Black Heart – Anna-Lou Weatherley

She pushed through the revolving doors, the sound of her stiletto heels clacking against the ornate marble flooring as she walked into the plush hotel lobby. It was busy. This was good. Her eyes flicked towards the concierge behind the shiny, curved reception desk and the groups of well-dressed Japanese tourists, businessmen and wealthy guests buzzing around it, designer luggage piled high behind them. Her timing was perfect – and deliberate. La Reymond, one of the most prestigious five-star hotels in Knightsbridge, operated a late check-out policy, at a premium of course, and its exclusive clientele thought little of paying for such advantages. She would go relatively unnoticed in the bustle of human traffic. It had been raining heavily outside too; another bonus, people were always preoccupied in wet weather, too concerned with ruining their expensive blow-drys and suits. She brushed a few droplets of rain from the shoulders of her Burberry trench coat, which she’d worn with the collar turned upwards, and concentrated on walking straight ahead towards the lifts, careful not to slip on the wet marble floor, her patent stilettos proving even more treacherous in such conditions. She entered the lift, smiling briefly at the occupants before turning her back on them, then slipped out on the third floor and walked two flights of stairs up to the fifth. Penthouse suite 106. She rang the bell and heard his hefty bulk shift as he got up to answer it. ‘Hello Daddy Bear.’ She entered the suite, throwing her bag onto the huge round bed and opening her coat. Immediately she spied the magnum of Krug on ice and a small duck-egg blue Tiffany box with a white ribbon on one of the plump pillows.

Muted pornography was playing on the 60 inch flat-screen TV. She took her coat and thin black strappy dress off almost simultaneously, discarding them onto the silk upholstered chaise longue, one of an exquisite pair, she noted. ‘Well, helloooo Goldilocks,’ his eyes widened as he drank in her expensive lingerie, lingerie he’d hand selected for her from Agent Provocateur just for today’s occasion, ‘you look… sensational.’ She adjusted one of her stockings. ‘Excellent choice, I must say,’ she admired herself in the large floor mirror, ‘I particularly like the way the basque cinches my waist, and the ouvert panties…’ She gave him a sideways glance, ‘Dirty, filthy, bad Daddy Bear…’ She watched as he lay grinning on the bed, his heavy form leaving an imprint on the delicate sheets. He was half naked; his stomach protruding over his tight briefs. ‘Take them off.’ He instantly obeyed, glad to be rid of them. ‘Champagne?’ he went for the bottle. ‘I have a gift for you.

’ ‘Afterwards.’ She pushed him back onto the bed and straddled him. ‘Mmmm, Daddy Bear, so hard already,’ she closed her eyes and began to moan a little as she slid down onto him. ‘Only for you my angel, all just for you…’ She laughed, throwing her head back as she began to ride him hard. He felt like a bouncy castle. ‘Baby… baby, slow down… I’m going… I’m going to…’ Too late. She looked down at his round face, where traces of ecstasy were gradually dissipating, along with his almost instant orgasm; beads of unhealthy sweat glistened on his forehead. ‘I’m sorry,’ she shrugged, ‘I just wanted you so bad.’ He almost purred with delight, his ego engorging almost as rapidly as his erection was dwindling. ‘You… you’re something else, do you know that Goldilocks?’ She smiled; she did.

‘Shall we have champagne in the bath?’ She got off him and padded through to the en suite. Impressive, she thought, surveying the large sunken tub and gold taps. She ran the hot tap, perusing the selection of high-end pampering products, undecided between the Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin bath oil or the L’Occitane Fig, eventually opting for the former. Humming a tune, she began pouring the sweet, fragrant liquid into the running water. ‘Come on Daddy Bear, where’s that champagne?’ she called out to him in the bedroom, catching sight of herself in the mirrored tiles. She was still wearing the basque and suspenders and began to take them off, teasing herself in the mirror until she was naked. ‘It’s the perfect temperature,’ she said as he trundled, cumbersome, into the bathroom, naked but for the ice bucket and champagne magnum. He poured them both a chilled flute. ‘Mmm, divine,’ she purred, champagne in the bath, so… decadent.’ She piled her platinum blonde hair up high onto her head with a bulldog clip as she stepped into the bath, careful not to get it wet.

‘Well, are you getting in Daddy Bear?’ His meaty bulk caused the water to rise considerably as he ungainly sank into the bath. She relaxed back, placing her feet on his bulging stomach like a cushion, and wiggled her manicured toes, giggling a little as she sipped on her drink. ‘I know, I know, I need to get this down the gym,’ he grabbed at his excess flesh awkwardly. ‘I’ve been meaning to,’ he apologised, reaching for a Charbonnel et Walker truffle from the complementary box that had accompanied the magnum. The ones she’d had sent up. He popped one in his mouth and held another out to feed to her. ‘Not for me, sweetie,’ she wrinkled her nose, ‘I have to watch my figure.’ ‘You’re kidding aren’t you?’ he said, ‘you’re absolutely perfect.’ ‘Perfect for you, Daddy Bear.’ He laughed, besotted, unable to take his eyes from her.

