Lauren thought he was a thug. Initially she mistook him for one of the day laborers hired to help unload the mover's truck. It appalled her when she realized that he was actually her new neighbor in the adjoining half of her duplex.
She thought he was homely, brutish looking. His nose looked like it had been broken (as it had been at least three times that he could remember). There was an old scar high on one cheek under his left eye. His gray hair was short, virtually a buzz cut that emphasized his oval face. The lines in his face said 60 or more years must have passed since his benighted mother pushed out this "ape" as Lauren thought of him. His eyes were dark, watchful and unwavering under eyebrows bushy and black with flecks of gray. They were bushy brows that would have humbled the United Mine Workers fiery former leader, John L. Lewis. His lips were full, almost feminine; she thought them oddly out of place in that face. His arms seemed to Lauren to be too long for his body; rather simian she thought icily. He was big boned and those long arms were muscled and sinewy. Although clean shaven he had a Nixon-like heavy beard; raspy by 2 p.m., even if he shaved in the morning. His chest and torso looked like a heavy barrel set upon two tree stumps. While he was nearly six feet tall he looked shorter because of the thickness of his body. Hairy too, she thought, shuddering inside at the black and gray hair that could be seen within his partially unbuttoned shirt. He wore shorts so she could see that his legs were quite hairy. He had to be Jewish to be moving into this seniors community where everybody was; not by compulsion but by weight of numbers and preference in the larger area where so many Jewish people lived. She speculated he came from peasant stock somewhere in Poland or Lithuania or who knows; anywhere in the Pale of Settlement that had stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
Such a shvarts change, she thought. The previous owners, the Feldmans had been such wonderful, genteel neighbors; from respectable families, educated, witty, vivacious people with whom she and Mort had been close friends. She missed them greatly. They played duplicate bridge in the same club; took cruises together, Mort and Edgar golfed, and Alice and Lauren partnered in tennis and they all played mixed doubles. They dined out together; went to concerts and the theatre and casinos with the Feldmans. Edgar Feldman's company, gone now, had manufactured purses. Before his death, Lauren's late husband, Mort had operated a small chain of men's clothing stores and sold out to retire comfortably.
Edgar Feldman had been frisky sometimes and she had not begrudged him a feel of her breasts and bum, or inside her thighs when everyone had too much to drink and all were feeling raunchy. But he was easily controlled and it went no further. It turned out that Mort liked to feel up Alice too. She and Alice laughed together when they told each other about the other's spouse's shenanigans; they were sophisticated people, cultured and respectable. They never traded spouses in bed. Mort had been an attentive lover although her libido exceeded his and she could not cajole him into trying all the things she fantasized about. She had made up for the shortfall with sex toys and masturbation but never a lover. Now Mort and Edgar were in the ground and Rachel was lost somewhere, locked within the mists of Alzheimer's in a nursing home. Visiting her was sadly pointless. Save for solo masturbation, sex had gone out of Lauren's life as well long before she buried Mort some five years earlier. She had not met any gentlemen she judged to be of breeding and quality equal to her own.
Lauren's family, the Zweigs, had been German aristocrats for 200 years before barely escaping from Nazi Germany in 1938. They brought with them their infant daughter Sarah (Lauren's given name) on an unbelievably frightening flight through Eastern Europe to Greece and somehow to Morocco from whence, on a leaky hulk they miraculously reached New York. They paid their way with gold coins and diamonds that Lauren's mother carried in her body. Her mother and father never looked back and their little import/export business grew until they became at least as prosperous as the family had been with its land and factoring interests in Germany before Hitler and his henchmen had stolen it all and murdered most of her relatives.
Lauren was acutely aware of and proud of her aristocratic origins despite what Germany had done to her family and her people. Her view of her place in the world, culled from study and the snatches of overheard conversations of her parents, had been reinforced by a pampered youth and quality education in very exclusive and private schools for daughters of wealthy families; nominally non-sectarian the students were mostly Jewish.
