeff said she was just “attractive,” he never mentioned she was drop dead gorgeous.”
The players ran out onto the field for the first inning, but Jeff could not concentrate on his son’s pitching. He had sweat running down his neck. He was angry that Maggie had the nerve to show up like this. He had to get her alone and get her to leave somehow.
“Anyone want something from the concession? I could use a soda, how about you guys?”
Everyone agreed that something cold to drink was a good idea.
“I’ll go with ya Jeff; you’ll need a hand carrying all those drinks.” Bob offered.
“I’ll go with Jeff; you stay and watch the game. I’m sure you have a son playing too.” Maggie said.
Jeff and Maggie made their way down the bleachers and onto the ground. When they were far enough away from the people that no one would hear their conversation, Jeff grabbed her by the arm. “What the hell do you think you’re doing showing up here? That was you who called the house earlier wasn't it? I'm warning you Maggie if you....”
“Relax Jeff; I’m not here to cause you any trouble. Don’t worry, I won’t tell your sweet little wife what you and I did earlier today at my apartment. I just came to see your son pitch, that’s all. As for a phone call; I don't know what you're talking about.” Maggie's smile told him the truth though.
“Listen you little liar; I know why you’re here and it won’t work. I already called the agency this afternoon and they’ll have someone to take your place in the morning. I don’t want to see you or hear from you ever again. Now get in your car and leave, before I drag you to your car!”
“Jeff, please…I love you. I just wanted to see you. Why is it so hard for you to admit you have feelings for me too? I know it will take time for you to sort out how to tell Laura about us; I’m willing to give you time for that.”
“Listen to me you psycho bitch. I told you already; I will never leave my wife, I love her; not you. If you show up around me or my family again, I’ll call the cops. Now get out of here and leave us alone!”
Maggie snatched her arm out of Jeff’s grip and started walking toward the parking lot.
“Ok Jeff have it your way.”
When Jeff came back with the soda’s he explained that Maggie had gotten a phone call and had to leave. Jeff relaxed, thinking he had finally gotten through to Maggie and she would leave him and more importantly, his family alone.
Almost two weeks had gone by with no contact from Maggie. He decided he would not tell Laura about his betrayal; what would be the point? It had meant nothing to him and now that Maggie was gone, there was no need to risk losing his wife.
That Friday he was promoted to Head of Marketing and after a surprise party from his colleagues; he headed home to celebrate with his wife and kids.
He walked past the first couple of row of cars in the parking garage and headed toward his car.
Maggie had been waiting for him in the garage; she wrapped a piece of cloth around a crowbar and when Jeff walked past the column she hid behind, she quietly stepped out to follow him.
He never heard her approaching behind him as she raised the piece of metal above his head and struck him. Jeff collapsed from the blow, unconscious on the floor of the garage.
She struggled, dragging him by the legs to her waiting car. She opened the trunk and after almost ten minutes, she had gotten him into the truck. She drove the speed limit to the outskirts of the city; there were several abandoned warehouses there and she drove her car through the large open doors of one of them.
Jeff was still unconscious when she opened the truck of her car. She reached in and felt for a pulse. He was still alive; his pulse was strong. Maggie began the task of getting him out and dragging him further into the warehouse.
There was a small room that had served as an office space, at the far end of the large open space of the warehouse. She had set up a space for her lover. There was a bench she had converted into a make-shift bed; with a foam mattress, a blanket and pillow. There was even a throw rug on the floor and magazines were piled on a small table by the bed. In the corner sat a camping port-a-potty. Maggie left Jeff on the bed, with a chain attached to a leather collar around his neck. Itwas secured to a heavy metal poleby a large padlock. Thewindows on either side of the room had been coveredwith plywood; and once she was assured she hadn’t forgotten anything, she went back to get his car.
Maggie abandoned it along the road near a rundown bar and grill called Moe’s. She walked a few blocks down the road and called for a cab to take her back to her apartment.
She’d left her car there and took the bus to Jeff’s office building. She waited till there was no one around before getting into his car and driving away. She had covered all the bases; now she could go back to Jeff.
