DINNER FOR TWO: A Thriller Short Story
DINNER FOR TWO
A Thriller Short Story
Copyright 2017 Mayumi Cruz
All rights reserved.
DINNER FOR TWO
It was the most sumptuous dinner she had ever cooked for him.
After all, it was their tenth wedding anniversary, she said. She wanted everything to be extra special.
Putting out their elegant chinaware and silverware, fine linen and silver-coated candlelight sticks, she meticulously prepared a lavish table setting for a three-course delectable meal she prepared just for the two of them.
It was a good thing he brought her favorite brand of red wine, imported from Italy. Red wine is the best accompaniment to red meat, she told him. Their anniversary dinner was made all the more perfect with the inclusion of the expensive liquor.
Appreciating her efforts, he ate with gusto, relishing every morsel. And indeed, it was the best meal he had in a very long time. Trying hard not to burp out loud, he can feel how full and satisfied his stomach is.
“Happy anniversary, darling,” she muttered, as she dropped a kiss on his mouth, before settling in beside him on the living room couch in front of the fireplace, after pouring wine to their glasses.
“Happy anniversary too,” he whispered back, his right hand gently wiping away minuscule black and red particles of what looked like sticky dirt on her shoulder and on her arms. “Must have been the spices she mixed in with the meals,” he thought.
“Tom, are you happy?” she asked him suddenly, her eyes staring fixedly at him.
“Of course I am,” he answered, smiling at her.
“Really?” She looked at him with her blue puppy dog eyes. Even though she is fifteen years his senior, she sometimes acts younger than her age.
“Yes, my love. I’m happy that we’re together again, inspite of what happened.”
“I’m also glad it’s over. Oh, Tom, I shudder at the thought of what she could have done to you! I was in hell for the last three months, not knowing where you are and the suffering you must have went through.”
Eagerly, he held both her hands, looking straight into her gaze as a tear fell down her cheek.
“Bea, let’s stop bringing up the past and just move on with our life. Cleo’s obsession with me is finally over.”
“But she drugged you, abducted you and took you against your will, hiring goons to tie you up and bring you to wherever she wanted! Then she threatened to kill herself if you leave her, even when you were begging her to let you go. She held you captive in a cabin in the Alps. It was only when she went to town to buy some groceries that you were able to escape! She’s a very bad person, Tom.”
“Uhm, yes. Or maybe just a little bit insanely in love with me?” He smirked.
“No. She’s a looney. Crazy. Deranged. Lunatic. Demented.”
“Darling. . .”
“She should not be released from that mental hospital! They should lock her up in a window-less room and throw the key away!” Her eyes flashed with anger.
He held up his hands. “Darling, let’s not get carried away. She’s not worth it. And besides, it’s over now.”
But it’s as if she didn’t hear him as she continued, “Didn’t she realize that you’re a married guy already? That you love only me? Didn’t you tell her that?”
He heaved a deep breath. “I did. But she was adamant. She didn’t want anybody but me, she said.”
“What kind of person would do that, trying to destroy our marriage? Doesn’t she realize the pain she’s caused me? I can’t understand it.”
“That’s because not everyone has a good heart like you, my fairy chef,” he softly whispered to her, planting a kiss on her nose.
She giggled. “Well, you know, a fairy always has to have a good heart to be able to weave her magic wand every time.”
She liked being called a fairy. And she IS acknowledged as such in the food industry. She came from a family of restaurateurs and owns several flourishing fine dining establishments all over the city. Apart from her own prestigious culinary school, she has several cooking books in her name. She is known and respected by
chefs worldwide, having been invited to other countries for cook-offs and appearances.
Everything she touches turn into gold. Every meal she prepares, however simple, is transformed into a heavenly treat. Every food business or undertaking she begins turns into a huge success.
Indeed, her “magic wand” has not failed her, he had told her many times.
Tom dipped his face down to meet her lips. “My very own fairy. I can’t believe how lucky I am,” he whispered as he kissed her.
Abruptly, she disconnected her mouth from his. With fiery eyes, she asked, “Then why did you leave me, Tom? Is it because Cleo’s younger? Prettier? Did she pleasure you in ways I never did? Did she promise you a child that I could never give you?”
“Darling. . .” he scowled.
Seeing his furrowed brows, she looked immediately remorseful.
Burying her hands to her face, she wailed, “I’m sorry. I’m so, so, sorry! It’s just that. . . I kept asking myself if you wanted me to be more like her. If. . . if you wanted me to look more sexy, more desirable like her!”
