Poison's Bend: Chapter 17
Warnings: partial nudity, implied sex, violence
“Tank, I won’t hear another argument,” I said brightly. “When it comes right down to it, I could still be considered your sister-in-law and I’m the mother of your niece. With your father gone and Buck busy in college, we’re really the only family you have left in Strangetown and you need to visit us more often.”
“Well... thanks, Aerin,” Tank said thoughtfully. “That’s very kind of you.”
“Good,” I replied. “I’ll see you this afternoon.”
I hung up the telephone and smiled around me at the empty house. Catherine was to be going home with a friend after school for a sleepover, and Johnny was out, visiting his elderly parents. I’d have the house to myself until at least dusk.
It was a perfect day for inviting my former brother-in-law over for a cup of afternoon tea.
What a wonderful surprise I’d have for Johnny when he returned!
I could hardly wait.
The autumn afternoon was chilly, and when Tank arrived, I invited him to relax in the hot tub for a while to warm up. He was more than happy to accept, as there was a definite nip in the air and a steaming hot tub was a luxury he seldom enjoyed.
We sat in the sultry water, making small talk, for some time.
He had no idea I was romantically involved with Johnny, or even that I had been married to Lazlo Curious, and thought I was still simply his brother’s lonely wife; widowed after only a few months of marriage.
“It’s a shame, Aerin,” he whispered softly. “A woman like you shouldn’t be alone in the world.”
“I’m not alone,” I pointed out. “I have Catherine. Your niece.”
“I know, but Catherine’s not far from becoming a young lady now,” he said. “She’ll have other interests and needs, just as I’m sure you already do.”
“What are you implying, Mr. Grunt?” I asked, smiling suggestively. There was no denying it; I could clearly see Tank was attracted to me, and likely had been for some time.
I moved closer and closer to him until I was sitting very close.
His flesh felt even warmer against my skin than the surrounding hot water.
“Aerin, what are you doing?” he gasped, seeming to finally realize I was so near. “Look, I didn’t come here to... I mean, you’re very beautiful, but I...”
“Hush,” I whispered, trailing my finger under his chin and kissing him gently. “You know exactly why you came here, and so do I.”
“Well, it did cross my mind, but not this soon! Aerin, we hardly know each other!”
“That’s not true,” I protested. Although I did hardly know him, I felt as though I’d been with him before, in more ways than one. He resembled his father, along with having his brother’s eyes, and I was sure it was the combination of the two that aroused such boldness in me.
Yes, that was the reason!
Without waiting for further discussion, I put my arms around him and pulled him even closer to me, but I did wait for him to bring his lips to mine of his own accord.
Which, of course, he did.
Among other things.
After several rounds of hot-tub antics, I asked Tank if he would like me to get us some lemonade.
“I’m practically boiling,” I said, laughing. “This hot tub is warm enough, but when you add that kind of activity, it becomes like a stewpot.”
“I agree,” Tank said, hooking his arms over the edge of the tub and laying his head back. “...but it was worth every minute.” He watched me climb out of the tub and throw on a robe, a sudden expression of worry crossing his rugged features.
“Aerin, are you sure you are okay with what we just did?”
“Of course I am,” I reassured him. “Especially since it was mostly my idea.” I raised an eyebrow at him. “Are you okay with it?”
He grinned. “Better than okay,” he replied. “I can’t wait to do it again!”
I laughed. “I’ll be right back with the lemonade.”
“I’ll be right here,” he replied as he leaned back and closed his eyes.
Oui, he would be.
Quickly, I strode toward the house, thinking about Tank.
That had been fun.
It had been fortunate, too, that I had been able to distract Tank enough for him not to notice one small new addition to the area.
A wire trailing from the house, across the patio, and with an exposed end dangling into the water of the hot tub itself.
Of course, it was a small wire, and was camouflaged in such a way that no one would see it unless they were looking for it, but still, I felt the romantic distractions Tank and I had engaged in and his residual stupefied state were completely necessary.
I followed the wire into the house, and found that it ended in a standard electric plug. A plug which was laying on the floor directly beneath an open 220-watt outlet.
Obviously this plug was intended for this outlet for some reason.
I should certainly plug it back in.
There was no reason not to, really.
I inserted the plug, and immediately heard an anguished scream coming from outside! I looked out the window just in time to see Tank convulsing in the hot tub, his body engulfed in electric shocks! I rushed out to help, but it was too late.
Tank was dead.
Johnny would be so pleased.
“Johnny, I have a surprise for you,” I said cheerily that evening, when Johnny returned home from his parents’ house. “Go on, have a look. It’s out in the hot tub.”
“I would think the surprise would be you in the hot tub,” Johnny replied lasciviously with a wink, but he turned and walked out through the conservatory onto the patio.
A gruesome sight met our gaze.
“Aerin! Oh no! Aerin! What... did... you... DO?” Johnny cried in strangled gasps. “He’s dead! Oh my Gods, he’s dead! Tank!”
He flew to the side of his enemy’s charred remains and knelt down.
“Aerin... what happened?”
“Aren’t you happy?” I asked, confused. “You told me you hated him! You said you didn’t want him to ever come back unless he was dead! You said you'd dance on his grave...”
“Gods, no!” Johnny cried. “I wasn’t serious about his death, Aerin! Oh Gods... what were you thinking?” He shook his head in despair. “We have to do something... call someone... they’ll be looking for him!”
He was frantic.
I felt pity for him.
“Don’t worry, Johnny,” I said soothingly, laying my hand on his shoulder. “... even if they do start looking for him, they’ll stop eventually.” I rubbed his back gently. “Just like they stopped looking for Lazlo.”
It was the wrong thing to say.
“Lazlo...” Johnny said slowly, his head lifting and a light dawning in his eyes. “Lazlo! Oh, Aerin, no. No! Not Uncle Lazlo, too...”
What was he talking about?
Lazlo had left me!
Was Johnny saying that was my fault?
“You’re right, Johnny,” I said quietly. “We should call and let someone know what happened. It was an accident; truly it was. You must believe me.”
“Oh Aerin,” Johnny said, anguished. “I wish I could...”
“You can,” I said, putting my arms around him. “It’s still me, Johnny... and I still love you. What I did, I did for you...”
I kissed him.
He did not respond at first, but after a few moments I felt the heat rise between us. His arms swept around me and he pressed his lips to mine as though he was breathing life through me, there in the midst of the death surrounding us.
How I loved him!
Such a shame.
Swiftly I moved in such a way that caught him off balance. He tried to grab onto me for support, but it was too late. He fell into the hot tub, which was still crackling with electric energy, and within seconds, he had met the same fate as the one he so despised.
I watched it happen.
I was helpless to stop it, lest I meet the same end.
This was not what I had intended.
To Be Continued...