I suck so hard my lips and mouth start to hurt, but I know somehow this is very important. Once or twice he pushes so deep into my throat, I gag and choke. Finally, I see that he is near. He is coming. He starts to strain and clench. I increase my speed, and he is almost there. Always, at the point of climax he calls my name. This time he does not.
‘Don’t, Daddy,’ he cries instead. His voice is high and strange, that of a frightened child.
I freeze, my mouth full of meat.
So does he, but the climax is greater than us; his horror, his shame, his secrets, his pride or my shock. He buckles as hot seed shoots into my throat. I extract the vibrator out of him, and he pulls himself out of my mouth. He is moving away from me. But I catch his hand. He stops, still on his knees, and looks down on me. Hauteur in every line of his face.
‘Don’t be. You wanted something I have never done with any other woman. You have it.’
‘No, I mean about your father.’ I still remember our conversation a year ago when he refused to condemn pedophiles, saying God made them that way and it was up to God to condemn them. ‘Your father sexually abused you, didn’t he?’
‘My father didn’t do it for sexual gratification.’
I frown. ‘What do you mean?’
‘’He did it to cement his control over me.’
‘He has made me the person I am today. He had to teach me discipline. Our ways are different from yours.’
My mouth hangs open. Is he on the same planet as me? Teach him discipline? Our ways are different? ‘What the f**k are you talking about, Blake?’
‘You won’t understand.’
‘Damn right, I don’t. Your father raped and brutalized you when you were a child, and you think that is a form of discipline?’
‘My education was…vigorous and difficult, very difficult. I would not wish it upon anyone else, but without it I would not be fit to implement the agenda?’
‘Without our banking services illegal drug trafficking would stop in a heartbeat. Without our economic policies there would be no poverty or starvation. Without our money wars would never be fought. By necessity we have to be cold and callous.’
For a few seconds my mind goes blank. These people are monsters who deliberate train their children to be monsters too. ‘Did your father discipline your two brothers too?’
‘Why not Quinn?’
‘Quinn was never meant to lead. Only Marcus and I will take over the helm of the empire.’
‘Are you planning to do that to our son?’
‘No. Never.’ His eyes have become pained, but again, closed to me. The secrets are swimming on the surface. I cannot understand them. There is more. What the hell is he hiding?
I play my last card. ‘Is your father Cronus?’
The change in him is so instant and so violent I can hardly believe my eyes. He crouches on all fours, like a cat, his face very close to mine, and his fingers flat against my mouth, but it is what is in his eyes that causes me to feel the first real frisson of crawling fear. They are desperately pleading with me as he shakes his head. I understand the silent plea. Say no more. I begin to tremble with real fear. What is it that is so terrible that it has put that expression into his eyes?
What dangerous secrets is my lover hiding?
I remember again when he said in Venice the walls are thin and might even have ears. He is still looking at me with that same expression of anxiety that I might decide not to obey his silent plea. When I nod slightly, he says coldly, callously, ‘Meine Ehre heisst Treue.’
‘What does that mean?’
‘My honor is loyalty.’
And I know instantly that those words are not meant for me. The walls have ears. I frown. Trying to figure out what is going on. And then I grab my journal from the bedside table and scribble quickly on it.
Is this room bugged?
He shakes his head slowly and I understand that it is not an answer, but a reminder of his earlier plea. Say no more.
‘I’m tired,’ he says softly, ‘and the worse for wear. Let’s go to sleep.’ He lifts his fingers off my lips.
‘Yes, let’s sleep. Things always look better in the morning,’ I acquiesce, my voice shaky, barely a whisper.
He smiles at me. Gratitude. For what? Why? Then he kisses me on the mouth. ‘Goodnight, my darling.’
‘I love you,’ I mouth silently.
He smiles sadly and covers our bodies with the duvet. I fall asleep with his body curved tightly around mine, but I sleep badly. Dreams, nightmares. All broken and disjointed. I am calling for him, but he has his face turned away towards strong winds and jagged rocks. Always I am frightened for him. It is never me in danger, but him.
I wake up when Blake suddenly jack-knifes into a sitting position. Dawn is breaking in the sky. ‘I have to go to work,’ he says.
‘All right,’ I feel very small and lost.
I stand at the door of the dressing room watching him get ready for work.
‘Do you know that there are only ten days left?’
He eyes me in the mirror. ‘Yes,’ he says and carries on knotting his tie.
‘Coffee machine should be ready by now. Want one?’
‘Thank you,’ he says with a smile.
As I am putting the saucer under his espresso, Blake comes into the kitchen. Even today with my heart so heavy he makes my heart skip a beat. He looks a little pale, but he is so male, so gorgeous. I can almost forget what happened last night. That thin child’s voice, begging Daddy to stop. I watch the movement his throat makes as he drinks his coffee. It is amazing to think that inside this accomplished totally confident man lives a damaged child, right down to the eerie little voice. But today is also different from any other day for a different reason. He is changed. I can feel it. Not in the way he feels about me, but inside him. A steely determination. He finishes his coffee and comes to me.
‘What will you do today?’
‘I don’t know. Probably just mess about.’
He nods distractedly. Already he is elsewhere. Taken there by the steely determination. He kisses me. Then he opens his mouth as if to say something, but shuts it. ‘Do you trust me, Lana?’
The little question is loaded with meaning. ‘Yes, I trust you.’
He smiles tenderly. Then he is gone.
The day stretches ahead interminably. He will be gone for so many hours. I feel restless and oddly…frightened. I sit at the computer and Google Cronus. Is there something I have missed? A god who ate his own children. Father time. Another name for Saturn. What am I missing? I start delving deeper down the Google pages. Conspiracy sites churning nonsense start turning up.