Socio (second half)
As Shannon lay in the guest bed that night after the doctor had gone to bed, she thought about how much had changed and how fast it had changed as well. She had lost so much and gained so much all in just a matter of hours. Everything she owned was gone, including her beloved pets. But now she lived in a beautiful luxury high-rise apartment and virtually for nothing. Funny how life turned out at times.
As they had continued to work out the details, the doctor insisted she keep her money for her own personal needs like food, clothing and anything else she may want. The room and board was for cleaning and doing the doctor’s laundry and cooking. Dr. Warren assured her that letting her sleep in a bed that would just sit there anyway in a place that wouldn’t cost any more or less with her present, in exchange for taking over these tasks, was plenty fair and she need not give her any money. Cooking, cleaning and laundry seemed like nothing to her but that might be because she found these chores more relaxing than tedious. She would still have her office and online jobs but she still felt like she was getting much more than she was giving, and for that, she was very grateful.
They had checked the news before turning in that night and according to the current reports, there was no concrete information as to how the fire started.
Shannon was so sad yet also hopeful at the same time. She really did want to stay in New York City. She hated how expensive it was and she hated the crowds and the climate and the crime. Yet she loved every bit of the action at the same time. It was everything that made New York City what it was. Fast, gritty, dangerous, exciting, diverse, complex, and so much more.
Her mind bounced back to the doctor herself. She had watched her as she had taken her hair down before bed. It was the first time she saw her long shiny black hair down loose. It was beautiful. The doctor, in some ways, was composed of what seemed like mismatched body parts. She had beautiful hair and an okay body for her age, but her face wasn’t that great at all. She had nice teeth but the rest of her face was pretty average and she could see where some may even consider her ugly with her thick dark eyebrows and almost monkey-like facial features.
The following morning Shannon contacted the landlord. Someone else answered on his behalf and said that the circumstances surrounding the fire were suspicious.
“So it was arson?” Shannon asked.
After a slight hesitation the person sighed heavily and then said, “I’m afraid it’s looking that way, yes.”
“So that means no one will be getting any kind of compensation? No help with relocation or anything?”
“I’m afraid not, ma’am.”
Now it was Shannon’s turn to be silent a few seconds as her mind absorbed the guy’s words. “So now what?” she finally asked. “Is anything salvageable? Did anything at all survive the fire?”
“No, it didn’t. I’m sorry. Really I am.”
“Any plans to rebuild?”
“There probably will be at some point but there’s no saying when. We’re very sorry as it’s a very unfortunate incident that has cost many people their homes, but our hands are tied. We’re just as helpless as the tenants are.”
“No, you’re not. Unlike most people, you at least have a home to live in unless you happened to have had an apartment in the building.” Shannon’s statement was met with silence. She wasn’t surprised that the guy didn’t have an answer for that one.
Some close friends from back home sent her some money in which she could add to the money she earned from working. Even the people at work gave her something, and while Shannon went out of her way to appear hesitant to accept anything at first, accept it she would. Very greedily yet with much appreciation. There was nothing wrong with saving as much money as she could in case things with the doctor didn’t work out.
She adapted to life in the high-rise with the lovely doctor quite quickly. True to her word, the doctor took her on a shopping spree and helped her to pick out a beautiful and stylish new wardrobe. Shannon’s gratefulness was beyond anything she had over known before and she vowed to do well at her new job to help make up for the doctor’s incredible generosity.
The doctor had no complaints about her cooking or cleaning and Shannon had no complaints about the wonderful view she had to enjoy a lot more than the doctor herself did, even if it may be a bit distracting at times. The view was just as beautiful at night as it was during the daytime. The only difference was that at night it all looked the same… Lights, lights, and more lights. You felt like you were floating in outer space amongst millions of stars.
Shannon didn’t get any new pets but she did start working out again. She’d always loved to run but her neighborhood wasn’t exactly the place to do it in. She’d never felt safe running in that area with all the damn hoodrats and gangbangers. Now she had the option of running in a safer section of the city as well as the beautiful indoor fitness room on days when the weather was nasty. She even had a heated swimming pool. In order to get fresh air, or at least as fresh as the city could provide, she would run outdoors and do her strength training indoors unless bad weather made that difficult.
Shannon had moments in which she suspected the doctor may like her and not just as a companion and live-in cook and housekeeper either. One night in particular, as they sat on the couch watching a movie together, the doctor confirmed her suspicions.
