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       The Saint, p.16

         Part #5 of The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz
 

  “You said I could do anything I wanted.”

  I couldn’t argue with that, so I held up my hands and he held out a golden rope.

  It didn’t take long for him to tie my wrists to the big sexy headboard of his bed. The ropes felt tight but not too tight on me. I could wiggle my fingers and move my hands. But I couldn’t touch him, which made me want to touch him even more.

  He took another rope and tied my ankles down to the bed. Once he finished I realized I couldn’t close my legs. This king knew what he was doing.

  Xerxes took off his jeans and I tried not to watch. Well, I didn’t try very hard not to watch.

  “Oh, wow,” I said once he was naked. I looked back up at the ceiling.

  “Just wow?”

  “Holy wow?”

  “Much better.”

  I moaned a little when the king stretched out on top of me. His skin felt so warm next to mine. His body was strong and muscular, and I felt safe underneath him. Who could ever hurt me now with the king like a shield over me? Who could steal me now that I was tied to his bed? No one.

  The king kissed my mouth again and my neck. He rubbed my breasts, which felt better than I ever dreamed it would. He kissed them, which was embarrassing at first until I realized that it was the best thing anyone had ever done to me. He put his hand between my legs and pushed a finger inside me. I wanted to close my legs, but the ropes stopped me. But he moved his finger in and out of me and I tensed up and relaxed at the same time. He touched me for a long time until I thought I would die from wanting him so much. I couldn’t touch him because he’d tied my hands. I couldn’t close my legs because he’d tied my ankles. I couldn’t kiss him because I couldn’t rise up. All I could do was lie there and want him and want him and want him.

  Then he was inside me.

  “Xerxes,” I said as he pushed all the way into me.

  “Good girl,” he said. He’d told me to say his name while he was inside me. I wanted to obey him. Obeying him was the most important thing.

  He moved inside me and it hurt. I didn’t care that it hurt, though, and I didn’t want it to ever end even if it did hurt. The pain stopped but the pleasure stayed behind. I felt a storm in my stomach like lightning and thunder were throwing down inside me. My whole body crackled with electricity. I wasn’t sure if electricity had been invented yet but I didn’t care anymore. I only cared about Xerxes, about my king.

  Xerxes lowered his head and bit my chest over my heart. I flinched from the pain.

  “Why did you do that?”

  “You’re beautiful, and if another man sees that bruise he’ll know you belong to me.”

  “I belong to you,” I said. I loved those words. I loved belonging to the king. I loved it so much I said it again. “I belong to you.”

  “You’re mine.”

  The ceiling had lied to me. It wasn’t over soon. We slept a little bit, but then we woke up and he made me his again.

  At dawn I woke up in his arms. Even while I was sleeping he’d kept one of my ankles tied to the bed. I liked that he wanted to keep me in his bed, in his arms.

  Then morning came, and I was mad at it for coming so soon.

  Xerxes untied my ankle from the bed and helped me put my dress back on.

  “I’ll miss you, Xerxes.”

  “I’ll miss you, too, Esther. Last night was better than any song or any poem.”

  “Or cardigan,” she said.

  “In fact, it was so good, I think we should have a thousand more nights like that.”

  “I’ll be in the harem if you want me.”

  “Or …”

  “Or what?”

  “You could be my queen.”

  Eleanor waited in the hallway outside of Søren’s office. He’d told her that if she figured out what happened between Xerxes and Esther on her audition night, she should tell him. So she rewrote her story by hand as neatly as she could, put it in a nice new folder and gave it to him. It seemed like such a great idea right up until the moment he opened the folder, started reading and shut his office door in her face.

  Why had she given it to him? That whole story was ridiculous. She had Esther talking like she lived in 1993 instead of in ancient Persia, and she put the king in jeans and made him kind of funny and goofy instead of kingly. Regal. Kings were supposed to be regal. And the story … Oh, God, she had a whole sex thing going on in the story with Esther being tied to a bed while the king fucked her.

  And now her priest was reading it.

