{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Katleen_A_Cooke would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Playing With Fire

By Katleen_A_Cooke All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Romance

~

Do you think I’m a bad person? Then again, how would you know? It’s not like we’ve ever been introduced, have we?

Let me be honest with you; I don’t consider myself to be a bad man. Not even after everything that’s happened.

And what happened, do you ask?

Telling you how this whole thing ended before feeding you all the details would no doubt put me in the villain’s role. I’m not a bad man and that’s all I’m willing to say for now.

Like every tale, mine has a beginning although I can’t put a specific date or time on it. I wouldn’t say it ever started; instead, it more or less grew on me. Like fungus.

No, that’s not the right imagery. I’d rather imagine it developing like a vine, climbing all around me until it smothered me. In other words, Celia’s love suffocated me.

She had been working with us for a little over a year. Nice little Celia, so young, and so pretty, and oh, so shy. I couldn’t say for how long she’d been doing this, but one morning I noticed her stare on me. It elicited shivers to run through my whole body.

Her stare, intense, became impossible to ignore; those eyes on my back were warm, like tiny hands running all over my skin and making it tingle. It was invigorating, glorious, but it had nothing to do with Celia.

It could have been anybody; all I craved was the attention. I had been married for several years and believed no woman would ever look my way again. Not until Celia.

She loved me more than life itself. Not that she ever said it, but I still knew. To keep bathing in her infatuation, I made sure to go and talk to her every day. I believed it was my duty to give her what she secretly wanted.

It didn’t take much more for the twinkle in her eye to shine brighter and her smile to grow wider. Even her skirts shortened while her necklines deepened.

To make sure I wasn’t imagining things, I made a little experiment. I stopped going to Celia’s desk to chat, made sure we didn’t make eye contact in the hallway, and sat as far as possible from her in the cafeteria. I kept this attitude for some time.

As I suspected, the twinkle, the smile, and the sexy clothes gradually disappeared. She reverted to being this quiet little thing she’d always been. I hated to see her suffer so I did the charitable thing and went back to paying attention to her. Like magic, she blossomed again.

Some would say that my actions were childish. I somewhat agree, but I had to be sure. Another way would have been to be blunt and ask her if she wanted me. I may be childish, but I’m not cruel; I didn’t have the heart to be some kind of a tease.

Things went smoothly for a couple of months as I offered myself to star in her not-so-secret love fantasies. Not many know this, but I’d always been a self-sacrificial kind of man.

Blinded by my little office romance, I never saw the beginning of the end coming. Even with my undying attention to her, Celia stopped looking or smiling at me. She must have realized that my little seduction project would never go any further.

I’d never make a move, I wouldn’t declare my love, and I certainly wouldn’t get a divorce. She knew it.

The thought of losing her rejuvenating love terrified me. I couldn’t let her stop loving me or worse, get over me. What other reason would I have to get up in the morning? She was my energy, my drive, my own little Viagra pill… just you go and ask my wife.

I didn’t let the panic overcome me. All it meant was that I’d have to work harder to keep her love alive. I took Celia to lunch that Monday, and every following one. It became our little rendezvous, my clever way to nourish the fire in her belly.

It worked wonders.

Any time the flame seemed to be dwindling, I did my best to make her passion grow red hot again. Sometimes, I’d bring her a gift, a little something to make her believe I thought of her. Other times, I’d invent stories so she’d assume she was my confident and my marriage was in shambles. Keeping her love warm became my raison de vivre.

Until she changed… again.

The twinkle, the smile, and the clothes… they were all there. Except I could tell they weren’t for me anymore. None of my little attentions or heartfelt – yet untrue – stories were getting through to her.

I feared I’d be losing Celia forever when she told me this would be our last Monday lunch date. Had I been discovered? Heavens, no! It happened to be something I could easily deal with.

Learning she had found herself some kind of boyfriend was only surprising for a second. No way a budding relationship would ever win over her long-lasting pining over me. I needed to find the perfect way to make her mine – so to speak – again. And I instantly knew how to do this.

I had a thought for my wife, about how she would never learn how far I’d be willing to go to keep our relationship strong. I wish I could tell her only so she’d understand how much I love her. But it would never happen. Like Celia never knew the real purpose behind my asking her out the next Friday. She looked so adorable, hesitating between her new boyfriend and her deepest desire – that would be me.

Although I’d never been a smooth talker, convincing her to choose me was easy.

Celia made a player out of me.

I called my wife and told her I’d be going out with friends from work. Which was, when you think about it, pretty much the truth. I took Celia out to dinner and treated her to some nice wine, nice food, heartfelt compliments, and a piece of chocolate cake.

Then I kissed her.

I hadn’t thought of doing it, but it was a card I’d been keeping up my sleeve in case it didn’t go as well as planned. It went famously, but I still kissed her, making her love sparkle bright again. I myself came back to life.