Jeff raised his head as he heard something rattle at the door. The door swung open and Maggie stood in the doorway. Behind her the light filtered into the room and Jeff saw photographs pasted on one of the plywood boards she'd put up. There were pictures of him getting in his car at home; in the parking garage and even some at his racket ball club. Then the one that disturbed him most; a picture of him and Laura out at a resturant; except Maggie had photo shopped Laura's face out of the picture and replaced it with her own.
“Good you’re finally awake.”
“Maggie? Maggie why are you doing this? You won’t get away with this, it’s crazy. You’re crazy; take this damn collar off me you stupid bitch!”
“That’s no way to talk to the woman you love, now is it Jeffrey?” she said.
Maggie came into the room, but stood close to the door in case Jeff made an attempt to lunge at her.
Jeff pulled himself up and sat on the side of the bed. His head still ached and the motion of rising caused him to become extremely dizzy.
“Maggie listen to me…you’re sick; you need help. Just let me go and I promise I’ll get you some help.”
“Jeff… Jeff, stop it. I know you’re confused right now; but after that bang on the head, who wouldn’t be? I’m sorry about that, by the way; but how else could I get you here? It’s important for us to spend some alone time with each other; time for you to realize how you really feel about me.”
Jeff stood to face her; stepping as far forward as he could, and then spit as hard as he could into her smiling face.
“That’s how I really feel about you Maggie! Now let me the hell out of here!”
Maggie’s smile disappeared as her face contorted into a look of pure rage. She wiped his spit from her face; she looked wild, like an animal ready to pounce on its prey.
“You’re just like he was! Cursing at me and spoiling all my wonderful plans for us. He didn’t appreciate all the trouble I went to either. All the planning and the thought that went into making sure we could be together. Why do you lie to me? Why do men do that? They think they can just use me and then go back to their perfect little lives; their perfect little wives. Well, it doesn’t work like that!”
“You said I’m just like he was…whose he?”
Maggie stopped her rant just as suddenly as she had gone into a rage; she now spoke in her normal soft, sweet voice.
“Don’t be upset with me darling; but there was another man before you. He said he was going to leave his wife and we’d be together forever; but he lied to me. He lied to me Jeff; he never intended to leave her. In the end he just wanted me to go away, disappear; like our love never happened at all. Now you are doing the same thing to me. Why do you all lie?”
She was crying now as she sank down to the floor on her knees; her hands covering her face.
“Maggie what happened to that guy? Where is he now?” Jeff asked.
“Gone where? Is he with his wife; he went back to his wife?”
“Noooo;” she sighed. “He didn’t go back to that mousey little wife of his. He had to learn that playing with a woman’s affections can have consequences. It took awhile; but I think he understands that now.” Maggie laughed.
Her moods changed so quickly Jeff could hardly keep up. One moment she was angry; then reduced to tears, and now laughing hysterically.
Jeff shuddered at her deep throated laughter. What had she done to the other man who rejected her? Was he dead; did she kill him?
Jeff’s head was beginning to clear and he knew he had to keep his senses about him if he was going to get out of this. It was obvious she was totally insane.
“Maggie I’m sorry for doing that just now. I didn’t mean it you know; I was just upset about waking up like this. Why don’t you take this collar off me and we’ll talk.”
“I don’t believe you Jeff. If I do that, you’ll leave me. He tried to leave me too. No, for now I have to leave you chained up. But we can talk; and as long as you’re nice to me, everything will be fine.”
Jeff sat back down on the bed; his legs felt weak and for a minute he thought he would pass out again. I have to convince this crazy bitch that I care about her. Just stay calm, go along with her.
“Ok Maggie, you win. I’m sorry I was mean to you before; everything happened so fast and I was confused about the feelings I was having. I do care for you Maggie; I’m realizing that now.”
Maggie looked at Jeff with skepticism for a moment; then a smile came across her lips.She was back to being Maggie; the sweet and flirty woman he saw before all this happened.
