(adult sexual situations)
The rain poured down as I walked into Paragon, the top detective agency in London. I took off my mac, shook off the dribbles and draped it over my arm. An attendant quickly approached and took it from me.
“April showers bring May flowers.” He sang the words in a melody. “Fielding?” Then squeezed the coat in between others on a wooden coat stand, threatening to tip.
“Yes, Andrew Fielding,”.He turned with a smile, clearing his throat. “Come this way,” he waved a hand to the left. “I’m Terrence, by the way. You’re going to meet Robin Merryweather. He’s the best in the business. They call him the Butler.”
“The Butler, why?”
Terrence shrugged, saying nothing.
We went into a long corridor. The Butler?
He ushered me into Merryweather’s office. The young man knocked and pushed the half-opened door and swung it wide. “Fielding.”.
A suited man of thirty-ish rose to his feet from behind a desk. “Good morning, Andrew.” His hand outstretched as he came around his desk. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
His handshake was gentle.
I noted his medium height, slender arms, short crew cut hair, large almond-shaped eyes, but most noticeable was his smile. His front teeth were oddly rotated, appearing jagged and had a pronounced overbite.
Nodding with approval when he held my hand. “Robin Merryweather at your service,” “Your picture doesn’t do you justice. We like handsome men around here,” he said with a wink at Terrence, who stood holding the door handle.
Terrence robotically turned and strode away, shutting the door behind him. Robin returned to his seat behind the desk. “Let’s just say it opens doors that might otherwise be closed.” Waggling his eyebrows.
I hesitated to answer, creating an odd silence. Smiling cordially as he focused on my face. “Welcome to the gang. We’ve heard some good things about you. Down the hall is your office. I’ll introduce you around, but first I would like to ‘on-board’ you in my fashion.”
I felt my head slide subtly sideways in curiosity. He stopped and studied me for a moment. Leaning forward on his elbows, He picked up a piece of paper and studied it.
“Your resume is short, but your last position was an insurance adjuster with Hargrove, correct?”
I nodded.”Yes, that is true… A year and a half… I assure you I was quite thorough in my work.”
“I would expect nothing less.” His eyes widened. “I understand you worked on the Wainwright claim.”
I paused,“Yes, that’s correct, how?—
Robin interrupted, “We’re the leading detective agency in London.” His eyes batted slowly. “We know quite a bit.”
He picked up a pencil and rolled it in his fingers. “Do you recall the name of the undisclosed beneficiary in the trust agreement?” He dropped the pencil on his desk.
A strange feeling came over me. I was sworn to a fiduciary duty of what I learned at my previous employer, and though Paragon was not another insurance company, I had to consider my non-compete agreement that could put me in legal trouble.
“Uh, uh, I can’t say…”
Robin turned pale. A haughty smile spread across face, showcasing his crooked teeth.
“Of course, you are worried about any agreements you have. Your secrets are safe with me.” He whispered as he leaned back.
Using a normal tone of voice, he continued, “You understand, however, it would save us a great deal of time in putting a piece of a minor puzzle together, perhaps down the road you may see it differently.”
“Mister Merryweather, I—”
“Call me Robin.” He picked the pencil up “Don’t think for a minute that we can’t uncover these things, or that your job is in danger from not giving it to me, quite the contrary. But… you can’t blame me for asking.”
“You see… I just can’t.” I squirmed in my chair..
Robin nodded as he smiled at me. “You have a duty to your former clients, just as you will have here. I commend you on your honesty.” He pointed his finger at me.
“Thank you for understanding.” I felt at ease after that brief struggle with my past and present loyalties. I attempted to change the subject. “Your man, Terrence, mentioned they call you the Butler.”
“Ah, yes…” Robin gazed upward.. “We won’t go into that right now.”
Quietly, we sat. Unsure of what direction he was going next, I observed him. He glanced around at the things on his desk, odd trinkets and a set of steel marbles suspended by wires. Raising one from its end and letting it go. The balls bounced repeatedly back and forth in a pendulum manner. He then looked at me as the clacking balls persisted.
“Have you played the honey trap before?” A mischievous smile grew on his face. “It’s a special maneuver you must come to grips with in the spring of your detective career.”
“Actually, no.” I let him see it perplexed me.
