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Lady in the fog

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The Lady in the Fog

by Naomi Clark

I saw her on a Friday night while I was waiting for a taxi. She glided through the thick fog like a creature not of this world, a ghost, an angel. Her long white coat swirled around shiny white stilettos, drawing my eyes up, up, up her long legs, over the perfect curves of her slender body, up to her exquisite face. Luscious red lips, beautiful almond-eyes, the colour of melted chocolate. Her oriental complexion glowed under the amber streetlights. A ghost or an angel. She couldn’t be real. Nothing that beautiful could be real.

She walked her graceful walk towards me, red lips smiling. ‘We can share a taxi?’ she asked, her voice accented, light and lyrical.

I nodded, yes, oh yes, I would share a taxi with this woman. ‘Where are you heading?’ I asked, my words slurred a little from all the whiskey I’d drunk.

She smiled and said nothing, simply stepped off the pavement and waved one arm. A taxi drew up, a small miracle after midnight on a Friday in London. I opened the door for her and she slid in elegantly, long, bare legs looking at home against the black leather seat. I clambered in with less finesse, my head whirling from the effects of alcohol and this exotic beauty. ‘My name’s Graham,’ I volunteered after giving the cabbie my address. ‘What’s yours?’

She smiled again. This close to her, I could smell her perfume: jasmine and vanilla. A much sweeter, lighter fragrance than the heavy, musky scents Lara favoured. ‘Kasumi,’ she breathed.

God, I wanted her. She was bewitching. She smelt delicious, looked flawless. Her midnight hair was piled on top of her head in an elaborate arrangement of curls and ringlets, a few strands falling to brush her high cheekbones. I was painfully aware of my rumpled shirt and crooked tie stained with tomato sauce from my pizza earlier in the evening. I’d been out with the lads from the office to initiate a new worker. A pub-crawl, a pizza, a few harmless jokes at the new boy’s expense… that kind of thing. I’d never expected to be sharing a taxi with this gorgeous creature. If I’d known, I’d have drunk less and been more careful with my food.

I shifted closer to her, inhaling jasmine and vanilla with a sigh. ‘I work at a bank near –‘

She cut me off, pressing a manicured fingernail to my lip. ‘Too much talk,’ she said softly. She threw a long leg across my lap, straddled me and began kissing me.

Holy shit, she was hot. Her hands pressed against my cheeks, keeping my head exactly where she wanted it. Her body leaned in against mine so I could feel her breasts pressing against my chest. I set my fingers on her hips, almost afraid to touch her in case she vanished. She didn’t; she kissed me more passionately, biting at my lips. Holy shit.

Over her shoulder, I could see the cabbie’s face in the rear-view mirror. He was enjoying the show. Not as much as me. I had the biggest hard-on of my life. The car jolted to a halt and Kasumi slid off my lap, nonchalantly rearranging her coat. I slipped the cabbie a note, not realised until later I’d given him a twenty instead of a ten. Kasumi followed me out of the taxi without a word.

I ran my trembling fingers through my hair and tugged at my tie. ‘You wanna come in?’ I asked her nervously.

She nodded, as if she expected nothing else, and waited while I fumbled in my jacket pocket for the house keys. Oh shit, she was so hot, just staring at me like that. I hoped I didn’t look like too much of a twat. Or taste too much like whiskey and vodka. The cool of the evening did nothing for the heat in my body. I was sweating with nerves and expectation and goddamn lust.

Finally I found the key, slotted it into the lock and opened the door for her. She stepped in and shed her coat, letting it pool on the floor around her stilettos. She was wearing a snow-white halter-neck dress. Hot. She smiled that enigmatic smile at me. ‘This is your home?’ she asked.

I nodded and flicked on the hall light. ‘You want a drink? Coffee? Tea?’ It felt stupid asking when it was obvious all either of us wanted was to fall on the floor and fuck, but I asked anyway.

She shook her head and walked up the hall, making no noise on the carpet. She stopped by the bookcase and picked up a photo in a silver frame, staring down at it thoughtfully. ‘This is your wife?’

I hurriedly took the picture. ‘My girlfriend,’ I corrected. ‘We’re not married.’ I glanced at Lara’s picture, took in her dark blonde hair and big blue eyes. She was pretty, but next to Kasumi, she looked so…ordinary. ‘She’s visiting her mother this weekend –‘

Kasumi wrapped her arms around my neck and began kissing me. I responded eagerly, all thoughts of Lara driven from my head. I lead Kasumi up to the bedroom. She stripped off the white dress to reveal an erotic lack of underwear beneath it. I hurriedly shed my own clothes and went to push her onto the bed. Instead I found myself beneath her. She straddled me again, her cool skin a balm against mine. I reached for her greedily, pulling her down to kiss me.

