Last Light
Author:M. Pierce

I wanted layers.

 

When I prepared for the memorial, I assumed every guest would know about Night Owl. Thus, my goal was to look as wholesome and nonslutty as possible. I wore a black dress with lace sleeves, midheel boots, and my hair clipped at the crown of my head.

 

“Hannah?” Nate touched my shoulder. I lurched away.

 

“I’m cold. I’ll keep it on.”

 

“All right. Would you like to have a seat in the study? I can send Shapiro your way.”

 

“Uh, sure. The study.”

 

“Off the living room. Thank you, Hannah. This means a lot to me. To us. I know the timing isn’t ideal.” He grimaced. Poor Nate; he was so sincere.

 

“Ciao, bird,” Seth called as I moved away.

 

I glanced over my shoulder to see Nate gesturing at Seth, his face like thunder.

 

Great. I was already a source of contention.

 

The main hall of Nate’s home bristled with flowers. White lilies, white roses, white orchids. All white. I flinched as a waxen petal brushed my hand.

 

Valerie, Nate’s wife, greeted me in the kitchen. Her eyes filled with tears as soon as she saw me. “Oh, Hannah,” she said. “Oh, God, darling.”

 

We hugged, and she dug her long nails into my back.

 

When I left her, she dried her eyes efficiently and resumed lecturing the caterers.

 

I found the study and dropped into a leather armchair. One tall window stood behind the desk. Bookshelves covered two walls and Vermeer’s The Geographer hung on another.

 

I got up and closed the study door, then retook my seat.

 

I slouched in the chair.

 

I sighed. A moment’s peace.

 

As I waited for Shapiro, an antique mantel clock ticked off the seconds.

 

How was I going to handle the lawyer? I wanted to know who published Night Owl as much as the next person, but Night Owl couldn’t afford a legal level of scrutiny. I couldn’t afford it. Matt especially couldn’t afford it.

 

Yours is the strongest case, Nate said. He expected me to spearhead the lawsuit. Maybe no one else had a case.

 

After ten minutes, I began to scroll through pictures on my phone.

 

I opened my Matt album.

 

There was Matt on Thanksgiving, seated between Chrissy and me. He looked gorgeous in a dark cashmere sweater. And he looked adorable, hunched over his plate, staring at me.

 

I had a shot of Matt setting up the fake Christmas tree in our condo. I caught the picture just as he smiled over his shoulder at me. One of his rare relaxed smiles. The image had energy—a little blur, the twist of his body in motion.

 

Oh, yes … he got up, I remembered, and pushed me onto the couch.

 

I curled my toes in my boots.

 

I looked at the study door, then the clock, and opened another album. The “My Eyes Only” album.

 

I swallowed as the thumbnails loaded. Damn.…

 

It hadn’t been easy, convincing Matt to let me take those pictures. “What are you going to do with them?” he’d demanded. “Think about you,” I replied. He was still reticent. Then I reminded him how many pictures and videos he had of me, and he relented.

 

First, I opened a tame photo: Matt sleeping, the sheets tangled around his waist and his strong back bare.

 

In the next photo, I had tugged down the sheets to get a shot of Matt’s perfect ass. Then lower. His lean thighs.

 

The fourth photo made my heart quicken. Matt was sitting up halfway, his cock stiff. I recognized a telltale darkening of his eyes.

 

I squirmed on the armchair as the pictures got racier. My hand on Matt’s thigh. My hand around his cock. His hand around my hand. Then: a clumsy shot of our bodies, my sex sliding over his head. I was on top, a rare thing indeed.

 

Matt’s need for control showed in each successive image. Positioning himself. Spreading my lips. Tugging on my hips.

 

Holy hell.

 

My finger hovered over the next media, a video.

 

The study was exceptionally quiet. I heard no footfalls approaching. I thought I heard Valerie’s voice drifting through the house.

 

I hit Play.

 

The video wavered crazily with the motion of our bodies.

 

We leaned apart to make room for my iPhone and to get a clean shot of Matt’s cock drilling into me. In and out, slick with my desire.

 

I panted. Fuck … even watching was intense.

 

I risked a little volume. Tinny moans piped into the study. I heard Matt snarling my name, groaning it. Hannah … like I was killing him. Hannah … God, fuck …

 

The video didn’t capture the words Matt whispered in my ear, but I remembered them.

 

“Is this what you want?” he said. “You want a video of me fucking you, Hannah? You want pictures of me hard? Do you like this? Watch … watch me fuck you … watch my dick…”

 

He went on and on like that.

 

On and on.

 

I touched my forehead. God, I needed to take off my coat.

 

“Miss Catalano?”

 

My eyes shot up. I jammed my phone into my purse.

 

A slight man stepped into the study, paused, and closed the door.

 

“Do you mind?” he gestured to the door.

 

“Not at all. Call me Hannah.”

 

We shook hands—after I discreetly dried my palm.