“You must be hungry by now; I should go get us something to eat. What would you like Jeff; Chinese or maybe Italian, what do you feel in the mood for?” Maggie said sweetly.
“Surprise me.” He managed to say with a smile on his face.
“Ok, don’t go anywhere while I’m gone.” She giggled.
Jeff watched her walk out and when he was sure she was gone, he began to try to free himself from the thick leather collar she had placed around his neck.
There was metal ring that ran through holes, punched into both ends of the collar, and from what he could feel; the chain ran through the metal ring and was held closed with a medium sized lock of some sort. Damn her…damn her to hell! There’s no way for me to get this thing off.
He lay back on the bed thinking of the events that had led him to this day, trapped in a room in a warehouse by a psychopath.
Laura, I’m so sorry Laura. You and the kids must be worried sick by now wondering where I am. This is my fault. Why did I sleep with Maggie? Why didn’t I see her for what she was? Surely the police have been notified by now; they must be looking for me. Oh God, please let them be looking for me!
After what seemed like an eternity, Jeff heard the sound of the lock on the door being opened.
Maggie walked into the room carrying several bags. “I brought you some food and I also got you a few things you’re going to need. There’s a change of clothes; and a battery powered lamp so you can read the magazines I left for you. I want you to be comfortable sweetheart.” She smiled.
Jeff eased himself up into a sitting position on the side of the bed. He faked a small smile in her direction.
“Thanks. I’m really hungry and the light was a great idea. Thank you Maggie.”
Maggie seemed pleased that Jeff was grateful for all the effort she had put into making sure he had everything he needed. She placed the lamp on the small table and turned it on. It didn’t give out a lot of light; but it was better than the darkness. She then opened the bag containing food and began babbling about how she had decided on Chinese food, since they had enjoyed that when they worked late at the office.
“Isn’t this nice Jeff? Just the two of us having dinner together; that’s the way it should be. Now, I’m going to come closer, but if you should try anything stupid…well, that would not be a wise thing to do. I could just leave you here, and no one would ever find you. This place has been abandoned for years and years; no one comes here.”
“Why would I try anything? I told you I care about you, and I know you’ve gone to all this trouble so the two of us could be together.” Jeff lied.
“Good, I’m so glad you understand why I had to do this Jeff.” She sighed.
Maggie slowly approached the bed and sat down beside him; handing him a container of food.
Jeff wanted to grab her by the throat and strangle the life out of her, but doing that wouldn’t solve the problem of the collar around his neck. Her purse sat by the door; if the key to the lock was in it; he couldn’t get to it to set himself free.
Just play along with this bitch until an opportunity presents itself. If she’s capable of this elaborate scheme; she’s also capable of killing me and leaving me to rot in this room.
Jeff ate his supper and tried hard to pretend he was interested in all Maggie’s talk of a life together. She had this whole sick scenario of how the two of them would leave Chicago and go to a new city. He would file for divorce from Laura, and when it became final; the two of them would get married and live happily ever after.
“Maybe we’ll have a little boy and you can teach him to play baseball; wouldn’t that be great?”
Jeff bristled and before he could think he said, “I have a boy already; and a daughter!”
Maggie looked upset; but more hurt than angry. “I know, but this will be our little boy Jeff.”
Jeff got control of his emotions and nodded, “Of course, our son.”
Maggie leaned forward looking into Jeff’s eyes. “We could start on that family tonight Jeff. We don’t have to wait until you get rid of Laura.”
She put her hands on either side of his face and kissed him; a deep sensual, passionate kiss. Her hand slid down his chest and came to rest on his crotch.
Jeff quickly pulled her hand from between his legs.”Stop it Maggie!”
Maggie jumped up and slapped him across the face. The look in her eyes reflected her rage and disappointment in him.“This has all been an act hasn’t it Jeff? You don’t want me; you still want her don’t you?”
Jeff lost it and screamed back at Maggie. “Yes! I want her…I want my wife. I want my kids and the life I have with them. Did you really think that kidnapping me and chaining me up in some warehouse would change my mind about you? You’re crazy Maggie; you should be locked up in a mental hospital!”