It was a shame that Lauren's sex life had largely been buried with Mort. She was a handsome, buxom woman in her 67th year. She was proud of her full breasts but they did sag some, as to be expected now when unfettered; still the nipples were yet as sensitive as they had ever been. An open channel of delicious sensory passage from her nipples to her crotch seemed undiminished by the years. She could still bring herself to orgasm by assiduous nipple play without touching her pussy. Her prominent and matronly broad bum had not sagged yet and her well turned legs and thighs were still quite fetching; she considered them to be her best asset. She also thought and rightly so that her vulva was quite attractive, as compared to others she had seen, although, but for her gynecologist and one or two other women incidental to changing in a club or spa locker room, only Mort had seen hers incidental to penetrating her and kissing her nether lips on a few rare occasions when he had done so reluctantly and only after petulant and finally stern cajoling.
Comfortable lifestyle had thickened her waist and the two children she had given Mort had left her with a matronly pillow tummy. Old lechers at the community club ogled her in her bathing suit (she had a prominent mound) and tried to befriend her; not infrequently with unabashed "time is running out" candor. But she rejected them all and became known as the ice queen or even more coarsely as "that cold bitch."
She did not think of her face as beautiful. She felt her nose was too long and prominent and that her eyes were too closely set in her long face. Still she kept her hair strawberry blond; its original natural color as confirmed by her telltale pubic hair. In repose the inner lips of her labia peeked out between the plump pistolettes of her major labia. The entrance to her vagina lay beneath a prominent fleshy and tufted hillock. When stimulated her "jack in the pulpit" swelled and grew glistening and pulsing out from under its hood.
Now as she watched from her front window, not deigning to step out and greet him, the new neighbor turned deliberately and stared at her as though he knew she was watching. A small smile formed on his ugly face and he ducked as though peeking back at her and waved. Lauren quickly jerked away from the window and her face burned with embarrassment and anger. The first thing the asshole had done was catch her peeking and humorously chided her in an unspoken but offensive way. She made up her mind to ignore him. She damned sure was not going to be extending this mamzer any welcome, wagon or otherwise.
The baby grand piano surprised Lauren when it emerged from the moving van. His large hands with thick fingers could not be those of a pianist. Perhaps there had been a wife or daughter who played and he had never gotten rid of it. If there had been a wife and children they were not living with him in this place. He moved in alone. She certainly could not conceive of this oaf being cultured in any way. Why did they let people like this live in this exclusive community even if they happened to be Jewish?
He drove a Corvette. Lauren thought to herself; an aging Romeo as well. Hardly surprising. It was all of a piece wasn't it; that a troll like this should drive a "pussy magnet." She'd heard Mort and Edgar calling the sports car that coarse name. The sorry bastard probably needed all the help he could get in order to get shtuped. Maybe some pitiful fat old broad would be hard up enough to let him crawl on top of her.
The thought of allowing him to make love to her; to put his hands on her, to enter her most private and intimate place; well it disgusted her and it made her shudder. So it chagrined her greatly but privately when some days later she awoke in the night, hot, sweating and drooling from her slack pussy. She found herself roused from a lust soaked dream by a wracking orgasm. In the dream this Neanderthal new neighbor had somehow gained entry and came into her boudoir in all his hairy nakedness with his thick erection preceding him. Rather than being repulsed she eagerly licked it and sucked it. She freely allowed him to put his mouth on her tits and her vulva, his fingers up inside her and his tongue as well ; hands caressing everywhere, pinching and pulling and finally taking the brute's thick hot meat up inside her. Then she fucked and fucked him gloriously until she awoke in an orgasmic storm.
How could she think such a thing even in her subconscious? At her age she should be having such sordid sex dreams? She did her best to suppress the image of coupling with him; of pulling his face into the redolent oasis between her legs; of sinking her hot wet sheath down onto his distended rigid cock; at least his cock as she imagined it in her wanton dream state. But it lurked in her subconscious and she found herself with a long dormant and increasingly insistent sexual craving. Castigating herself only seemed to sharpen her un-whetted appetite. Masturbation brought temporary relief but at the same time reinforced the unwanted mental imagery.
