Jessi Bond

KIDNAPPED BY THE DRIVER

Let me start by saying I’m not proud of what I’ve done.

That’s neither here nor there, but I felt like I should get it out there before I start. It’ll be easy to dismiss me as a cold, hard bitch who deserves every bad thing that happens to her. And maybe that’s not wrong. But all the same, I think it’s important to say.

I didn’t intend to marry a mobster. I wasn’t born into it, wasn’t raised in it — unlike a lot of women who end up in my shoes, it was a choice I made, somewhere along the line. I don’t remember the exact moment, the exact realization, but at some point I obviously made a choice. Maybe I should have made a different one.

The thing about living a life of crime is that eventually, looking over your shoulder just becomes second nature. Except for the occasional scare, you don’t really spend a lot of time worrying about getting caught. You’re cautious, always, like when you’re speeding down the highway and keeping an eye out for the flashing lights, but it’s not some constant sense of foreboding or anything like that. There’s no point in worrying about it anyway. It’s true what they say, about how you never hear the bullet with your name on it.

After a while, my husband and I settled into a routine. I knew he had at least one girlfriend and some others on the side, but I never really let it bother me — I wasn’t exactly aching for his cock, anyway. If he came home with no interest in fucking me, then that was just fine.

One morning, he came into the kitchen and told me he was hiring a new personal driver. I remember the moment so clearly — the sun streaming in through the filmy curtains, the sticky feeling of egg whites on my hands as I cracked the shells to make our breakfast. We didn’t see many new faces in our circle of employees and friends, so I made a point of studying the driver’s face as he stepped into the kitchen behind my husband.

He was handsome, especially when he smiled, but the smile quickly disappeared and he didn’t respond to my greeting. I asked him if he’d like some eggs, and he shook his head tersely, his hands tucked neatly into the pockets of his leather jacket. He was a shorter man than my husband, more slender, yet more muscular in build. I thought I saw sadness in his eyes, but I couldn’t be sure. He was very still. He hardly moved a muscle, hardly even blinked, the whole time he stood in the kitchen and waited for my husband to finish his breakfast.

After that day, he was a fixture in our house. He always came inside in the mornings when he arrived to pick up my husband and take him on his collections, and any other time my husband needed to go somewhere where it might be dangerous to be alone. I grew used to the sight of him standing in the corner, in my kitchen, in my living room, and even, occasionally, in my bedroom.

I didn’t want for much in my life. I had everything that money could buy. But it wasn’t long before the driver’s face was on my mind more often than it ought to have been, memories of his rare smile, the black leather driving gloves he wore, the way his body looked under the jeans and white tee-shirts that he habitually wore. When he took off his jacket, which was rare, I was treated to the sight of his wiry, well-muscled arms. Before I knew what had happened to me, I was fingering myself to thoughts of his gloved hands touching my sodden cunt, bringing me to climax in the passenger seat of my husband’s luxury car. I had fantasies of leaving with him, running off to Spain, to Australia, to Japan, somewhere far away, taunting my husband as we sped away, never to answer to him again.

I’d never heard the driver speak more than three words together, but I didn’t let that get in the way of my wild flights of fancy. I imagined that I saw great depths of feeling in his eyes, compassion and decency that was rare in my circle of acquaintances. With him, I felt I could be a better person.

I allowed myself to have these thoughts. Surely they were harmless, after all. What could come of them?

I allowed myself to be blind.

My husband never told me much of his business, but he did tell me when to expect him back. That way, if something went wrong, I could make the necessary phone calls to his associates to go after him. So when he didn’t return from some unexplained “business” one night, I waited half an hour and called his right-hand man, just as I had been instructed. A few hours later, the right-hand man squealed into the driveway and my husband came stumbling in through the front door, looking like he’d been run over with a truck.

By this time, I knew better than to ask questions.

I helped him nurse his wounds as best I could; as far as I could tell, it was nothing serious, just bumps and scratches and bruises. Once he was bandaged and nursing a glass of scotch, I asked him what had happened to the driver.

He gave me a dark look.

“I had to let him go,” he said.

I knew enough to fear the worst.

Weeks went by in a haze. I went through the motions of our normal life, and I doubt my husband noticed the difference, absorbed as he was in his own business and completely disinterested in mine. I thought of the driver’s face, convinced I would never see it again. When I was absolutely sure that I was alone, I cried.

It was ridiculous to say that I “missed” him. I didn’t even know the man. I had convinced myself that I knew him, but he was a stranger to me — and, evidently, to my husband as well.

And now, most likely, he was dead.

I remember the night he came back, as clearly as if it were yesterday.

My husband had gone away to take care of some business in the city, so I was alone in the house. He never worried about leaving me, so I never worried either, assuming, as he did, that no one would be bold enough to harm the boss’s wife. So when I was sure I heard the click of a door opening downstairs, I wrote it off as a trick of the night.

I hardly even smelled the chloroform before I went unconscious.

* * *

I woke up to the sensation of my head splitting open. I soon realized that my head was, in fact, all in one piece — it was just an ache, albeit the worst I’d ever had. My throat also hurt, and I tasted metal, and I was in a moving car. All of these sensations came to me gradually as I came to full consciousness, and then I turned and saw the driver.

It was, in fact, the driver.

I swallowed with an effort.

“I thought you were dead.”

He didn’t take his eyes off of the road. “I’m not.”

I shifted in my seat, soon realizing that my hands and feet were bound with coarse rope. I felt a stab of fear in my chest.

This man was just another ruthless criminal, just like my husband. How could I have ever been so stupid as to think differently? He was going to use me as leverage for something that he wanted, and he didn’t care that I was even a person — I was just a pawn in whatever game he was playing with my husband.

I felt humiliated and ashamed, hot tears leaking out of the corners of my eyes as the harsh ropes cut into my skin. We left the main streets after a while and ended up travelling through the woods on rough gravel roads, just as it was beginning to get dark, the glowing eyes of wolves and bobcats staring at me from the trees. It occurred to me for the first time that I might not be leverage after all. Maybe he was just going to kill me.

There was no reading the driver. He was as calm and taciturn as he’d ever been, revealing nothing, his face blank as he finally pulled off into a makeshift driveway in front of a rough-hewn log cabin.

He sat there for a while in his seat, not moving, until he finally spoke.

“I’m sorry, Rose.”

I’d never realized that he knew my name.

* * *

The inside of the cabin was sparse and cold, just a cot and a few chairs and a small table. He took me to use the outhouse when I asked, standing close outside the door, so close I could hear him breathing. He’d untied my feet so that I could walk, but he kept a vice grip on my arm as we walked, and I knew that was no chance I would escape from him.

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