The tips of her dark nipples poked in and out of the water, tantalising him. She allowed her toes to move further down his stomach. ‘Did you write the note?’ her voice was saccharine. He swallowed another chocolate. ‘The note?’ He looked momentarily perplexed. ‘Oh, yes… that… yes, it’s in my briefcase.’ She smiled lasciviously, her toes massaging him intimately as she seduced him with her eyes. ‘My good, darling Daddy Bear.’ She watched as his head began to roll back on his shoulders slightly, his eyes beginning to look a little heavy. ‘Gosh, I feel tired,’ he suddenly exhaled loudly, ‘and a little nauseous.

’ He shifted his bulk, water sloshing over the sides as he attempted to shake off the uncomfortable feeling he was experiencing. ‘Must be all the exertion. You should have a little nap,’ she suggested, ‘get all refreshed in time for the big finale.’ ‘Finale?’ She picked up the flannel; it was wet. ‘Let me wash your face,’ she said, ‘you’re covered in chocolate crumbs.’ She tutted at him like a child. Kneeling up she moved her body onto his and placed the flannel over his mouth. His eyes widened for a split second but the nausea he was experiencing had significantly muted his reactions and he was slow to raise his arm. He was attempting to speak, his voice muffled. ‘What was that, Daddy Bear?’ she said, ‘I’m afraid I can’t make out what you’re saying.

’ He grabbed her arm, continuing to try to say something, but his voice was slowing down, it became a little slurred around the edges and incoherent. She blinked at him, smiling into his eyes. ‘Night night, Daddy Bear,’ she said, ‘sweet dreams.’ His head made a small thud against the ceramic tub as it fell back onto his shoulders. He was out cold. Finally. She sighed, removing the champagne flute from his hand. His arm flopped over the edge of the bath almost comically and she had to stop herself from laughing. But the urge soon faded when he began to gradually slide down into the water. She had banked on his sheer size preventing this from happening and suddenly felt cross.

It was the slippery bath oil. ‘Oh no you don’t. Big fat, fucking Bear.’ Jumping from the bath she got behind him and attempted to pull him upright by the armpits. It wasn’t easy; he was a dead weight on top of all the extra he was carrying and he kept slipping back down into the tub. Cursing under her breath she grabbed one of the fluffy white towels from the rail and shoved it behind his back. It provided the resistance she needed to keep him upright but she knew she must act quickly. ‘Now you stay there, Daddy Bear, I’ll be right back.’ Naked and still wet, she hurriedly went into the bedroom to get what she needed, her adrenal glands working overtime as she rifled through the large tote. Back in the bathroom, she took hold of one of his wrists and slit it open vertically with one deep cut.

A fountain of bright red arterial blood immediately spurted from the wound. She stepped back but not quickly enough, and a mist of spraying blood hit her face and chest. God damn it! Watching almost mesmerised as blood pumped from his main artery, forming an impressive pool on the shiny white marble flooring, she quickly took hold of his other wrist and repeated the process. The initial spurt was less impressive than the first, but this was only to be expected as he’d already begun to bleed out. She stood back to observe her handiwork, watching the life drain from him. The bath water turned from pink to bright red, like paint. Some moments later, a second flurry of adrenaline brought her out of her trance state and she looked down at herself and tutted. What a mess she was! Snatching a flannel from the side of the bath she ran it under the tap, observing his toes as they bobbed just above the water. Once she was sure there was no visible trace of blood left on her, she flushed the flannel down the toilet, wrapping the razor blade inside it. Stepping around the pool of blood, she made to leave the bathroom, but not before taking one last look at the scene she’d created.

The view from the doorway was somehow even more spectacular, almost cinematic, she thought. His blood had travelled, squirting up the mirrored tiles, and it was now making a slow descent towards the edge of the bath and trickling back into the water. She was struck by how pale his skin looked contrasted against his vivid ruby-coloured blood. His bloated stomach was protruding above the waterline, his genitals, just visible, gently swaying with the natural momentum of water. His head was titled backwards at an awkward angle, making it look almost as if his neck had been broken, and his eyes were wide open, a look of despair in them, like he somehow had known. He was dead, of course. It really was quite a beautiful picture, sublime even, and she tilted her own head at the same angle as his, savouring the moment a little longer. Padding back into the bedroom she considered ordering room service but decided against it. She could do without any more DNA traces to cover. She’d grab a burger on the way home; one of those gourmet ones she liked from that new place near her apartment.

