The Voyeur

Bianca wrapped her arms around Mark's neck, her long, dark red finger nails lightly playing with the nape, and began to kiss him passionately. The scent of wild flowers seemed to secrete from her skin and her lips tasted like a watermelon Jolly Rancher. Mark's hands traveled from her shoulder blades down to the small of her back, his fingers running along her silky, silver tank top as the two of them slightly swayed to music that wasn't playing.

Bianca pulled away and smiled. "Make yourself at home," she said. "I'll be right back." He watched as she slipped out of his arms and into the kitchen, which stood just behind a wall partition. Mark looked around at the lavender painted studio apartment. His eyes scanned the book case that stood against the wall on his right, half filled with knick knacks given to her by her grandmother while the other half was filled with books on dancing and theater. For such a tiny apartment, it was impossibly tidy with the overpowering scent of lemon, as if she had just scrubbed the place down earlier that day.

"Here we are," Bianca called as she came back into the room with a long stemmed glass filled with red wine in each hand.

Although Mark was not a wine drinker, he accepted the glass and pretended to take a sip.

"Yummy, huh?" she asked.

"Mmmm." Mark forced a smile.

"Come," she said as she sat on the leather couch. "Sit." She patted the cushion next to her.

Walking around the couch, he caught a glimpse of himself in a mirror that hung by the door giving him the opportunity to scrutinize his overly large nose and ghostly complexion. His shaggy, dark brown hair was sticking out at several angles, as if he had just rolled out of bed, and he wondered why he hadn't thought about combing it before leaving the house. Taking in Bianca's fit body, dark eyes, and full dark red lips set on her mocha skin, he couldn't understand why she had asked him to come back to her place when she could have easily had any guy in the bar.

Almost as soon as he had taken a seat next to her, Bianca removed the glass of wine from his hand and placed it on the dark brown wooden coffee table in front of the couch. Her arms slipped back around his neck and she, once again, ensnared him with her lips. Feeling her body pressed up against his, Mark's heart began pounding in his chest, as if trying to rip itself out. He wiped his sweaty palms on the front of his jeans before taking hold of her waist.

Bianca tugged at Mark's polo shirt before pulling away for a second to yank it over his head. Mark's black rimmed glasses caught on the shirt and tumbled to the floor with a clatter. Before he could reach down to grab them, Bianca pinned him down to the couch and climbed on top of him, her legs straddling his waist.

Over their heavy breathing Mark was sure he heard the creak of a floor board. Mark's body tensed and his sense of security turned into suspicion. He opened his eyes to a slit and tried to glance around the room, but couldn't make out much.

Sensing something wasn't right, Bianca pulled away. "Are you OK?" she asked.

Surprised by her concerned tone, he lied, "Yeah, I'm fine."

She stared at him for a few seconds, skeptical. "You sure?"

Mark surprised them both by aggressively pulling her toward him and locking lips with her again.

His hands began exploring the curves of her body, his fingers gently grazing over her soft skin, leaving a trail of goose flesh behind. Just as he was about to remove her tank top, he heard the high pitched, almost squealing, creak of the floor board again. Jolting up so fast he almost knocked Bianca off the couch, Mark whipped his head around, taking in the whole room, and swore he saw one of the curtains closest to them flutter.

"What was that for?" Bianca asked, sounding annoyed and out of breath.

Not wanting to seem paranoid, Mark searched for a reason. "I just wanted to…uh…" Across the room he noticed a large nook where Bianca's bed was placed. A nervous chuckle burst from his throat. "I thought we could move over to the bed."

A coy smile slipped its way onto Bianca's face. "Oh, I see. Alright." With her back turned to him, Mark peeked behind the curtain he swore he saw flutter, but nothing was there.

"Aren't you coming?" she asked as she draped herself across the bed spread.

Mark quickly let go of the curtain. "Yup."

As he crossed the room, he noticed a leather jacket much too big for Bianca's petite frame hanging over the back of her desk chair.

"Do you live with anyone?" he asked. While a roommate he didn't know about would explain the random sounds of creaky floorboards, the last thing he needed was for an angry boyfriend to come storming in while they were entwined in each other's arms.

"No, why?" Bianca's eyes followed Mark's to the jacket. Her eyes grew wide at the sight of it. She forced a laughed. "Oh, that's just… my brother's. He was over earlier and accidentally left it."

"Oh." But Mark wasn't fully convinced.

Bianca batted her eyes at him. "Am I going to have to beg for you to get over here?" she asked, a playful tone in her voice. Mark smiled and stepped toward her again.

TingDingTingDingTing.

The sudden sound of glass bouncing off a surface without breaking made him jump.

Turning, he saw an orange tabby cat sitting on the coffee table, staring directly at him. One of the glasses of wine lay spilled on the wooden floor. "Oh," he said. "I didn't know you had a cat." There had been no trace that a cat occupied the apartment: no cat hair, no litter box odor, and not a peep from the cat. Until now.

Bianca shrugged. "You didn't ask."

