The morning was cloudy and gray. The perfect type of morning to stay in bed and snuggle. It all felt perfect, from the silky pajamas embracing Amber's soft tight frame just the right way to the just warm enough thick gray quilt. Normally Amber would wake up coated in a thin film of sweat, not wanting to be touched. Today was different.
Amber stared at the man beside her, lost in admiration. He was strong, successful, and self-made. The past six years only made him grow more attractive to her. Gray stubble had conquered his previously clean, well-kept brown beard making him look masculine and divine, and staring at the large tent forming beneath the blanket, she could feel herself grow moist, and blush, much like a blooming rose.
She glanced at her charging iPhone with a subtle, pleased grin. It was rare she beat her alarm in such ideal fashion. “Just enough time.” She worked to wake her hubby up in the most intimate and pleasurable fashion. Ten minutes each day were all about him, doing things most women wouldn't fathom at this time in the morning. His moans, groans, and sheet clutching only made her more aroused. She was dripping in anticipation.
She couldn't take any more, climbing atop and taking him in with a deep satisfaction. She gripped his hairy chest and went to work like a rodeo star. With each grind and thrust, ecstasy drawing closer. Their moans grew louder. Kissing each other in moments of passion. Morning breath wasn't an issue when you’re so in love and turned on by your partner. Neither was sweat. Sweat served as an aphrodisiac and another way to taste each other, reaffirming their love.
As their tongues twirled in a tango of passion and lust, she felt herself on the brink of release. Like a dream turned into nightmare, the morning changed. Screams, bellows, and echoes of tiny, pounding footsteps blended through the hall like a small rock production. The sounds cut through Amber's romantic morning like a blade. She felt her motions growing slower as the footsteps neared. Then, she felt his release; a raging skyscraper fell like a collapsing building. She smiled and kissed Ben’s lips, intent on not letting the circumstances ruin their morning. She faked a light moan as she rolled off Ben, still dripping their fluid concoction, and ran after Ava, who stood crying and banging at the door. "Help me... Help me..." She whined.
Amber held the frantic tot in her arms, cradling and consoling Ava. "Chi chi..." She screamed repeatedly. Amber looked sternly, trying to muster her strength. "No, baby you’re going to be four next week. It's time to stop with the chi chi baby girl. I can cuddle with you or make you breaky, but no more chi chi mama"
This carried on for another ten minutes until a robed and annoyed Ben stumbled out of the bedroom. "Gosh, shut her up. And coffee would be nice, don’t forget your duties."
Amber looked at Ben taken aback, but she knew today was big for him. He would find out if the past six years of hard work paid off. He would find out if he or Tim made partner at the firm. Tim had become a rival for Ben at the firm. She recalled their first encounter. The cocky drunk had the nerve to come on to her at the Christmas party with Ben barely on the other side of the room.
As she breastfed Ava, she thought of the devastation to come if Ben become partner. It lasted mere moments before it was too much to bear. She followed Ben's advice and pictured their celebration.
She’d make it a night to remember: his favorite meal, red wine, and her special chocolate cake. She managed to quell Ava's tantrum and lay her on the couch. Then it was off to make breakfast. She worked like a master chef, chopping, cutting and preparing a meal chefs would envy.
An hour later a suited Ben ate his breakfast. He cut down the meal, slurping another cup of coffee in minutes. Then he was gone with a soft peck and little to be said. "I'll talk to you tonight hun,” he said, taking off without giving Amber time to respond.
She sighed but understood the anticipation must be killing Ben. There were times when she had a temper, but with Ben it was different. Rather than resentment she felt only love and sympathy. Time ceased to exist until the knock at the door. A loud heavy knock instantly causing Amber to jump from her slumber. Her heart froze unexplained fear. Maybe it was the harsh knock that could have resembled the knock of a police officer or maybe it was some deeper intuition, but from that moment on nothing would ever be the same. Amber jumped from the soft plush sofa slipping on her flip flops almost in one fluid motion and made her way to the door.
Taking a deep breath she opened the door slowly, confused. She saw nothing. Then she saw it. A suspicious brown paper package bound with a FedEx label addressed to her Amber Hernandez. It took a moment for the sender’s name to strike her, but in reading it a second time it hit her. Gwendolyn Murphy, Ben’s secretary. Thoughts stampeded through her mind, but she dismissed them.
In a matter of seconds she found herself in the large high ceiling living room tearing at the brown paper like a ravaged desperate child on Christmas morning. Only there was no present to behold. What she found would have made coal look like a God send. Inside the mysterious box laid a plethora of insidious materials that would drive any devoted woman mad. At the very top was a stack of photos, a DVD beneath, and a letter. Tears poured down like rain as she spied the most intimate and lucid acts one could contemplate. Things she thought were reserved for only her and Ben. It seemed every boundary had been crossed, without even spying the DVD. She grasped the small, lined note that seemed torn from a miniature spiral notebook.
