Chapter OneMature

Amongst us are people who would coerce mere mortals into the light or the darkness. It's a game of marbles between good and evil, and the winner gets the ultimate prize: your soul.

Mark Crawford woke slowly, blinking against sunshine flooding around the edges of the motel curtains. He checked the clock, then realized motel clocks probably weren’t reliable. He reached for this phone instead, woke the screen up and inwardly groaned. He’d let the afternoon get away from him completely.

He stretched against pillows that stunk of bleach and women’s hair products.  It was a smell Mark was getting very used to.

Four months of this was starting to wear on him. Not the sex; he’d put up with anything to get laid, of course. But this was starting to feel wrong on many levels.

Stacey Klassen was the prettiest skirt in school. Everyone panted after her like zombies.  No one got so much as the time of day … that is, until he was two years in with Walters Construction and the boss came out to the building site of his new place the crew was working on, his new wife on his arm.

Stacey Walters looked exactly like she had as a Klassen. Not a line on her face or hair out of place. Big blue eyes that cut through all the busy work going on and came to rest right on him, lighting him up like the big tree at Rockafeller Center. And from then she came after him.

Mark had never had a woman pursue him before. At first he was terrified of her, her being the wife of his boss just one part of it. As Clark Walters revealed himself to be more and more of a jerk he got over the stress of that quickly.

Stacey herself was another matter. She came on like a boa constrictor. The more you struggled the harder she squeezed.  And after a night of beers with the guys he came home to find her in a negligee in his bedroom, after having broken in to his apartment.

Stupid. Three guys he worked with lived on the same damn floor he did. He sent her home. That was the cap on her infatuation. Jump ahead to the staff Christmas party. She left early, complaining of a headache. Her idiot husband was too busy hitting on a receptionist to notice that Mark followed her out to the parking lot.

No talking, not a word. Just a crush of bodies, clashing against each other the second they got in to the cab. She led his hand under her blouse in the backseat, going crazy with noises as he licked the base of her throat. They found this motel, booked a room, and made love on the edge of the dresser without even taking their shoes off.

It had been this way ever since. She’d send him a text or leave a message on his phone, giving him an hour to get his ass in bed to wait for her.

He didn’t need a psyche degree to know what this really was. She was getting back at her prick of a husband who had done his share of “wandering.” And Stacey had always liked sex – no hang ups on anything. She wasn’t self-conscious or shy about it. She loved messing around, and wasn’t looking to move on to another husband. A single guy’s dream, really. All sex, no relationship.

Then his boss got cancer.  Clark Walters was diagnosed with emphysema and had a complete personality transplant. Started volunteering at the homeless shelter. Giving his employees bonuses, extra time off when they had “personal issues.” And on more than one occasion he called Mark in to his trailer on the job site and told him he was so glad to have Mark on board: he’d always felt that if anyone had what it took to take over the company, it was Mark.

Did nothing to curb Stacey, though. She was still acting the same as she had before, and Mark was starting to wonder which of these two was the real bad-guy. Or bad-person.

And yet every time she beckoned he ran to her because … he was a guy? Was it really that simple?

Or did he just not deserve any better?

The End

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