The cat hopped down from the table and padded its way over to Mark, stopping at his feet. Mark bent down and began to scratch the cat under the chin. The cat purred, but its eyes stayed glued on him, as if it were trying to figure out what this stranger was doing in its apartment. As Mark stared back, he noticed the cat had strikingly blue eyes, like the color of the sky on a clear spring day. They were the same shape and color of his mother's eyes.

A God fearing woman, Mark's mother played strictly by the Bible's rules, which she had pounded into Mark's head his entire life. Including no premarital intercourse. Any time she suspected he was even thinking about disobeying God's word, THWAK would go her wooden spoon across his back as punishment. Just the sight of those eyes struck fear in Mark. The disapproving face of his mother loomed into his mind, her lips pursed and head shaking; her shrill voice flooded his ears: You better not be doing what I think you're doing, Marcus.

"Are you going to stare at my cat all night or what?"

Mark turned his attention back to Bianca, who was now wearing a frown. "Oh, right!" He stood, but hesitated, rocking on his heels, the warning voice of his mother still in his head. "Should we… put him somewhere?"

Bianca gave him a blank stare. "Why?"

"You don't mind him being out here while we…?"

She shrugged. "Why should I? He's a cat."

Mark thought about revealing his anxiety about his mother, but not wanting to lose this opportunity he said, "No reason," trying to sound as nonchalant as possible. Turning back to spilt wine. "Do you want to at least clean that up?" he asked her.

"Just leave it."

He could sense her becoming impatient, so he decided not to press the matter any further. He slowly walked away from the cat, who followed him, circling in and out and around his legs before jumping on the bed and situating itself in the corner. Its eyes remained focused on him, and Mark couldn't stifle his mother's words: I know what you're up to, Marcus.

Mark hesitated at the edge of the bed. There was an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach and beads of sweat were forming at the edge of his hair line. The feeling that his mother was in the room with him, watching him sin, was becoming a little too much for him.

Noticing his hesitation, Bianca sat up and pulled him onto the bed where she straddled him again, kissing his neck and lightly biting his ear lobes. Mark tried to focus on kissing her back, but his motions felt stiff and robotic with the majority of his attention on the sky blue eyes that continued to stare at him from the corner of the bed.

Keeping their lips connected, Bianca coerced Mark to lay down by pushing him down with the weight of her body. His hands gripped her closer as the cat began to rub its chin against his big toe. The fingers of his left hand tangled in Bianca's poufy, curly hair and he flipped her so that she was on the bed and he was on top of her. Bianca emitted a squeal of surprise.

'This is easy,' he thought. 'I can do this.'

Bianca's fingers began undoing his pants just as the cat began to lick the tips of the toes on Mark's right foot.

His mother's voice shrieked in his head: Don't go any further, young man!

As he wiggled out of his pants, he kicked out his leg desperately trying to scare the cat away. Excitement was building in Mark's chest, like water building up behind a dam, and he didn't want the cat's presence to ruin anything. His hands began to slide up Bianca's legs and under her short, leather skirt. 'This is it.' Then:

Meow.

Mark's eyes clenched.

Meow.

'Just ignore it,' he reasoned with himself, as Bianca's body grinded into his.

Meow.

'Ignore it.'

Meow.

'Ignore-'

MEO-

With a frustrated growl, Mark pushed himself off of Bianca and off of the bed. "I just can't!"

"Seriously?"

"Yeah, seriously," he replied, seething, as he pulled his pants on before crossing to where his polo and glasses lay on the floor by the couch, only slightly wet from the spilled wine.

"He's not even doing anything!"

"He's licking my toes."

Bianca shot a glare at the cat who meowed in response. "What if I said we could lock him in the bathroom?" she asked, a note of desperation in her voice. Mark paused, the shirt about to go over his head, and thought for a minute. He shook his head. "You're seriously going to walk out on me because of a cat? Do you know how stupid that sounds?" Mark didn't reply. He was already embarrassed and she was making it worse.

Shirt on, Mark made sure he had his wallet and keys as he slipped his glasses back on his face and headed toward the door.

"Mark, please, I'm sure we can work something out."

But Bianca's pleas went unheard as he walked out, slamming the door behind him. Bianca stared at the back of the door for a few seconds before emitting a sound like an angry grizzly bear.

"What have I told you about being creepy?" she asked.

The cat's head tilted at her question. "Not my fault you brought home one of those uptight types," he replied.

But Bianca continued ranting as if she hadn't heard him. "It'd be easier if you let me get them drunk first. That way they have no idea what's going on and I could be done with them as soon as they walk through the door, just like the last guy I brought home a few weeks ago. But, no. You don't like how alcohol makes them taste. So I find this nobody sitting by himself in the corner of the bar, sober, seduce him into security, get this close," she held up her thumb and index finger, mere inches apart, in front of the cat's face, "to stabbing the poor sap, and you freak him out by licking his toes!"

"What? I should accept just any piece of meat that walks through the door?" He scoffed. "I do have standards, you know." Under his breath he added, "Unlike some."

"Whatever," Bianca said, pushing herself off the bed and heading toward the bathroom. "Starve for all I care."

But starving was not quite what the cat had in mind. And Bianca was looking tastier by the day.

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