He looked at her pitifully. “You’re desirable to me, Bea. In fact, you didn’t have to color your hair blonde just to look like Cleo to be desirable to me.”
Her hand went up to her hair, her eyes wide open.
“You didn’t like it? I thought you’d like it.”
“I do, I do,” he appeased her. “It’s just that. . . I like your brown hair better.”
She giggled. “Is that so? Okay, tomorrow, my hair will be back.”
Then she hastily stood up, excitedly asking him, “Are you ready for dessert? I made a special panna cotta for our anniversary.”
He replied apologetically, “I think I’m too full for dessert, love. I’ll have to pass,” tapping his belly.
“Oh no, you will not!” she screamed angrily, stomping her feet. “You have to eat it!”
A bit surprised at her violent reaction, he responded, “Darling, you don’t have to shout. Okay, let’s eat it, if that’s what you want.”
Without batting an eyelash, she turned remorseful again.
“It’s just that. . . I spent many hours preparing everything for our special day! I was hoping you’d eat everything I made.”
“Of course, I will, darling. I will.”
She clapped her hands in glee. “Great! Wait here, I’ll get it, and some more of your red wine.”
He watched her enthusiastically scamper off to the kitchen, bringing with her her glass of wine, a scowl never leaving his face.
He is now feeling pangs of regret. . . regretting his decision of returning to her.
“If it weren’t for the money. . .” he angrily muttered to himself.
Learning that he is the sole beneficiary of all her businesses was accidental. He and Cleo sneaked in to Bea’s building one night, after they came back from the Alps, penniless and searching for ways to find money. Cleo remembered vaguely that she still has a few dollars tucked in one of the drawers of her old desk there. While she was searching for it, Tom went inside Bea’s private office and rummaged through her cabinets, hoping to find some cash.
Instead, he found a treasure: the last will and testament of Bea naming him as her only heir in the event of her death.
It changed everything.
After he “escaped,” Tom told Bea that Cleo was apprehended by the police. Bearing black bruises, he had returned to her the week before, telling her his made-up story.
She believed every word.
She wanted to file a kidnapping and serious physical injuries case against Cleo but the policeman she talked to at the precint, Tom’s accomplice, had told her it would be a waste of time since Cleo is found to be mentally ill. She will be transferred to a mental ward, the policeman said, so it’s better to move on with their lives and just be thankful that Tom had managed to come back to her alive.
Heaving a deep breath, Tom searched his memory if Bea already sipped her wine. Even if she didn’t, he’ll make sure she will before making love to her tonight. Cleo said the poison they put there is deadly. Just a few sips will cause instant death. And since Bea is an orphan, nobody would request for an autopsy, and he, as the grieving husband, will just bury her silently in peace.
Just then, he lifted his face to see a proud and beaming Bea coming towards him, a plate of panna cotta in her hand.
“Here it is: my special panna cotta with special red syrup!”
She again took her place beside him, smiling. Then, holding the fork, she sliced a bit of the panna cotta and put it in his mouth.
Tom indulged her, opening his mouth and eating the panna cotta she served him.
“Wow, this is awesome! I don’t know how you do it, but it’s really good!” He gushed truthfully.
“Really?” She asked, her hands clasped together.
“Yes! And the syrup, it’s out of this world. I haven’t tasted anything like this before!”
“Well, I just tried a new recipe.”
“Really?” Taking the fork from her, he took bite after bite of the sweet dessert. “Where did you get it from?”
“It’s my own idea.”
“You really are the most creative person I know,” he smiled, swallowing the last piece of panna cotta.
“Thank you,” she smiled, continuing to speak.
“At first, I didn’t think your red wine will blend well with the taste of the gelatin, but it did. I’m glad.”
He stopped chewing.
“Red wine?” He asked her, his eyes almost bulging out from their sockets.
“Yes. The one you brought home today. Italian red wines are really versatile. It can be used in meals and in desserts.”
He retched, spewing out to his hand the fragments of panna cotta he was chewing earlier.
Then, shocked beyond words, he pulled out a single strand of blonde hair from his vomit.
Already, he is feeling the effects of the poison. He clutched his chest, having difficulty swallowing and breathing. The pain inside his stomach is also beginning to intensify, causing him to chill and shiver wildly.
Bea took the blonde hair, saying as she stared at it, “Oh, sorry about this. I must have missed this strand. Sometimes my magic wand fails me, I had to do some things manually.
