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It was a wet evening in the spring. I was driving home after spending a pleasant day in town. I purchased an antique mirror from an estate sale that afternoon. I was able to secure it for a very modest price; the turn- out for the sale was poor, because of a downpour of cold wind driven rain.

This evening, the wind had let up; the rain changed to a fine mist with patches of fog. The oval floor mirror was a large, heavy piece: 225 lbs. or better, 8’high by 3′ wide, ornate with carvings of leaves, birds and flowers. Due to the multiple layers of old paint and grime it was difficult to determine the species of bird or habit of plant.

The silver nitrate backing was a spider web of fine cracks distorting the reflective image on the dirty glass. To the untrained eye, the glass appeared to be damaged. The glass was intact; the silver nitrate will be stripped and reapplied.

My best estimate was that it was at least 150 years old. It will take me weeks of careful stripping to expose the original wood.

Antiques have a history, secrets to reveal. Many unique treasures are covered in layers paint, overlooked, abused, improperly cared for… ignored. I have a passion for restoring as the maker intended.

I run a small business on my estate out of one of my barns converted to a woodworking shop. Well… not exactly and estate. I have a large two-story farmhouse with a finished attic and basement, not to mention 1400-acres, mostly mature hardwoods. The only way to enter my property is on two private roads that I own and maintain.

Gated to prevent trespass, the county has no jurisdiction, nor the public free access. I can come and go as I please, unnoticed and unseen

I rebuild, restore and refinish antique furniture. I will custom build or reproduce pieces as a favor for selected clients. I do not keep regular hours. All business is conducted by appointment only.

Ninety percent of my business is with very wealthy people; they value privacy and discretion; I provide both.

My hair started turning gray in my early teens; now at 35 I’m completely gray; fortunately, my hair is thick and full.

Because I live alone in the middle of nowhere, many assume that I am some kind of eccentric recluse genius. I do not discourage this misconception; it is very good for business. It is also good for social reasons; I have many powerful influential friends.

The county road that I normally take was flooded that evening forcing me to take a detour. I have lived in this county all of my life; this road has never flooded over. To make matters worse, there were no barricades, flares or detour signs to warn motorists.

I decided to stop off at the convenience store up the road, top off my gas tank and get a cup of coffee. As I pulled up to the self-service pumps I noticed a woman standing outside smoking; in my opinion a woman who smokes is a complete turn-off.

An employee, she quickly went inside the store as I got out of my cargo van.

As I walked towards the store to get my coffee, I saw crudely lettered signs on either side of the entrance door on pink poster board that announced: [“Under New Management.”]

Once I was inside, the smoker walked up to me and introduced herself as the manager and offered me her hand; I took it and introduced myself. I could smell cigarette smoke on her person as well as just applied cheap perfume. Her nametag said: Candice Fox/Manager.

Candice was a middle-aged woman, age: 45 to 50, five- three, easily 250 lbs. She was wearing pink polyester slacks, one size to small, a gaudy polyester print blouse with loud clashing colors; her shoes: purple pumps. But it gets better… or worse…. depending one’s perspective.

Her facial features were average at best; her eyes, muddy brown, her lips thin and stingy; no doubt hiding nicotine stained teeth. Candice was wearing far too much makeup and her eyebrows were penciled in.

Her hair was a true debacle: trashy peroxide blond that was almost white, with an unnatural pale yellow tint to it. It was cut in choppy layers that were permed and teased with ridiculous short bangs; shortest on the sides and cut above her ears; with long pointy mock sideburns.

I smiled, “It is a pleasure to meet you Mrs. Fox.” ” Would you be so kind as to point me in the direction of the coffee bar.”
Mrs. Fox giggled and squeezed my hand. “Please…don’t be so formal, all my friends call me Candy” ” The Gourmet Coffee Emporium is right behind you.” “I’ll be glad to take you there”.

“I’m sure I can find my way”.” I’ll just go and help myself”

“You can let go of my hand now…Candy.”

Giggles followed me to the coffee bar continuing to make small talk. I just nodded and smiled hoping she would go away.

I turned my back to her, closing my eyes, sipping my coffee.

I was thinking,” This one is hard on the ears as well as the eyes”

“This coffee is excellent”. I stopped to listen… blissful silence…. good she’s gone. Taking another sip of my coffee, I thought, “I wonder if she tastes as bad as she looks?”

I felt a gentle, hesitant touch on my arm: a mellow, feminine voice caressing my ears, “Sir, is your coffee alright?” Opening my eyes I looked at her. “Is there something wrong with your coffee sir?” “The coffee is excellent, Laura”. I replied, glancing at her nametag. “What makes you think it was bad?” “You were making a terrible face while you were drinking it!”

Laura was a young woman in her late teens to early twenties.

She was dressed exactly like Candy, right down to the purple pumps. Instead of long silky hair, as is proper for a beautiful young woman, Laura’s was the same as Candy’s.

