The remnants of something fragrant jostled his memory. Max paused, uncertain. He glanced around, frowning before silently berating himself for his moment of weakness.
Delphine had left him about five or six months ago, unable to cope with his passions. She had been so eager, he mused, so willing to employ her ideas and opinions on whatever projects he’d embarked on.
But over the years it had become too much for her, she’d said.
He stood in the open doorway to their bedroom, his heart leaden with sadness. She refused to meet his eyes as she went from closet to bed where the suitcase had lain open.
“You haven’t changed.” Her voice held a trace of accusation. “I thought that once you got it all out of your system, we could move on, think about having children.”
He searched his mind for that particular topic but came up embarrassingly blank.
“I don’t recall…” His voice trailed off and he fidgeted.
“Of course you don’t.” Delphine went to the bureau and opened up the top drawer. “You never seem to recall anything when it came to kids.”
“Del,” He began but she put up a hand, stopping his next words. “No, Max. It’s too late for further discussions. I’m leaving and that’s all I care about right now.”
And with a final snap of the suitcase, and a quick look around the room, she was gone…
It was always near sundown when memories of her were most vivid. Her laughter, the way she would tilt her head to the side while he talked, her arousal whenever he caressed her just the way she loved.
Regret coated his tongue and filled his throat.
He never meant to hurt her. He never meant to ruin things between them. If he could go back in time, he’d do things differently.
He ran into her a few days ago. She appeared happy to see him, judging by the way she threw her arms around him in an enthusiastic hug. He returned her hug, breathed in her special scent. She felt the same, he thought, yet slightly different. Before he could figure it out she pulled out of his arms.
“Oh Max, how are you?” Delphine’s warm brown eyes searched his. She gripped his hands. “I’ve thought about you everyday.”
“Have you?” Max smiled, skeptical.
“Of course.” She laughed and struck a pose. “What do you think?”
And that’s when he saw it.
Max knew he should’ve done things differently, should’ve had the talk with her but it was too late now.
She was stretched out on the old kitchen table, spread eagle, her limbs bound with the very nylons he used to slowly peel from her smooth legs. Her mouth was bound with duct tape. Clumps of congealed blood caked one side of her head, the dark blonde strands of hair sticking to it.
Max loved to twine his hands in her fragrant hair. He lifted a lock and pressed his lips to it. His eyes met hers. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
Dropping it, he moved to the counter and pulled the filet knife out of the block before turning back to her.
“I’m sorry, my love.” He said quietly.
When her tear-filled eyes caught the glint of metal, she arched her back and yanked on the restraints. Even though her screams were garbled behind the tape, he could tell the force of them by how thick the veins in her neck were bulging.
She was always such a fighter, he thought in admiration, such a fighter until she decided not to play anymore.
His eyes roamed over the swell of her abdomen. No, Max decided, he never wanted children and should’ve spoken up sooner.
“I’m so sorry.” He said again as he gently, yet methodically, applied the knife.
© copyright 2012 by Ren Thompson March 28, 2012