At first, the doctor was hesitant to act on her feelings because she didn’t want to make her feel obligated or trapped in any way simply because she lived with her and worked for her.
“I know you are a bit younger than me,” she had explained that night, “and that not everybody feels comfortable getting too close to what some may consider their landlord and employer all rolled into one, but you are truly a beautiful woman, my dear Shannon, and very smart, too.”
Shannon was flattered. With all the doctor had to offer her, she didn’t mind that the woman barely struck a seven on her own personal one-to-ten appearance-judgment scale. She was just amazed that a rich doctor of all people would even consider her in the first place. Shannon may not be the ugliest thing on earth, but the wealthy usually went for the wealthy just like the poor usually went for the poor, didn’t they? It really did seem that people generally liked carbon copies of themselves. Yet she and the good doctor were about as opposite as two people could get. They were from two very different walks of life with two very different personalities. But one didn’t have to look gorgeous if they were willing to offer her so much luxury. The only way intimacy may be a little tough for her would be if the person were hideously ugly. The doctor wasn’t ugly, she just wasn’t hot. Although many people perceived Shannon to be unselfish and non-judgmental, and although she would never openly admit it, Shannon was actually very selfish, materialistic and judgmental when it came to personalities and looks. She didn’t mind a less than perfect and homely looking friend, but the doctor would be the first bedmate that she didn’t consider a hottie.
Shannon soon met the doctor’s daughter, Sade, and her son Marco. They were okay. They didn’t make any kind of special impression on her in any way. They simply seemed like two ordinary people with ordinary lives.
In the months that followed the tragic fire, Shannon felt like a real queen living a fairytale life. She felt rich, pampered and spoiled to the max. She had a gym she could use anytime she wanted to that was down in the lobby behind the lounge in which she could order a variety of things to eat if she didn’t feel like cooking for herself. Even bathing became a rather luxurious event with the option of a Jacuzzi that was built into the large tub, instead of always taking showers.
She got to know some of the people that worked in the building. During the first few months, she would exchange greetings with the staff but never actually stopped to chat with them for long. It was all trivial stuff at first… “How are you doing?” “What do you think of the weather?” “Keeping busy today, Miss Owens?”
But as the weeks turned into months, Shannon began to feel a bit lonely despite the luxury surrounding her. Dr. Warren hadn’t been kidding when she said she led a busy life. Shannon didn’t see nearly as much of her as she would like to. In fact, she spent more time chatting with coworkers at the clinic than she did with the doctor at home. They spent a little more time on weekends, but during the week, their time together was mostly spent during dinner. Then it seemed that the doctor had to rush off to deal with patients online before showering and unwinding with a book before bed.
Sex was infrequent and while the doctor was no goddess, Shannon was still human and still young. She didn’t expect it every single night, but once a week wasn’t quite enough for her if she even got it that often.
And then one of the security guards was replaced by Doug Maxwell.
Shannon noticed the dark and younger security guard that had taken the place of one of the older security guards. At first, they would simply nod to each other when they passed each other by. They didn’t actually chat until he came into the lounge one day to grab lunch while she was in there eating.
“Hello, there,” she heard as she sat eating a chicken sandwich at the bar while checking her phone for tweets and other updates from cyber friends.
She looked up and glanced at her right. It was him. He had piercing dark eyes and very distinct features. His dark brown hair brushed his shoulders. “Hi,” she said with a smile.
“How are you doing today?”
Before she could answer, a petite young waitress in her twenties with a high-pitched blonde ponytail stepped forth to take his order. The waitress, whose name tag said her name was Charlotte, had icy blue eyes and a tan that was probably fake. She had never really seemed very nice either, no matter how much Shannon smiled and tried to make friendly chatter. Finally, she gave up and respected the fact that Charlotte believed she was only there to make money, not friends.
When the waitress stepped away, Shannon said, “I’m Shannon. I see you recently started working here.”
“Yeah, about a month ago. My name is Doug, by the way.” He offered his hand and she took it. “Anyone sitting here?”
She looked at the empty stool next to her. “Nope.”
Doug took his seat and was soon served a burger and fries.
“So, you like working here, Doug?”
“I do. It’s a rather relaxing atmosphere. There isn’t a whole lot to do and it gets slow enough at times to feed my Facebook addiction. Just don’t tell the boss I said so.”
Shannon laughed. “Your secret’s safe with me.”
“You like living here?”
“I love it.”