The similarities ended there. Laura was about five- seven, medium frame at 180 lbs. Over weight to be sure, possibly by 50 lbs., but not obese. No heavy makeup marred her marvelous peaches and cream complexion. Laura’s eyes were like a sea of green with sunlight sparkling on the water, deep and mysterious eyes, secrets to be delved. Her natural, untouched eyebrows floated above her green eyes like the graceful wings of doves. Laura’s nose was small and refined…. but cute… definitely cute. Her teeth were white and perfect and she smelled like ivory soap and peppermint. Laura’s lips were beyond belief, generous lips; sensuous lips… lips just begging to be kissed.

Standing next to her, I realized that Laura was the ideal height for me. The top of her head was just level with my eyes. I would just have to lean forward slightly to taste those luscious………..

“I’m sorry I had leave Dave, I had a customer that wanted ice.”

“You don’t mind if I call you Dave?” do you Mr. Ares?” Or do you prefer David?” Candy’s discordant nasal drone assaulting my ears,” I see you’ve met my baby.” “Isn’t she pretty?” “People mistake us for sisters all the time!” “I………..” ” Eyes of green, deep as the sea, daughter of the foam. Aphrodite wilt thou favor me with your handmaiden Laura standing before me.” I interrupted, looking at Laura, enjoying her blushing cheeks and shy smile.

“Laura, would you please check me out?” I asked, handing her my credit card. Laura looked at her mother for permission and received a mean look; that quickly turned to a disingenuous smile. “I’m sorry Mr. Ares but I haven’t learned how to operate the cash register yet.” Laura answered, handing my card to her mother. Candy said, “It’s all right honey, I know what a hard worker you are; Take a break, Mother will join you shortly.”

I watched Laura walk away, her movements fluid and graceful, despite the extra pounds. Before I left the store, her flirtatious mother pressed her hot pink business card into my hand. “David, I have a collection of depression glass my grandmother left me”. “Perhaps you can look at it sometime?” “I’m sorry, depression glass is not my area of expertise Mrs. Fox.” As I walked away I turned the card over; her cell phone number was written on the back.

As I was pulling away from the p
umps, I heard Candy screaming like a mad woman; I drove to the side of the building out of sight and listened. ” You___ spoiled everything”. “You always___ spoil everything”. “No wonder your___ father left; because of___ you” “You’re___ stupid and useless” ” I was making progress with him” “I’ve sacrificed everything for you” “I buy you nice clothing.” “You get to go to my personal stylist to get your____ hair done every month” “Do you think____ money grow on trees?” “You will never amount to___ anything.”

This is a sample of her abusive tantrum. I did not quote her verbatim; the lines inserted in the text represent profanity.

On second thought, make that crude and trashy, porcine and malodorous, flirtatious mother……………………

When I got home Socrates met me at the door. I let him out for his walk and to do his business. Socrates is a huge, dignified Bull Mastiff; brindle colored with four white feet. Smart, loyal, obedient and affectionate; very well trained.

For the most part, he is a one-man dog. Socrates is on good terms with the FedEx and U.P.S. drivers, the only people he sees on a regular basis; he ignores them.

Socrates will attack on command. He can easily chase down, and knock a man to the ground, pinning him in place, snarling and growling. Follow-up commands will escalate the level of force.

I acquired him when he was a year old from a client, Mr. X. When I first saw Socrates; then called Socks; he was tied up outside to a tree. It was cold outside; the water in his bowl frozen, he looked under fed.

During the course of our business transaction I casually mentioned him. I was told he was” stupid” and” useless.” “Let me offer you a proposition, I will make you a duplicate of your secretaries desk, but with a caveat. ” “Let me take Socks for a year” “He will be my project.” “If I can’t train him there will be no charge; however, if I do, you agree to pay double.”

At years end, Mr. X lost the bet; I offered to take Socrates instead of the money; We parted on good terms and I made two friends that day.

After our walk, I made two cheese omelets and toast. He got his omelet on top of his dried dog food and we ate our supper together

as we do every night. I talked to him as I always do, especially if I am upset or angry:

“I know you must think I’m insane but I can’t get her out of my mind.” “What a project she could be.” “Pygmalion and Galatea, Laura could be my Galatea.” “Laura could lose weight with exercise and diet; under my direction and care; she could grow out her hair.” “I hope it is brown; a rich dark brown would set off her beautiful green eyes; waist length, do you think she would grow it long for me?” ”

“All right, I want to get into her pants; I admit it.” ” But I can offer her things her mother can’t” “Do you believe in love at first sight, Socrates?” “If I forced her away from her mother would she stay with me?”

“In ancient times men just took women by force made them their slaves; sometimes fell in love; married them.” “If I could just get her away from her mother’s sick influence, it would change her life for the better'”

“I would love to have two years with her, do you think that is enough time?”

“If nothing else she would learn to be independent of her mother”

“If things didn’t work out, I would let her go with money to start a new life; one hundred thousand should be enough, don’t you think, Socrates?”