She bit at my lips and neck, clamped her thighs to mine and began riding me roughly. I came humiliatingly quickly, spent and exhausted long before Kasumi was finished. ‘I don’t normally –‘ I started when she finally rolled off me.

She pressed a finger to my lips. ‘Hush,’ she said, raking her free hand down my chest. ‘No need to talk now.’

Oh God, she was sexy. Her hair had come loose, falling over her slender shoulders in thick, dark waves. Her pouty lips smiled endlessly. ‘You wanna –‘

Again she cut me off and began stroking my shaft, kissing my neck. Before I had even registered it, we were fucking again, rocking the bed until it slammed into the wall. I stared up at Kasumi, my mouth gaping open. She laughed like glass breaking.

She was gone in the morning, leaving only the faint scent of vanilla and jasmine behind. The minute I realised she was gone, I wanted her back. Memories of last night were branded in my mind, hot and sticky and irresistible. I had to have her again. I had to.

Lara came home that afternoon, full of news about her sister’s pregnancy, her brother’s marriage. I barely heard it. All I could think about was Kasumi. I laughed at Lara’s jokes, smiled at her stories, but inside I was consumed by thoughts of my Fog Lady.

When night time rolled around, I vented my passion on Lara, who squealed in delight. ‘Graham!’ she cried after our third session. ‘You’re an animal tonight!’

I stroked her blonde hair and kissed her pretty face. Her father had wanted to call her Laura, she’d told me on our first date, but her mother thought it too common a name. Lara Spencer, my first steady girlfriend, the first girl I’d ever loved, ever wanted to live with and, one day, marry. She was a stranger to me tonight. Only the greatest act of self-control had stopped me from calling her Kasumi when I came.

She came to my office on Monday, dressed in white and smelling of flowers, her red lips smiling. ‘Graham,’ she said, ‘I came to see you again.’

We fucked in the back of my car during my lunch break. It was wild. She left scratches down my chest, red and raw. I returned to the office on a high, lipstick on my collar. One of the lads pointed it and I spent the rest of the day fending off questions and scrubbing off lipstick.

Lara questioned the scratches that night. ‘You look like you lost a fight,’ she remarked, running gentle fingers over them. I winced. They hadn’t hurt at the time. ‘What happened?’

‘Oh, I think I must be allergic to that fabric softener,’ I said lightly. ‘I was itching all day.’

She looked sceptical but said nothing, just began undressing. ‘Feeling horny again tonight?’ she asked, wriggling her backside seductively. ‘Last night was great,’ she added, a touch shyly.

I pulled her on top of me, hoping to recreate the wildness I felt with Kasumi earlier, but it didn’t come. We fucked anyway, but Lara enjoyed it more than I did. I felt listless and tired. Goddamn, I was tired.

A week later I was in Kasumi’s apartment on my lunch break. It was clean, white, fresh and smelled like her. Long white lilies stood in a glass vase beside her bed. ‘You like my house?’ she asked, handing me a glass of white wine.

‘I like it,’ I said. I threw back the wine without tasting it. ‘I like you more.’ I pulled her into my arms, wanting to tell her I’d been thinking about her all week, that I spent all my time thinking about her.

She didn’t give me a chance, just kissed me and threw my wine glass aside. It shattered against the wall. Neither of us noticed. ‘You’re mine,’ she whispered. ‘All mine.’

I felt like I should have felt with Lara, passionate, hot, horny, alive, hungry for her. When I left her apartment an hour later, I felt lethargic and unwilling to return to work, or go home. I wanted to stay with Kasumi, wanted to stay in her bed, running my hands over her body. Work, home, Lara… they all seemed so empty and pointless.

I called in sick at the office and fell asleep on the sofa at home, not stirring until Lara came home a few hours later.

‘What’s going on?’ she asked me sharply when I awoke. ‘I came by your office earlier and they said you’d called in sick.’

‘I did. I am.’

‘You smell like the perfume counter at Boots.’ She stared down at me, blue eyes flashing. ‘You’re having an affair.’

‘No!’ I sat up, guilt lacing my voice, my body, everything. ‘That’s ridiculous, Lara. I’d never cheat on you.’

‘Then why do you smell of perfume?’ Her voice rose, full of uncried tears and panic.

‘It’s a new woman at work,’ I lied, hating myself. ‘She douses herself in it. I’m probably allergic to it.’

‘Like you’re suddenly allergic to the same fabric softener we’ve used for the past two years? I’m not stupid, Graham.’

‘I’m not cheating on you!’ I snapped, my guilt becoming anger. Why did she have to go on? Kasumi didn’t go on like this.

She stared at me, lips trembling. She turned on her heel and walked away. I sank back onto the sofa, rubbing my temples. I had a headache since I left Kasumi. Probably the wine. I fell asleep again.

