This is the thirty-fourth part of a fiction serial, in 833 words.
Over the next couple of weeks, nobody came to the door with the exception of the supermarket delivery drivers. The weather stayed hot and humid but inside the house the atmosphere was relaxed. Gillian had noticed that the man didn’t carry the knife around any longer, and if she promised to stay in bed, he didn’t attach the restraints. He had also bought her some lightweight clothing, nice full slips to wear that covered her but were not too hot in the summer weather.
It hadn’t occurred to her that he had ordered them on her Amazon account.
Thomas did all the cooking, as well as showing Gillian how to clean the house properly, and help her by taking on either the upstairs or downstairs as they did it together. They had three meals a day, all well-balanced, and she had tried vegetables that she had never even heard of before. Although not so keen on aubergines, she had really liked courgettes, asparagus, and Chinese leaves. And braised celery had become such a favourite, she actually requested it a few times.
He made sure to keep her well-supplied with buns and cakes though. It wouldn’t do for her to lose too much weight.
The hardest thing for Thomas was trying to put out of his mind that he should be long gone. In many respects, they had become a couple not unlike many others. Gillian was completely compliant now. He had put the commode out in the garden, as she could be trusted in the bathroom. The ball-gag was a memory, and after evenings watching television and cuddling on the sofa, the nights in bed were affectionate and sometimes exciting too.
As far as Gillian was concerned, Thomas was her boyfriend. Though she didn’t know his name was Thomas of course, as he had told her to call him Paul. When he told her that, she had sat on the toilet repeating the names. “Gillian and Paul. Paul and Gillian. Pleased to meet you”, as if she was introducing them to other people as a genuine couple. Then again, as far as she was concerned, they were a genuine couple. As much as she was able to understand the concept, he was her lover.
And she loved him dearly.
If it could have been described as such, this was their honeymoon period. She never once thought about that day when he had forced his way in, almost breaking her nose. And she had dealt with the incident when he had been rough with her by refusing to consider it, and blotting it out of her memory. In her limited experience, she believed that she had found the perfect man. He fed her delicious food, clothed her, cared for her, and cleaned her house.
Then in bed, he made her feel special, whispered such tender things to her, and gave her compliments that made her blush. When she woke in the mornings now, he was sleeping quietly next to her. She would watch him for a good hour, almost unable to believe her luck at finding such a romantic man, a good lover for all she knew, and so affectionate.
In the background, Thomas had deleted all the CCTV, and removed the tape completely. Then he had destroyed it in the oven, adding the sticky plastic mess to the rubbish that went into the Biffa Bin. He had also wiped the hard drive on her computer, by downloading some disc cleaner software. All that was left on it now were the online transactions for shopping, all in Gillian’s name. She had been happy to give him the username, password, and bank card details.
His DNA was everywhere, as were his fingerprints. But that was of no consequence, as he had never once been arrested.
When they started to fall in love with him, and become overly affectionate and lovey-dovey, his interest always waned. There was no longer the thrill of control that his father had told him about so long ago. Yes, the sex was nice, but that wasn’t everything. With no fear, no trepidation, the frisson was diminished. And how could this lump of a woman ever think they were a genuine couple? The poor thing was deluded. But her delusion at least made life easier.
The time would soon come when he would have to tell her he was leaving. His clothes and toiletries could just be stuffed into the holdall, to join the knife, ball-gag, restraints, and the keys to the hire car. The departure would be quick, with no protracted farewells or goodbyes.
He would promise to return soon, and that would calm her down. He would say it was because of work commitments.
She would be sad, but she would understand.
She would believe he would come back, and wait forever if necessary.
She would never complain, or report him to the police.
She would never tell on him to anyone she knew.
Just like all the others.