She made it a point never to be outside when he was arriving or departing his home. He seemed to be content to accept her cold shoulder and did not try to introduce himself or "come on" to her. But after several months Lauren attended a community party at the club. She was enjoying herself when Miriam Walzer tapped on her shoulder and asked Lauren to introduce her new neighbor. Lauren explained that she hadn't met him herself. Before she realized what Miriam was doing she had taken her by the arm, and walked the two of them through the crowd and there he was chatting with the Abe and Edie Kaplan.
"Please introduce us to Lauren's new neighbor," Miriam said.
"Oh, you haven't met your new neighbor yet Lauren?" This from Edie. "Lauren Hoffman and Miriam Walzer this is Lev Reznik. Lev, this is Lauren and Miriam. Lauren is a widow and Miriam wishes she was too."
"Edie, I'll get you for that," Miriam laughed. "Edie lives vicariously. She gets off fantasizing about my sex life." Everyone smiled but Miriam's suggestive remark brought color to Lauren's cheeks. Everyone was used to Miriam's suggestive talk. Ordinarily it would not have provoked any sort of reaction from Lauren. But here she was being introduced to this crude man she had avoided and for once Miriam's humor annoyed her.
"Mrs. Walzer and Mrs. Hoffman, it is a privilege to meet you," Lev said. " Mrs. Hoffman and I; well we are so busy with our lives that we've not even seen each other to say hello. I must apologize, madam for not previously introducing myself as the newcomer next door." HIs voice was a pussy vibrator; a rich base, modulated and cultured. He sounded like a radio announcer; she thought of the mellifluous Abba Eban, once Israeli U.N. Ambassador, cultured English without accent. The tones of his words flowed over Lauren and warmed her stomach and groin as though she had tossed back a shot of cognac. She was irked by the way her body betrayed her. The thug, he knew it too; she felt certain.
He uttered this little formality with an amused and steady gaze at Lauren until she broke eye contact; furious with herself for doing so. The bastard! She knew he deliberately provoked her. She remained expressionless but looked over Lev's shoulder and spotted the Zuckermans.
She said. "I see the Zuckermans and I've been meaning to speak to Rachel. I need to take this opportunity. Edie, Miriam, Abe will you excuse me?" She swept away without waiting for an answer having pointedly and rudely refused to acknowledge Lev or his greeting. (At home later that evening she confirmed by observation the dampness of coital secretion that had wet her underwear. Damn!)
Lev drained his drink and remarked, "My glass is suddenly empty. I'm going to get another drink. May I get anything for any of you?" They all mumbled negative thanks and he walked away smiling to himself. A real Jewish princess he thought; family roots in Germany; aristocracy sadly stripped of their position, power and wealth. He had quietly checked her on the old boy network. Lev knew people in obscure jobs in Israel who knew and kept information about a lot of people. He knew with his usual quick insight that she had seen him as a peasant; although not immediately correct about Lev himself, it was true of his parents, who had made their way to Palestine from a shtetl in the Pale before he was born.
Lev himself was a Sabra; born in Israel. HIs father had been a member of the secret Haganah. Lev's own background and how he came to be living here rather than Israel was an enigma to those of the community who had met him. They suspected an affiliation with the Mossad but no one mentioned that.
Later in the evening, after Lauren snubbed him so coldly, the president of the community association asked for quiet and introduced a special occasion; a new resident of the community had been discovered to have a musical talent. Reluctantly but graciously he allowed himself to be cajoled into playing for the group. The winner of the All Israel Upper Grades piano competition in 1955. Lauren was flabbergasted when he then asked everyone to welcome Lev Reznik.
She watched from a distance as this beastly man, with those thick stubby looking fingers, brought forth from the piano the strains of Rachmaninoff's arrangement of Mendelssohn's Scherzo from "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The music washed over everyone and the enthralled assembly fell completely silent. When he concluded the audience erupted in applause and insisted on another piece. He played "Hava Nagila" as an encore and soon had the crowd dancing enthusiastically. She overheard someone say later that for an amateur he played that scherzo very well; that it was a devilish piece for the piano.
