Chapter 1 - Alexander
It was the last Club I visited in Geneva and no sign of Anna anywhere. How is that possible? Geneva is a minuscule town compared to London. There are not so many clubs! You can even count them on the fingers of one hand. I have also tried the restaurants, cafes and bars.
Every weekend last month I was spending it in Geneva. Since the private detective I had hired in Greece to spy on Anna’s mother and learn where she might be, had contacted me. He had told me her mother was saying to her friends and co-workers that her daughter accepted a new position in a bank in Geneva. Unfortunately, Anna had closed her LinkedIn account. Therefore, I couldn’t find which bank she was working at now.
For that reason, I was coming every weekend here and checking from one Club to another. I have almost made all the restaurants and bars. During the day, I was walking to the streets, entering the shopping malls searching for her. Nothing! It’s like she is going to work and then stays at home all day long during the weekends. Maybe she doesn’t have friends here. Or maybe she said to her mother not to say in public her real location. I do not know what to think!
I look at my watch and see it is three in the morning. Well, I think it is better to return to the hotel. She is not going to come. I finish my drink and get out. The fresh air hits my face. It is a pleasant feeling after staying inside the extremely hot Club drinking whiskey. I take a taxi and give the driver the hotel’s name, Ritz-Carlton.
I am looking outside of the window at the empty streets. In London there are always open shops, people walking down the streets, there is nightlife. In Geneva, there is no one in the streets after nine o’clock during the weekdays and during the weekends there are not so many who are walking in the middle of the night. Most probably she is not going out of her apartment too.
Damn! How will I find her? Maybe I should start going out during the lunch hour on the weekdays. Well, in any case, this week I will be in Geneva as I have meetings with banks, corporates and individuals for my business. Maybe I will be luckier!
The taxi stops in front of the hotel and a valet opens the door for me. I pay for the taxi and enter the five-star hotel. I haven’t returned here since my dad died and had taken over the company. I had to visit all our customers and counterparts to reassure them about the viability of the company. It was here where I stayed at that time. Now, they have renovated it. It is luxurious, like all the Ritz-Carlton Hotels.
I ask at the reception if I have any messages. They give me two envelopes. I take them and walk to the elevators. I enter and touch the fourth-floor button. I open the first envelope. It is from Francis, a friend. He learned from Johanna that I am in Geneva and he wants to take me for dinner tomorrow. Tomorrow is Sunday, so why not? I will give him a call when I wake up. If I manage to sleep first!
The second envelope is an invitation to the Donjon Club on Friday evening. I am sure it is Catherine who arranged this invitation. I don’t have any desire to go. I don’t have any desire to practice these games with anyone else except Anna.
The door opens and I get out of the elevator. I enter the suite. I walk through the living room to the room. I leave the envelopes on the desk. I put out my jacket and hung it in the wardrobe. Then, I open the minibar and serve whiskey. I take it and stand in front of the window.
Looking at the lake and the lights of the buildings and the streets, I replay all the events that had happened after Anna left me. I couldn’t find her to talk to her. She was not going anymore in her apartment. She was not staying with Mary either. She was going to work, but I didn’t have the chance to see her. I do not know when she was arriving and when she was leaving. I was waiting outside of the building, but I didn’t manage to see her. I was calling her office. She was not replying. The only time her phone answered was from one of her colleagues who told me that Anna had resigned from the bank. I have also sent her flowers which she returned to the flower shop.
Meg, my psychotherapist and friend, had told me it is better to give her time. There is a process that has to be done inside every one of us after a break-up. So, I stopped for a while, but I needed to see her again! To touch her soft skin and her beautiful hair! Smell her perfume of Christmas cookies! Hear her beautiful voice, screaming my name when I will bury inside of her and make love to her! I needed her! She was my oxygen, my sunshine! So, I had decided to search again for my cookie. Thus, the private detective in Greece and me here in Geneva.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when I went down to the dining room for breakfast. I ordered black coffee and scrambled eggs. Waiting for my order to arrive, I called Francis.
“Hello, Alex! I should learn from Johanna, you are in Geneva? You are coming and not even a call?“, I hear him answering my call.
I will kill Johanna because I don’t like her saying I am here when she knows exactly why I am here!
“Hello, Francis! Sorry, my friend, I was a little busy, that’s all. I will be here all week and certainly, I was planning to call you”, I apologetically reply.
“No excuses! Tonight we are having dinner together”, he proposes.
“Of course, we will, Francis! It will be a pleasure to see you again!“.
He is a good friend and is one of the few that had been left to be considered as friends.
“I will pass to take you at around seven o’clock. Alright?“.
“Alright, Francis. See you later”, I close the phone.