I tried to read myself to sleep…. I could not get Laura off my mind.

Socrates woke me up in the middle of the night. He was standing

next to the mirror, barking. The mirror was glowing. I got out of bed and stood next to him. The glass was forming into a glowing pearly white fog; Tendrils of the fog were escaping, swirling around the oval of the frame, and then, the stand. I stood watching unable to tear my eyes away.

After a time, the glowing tendrils slowly retreated back in the mirror. The frame and stand were free of old paint, the wood a rich dark black walnut. I recognized the leaves and flowering blossoms to be from the apple tree; the birds were doves.

Socrates was lying down, quiet, wagging his tail…. waiting.

The fog in the mirror was slowly fading. I could see the outline of a woman facing away from me. The woman was beautiful, wearing a white chiton over her trim graceful figure; her dark brown hair twisted into a chignon at the back of her neck.

She knew I was watching her; I don’t know how I knew, I just did; just as I knew her eyes were green. She reached up and removed the bronze broach at her left shoulder, allowing her simple garment to drop to the ground; her naked form a delight to my eyes.

She reached up and removed the pins from her hair; shaking it out, letting it spill down her shoulders and back to her slim waist.

She turned to face me, my Laura, smiling, her arms reaching out through the mirror, two doves in her cupped hands……………….

I sat up bed; it was early morning, the sun peeking through the tree line. Socrates was sitting at the window looking out, his wagging tail thumping on the wood floor. I looked around the room for Laura; it was a dream; the mirror was still in the cargo van. I got out of bed and walked to the window, “What are you looking at Socrates?” “There was a mating pair of mourning doves on the windowsill looking at us.

I telephoned the Sheriffs Department and spoke with the dispatcher.” Good morning, this is David Ares, perhaps you can help me.” Certainly Mr. Ares, how may I be of service?” he offered.”

Is the Old Creek Rd. open yet?” “I was driving home last night and it was flooded at the four corners. ” “Mr. Ares, you must be mistaken, I live on the Old Creek Rd. just past the Four Corners.” “I can assure you that it did not flood,” he firmly stated” Will there be anything else, sir?” “No thank you, I have to go.”

I quickly dressed; Socrates and I drove out to the Four Corners.

Other then the ground being wet from Fridays rain, there was no evidence of the road or surrounding fields being flooded.

Last night the road was flooded. I did not imagine it. I did not dream it then and I am not dreaming now; But I have to believe my own eyes, my own senses. I have always been a logical man…. but an epiphany?
Yet in my heart of hearts, I knew Laura and I were destined for each other. An epiphany is the only logical explanation; I will follow my heart, and take help where I can find it.

It took me 3 weeks to remove all of the old layers of paint and grime. I personally transported the glass to be stripped, polished and a new silver nitrate backing applied, while I waited; I then brought it back to my workshop.

I replaced the original damaged back with light colored apple wood. I carved a wreath of myrtle on the back around the circumference of the oval. I carved two hares in the center and placed them in a bed narcissus.

The new back was a pleasing contrast the rich dark black walnut of the front with its carvings of doves and the leaves and blossoms of the apple tree.

I placed the mirror in my bedroom exactly were I saw it in my dream. I stood back to admire the mirror; something was missing.

I went down to my basement and opened my floor safe. I removed a red large silk pouch, folded in three and brought it upstairs.

I unfolded the pouch, removed the rope and hung it on the left spindle of the mirrors stand. Satisfied, I lay down on the bed to admire the mirror; naturally Socrates joined me. I fondly recalled how I had acquired that precious rope.

Shortly after purchasing my home, I discovered a sword wrapped in an oily piece of canvas hidden in one of the attic rafters.

It was a Japanese sword, probably was a war trophy from the previous owner.

The blade and tang were intact, but the hilt, grip and butt cap were missing. Fortunately the previous owner had the foresight to coat the blade with cosmoline, the blade and tang were rust free. Later that d
ay, as I was driving home from town, returning with my groceries, I passed a car that was broken down. The occupants were an older Japanese gentlemen and his daughter.

I stopped to help them. The cars serpentine belt was broken.

I offered them a ride into the town to arrange for another rental car. According to his daughter they were visiting his older sister living in the area. Her father, Mr. Saito, and she were driving to New York City to catch a plane back home. I assumed that Mr. Saito did not understand English as his daughter did all the talking.

I casually mentioned the sword. When his daughter translated my discovery about the sword, Mr. Saito lost his quiet reserve and became quite excited. I turned my truck around and took them home.

I brought the sword out to show him. While Mr. Saito examined the sword, his daughter explained how important they were to the Japanese people. They were considered a national treasure. They spoke back-and-forth in Japanese.

Finally she said,” My father says the sword is very old.” “It is obvious to him you respect and honor tradition.” “You have shown us great kindness and hospitality.” “But, my father asks a favor.”

“He would like to purchase your sword and return it to Japan.”

“It will be restored by a Master Sword Smith and put on display in Tokyo.