He was in and out, sometimes gone for several days, sometimes for a week or more. Often when he traveled a big black SUV with dark windows picked him up. A very muscular young man would alight from the vehicle; always looking and checking about carefully before approaching Reznik's door to wait for him; then hustle him into the SUV which would speed away. A couple of times she saw a different, scholarly young man, then a young woman, as both entered the absent Reznik's residence; not only having keys but also both of them obviously knew the code to disarm the alarm system she knew to be installed there.
When he was at home he joined in community activities, proving to be a good tennis player, quicker than one would have thought for his age and build, with a hard serve. She and Jack Morgan had been defeated by Reznik and Anita Morgan in a mixed doubles tournament, before they too were eliminated by the tennis elite of the community center. When they shook hands pro-forma after the match the touch of his hand sent a pulse of sexual buzz to her groin; it both frustrated her and again dampened her panties. His hands were not callused but very firm and she could sense the power in them. Yet he held her hand with a light touch. And there was that damned knowing smile; that was the way she saw it. Sure he was charming and seemed open and friendly but something in his dark eyes under those awful eyebrows; there it was and he seemed to her to convey that he knew how her body was responding in complete disobedience to her will. How on earth could she be repulsed by him emotionally yet also endure the erotic craving her body insistently communicated?
He also played duplicate bridge at the "Master" level and quickly earned respect for his strong game. Men and women sought to partner with him whenever he was not away, at the afternoon or evening gatherings of the duplicate aficionados.
None of this culture and sociability made any difference to the visceral dislike Lauren (so she told herself) held for the man. Moreover he appeared at the pool one day in a small spandex bathing suit, thick, solid and hairy with his gear making a prominent bulge in front. Those long arms were well muscled; not grotesque but clearly he worked at staying in shape. There were many glances and a hum of horny old broad remarks as he swam, then stretched out on a chaise to take some sun. Miriam, the tart, offered to apply sunscreen lotion to his back. He accepted and Lauren could only imagine that the nafka had an orgasm or went home and fucked Saul, her husband, to spurting exhaustion, or both. She went home. But the image of that bulge stayed with her.
She had the erotic dream again. Again, somehow he got in her house. Again he appeared at her bedroom door. Although it was dark somehow in her dream she could see him quite well. Again, as before, he was naked and his cock stood out in front of him inflamed and thick and hard erect. Her pussy felt hot and wet. Her mouth dried. She watched as he advanced on her with that damned confident smile. When he reached her bed he said, "I've brought what you want, Lauren my princess." Then he leaned over and kissed her on the lips, forcing his tongue into her mouth. The SOB had his nasty tongue in her mouth but instead of making her ill it aroused her intensely. Then she realized the tongue had transformed to become his cock and she sucked and licked it eagerly.
"That's it my princess. Ahhh, yes, yes. You are such a good cocksucker. You are a cock sucking princess."
As the dream went on she felt hands on her breasts and nipples, caressing, fondling, pulling and twisting them; setting off flashes of exquisite pleasure. A hand at her pussy massaged her clit faster and faster until she awoke in a shattering orgasm and a stuttering series of secondary climaxes; spasms bolted through her so that she involuntarily and repeatedly clamped and opened and clamped her thighs tightly on the hand, her own hand that so sweetly tortured her sex. She awoke and despite herself continued to vigorously masturbate; furiously massaging her clitoris until she was satiated after half a dozen more orgasms. When she calmed down she was once more at a loss to understand the fixation that had settled like hot, wet – make you squirm – sackcloth enveloping her body.
Yet another couple of months passed and Lauren was at lunch with Miriam.
"Some of the others have agreed to auction themselves for the fund raiser," Miriam said.
"Has it come to that, Miriam? We are going to prostitute ourselves to raise money for the hospital?" Lauren gave in to her sarcastic streak.
"No, of course not. Lauren, don't be silly. Humph! The auction winners get to take the ladies they win out to dinner and that's that. It will be fun; lots of laughs. Give some of these old codgers a thrill. I hope you'll agree to participate Lauren. I know there are lots of men who'd like to be your date."
"That's just ridiculous. Besides ho wants to buy a dinner date with a 67 year-old broad? They'll go running in the opposite direction. I'm the ice-queen. I know, I know what they call me, these miserable old codgers.