“How long have you been here?”
Shannon told him about meeting Dr. Warren, the fire that had destroyed her pets and apartment, and how she ultimately came to live at the Windsor.
“Wow. Like really, wow. That’s a lot to go through.”
“Yeah, I know, right?”
“That really sucks about your pets. I mean it all sucks, but especially when it means the loss of animals you care about.”
“It sure does. I miss them a lot. They were adorable and quite smart.”
“Any pets now?”
“No, just a beautiful apartment with a very kind owner and boss that I hardly ever see.”
“It must get lonely up there at times despite the view.”
“It does, actually. That’s why, when I’m not working at the medical center, I make a point of getting out once a day even if I don’t actually leave the building.”
They enjoyed chatting over lunch that day and Shannon was surprised at just how fast the time passed before the lunch hour was over and Doug had to get back to work while she had to return to her online job up in the apartment.
Shannon found herself more and more hopeful that she would run into Doug whenever she came and went from the building. At first, she never thought of whether or not she may run into him or anyone else whenever she would move about the building. But now she hoped she would indeed as she came to the slow realization that her attraction for the security guard was growing.
“Don’t think like that,” she commanded herself one day. “You’re with someone. That someone may not be around as much as you’d like but with all she’s given you, you can at least remain faithful, right?”
Wrong. The more she and Doug got to know each other, the more it became obvious to them that they were attracted to each other. No words needed to be spoken to convey that fact. It was something that was simply known to them as something that had become a fact. Maybe it always had been a fact. Maybe they had always been physically attracted to each other and getting to know each other had only brought that to the forefront as they formed an emotional bond.
“Hey, Socio!” Shannon heard someone call out when she and Doug were having lunch once again in the lounge.
Both of them turned to find a guy in his late 20s to early 30s approaching the counter where they sat.
“Hey, man,” said Doug, “what’s up?”
“Nothing, man. Just came by to see if you were still okay with holding down the fort on your own for a while.”
Shannon realized the guy was his roommate. Doug had mentioned him going to some other state to visit relatives for a week or two. Someone in his family had died.
The sandy-haired guy turned his blue eyes to her. “This her?”
“Yeah,” Doug said with a nod.
“Hello,” Shannon said as she also realized that Doug had told his roommate about her.
The roommate offered a hand. “Hey, I’m Jerry.”
Shannon took the hand and politely said with a smile, “Nice to meet you.”
Doug and his roommate chatted for another minute or two and then Jerry left.
Shannon waited until Jerry was out of sight before she asked, “Socio?”
Doug chuckled, shrugged and said, “It’s just a nickname.”
“How’d you get it? You hardly seem like a sociopath, assuming Socio is an abbreviation of that.”
“Yeah, well,” Doug said, running a hand across his chin and looking away as if he was embarrassed and didn’t want to talk about it, “the nickname sort of came from the way we would play video games when we were younger.”
“You mean you had no empathy or feelings for your opponent?”
“Something like that.”
“So, you got the place all to yourself now?” she asked the cute 34-year-old Comanche descendent.
“Yeah,” Doug said, pushing a lock of hair behind one ear. “Wanna come over?”
They both laughed and Shannon said, “Well…”
Doug now knew her situation and that she and Dr. Warren were more than just roommates and business partners. But he also knew that she was feeling more and more neglected despite all the material things she so generously lavished upon her.
“It isn’t that I don’t want to, but something interesting has come up.”
“What’s that?” Doug asked, turning his sexy dark eyes to her.
“The good doc not only tells me she’s getting too old not to take relationships seriously, but she also thinks I ought to finally have medical insurance for my own good.”
“So?” Doug said questioningly, unsure of the point she was trying to make.
“She asked me to marry her.”
Shannon readily accepted the doctor’s marriage proposal, but as she would only admit to herself, she was doing it for all the wrong reasons. She simply wanted the insurance, the luxury and the convenience marrying a wealthy doctor would provide. It wasn’t that she didn’t think she could find anyone closer to her age that she was more attracted to. After all, Doug was just a year older than she was and she was more attracted to him than she was to the doctor. For her, it was all about the money and the security. Lust could be fulfilled in other ways.
Where the doctor’s regular absence frustrated Shannon at first, now she saw the advantage it could bring and the opportunity it presented. With the doctor gone so often, she could have the best of both worlds. She could get the comfort and security she needed from the doctor while getting the sex she wanted from others.
Others like Doug.
