This piece of fiction is intended as ADULT entertainment. It contains material of an adult, explicit, SEXUAL nature. If you are offended by sexually explicit content or language, please DO NOT read any further.
All characters in this story are fictitious; any similarity to any persons, places, individuals or situations is purely coincidental. The author does not necessarily condone or endorse any of the activities described in this story.
This story may not be reproduced in any form for profit without the written permission of the author, Nick Scipio (firstname.lastname@example.org). This story may be freely distributed with this disclaimer attached.
Copyright © 2003 Nick Scipio. All rights reserved.
A knock on the door summoned Graham from a ruminative silence. He looked at his watch and realized it must be his two o'clock appointment. With a quick check to make sure his desk was in order, he stood and walked toward the door.
"Dr. Moscowitz?" Graham asked the man at the door. The man nodded and Graham stepped aside, motioning for him to enter.
"Thank you for seeing me on such short notice, Dr. Turner."
"Certainly, certainly. Come in. Have a seat," Graham said, gesturing at one of the comfortable wing-back chairs in front of his desk. "And please, Dr. Moscowitz, call me Graham."
"Graham. Of course. I am Saul."
Graham seated himself behind his desk and looked at the man across from him. Dr. Saul Moscowitz was short and plumpish, with wire-rimmed glasses and a prominent nose. Male pattern baldness had actually improved his appearance, Graham decided, softening his face and giving it much-needed character.
"You know why I asked to see you," Saul said. At Graham's nod, he continued. "It's about Howard Bloom."
Graham felt his heart race. "Of course, you realize I can't disclose..."
Saul nodded and withdrew a slim manila folder from his briefcase. "Here is all the necessary paperwork," he said, passing the folder across the desk.
Graham scrutinized the papers--authorized releases allowing him to breach confidentiality and discuss Howard's evaluations. Once satisfied that everything was in order, he sighed deeply and withdrew a significantly thicker folder from the file drawer in his desk.
"Where should I start?" he asked, more as a rhetorical question than a request for guidance.
"Why not start at the beginning," Saul said.
Graham smiled tightly and flipped open the folder.
"Well, Howard David Bloom, Junior: six feet tall, 180 pounds, brown hair, blue eyes..."
"I expect I'll learn all that when I meet him," Saul said, interrupting Graham.
"Of course. I'll have to evaluate him for myself."
"Are you sure? I mean..."
Saul nodded firmly.
Graham shook his head and continued summarizing the document in front of him. "He graduated magna cum laude from Stanford, double major in Psychology and Criminal Justice, minors in Sociology and History."
"Impressive," Saul said.
"Indeed. Did you know he was recruited by the FBI?"
Saul's eyebrows rose, then he shook his head.
"He was. He joined the Marine Corps instead and went off to OCS. Followed in his father's footsteps, you see."
The two men went through a substantial portion of the file before Saul held up his hand.
"Betsy Powell. You've mentioned her name several times. Who is she?" Saul asked.
Graham chuckled humorlessly and shook his head. "She's the lucky one."
Saul's brow creased with impatience.
"Here. Read the transcript for yourself," Graham said, handing a sheaf of papers across the desk to the other man. "It's from a recording I made during an early conversation with Howard. I asked him about Betsy, and this is his account of how they met."
I don't sleep well. I haven't for as long as I can remember. I guess I've always felt like sleep was a waste of time. I've got too many important things to do to take up much of my day with sleep.
Besides, nighttime is my favorite time. People generally leave me alone, and I can think without anyone fawning over me. Usually, I like to be the center of attention, but nights are for me, and me alone.
Maybe it was that need to be alone that led me to walk the streets. Maybe it was just that I didn't want to deal with Kristi and her insufferable wailing. She loved me, she said. She needed me, she said. She'd do anything for me, she said.
Actually, there was nothing wrong with Kristi. I was just done with her. She had become tedious. For the past two months, she'd done everything I wanted--even gotten into hot water with her boss about too many missed days of work.
It sucks to be her.
I chuckled at the thought. Actually, it did suck to be her. I'd made her give me a long blowjob in the cab on the way home from one of the trendy dance clubs she liked so much. She was having fun with her friends, but they were more interested in each other than in me, so we left. Kristi was disappointed, but it wasn't about her, now was it?
She didn't want to blow me, especially with the cabby able to see everything. But again, it wasn't about her. After we got to my apartment, I told her to gather up her shit and get out. It had only been a couple of months, so she didn't have much stuff there.