Miriam insisted that Lauren "think about it." She pestered her about the auction until finally, against her better judgment, Lauren agreed.
Wednesday before the auction the SUV appeared and swept away after picking up Reznik. Lauren was relieved. She hoped that he would be gone beyond Saturday, the day of the auction. Why, she thought, do I assume that he would bid for a dinner date with me anyway? She tried to push the notion out of her head; realizing that she was projecting and making an assumption. It struck her that she was subconsciously hoping he would bid. Yes, he would bid and someone would meet his bid and top it until ultimately he quit. It would be good to see this Lev Reznik humiliated as he tried to get a date with her. But more fundamentally she told herself she would be most relieved if he simply did not appear. She would, wouldn't she?
The night of the auction arrived and Lauren thankfully saw no sign of Reznik. When she left for the Community Center his townhouse looked dark. She assumed he was still away; wherever away was.
Auction of the dates with the five women who had agreed to participate were held until the end of the program as a teaser and the highlight of the evening. Thus far 14 men had bid of the 32 who lived in the community. Some of them were married but had wives with Alzheimer's or who had no objection for one reason or another. The others were single, mostly widowers. A few carried oxygen bottles around with them. One afflicted old gent had a urine collection bag strapped to his leg. A catheter disappeared up the leg of his Bermudas. Another 143 residents of the community were single women, all but a few with spouses divorced or dead, or in nursing homes with Alzheimer's or some other miserable gift of M. Nature, and rounded out with a sprinkling of "never marrieds" of indeterminate sexuality.
"OK you alter kakers we come now to our last lady, the lovely Lauren Hoffman." As had the ladies before her, Lauren self consciously stepped forward. There was applause and a wolf whistle and someone, probably Jablonski, said, "Hah! The 'ice queen'!" Lauren smiled although she felt like screaming, thinking to herself why did I do this? I must be crazy letting Miriam talk me into this. But more grim smiling.
"Who will start the bidding at $25.00 to enjoy Lauren's company for dinner," Mordecai Levitz cried out. Mordecai was always the emcee at these community events. "Do I hear twenty-five dollars?"
"I bid twenty-five CENTS for the ice queen," shouted Sam Jablonski, who had first called her that. "Not a penny more!"
"Sam you old zhlub, behave yourself," Mordecai said. "If you gave twenty-five cents the Wailing Wall would collapse. Tokhis oyfn tish," Mordecai muttered. Sam annoyed him for taking some of the excitement out of the moment.
A commanding voice spoke loudly and with rich timbre from the back of the large assembly room. "One thousand dollars." There was a collective gasp as everyone turned to see who bid.
Mordecai squinted and tried to see. "Ay yay yay!" he exclaimed. "Did I hear one thousand? Dollars then you mean?"
A path cleared and Lev Reznik stepped forward. "Yes, one thousand dollars. Hardly enough for the company of this sheyner froy."
Lauren heard and saw but it took several moments for the full realization of what had just happened to burst in her mind. He had appeared out of nowhere and made an outrageous bid. She was stunned, angry, excited and rather unnerved. The most bid for Alice Cohen, still very pretty and nicely shaped at 71 years, had been $375.00.
"I have one thousand dollars bid. One thousand," Mordecai shouted. The audience burst into applause. "Any advance on one thousand? Are you all done? Going once at one thousand! Going twice! Sold! One thousand dollars for a dinner date with the sheyn Lauren Hoffman. The winning bidder is Lev Reznik. " More applause and suddenly everybody was talking at once.
Lev made his way to Lauren. She dreaded what he might say but he surprised her completely.
"Mrs. Hoffman, you don't need to go to dinner with me. I was going to give the hospital fund a thousand dollars anyway. I couldn't resist bidding, particularly after that fellow made that remark about you."
Lauren collected herself. "Why would you think I would want to evade keeping my part of the bargain in this silly auction? We shall go to dinner. Make arrangements and call me. We will go and make the best of it." Distasteful as it is she thought to herself. Was he insulting her again telling her that he was going to give the money to the hospital fund drive anyway? So he wouldn't have paid a thousand dollars for her company otherwise?