“Well, it is something that has taken me a long way here at Paragon,” leaning back in his leather chair, seeming to enjoy the repetitive clack while looking upward.
He held the pencil by its ends and twirled it gently, stroked its length, then wobbled it between his right index finger and thumb. He patted himself on the lips with it. I waited for him to speak. He seemed to choose his words carefully, giving me a bold stare.
“I have a special job for you.” He leaned forward in his chair. “It requires you to play the honey trap.”
A lump formed in my throat., “I’m to be the bait in a scheme?”
Robin smiled. “Yes, in fewer words, but it’s more than that. You’re a perfect specimen for my plan, Fielding. Your chiseled jaw, lawless skin, that swatch of dirty blonde hair that hangs over your bedroom eyes and your aquiline nose.”
Robin peered at a calendar on his wall and then back at me. “You are everything that April Spencer adores.”
I steeped in his compliment and smiled. “April Spencer?”
“You haven’t heard of her?” He asked.
I only wagged my head, meaning no.
“She is the wealthy heiress of the late Josephine Spencer, the pharmaceutical magnate.”
Still, I drew a blank.
He slapped the pencil to the desk.”You are the perfect honey trap for that eccentric and kinky, miss Spencer. I may call you this afternoon if things play-out. It’s something more like spy work than accounting. But… I’ll have to teach you what I know myself.” His lips puckered sensually as his eyes narrowed. “You’ll be learning from the best, my boy.”
Robin raised one eyebrow. “You could say it’s…” He then twirled a finger in the air, speaking with a French accent, “ma spécialité.” He laughed at his quip.
Robin then grew serious. “An insurance company thinks she is defrauding them and this is right up your alley. They asked me to look into it. They can’t prove it, but a man on the inside could, and by the inside, I mean… A back-door man, if you know what I’m trying to say?”
A few ideas popped into my mind. I rolled my eyes, as if unsure.
Robin sighed. “Let me start here, Andrew. Miss Spencer, or April, as you will get to know her, likes young handsome men and she’s willing to pay for them. She plays a very low-key game by which she calls an escort service to have boy-toys meet her in her private car. She usually hooks up with each for only three occasions and then moves on to the next. I have made connections with the escort service, but have gotten nothing out of the few men that I’ve interviewed, except that she meets only thrice. You have got to be working on that woman from the start, but not so obvious that she smells a rat.”
“You want me to pose as an escort?” I asked.
“You catch on quick. Are you up for it?”
I hesitated to answer. “Well, I… I guess.”
“It’s ok to be nervous,” Robin said reassuringly. “In fact, it will be more authentic and arousing for her.”
“So, you want me to go on a date and possibly be romantically involved with her?” I thought for a moment, scratching my chin. “What does she look like?”
“She’s an attractive woman, they say,” Robin answered confidently. “There are no known photographs of her. She likes to stay out of the public eye. I can only tell you she is slender with auburn hair and is a hell of a good kisser. Oh, one more thing, she has a penchant for perversity… So, be ready. Just do as I say, and everything will go well.” He made a quick nod. “Let’s take a walk.”
Robin took me for a tour of the building while mentioning minor aspects of his plan. He then left me in my office, which was barren except for a phone on the desk.
I stood near the water cooler shortly after 4 p.m. Robin stepped into my view at the far end of the hall. He held up his thumb and pinky finger like a telephone to the side of his head, and mouthed the word “call,” with a look of urgency. He then disappeared from view.
I entered my office as the phone rang.
“Hello,” I answered.
“It’s me, Robin, tonight’s the night. You’re meeting April Spencer. Be on the roundabout in Piccadilly Circus at 9 p.m.. A black limo will pick you up. Wear a red scarf. She’ll know it’s you. Oh, and wear loose clothing, you’ll understand later.”
At eight-thirty, I took the Underground rail from South Kingston to Piccadilly Circus, the entire time nervous and wondering what I had gotten myself into. At least I was doing something other than sitting in my flat watching the telly. It was strangely titillating.
I exited the station. A light rain had just fallen. The smell of wet asphalt filled my nostrils. It was dark, except for the yellow glow of the street lamps that reflected upon everything wet like molten glass, clean and sterile. The buildings appeared skeletal, washed of any color, only contrasted by light and dark. The rain emptied the roundabout of bystanders.
