Susan was pulling me after her, grasping my belt as if it were a leash. She was of one thought and she wasn't about to let up until she'd managed to tow me into that bedroom. At that point in time, I could think of no reason not to bend to the will of a woman that determined.
From the television I'd insisted being left on, the words of the news anchor caught my attention. Thinking fast I loosened my belt buckle, which in turn sent Susan flying ahead in an inertial collision with the back of the sofa, my belt firmly grasped in her hand.
"What the hell?" she roared. She turned around to see me standing still in front of the large screen. "Oh no, we're not watching anymore porno, lover. I'm horny enough as it is ..." She grew quiet as I raised my hand in her direction.
"...The private plane disappeared from radar at 2pm, EST, and is believed to have gone down somewhere in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Two witnesses camping in the area reported hearing an explosion and seeing a large ball of fire about three miles from their campsite."My God! They were there in the press room. I shook their hands," I muttered in shock. "Those men, the Feds, whoever they were ... They escorted them and the other board members out of the offices. Those sons of bitches!"
The small jet was registered to and was being piloted by Saul Chambers an Investment Banker from Chicago. There was one passenger on board, believed to be Nelson Osgood, a Futures Trader on the Chicago Board of Options.
The two men, who serve on the Board of Directors of the Globe Newspaper, had been in town for a meeting at the Paper's offices."
Susan moved to my side still clutching my belt, "You don't really think these men had anything to do with that plane crashing?" she asked, a trace of doubt in her voice. She looked to my crest fallen face and exclaimed, "You do, don't you?"
I took a deep breath and paused before venting my lungs, "I don't know. I don't know what to think anymore." I looked into her eyes and opined, "They seem to be capable of just about anything, and without forethought of discretion."
"... In a related story, Boston police are still looking for Benjamin Bering, a long time reporter and popular columnist for the Globe. According to a spokesman for the police department, Mr. Bering is being sought for questioning regarding the death of James Coleman. Coleman, a double amputee from injuries sustained while on duty in Vietnam in 1969, was found beaten to death in Bering's apartment.Susan, her face ashen, fell against my chest and would have collapsed onto the floor had I not grabbed her. At first I thought she had fainted, but then she began to shake all over. Thinking she might have been hyper-ventilating I eased her onto the sofa. As it turned out there was nothing seriously wrong. She had simply broken out in an uncontrollable fit of laughter.
The Massachusetts State Attorney General has scheduled a press conference to be held within the hour. It is believed she will answer questions regarding an unsubstantiated report that a baseball bat, thought to be the murder weapon in Coleman's death, may have also been used in an assault on an unnamed staff member of the Globe newspaper where Mr. Bering was employed.
In a preliminary statement issued by the offices of the Attorney General, it was stated that Mr. Bering had been seen earlier today in the company of a female post-grad student from Northeastern University. The woman, who has yet not been identified, may or may not be a hostage, but could be in imminent danger.
Folks, this story just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser. I was just handed a copy of an unofficial police report. Police investigating an execution-style homicide of a man whose body was found bound with duct tape, believe the victim had been dating the same woman reportedly now in the company of Mr. Bering."
Once she had calmed down, she looked up at me and threw her arms around my neck. "I'm sorry," she said trying to stifle any more laughter. "It just struck me as so funny that I'm a hostage and that I'm in imminent danger. After all, you are going to be assaulting me with a deadly weapon ... Aren't you?"
I pulled her into my arms and took my belt from her hand. "Hold still," I whispered. I made a loop with the belt, slipped it over her head and gently pulled on the end until it was loosely snug around her neck. "It is now the time and the place." We spoke not another word. There was no need.
Suddenly I felt a great pain and then everything went dark. I don't know how long I was out, but when I opened my eyes both Susan and Michelle were kneeling over me. Next to me was a puddle of water, some flowers and several shards of broken glass. I looked up at the male body in which Michelle was trapped and roared in anger, "You hit me over the head with a vase! Why?"
"Forgive me, Ben," she replied trying not to let her eyes meet mine. "I thought ... I thought you were trying to strangle her. I saw you tightening the belt. I was ... Trying to save her."
"Ouch!" I winced when Susan pressed a damp towel against the back of my throbbing head. I rubbed my hand where she had been dabbing the makeshift compress. I raised my hand in front of my face, "Blood! I'm bleeding?"
"Sit still, Benjamin Bering!" Susan commanded. "It isn't that bad, you big baby. You'll live."
Michelle was crossing the room on a path to the bar. I could understand her desire for a drink after her attack against me. Curiously she did not reach for the bottle of scotch but instead produced a pack of cigarettes from an overhead cabinet. I nudged Susan with my elbow and nodded in that direction. I placed a finger to my lips and whispered, "Shh! Don't say anything. Observe."
Situated behind me, she set the towel down and moved her arm around my neck until her hand was resting against my chest. "Oh my," she whispered in response.