Reznik said, "Then it will be a privilege. Do you have any preferences?" He continued to look at her with that damned hint of smile.
"I really don't care; just go ahead with what you like. Goodnight," Lauren said and she walked away. Reznik watched the swing of her hips as she strode out of the assembly room. He enjoyed the view of her tokhis. Sheyn gefukremt he thought. Her scent was still in the air where he stood; perfume, yes; but something musky, more urgent and stimulating under the sweet smelling mask. Her ass and her smell made his thick shmekele stir and twitch.
He was out of town, home for two days, gone again for a week, home for three days, then gone again but for just two days. The day after he returned she found a message on her answering machine. He had made arrangements. Did she still wish to go to dinner with him? Would Saturday at seven be okay? She phoned him and confirmed.
Lauren determined to dress in a way that would prompt no mistaken presumption that anything further awaited at the end of the evening. She chose a navy blue button through dress with a flared skirt that reached mid calf, loose fitting short sleeves and a scooped neckline; well it did show some cleavage didn't it? And button through up the middle front was a dress that could be buttoned or unbuttoned to reveal as much or as little leg and thigh as a woman might decide as the evening progressed. In fact button through meant that the dress could be opened completely if circumstances developed wherein one wished to allow another more intimate access. With it she wore a white sleeved wrap that offered lots of flexibility in concealing or revealing arms and cleavage. Although she had set out to discourage false hopes, her libido quickened despite herself. Refusing to admit it, she allowed herself to succumb somewhat to her libido's whisper in her mind's ear, "Have some fun. Make him squirm. He deserves it."
So she debated and rejected panty hose in favor of stockings, with matching garter belt and matronly but sheer, black lace panties. A matching bra completed the lingerie ensemble. She did like to feel sexy. Anyway it was well short of a "fuck me" outfit but one that, if she permitted, would facilitate and heighten pleasure to be had by both her and an enthusiastic groper if allowed to explore the bonanza of flesh beneath an unbuttoned dress. Of course she did not want him, could not imagine wanting him, to do anything of that sort. Such a hairy troll. Ugh! No, she would be civilized but it would be dinner and goodnight. Her libidinous self would have to be content with a towel so as not to soil the bed sheets should her pussy secrete copiously, as it still sometimes would, and a dildo of choice from among several favorites. She liked to pleasure her vagina with a dildo while massaging her vulva and the clitoral tissue crowned with that nubbin of miniature cock flesh. So good. She could make repeated crests of gratification race through her body from the epicenter between her soft and warm thighs.
He was there promptly at 7 p.m., dressed in soft khaki slacks, dark blue blazer and a pullover Murano dress tee. He had shaved his heavy beard free of five o'clock shadow, at least as free as he could without taking off the outer layer of skin on his cheeks. His cologne smelled good.
When he addressed her as "Mrs. Hoffman," she told him, "Oh, enough with the 'Mrs. Hoffman' would you mind! I'm not anybody's grandma."
He did not say where they were going and he did not tell her. She noted that they were in the city and in a part of it she had not previously and would not otherwise have entered. The restaurant turned out to be a small one in an older storefront. It was run by a family of Ethiopian Jews. She had heard of these people but never encountered them. It was obvious from the warm greeting that Reznik was well known to the family.
A little girl, perhaps four or five, approached Lauren with a lovely bouquet of flowers. The gesture completely disarming her. She flushed when the child said candidly, "You must be the beautiful neighbor, Uncle Lev told my mother and father about."
Momma, Abaynesh, was a tall and strikingly regal woman with aquiline Ethiopian features. She hugged Lauren warmly while welcoming her and escorting them to a table. All the other tables, perhaps 10 altogether in the small restaurant, were occupied.
Papa, Kabede, also tall and sinewy looking, poured wine for them and toasted "Mazel tov!" before they sat. "Now enjoy. No menus. We will serve you what we have. Ethiopian. You don't know it madam. Now you are having an adventure. You will enjoy, I know this."
