Kira breathed in deeply, covering her nerves with a bright smile for Terry who sat across from her in her apartment. They were just back from one of their regular evenings out. She’d purposely invited him up with her, and not for what he was thinking which she knew was a long-awaited invitation into her bed. After all it had been almost seven months since they’d met and they’d been a serious couple for half that time so he’d been more than patient. It was just too bad that on this occasion she was about to break the news to him that she was no longer able to proceed with the planned wedding.
He’d poured himself a drink though Kira had declined having one. Now he smiled and then patted the spot right to him. “Hey, sweetcakes, you’re sitting too far away. C’mere.”
Kira rose but only to stand further away, turning her back to him as she hugged herself bracingly, praying inwardly for strength.
“Kira? What’s wrong, honey?”
His jovial voice was now laced with worry and she heard him place down his glass and rise. “Is everything okay?” he asked in concern.
Kira turned abruptly to face him. “I can’t marry you, Terry,” she blurted out.
He stared at her, and then burst into a short, incredulous laugh. “Sure you can.”
“I’m not kidding, Terry,” she said gently but with underlying firmness. “I mean it. The thing is; something has um...come up. And I don’t think it would be fair to...to keep things going as they are. I’m really sorry.”
“To hell with fair!” Terry growled, jumping forward and grabbing her arm. “And fuck being sorry. What the hell are you playing at? For god’s sake tell me the truth!”
“I...I can’t,” Kira mumbled, her expression pained. It broke her to pieces seeing him so shocked and angry. The last thing she’d want would be to aggravate him by letting him in on the facts. He’d never forgive her. How could any man forgive what she’d done?
“Please, Terry. Why can’t you just...let it go?” she begged, her eyes cloudy with tears. “The last thing I want to do is hurt you. I do care about you, I just can’t marry you.”
“No fucking way,” Terry said on a snarl. “Damn it, Kira. You’ve been hiding something from me, and I demand to know what!”
Just then the doorbell rang shrilly and Kira almost slumped in relief when he abruptly let her go.
“Don’t move. I’ll get that,” he said with obvious control, and Kira was too distressed to argue. Once he was gone from the room she felt the pounding in her head reach unbearable proportions. She went into the kitchen for a cold glass of water which usually helped. She heard Terry return to the living room as she gulped down some aspirin. Striving to stay calm, she delayed going back to face him again, until the strange silence in the adjoining room made her push the swing door open in curiosity.
She went rigid when Terry turned and she saw his face.
It looked figuratively black with fury and for once Kira’s heart thudded in fear of him. A fear which deepened when he spoke and she heard the threatening tone in his voice.
“What the hell is this all about?” he all but roared.
Kira’s confused glance lowered to his outstretched hand which held a gift-wrapped rectangular box in black with white bows dotting it, which looked ripped open. Peeking out were a pair of lace trimmed white panties. A small red card lay half squashed in his other hand. Kira frowned and looked back up at him.
“What...what’s that?” she asked stupidly, feeling an impending cloud of doom.
“A piece of flimsy unmentionables dedicated to ‘a certain part of your anatomy’ that is still kept a mystery from me,” Terry bit out sarcastically. “Just when did you start receiving gifts of lingerie?”
Kira suddenly broke out of her daze to snap angrily at him, “Well, ever since you started to open them, I guess! How dare you!”
“How dare I?” he repeated with soft menace. “I dare, Kira, because out of the blue you get cold feet and something told me this just-delivered little present might hold the answers I need. Now you better start talking about where these came from because they certainly weren’t from me! Who the hell are you fucking? Because it sure as hell isn’t me!”
Kira found herself unable to respond as he flung the small red card at her. Picking it up she fastened her eyes to the message scrawled in bold, black ink jumping right at her.
“This, my dear Kira, is to substitute for the pair I divested you of... I know it will be a perfect fit, because I’ve got first-hand knowledge of that certain part of your anatomy. Hope you like Satin and Lace.”
Kira was still gaping down at the note long after the words had registered, before Terry’s voice reached her numb brain.
“So, I guess this must be the ‘something’ which according to you has just come up,” he noted with an acid tone. “Some lover you’ve been seeing behind my back? Damn, Kira. You sure had me fooled. I mean someone needs to give you an Oscar. Putting on that virgin-bride-to-be act show with me all this time. Ever since we met you gave me the impression you were the type who’d like to wait for the wedding night but looks like I was not only insane but stupid too. Because from the look of things you haven’t been doing much waiting except with me. So who’s the lucky guy who’s been getting it, huh? Someone I know? Your boss maybe? How does it feel to fuck it old guy?”
Kira could barely even hear him now, her senses in a whirl of shock and disbelief at the man who would sink so low as to do this. There was no doubt in her mind Blake was responsible even though the note was left unsigned. Only one man would have the audacity to pull this type of stunt. But why?
She was made aware of her surroundings when Terry suddenly grabbed her by the arms and shook her hard. “I asked you a question, Kira. Answer me, damn you,” he snarled. His eyes were burning coals that made her feel guiltier than ever. “Or don’t you think you owe me that much? Who’s the mystery man you’ve been screwing under my nose?”
Kira’s teeth chattered as she tried to speak. His reaction scared and shocked her. She’d never known he could reach such a level of rage that his teeth were bared and each word was forced out through clenched jaws. “Let me go!” she stammered with each shake from his cruel hands. “You don’t know what’s going on!”
“Oh?” Terry murmured softly, eyebrows raised high. His dark expression had taken on a fearsome cast and Kira stared at him in horror. She cringed as he drew his face even closer.
“At least one thing I do know,” he said chillingly, “Is that you’re a fake, lying, cheating slut who’s been leading me on for months. Well I promise you, you won’t get away with it.”
Kira felt stung by his harshly voiced insults and she couldn’t stop herself from sneering thoughtlessly, “What are you going to do? Sue me?”
“No,” he said with icy rage. “Just something that will teach you not to fuck with me. A little something to remember me by.” And with equal precision, he drew his fist back and hit her in the face.