If Shannon was honest with anyone at all, it was with Doug. He knew she was intimate with the doctor and why she had agreed to marry her. Did she feel guilty about not loving the doctor in the way she loved her? Yes. A little bit perhaps. But she took solace in knowing that she couldn’t control the way she felt. She wished she could be on the same level as the doctor was and okay with her not being around more often, but she wasn’t.
The only thing that was hard about carrying on her affair with Doug was that the doctor’s schedule was so sporadic. It was pretty predictable during the week but other times she would come and go at random. The problem was that Doug worked during the week as well, and the only time they could squeeze in a quickie was at lunchtime.
One Saturday she misjudged her timing when waiting to be picked up by him and she was on her way out just as the doctor returned.
“Where are you going? Everything okay?” Dr. Warren asked her.
Shannon nodded. “I met this woman while out jogging and she’s coming to pick me up. I thought you would be out a little longer.”
Dr. Warren looked at her curiously. “Who is this woman?”
“The one I mentioned meeting a while back. We would catch each other jogging quite often and a few times we stopped to talk.”
“I don’t remember you mentioning any woman.”
Shannon knew that. She just thought she could manipulate the doctor into thinking she had mentioned it and that she had simply forgotten with her busy schedule.
“She has an apartment nearby and wants me to help her pick out a pet rat. She’s never had one before but she’s been wanting one for a while now.” Shannon was amazed at how quickly she thought up the lie and how easily it slipped from her lips.
“Oh, okay. When will you be back?”
“Probably in just an hour or so.”
The truth was that Shannon had happily engaged in X-rated activities with Doug for several months. Yet despite the doctor’s frustratingly hectic schedule and lack of attention toward her, she grew closer to her during the time they spent together. It was more than obvious to Shannon that the doctor truly loved her. The more she got to know the doctor and to realize just how much she cared about her, the more Shannon began to experience unfamiliar pangs of guilt in regards to her side activities. But it was guilt nonetheless. Each time she got together with Doug, be it for a lunch break quickie, which she sometimes dared to conduct in the apartment, the less comfortable she became. Doug could sense her growing hesitation as well.
“What’s wrong, babe?” he asked her one weekend at his place while Dr. Warren was called to assist at the emergency room.
Shannon sighed heavily. “I don’t know.”
“What do you mean, you don’t know?”
“I’m not sure if I can do this much longer.”
A flicker of surprise registered in Doug’s eyes before disappointment took over his features. “Something I did?”
“Oh, no, not at all.”
“Then what is it? Tell me and I’ll fix it.”
“It’s not you. It’s me. The closer the Doc and I become, the guiltier I feel about stepping out on her. She may not always be there for me as often as I’d like, but she’s real.”
“And I’m not?” Doug asked, his voice now taking on a hard edge.
“Of course you are. Like I said, it isn’t you. You’re a great guy and you’re a lot of fun in bed. It’s just that the more she and I come to feel for each other, the more dishonest I feel I am. I’m pretty sure she would never do this to me under any circumstances, and well, it’s not exactly her fault that she’s no beauty queen. I mean, neither am I.”
“So what are you saying?”
Shannon studied Doug’s coal black eyes, which now had a slightly scary look to them. She had hoped he would be more understanding but apparently, he wasn’t. She thought of a way to appease him while still being honest. She didn’t want to lead him on or hurt his feelings. He wouldn’t deserve that.
“Are you saying you want to end it?” he asked, tone becoming more insistent.
“I don’t know. I just don’t want to lie to you and I don’t want to lie to her anymore either.”
Doug sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed then placed his head in his hands, frustrated. Shannon placed a hand on his back but he abruptly stood up.
“I’m not saying anything for certain, Doug. All I’m saying is that I’m starting to feel things I wasn’t feeling before and that I didn’t expect to feel. Therefore, I want to pull back a bit and figure out exactly what I want.”
Doug glared down at her. “Well, when you figure it out be sure to let me know.” He stormed off into the bathroom, slamming the door behind him. It rattled in its frame.
Shannon waited patiently for a while but when Doug failed to emerge from the bathroom in just a few minutes, she called out to him through the door. “Hey, it’s getting dark out. Can you please bring me home now?”
“Find your own fucking ride home.”
Knowing it was best not to push the matter, Shannon quickly dressed and headed out of the apartment building before it could get any darker. Once on the street, she hailed a cab. The driver, a tall, lanky guy who looked and sounded Punjabi, reached across the passenger seat and opened the door for her with a wide smile.