I loved the look on her face when I told her we were through. I wasn't upset about it, why was she? We'd had fun while it lasted. I'd had fun, at least.
I was tempted to fuck her before she left, just to shut her up, but I decided against it. After all, I was breaking up with her, I didn't want her to think I loved her. Love was for before, not after.
She didn't want to leave and I didn't want to watch her go, so I locked my apartment door behind me and walked to the elevator without a backward glance. She'd be gone when I got back, I was sure of it.
It was a bit late to find someone new, but I'd manage somehow.
I always had.
A cute waitress worked the night shift at the all-night diner on the corner of 59th and Tenth. She'd given me the eye a few times when I'd gone in for coffee late at night. I decided to walk the few blocks to see if she was there.
I'd never given her any sign that I was interested in her, but I thought she'd fill the not-void left by Kristi. Oh yes, I thought to myself, imagining the waitress' smooth curves and healthy farm-girl breasts, she'd fill the void nicely.
The diner was nearly deserted and she was wiping up the tables. The few times I'd been in before I didn't talk much, and she got the message I wanted to be left alone. Once, however, she chattered on, telling me she was a student at one of the local colleges and worked nights because her classes were early. I didn't remember the college, but I remembered her name: Janey. Janey from Wisconsin, or Wyoming, or wherever.
I took a seat in one of the booths and she came over with a coffee cup and a pot of regular.
"Hiya," she said, perky as always.
"Hi, Janey. How're things tonight?"
She looked at me for a moment, surprised I'd actually talked to her.
"You doing okay?" I asked, turning on the understated charm.
"Yeah, I'm great."
I decided she must be from Wisconsin. She had that upward lilt at the end of everything she said, kind of like she was asking a question with every statement. She set the coffee cup down and filled it efficiently, giving me a look that was equal parts suspicion and interest.
"Can I bring you anything else?" she asked, reverting to the safety of routine.
"I feel like pie," I said. "What's good here?"
She leaned down confidentially and whispered, "Anything but blueberry."
"What do you recommend?" I asked, trying to draw her out.
"I like the apple."
I laughed genially. "Really? That's my favorite." She was from Wisconsin, dairy country. Would she like it with ice cream, or cheddar cheese? I looked at her with counterfeit suspicion. "You eat it with ice cream?" I caught the briefest hint of her disapproving expression and continued. "Because that would be just plain wrong. You've got to eat it with cheddar cheese."
"That's my favorite way to eat it," she said.
Of course it was, I thought smugly. Personally, I couldn't care less about apple pie, with or without cheese or ice cream. I liked lemon meringue, but pie wasn't the point of the exercise. I gave her my warmest tired smile and nodded. "Then I'd like a piece of that apple pie, with cheddar cheese."
She practically beamed at me and turned to get it.
I smiled at her until she turned away, then took a sip of my coffee. It was hot, black, and strong, just the way I like it. That's one thing I didn't miss about the Corps--the coffee sucked.
When she returned with my pie, I pasted on my best charming smile and she actually blushed. I chuckled to myself. This was going to be easy.
"I warmed it up for you in the microwave," she said. "And I gave you an extra big piece."
"Thanks," I said. "I don't know if I ever introduced myself." I held out my hand as she set the plate down. "I'm Howard."
"Pleased to meet you, Howard." She reached out and took my hand.
As our palms crossed, I gently caressed her wrist with my fingers, just enough to let her know it wasn't accidental, but not enough to be truly overt. I gripped her hand firmly, but not tightly, and squeezed once, smiling my 50-megawatt smile and making eye contact. She blushed again, and I let her hand go. Oh yes, I thought to myself, this was going to be so easy.
She turned and headed back to the counter. I already had thoughts of her bent over the kitchen table. I decided I'd fuck her from behind first. Definitely.
I let her catch me looking at her, but averted my eyes each time she looked at me, as if I were interested, but maybe a little shy. And I ate my pie. It was actually pretty good.
"So, Howard," she said, sidling up to the table to top off my coffee. "What do you do for a living? Like, I see you in here sometimes, but I never could figure out why you're out late. You know?"
"I own a security company," I said.
Her eyes got wide and I knew I had her hooked. A well-to-do nice guy, maybe a little dangerous, exactly what a starry-eyed, slightly jaded farm-girl from Wisconsin would find interesting.
