She has a way with getting what she wanted.
Kiara and Haden were in love. The fact that he was her boss at London’s famous Pearl Chartered Accountants helped their affections grow steadily. As his secretary she took care of sorting clients’ papers and keeping track of their cash flow and several other tasks assigned to her. They made a perfect team and their superiors were pleased with their work, which was a key factor in the growth of their business.
Kiara lived with her mom and Haden had a bachelor’s apartment close to office. Haden would visit his parents living in a cottage on London’s outskirts on every alternate weekend. He and Kiara would go for an evening out on those weekends, when he was not visiting them.
Their families met during previous Christmas and liked each other. They were happy when Kiara and Haden announced their engagement during the New Year. They planned to tie the knot during summer when their firm closed for a week.
Accordingly, invitations went out during summer, and the marriage was an event to remember. Colleagues and relatives on both sides attended the wedding and praised them as a couple made for each other.
A few days after a brief honeymoon-
The CEO of the company, Miss. Shirley Chew, called Haden for a meeting.
Haden went wondering at the sudden summons. Vincent, the receptionist received him.
“Madam, Mr. Haden Lewis is here,” he spoke through the intercom.
“Show him in Vincent, “responded, Miss. Chew crisply, and when he appeared at the door,
“Come on in Mr. Lewis,” she said.
He sat down facing her.
“May I call you Haden? You are much younger than I expected,” she said.
“Sure madam,” he replied.
She came to the point.
“Well, Haden, the company decided to send you to Penang, Malaysia to scout for clients, who can make use of our expertise in account keeping, investing and filing tax returns. We already have offices in New York and Paris. Going east is a new idea. We thought someone young and intelligent like you would suit the enterprise. I was wondering if you’d like to be the one we need.”
Haden was overjoyed. He said “yes “to her proposal immediately.
“In that case, be ready to fly to Penang by next Monday. We will arrange for your passport and other arrangements for your week-long stay there.”
Kiara was not happy about the sudden turn in Haden’s career.
“Don’t worry darling. If everything goes well, I will ask the management to post you with me In Penang.”
She wasn’t much satisfied with his suggestion.
Things sped up. Haden flew to Penang on that Monday as scheduled and was received by a client of the company Mr. Latimer, who had business interests in Malaysia. He had let out one of his flats to the company, where Haden could stay and conduct his business.
Till late evening Haden was busy with meetings. His secretary Mei, a Eurasian in her early twenties worked with quiet efficiency. High cheekbones, slanting eyes and an alabaster complexion indicated her Chinese roots. Haden found himself mesmerized by her oozing charm.
Latimer came by dinner time and took him to an oriental hotel called White Lotus. Earlier he’d asked Mei to join them. Looking at her petite figure encased in a lavender tube skirt and a white top laced with pink lilies, Haden felt the furious flow of adrenaline in his veins. His gaze slid down her slim figure. Her fragrance was heady.
“What’s happening to me? I can’t wait to get my hands on her,” he thought.
They had Chinese food. Conversation flowed. Later, they danced a slow waltz. Haden, with his arms wrapped around her, he was losing his mind with a desire to possess her.
“Haden, I will put you both in the same car, so you can drive, drop Mei at her house and return to your flat. She can direct you well,” suggested Latimer, when it was time to leave.
When they reached her quaint house by the sea, he suggested a walk on the beach to which she agreed.
The golden moon sailed in a cloudless sky. The shadows hung low. There was none on the beach and she held his hand sending thrilling sensations throughout his body.
A little later, they paused at her gate. She looked up at him with a shy smile.
“Would you like a nightcap, Mr. Lewis?”
“Call me Haden, Mei. And yes, I would like a drink,” he said with his face touching hers.
They walked arm in arm and the moment they were in, Haden slammed the door shut and pinned her to the wall beside the door, and began kissing her ardently. They found their way to the bedroom, shedding their clothes en route.
His days and nights were enmeshed and he was lost in his lust for Mei, who had no qualms in satisfying his libido.