“No, thanks,” Shannon said. “I’d rather sit in the back like most customers.”
The driver closed the door just as she opened the back door behind the passenger seat. She gave the driver her address.
“Bad day?” he asked.
Was it that obvious? “Kind of.”
“It’s early. Let’s have a little fun to make up for that bad day.”
At that moment Shannon knew two things. One was that she would never again see Doug in a non-professional manner. The other was that she’d gotten into the wrong cab.
Hands shaking, Shannon unlocked the door that evening, hoping the doctor wouldn’t be home but knowing she probably would be. And she was.
She must have been a horrible actress because no matter how hard she tried to appear calm and like everything was fine, the doctor could see the distress in her eyes right away and the trembling of her hands.
“You okay?” she asked, walking towards her. “What happened?”
Realizing there was no sense in trying to deny anything, Shannon stumbled over to the doctor and collapsed in her arms. She cried and shook heavily as the doctor patted her back and then guided her to the couch.
Once seated the doctor asked, “Did someone hurt you? Do we need to call the police?”
Shannon shook her head. “No, but it sure was close.”
“What happened?” the doctor asked with both concern and impatience.
“I got into a stupid argument with the woman I went to see about some dumb shit I don’t even remember. She refused to drive me back at that point and I stormed out of her place not wanting to be in her presence a moment longer anyway,” Shannon explained, hoping that the doctor wouldn’t ask for the address of the apartment that was, of course, Doug’s.
“I caught a cab and the cabby tried to rape me.”
“Oh, Dios!” Dr. Warren exclaimed. “Why didn’t you report him?”
“We can call the cops but all I wanted to do was get out of his cab and get home. I don’t remember the number of the cab, though, and the guy never told me his name. I can only say he was some sort of Indian guy that was about forty based on how he looked and sounded.”
“Tell me what happened.”
“I gave him this address and he could sense I was upset about something. Initially, he wanted me to sit in front next to him but I told him I would prefer the back as is customary. Then he said something about having fun to make up for the bad day I was having. I was able to run for it when the bastard stopped the cab.”
“What did you do next?”
“I hailed another cab and hoped the driver would be a lot more professional, and he was.”
“Did you tell him what happened?”
Shannon nodded. “I did but the guy didn’t seem to know who I was talking about. Maybe my would-be rapist was driving a car he bought and painted to look like a cab but that wasn’t actually affiliated with the cab company in any way. Some drivers work independently and that would be a great way to lure people into your car. Kind of surprised he didn’t have the doors rigged so they couldn’t be opened from inside.”
“Well, thank God he didn’t. I still think we should call the police, Shannon, but I know this has to be up to you.”
Shannon agreed to call the police and tell them what happened. When she hung up, Dr. Warren looked at her expectantly, having only heard her side of the conversation.
“What did they say?”
“That they would be on the lookout. Meanwhile, they suggested I go to the station and make a formal complaint. That way they can go to the cab company with my information and see if anyone questionable might be working with them.”
Shannon agreed to go to the station if only because she would feel horrible if she didn’t and then some woman actually got raped or even killed.
When she and the doctor returned from the station, Shannon realized just how tired she was and that they had lost most of the night together. She was beginning to wonder if something up there was trying to keep them apart as much as possible.
But that was about to change. At least to a degree. The doctor may not have much control over her work schedule, but Shannon had control over her faithfulness.
As she would come to learn the following day, however, Doug Maxwell wasn’t going to let her go so easily.
“I’m sorry I didn’t drive you back home,” he said as she made her way into the fitness room.
“Me too,” she said. “I was nearly raped by a cabby.”
Doug’s eyes bulged. “Oh, my God, Shan. I’m so sorry.”
Shannon quickly came to regret mentioning this because it seemed to make him all the more determined to win her back. “Look, Doug,” she said sternly. “I like you. I really do. Like I told you in your apartment, this isn’t about you. It’s all on me. Last night’s close call has me shaken to the core and I really do want to be more honest and faithful to my new husband. She may not look as good as you do and she may not even perform as well as you, much less be around very much. But she’s done so much for me and I can’t just throw that away.”
“No one’s asking you to throw anything away.”
“I know. I know. But even with her not knowing that I’ve cheated on her, I know I have and that alone is enough to make me feel guilty as hell. I don’t have a problem with us being friendly when we run into each other, but that’s as far as it can go from now on.”