  Eleanor went back to the fellowship hall food pantry and sorted through the donations. Why did no one ever donate Oreos? All she wanted was to eat an entire bag of Oreos and cry for a few hours while listening to Whitney Houston sing “I Will Always Love You” on repeat. Instead she went to the bathroom and discovered she’d started her period. That explained the tears and the Oreo obsessing. Maybe it even explained her sudden moment of temporary insanity when she decided to let Søren read her stupid Esther story.

  She grabbed her backpack and sat down on the bench outside Søren’s office. If he was in there calling the men in white coats to come get her, she wanted to be on standby to knock the phone out of his hand and plead her case.

  To kill time, she pulled her new math textbook out and flipped through it.

  “What the holy fuck is this bullshit?” she yelled as she tried to decipher the precalculus before her.

  Søren’s office door swung open.

  “Eleanor. Inside voice.”

  “Sorry,” she said. “Math.”

  “Forgiven.”

  She looked up at him. He held her story in his hand.

  “You’re excommunicating me, aren’t you?”

  “Why did you write this story?” he asked.

  “I don’t know. We were talking about Esther and what happened that night and I … I thought it would be fun to write. And then I started writing it, and I couldn’t stop.”

  “You couldn’t stop?”

  “I couldn’t. It was like some demon had my hand and was racing it all over the paper.” She grabbed her right wrist like a neck and pretended to choke it until it went limp. “Anyway, sorry. I won’t make you read my weird stories anymore.”

  “I will read anything you write. You are a better writer than I am.”

  “Really? I thought it was kind of stupid.”

  “Stupid?”

  “Yeah, goofy. Childish. I made hymen jokes.”

  “It’s satire,” Søren said.

  “Satire? I wasn’t going for satire. I just wanted to make the story funny to show how ridiculous it is to choose a country’s leader by how good in bed she is.”

  “Using humor to hold human foibles—usually of a political nature—up to ridicule is satire, Eleanor. It’s a difficult and sophisticated form of humor that very few adult authors have mastered.”

  “Oh,” she said. “Cool.”

  “If you’re not careful, I’ll put you to work on my dissertation.”

  Eleanor blushed. Søren didn’t seem to be joking.

  “Don’t you think I’d give those old priests who read your dissertation heart attacks?”

  “You nearly gave me one,” he said. He stared down at her story and shook his head. She felt inordinately proud of herself. One little short story and she’d gotten to Søren with it. She felt something, something she hadn’t ever felt before. Powerful. She could put words onto paper and make a grown man think wicked things like how fun it would be to tie a virgin to a bed and fuck her until dawn. She could get used to this feeling.

  “May I keep this?” Søren asked.

  “You want to keep my story?”

  “I think I should confiscate it. You’re too young to be reading such things.”

  “I think you’re forgetting something—I wrote it.”

  “I’m keeping it,” he said.

  “Okay. But you have to give me something in return.”

  “What would you like? And please keep your requests above the nec
k.”

  Eleanor sighed in acquiescence. No asking him to bend her over a pew, then. Fine. If she was smart she might get something out of this deal. She’d given him a sexy story she’d written—something private, personal, secret. Secret?

  “Tell me a secret,” she said. “Any secret. Then you can have the story.”

  Søren exhaled heavily.

  “Something tells me I’m going to regret telling you this, but it’s perhaps for the best that you know.”

  “Know what?”

  “I have a friend,” Søren said at last.

  “A friend? That’s the big secret?”

  “You didn’t ask for a big secret. Only a secret.”

  “Why is your friend a secret?”

  “That’s a secret.”

  Eleanor opened her mouth and then promptly shut it.

  “Here,” Søren said. “I’ve been intending to do this for some time now.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver case. He opened the case and extracted a business card. Black paper. Silver ink. He held out the card and she reached for it. Søren pulled the card two inches out of her reach.

  “Before I give you this card, you must make me a promise,” he said. “You will show it to no one. You will keep it to yourself. You will not call the number on the card. You will never go to that address except in the direst of emergencies. And by direst I’m referring to such events one would describe as apocalyptic. You can make this promise?”