“You and your father are a guest in my house Miss Saito.”

“Please tell your father that I would be honored if he would accept

the sword as a gift.”

Approximately one month after the Saito’s visit, I received a telephone call from an armored car service. I made an appointment for them to deliver a package originating from Japan.

On the appointed hour, an armored car pulled into my driveway.

Two armed guards exited, one of them carrying a bamboo box.

I signed for it and carried into the house, locking the door behind me. Inside the box was a red silk pouch folded in three.

Inside was my precious rope; 42″ in length, consisting of 10 mm (3/8″) white South Sea pearls. Enclosed with the pearls was a note, inviting me to their home. Mr. Saito was a pearl merchant; The pearls were a gift to my future wife.

When I was not working on the mirror, I was planning her abduction. Someone who is very good at finding out information owed me a favor. I had her gather information on Laura and her mother. Her written report was very through.

I decided that the direct approach would be best and would use bad weather and darkness to my advantage.

Laura and her mother lived in a small two-bedroom ranch

two miles from the convenience store on the Rose Rd. It was close enough for Laura to walk to work, as she didn’t have a driver’s license; Laura’s mother drove a late model Cadillac.

The only days that Laura was alone at home in the evenings were Wednesday and Sunday. I chose a cold, blustery Wednesday evening in February, when her mother was working.

I had put two bogus magnetic signs on my delivery van that advertised for a local pizzeria where they frequently ordered from for delivery. It was snowing hard when I pulled into the driveway.

The weather report called for six to ten inches of snow by morning, and there was a road advisory for no unnecessary travel

I walked up to the front porch and noticed the porch light was on.

There was no cover on the light fixture, I simply turned the bulb until the light went out; and then I rang the doorbell.

I was wearing a Navy Pea Coat with the collar up, a watch cap pulled down and a black scarf wrapped around my face; with just my eyes were showing. My blue jeans tucked into my green insulated rubber boots

When she answered the door, I was holding four empty pizza boxes. “You must be freezing, please come in”, she offered.

I scraped my feet on the doormat to rid them of the snow and stepped in, closing the door behind me.

Laura was wearing an ankle length cornflower blue fleece robe, cream flannel pajamas and red wool cork-sole clogs. ” I’m sorry you had to drive all the way out here in this weather, but there must be a mix-up.” “I didn’t order pizza!”

“I’m sorry too Miss Fox,” I said, as I pressed the stun gun into her

arm; 750,000 volts of electric pulses, dumped directly into her central nervous system, disrupting her neurological impulses; causing a loss of balance and muscle control.

Dropping the empty boxes, I caught her as she slumped to the floor. I carried Laura to the couch placing her on her stomach and cuffing her hands behind her back. I then took my long silk scarf and wrapped it twice around her eyes, tying it snuggly behind her head; waiting for the temporary, non- lethal affects of the stun gun to wear off.

After about 5 minutes Laura lifted her head and cried out, “Who are you?” “What do you want?” she exclaimed struggling to stand up. I took hold of her arms and attempted to help her; Frightened, Laura instinctually tried to kick me. At that point, I grabbed her hair in my left hand, tugging for emphasis.

I placed the stun gun near her ear and pressed the trigger, the distinct crackle of electricity jumping between the test electrodes…. an implied threat. Laura became very still and quiet.

I had Laura sit on the couch. I sat down next to her, my hand stroking her poor hair. She smelled like vanilla shampoo…. ivory soap…. and peppermint toothpaste.

I said nothing… making her wait for answers to her questions.

I place my hand between her shoulder blades, feeling them tense, speaking very quietly, “You know who I am little dove…. you have been waiting for me for a very long time.” ” I am your only chance to be free of your mother’s yoke.” ” Can you cast it off alone?”

” Do you still wish to remain here?”; Your mother’s clone in appearance only; when she passes, her lonely, barren prodigy!”

Our fates are intertwined if only a short time”

“Look into your heart Laura… you know what I say is true”.

” I will not allow your mother to trample on your soul from this moment forward.”

“One way or another you will be leaving with me.” “How you leave is entirely up to you.” “You can walk out on your own volition, or trussed and carried out.” I noticed that the tenseness had left Laura’s neck and shoulders; she appeared calm and subdued. She shifted to get comfortable, but didn’t move away from my hand.

“If I agree to go, will you promise never to hit or beat me David Ares?” she asked quietly. I was taken aback, how did she know it was I; I was sure my disguise was more then adequate, and what she saw of my face, she saw briefly.

“I promise never to strike you in anger” “I promise never to use profanity in your presence or verbally abuse you.” “I give you my word on this Laura.”

know… I just do.” “But, you are a man David Ares; men have needs.” “I don’t know if I am ready for you.” “If you are patient and will give me a chance, I will try to be a pleasant companion.”

I removed the handcuffs and blindfold. Laura went immediately to her tiny bedroom. She removed a small knapsack from her closet and placed it on her bed.

