Dead and Loving It (Page 8)

And then later he would bring amazing food, and they'd talk about everything and anything. And he'd read to her-they were halfway through Salem's Lot, which he seemed to think was a comedy-while she paced. She liked books but couldn't stand to sit still for the hours and hours required to read one. Or they'd wrestle, and once she'd thrown the leftover apple pie at him and they'd had a food fight that ruined the drapes.

Jane sighed. If it was just his dick, it wouldn't be so bad. She could always buy a vibrator. No, it was Dick. She really, really liked him. More than any guy she'd ever known, and she knew a lot of fellas. And she was having a helluva time remembering she was a prisoner. In fact, she didn't think Dick remembered much, either.

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Her vision doubled, trebled…then her knees buckled. Luckily she was bent over the footboard, so she had some support.

Dick let go of her waist and pulled her back onto the bed. “That was…sweaty.”

Panting lightly, he flopped over on the pillows. “Jane, your stamina knows no bounds.

Look at me; I'm actually out of breath. And I don't even need to breathe.”


“My stamina? Look who's talking. We've been at it since-holy s**t, the sun's gonna be up in another hour. You'd better beat feet back to the coffin, old man.”

He snorted. “It's a bed, not a coffin. It's one of the guest beds, in fact. You're in my coffin, so to speak.”

“So why don't you sleep here?”

“I've been thinking about it.” He propped himself up on one elbow, bent to kiss her shoulder, then said, “More and more, actually. In the beginning I dared not leave myself at your mercy, but now I wonder.”

“What the hell are you talking about? You take longer to say something than anyone I've ever met.”

He didn't smile at her bitching, like he usually did. “I'd be quite helpless, Janet. If you, ah, decided to be angry, there's nothing I could do until the sun went down. And the tables in here are all made out of wood…so are the chairs. It wouldn't be difficult for someone with your determination to fashion a rudimentary stake.”

She'd never thought of that. She couldn't believe she'd never thought of that. “Oh.”

She mulled it over for a minute, then said, “Well, I don't especially want to stake you in the guts.”

“The guts I wouldn't mind so much. How about the heart?”


She rolled over and rested her chin on his chest. “There either. I dunno, you're okay.

When you're not being a total s**t. Stay, go, I don't give a f**k.”

“Well, I can hardly turn down such a warm invitation.” Still, he glanced nervously at the table in the corner before climbing under the covers. “Ah, well, here goes nothing.

Climb in next to me.”

“I have chicken grease under my nails,” she pointed out.

“So, we'll take a nice hot shower together later tonight.”

“Sounds like a date.” She snuggled in next to him and rested her head on his shoulder. His body was still slightly warm from their earlier exertions and, as she pressed closer to him, remained that way.

“Ahhhhh,” he sighed. “You're better than my electric blanket.”

“That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me. You should write for fuckin' soap operas,” she grumbled, but inside she was glowing. He was trusting her with his life.

He knew he was easy prey, and he was going to sleep anyway. It spoke volumes about his true feelings for her…and her status as his “prisoner”.

Well, s**t, she thought, drifting into sleep. Her palm rested over his heart, which beat once or twice every minute. Maybe there's hope for us after all.

Chapter Nine

Richard woke, as he had for the last several decades, just as the sun slipped past the horizon line. He felt Jane's head resting on his shoulder and smiled. A wonderful way to start the evening. And he was warm, so delightfully warm. She was better than a hot tub. He'd have to do something really nice for her for not killing him. Like…let her go?

He couldn't. He knew it was the right thing to do, knew he had no business keeping her as a sort of mid-sized boy toy, but every time he thought of his condo emptied of her refreshing presence, he wanted to shiver. Hell, he wanted to go for a walk in the sunshine.

He couldn't even pretend it was about revenge anymore. Even if she had lied, they were square after that first night. No, he was keeping her because he was a selfish monster and he couldn't bear to let her go. To be brutally honest, he was thrilled she was sticking to her story, because it gave him the perfect excuse to keep her.