  “I promise,” she said.

  Søren stared at her another moment and then let her have the card.

  “I’m trading you a King for a king,” Søren said, holding up her story.

  Eleanor read the card.

  Kingsley Edge, Edge Enterprises, it read. 152 Riverside Drive.

  The card contained no other information but a phone number.

  “Kingsley Edge. He lives on Riverside Drive? That’s where all the rich people live, right?”

  Søren inclined his head.

  “Kingsley is not without means.”

  “So he’s rich?”

  “Filthy,” Søren said.

  “Does he own a Rolls-Royce?”

  “Two of them.”

  Eleanor pondered that. So now she knew whose Rolls that Søren had driven off in that night.

  “He’s also dangerous, Little One, and I don’t use the word lightly.”

  She suppressed a smile. When he called her Little One, her fingers trembled and her feet itched and her thighs tightened.

  “I like him already. He’s your friend?”

  “Yes. Now put the card away. Keep it safe. Emergency use only. Understood?”

  “Understood.”

  She slipped the card into her back pocket.

  “Okay, now you can have my story.”

  “Thank you.” Søren stuck the folder under his arm. “Before I take full possession of this fine piece of erotic satire, might I ask you one question?”

  “I really wish you wouldn’t.”

  “Why does the king tie Esther to the bed?”

  Eleanor cocked her head to the side. That wasn’t the question she’d expected him to ask.

  “I don’t know. I’ve been reading these books by Anne Rice and there’s a lot of stuff like that in them.”

  “I think you do know why he did it, and it isn’t because you read about it in a book. Tell me the truth.”

  She pondered the question a moment.

  “I think he tied her to the bed for the same reason a smart man who is not an idiot would put a lock on his Ducati.”

  “Because he doesn’t want it stolen?”

  “No,” she said, and knew she had the right answer. If this was a test she’d show up to take it with nothing but a pencil.

  “Then why?”

  “Because he loves it.”

  14

  Eleanor

  THANKSGIVING BREAK ARRIVED AND ELEANOR nearly cried with relief. Finally she would have her answers from Søren. She’d watered that goddamn stick in the ground for six straight months without missing a single day. She’d been sick in bed, and she’d gone to water it. It had stormed, and she’d watered it. It had even snowed last week, and she’d trudged through six inches of white powder in her beat-up combat boots and watered it. That day, it had been so unnaturally cold the water had turned to ice the moment it touched the ground. The day after Thanksgiving equaled exactly six months from the day she’d begun. She had twelve questions ready for Søren. He’d better be ready to answer them.

  1. What’s the second reason you’re helping me?

  2. What’s the third reason being with me is problematic?

  3. Why will your friend help me?

  4. Why does a priest have his own handcuff key?

  5. Whose feet should I be sitting at?

  6. Why does everyone at church think your name is Marcus Stearns and your Bible says your name is Søren Magnussen?

  7. Why do you want me to obey you forever?

  8. Are you a virgin?

  9. I’m a virgin. Are you okay with that?

  10. When will you keep your end of the deal?

  11. Who are you?

  12. Are you in love with me?

  If she had the answers to all these questions, she knew she would know everything she needed to know about Søren.

  She spent Thanksgiving Day alone with her mom. They had turkey and mashed potatoes and a chocolate pie Eleanor had begged her mother to make. Eleanor slept for four straight hours after their dinner. She blamed the turkey for her coma but she knew it was simple exhaustion. Going to school five days a week and then spending seven days a week at church had worn her out. She couldn’t complain, though. Better than juvie.

  The day after Thanksgiving dawned bright and cold and painfully beautiful. She had to squint to see the sky for all the light shining down and reflecting off the snow. Her mother had to work that day, so Eleanor had the house to herself. Bliss. Utter bliss. She ate leftovers, wrote, read and tried not to obsess over the answers Søren would have to her questions. She would go to Sacred Heart this evening on the pretense of working on something. She’d
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