The air was cool, and I wrapped a red and yellow scarf tight around my neck as I dashed across Coventry Street, then stood on the bottom step of the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain. There, I walked clockwise around until headlights beamed at me approaching fast along Coventry. A black limousine screeched to a halt. The side door opened, showing only a black interior. A voice from inside called me to enter.
I climbed in cautiously. In the large space at the rear, a woman sat in a short tan raincoat. Her long pale legs stretched out, ending in black stiletto heels. A large black veiled hat hid her face. I sat on the same seat, against the other side.
At the front of the cabin, a dark glass window slid shut with a click as the car started again slowly.
She pulled me next to her. I tried to make small talk when a silk-gloved hand covered my lips. A retractable liquor bar was open in front of her. She withdrew a narrow metal spoon from a pre-made drink after giving it one last stir. Then handed me the broad crystal glass and gently lifted its bottom upward as I consumed it entirely. I exhaled with complete relaxation as she set the glass down. The vehicle turned right. Through the window, I recognized the statue of the Horses of Helios. I knew exactly where we were.
I felt my scarf loosen and trained my attention back to her as she rummaged her hands over my chest. The hat and veil hid her face as she leaned close and kissed my neck. Naturally, I reached for her, but she pushed my hands away.
She spread my raincoat open past my shoulders. I felt restrained. Then I heard the buttons on my shirt pop as she pulled it apart. She bathed my chest in wet kisses, then nibbled at me, as her fingernails clawed my ribs, sending chills through my skin. My imagination swirled with erotic thoughts of where this was going.
One of her hands left my body, and from her movements, I knew she was touching herself. I felt compelled to give her the pleasure she was giving me, but again, she forced my hands away. Before long, her body convulsed lightly, and she fell exhausted, her face against my bare chest. We lay there together, our breathing in unison, our sweat mixing.
Slowly, she lifted her head and adjusted her veiled hat. She withdrew a small mirror from her bag. In the dim light, all I could see were her lips that were grotesquely smeared with red lipstick. For a moment, I thought it was blood. She wiped them clean, said nothing, then motioned with her finger to exit as she withdrew to her side of the seat.
For a moment I sat, confused, then I opened the door and stood from the car. I leaned down to look back in. Her hand reached for the handle and pulled it shut. The car sped away, blending with the many passing vehicles.
I stood in the exact spot they picked me up. The gentle rain still sprinkled as the few passersby hurried about. I joined them and walked back to the Underground as confused as before I arrived.
In my office the next morning, my phone rang within minutes of my entering. I knew it was Robin and picked it up. “Hello?”
“Come see me,” was all he said.
I walked down the long hall to Robin’s office. His door was open, and I entered slowly.
“Sit, my boy, and close the door,” he said. “So?” He paused as a smile grew on his face. “Tell me everything. Was it hot? Or, what?”
I must have blushed.
“There’s nothing to be embarrassed about,” he said. “This is what we do in genuine detective work. it’s not like in the theatre”
“Well, how do you know anything happened?”
“You’re forgetting, Paragon is the premier detective agency in London,” He said with a smirk.
“Right,” I answered with uncertainty. “Wait a minute, the driver, that’s who told you. Somehow, you know the driver.” I looked around suspiciously. My imagination splintered into many incongruous thoughts. “I bet you have this room bugged. You’re up to something.”
“Don’t be silly.” He dismissed the notion with a shaking head. “Why would I bug my own office?” He asked rhetorically. “Look, don’t get paranoid. Whatever driver there was didn’t tell me anything. It’s what I know to be her modus operandi.”
I shrugged that first impulse of paranoia.”Ok, ok,” I said and took a deep breath.
“Relax, Fielding. You’re my man on the inside, remember? Now, start from the beginning and tell me everything.”
I took another deep breath and told him the story. Robin licked his lips with every detail.
“I’m glad you were satisfied,” Robin said affirmatively. “Now, if she was satisfied, and it sounds like she was, April will call again and I’ll bet a thousand pounds she’s going to take it to the next level. So, don’t chicken out on me, ok, Fielding.”
“Ok, ok,” I answered. My palms began sweating, and I wiped them on my trouser legs.
“You’re nervous,” Robin said quickly. “Or, turned on?”
Again I blushed.