It read: “Amber as you see and read this, please know this is in everyone’s best interest. You don't deserve Ben you never have. He's happy with me, and his whole family is better off without you. He's already assured me that he's going to leave you but has only been afraid of the distractions and economic repercussions. I kindly ask that you gracefully bow out of the situation and allow us to be happy.
Sincerely Gwen Murphy”
The next hour was chaos. Cries, screams, fits of madness as Amber watched the DVD, pacing back and forth lost to her emotions. Amber screamed, pulled her hair, and punched the wall but all to no avail. It wasn't until she heard Ava's soft cries she returned to some soft semblance of normalcy.
She wouldn't let him win she thought. "Fuck him. He must pay. No matter what.” She thought as she found some wicked strength and delight. She cradled Ava contemplating her options. The thought of heading to the firm and making a scene, but why lower herself to such standards? She’d continue with the night as planned. Ben deserved to end his wicked deeds, and she deserved all they had acquired.
It didn't take long for her to concoct a plan. She spent most of her days watching shows like Law and Order and Grey's Anatomy, and if t.v. sitcoms had taught her anything it was that poison was the way to go. Something swift and undetectable. An hour with google and YouTube had left her with two options Riacin and Cyanide. She was shocked at the simplicity and availability of both. In the end she chose Cyanide for ease and swiftness. She worked like a machine contemplating only creation and cooking of the cyanide and incorporating it into her prized chocolate cake. Perfect. A little more complex than grinding it and making coffee.
It wasn't until after 8 p.m. a drunken Ben called. He made partner and was celebrating hard but would be home around 10 p.m. He already ate dinner but said he would save room for wine and her prized cake as their personal celebration. The evening was surreal. Amber fed and put Ava to bed tossing Ben’s lobster in the trash. Time was irrelevant but soon a drunk gloating Ben sat at the table.
"You should have seen them babe. Tim didn't know what to do with himself and Gwen was just red laughing at him.”
"Oh I bet.” She laid the lavish cake before him with a glass of pinot noir.
"Eat up baby. I've worked hard to make sure it's the most scrumptious cake you’ve had. Smells chocolatey uh." She fought the anger and anticipation in every word, then watched licking her lips as Ben devoured the cake. It wasn't long before her other ingredients Nyquil and Benadryl kicked in, and Ben fought to keep his balance. "Ah Benjamin your slithery fucking snake. Confess bastard."
"I... dunno what you’re talking about you... " Ben retorted in a bitter drunken slur. Amber laughed wickedly.
"You disgusting man. You've been slithering around my back doing everything with her." Droplets of spit fell like rain on Ben's face as she found herself in the man’s face yelling like she's never yelled before.
"What are you talking about?" Ben's eyes opened wide.
"Oh you know." She reached in the cupboard and removed the box as she spoke making sure to open it wide to expose the explicit pictures, tossing the box on the table, tears in her eyes.
Ben's eyes widened. He grasped his chest. "Fuck you bitch. Gwen’s been my lifeline. She's nicer and better than you in every way. That's why I’m gonna leave your pathetic ass." Ben gasped between his words fighting to keep his body from quitting until the concoction won. Ben’s face fell in his remaining cake with a crash as he succumbed. A myriad of emotions filled Amber as Ben fell limp and begin vomiting. Her sobs created a soft symphony. She stood frozen for a long while. It wasn't until she thought of Ava sleeping peacefully that she pulled herself together. She had to clean up and get Ben situated. No one would suspect her of foul play, she thought and if they did by the time, they figured it out her and Ava could be long gone.
She worked diligently lifting Ben and cleaning up the mess, then struggled as she drug him to bed. She laid his body down just as he had fallen asleep many times in drunkenly. It was almost too much for her, but it was over. Amber clutched her wine glass and sat at the foot of the bed taking several long sips. It wasn't long until she found herself in the sandman’s grasp.
Lost in sleep she woke hearing a crash in the front of the home. Instinctively she jumped and clutched the large wooden bat from the closet. Her heart consumed with fear and wonder as she slowly crept to the front. "Not tonight..." She rounded the hall hugging the wall preparing for the worst. Her palms grew heavy. Beads of sweat burned her skin as she clutched the Louisville.
There at the foot of the kitchen table laid Ava in a fetal position, vomit and foam spewing from her mouth, shuddering her final fatal convulsions. Amber’s shriek echoed through the night. Chocolate stains mixed with vomit covered Ava’s face. Amber raced to her, tears and shrieks taking over her as she clutched Ava just fast enough to feel her final breaths fall upon her lips. She kissed her and did her best futile attempt to save the limp girl. "Nooooo!" Sirens blared as they made their way to Amber’s home, but too late. It was death by chocolate cake.