Haden found Mei’s house quite spacious and well ventilated.
At the dinner table, made of mahogany, he commented,
“you have an elegant house and beautiful furniture. You must be a good collector,” he added.
She looked at him askance and replied,
“Well, this house belonged to my grandfather and grandmother. It was a mixed marriage. He was Malay and she, a Chinese. The colonists separated them for political reasons. My father was educated and he loved a European lady. They had a secret marriage. I was the result. I was born at one of father’s distant relatives living far from Penang. “
“So you grew up here, ” he observed.
She replied in a calm voice,” Hardly. My mother went back to her parents. She never wanted to marry anyone else. Her parents’ position in society stopped her from revealing her marriage to them.”
“You haven’t ever met your mother?” he asked out of curiosity.
“I wasn’t given a chance. My dad’s boss had an eye on her and he persuaded my mother’s parents to let him marry her. They agreed. Unable to commit to this marriage and helpless to do anything else, my poor mother committed suicide.”
“Oh, that’s too much to bear with,” he said.
“I hate the English people,” she said looking like a wild tigress.
Haden was shaken by her vengeful voice.
On the last day of the week, he rang Miss. Chew, while he fondled Mei.
“Madam, I would like at least a month here and see how much I can do for our business.”
Miss chew hesitated before answering.
“Haden, unless there is proof of productive work, I cannot assure you of this extension. I will talk to the owners.”
On the next morning at the office, he had sent some cooked up paper work that showed some doctored deals to London’s office and thus duped them into granting his extended stay. He changed his address to that of Mei and the little work he did was from her house.
Kiara rang him several times. He disconnected all her calls. She called his London office and was told that he would return after a month. She was puzzled and concerned.
After pondering, she got his present address and booked her air ticket to Penang for the next day.
With her mind working overtime with worry, she landed in Penang airport. The taxi ride to his flat was long. She waited five minutes before the call was answered. Haden appeared in the doorway, looking sleepy and haggard. When he saw Kiara, he said in a callous voice,
“Go away Kiara. I am not going to come back.”
“Who’s that darling?” said a woman in a bikini coming out of bedroom.
“Haden, what happened?” Kiara’s voice trembled.
“Oh, nothing. Just go away.”
The woman pulled him in and shut the door in Kiara’s face. Shock waves went through Kiara’s body. Fear registered on her face. With shaking hands, she gripped the bar on the steps to gain breath. She returned to his office. It was deserted. She had no idea whom to ask about Haden’s state.
She returned home by the afternoon flight and landed in Heathrow on the next morning. Her mind was in a haze, her faculties dazed.
She found her way to her home, a home she shared with a loving husband, who now turned his back on her.
“Suddenly love crashes before me, everything I know crumbles before me. How am to live?” sobbed Kiara.
Louisa, a colleague at the office, who knew that Kiara would return that day, came visiting her.
Kiara told her of what happened in Penang with tears flowing down her face. After the first wave of shock wore off, Luisa helped Kiara into the bath and persuaded to take a shower. Then she got her breakfast together and sat with her with coffee. After fifteen hours and more on the flight, with her mind in turmoil, Kiara continued to be in a pitiful state.
Luisa waited till her friend had her breakfast. Then with fresh mugs of coffee, they sat in the living room.
Luisa decided to take the bull with both the horns.
“Look, Kia, you need to face facts. You saw the situation that Haden threw himself in. His journey with you is over. Pull yourself and make a life for yourself. You have a job and no responsibilities. That’s a relief. Come back to work and see how things are going to shape up.”
Kiara looked at her and nodded. She was in no state to discuss it any further.
Luisa left after a while.
Her sleep that night was like that of an exhausted person. She woke up at seven in the morning feeling better. She dressed, had a toast and coffee before leaving for office.
There was confusion at Haden’s office. Miss. Chew came in fuming.
“Why is Haden so deranged? How am to answer the owners? My only quick solution is you, Kiara. Take over Haden’s position till further notice.”
