It’s Fiction Friday time and I’ll admit it – I’m excited to share with you a slightly longer extract from my novel than the previous ones. I hope you’ll be drawn from the beginning and stay on until the end. Any comments (of any kind but within reason) are more than welcome!
Oh, and don’t forget to hit play below, I find it adds to the tension.
We drove back in silence, an impalpable tension hovering in the air. He suggested we should have a drink in his hotel room and I didn’t object. He was staying in Hotel Farah; the personnel in the lobby welcomed us with a polite, albeit rigid smile and a young boy handed him his room key, a suggestive grin pinned on his face. When we entered the elevator, I felt like a common prostitute. I nearly walked away at least a thousand times but always, his penetrating gaze pulled me back. I had become a constant satellite of his blazing sun, obeying his law of gravity, helpless and subjugated.
He pressed number four and the doors closed in silence. His perfume, trapped between four walls, was intoxicating. Spicy and fresh notes of bergamot mingled with a deep, earthy aroma of cedar wood. Beguiling. I leaned in towards him but the doors opened with a ping and along with him, his scent escaped into the hall. Dazed, I followed him along the corridor, my footsteps silenced by a soft, burgundy carpet. His pace was determined, there was no room for doubt. He reached number 423 and swiped the key inside the lock and disappeared into the room. I thought of the young boy’s grin, back at reception and for the first time, considered the possibility that Lachlan had lied to me, that he had been in Casablanca for much longer than he’d stated and that I wasn’t the first woman he was leading into his hotel room. The sudden realisation that I might have been deceived, toyed with, turned my stomach. I stopped for a moment, in the middle of the corridor and took a deep breath. I knew what it meant. The minute I walked in that room, my life would be turned upside down. I would leave a different person, sullied and mortified.
“Raya!” His voice echoed from inside. “You coming?”
I was standing at a crossroad. Perhaps the most perilous intersection a woman can find herself in. I looked back towards the open doors of the elevator. Here, buy yourself a cocktail dress. Rachid’s words ricocheted off the walls. He meant well. He was working all these hours to support and provide for his wife, in whom he had entire faith. He had become a little distant with the years, that was true, but after all, wasn’t that what how every marriage evolved? I had a part in it too, I had let silence settle in between us and done nothing to chase it away. But we could still turn back the clock, reinforce the crumbling foundations of our marriage.
I made a resolute step towards the elevator and in that moment, the doors started closing. They were only doors and behind them was only an elevator, but I felt as though I’d missed my chance and was now forever trapped on the fourth floor of a hotel, with no escape. A lump formed in my throat, I had to leave before I did something I would regret for the rest of my life.
I took another step when Lachlan’s hand grasped mine. Almost instantly, desire rushed in my veins, like a shot of heroine. I didn’t turn around despite the increasing heartbeat throbbing in my ears, my neck, my chest.
“Raya, look at me”.
I was determined to do what was right but I could feel my body slowly succumbing.
It was only temptation, I was stronger than that.
“Zweena diali…” The sweet sound of his voice, and his delightful accent, his fearless attempts at speaking my language. He didn’t know he was saying My beautiful, he had heard it in a song on the radio and yet, I believed him. The truth is, I would have believed anything he said, for his lips had the power to turn words into gold.
And so, he led me inside, closed the door and pressed me against the wall, his tight body leaning against mine. He ran his fingers along the side of my neck and down to my shoulders, then placed slow, light kisses along the path he had drawn. My heart was racing uncontrollably and in between two heavy respirations, I implored him to stop.
“I thought we were going to have a drink.” I gulped, but he kept kissing me, oblivious to my pleas. With every second passing, I felt my knees giving out a little more.
“Lachlan…” He undid the first three buttons of my chemise. “Please…” And then another one. “I’m begging you, stop…” And another one until it slid off my shoulders and fell on the floor. No man had ever undressed me the way he did.
Lachlan wrapped his arms around my waist and pulled me towards him. I remembered Rachid crossing the threshold of our home, briefcase in one hand, bouquet of red roses in the other. Lachlan placed kisses on my lips, then on my chin, then on my chest. He places his folder on the sofa and smiles peacefully. He fell on his knees and ran his fingers between my breasts, and down to my navel. I have a surprise for you, he says. Lachlan stood back up, caressing the side of my body with his lips. He drops on one knee and takes a small velvet box out of his suit pocket. He lifted me off the ground and carried me towards the bed. Soraya Ebrahim, you are the woman of my dreams and the light of my life. He laid me on the mattress and slowly unzipped my jeans. Will you marry me? My mind went hazy. Lachlan slid my shoes off my feet and brusquely, his blurred silhouette faded into darkness.