Robin watched and smiled. He then leaned back in his chair patting his lips with a pencil. There’s much more for us to do… Just work on those accounting records Terrence gave you and wait for my call.
At 4.p.m., again my phone rang. I watched it, knowing it could only be one person, and for one reason. I hesitated, then picked it up on the fourth ring.
“9. p. m., Piccadilly Circus, and don’t chicken out on me,” Robin ordered with a soft but persuasive voice. Then, the phone hung up.
That night again, the car arrived. Again, I climbed in and she handed me a drink. The routine was the same. I waited for her to advance and she closed the gap between us and then nuzzled my neck below my ear. She was someone who needed complete control, or a sense of security, or both. I let her have it, but felt she wanted to trust me. Once again, I reached for her, but she pushed my hand away.
This made it easy.
I decided to just go for the ride, but I had to get at something. I had tonight and then possibly another to give Robin what he wanted.
“You’re a very wealthy woman,” I said as she nibbled my neck. “I bet you could use a guy like me to help you with your tough work, huh?”
She put a finger to my mouth. “Shush,” she said, then reached for me once again and I knew this escapade would soon draw to a close.
“Miss Spencer,” I interrupted. “Can I call you April?”
Her hands stopped. There was a long silence, and she whispered, “I never told you my name. You’re here to spy on me, aren’t you?”
I didn’t know what to say, and struggled to speak as I felt her hand clench me. I feared for my safety.
What if she has a gun, or worse, a knife?
Any moment I thought she might lash out in a rage and the driver would appear with his fists swinging.
“You, you, you were in the news.” I blurted. “That’s how I knew. Your family owns a pharmaceutical company, Right?”
“Your cover’s blown, spy boy,” she said. Now, you prepare to get yours.
“Really. I… I know nothing.”
Instantly, her hands went to my raincoat and then the shirt, tearing it open. She stared at my chest. Then, groped me with her silk gloved hands.”
It would be a lie to say I did not enjoy it. There was something deviant and exciting about the encounter. Immediately, I was aroused. Miss Spencer cooed with pleasure as she held me, as if reading my mind. The moment was intense and regretfully over as quickly as it started. Perhaps it was fear mixed with pleasure, but she launched me into complete ecstasy before a few minutes had passed. I caught my breath for only a moment as we rounded two more corners. I pulled myself together as her arm reached over me, opening the door.
“Ok, now, get out.” She whispered harshly. “Next time, you better give me something.”
I climbed out. Then stood, feeling used, as the people sitting along the fountain watched me. The car sped away. A few bystanders whispered to those near them. Embarrassed, I straightened my shirt and crossed the busy street.
What did she mean, give her something? I thought as I walked back to the rail.
The next morning, I marched into Robin’s office. As I spoke, he quickly spoke into his phone, “I’ll call you back.” Then hung it up abruptly and glared at me. “Who do you think you are, marching in here uninvited?”
Instantly I felt ashamed. “Sorry, but last night was a disaster.”
“How so?” Robin inquired. “Didn’t you get your rocks off?”
I stuttered, searching for words, “Well, I… I might have ruined the entire operation. She knows I’m spying on her, or at the very least she thinks so.”
“How can you be sure? Did she provide evidence of it? Perhaps you heard the rantings of a paranoid nymphomaniac, a sex fiend who may only have been acting on her own delusions to increase her hyper-sexual state and that her assumption was a mere coincidence. Besides, she thinks everyone is spying on her. That’s why she’s so secretive. If you think about it, it’s just more proof that she is up to something.”
“I don’t know… Maybe?”
My mind spun with confusion as Robin stepped closer and put his hand on my shoulder.
“My gut tells me your last night is going to be tonight.”
“I don’t know if I can go through with it,” I answered. “For a moment there she terrified me, like she might slash me with a knife or something.”
Robin wagged his head dismissively. “Don’t worry.” He stepped back and sat on the corner of his desk. “I’ve never known her to be violent. If she was capable of something like that, she’d already be detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Now, get a hold of yourself. You have one more night to make this work. Your only chance is to get her to open up to you. That means whatever she wants, you do. Whatever she asks, you answer, and I mean honestly. There is a chance that she smelled a rat, and she might just be close to certain.”
“So what do I do if she confronts me?”
“Well, since you have nothing to lose, tell the truth.” Robin shrugged. “Make her think you are falling in love despite this.”