Maggie went into a rage; screaming and holding her head with her hands on either side. She then threw the food against the wall and knocked the table with the lamp over. Before he could move, Maggie grabbed the chain around the pipe and pulled it toward her; causing Jeff to be pulled to the pipe by his neck and the collar tightened against the front of his throat. He gasped for air and he thought she would choke him to death. He desperately tried to loosen the tension of the collar to breathe; while she screamed obscenities at him; then, darkness.
When Jeff opened his eyes, he was laying on the bed. His hands were taped with duct tape and secured to the pole where the chain was attached. She had slid the bed over; and now the chain was shorter. His feet were bound together as well.
Maggie had righted the lamp; it cast a soft yellow glow in the room. Jeff looked to his right, but Maggie wasn’t there.
I blew it; now she’s gone and she may not come back. She’ll never let me go now.
Jeff’s head dropped back on the pillow and tears started flowing from his eyes. He felt hopeless and alone; completely alone, and at the mercy of a mad woman. He had no idea of time or how long he had been there. He wondered how Laura was holding up; she knew he was missing by now and Jeff longed for the sound of her voice; the smell of soap on her soft skin.
His thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a feeling of something moving at his feet. He moved his feet slightly and the movement stopped for a minute. Then, again he felt something; it was moving up his body. He lifted his head as high as he could and looked down; it was a rat!
It was huge, and it was now sitting in the middle of his chest. Jeff screamed out; “Get off me!”
He twisted his body back and forth and the rat scurried off his chest and down onto the floor. The food Maggie had brought him was still scattered on the floor of the room and now it was attracting the rats. “Jesus, don’t let me be eaten alive by those disgusting rodents.” Jeff pleaded aloud.
He was afraid to sleep; afraid the rats would swarm him while he slept. He did drift in and out over time; how much time he didn’t know. It seemed like days; but it could have been only hours, he had no way of knowing. His stomach growled from hunger; and he needed to relieve himself, but he couldn’t get out of bed and over to the port-a-potty Maggie had placed in the corner of the room.
Hours later, he heard the familiar sound of the lock being opened on the door. He could see Maggie’s silhouette in the dim light, standing in the doorway.
She walked toward him silently until she reached his bedside. She looked down on him and noticed the yellow stain on the mattress and the smell of urine.
“Poor Jeff…you’re soiled yourself. That wouldn’t have happened if you had behaved yourself.”
“Maggie please, I need water and some food. How long have I been here?”
“Long enough to make you be nicer to me I hope,” she said as she reached into a bag and pulled out a bottle of water. She opened it and held it to Jeff’s lips. “You know, I thought about not coming back here after you were so mean to me; but I thought I’d give you one more chance Jeff.”
“Thank you for coming back Maggie. Whatever you want, I promise I’ll be good from now on.”
“See, now that wasn’t so hard was it? Let’s get you cleaned up a bit and then we’ll have something to eat. No Chinese this time; I grabbed a burger for you though.”
Maggie proceeded to cut Jeff’s clothes off with a pair of scissors she pulled from her purse.
As he lay there completely naked; she got out a box of wet wipes and started cleaning him from head to toe. “That’s better now, isn’t it darling?”
“You know I worked at a rest home once; I’m used to taking care of the bedridden. I’ll take good care of you Jeff.” She pulled the soiled mattress out from under him and threw it toward the door. “I’m afraid you’ll have to manage without the mattress for now; can’t have you sleeping on a stinky mattress now, can we?”
“Maggie could you loosen the tape a little; my body is sore from being on my back for so long. I’d really appreciate it and I promise I won’t try anything. I just want to get dressed and be able to eat sitting up, ok?”
Maggie smiled at him and seemed to be contemplating his request. Finally she nodded and went over to the pipe and adjusted the length of the chain to permit him to sit up. She took the scissors out again, and cut the tape that bound his hands upward.