Removing her fleece robe, she carefully folded it and put it in the knapsack along with her clogs.

She put on a frayed and faded brown sweatshirt with a yellow lab embroidered on it, and blue jeans over her pajamas; adding socks and scuffed white Nikes. Laura added some under garments, bras and socks to the knapsack; she packed no other clothing, but placed her wallet in it, leaving her purse.

The last item that Laura took was a silver locket and chain from

her top dresser drawer. The locket was in the shape of a scallop shell and appeared to be quite old though very detailed and finely crafted. Laura fastened the chain with the locket around her neck,

and put them under her pajama top and sweatshirt.

Laura dressed and packed quickly and efficiently, as if she had planned ahead of time and was awaiting my arrival.

Picking up her knaps
ack, Laura turned to face me; the look that she gave me, told me everything I needed to know; she was ready to leave…now.

“Where is your winter coat, Laura?” I asked. “It’s in my mother’s car.” She answered. “There is nothing more I want out of this house or from her”, she announced defiantly. “I understand completely, however, you will put this on, and you will not argue with me; I am not giving you a choice this time.” I ordered, taking off my coat and helping her into it.

The weather had turned from bad to worse. The roads were officially closed, a travel ban was in effect; It took an extra half hour to get home. We did not speak, both of us kept to our thoughts. I kept wondering how she knew it was I.

When we got home, I got out first and opened her door; helping her out. Laura stood just stood there looking at me, and I her.

Laura spoke first, “I know what you are thinking.” “How did she know it was I?” “I have my secrets” she said, a very solemn look on her face. “All I will say is this….”, she added touching my hand, ” Eyes of green, deep as the sea, daughter of the foam. Aphrodite wilt thou favor me with your handmaiden Laura standing before me.”

I brought Laura into the house through the front door and told her to wait in the foyer. I went back outside and entered the house through the back door, my normal entry point; Socrates was waiting for his nightly routine. I let him out to do his business, closed the outside entry door, next, the mudroom door and brought Laura into the kitchen.

“You may sit down Laura, I am going to make a pot of green tea.” “You are welcome to a cup” “Take off your coat and hang it on the chair.” “When I let Socrates in, I’ll hang it on its hook in the mudroom and find a spot for your sneakers.” ” Then we will have a long talk.”

I had fixed up the basement more for my convenience then for hers. Laura would remain there until she earned the right to come upstairs. Laura had a submissive side that her mother used to control every aspect of her life. That submissive aspect of her personality will never go away. But it could certainly be redirected for her benefit. If I couldn’t have her as a lover, I would always have her as my friend.

When I let Socrates in, he walked right up to Laura and smelled her wagging his tail. He allowed her to pet him, rub his ears and kiss him as if he had known her all of his life; Somehow, I was not the least bit surprised.

During our talk, I told Laura how I rescued Socrates, but in much greater detail. Then I told her some very unpleasant and disturbing things about her mother that I am sure she did not know about.

“What do you know about your inheritance from your grandfather

Laura?” “Do you know any of the details?” “Only what mother told

me” she replied, “Mother has power of attorney” “I can’t touch it until I am 25.” “Why didn’t you go to college Laura?” “I had to drop out of school when I was sixteen.” “I had to go to work; we needed the money.” “Why are you asking all of these questions?” “What do they possibly have to do with us?” “I put that part of my life behind me.”

“It has everything to do with us” “Your inheritance is held in trust

with the law firm Kennedy & Murphy out of New York City.

Your mother’s name appears nowhere in the paperwork; she was deliberately left out. “That money was to be used as your college fund, if you chose, otherwise you couldn’t touch it until you were 25 years old; 18 months from now you will be entitled to all of your $150,000.00.” “I…I don’t know what to say, I never knew.”

“Your mother has power of attorney because you gave it to her when you turned 21; that can be easily revoked.”

” The little house you were living was purchased under a land contract; there is a substantial balloon payment due in a couple of years.” “The seller is holding the title.” “If the balloon payment is not met, your mother will lose the house and all equity; she needs your money.” “Here are documents confirming everything”

Don’t ask me how I procured them; I also have secrets.

“I have fixed living quarters for you in the basement” “They are spartan, but adequate.” “In time I will allow you more freedom and latitude.” “Do you have any questions?” “I thought you wanted me, why can’t I sleep with you?” “Do not tempt me, of course I want you.” “Are you a virgin, little dove; that was a rhetorical question; you need not answer; ” Your precious…. priceless virginity should be saved and given to the man you truly love; it should be received as a gift with love in return; not for an obligation or romantic ideal.

“You gave me your word little dove.” Now I require your obedience; then we shall see………………………………….

I went downstairs to check on her the next morning; I found her sitting on the folding bed I provided for her waiting.

“For the next six weeks you will speak only when spoken to or if given permission to speak.” “Those weeks will be hard but for a reason.” “At the end of that time, I am sure you will be pleased with the results.” “I am going back upstairs to bring you your breakfast.” ” When I get back, be stripped down to your bra and panties only.”