She poured herself another glass of Krug and took the clothes from her tote bag. A pair of casual black slouchy pants, an Adidas T-shirt, a beanie hat, some biker-style boots and a khaki bomber jacket. She dressed herself carefully, folding her dress and coat and placing them with her stilettos inside the tote, then she reapplied her make-up: smoky eyes and bright red lips, kind of punky she thought. Her lipstick matched the bath water. Then she tied her hair up into a top knot, placing the dark shoulder-length wig onto her head and straightening it out in the mirror before placing the beanie on top. ‘Not bad,’ she congratulated her reflection as she admired her complete transformation. Taking a slug of the Krug, she took a dry cloth from the fancy kitchen area, put on some rubber gloves, and began the process of wiping down all surfaces she’d touched, using the can of Mr Sheen she’d brought with her, humming an old Oasis track whose title she couldn’t remember as she polished. The smell reminded her of her mother’s house. Once the careful clean-up was complete she opened the gift he’d bought her. ‘Hmmm,’ she said, taking the Tiffany earrings from the box and holding one up to the light.

She watched appreciatively as it glinted between her thumb and forefinger. ‘Very nice, thank you Daddy Bear,’ she said, removing her small gold hoops and replacing them with the diamond studs. She smiled in the mirror, pulling her hair back from her ears to inspect them. She finished her glass and after pouring herself another half glass, carefully using the accompanying napkin to hold the bottle, she did a walk-through of the penthouse, checking that she’d left no visible traces of Goldilocks. She’d been meticulously careful not to touch too much but it would pay to be thorough. She didn’t want to give anyone anything to work with. Once the main suite had been assessed, she checked the bathroom. She hadn’t used the toilet or dried herself with a towel, and she’d flushed the flannel and razor blade down the cistern. As a precautionary measure however, she wiped down the surface areas, paying particular care to the sink where she’d washed herself. She inspected the floor for any visible hairs, nail polish chips, lint and the like, and was satisfied she’d left no trace of herself.

Perching on the bottom of the bath, she looked at him once more; he’d stopped bleeding now, his chubby left arm hung lifelessly over the edge of the tub, his other arm was submerged in the red liquid water. Blood was already congealing on his wrist and hand, and his exposed wound had darkened to aubergine. His eyes were still open and for a split second she thought of closing them, a final act of kindness, a thank you for the gift he’d bought her, but rational sense told her not to. Still, she was glad he’d not suffered. His organs would’ve shut down pretty rapidly with the arsenic he’d ingested from the chocolates. Ah yes, the chocolates! She picked up the small heart-shaped box. There was only a couple of the six left. Gluttonous, greedy Daddy Bear. She took the remaining two from the box, wrapped them in toilet tissue and flushed them away, returning the box to the floor where she’d found it. Swallowing the last of the champagne, she took her glass into the kitchen and began washing it thoroughly in soapy hot water, drying it with a dishcloth before placing it back into the ice bucket alongside the half-full bottle.

Such a waste, she sighed. Perhaps she’d pick some more up herself to accompany that gourmet burger on the way home. That reminded her; she began to look for his wallet and found it on the bedside table, beside his Rolex. She opened it and found almost £500 cash. She took £230 and left the rest. That’s what they’d agreed on and she certainly wasn’t a thief. Next, the briefcase. It immediately opened with a satisfying click. In that moment she actually felt a little love for him; she had accounted for time spent cracking the lock-code, but there was no need. Thoughtful Daddy Bear.

She rifled through his papers for a few seconds until she found the note. It had been handwritten on bonded paper, just as she’d requested, and she took it from the briefcase along with a fancy ballpoint silver pen. Walking barefoot back into the bathroom she casually took his arm and placed the pen between his fingers, pressing down hard. Then she placed the note next to the bath and randomly dropped the ballpoint on top. She looked at the mantle clock, just visible from the doorway: it was 3.45 p.m. She’d been in the suite for just three quarters of the hour she had set herself to complete the task, and she was pleased she’d managed everything in such good time. But had she forgotten something? A nag in her solar plexus told her she had. She stood for a moment, mentally going through the list.

The razor blade! Jesus, she berated herself silently as she retrieved a fresh one from her make-up bag and returned to the bathroom. She dipped it in some of the congealing blood on the floor before attempting to place it between his thumb and forefinger. Clearly however, he no longer possessed the ability to grip. On the third attempt she cursed him and gave up, watching as it remained in his fingers for a split second before falling into the pool of blood next to the bath. That could figure, she surmised. Returning to the main suite, she removed the rubber gloves and placed them into her tote before taking a final look around her, running through her mental checklist. Once she was satisfied she had not overlooked anything, she took the small soft toy bear from her tote and threw it onto the bed, picked up her bag, slid into her boots and opened the door with the sleeve of her jacket. ‘Adios, Daddy Bear,’ she said quietly as she shut the door behind her, removing the ‘Do Not Disturb’ notice on the handle.

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