At that time my coffee and eggs arrive. I take my time eating. Afterwards, I go to my suite checking and replying to the emails on my laptop. In any case, what can I do on Sunday morning here? Nothing! Everything is closed. So, I stay inside working. When I finish, I check the hour and see it is already noon. I decide to go out for a walk. I walk in the Mont Blanc Bridge passing on the other side of the city. It’s sunny today and it is not cold! After all, we are in May!
After my walk and eating something light, I went back to the hotel. I read some newspapers and watched a little TV. Then, I got ready for dinner. I wear a grey suit with a blue shirt and a grey tie. I put on my silver cufflinks and my Rolex and go downstairs to wait for Francis. I didn’t have time to sit somewhere, because when I get out of the elevator my phone rings. It’s Francis!
“Hello, Francis!“, I answer.
“Alex, I am just outside of the hotel in a black Mercedes CLS”, he informs me.
“Alright, I am coming!“.
I close the phone while walking to the exit of the hotel. I get out and see his car with Francis inside. I approach. I open the door and enter the car.
“Hey, old friend, how are you?“, he cheerfully greets me while we embrace each other.
“Well, I try to be well”, I reply smilingly and ask him “And you?“.
“I am very well, but I missed you! I wanted to come to Johanna’s gala in Scotland in March, but I couldn’t make it. Apparently, I’ve lost many things that happened there, according to Johanna!“.
I will definitely kill her! I am sure she said to Francis everything about me and Anna. “So, you know!“, I stiffly comment.
“Well, I know what Johanna knows. I am sure she doesn’t know the whole story, isn’t it?“, Francis guesses correctly while he is driving. We are on the other side of the city and now he is entering the parking lot near the lake.
“No, she doesn’t know the whole story”, I confirm his thoughts.
“I thought so, but we will talk about it during dinner. I might have some information you would love very much!“.
I look at him. He is smiling! What the hell? Did he find Anna? And if so, how did he do it?
“You have found Anna, didn’t you?“, I ask him.
“I might have”, he parks the car. “But we will talk about it later. Come on”, he immediately gets out of the car.
I follow him outside walking in the street. “Francis, have you found her?“, I forcibly insist. I want to know! I need to know!
“Alex, why didn’t you call me when you learned she was here? I might help. I am working in the banking sector and in Geneva, everyone knows everyone”, he asks me instead of answering my question.
We enter the Passage of Lions and enter the Baroque Club. I don’t remember it existing three years ago when I last came here. It is a beautiful and elegant restaurant with grey velvet chairs, grey and metallic walls, and mirrors on the ceiling. Francis made a reservation and they show us to our table.
“This place has very good food made by a very young Chef. Believe me, he will be the next Ducasse!“, Francis says excitedly.
I do not care. What I want is to tell me if he has found her and where she is now.
“Francis?“, I ask and he looks at me leaving the menu from his sight.
“Alex yes, I have found her or more specifically, she has found me”, he opens the menu again.
“What do you mean she has found you?“, I curiously ask him, but he ignores me.
Apparently, he will talk when he wants to. He is torturing me because I haven’t contacted him for a month now. What a bastard! I smile and open the menu. The Maître d’ comes to take our order. Francis orders beef tartar for the appetiser and a lamp for the main dish. I take scallops and sea bass.
“I am working for a new bank which opened at the beginning of the year”, Francis starts talking.
I raise an eyebrow. Seriously? Will he talk to me about his work now?
“One day, about two months ago, the HR sent me a resume, which the bank had received as a spontaneous candidacy. As I am the Head of the Corporate Division I looked at it. It was a very good one. In addition, this candidate had excellent references and it could fit in well with our bank”, he continues, but I interrupt him.
“Francis, sorry, but I do not care about your recruitment. Where is Anna?“.
“Ts, ts, ts”, he exclaims. “Alex, please let me finish and you will have your answer!“, he replies with a smile. He is enjoying immensely torturing me!
“So, where I was? You see, you have cut me, I forgot what I was saying! Ah, yes! Well, we had a Skype interview. This person was also good looking and was speaking excellent French and English. I liked this person. I was sure it could fit perfectly for the position we were hiring. HR had also an interview with this candidate and we made an offer. The offer was accepted and this person joined us five weeks ago”.
I am boring as hell, but I politely continue listening to his story.
“Two weeks ago, Johanna called me and asked me a favour. She tells me the whole story of you and this girl, Anna. She also tells me she left London and now she is in Geneva working for a bank. Johanna also added that you were coming every weekend searching for her. She then asked me if I can search and find her for you by asking my friends in the different banks here”, Francis stops talking, because our appetisers have arrived.
When the waiter leaves he continues “I was angry with you for not contacting me and as I immediately knew where Anna was, I didn’t call you to tell you. This will be a lesson for you in the future. Friends are for providing help, Alex! So next time, call me!“, he finishes saying, but I do not understand how he knows where Anna is.