After she ate, I directed Laura spread some newspapers on the basement floor and then place a straight back chair on the papers and sit on it. I didn’t say a word to her; I just started cutting with the scissors until the last visible preferences of her mother’s influence remained no more. I finished by lathering and shaving her head with my Gillette Fusion razor.

I had Laura on a strict and intense exercise program that included a wide range of exercises; those were mostly aerobic and isometric.

We exercised together and I am sure that the first two weeks were

hell on earth for her; I was merely in purgatory.

I restricted our sugar, salt and fat intakes; we were on the same diet; she never complained when I gave her permission to speak and tell me what she had on her mind

At the end of the five weeks she was 130 lbs at five- seven.

Laura’s hair was now 1″ long and was a rich dark brown with red highlights. It was growing faster then the average 1/2 ” per month, and that was fine with me. I pretty much weighed the same as when I started but hardened and flattened my stomach muscles considerably. I lifted Laura’s her restrictions early and allowed her the run of the house except for my bedroom, which I kept locked.

We continued to exercise together, but only to maintain and we took many long walks on the property; of course Socrates always came along.
I made sure that Laura was always in the house, out of sight when anyone came around. I did not want her mother to know where she was…. not yet anyway. Laura was with me for 16 months when her mother found out and tried to force a confrontation.

By then her beautiful hair had grown out 2″ past her shoulders.

We noticed lately that it was not growing as fast as it had been; now averaging 1/2″ per month. I had kept trimmed for her, becoming very good at it. It was blunt cut all one length, thick and shiny; Laura wanted to grow it waist length; she vowed never to have short hair again; today I fixed it for her in a simple braid.

Laura was now an accomplished woods woman; she had learned to move quietly in the woods and stalk game.

Laura studied all of my Peterson Field Guides, and learned to identify all of the flora and fauna on my property; she could start a fire without matches 3 different ways; and live off the land, knowing all the edible plants.

Laura became proficient in the use of firearms; she learned to shoot, disassemble/reassemble and clean my Bushmaster AR-15 .223/5.56 Rifle, Remington 1100-12gauge Shotgun and my Smith & Wesson Model 58 .41 Magnum Revolver; I always carried my handgun when walking my land; potent medicine for anything on two or four legs.

Laura loved camping, and we spent many nights together under the stars. Although I received many hugs and
kisses from her; thus far we had not made love; above all, Laura was my sweet, gentle lady and I loved her.

We were out hiking all Saturday morning, and were returning home. We were about 100 yards from the house, hidden from view in the trees; Socrates started growling deep in his throat. This could only mean that someone was trespassing and had probably cut the locks on the gates. Laura, Socrates and I quietly walked the edge of the tree line until we in view of the driveway and the front of the house.

There was a black sedan parked 75 yards from the house; A very large man, in a dark, suit was standing by our front door with his back to us. Looking through our binoculars, it appeared he was trying to pick the lock.

I told Laura to wait in the trees with Socrates and watch me through the binoculars. When I whistled, let him go; when I whistled a second time, it was safe to come down. I quietly circled from the back of our house and surprised him.

He was a huge man, six-five and a good 300 lbs. He was 4″ taller than I and out- weighed me by more than 100 lbs. He was also in his late fifties and a smoker; I pegged him correctly for a policeman, in his poorly cut wrinkled suit. He was so intent on picking the lock, he didn’t even notice me standing behind him; it was so comical; and I couldn’t help myself, so just I said it,” BOO!”

He spun around, with a shocked looked on his face; I was laughing hysterically; he quickly gained his composure and stood there with his arms crossed; yes, definitely a cop, assuming a superior intimidating posture, while waiting for me to stop laughing, then he spoke, “Alright Mr. Ares you have you’ve had

your little joke, where is she?” I recognized the accent; definitely

New York City; Brooklyn most likely. “Are you referring to Miss?

Fox?” ” Mr., I didn’t catch your name?”

Never mind who I am pal, you’re in a lot of trouble. I’ve been hired by her mother to bring her home; kidnapping is a crime in this state.” he said in his loud command voice, taking a step forward. “I am only going to ask you one more time” “Where the_____is she!” All I could do was smile, a tsunami of happiness washing over me; brave girl, disobedient, but brave; I had no more doubts; “BOO!”

He spun around a second time almost tripping. Standing behind him was Laura and Socrates. ” That was a foolish thing to do little dove, you might have gotten hurt.” “I was afraid for you David, I love you so much; you are everything to me!” “Are you Miss Fox, you don’t like anything in your picture.” “I loved you from the minute you spoke, little dove; the moment I looked into

your beautiful green eyes, my brave girl”. “I asked you a question, are you Miss Fox?” he interrupted.

“Be silent, dolt, I am talking to my fiancée.” I commanded.

“Listen asshole, I wasn’t talking to you, I was talking to the stupid bitch,” he said, sneering. I saw anger flash in Laura’s eyes; she let go of Socrates collar and took a step forward; her fists clenched in rage; she was magnificent!