The fact that he wasn't pinned to the bed via a table leg through his rib cage spoke well of her feelings for him. He was as hopeful as he'd been in-what year was it? She had her chance for vengeance, and hadn't taken it. And he doubted his lovely Jane was in the habit of passing up a chance to avenge herself. Was it possible she'd forgiven him? That was too unrealistic to believe, but perhaps there was hope. Perhaps-

“No! No, God, no…aw, jeez, Bobby!”

She was screaming. Screaming in her sleep. He was so startled he nearly jumped off the bed. Never had he heard his Janet so terrified, and so young. She sounded like a teenager.

“I didn't-Bobby, don't move, I'll get an ambulance, oh, God, don't die, please don't die!”

She was clawing at him in her sleep. He caught her hands and squeezed. “Jane, love. It's a dream. It's not real.” Anymore, he added silently. His chest and throat felt tight. Whatever had happened, it had been horrible. Awful enough to scare her away from lovemaking for years and years.

Her eyes flew open. He was shocked to see them filling, and then her tears spilled over and ran down her cheeks. “I didn't mean to,” she sobbed.

“Of course you didn't.”

“They told me it wasn't a good idea-that monkeys are fragile-I didn't listen.” She made a small fist and thumped it against his chest. “Why didn't I listen? Oh, we were having such fun-it didn't even hurt, and I thought it was supposed to hurt the first time. And then I started to come and I wrapped my legs around his waist and squeezed and-and-“

“Janet, it was an accident.” Monkeys? Odd slang-he had never been able to keep up with it. Had she broken the boy's ribs? Had they been in a precarious position, and had fallen, and perhaps the boy had…? Well. Whatever had happened, he was thoroughly certain of one thing. “You didn't mean to hurt him, Jane. You never would have hurt him. You've got to let this go.” He was stroking her back while he soothed her and she finally relaxed against him. He added jokingly, hoping to see a scowl, “Besides, you don't need to worry about such things with me. You could set me on fire while you were having your way with me, and I'd be fine the next day. Before you ask, though, I'm really not into that.”

She jerked up on one elbow and stared at him. Her eyes were smudged with tears, bloodshot, and enormous. He thought she'd never looked so pretty. “That's right,” she said slowly. “I was thinking about that last night and you…I can't hurt you. You can take whatever I dish out.”

“And have been,” he added, “for several days now. See, look!” He showed her his arm where, in her agitation, she'd clawed off ribbons of skin. It was nearly healed.

Oddly, she was still staring at him as if she'd never seen him before. “I don't know why I didn't think of it before, Dick.”

“You've had other things on your mind. Now, that's enough crying over a fifteen year-old accident you couldn't help,” he said briskly, hoping she agreed. He couldn't bear to see her cry. He rolled out of bed and stood up, casting about for a way to distract her. “How about sushi and maybe some vegetable tempura for breakfast?”

She perked up immediately. “I like raw fish,” she said. “I like steak tartare, too, but I like it better with steak, not hamburger.”

“Sounds like we have lunch figured out, too, m'love.”

“But first we have to shower,” she said, almost shyly.

He laughed, bent to her, picked her up, and kissed her. “Yes indeed. You are filthy.

And so am I. I foresee lots of scrubbing in our future.”

“F*****g pervert,” she snorted, and he cheered inwardly, knowing she was back to herself.

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For the second night in a row, Richard woke up warm and content. He had made up his mind as dawn broke in the wee hours of the morning, as Janet cuddled up to him and snored softly in his ear. Today they would go out. He'd take her shopping and buy her a ridiculous amount of clothes. Clothes, lingerie, priceless paintings, pounds of steak tartare-whatever she wanted. He knew in his heart she wouldn't run away from him, and it was past time he let her out of his bedroom. She had been admirably patient, and it was time for a reward.

He stretched. He didn't really need to-he always woke energized and hungry and raring to go-but enjoyed the sensation. Yes, they would go shopping and she would bully the sales clerks and it would be delightful. Then back to his place for a light lunch and some energetic lovemaking, and possibly a nap, or more of Salem's Lot. Yes, it was all-

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