CHAPTER 4 – A WEB OF DECEIT (FRANCIS LAURENT)

Chapter 4 

A WEB OF DECEIT 

“WHAT DO YOU think you’re doing?!” Marilyn arrogantly spoke to the lonely janitor as he stood sheepishly by the side of her desk. Like a disapproving parent who caught her child being especially naughty, she impatiently folded her arms across her chest and fixedly glared at the guilty-faced man. Her expression—a granite slab of unbridled contempt and suspicion for the pitiful being standing before her—sent chills down Willie’s crooked spine.  

Willie stuttered nervously, his dirty fingers nervously wringing the wooden broom handle on his cart. “I-I-I was just cleaning up. Same as I always do.” Fine beads of greasy sweat were starting to form on his hairy brow, drawing more suspicion from the attractive young receptionist. 

Marilyn knew she was a beautiful woman, a powerful tool that could disarm almost any man. Wiping the disapproving look from her face, Marilyn smiled playfully at the nervous custodian as she moved with a seductive wiggle to the corner of her desk. Leaning forward, she continued to smile as Willie’s eyes wandered down to her exposed cleavage. 

“Come here,” she cooed, painted lips pouting at him like voluptuous red pillows. Her eyes, two sparkling diamonds of hypnotic blue, mesmerized the humble man in a matter of seconds. 

Working on their own accord, Willie’s legs inched him closer to the temptress toward the edge of the desk. As soon as he was within her reach, Marilyn snatched his hand and pulled the sniveling man in even closer. Her finely manicured nails dug into the dark skin at his neck as their faces slowly drew together. Willie, suddenly excited at the possibility of romance, puckered his lips for a kiss when Marilyn’s face changed. Her innocent look of sultry-lust was replaced with a glare of cut-throated seriousness. Frightened by those now hateful eyes drilling into his soul, Willie tried to retreat to the safety of his cart but was met with immediate resistance. Like an unsuspecting bug caught in the sneaky spider’s tangled web of power, Willie tried hard to remain calm as the receptionist’s steel grip tightened on the rough of his neck. 

Teasingly, Marilyn ran a single finger down the rough stubble of Willie’s trembling left cheek. “How much do you like working here…?” 

“W-willie,” he answered, knowing that a young, sensual woman like Marilyn would never in a million years remember his name. “I l-like it fine, m-ma’am.” Willie gulped, throat sore, and airway becoming constricted with each passing word. 

Marilyn flashed an amused little smile. “I thought as much, Willie.” 

“I’m s-sorry, ma’am,” Willie mumbled eagerly in hopes of ending the unwanted conversation. “I didn’t mean to upset anyone. Won’t happen again… promise. I’ll just be gett’ng’ back to work now.” 

“Wait!” Marilyn snapped, pulling violently at Willie’s neck as he tried to turn and slink away. Like a beaten dog with nowhere to run, Willie let her rope him back into her vicious web. “Let’s have a little discussion first. Is that okay?” She forced his beady eyes onto hers, taking much pleasure in his pathetic squirming as she held him tight. 

“Y-yes ma’am,” Willie replied, clearing another hard lump from his impossibly dry throat. He didn’t see any way out of this other than submit to the beautiful woman’s verbal assault. Being such an elegant creature, she held all the power in this one-on-one situation. Even the slightest perturbance could set her off, forcing her to act out irrationally. Maybe even violently. Should that happen, Willie only hoped that he’d have enough time to break away and make it out of the building alive. 

 “Look, Willie…I’m not sure what you thought you saw while snooping through my trash,” Marilyn purred, loosening her grip on Willie’s neck as her face shifted to a veil of calm understanding. Like a five-headed snake, her hand slithered its way around to the front of his neck. Fingers stretched, she slowly clutched her palm over Willie’s bobbing Adam’s apple and began to squeeze. The pressure soon became painful, her nails digging blunt cuts into the soft nape of his neck. Frozen in unflinching fear, Willie grimaced in pain as his lungs fought for stale air. 

“You’ve put yourself in quite the predicament. Didn’t you, my poor friend?” Marilyn whispered menacingly, her hand closing tighter around his neck—forcing white specks and shooting stars to the front of his bulging eyes. 

Trying to reason with his tormenter, Willie attempted to talk, but the words wouldn’t come. He could only shake his head side to side like a baby bird and slap inferiorly at the vice around his neck. Willie saw now that he was just another puny insect caught in the spider’s web. A minor inconvenience. And, just when Willie’s vision started to dim from lack of oxygen to his brain, Marilyn loosened her grip enough for him to speak. Words still clotted with gasps for air; Willie choked, “I w-won’t… I won’t s-say…  nothin’ m-ma’am… I promise.”  

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