“For instance, this afternoon, when I was in the grocery, I bumped into someone looking very much like Cleo. But I know she’s in a mental hospital, so it can’t be her. So I flipped my magic wand and told her to vanish. The magic wand didn’t work. She just laughed at me wickedly and told me I’m a gullible idiot who loves Italian red wine and readily believes in made-up stories.
“So I had to make her vanish using my own hands.
“But then, I had a stroke of inspiration to make something creative that I have never done before. For our special day.
“I had to do a lot of grinding and add a whole lot of herbs, spices and seasonings. But still, the Fairy Chef delivered, as always.
“Beats the taste of red meat, don’t you think, darling?”
Tom’s vision is now getting blurred, saliva coming out of his mouth, his hands now turning blue, his body jerking violently.
The terrible pain inside him is utterly agonizing.
But it was nothing compared to the horror of knowing what Bea has done to Cleo.
As the last gasps of breath gurgled noisily out of him, he vaguely heard Bea reciting:
Eat and be full, love
Then close your eyes and sleep well
Let the blackness in.
*** THE END ***
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If you have additional extra time, please check out a free preview of THE GANGSTER & THE SOCIALITE, my romantic comedy novella with a crime/suspense twist, in the following pages.
THE GANGSTER & THE SOCIALITE Preview
Chapter 1: To Kill a Socialite
“Why oh why did I allow Fred to take the car?” Megan muttered, reprimanding herself.
She carefully stepped over a puddle of water as she walked towards the waiting shed to flag a taxi. It’s past midnight and the heavy rain hasn’t stopped since early this evening. The wet streets of Bonifacio Global City here in Taguig are half asleep with just a handful of people and vehicles going to and fro.
Normally, she’d relish the rain as she is a pluviophile. But not when she’s all dressed up in a silver sequined Vera Wang gown and Jimmy Choo stilettos, having come from a charity event hosted by her friend, Melanie. She hugged her Alexander McQueen beige overcoat to her body with one hand as the other steadied the useless tiny umbrella, borrowed from the hotel concierge, over her head. Her french bun is still in place although some wisps of hair managed to escape from both sides of her head. Her feet are wet now, and if not for the thick overcoat, she would have been drenched.
Her thoughts went back to Fred, her driver. Instantly, she felt a feeling of shame for her moment of regret in letting him have the car. She knew her driver needed the car more than her when she saw how worried he was, getting a call for help earlier from his cancer-stricken wife in Cavite.
Her heart went out to him and his family who had been struggling with the sickness for almost a year now. Fred didn’t want to leave her in the middle of the night at the charity event. But it was she who insisted that he take her car so he can be with his wife as soon as possible, assuring him that there are many taxis in the vicinity.
(Besides, even if Fred did not take the car, it’s not that she’d drive a car. Oh, she does know how to drive, but after the accident… she just hasn’t found the nerve to do so.)
Having been out of circulation and in hiatus from the outside world for the past year, she didn’t listen to Melanie’s offer to book her in Grab, wondering suspiciously what that is, and preferred to wait for her to take her home. But when she saw Melanie has no immediate plans of leaving when the clock struck midnight, she silently, surreptitiously walked out of the event, leaving a message for her at the hotel reception desk.
Arriving at the waiting shed, Megan saw she’s all alone and she felt a cold chill. As luck would have it, there are no taxis in sight. It’s been a long time since she had walked alone, and at an ungodly hour such as now. She tried to shake off from her mind Melanie’s horrid tales about rapists and murderers.
Suddenly, she heard a loud noise behind her. As she turned around to look at it, a big splash of muddy water struck her face. Startled, she was knocked off-balance, causing her to slump down on the sidewalk, butt first.
“Awww! My God!”
Letting out a shriek, she looked up, trying to gather her thoughts after the fall, her umbrella thrown aside. She couldn’t see clearly because of the heavy rain. All she could make out is a blurred image of a tall man walking towards her ominously, evidently coming from the motorcycle which skidded a few feet from her.
The man, wearing a black helmet, loomed over her, and his strong, cold hands grasped both her arms.
Panicking, Megan screamed, “No, no, please! Don’t! PLEASE DON’T HURT ME! NOOO!”
Hastily, she tried to get up. But her feet were slippery wet on her stilettos and the added weight of the man’s hands caused her to slump back again, this time taking the man with her, his body covering hers.
Megan started to scream again. But the man swiftly put his left hand over her mouth and hissed at her,
“Miss, Miss, stop! I’m not doing anything to you! Don’t scream! You’re creating a scandal!”