I look at him perplexed “Francis, I don’t understand. Where is she and how have you found her?“.
“Anna is the person I recruited from London to work in the bank! She is working with me. She is one of the Relationship Managers”, he reveals laughingly and my mouth falls open.
I cannot believe what I hear!
“When Johanna told me about her, you cannot imagine how I tried not to laugh on the phone because she was sitting just in front of me. Nevertheless, I should warn you about something I’ve noticed”.
I am all ears.
“I wanted to check if she still has feelings for you, so I asked all of them what they are planning to do during the weekend. Everyone said what they would do. Then, I also said that I was going to London to see some friends there. I asked Anna if she knows them. So, I started to say some names. Naturally, she didn’t know them until she heard your name! You should see her face! She pretended not to know you, but on her face was written “He is my love, but I don’t want to hear about him”, Francis finishes talking.
I am speechless!
“Well now, Alex, Bon appetit!“, he starts eating his tartar.
“You knew it for three weeks and you didn’t call me?“, I ask him, stunned.
“Yes!“, he replies while eating.
I cannot believe it! The bastard! “What’s the name of the bank you are working for?”
Instead of replying to me, he puts out a piece of paper from his interior pocket and gives it to me.
“This is her phone number and her address. I don’t want to see you around the bank. Work is work. No games during work hours. Am I clear?“.
I take the piece of paper. “Thank you, Francis!“.
I open the paper and see an address in Geneva and a Swiss phone number. My little cookie! All the memories of the moments we have passed together are coming to my mind.
“I have sent you an invitation for the Donjon”, Francis interrupts my thoughts.
“I thought it was Catherine”.
“No, it was me, but I hope to see her there”, he has a naughty smile and back thoughts. I laugh. “I don’t like being the slave in bed, but I am doing only an exception with her. She is so sexy being the Mistress of the situation and…“, he continues, but I cut him off.
“Francis, I do not want to know”.
He laughs. “Honestly, she doesn’t have the type of doing this kind of thing your little girl”.
Now, I do not want to talk about it. So, I say nothing and start eating.
“I also sent her an invitation for the Donjon. Anonymously of course”, Francis suddenly says and my scallop sticks in my throat.
I am choking! Francis comes next to me and hits my back.
“Hell Alex! Are you okay?“.
I nod positively trying to take a breath and drink some water. He is laughing while he sits again opposite me.
“Are you crazy?“, I ask him angrily. “Why the hell have you sent her an invitation for the Donjon? Without asking me first?“.
“Hey, calm! Why not? You were not playing this kind of game with her?“.
“Francis…“, I stop.
What to say to him? I don’t like speaking about my private life or what I am doing in bed with the women I am bedding. Of course, I will not say anything about Anna!
“Fuck, Alex! I thought you had practised these kinds of things with her! I am sorry. In any case, she might not go or if she goes, maybe she will run away when she sees what kind of Club it is”, Francis continues eating.
“Francis, you shouldn’t have sent her the invitation. She is a debutante. I was going slowly with her”, I finally admit.
“Okay, then! No harm! Maybe she will like it!“.
Francis doesn’t know what I have done to her.
“Francis, I don’t know if she will still like doing these things again. We broke up because I have bitten her so badly”, I admit and raise my hand to him to stay silent while I continue to explain to him what had happened.
“We were invited to an event of her Community in London. She danced very sensually in front of everyone, but it was a dance like this. She didn’t make it on purpose to make me angry. But I became drunk and got jealous. When we returned to my apartment, I attached her to the bench and whipped her with the long cue whip. I don’t remember for how long, non-stop! I was awful, Francis! She was bleeding and had faint!“, I explain.
Francis says horrified “Fuck, Alex! What the hell?“.
I continue “And it is not only this., when I was whipping her, I called her whore, slut and other names like this. I didn’t stop when she used her safe word. I also called her by Caroline’s name”. I finish explaining to Francis.
“Holy shit! You’ve broken every rule in BDSM! When they say stop, you stop! You don’t punish them for pain, but pleasure! And you never practise BDSM when you are under inebriation! Alex, what the hell have you done? Now, I understand why she wanted to leave London!“. Francis is horrified at what he had just heard.
“Now you know the whole story”.
“Yes, it is not what Johanna had said, of course. How she could know about it! Well, on the other hand, maybe sending her the invitation is a good thing”.
“What do you mean?“. I ask him curiously.
“Well, you can check if she still likes these games. If she goes and stays to watch, maybe she is not reluctant about that. Then, you might have your chance to try again!” Francis explains and has a point.
An idea comes to my mind and I smile! Oh, my little cookie! This time you are not going anywhere!