I knew she enjoyed the evening, but the boyfriend’s shadow still hovered over us. He had to disappear… completely. Which meant I’d have to use the last card, the one I hoped would never be needed.

I made love to her.

If I wanted to bring back the fire, I couldn’t have expected the blaze that resulted from our one and only night. I had unleashed a monster. The love she’d been keeping buried was set free. Not only for me, but for the whole world to see.

Shit!

It wouldn’t take long for my wife to learn about my sacrifice to her. And Celia herself would no doubt be the one to tell her. I couldn’t let this happen. Which explains why I told Celia we were over and that it actually never started. She didn’t accept that.

She threw my words and gifts back at me. I reminded her we were friends.

She reminded me of the kiss. I said I made a mistake.

She spoke of our night together. I blamed the alcohol.

She cried. I left.


Now, about the ending of my story, about what happened. To be honest, nobody really knows what happened. All I can say for sure is that Celia died soon after our last conversation.

We were told she had a car accident.

Not everyone believed it. And when I say this, I’m mostly referring to myself. I don’t believe it.

Sure, the roads were icy and the night was dark. Celia could have been tired, or drunk, or distracted. But deep in my heart, I know the truth; Celia killed herself.

I’m not one to brag, but I’m convinced this was her ultimate gift to me.

One for which I’ll forever be grateful.


Now that I told you the whole story, let me ask you this again.

Do you think I’m a bad person?

Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Katleen_A_Cooke
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

annie08c: I really like this story, I can relate to it a lot and with how she feels, the boyfriend and the events that happened but I'm a little bit younger. It was really good plot, really liked how you stuck to the topic and you had a new title for every chapter making me guess what's going to happen. Ma...

Althea Kerr: This is a tale that is all too familiar to South African readers having lived through a war era on our borders and beyond. It is obviously autobiographical as the mind under duress is so detailed and real. It has fantastic suspense if a bit disjointed - perhaps that is the fear and loneliness com...

rihannabkj2: Great story,I can hardly stop reading this novel. it shows that compassion and love can still exist after so many years between two persons. I most say well done to the Author who wrote this book. Others should read this book inorder to know that there can still be LOVE among two persons no matt...

Jennifer Kane Martin: I am a high school teacher, and the dialogue and inner thoughts are PERFECT. However, the lack of capitalization, punctuation, and the typos are distracting. Don't let these get in the way of a potentially good story.

maewilde25: I liked this, though it dragged on for over 200pages and heaven knows I did not expect the plot twist in the middle. David being Cristiãn. I was wondering when he would show up and didn't know he was there all along. it looks like there should be a sequel, please let there be a sequel. I know the...

Atractivo Sumit: The story is an amazing blend of what we call natural, plain romance along with subtle emotions and interesting twists. The plot is so beautifully interwoven.

Laraine Smith: Your story is both sweet and beautiful! You are a true artist! Keep up the great work! I also love the picture that you chose for your book! :)

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

SandraHan1: This story is very descriptive, with vivid scenes from the very beginning, which made for a good scene setting. I love the symbolism in names, such as “Naysayers”, “Hadd”, etc . The story itself is revolutionary, intriguing, emotional and exciting. I was very pleased to see that there is a happy ...

More Recommendations

Grapes Are Juicy yes!!!: I give this novel FIVE STARS ! This novel is worth reading from the beginning to the end! The plot and conflicts in this story are very smartly integrated. The language facility is a little odd , but i guess this was done on purpose, given the novel's set era. Other than that, this should definit...

christylynnr5: This was beyond amazing! I loved this book. The characters seemed so real. It was amazing how the author let Zak and Kaylees personalities slowly change. This story was very sad and eye opening. It could teach some people a very worthy lesson. It was a great combination of romance, mystery, and a...

Stephen Warner: To start off, I am thoroughly impressed. The writing style is somewhat unique, and the plot seemed to move at a nice and steady pace. However, I was not expecting this to be a vampire book! I am usually not one for novels about vampires, but I was pleasantly surprised! You wrote with such grace a...

Sanvi Pathak: I'm sooooo in love with this beautiful story, Everything was perfect. I loved it so much, kudos to you Charyse, you are an awesome writer :D

Flik: Hi! ^.^ huge fan of yours on ff.net! When I saw the note about this contest on The Way We Smile, I couldn't help but rush over here, create an account, and vote! XD Seriously love this story and would recommend it to anyone! :D best FT fanfiction out there. Amazing story, amazing concept that wa...

Alkira Joan: Great story, I found it hard to read especially the dialogue. You just need to fix up some spelling errors and the gramma .I enjoyed this book. was a little hard to get though.,.,..,.,.,,..,.,.,, , , , ,.,, , , , , , , ,., , ,.,,,,,

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.