She mumbled from under his hand, which she felt was soft and smelling faintly of Bvlgari.
Warily, the man removed his hand to let her speak.
“Rapist! You’re a rapist! Help! Help, someone! HELP! HELP! POLICE!” She screamed.
Putting back his hand on her mouth, he told her in an irritated voice, looking directly at her big, brown, frightened eyes from behind the black helmet he’s wearing,
“I am not a rapist, Miss! I wanted to say sorry and help you stand up because I almost ran you over when my motorbike skidded in the slippery road. But you instantly panicked, bringing us both down, and then here you are, thinking of all sorts of nonsense!”
Megan again mumbled her retort but the man did not remove his hand this time.
He said in a firm voice, “I am not a rapist, Miss. I will not remove my hand until I am assured you will not scream. Give me a nod if you will not scream anymore.”
Seeing that there are still no people around them, and she wanted to get away as far as possible from under his warm body whose effect on her she cannot understand, she slowly nodded her wet head.
The man promptly took his hand away… but not without noticing her red, full mouth.
With all her might, Megan pushed the man away from her body. He slumped in a puddle of water as she quickly stood up and placed a safe distance away from him.
Screeching at him immediately, she said, “It’s your fault! You were driving too fast! Look how drenched I am because of you! You’re so careless! You. . . you’re a brute!”
Annoyed at her tone and a little ashamed for being unceremoniously pushed down in the mud, he barked at her as he stood up also:
“Miss, I was not driving too fast. The road was really slippery because of the rain. And how about you? It’s almost morning and you’re still walking in the streets of BGC, dressed in a gown and in high heels in this weather? From what party have you been?”
He got up and now they are both drenched in the rain, facing each other, angry at each other, him still with his helmet on.
“So what? It’s none of your business! How dare you! You’re the one who ran me over, and you have the nerve to criticize me? Are you my father?” she retorted.
Stomping her foot in annoyance, the puddle of water just conveniently splashed upward, hitting her at the face.
This man is so infuriating! Never had she felt so angry at anyone like this, especially when she saw his lips curl, seeming to be delighted at her reaction and the consequent result of her childish action. Yet vaguely, at the back of her angry mind, she noticed his left dimple indent his left cheek at his action.
“Oh? Do tell me, why are you still roving the streets at this hour? Wait. Ah, I know. Are you looking for a customer?” he said with a smirk.
He’s enjoying this! Richard hasn’t felt this exhilarated in annoying someone for a long time, getting on her nerves, seeing her in shambles, her mascara staining her pinkish cheeks, her face, hair and dress all muddy wet, her fists clenched and eyes wide as she spat angry words at him.
“How dare you! I am not a prostitute! I can sue you for libel! I will sue you in court! You. . . you’re so. . . rude! Rude and lewd!”
She’s now screaming at the top of her lungs amid the heavy rain, frustrated over her appearance and angry at the man now openly smiling at her distress.
All of a sudden, she heard the loud roar of another motorcycle as it stopped just a few feet to her left.
Turning, she saw two men riding on it. The man at the back turned his head to her and calmly put out a gun from inside his jacket.
Megan found herself looking directly at the black barrel of a gun aimed directly at her forehead.
Paralyzed with terror at the sight of the gun aimed straight between her eyes, Megan let the cold, hard rain pour over her and closed her eyes tightly shut.
She heard the gun went off and felt a sharp pain.
And then there was only darkness.
Chapter Two: All Night Long
Richard acted swiftly upon seeing the armed man aim the gun at her. Taking off his helmet, he threw it with full force at the man’s hand, knocking the gun away from his grip, a scream of pain echoing in the empty street.
But the gun still went off as it landed in front of Megan, its bullet grazing her left arm.
Richard saw Megan collapse to the ground unconscious, blood oozing from her.
Quickly, he dived for the gun lying on the puddle of water. Grasping it, he pulled the trigger, firing three shots in succession. One of the bullets hit the driver’s leg, the other bullet struck the other man’s shoulder. The driver shouted, “Let’s get out of here!”
The rain poured harder as the riding-in-tandem hurriedly sped away into the dark, rainy night.
Richard hurriedly went over to Megan, tapping her face lightly. “Miss? Miss?”
He felt a pulse, thankful that she is alive but unconscious. Thinking that the two men would return with reinforcements to finish off their job, he put the gun in his jacket’s pocket and scooped Megan in his arms, running away from the scene.