Three months passed. Still there is no sign of Haden or a message from him. The owners of the firm decided to try once more by sending Vincent to Penang and report the tidings regarding Haden’s condition. Kiara offered to go with him. They agreed.
When their reached their destination,
The same woman, answered their call.
“Haden is not here. He won’t come with you. He lives with me,” she said in a harsh voice.
Vincent asked before the door closed on them.
“What about his job? When will he come back?’
“He won’t go back. “
Haden made a sudden appearance from behind.
“Kiara darling, I want to come back. I don’t like it here. Mei, let me go,” he pleaded, with his eyes full of tears.
“I will kill myself if you step out,” said Mei, her vixen-like face turning wild with anger.
The company terminated Haden’s services forthwith and appointed Kiara as his replacement. Her salary increased and she started doing very well in getting more business. Her business skills proved a success and the company confirmed her job.
Back in Penang, whether he liked or not, Haden found himself chained to Mei physically and sexually. If he as much as looked at another woman during their downtown trips, she would hiss with jealousy and took a double toll of his attentions to her. She would get all this mail deleted. All the telephone calls were cancelled. She got hold of his credit cards and used them as she wanted. All that Haden could do was watch the way his momentary desire for a woman let him down to the depths of hell and suffering.
Latimer came to the address that Haden furnished in the office.
He looked around and found that this house was built long ago during the colonial period.
“Hello, is anyone at home?” he asked.
Mei opened the door and asked him in.
“come in Sir,” her voice was smooth.
“Where is Haden? Why doesn’t he come to office?”
“Oh, sir, he cannot come. He has some strange condition. Most of the day he sleeps and is awake in the evening for a brief time,” she said sadly.
“Has he consulted the doctor? He should be sent back to London, if his condition continues.”
“I am trying to nurse him back to normal, Sir. I hope he will be fine in a few days,” she replied confidently.
Satisfied with her answers Mr. Latimer left. He decided to convey his findings to the London office.
Mei closed the door after his exit.
I am going to see the end of any English guy I come across, she thought bitterly. She clearly recalled he mom and grandmother suffering because of the political ambitions and advantages of the colonists, the outsiders. She can never forgive them. She remembered her lonely childhood and her father’s miserable life.
He’ll be up soon and asking for a drink, she thought and walked in.
She went to the drink counter and mixed his usual scotch with enough of the native drug used for an extra kick.
It was supposed induce a temporary flush of energy which later on bring about deep sleep that left him listless.
Haden wondered as to the reason why he felt strong and a little later weak enough to slouch and then slip into a never ending doze.
He had no idea that he was paying for somebody else’s sins’. The desire for Mei went on unabated.
Day by day his brain started becoming sluggish and the drive to work was petering out. He started worrying about his future. Suddenly, he would remember Kiara and his parents waiting for him. Miss. Chew’s face would come to his mind and almost immediately disappeared. It was a short memory. It left him thoroughly disoriented. It left him weak in body. Then he would go back to Mei again craving for her attention.
“Oh, God! Let me get out of this vicious circle. Let me out,” he cried.
“ Haden! Where are you? Come right in this minute,” insisted a voice that sounded like a threat.
Haden shook his head and went in.
Finally, on a week day on an evening when the sun was about to set behind the hills near to the beach Haden made an attempt to get away from Mei. Desperate to get away from the woman, who ruined his career and life, for her own reasons, Haden escaped through the back door, when she was in the bath. He ran on, as much as his strength allowed, not stopping to take a breath. When he spotted someone in the distance, he raised his hand seeking help. Before anyone approached him, he fell on the shore with excruciating pain searing through him. The pistol shot killed him on the spot, his body awash in the sea.
Kiara read a news report in the London Daily about a man, probably English, found dead on the beach. Her senses numbed as she tried to scan of further details. They revealed that he was originally from London and that the woman who lived with him killed him in self defense, when he attacked her.
Written for "The Whatever Contest." "The Whatever Contest -- Closes Oct. 2"
Write a "Fatal Attraction" type story (referencing the 1987 movie) or something equally twisted with a very disturbed partner in the relationship.