“What about my feet Maggie; I can’t get dressed with my feet tied together.”
“Oh, we’ll worry about getting you dressed later sweetheart. I have a surprise for you after we eat.”
Jeff didn’t want to think about what the surprise might be; for now he was happy to have his hands free again and be able to move his body to an upright position.
He devoured the hamburger and drank a whole bottle of water she had given him. Maggie sat patiently watching him eat; looking quite pleased with herself.
When he was done; she patted the corners of his mouth with a napkin. “Now; for your surprise,” she said as she rose from the side of the bed.
She took a step or two back and began unbuttoning her silky pink blouse. She tossed it aside and started swaying her hips back and forth as if hearing music in her mind. Slowly, she reached behind her and pulled the zipper of her skirt down and let the skirt fall to the floor.
Maggie smiled at Jeff as she stood before him wearing only a flesh tone bra and matching thong.
She moved her body in a swaying motion, back and forth. Maggie stepped back just enough to see Jeff’s face as she smiled down at him, her hands running fingers through the thick brown hair on his head.
Reaching between her breasts, she unclasped the front snap on her bra and then slowly slid her thong down her long legs; stepping out of them.
Jeff knew what was about to happen; what he didn’t know was how he was going to be able to perform the way she would want him to. She cut the tape from his restrained ankles.
Maggie pushed Jeff backwards onto the bed; climbed up and straddled him with her legs. Leaning over him she wet her lips with her tongue and whispered, “Make love to me Jeff; like you did that day in my apartment.” She kissed him, thrusting her tongue into his mouth.
Jeff knew he had no choice; he had to return her kiss. But this time his body would not respond to the beautiful blond that pressed her flesh against him.
That became obvious to Maggie very quickly. Suddenly, without warning Jeff felt Maggie’s teeth clamping down on him in an angry, frustrated attack. Jeff screamed out in agonizing pain. Maggie slid off of Jeff in one swift motion; the anger showing on her face. She was grabbing for her clothes on the floor and cursing wildly.
Jeff reached down to feel his manhood. He was afraid it would no longer be there; but to his relief she had not bitten it off. The pain was excruciating; tears flowed freely down his face and dripped onto the pillow; as he pulled his legs up and into a fetal position.
“Damn you Jeff! That was your last chance to show me that you can forget Laura and love me! You’re a liar; just like that son of a bitch Larry! Well, now you’re going to have to pay for it; just like he did!” With that remark, Maggie left the room, slamming the door shut behind her.
It was a long time before Jeff could straighten his legs out and sit up. There were impressions of Maggie’s teeth still there.
Oh God I’m so sorry for cheating on Laura. Please; please help me get out of this room. Jeff prayed silently.
He didn’t know what she meant by “paying” like Larry had. To Jeff, this room; this private little portion of hell was payment enough for cheating on his wife. What else can she do me…kill me?
At this point, Jeff was no longer afraid of dying. He was losing hope of anyone ever finding him and it was obvious Maggie wasn’t ever going to set him free.
He managed to reach the pair of boxers that lay on the floor near the bed; the rest of the clothes she’d brought him were closer to the door and out of his reach. He pulled on the boxers and laid back down on the hard wooden surface of the bench. He pulled the blanket over his body and slept.
Sometime later, he was awakened by the sound of voices from fairly nearby. He couldn’t make out what they were saying, but he knew they must be coming from within the warehouse.
Jeff jumped to his feet and began screaming to the top of his lungs. “Hello! Is someone out there? Can you hear me? Help me; please help me! I’m in here…I’m here!”
Jeff stopped for a moment and listened for some kind of response to his cries. Then he heard movement outside the door of the room.
A male voice called out, “Whose in there?” as the man banged on the door.
“Thank God! Listen; I don’t know who you are but, I’m in trouble here. My name is Jeff Chamberlain and I’m being held in here against my will. I need help!”
“Listen mister, whoever you are. Me and Frank here don’t want to get involved in anything; we just came in here to sleep for the night. We don’t want no trouble with the cops or nothin’.”
