Here is the latest chapter in my collaboration with Fictional Kevin: Double Seduction – a suspenseful novella we hope you are enjoying. If you missed the opening chapters, find them here: Chapter One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six and Seven. And now…
Chapter Eight – Suspicion
“Melody, you’re not paying attention,” Anton scolded as he helped her up from the floor mat. “Where is your head this morning?”
Mel winced and took his hand. “Sorry, sorry. I’ve got a lot on my mind.”
After he’d pulled her to her feet, Anton crossed his arms in front of his chest and stared at her hard. “Is it David again?” He shook his head. “I told you to be careful.”
Melody smirked. “Don’t worry. I can take care of myself, Anton. Things have taken a good turn with David actually.”
“Oh?” He gestured for her to continue.
“Yep. He explained everything. The nasty comment, the other guy’s Facebook, everything.” She relayed the story David had given her about his identity being used to make nasty comments.
Anton said nothing, but raised an eyebrow.
“And… and…” she said, pointing a finger at him. “Savannah is no longer in the picture. They split up.”
“Are you certain of that?” he asked.
Mel rolled her eyes. “Hang on. You can see for yourself.” She walked across the room to where her purse rested on the sofa. Pulling her phone out, she scrolled through the text messages to find the right one. “Here,” she said handing the phone to Anton.
She waited while he scrolled through the lengthy text exchange. He frowned and handed the phone back when he was finished. “Awfully forward of him, don’t you think? ‘Taking over her mind before her body? Cherishing her, savoring her? Captivating, teasing?’ Telling you about his ‘unusual techniques’ Is that the way a man should speak to a woman he’s never met?” he snapped. “Melody, you are asking for trouble.”
She laughed. “Why Anton, I never took you for a prude.”
His eyes darkened. “You aren’t taking this seriously, Melody. ‘You’re amazing, David’,” he mocked. “You are playing right into his hands. How do you know what his real intentions are? At a minimum, you could just be a rebound relationship for him. At worst, well…” He threw up his hands in frustration.
“What?” she prompted. “At worst, what?”
“Let me see the phone again,” he said, holding out his hand. When Melody handed it to him, he scrolled slowly through the message again. “Here, for instance… how can he not know where Bryn Mawr is? And did you notice how he evaded your question about the Allentown Fair?”
“Just because he lives in Allentown doesn’t mean he goes to the fair. Maybe it’s not his thing. And well, Bryn Mawr… I don’t know. All he said was he was drawing a blank.”
“How long does it take for someone to check the map on their phone or computer? Thirty seconds? Less?” Anton asked.
“Yeah, I guess.” She frowned. “What are you getting at?”
“What if he’s not who he says he is?” He gripped her by the arms. “What if he’s dangerous, even?”
“Anton,” she said, shrugging out of his grasp. “Will you stop? I am not rushing into anything. We’ve agreed to talk, to get to know each other a little better, that’s all.”
“To what end, Melody?” he asked, moving in again. “To eventually meet in real life? And then what? Let him try out his ‘unusual techniques’ on you?” he sneered.
She braced her hands on his chest to keep him at a distance. “You better calm the hell down. This is none of your business, Anton.”
She watched as the muscles of his jaw clenched and unclenched. She wasn’t sure she’d ever seen him this angry. She didn’t like it. “Cut the shit, Anton. You have no right to be angry with me.”
He took a moment, then hung his head and sighed. “No, I suppose not,” he muttered. When he looked up, the anger was gone. “Please just be careful, will you promise me?”
She smiled wryly. “People meet online all the time, Anton. Why are you so worried?”
“Because I care about you, Melody,” he said, softly.
“I appreciate that. I really do. You’re my dearest friend, Anton.” She went to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. “I promise I’ll be careful, ok?”
He remained quiet but circled her in his arms. His chin rested atop her head. He said, “You’re my… dearest friend, too.”
The phone rang in Anton’s hand, startling both of them. Melody stepped out of Anton’s embrace and took the phone from him. But not before he read the caller ID: David Ridgeway.
“Hello?” Melody answered. “Well, hey, David. I finally get to hear your voice. Um, yes this is a good time. I’m just finishing up a workout. Hang on….” She held the phone away. “Anton, we’re good right?”
He gave her a sad smile. “Of course, we’re good. I’ll see you, Thursday.”
Mel retrieved her purse and her coat, still talking animatedly on the phone with David. Anton opened the door for her and watched through the window as she walked away. Even with no makeup on and her hair pulled into a ponytail, she was beautiful. Anton held his breath as her long, athletic legs carried her lithe body to her car. She had just been in his arms and he’d let her walk away. Damn. She waved one last time and then laughed at something David said. He kept watching until she had backed out of his driveway.
He felt slightly ill as he walked to his desk and powered up his computer. There was something wrong, he felt it in his gut. He slammed his fist down on the desktop. “Or you’re just jealous, old man,” he muttered under his breath. “Whatever…” He opened his browser and returned to the search history he had started the other night. He typed in a few commands and brought up the image of David Ridgeway. “Who the hell are you?” he growled. “And what do you want with my girl?”
Keep reading chapter 9.