“She said she wanted me to give her something.”
Robin pumped his eyebrows up and down. “That sounds like one thing to me.”
I smiled nervously, “I don’t know… She already.—”
Robin interrupted, “oh, another thing a big part of her MO is that she wears a red dress when she expects to go all the way… If you know what I mean.”
I paused. “Isn’t that what we did last night?”
“Oh, no, my dear boy, you’ve only rounded first base with that ball-player. She wants more of you. Trust me.”
“Keep in mind, Fielding,” Robin said seriously, “she’s still a powerful woman with connections, despite her private desires. She has her hands in a lot of biscuit tins, and you don’t want that hand in yours. If she wants to uncover who you really are, she’ll find it. My suggestion is to play along.”
“What have you gotten me into?” I said desperately, while putting my hand over my brow and looking downward. “I don’t need wealthy psychos mutilating me.”
“Trust me,” Robin said calmly. “You won’t get mutilated. If it makes you feel any better, I’ll be nearby.”
I looked up at him.
He looked at me with a reassuring smile. “You didn’t know it, but I’ve been there the whole time.”
“Wait, a minute. Were you—”
Robin stepped forward and put his fingers over my lips. “Shush. Now, go to your office and review those financial records from Bradford and Bingley.” He raised one eyebrow. “I’ll call you if something is up.”
At a quarter to four, I looked at my watch, then the clock on the wall. Every minute I looked again. Oddly, I wanted it now and as that thought entered my head, I pondered what it meant.
Was I becoming like her?
My heart pounded, my palms sweated profusely, and for a moment I felt a panic and thought I might walk out of here right now and give it all up.
Why am I doing this? Maybe it won’t ring. She figured me out. It’s too risky for her.
Like clockwork, the phone rang at 4pm. With a reflex, I picked it up before a full ring had finished.
“Piccadilly 9 p.m.,” Robin’s voice whispered, then he hung up before I could speak.
I set the phone down. Immediately, a feeling of sexual arousal waved over me, and a need to see Robin. It took me ten minutes to put the accounting records of Bradford and Bingley back in the vault. I grabbed my briefcase, walked quickly to Robin’s office. The door locked. No light shone from beneath the door. A feeling of no turning back came over me and again that sense of panic.
At home, I showered and dressed in loose-fitting clothing, as before. I tried to watch the telly, but my mind replayed the previous two nights, her touch, her smell, how she said almost nothing and the impact of what little she said had over me.
Did I want this to continue or end? I thought. I only knew that I was going through with it one more time, the last time.
This time, the car waited for me. I crossed Coventry and went directly to the door. Before I reached for the handle, it swung open.
I sat in the same seat and all was the same, except this time she wore a tight fitting red evening gown. The same veiled hat covered her face. Strangely, I felt at ease as she handed me my drink, which I now desired. The entire scene was comfortable, and I knew this was it.
“Have you got something for me?” She asked as she set my empty glass down on the bar.
“I don’t know what you mean?”
There was a momentary pause. She inched close to me. Nervous twitches fluttered through my body. She had some kind of strange power over me I secretly craved. My arms relaxed as I waited for her to tear my shirt open once more. She did, and I gasped. Then, she took a deep breath and buried her face in my chest, my stomach, and lower. I felt I was being attacked by a giant lamprey that sucked ferociously. I became paralyzed, torn between pain and pleasure, her teeth almost cutting into me.
Miss Spencer possessed the strength and cunning of a succubus. I was at her mercy. My head spun, and I watched myself flail under her control. Regardless of how my arms and legs straightened and contracted, she never relented.
I heard a click. My eyes darted to the dark sliding window that had just opened and shut.
The driver’s watching.
My arms reached for her body, but she drove them away, refusing to be touched. This continued until I felt something cold against my groin.
“Now, my little twink,” she hissed. ” Who was the undisclosed beneficiary in the Wainwright claim? Who? Say it, or God help me!”
I tensed up as something cold and sharp pressed between my legs. My breathing seized and my hands grabbed onto her, pushing away in reflex. My heart pounded and I felt dizzy from lack of oxygen. A survival instinct washed over me; a fight-or-flight mechanism of sorts. Suddenly, the words flew from my mouth like pigeons from a rooftop, “Miles Mason!” I shouted.