“Yeah,” Doug muttered, “we’ll see about that.”
Shannon was becoming angry. “There’s nothing to see, Doug.”
“Oh, there’s a lot to see. You just don’t know it yet.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“No, I’m telling you. There’s something to see that you don’t know about.”
“Unless you’re going to tell me what the hell you’re talking about, I’d like to get on with my workout now.”
“What if your rich little doctor found out about us?”
Shannon stepped right up to Doug and hissed. “If she does I’ll have you out of this job so fucking fast you won’t know what hit you.”
Doug’s eyes went from blazing with anger to twinkling with amusement. “Gee, I’m scared.”
“You should be if you’re considering anything that stupid.”
With a smirk, the dark and handsome security guard said something about her being a stupid bitch, turned and walked off.
Shannon then tried to lose herself in the music streaming from her earbuds and the hum of the treadmill belt moving beneath her feet, but she couldn’t.
She had a bad feeling.
It wouldn’t be long before Shannon would learn why Doug was nicknamed Socio. The psychopath just wouldn’t give up on her. Sometimes he would ignore her when they would spot each other as Shannon would come and go, but other times he would accost her and demand that she give him another chance.
Shannon always did her best to ignore him. She already made it clear how she felt and realized that nothing more needed to be said on her part. Anything she said from that point on would simply be giving him the attention he craved and the wrong idea. She started to go out of her way to avoid him by not going out as much but that didn’t work for long. She realized that she was only letting him control her by not going out as much.
She was just about to order lunch at the lounge when she felt his presence slip up beside her.
“I’ve got a set of keys in which to access your apartment with, you know.”
Her heart lurched into her throat. No longer able to ignore him, she looked at him and said, “So what are you doing, Doug? Threatening to break in and kill me or something? Because I’m not the least bit scared of you.”
And she wasn’t. She knew that maybe she should be but instead she was getting too pissed to be scared. Once you go from annoyed and irritated to genuinely angry, you don’t care how much bigger the source of that anger may be. At this point, Doug’s size and gender had become irrelevant as she was being pushed to her breaking point. Keep bending that wishbone and it’s guaranteed to snap sooner or later.
Doug laughed and that only infuriated her more. “Keep it up, cock, and I’ll have you out of here so fucking fast you won’t know what hit you. I may even do worse than that.”
Now Doug roared with laughter. “Is calling a guy a cock like calling a woman a cunt?”
“I’m not fucking kidding. You want to enter that apartment, you make sure you do it when I’m there alone.”
“So you can welcome you with open arms?”
Appetite now destroyed, Shannon began to leave the lounge, plenty aware of the people that stared at her on her way out. “Just let yourself in and you’ll find out, you sicko. Maybe even before I contact the police which I’m just about ready to do.”
Once back in the apartment, Shannon let her body drop onto the couch and she began to cry. She was frustrated and she was mad as hell. She almost wished to hell Socio would let himself in. But what would she do if he did? She didn’t have a gun to shoot him with and as mad as she was, there were no guarantees that she could overpower him.
She considered telling the doctor about what was going on but didn’t want to worry her. She also considered going to the police secretly, but if she wanted the police to do anything that could really help her, she wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret for long. She wasn’t sure what she could tell them anyway because truthfully, Doug hadn’t yet done anything illegal and what little he had done as of yet that might be bordering on illegal wasn’t anything she could prove. She could tell them about his comments about having spare keys but she had no proof to back it up. Even if he did enter the apartment, unless he physically harmed her, she realized there were a number of excuses he could come up with as to why he entered the apartment unannounced, and there wouldn’t be any reason for the police to doubt him. She could think of several scenarios in which the police may not know who to believe, and she would really rather not involve them unless she could prove her claim.
She rose from the couch and slowly sauntered over to the giant windows that looked out at the city below, wondering how many others were out there in similar situations. Not even the amazing view could distract her from her troubles that day. Socio wasn’t going to just go away on his own. She knew that. What she didn’t know was what to do about it and how to make him go away. All she knew was that it was looking less and less likely that she would be able to handle him on her own. Maybe she should go to his apartment and beat the crap out of him. Maybe that was the only way to get him to leave her alone if she showed him that she meant business and really drove some serious fear into him.
A rustling sound behind her.
Shannon’s entire body went ramrod stiff. She jerked around to look behind her. Her first thought was, oh, my God! Doug was dead serious. He’s really going to come in here as if he owns the place and do God knows what to me.