"We do security for several buildings in the area. I check on the teams assigned to them."
"Wow," she said, clearly impressed. "You must be pretty important."
Time to downplay it a bit. I shrugged. "Somebody's gotta do it. I take care of my guys, they take care of our clients, and our clients take care of us."
She nodded, and I got the idea she wanted to say more, but one of the other two customers called out, asking for more coffee. I looked at the man and memorized his face. If I ever saw him again, maybe I'd...
No, not Cindy, but close enough to be her sister. My heart raced with anticipation. She was cute, maybe a little too plump, with the same blowjob lips that Cindy had. She had just turned to walk away from the diner, down 59th Street, when I spotted her through the far window. If I hadn't been paying so much attention to Janey, I would have seen the girl sooner. Without saying a word, I got up, left ten bucks on the table, and headed toward the street.
Cindy certainly wasn't my first, but she was the only one that meant anything to me. I actually enjoyed doing her.
I met her right after my unit returned to Pendleton from deployment. She was everything I wanted, and maybe then some.
She was from Lemon Grove City, just a few miles away. Her parents were Ivory Tower peaceniks, holdovers from the Sixties who despised the very people who provided the freedom they took for granted. The idea of their daughter dating a "government killer" made them crazy, and that drove Cindy crazy. I didn't care what she was rebelling against, especially when she moved in with me. I had a small apartment a couple of miles from the camp's main gate, and Cindy made that place a home.
I think Cindy was the closest I ever came to loving anyone. But then she betrayed me, and I couldn't have that. She passed every test but the big one: loyalty. Always faithful--semper fidelis-- means something to me. Evidently, it didn't mean anything to her.
After that, I decided the Corps wasn't the life for me anymore, so I got out. Civilian life offered so many more opportunities, and I decided to seize them.
Saul lowered the papers and looked across the desk. "He actually said that?"
"Said what?" Graham asked.
"'After that, I decided the Corps wasn't the life for me anymore, so I got out.' He said that?"
Graham nodded firmly. "I have the tape if you'd like to listen to it."
"He says 'I got out, ' like it was a choice he made."
"He's like that."
"He was court-martialed, right?" Saul asked.
"He was. Conduct Unbecoming. But because of who his father was, he was allowed to resign his commission."
"But... I thought you said he was charged with..."
"I know," Graham said heavily. "He was found not guilty on all the other charges."
Graham nodded. "The evidence was only circumstantial. Besides, the accident happened when his unit was on a training mission, which can be dangerous, you see. At first, the Judge Advocate didn't even look at him as a suspect. Even after he came under suspicion, he passed a lie-detector test with flying colors and completely snowed the NCIS investigator."
"They had to know he was responsible for the doctor's death. How dangerous can a training exercise possibly be?"
"With his former unit, pretty dangerous."
"What was his unit again?" Saul asked distractedly.
"The First Force Reconnaissance Company," Graham answered without looking at the file.
"A reconnaissance unit?! Then he shouldn't be all that dangerous."
Graham looked across his desk in incredulity. At first, he didn't believe the other man was serious. Then the magnitude of Saul's naivete struck him like a blow. "You really don't know?"
Saul shook his head irritably. "No. Why should I?" he snapped.
"First," Graham explained patiently, "there are few US Marines who aren't dangerous. Second, the Force Recon units are, as Howard put it, 'on the sharp end.' They're an elite group like the Army Rangers, or the SEALs, or Delta Force. Howard could explain it to you better than I can, and he will, if you ask him. But trust me when I tell you that he's a very, very dangerous man."
Saul looked dubious.
"Keep reading," Graham said, indicating the papers Saul still clutched loosely. "You'll see."
I shadowed the girl for a few blocks, running over in my mind what I wanted to do, what I wanted to say. The more I watched her walk, the more she reminded me of Cindy. There had been others who reminded me of her, but this girl, this girl was young, like when I'd first met Cindy, when she was still fresh and new. And loyal.
The girl I was following turned into an alley and I pulled up short, to wait. There's no rush, I told myself. A few moments later, I heard a scuffle and decided to see what was happening.
When I rounded the corner of the building backing the alley, my first reaction was surprise. That lasted for only a heartbeat. She was in the alleyway with three men. Two were holding her by the arms, being none too gentle, and the third was pawing under her short skirt.
How dare they?!