“No, no wait; you won’t get into any trouble, I promise. Look, I have money; I can pay you if you get me out of here. My name is Jeff…Jeff Chamberlain and I need your help.”
“There’s a lock on the door mister; I ain’t got no tools; besides, what if whoever put you in there comes back. Sorry mister; I ain’t getting mixed up in no kidnapping. Come on Frank, let’s get out ‘a here.” He heard the sound of footsteps walking away from the door.
“Wait! Please don’t leave me here! I’ll pay you any amount you want; just please don’t leave!”
Jeff heard the men’s voices get fainter, until he could not hear them at all anymore. He fell to the floor on his knees, pounding the floor with the side of his clinched hands. He wept uncontrollably as his only hope of getting out of the room faded away like the men’s voices.
Jeff still lay on the floor as he heard something; a sound of some kind; he sat up and listened.
That’s when he saw the rats were back; several of them scurried about on the floor near him and another sat by the bed chewing on the wrapper of the burger he’d eaten. How long ago was that; yesterday; maybe? He kicked at the rat and jumped to his feet; the rat hardly moved and continued to gnaw on the wrapper.
Jeff rubbed his face with his hands; realizing he had several days’ growth of stubble on his chin.
It must be three; maybe four days ago that the crazy bitch had locked him in here. All he had left of the bottle of water she’d left him was one bottle less than half full. He took a small sip; knowing that when it was gone; dehydration would probably kill him in as little as three or four days.
It must be two days since Maggie left. She’s not coming back; I’m going to die in this room.
One of the large rats sat over in the corner of the room, staring at him as it munched on a small piece of food in the floor from the Chinese dinner Maggie had brought him on the first day.
Jeff was starving and he decided he needed that little piece of eggroll more than fat rat did. He jumped up and stomped his foot and the rat took off; leaving the little morsel of food behind.
This is what it comes down to? Fighting a rat for a piece of stale eggroll? Jeff managed a chuckle. As he reached to pick it up; he noticed a small piece of glass in the corner.
It must be from one of the windows of the office that Maggie had broken out and covered with plywood.
He picked up the small shard of glass and his heart raced as an idea formed in his head. Bringing the glass up to his neck, he began carefully scraping it against the leather collar. If he could stay at it; it might just cut through the collar and then he could figure a way to break down the door.
Jeff sat on the bed scrapping all through what he assumed must be night. He would stop occasionally and feel the leather to see if he was making any progress. His fingers bled as the sharp glass cut into his fingers; but he would not allow that to stop him from trying to free himself of the collar. He licked the blood from his fingers; hoping to nourish himself.
He finally felt a shallow notch in the leather of the collar which encouraged him to keep cutting. He was so cold he was shivering; he tried wrapping the blanket around his shoulders, but it didn't seem to help warm his shaking body.
He was down to only a few swallows of water left in the bottle. He hadn’t urinated all day and he knew he was getting dehydrated. He was finding it hard to concentrate and now he was seeing things. Earlier, he saw Laura in the room with him; she was crying and reaching out to him. But when he had reached out to touch her; she disappeared.
Come on Jeff; you have to keep your mind focused. Just keep cutting this damn collar! That bitch isn’t going to win; just keep cutting.
Jeff didn’t know how much time had passed; he knew he was getting weaker and concentrating was becoming impossible. At one point, he’d dropped the glass when he saw a rat the size of a small dog bearing its teeth and lunging at him. It was another hallucination; and he’d had to waste precious time finding the piece of glass that had fallen to the floor. Luckily it was small enough that it hadn’t shattered in to smaller pieces; making using it as a tool more difficult.
Feeling the leather, he was elated to realize he had managed to cut almost an inch down into the leather; just another half an inch and he’d be free of it!
He stopped cutting; wanting to rest for just a moment before continuing. Before he knew it he had drifted into sleep. His fingers were shredded and bloodied as his hands rested on his chest; still holding the piece of glass. He was awakened by severe pain in his fingers. He looked down and saw two rats chewing away at his fingers. It was no hallucination; they were feeding on his raw fingers!