As big as he was, the dolt took a step backwards, unsure. Socrates stepped in front of her and was growling; heaven help him if spoke to Laura again in that tone of voice, let alone raise a hand to her; Socrates loved her as much as I. When he turned, I was inches from his face. “Socrates…. STAND-HIM-UP!”

Socrates was slowly advancing on him growling and snarling, baring his teeth. His head level with the dolt’s crotch. The dolt was backing up; Socrates was advancing. He was trying to lift his right leg; trying to reach the gun in his ankle holster; concentrating on the dog; not looking at me. Socrates pinned him against our front door, his head on the man’s crotch.

“Don’t even try to get your gun out.” I said taking mine it out of the pancake holster and handing it to Laura. “Put your hands behind your head, lace your fingers.”

I removed his Smith & Wesson Model 60 snub -nose revolver from the ankle- holster opened the cylinder, ejecting the five .38 caliber cartridges to the ground. When I found the two pair of handcuffs he was carrying, I snapped both cuffs over the blackstrap of his revolver, locking them with the key; rendering it inoperable; I put the cuff keys in my pocket.

I emptied his pockets of their contents and ordered Socrates to stand next to us.” Drop the tough guy act!” “You owe us an apology.” I said. He just glared at us, defiant to the last.”

Are you a good judge of distance?” “I would estimate your car is 75 yards from where we are standing.” Laura asked, turning and aiming the 41 magnum at the outside passenger door mirror; the 175Gr. Winchester Silver tip hollow point obliterating the mirror, but doing little or no damage to the rest of the vehicle.

“You still owe us an apology, or shall I go into the house and call the State Police?” Laura asked.

“You have every right to call the State Police, Miss Fox.” he said sitting down and sighing. “I wish you wouldn’t, I will lose my pension.” “I am sorry, I apologize to the both of you.” ” For what it is worth, your mother is totally wrong about you, Miss Fox I shouldn’t have let her pretty head cloud my judgment; I should know better at my age.” Laura and I just looked at one another; both thinking,” I suppose there is someone for everybody.”” What are you going to do now?” he asked.

“How long until you collect your pension Detective Wilson?” I asked, looking at his badge and ID -Card.” I have 5 months to go Mr. Ares.” “I was thinking of settling down in this part of the state, getting a part time job.

” We are going into the house and discuss that” “Socrates will be keeping you company” “We will be out shortly; I suggest you do not try to leave.”

When we returned. “This is our decision: We are not going to do anything; you are free to go.” Laura stated. “What happened today shall remain a secret between the three of us.” I added “I don’t know what to say; I owe you both…. big time!” “If there is anything I can do for you two, just name it.” “Perhaps there is Sergeant.” “My mother could always use help in her store.” “I also know she has a spare bedroom to rent until you found a place of your own.” Laura offered. “Just one other thing Detective” I added “Never come on our land again without first calling for permission.”

After the detective left, I showered Laura with kisses. I held her close, hugging her tight. “Did you really mean it when you told the detective I was your fiancée?” She asked, pressing her face against my neck and shoulder.” “With all my heart little dove.” “”Do you really think I’m brave?” “You are my shield maiden, brave heart.” I answered. “I want you to make love to me, my champion; I want to feel you inside of me, to taste you.” “I am ready to share my secrets.” She told me, snuggling closer. “I don’t want to have any secrets from you.” She added, rubbing my face. “Nor I you.” I replied.

“Here is the key to our bedroom, my love.” “Go upstairs and wait for me there.” “There are double doors in the room; open them and enter.” ” Fill the tub with hot water only.” “You may shower if you like, then wait for me in our bedroom.”

I went to clean up the remains of the detective’s car mirror and check the gates. I called for Socrates, but he must have gone into the house with Laura.

I hope she liked the bathroom; My closest friend Miguel came out of retirement to do the work. Miguel is an importer of fine tiles, marble and stone. Originally from Portugal; the son of a baker; his tile work, particularly his mosaic floors were renown. Miguel has arthritis in his hands making the work he loves difficult; he made most of his wealth as an importer; now in his seventies, retired from his craft because of the arthritis in his hands.

I needed his expertise and invited him and his wife Maria for a visit. I knew they would come, particularly his wife Maria. Twenty years younger than her husband, Maria has used her match making skills on me to no avail, and has not given up. She is bound and determined I marry,
I her only failure. I hinted there was a new lady in my life.

They stayed at my home while he created Laura’s special room; as a bonus, I enjoyed Maria’s gourmet cooking. The mosaic mural floor Miguel created was taken from a photograph of a Roman fresco from Pompeii C1st A.D., courtesy of the Archaeological Museum of Naples.

The bath tub was polished pink granite; deep enough for both of us to soak comfortably, to sit or recline, the water coming up to our necks if we chose.

