The morning had been going well. Too well in fact. Her beloved hadn’t torn the facade they were keeping between them yet. Had he decided to forgive himself for the gaffe of parading his delectable body for her greedy eyes to feast upon? She hoped so. Removing the cameras would be impossible at this point. Once someone receives an inch, they will want a mile. And she had taken more than an inch. But from what she knew of her beloved, would he truly forgive and forget?
Thinking of the determined walk he had taken through his bedroom the second time, —and what a lovely, wet and naked walk it had been — she could feel a cloud of suffering coming to cover up her happiness.
The phone rang. Brigitte messed up her signature on the project she was approving. It was the personalized ringtone she had set for her beloved. She reached for the phone and as she pressed to respond, held it as if it was going to explode on her face.
“Hello, belo— ‘cough’ — Tristan. Hello, Tristan.” Oops. Slip of the tongue.
“Brigitte!” her dear whispered fiercely. “I don’t... I don’t know what to do!”
She almost had a heart attack at the amount of panic in his voice. Quickly, she connected to the house cameras through her laptop. Seeing him safe calmed her, before she realized the mess she was in.
Fuck. That cloud was looking more and more like a storm cloud. “What is wrong? Are you safe?” Acting was perhaps the only art she was passable at, though she suspected that it was due to how good she was at lying. Since her beloved wanted to play in a drama, she wouldn’t deny him.
“There’s... there’s a camera at home. I found it... in the kitchen. Brigitte, is someone... spying on me?”
Truly, if she hadn’t been the one to place said cameras and if she didn’t have a live feed to look at right now, she would believe he was in severe distress. Naughty, naughty beloved.
“Calm down, Tristan. First, leave the house, OK? We don’t know how dangerous this is yet, so stay outside and next to groups of people. Have you called the police?”
“No, not yet. I called you first.”
Although it was probably a ploy, the fact that her beloved would call her first when he felt threatened warmed her heart.
“I am on my way. Keep me on the line. Do not hang up,” she grabbed her keys and made for the elevator. “I am going to alert the police to come at your address.”
“... Okay,” He added after some surprised silence. Didn’t expect her to bring this to the authorities now, did he? But he wanted to act in a drama, and she would deliver in full.
God, why did he enchant her so, even when he behaved so naughtily? She would have to punish him.
Only as cops started to barricade his house in yellow tape did he start believing that Brigitte had called actual, real police officers. And as he saw her politely forcing the police captain to treat the ‘crime’ done to him more seriously than a home invasion, he came to the conclusion that Brigitte liked to live dangerously.
After solving the issue with the captain, she hugged him for the tenth time that day alone, taking advantage to touch all of his upper body in the name of giving him comfort. At that time, he came to the more appropriate conclusion that she was insane.
“Are you sure you are fine?” she asked again.
Dammit, why did he decide to put on the role of a traumatized boy in the phone call again? Ah yes, he wanted to scare her. But now he was stuck with her arms around his waist, and he couldn’t move them forcefully without breaking character. “I am okay,” it came out as a whisper, even as he gritted his teeth throughout it all.
She grabbed his chin, raising his head to meet her eyes. He expected laughter, or at least some amusement hidden deep within those grey pools, but he only saw harsh seriousness. “You will tell me if something is wrong.” She might have wanted to phrase that as a question, but it came out as a command. He watched her stupefied for a moment. She didn’t seem to be talking about the play they were both putting on.
“Will you?” she continued, her grip on his chin lightening, her eyes softening with true worry.
He looked at the ground unable to answer the emotions in her sight and tone.
“Excuse me,” a policewoman broke the moment between them, giving Tristan a chance to escape Brigitte’s inquiring eyes. But not her hands. Although he tried to move away at the interruption, her right hand stayed hooked to his waist, keeping him close to her own body.
Detective Harris, as she introduced herself, politely ignored their interaction and started questioning him on the ‘crime’ that had brought them all here. He answered her questions slowly and described how he came about the cameras with the appropriate amount of fear and indignation for a victim such as he.
“Do you have any suspicions on who might be behind this?” she asked.
He bit his lip and glanced at her uncertain and filled with apprehension.
The policewoman seemed to look vaguely happier at the hint of a suspect. She continued nudging him. “Anyone at all. An ex or a friend who might be too close?” At this she looked at Brigitte, who of course, didn’t even have the grace to look ashamed at the correct guess. “Or even an acquaintance or colleague. Usually, stalkers as obsessive as this, try to make contact with their victims. So if you can think of anyone, please let us know, so we know to take steps against them.”
“I have a patron,” Tristan finally relented or at least pretended to do so. “He, um, I think it is a him, has sponsored me anonymously over the years. I have never even met him. I have been trying to figure out who he is but I... I don’t know much. Um, my agent might know more. I can give you his number.”
After Detective Harris left, Brigitte looked quizzically at him.
“You think your patron is a man?” she asked.
He put on a ‘slightly embarrassed but determined’ expression.
“Yes. I mean, it is more likely for someone so...” he pretended to think hard for the right word. “... so perverted to be a male, right?”
She looked offended at his assumption. “It isn’t good to fall prey to such presumptions, Tristan. What if it is a woman and you put down your guard around her thinking it’s safe? You could get hurt.”
He barely stopped himself from gaping at her. She was not insulted that he had called her perverted to her face and too little of a woman for the gender norms of this world, but that he might get hurt from the hypothetical criminal because of his hypothetical claims that they both knew to be false?
Tristan wanted to shout at her. Lady, the only person on this planet who is currently a threat to me has her arms around my body. Guess who that is?!
“Besides,” Brigitte continued as if Tristan wasn’t trying to incinerate her with his gaze alone. “We don’t know yet if your patron is really behind this. I haven’t found out who they are yet,” she looked apologetic for having failed to find his patron’s identity.
Look into a mirror. Congratulations, you found them. “I really hope it is not him that placed the cameras,” he confessed to her.
She raised an eyebrow at his intentional use of the male pronoun. “And why not?”
“He has been so nice to me until now. Saved me from a terrible house and gave me an education. If he did that just so he... just so he could humiliate me like this,” he waved towards the house, before making his point clear. “I would hate him forever.”
Brigitte grimaced at the word “hate” before she could stop herself. She was his obsessed, perverted patron after all.
An officer called him over to sign some documents, so he made his escape from her grabby hands while she was still in shock over his declaration. Point made, he had to hide a smile as he was told where to sign, finally having some payback for last night.
Brigitte saw her beloved happily playing a distraught victim after having shaken her world with his oh-so-innocent words and revealed a smile that promised punishment for such naughty behaviour. Looking at the police captain she had forced onto the scene, she thought of a plan that would place her beloved in her mercy.
Thinking of the lovely days ahead, she walked up to him to discuss some issues that poor, traumatized Tristan shouldn’t be forced to endure.
Several meters away, Tristan stopped signing for a moment. He just had a shiver go up his spine, feeling like prey that was about to be devoured. He... had to have imagined it, right?