I checked the small of my back for the SIG I always keep there, but decided the situation didn't call for a gun. One look at them told me they were street punks, barely worthy of consideration under normal circumstances.
I didn't even try to hide myself as I walked down the alley toward them. The leader, the one with his hand under the girl's skirt, saw me first.
"What're you lookin' at, dickwad?" he snarled.
There's a time for fighting and a time for talking, and this guy didn't realize that the time for talking was already long gone. I took another step in his direction and he obligingly moved toward me. A quick side-step and a forearm to the throat left him wheezing and gurgling on the ground.
His two buddies were more loyal than smart. They dropped the girl and came at me together. In the dull glow from a streetlight at the mouth of the alley, I saw the gleam of a knife in the hand of the guy on my right. Instead of doing the smart thing, coming at me from opposite sides, they simply rushed me head on.
I went for the guy with the knife first. A knife isn't all that dangerous, the person wielding the knife is. Remove the wielder from the equation, and a knife is just so much useless cutlery. This idiot had probably never used his knife against someone who fought back, and he paid for it. In three quick seconds, the two of them were on the ground.
"What happened to those men?" Saul asked.
Graham shrugged. "I asked Howard about that. He calmly told me he'd left them lying in the alley. I pressed him on it, and he just shrugged. 'What if they were dead?' I asked him. You know what his answer was?"
Saul shook his head.
"'Then they got what they deserved.' He was as calm as if he'd just said he liked my tie."
"I actually did a little digging on my own," Graham said. "The NYPD told me there were no homicides matching that description anywhere near 59th Street."
"So he was lying."
"Not necessarily. A detective from another precinct called me up several weeks later. Seems that three 'skells, ' his word, were found in an alley about twenty-five blocks from where Howard placed his account. One had his larynx crushed, one was stabbed, and the third had his neck snapped. The police were just glad to be rid of the three, and there was really no case against Howard, no evidence. Besides, any competent attorney could argue self- defense."
"Do you think... ?"
"Yes. I'm sure he was responsible. The accounts match too closely to draw any other conclusion. He simply lied about the location."
"So what happened to the girl?" Saul asked, visibly shaken.
Graham gestured to the papers. "Keep reading."
The girl was terrified. In a manner of seconds, she'd seen me drop the three men who had attacked her, and I guess she figured I was simply going to pick up where they left off.
"Hey," I said in my gentlest voice. "Are you okay?"
She swallowed hard and nodded automatically, trying to tug her skirt back down and straighten her top. It had been ripped when she struggled with the men, and now it lay open, displaying a healthy portion of her chest.
I put out my hand and walked slowly toward her, smiling as I did. "I'm not going to hurt you," I said reassuringly. "I'm here to help."
She smiled wanly and seemed to relax.
I took a step closer and reached out to her. "Why don't we get out of here," I said.
She swallowed again and took a step toward me.
Eventually, I coaxed her into taking my hand and gently pulled her from the alley. She had to step over the leader of the trio, but pointedly didn't look down. I glanced at my watch and saw it was almost five in the morning. I knew a donut stand around the corner that would be setting up right about now, so I took her there.
In the growing morning light, I realized how young she looked and how much she reminded me of Cindy. She had the same long brown hair, big brown doe eyes, and the full lips that always made Cindy look like she was ready to go down on me. I'd already forgotten the waitress at the diner as we walked toward the donut stand.
The guy at the stand leered at her partially exposed chest, but after he looked into my eyes, he was all business. We got coffee and donuts, and then walked off.
"I'm Howard," I said, trying to set her at ease.
"Betsy." She paused for a moment and gripped her coffee fiercely, both hands shaking. After a long drink that seemed to settle her nerves, she asked, "Were those guys... ?"
"Unconscious," I said firmly.
"But one of them was bleeding."
I nodded. "He got a cut on his arm when I took the knife away from his buddy. He'll be fine."
I could tell she was still in a state of shock, and she'd seen too much blood for a simple cut on the arm, but she let it go. I wanted to take my jacket off and put it around her shoulders, but the SIG would be visible if I did. I couldn't have that. Besides, there was blood on my right sleeve, and my jacket covered it.
"Is there somewhere I can take you? Somewhere you can get cleaned up?" I asked. She had that look about her--the look of a street- smart opportunist--that told me she'd answer yes to my next question. "My place is just a few blocks away. Would you like to go there?"
She nodded, and I steered us toward my apartment.