But then she saw something slither beneath the door. Slowly and quietly she crept up to the door to see what it was. It was something small and light in color. She took a few more steps closer and then she realized it was an envelope with writing on it. She stepped up to the door and peered through the peephole.
And there was Socio’s face grinning maniacally.
She was hit with indecision at that precise moment as she gasped and jerked back from the door, heart racing furiously in her chest. Should she fling the door open and go after him with all she had?
No, not yet. First, she was curious to see what was in the envelope. She bent down, picked it up and read the writing on the envelope. “Why it wouldn’t be wise to tell your rich doctor or go to the police,” she read in a soft whisper to herself.
She tore open the envelope and pulled out a thumb drive. She then ran to her laptop and inserted the drive into the side of it after making sure her virus protection was enabled and working properly just in case the drive contained files that could corrupt her computer.
When the thumb drive appeared in Finder she clicked on it and found five files. None of them had names but a series of numbers instead. She clicked on the first one and was horrified to find a video clip that was several minutes long of one of their sex romps in Doug’s bedroom.
She was furious. She totally wanted to kill him. She first thought she could always claim to have gotten together with him before she and the doctor met, but the bastard did work in her apartment building and she could clearly hear herself mentioning Dr. Warren right as they were becoming intimate with each other.
If the first file wasn’t horrifying enough, the remaining four certainly had her trembling and her stomach flip-flopping. She thought she would either have the runs right there on the spot or that her heart would bust through her rib cage and right out of her body.
The second one showed her and the doctor sitting in their living room. The third one showed the doctor in the kitchen getting something out of the refrigerator. The fourth one showed her in the bathroom. The fifth and final video showed her and the doctor in bed together.
Shannon ripped the drive out of the laptop and glanced upward in several different directions around the room.
Where the fuck were all the cameras?!
Realizing that Socio, as she now thought of him, had entered the apartment and installed webcams when both she and the doctor were out, Shannon scrambled to locate the cameras as quickly as she could. The problem was that they were probably up high in the vents somewhere and she had no way to reach them. She was so short that she couldn’t reach the vents standing on a step stool and she had no idea where she could get a hold of a ladder.
Shannon collapsed in a fit of tears and then once again she heard a sound coming from the door, and again her heart pummeled her chest, threatening to break free altogether.
And then in stepped Dr. Warren.
The doctor took one look at her and knew right away that something was wrong. Shannon didn’t even try to hide it. She couldn’t have if she wanted to.
“What happened?” asked the doctor almost in a shrill voice.
Shannon got up and ran into her arms and sobbed openly. After a moment the doctor guided her to the couch much like she had the last time she’d broken down.
“Tell me what’s wrong.”
“Now I know why his friends call him Socio.”
“Who?” The doctor asked impatiently.
“Doug Maxwell, the security guard that started working here less than a year ago.
The doctor looked thoughtful a moment and then she said, “I think I know the one. Fairly young? Slender? Dark hair and eyes?”
Shannon nodded and went on to tell the doctor everything from the affair to the breakup and then to the harassment. “He was the one I had a fight with the night I was almost raped by the cabby. I told him I never wanted to see him again other than when our paths would cross here in the building but he just won’t leave me alone.”
Shannon pulled back a minute and gazed into the doctor’s eyes, startled by what she saw. Everyone got a reaction from someone at one time or another that they least expected after confiding in them about something. To say the doctor’s ballistic reaction came as a real surprise to Shannon was the understatement of the century. She expected the doctor to be hurt and angry, of course, but she also expected her to be a lot more concerned for her safety than anything else. Especially since it wasn’t like they’d been together for twenty years and she was just now learning about some recent affair.
Nonetheless, if looks could kill, Shannon would surely be dead right then and there. At first Dr. Warren did nothing but glare at her, muddy brown eyes turning liquid black. Her mouth was set in a tight line across her face and she began to tremble. Just when Shannon wasn’t sure if she was going to burst into tears or scream and shout at the top of her lungs, she did neither. Instead she lunged at her and shook her by the neck viciously as she swore at her and threatened to kill her.
The first thing that went through Shannon’s mind besides the pain of having her throat squeezed was utter shock and disbelief. This was the last reaction she expected from the doctor. In fact, she wouldn’t have expected anyone to react as if she’d just confessed to having murdered everyone in their family and in the torturous way in which the doctor was trying to do to her right now. It was just too extreme of a reaction given the situation and the short length of time they’d been together.