With hardly any strength left in his once healthy body; he shook the rats off his hands and screamed. He could see the bone of his first finger showing though the remaining flesh. He knew he was running a fever; probably from lack of water. TIme was running out; if he didn't escape soon he would die.
Jeff grabbed the glass with his other hand and began digging furiously at the leather. He could feel blood streaming down his neck as the glass slid off the collar and onto his flesh.
If I don’t get through the leather soon; I’ll push the glass into my juggler vein and end this nightmare once and for all!
Suddenly, he felt the leather give way to the glass and he was finally free of the collar!
“Oh thank you God; thank you!” Jeff whispered out with a weakened voice.
He staggered to his feet and went for the door. He kicked at it with all the strength he had left; nothing, the door didn’t budge. He rested for a minute then tried again; he thought he felt it give just a little. Come on Jeff you can do this; just one more time, give it one more kick.
It was no use; Jeff didn’t have the strength left to try the door again. He collapsed on the floor and had to crawl back over to the bed; pulling himself up.
He started laughing hysterically; After all that cutting; I’m still going to die in here.
Jeff’s breathing got shallower; as he drifted into a delusional state of half sleep and hallucinations.
Maggie was standing there beside the bed; she had a knife in her raised hand.
"Go ahead Bitch, kill me; just get it over with.!"
“This is what happens to men that lie to me Jeffry!” She plunged the knife into his chest.
Then, the rats were all over him; biting and gnawing at his face. Hundreds of them covered his entire body; slowly and painfully devouring him.
He could hear Maggie’s insane laughter as they ate away at him; tearing at his flesh little by little. He could see them moving under his skin; they were eating at him from the inside now! He screamed, or least he thought he was screaming, no sound was being produced. Oh God, let this end now. Let me die, please let me die!
He heard something outside the door of the room; he barely opened his eyes. It’s just your mind playing another trick on you. There’s no one there; no one…That was the last thing Jeff remembered.
He turned his head slightly to the left and saw what he was sure was another hallucination; Laura sat in a chair beside the bed her head back as she slept. Jeff groaned; trying to call out to this figment of his imagination. He got out a few words,but he knew it was useless, Laura wasn't really there.
"Get them off me Laura; get the rats off me please!"
Laura opened her eyes and jumped up from her seat. “Jeff it’s me; I’m here honey! You're safe now, you're safe."
That was when Jeff realized he wasn’t hallucinating; Laura took his bandaged hand in hers.
“Laura…I’m so sorry Laura.” He mumbled weakly.
“It’s ok baby; all that’s important now is that you’re alive. You’re in the hospital and Maggie’s been arrested. Everything is going to be ok honey; you’re going to be ok.” She kissed his forehead.
“But how; who…I don’t understand….”
“Just rest now baby. I’ll tell you everything later, I promise.”
A few days later Jeff was released from the hospital and Laura had explained everything that happened leading up to his rescue.
The police had already been checking out everyone Jeff worked with and any recent terminations from the company. Maggie’s name had come up and they went to her apartment to question her. At first she denied any knowlege of Jeff's disappearnace; but after they brought her down to the police station, she finally broke down and told them what she had done. Her only statement to them after being charged was, "Jeff had to learn his lesson; you don't just use a woman and then toss her aside."
Maggie had a history of mental illness the police learned later. She was given a life sentence and sent to a state hospital where she lives in a high security ward for the criminally insane.
At home, Jeff pressed his body against Laura's back in bed that night; he took a deep breath to take in the smell of soap on her skin. Suddenly, Jeff froze, unable to move.. The smell that greeted his nostrils was a sweet floral scent. Just then the woman rolled over to face him. "Hello Jeff, I've missed you," Maggie said sweetly.
Jeff came straight up in his bed screaming. Laura sat up and switched on the lamp by the bed. "Jeff...Jeff, it's ok. I'm here, its Laura."
© Copyright 2016 Ava Rosien. All rights reserved.
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