Luckily, after a few meters, an empty taxi appeared. He barked instructions to the perplexed driver where to take them and they rode to safety, far away from the place where death nearly took her life.
Megan is now slowly regaining consciousness as she felt warm breath on her face. Tentatively, she half-opened her eyes, pretending to be still asleep.
It was the dimpled man!
She saw his serious face, dangerously near hers, but intently looking over her left shoulder. Not wanting to but cannot help it, she noticed his manly face was smooth except for an almost unnoticeable pockmark on his right cheek. His nose is straight, his lips thin but reddish. His eyelashes are long, surrounding his gun-metal eyes. His thick brows are now furrowed in concentration.
He was leaning his body close to her, bare from the waist up, wearing only pants, unaware that she is awake.
Horrified at seeing his unclothed chest almost touching her, Megan snapped her eyes wide open and pushed him away with all her might, screaming as she did so.
“You really are a rapist! Rapist! What did you do to me?”
Taking in her surroundings, she saw that they are in a sparsely furnished, dimly lit room. The bed where she presently lay, however, is huge. It was clearly a man’s room.
Appalled, she saw her clothes were strewn on the floor where he is now slumped down due to the force of her shove. She panicked all the more when she noticed she was wearing only a white man’s long sleeved polo too big for her size, and instantly knew it was his.
“You’re despicable! What did I do to deserve this? Why did you do this to me? Why did you rape me?” She was openly crying now and screaming at the same time, horrified at what she thought he has done to her.
Calmly, Richard slowly stood up from the floor and folded his arm on his chest as he looked irritatingly at her.
“Miss, my ears are already hurting because of your screams. You haven’t stopped screaming since last night!”
“Wh-whaaat? Since last night? You mean, you. . . you raped me all nightlong? You. . . you scoundrel! Scalawag! Beast! You’re a beast!” weeping as she threw a pillow at him with her right hand.
He caught it fast and threw it back at her, hitting her squarely at the face.
“Awww!” she yelled, more out of shame than of pain.
“Will you please stop, Miss? What do you think of yourself, a supermodel? I’m saying it again, I am not a rapist! Stop screaming, you are so noisy!”
This girl is so full of herself! Richard can’t help thinking. But still, she looked awfully cute wearing his polo, its length reaching down to the middle of her smooth, ivory legs.
Seeing him gaze at her legs, she hurriedly sat up, hugged her legs to her chest, using the big white polo to cover her entire body, seeing that there was no blanket at hand.
“Liar! If you didn’t rape me, why am I here? And I don’t care if the whole world hears me! You’re a liar and a rapist!”
Her attempt at modesty with the polo amused Richard. Did she think this is the first time he saw a woman’s legs? Oh, if she only knew!
But strangely, this put him in a jolly mood, and he decided to play along with it.
“Miss, for your information, I didn’t rape you. You wanted it. You pleaded for me to do it. It was consentual,” smirking as he spoke, his dimple showing.
“Wh-whaat?! How dare you! Why would I want it? Don’t you know who I am?”
“No. And I’m not interested in knowing who you are. You said it yourself last night, it was only a one night stand. No names, I believe that’s your term.”
Richard’s laughing so hard inside as he told himself, I haven’t had this much fun, ever!
“W-whaaat? No! I wouldn’t say that! Wh-what did you do to me? My God, d-did you drug me?”
Sputtering her words, she trembled with anger and indignation as she looked around wildly.
It was then that she saw the gun beside her, exposed from under the pillow they used to throw at each other.
But Richard saw it too, and he cursed himself inwardly for forgetting to dispose the gun from last night’s shooting.
Quickly, before Megan was able to pick it up, he jumped over to her and swept the gun away. It fell on the floor at the other side of the room.
However, in doing so, by now he and Megan are on top of each other, his bare chest touching her scantily-clad body, his weight pushing her down on the bed.
Megan screamed and screamed and screamed as if there was no tomorrow.
****Thank you for reading this preview. THE GANGSTER & THE SOCIALITE is available for only $ 0.99 cents in Amazon and Shakespir.
A hearty, delicious dinner prepared, cooked and served with lethal love. Tom and Bea are celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary. It was a sort of a celebration after Tom's kidnapping ordeal in the hands of an insane woman, Cleo, which almost destroyed their marriage. Bea, famously known in the food industry as the fairy chef, concocted a special three-course meal, plus a delectable dessert for Tom . . . to die for. When love borders in insanity, the consequences are deadly.