Once Shannon’s shock wore off from the sudden and unexpected attack, it was replaced with sheer terror. The doctor was surprisingly strong and Shannon was having an awfully hard time breathing. She wasn’t sure what might occur first; suffocation from having her throat compressed, or her neck broken due to the frantic shaking. She continued to struggle to suck in enough air in which to scream for help with, not that she expected it to do her much good.
“I’ll kill you!” screamed the doctor. “I’ll absolutely kill you!”
Shannon took advantage of a momentary gulp of air to scream but the doctor quickly cut her off.
“How dare you do this to me after all I’ve done for you! How dare you!”
Now Dr. Warren was hitting and punching her but at least she could breathe.
“I gave you a place to live!”
Shannon turned her back toward the doctor to try to fend off the blows.
“I bought you a new wardrobe!”
Next she tried to scramble for the door but the doctor was pushing her toward the balcony.
“I support you and make sure you have medical care!”
Shannon screamed whenever she could, shielding her face from the relentless blows.
“Now you’ve gone and thrown it all away! You’re an ungrateful piece of shit and now you get to die by being tossed out of this building instead of by the fire that might have killed you instead.”
Shannon couldn’t believe what she was hearing or what was happening to her. She had no idea the doctor had such a dark and crazy side to her. She shouldn’t have told her what was going on, as she would never have guessed her to be violent in any way. She would have had a hard time picturing her trying to defend herself let alone attacking someone that hadn’t raised a hand to her first. And then the thought of her throwing her over the balcony for anyone to witness was even further beyond anything she could fathom. Was this bitch on some kind of drugs that she was unaware of?
The doctor continued to pull her towards the balcony with one hand grabbing her hair as the other fumbled to get the slider open.
This wasn’t happening, Shannon thought again. This really wasn’t happening.
But then Dr. Warren got the slider open. She slid it open so hard, letting in a burst of arctic air, that Shannon was surprised the glass didn’t shatter.
Shannon was now jammed against the metal railing, ribs bruising painfully. She gazed downward and shivered. What she had always considered a magnificent view was now going to be the last thing she ever saw as it claimed her in death.
Then there were two voices shouting, and one of them belonged to Socio.
“Ah, this is the good life, huh, Shannon? After all, you should know.”
Shannon smiled and walked over to the sofa that Socio sat on. Sitting down next to him she allowed Socio to pull her body close to his. Wrapped in his snuggly warm embrace she said, “Yes, I do know. I just never thought I would know first-hand.” She pulled back and studied him. His dark eyes shone sexily as he smiled a slow seductive smile.
Shannon hated to admit it but things had worked out well in the end. As pissed and as terrified as she had become for a while of Socio, he had saved her from certain death. Not only had he done that but he’d made sure that it was the doctor who would be meeting the ground floor without the benefit of an elevator, and the two agreed to claim self-defense.
In court, the prosecutor had tried to insist that had they shoved the doctor toward the balcony, she still wouldn’t have fallen over the railing. But Shannon’s defense team, thanks to the doctor’s money, was able to provide a plausible defense, claiming that Socio had no choice but to throw her over because the two of them couldn’t restrain her.
The doctor’s son and daughter tried to fight Shannon in court over the condo and the doctor’s money. Shannon didn’t have a problem with them getting a good sum of money, but she fought them on the condo and won.
This beautiful home with its beautiful view was hers now, even if it may always hold bad memories, like the memory of nearly being killed every time she went to enjoy the view out on the balcony.
She’d gone from a burned-out apartment to a luxury condo with plenty of money in the bank and a sexy guy at her side in just a matter of months. Not bad. Not bad at all. She would never have forgiven Socio if it hadn’t been for him saving her life like he had. She hated that he had gone so far as to invade her privacy and to threaten her the way he had but she believed he had learned from his mistakes. She believed him when he said he would change his ways, give her breathing space when she needed it, and respect her privacy.
Socio was now making better money as a bodyguard for a well-known politician and Shannon had enough money to work from home all the time. She only went out to exercise, run errands and see friends. Socio began to spend more and more time at the condo with her and eventually, he moved in. She enjoyed sex with him a lot more than she ever had with the doctor. He was more attractive and better in bed. So now she had money, freedom, and good sex. What more could she ask for? she asked herself as she happily folded the laundry, completely unaware of the camera that watched her every move.