"Unless I'm mistaken," I said, "she's about to have another migraine attack. Did you hear her call me Ben and not Mr. Bering a few minutes ago?" Her sandy blond hair was brushing against my neck and I could feel her affirmative nod. "She's using her left hand now to light the cigarette, and oh by the way, she's never smoked a day in her life."
Oblivious to us, we watched as she drew long and hard on the cigarette. She held it up, studying it as if baffled by it. She placed it on the edge of the bar and reached up into the cabinet again. This time she removed a pad of paper and a ball point pen. She lifted several sheets and scribbled something onto the pad. She clipped the pen onto the pad and then returned both to the cabinet.
As I had predicted, she grimaced and placed her hands on the temples of her head. Her next move was to retrieve the cigarette before walking over to a door next to the bedroom. Shortly after she had disappeared behind the door we could hear the toilet being flushed.
When she emerged the cigarette was gone, obviously flushed away. Susan and I had gotten up off the floor by the time she noticed us, or remembered we were there. "Oh, there you are," she said to us. "I thought the two of you went to bed." She rubbed her temples, "I thought the headache was gone, but now it's back. If you'll excuse me, I'm to lie down again."
"I seem to have developed a headache of my own," I remarked to see how she would react. "I think I'll lie down also."
"That's too bad," she responded. "Perhaps a nap will do us all some good." She then made a gesture similar to a military salute and said, "Susan, Mr. Bering, we'll continue our talk later." Michelle then turned toward the bedroom, and using her right hand to turn the door knob stepped inside and closed the door.
"You know, I think Michelle might be right about that splinter theory of hers. Her mind seems to be somehow shifting from her mind to Michael's mind and back again. Her mind and at least a trace of his mind might be interacting but the two aren't compatible, thus the headaches. Then again, there might be another ..." I let my speculation end there.
"I'm confused enough as it is. I don't want to think about it," Susan said and then handed me the end of the belt which was still looped about her neck. She ginned and said, "Now, where were we before we were so rudely interrupted?"
I smiled back and moved my eyebrows a la Groucho Marx and said, "You're going to hate me, but I've always wanted to turn the tables and say this: Not now, dear. I've got a headache."
"You bastard!" she exclaimed angrily. I managed to catch both of her arms to prevent her clenched fists from pounding upon my chest.
"Susan, just joking," I said firmly not letting go of her wrists. I kissed her on the nose and said, "First things first. Aren't you in the least bit curious as to what she was writing on that pad of paper?"
"Well, not especially," she sighed. "I'm more interested in seeing you naked!"
I was already on my way to the bar and she found herself in tow as I gave a gentle tug on the belt. She stood next to me with a scowl on her face as I removed the pad and pen from where Michelle had stashed it.
I flipped through six of the pages and began scratching my head, "What in the world?"
Tiptoeing to see over my shoulder Susan said, "They look like opening Chess moves."
"Huh? Chess moves?" I said turning my head to her. "What makes you say that?"
She moved around me and grabbed the pad. She pointed to the top page and said, "Take those numbers and letters on the first line. The '1.d4 e5' means that for his first move White moves the fourth pawn from the left forward to the fourth square, and Black countered with the fifth pawn from the right ahead to the fifth square." She looked at me to see if I was following her.
"I don't get it," I said shrugging my shoulders.
"The chess board has 64 squares, every other one a lighter or darker color. The horizontal rows are numbered from White's perspective with the numbers '1' through '8' running from the bottom-most row to the top. The columns are assigned the letters 'a' through 'h' from the left to the right. Simple," she paused and looked at me again. She turned back to the figures on the pad, "Hmmm, on White's second move the Bishop has been fianchettoed," she leafed through the other sheets and added, "In fact, White is using that move or variations of it on every one of these pages."
Completely lost I queried, "Fianket ... what? What in the hell does that mean?"
Reveling in her knowledge of the game of Chess she smiled and said, "Fianchettoing the Bishop allows it to become more active to primarily control the center of the board and thus prevent or delay the other player from gaining the center." She grew silent as she perused the sheets again. "That's interesting ... Other than the obvious pawn moves, the only other piece she mentions besides the Bishop is the Knight."
Feeling rather dumb and out-classed I asked, "So? What does it mean? What's the significance of Chess moves?"
She shrugged and replied, "Who knows! Maybe she has a Chess buddy with whom she plays over the phone or through e-mail. It could be that she is planning opening moves for their next game."
"I take it you play a lot of Chess," I offered in resignation to her knowledge of the game.
"Nope! I never learned how to play the game."
Noticing the look of chagrin on my countenance, she winked and placed the end of the belt in my hand again. "I know a game we can both play. I've got some great moves to lay on you."
(To be continued Monday 1/12 in part 14, The Elusive Butterfly of Lust.)