Her hands relaxed. Exhausted, I sunk into the leather seat. Miss Spencer sat up. She turned and pulled off her veiled hat that came off with a wig.
A jagged tooth grin and crazed eyes stared back at me.
“See, Fielding… I have my ways.” Robin laughed profusely as he pulled himself into the front seat of the limo next to the sliding glass window, holding that narrow metal spoon in his hand. His crooked teeth looked more hideous and jagged than before as his mouth gaped wide with laughing cries. I gasped from the shock of it. A nauseous feeling waved over me. He had made me a fool and worse, seduced me.
He continued to laugh as the driver’s window opened. Terrence’s face peered out, filling the window frame.
“That’s why they call ‘im the Butler.” Terrence chuckled. “Ee opens doors,” Terrence said with a thick cockney accent.
The two of them fell apart with laughter, and I almost felt compelled to join them from the sheer insanity of it.
Terrence’s eyes shifted left, looking toward Robin, who caught his breath in between laughs. “Shall I give your date a ride home,sir?” Terrence tee-heed.
Robin answered with a nod and a waving finger as he tried to contain his laughter.
“Ya take the piss out of me, sir,” Terrence said and then continued to cackle.
A panic rose within me and I clumsily grabbed for the door of the limousine and stumbled out. Robin shouted from the limousine that drove slowly away, “See you bright and early tomorrow.”
I rushed to the underground, not looking back and wanting to get as far away as possible.
A month later, I sat in my office at Paragon. My door creaked open as Terrence entered.
“The chap from the courier service, Sir, shall I escort him in?”
“Right away, Terrence.”
“Good morning,” I said as the young man took off his hat and timidly stepped inside.
“Kirby, it is, correct?”
“Yes, sir, Kirby Parsons.”
“Sit down please, and I’ll get right to it.”
Kirby interrupted, “First, I want to say thank you. I’ve alway dreamed of being a detective. It was an absolute prize to have one of my deliveries recommend me for this job.”
“It’s fascinating how these things work out sometimes, Kirby… I looked around the room, then directly at him.”You currently work for Talbot’s Courier Services, correct?”
“Yes, sir, but I’m ready to leave as soon as you need me.”
“That’s good to know. You seem in good physical condition, riding that bicycle about London making those deliveries, aye?”
“That I am sir, that I am.” Kirby said confidently.
I leaned forward over my desk. “Good, good, because I need a man who can do some legwork.”
“Well, I’m the man for the job,” Kirby said with a nod.
“Look at this,” I said as I retrieved a photograph of a jeweled brooch.
Kirby looked on with curiosity. “Why, that’s that Victorian brooch pinched from the museum.”
“That it is,” I answered. “And we have a hunch where it is.”
“Then, why don’t you tell the constabulary?”
“True, Kirby… We could, but Paragon is the premier detective agency of London. If we run to the police every time, then they get the credit. Besides, if we’re wrong, then we lose their trust. What we want is to be certain.”
“Now, if you want a future here at Paragon, I must know that I can trust you, understand?”
“Absolutely, sir. I’ve been studying up on detective methods and I’m a fast learner.”
“Good then. I’ll get right to it. We think your boss Forbes Talbot has that brooch in his safe and I need you to help me find it.”
“The big safe in his office?” Kirby asked.
“That’s right, the big safe. Can you help us?”
“Why, I can’t go crackin’ me bosses safe. It just wouldn’t be right.”
Relax, Kirby, we just want to know the combination.”
“I can’t allow you to steal from him.”
“We will steal nothing, we only want to detect it.”
Well, I don’t know it, but I know how to get it.”
“So, how do we get it?” I asked.
Kirby hummed and hawed. “I really would like to work as a detective, but I just can’t help you crack my boss’s safe, especially when I take-it you are not even sure it’s in there.”
“Quite right, Kirby, quite right.” I said and glanced around my office, thinking of a plan. “Well, there is another piece of work I think we can scrum up against, a woman we are investigating. She’s part of a counterfeit ring and uses couriers to distribute the currency. This is right up your alley and further, she likes young athletic men. Her name is… May Flowers.”
“May Flowers?” Kirby asked, ya say. I never heard of her.
“That’s because she likes to stay on the low-down. Tell me… Have you studied up on a technique called the honey trap?”