She did. It seemed exotic because it was exotic. There was injera, of course, the Ethiopian flat round bread, and on it three kinds of wat or stew. They ate without utensils which Lauren found off-putting at first. But they all insisted with good humor that she forgo a fork or knife. After a bit she gave herself over to enjoying the food and the atmosphere, and the family, even Reznik, and she ate enthusiastically using pieces of inerja to scoop up the wat. More wine; their glasses always topped off. A second bottle. Israeli wine Lauren noted. The little girl, Chekolech, was shooed away from the table but returned repeatedly to smile shyly at Lauren, who was captivated. Finally desert and a strong coffee and a liquor of some sort. Lauren was glowing with drink and flushed at all the attention heaped on her by the family. She could not remember what she and Lev had talked about but she knew that without realizing as it happened, Reznik had skillfully drawn her out and she had chatted away while he listened. He is quite a clever troll she thought smiling to herself. Am I being cleverly seduced? She excused herself and in the ladies' impulsively unbuttoned the skirt of her dress to above her knees. She returned to the table carrying her wrap. Both Abaynesh and Kabede hugged her warmly when they were ready to depart and the little daughter hugged Lauren around her legs.
When they left the restaurant he asked her to wait while he retrieved the Corvette and brought it to the door. But she demurred. "Nonsense," she said. "Why shouldn't I walk to the garage with you just as I did when we arrived?"
"After dark this neighborhood is sometimes risky."
"If the food had not been so delicious and the family so wonderful and friendly," Lauren said, "I would have concluded you brought me here to insult me. So now you're trying to frighten me instead?"
"That never entered my mind," he said looking at her or what he could see of her face in the dim light that filtered out of the shaded restaurant window. "This is one of my favorite restaurants; a jewel in the rough. I wanted to please you. I hoped it would be a new experience."
It had been and, although she resisted telling him, he food was delicious. The bouquet from Reznik presented on their arrival by the little girl had thoroughly charmed her. She had enjoyed the flattering attention of the restaurateur, his wife and their children; all of them worked in the family business. It had been to this point a very enjoyable evening.
They walked together, neither spoke. Ahead, still some distance away two figures appeared on the sidewalk and began walking towards them. Lev knew immediately they were trouble. How ironic he thought.
Reznik touched her arm lightly. "Keep walking Lauren. Look at me. Talk. Say anything. Laugh. Hold my arm. These two approaching us are going to try to mug us. They will not succeed but you must be steadfast and do as I say. We will be okay then. Do you understand?"
Lauren felt a shiver of fear go up her spine. Oh no, she thought. Why didn't I listen to him instead of insisting on walking to the car with him.
"Lauren, did you hear me?"
"Yes," she said. "How do you know?"
"I know," he said.
The distance between Lauren and Lev and the two approaching figures closed rapidly. Lauren could see that they both wore hooded sweat shirts and the hoods were up. They had their hands in their pockets. Hooded sweats in this warmth and humidity?
Lev said quietly, "Fall back just a step so that you're slightly behind my right shoulder."
The hooded muggers, it was clear in a flash that is what they were, drew to within a couple of steps and blocked Lauren and Lev's further advance. What took place next happened so quickly that Lauren could not follow it.
First mugger whipped out a large automatic pistol and simultaneously yelled, "Give it up mothafu ... OWWWW, AHHHG!" He was down and his arm was oddly crooked. He screamed when Lev stepped on the crooked part. The pistol was now somehow in Lev's hand, pointed between the eyes of the other would be mugger. But this second mugger also was fast and as his partner went down he grabbed Lauren from behind and held her tightly in his arms with a stiletto knife pricking her throat.
Lauren felt the prick of the knife where he held it against the delicate skin. His rancid body odor made her gorge rise and she fought not to gag. Spittle flew on the side of her face as he shouted, "I'll stick the bitch, fucker. I'll stick her. I'll fuckin' stick her. Fuck. Fuck you. I'll fuckin' do it dude."
She could feel him trembling against her and knew that he was wildly frightened, as much or more than she was herself. How quickly what should have been an easy mugging of two old fuckers had gone awry. What the fuck had this old shit done? On the ground the gun wielder continued to writhe and scream.
