The shop’s shutters were down. A “closed” board hung outside. However, I kept staring at the window. A white teddy bear had caught my attention. I always loved these. Even though I had a room filled with them, I could never let go off the chance to buy another. I may have turned sixteen, but my love for a teddy stayed put.
“Do you want it?," my father asked.
I nodded and turned to look at him expectantly.
My father chuckled as he called his secretary. A few minutes later we walked away from the shop. I was a happy owner of a new white teddy. My father had paid the shopkeeper one thousand dollars for a hundred dollar toy.He could turn the world upside down to make me happy.
Many years ago, when my mother left dad and me, he was heartbroken. We were not rich then. She eloped with a rich contractor. My father was still struggling. But, now seven years later he had touched the sky. He was a billionaire and he pampered me endlessly.
I still remember those hard days. I was nine. My dad would work hard and return home very tired. An aunt next door had taught me how to prepare lemonade. I would prepare some for him and he would love it. Those were simple times. As years passed, our living conditions improved. My father became richer and busier. What remained constant was our bond of love.
However, as his wealth increased, his circle grew. He began to bring a woman over sometimes. They’d give him company for the night, and leave in the morning. My nanny Sarah, would take me away to the room early, lest I throw a tantrum. On those nights, I was not permitted to go to my father’s bedroom for a night time story.
“He has work, child," Sarah would explain patiently.
But, one night when Sarah had left, curiosity had me tiptoeing to my father’s room. The door was tightly shut, but the voices from inside were enough to let me know what my dad was up to. Ever since then I started hating those women. I was scared that I might lose my dad to one of them.
My father, a simple man learnt to drink and smoke in their company. The few nights increased to most of the nights. As their presence became a permanent fixture in my dad’s life, the time that we spent together lessened. We rarely had dinner together anymore. Somewhere around, our bond was becoming fragile. Adversity had brought us closer and prosperity was creating a wide gulf. Bit by bit I felt that I was losing him. I was afraid that like mum he too might abandon me one day.
Today was a rare treat. He had volunteered to take me out. I was on cloud nine when he bought me the bear. As I hugged him he promised me that I’d be the only one whom he ever loved.
My naive sixteen year old self believed him. When we reached the car, I fell asleep on our way home. Later my dad tucked me to bed and kissed my forehead before gently closing my bedroom door. It reminded me of the good old times. I smiled. I was very happy after a long time.
I had been waiting for Peter to return. I was dressed to please. The clock’s hands were nearing midnight.
I wondered, whether my efforts would make my night worthwhile. Lost in my thoughts, I was alerted when the room opened. Peter’s eyes widened for a fraction of a second before, returning to normal again.
“Sweet Surprise," I said as I made my way to him.
“Not today Leah I’m tired.”
Peter’s response made me stop in my tracks. We had been together for a month now. Till today, he had never refused me. As a matter of fact, no man could stand nude Leah's charms.
"Keep calm, Leah," I reminded myself. Peter was a billionaire. I knew that I could not act rashly before him. He could lift a finger and destroy the likes of me any time. But, in case of Peter I had an advantage. He was new to our world- a world where sex, drugs and booze were never in short supply. A world which was intoxicating yet, terrifying at the same time. A world that could easily ensnare 'nouveau riche' like Peter. Where models like me were always searching for that one rich person whom they could entangle in their beauty trap.
Men like Peter, who had skeletons, who'd put on a facade. They might succeed in business but their lust could easily be turned against them. They were new. They were unaware of the pits that lay here. And, once they had tasted this world they could gradually become addicted to the pleasures that this world offered.
Some were even destroyed in this process. I never wanted to harm him. Peter was a good man. I had always wanted to find someone like him to marry. I wanted him to be mine alone. I wanted us to taste each other whenever I desired. I wanted to give wings to his lust. I wanted him to completely lose himself for me. I wanted him to find it hard to keep his hands off me.
I was willing to use any method to set him on fire. If it meant tricking him into trying drugs, I'd never hesitate.
I put on a look of concern as I wrapped a robe around me, and followed him to the walk in closet. I hoped to be a co-owner someday.
Peter's chest was bare and he had just removed his belt when I entered. His hands stopped as he looked at me.
"I thought that you had left by now."
"I was worried. Are you stressed?"
"I had a long day. Later in the evening, I went out with my daughter. I am thoroughly tired now."
My insides seethed when, he mentioned his daughter. So, she was the one who wanted to prevent me from enjoying my nights with her dad. We had not met yet but, I knew enough of her aversion for women like me.
Well! sorry girl. You are too young to pose any threat to me. Leah always gets what she wants. My inner self might have been on a riotous spree but, my face reflected calmness and a gentle smile.
Peter, who was a good businessman was unable to detect any malice within me. Perhaps, the fact that he was born in a simple family worked to my advantage. I knew that, if I could get him to the altar he'd be mine forever. I knew that his wife had left him broken. I knew that deep within he bore grudges. He was very angry and had bottled it up inside.
All I had to do was, channel his anger towards his daughter. At the same time, if I could play innocent, and please him, while encouraging him to explore the forbidden, I could soon be Mrs. Williamson. A man loved to be pleased, and Peter, was no different in this aspect. Today was my first test. And, I'd definitely not be Leah if I couldn't get him inside me tonight.