The twin faucets were cast in bronze; shaped in the graceful heads of swans. The tiles on three of the walls were red, cream and cornflower blue in pattern pleasing to the eye; complimenting the mosaic mural of the floor. I permanently removed the toilet and tub-shower, making Laura’s granite bath tub the centerpiece of the room. I built hidden cabinets on the wall surrounding the double doors. These were designed to look like ornate paneling; they would open outward if one knew where to push.

When I walked into the bedroom, Laura was modeling the pearls in front of the mirror, her slim naked form a delight to my eyes.
She pinned up her hair, knowing this would please me.

Socrates was lying on the floor watching her, his tail thumping on the wood floor.

I walked up behind her, caressing her firm, flat stomach, nuzzling her neck; fresh from the shower Laura smelled like ivory soap and

peppermint toothpaste. “The pearls are a gift for my future wife; they suit you perfectly”. “There are fresh mint leaves in the sack on the bed” “Tear them and put them in the bath.” “I want to shower and brush my teeth, then I will join you.” ‘You will find candles in the cabinets.” “I have so much to tell you.”

Laura had dimmed the lights and lit the candles. The infusion of mint scented steam rising from the tub. I climbed in next to her; Laura put her arms around my neck kissing me, probing with her tongue; I, returning her kisses, returning her passion. I caressed her firm young breasts, feeling her nipples harden at my gentle touch.

I probed her flower with my fingers, bringing her just to the point

of orgasm, then entering her from behind; thrusting and probing with my manhood; her sweet virgin blood mingling with the bath water; bringing her to orgasm; mine following immediately after. I held her for a time, neither of us speaking, enjoying the

moment. Laura spoke first “Do you want to know how I knew it was you when you abducted me?” ” Please tell me my love.”

“When you put your hand between my shoulders and started talking.” “I have never met a man who talks like you.” “Then you didn’t see my face; at least I got that part right.” “You didn’t have to use the stun gun on me.” ” I didn’t enjoy that part Laura.” “Now for the rest of my secret; I knew you and I were destined for one another; even before you walked into the store; I saw you in my mirror; Socrates too.” “What mirror, Laura?” “The one in my shell locket.” “Show me your locket, then I will show you my secret”

We toweled each other off and went to our bedroom. Laura opened

her locket and brought it to me; inside, on both sides were two

small mirrors. We sat on the bed together looking at my mirror; I told her everything. Afterwards we spent the rest of the evening in bed making love. I introduced her to the joys of oral sex, both giving and receiving. We slept in late the next day, sated for the moment, content to cuddle……………………………………………..

Another six months passed; Laura decided to meet with her mother on neutral ground and formally announce our engagement.

I made reservations for us in Saratoga Springs at the Landmark Adelphi Hotel for two weeks. Miguel and Maria also had reservations wanting to finally meet my fiancée.

When I introduced Laura to them, Miguel bowed and kissed Laura’s hand, causing her to blush. Maria scolded her husband for embarrassing her; Miguel gave me a sly wink. Maria made a suggestion:

“They are serving high tea in the parlor soon, it will give Laura and I a chance to get better acquainted.” “I am sure you gentlemen are not interested in such things.” “I am told they serve a very fine lunch buffet at the track.” and of course we followed her orders; we knew better.

After lunch, we spent the rest of the day in the clubhouse sipping brandy and watching the horse’s race, never placing a bet.

When we returned the hotel, the desk clerk, handed Miguel a note. The girls had gone shopping and would meet us in the hotel restaurant at eight. Our suits were laid out for us in my room.

We kept our appointment arriving early, allowing them their planned entrance. They both looked lovely, especially my Laura.

Her hair was styled in an elegant French twist and she was wearing her pearls with a simple strapless black dress that accented her graceful figure.

We stood up and escorted them to their seats. My Laura was wearing makeup; she looked like a cover girl model; Maria’s idea no doubt…. I loved it, especially how it brought out her eyes.

Towards the end of the evening, Maria managed to get me alone.

“Laura is a beautiful sweet girl, Davey; she is perfect for you.”

“We never had children, you know; I always wanted a daughter of my own and your Laura is a delight.” “I have never had such fun shopping.” “Her taste in clothing is so refined, much like my own.”

“Does she take after her mother?” ” Is there something wrong with you drink dear?”

We reserved rooms for Laura’s mother and new husband, John Wilson; recently married earlier in the day before Laura’s reconciliation dinner meeting; Laura’s mother’s classless attempt to again upstage and punish her own daughter.

Laura was very gracious about the situation, to her mother’s obvious displeasure. Candice and her new husband didn’t spend the night, deciding to drive to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon…. good riddance.

I tried to comfort her as best I could; I realized that there is one thing I can’t fix; a broken heart. I gently suggested she talk to Maria.

On the day of our wedding, Miguel gave away the bride. Marie was the Matron of honor. Even Socrates had his small part: the ring barer, our wedding bands tied with a ribbon to his collar.

Maria had her daughter……………..and I………eyes like a sea of green, sunlight sparkling on the water; my little dove.

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