Lev's face was composed and calm. His voice was calm as well and he spoke to the one who held Lauren. He spoke with deadly resolution in direct and explicit language. "Shut up now and listen to me. You do not need to die tonight. Do you understand me? You do not need to die. Listen carefully. Don't move in any way to hurt the woman because I will kill you instantly. I am going to count to five. If you are still holding that knife and holding the woman when I say five I am going to shoot you between the eyes. You will die instantly before you can move your knife to harm the lady. Your brains will blow out the back of your head. Your body will be dead before you collapse."
"You fuck! Fuck you! I'll so fuckin' cut her!" He shrieked. The mugger was in a panic. He could not understand why his partner was on the ground with his arm, like totally fucked up and the old fucker had the gun. It was wrong, just goddamned wrong! He was so preoccupied he did not hear Reznik say "One."
But he did hear "Two". His darting eyes swept across Reznik's face and snapped back to the geezer's eyes. Motherfucker, the old man, his eyes held death; the mugger had seen it before. This bastard old man was a stone killer. The panic surged up and without conscious thought his grip relaxed and the knife clattered to the ground. In the same instant he bolted down the street and in a flash was in an alley and gone.
Lauren could not stop shaking and was actually too frightened to cry. She tried to absorb what had just happened in the last and longest 30 seconds of her life. She clutched herself and watched as Reznik operated the slide on the semi-automatic pistol and a round flew into the air then fell to the ground. He took the magazine out of the weapon and thumbed the rounds into his other hand. When the weapon was clear he flung the ammunition to scatter far down the street. He did something to the weapon and the slide came off and then he had the barrel in his hand. He stepped to a nearby storm drain and dropped the barrel down between the grates where it plopped into standing water. He flung the slide in one direction and the grip and frame in another.
The formerly armed mugger rolled around groaning and crying and holding his arm. He rolled off the sidewalk into the gutter.
Reznik leaned close to the man's ear. He said, "My name is Lev Reznik. Lev Reznik. Remember that name. If I see you again here or anywhere you are a dead man. You don't know how close you came to dying tonight. You would have died if not for this lady being present. I want you to tell her now, 'Thank you for saving my life. Mr. Reznik would have killed me if you had not been with him.' Repeat that back."
"Fuck you! Motherfucker! I need a fuckin' doctor; you fucked up my arm."
"You're not listening to me, asshole. Tell the lady what I told you to say. Let me help you." Reznik stepped on the broken arm. The mugger shrieked. He told Lauren as he had been instructed. Reznik took her by the arm and guided her away. They continued to the garage where Reznik used a pass card to open the locked door and gate.
Lauren thought this must be a dream. I am going to wake up and none of this will have happened.
"Reznik, I thought you were a thug the first time I saw you when you moved in." Her voice was shaky. Now I see you really; and truly are. We could have been killed. Why didn't you just give him the money like he wanted?" Now she began to weep.
He got her into the passenger seat of the Corvette then leaned in and fastened her seatbelt across her lap. She had unbuttoned several buttons up from the hem of the skirt earlier and it hitched up as she sat. Now as she slumped in the bucket seat she was distracted and her knees opened wide. He could see her lovely thighs almost to the bare flesh at the tops of nylons. His lusty gaze at her thighs was not lost on her and a warm flush rose so that blotches of red spotted her chest. But she did not close her knees. She wondered if looking at her this way had aroused him. She sniffled and he produced tissues from somewhere. She blew her nose loudly.
As he drove he said, "Some situations are only dangerous if one does not have superior personal resources to neutralize the danger. I know these kind of people and my training just kicked in. I have handled these foolish sorts many times. Most much more dangerous than these two. I very much regret that this has frightened you so. I did ask you to wait at the restaurant while I went for the car. Well, that is not so important now. There is a flask in the glove box. Why don't you take a drink; it will help you calm down."
She found the flask and took a swallow. It was very good single malt Scotch. Her hand trembled and the adrenalin impact on her body still had her keenly apprehensive and alert. The whiskey warmed her throat and her stomach. She took another taste. Shit, she thought, my makeup must be a mess and fumbled through her purse to set about repairing the damage...