‘You are angry,’ Kasumi said to me when I arrived at her apartment the next day. ‘Why?’

‘Stuff at home,’ I said vaguely. I didn’t want to complicate my beautifully simple relationship with Kasumi by talking about Lara.

She wrapped her arms around my neck, brushing my hair with her fingers. ‘Tell me,’ she insisted. ‘We should talk when we are angry, yes?’

I sat down on her bed and shrugged. ‘Lara thinks I’m cheating on her.’

She smiled her wide, red smile. ‘You are.’

‘Yeah, but I don’t want her to know!’ I snapped, feeling tension seep through me as I spoke. ‘If she finds out, she’ll leave me.’


I glared at her, angry with her for the first time. ‘So I don’t want her to leave me! I love her.’

Kasumi pouted. ‘If you love her, why do you come to me?’

Because I can’t stop coming to you, I thought. I’m addicted to you. The way you look, the way you smell, the way you walk, the way you fuck… I’m obsessed. ‘I don’t know,’ I said finally, avoiding her beautiful chocolate eyes.

She folded her arms and stared down at me. ‘You leave,’ she said quietly. ‘I must think about this.’

Her words surprised me. It wasn’t supposed to work this way with Kasumi. It was supposed to be simple. I left, headed for home. I hadn’t bothered going to work the past few days. I’d been too exhausted: unable to sleep at night for thinking about Kasumi, unable to unable to function during the day for waiting to be with Kasumi.

Lara was in our bedroom packing a suitcase when I got home. ‘I’m going to stay with my mum for a few days,’ she told me. ‘I need to think.’

‘Think? Think about what?’ I demanded.

‘Us.’ She stood and faced me squarely, blue eyes bloodshot. ‘I think you’re having an affair, Graham.’

‘I’ve already told you I’m not!’ I shouted. ‘For fuck’s sake, Lara, why can’t you believe me and stop being paranoid?’

‘You haven’t been to work all week, yet you still stink of perfume, so you can’t expect me to believe this stupid story about some woman at work. We haven’t had sex in two weeks, yet I know you’ve been jacking off in the shower.’ She glared at me. ‘You’re not very good at clearing up after yourself, Graham.’

Humiliation spread through me in a cold wave. ‘Lara, Lara, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, okay?’ I sat down on the bed, hanging my head. ‘I’ve been stupid, okay? Really stupid. And I’m sorry. Just – don’t go. We can work this out.’

She bit her lip. ‘There is someone else then?’

‘No! No, not… there was… it was a one-night-stand, that’s all,’ I lied. One more lie, what the fuck? ‘And I’ve felt so guilty since, I haven’t been able to… I’m sorry. It’s over now, I swear to you. I’ll swear on anything. Just don’t leave me.’

She sighed, scrubbed her sleeve across her eyes. ‘I need to think about this,’ she repeated.

‘Here, or at your mum’s?’

‘Here.’ She managed a weak smile. ‘I think here’s best.’

For a month I didn’t see Kasumi. I went back to work. I focused on Lara, my lovely, loyal Lara, who believed my story about a one-night-stand and did her best to put it behind her. We started having sex again. It wasn’t as good as it was with Kasumi, but I didn’t think about that. I couldn’t think about that anymore. I’d promised it was over. And Lara believed me. I was so touched by her faith in me that I proposed one crazy night.

She cried with delight, said yes, called her family, all that. It made me a bit dizzy. And nervous. Marriage? I wasn’t ready for marriage. And yet every time I looked at Lara, my heart caught. I could have lost her. I would make myself ready for marriage.

I went out on my lunch break the next day to find a good engagement ring. Diamonds, gold, the works. Nothing but the best. As I stared in a shop window, I became aware of a figure next to me. Kasumi, dressed in white, smiling her delicious red smile. My heart went like a jackhammer. My dick followed suit.

‘Hello,’ she said sweetly. ‘You are buying a present?’

‘Yeah,’ I said awkwardly. She smelt of vanilla and jasmine, just like I remembered. Just like I loved. Just talking to her turned me on. ‘Yeah, a ring. For Lara.’

Her eyes widened, then narrowed. ‘Why for Lara?’

I avoided her eyes. ‘We’re getting married.’

Kasumi laughed her broken-glass laugh. ‘You shouldn’t lie to me,’ she scolded.

‘I’m not lying. We’re getting married. Look, Kasumi, what we had was great –‘

‘Then why marry Lara?’

I shifted away from her. The perfume made it hard to think straight. ‘Because I love Lara.’

‘You don’t love me?’ she frowned.

‘No. I mean, I’m really… I really care about you, Kasumi, and we had a great time, but I want to be with Lara. I’m sorry.’

She continued to frown. ‘But you are mine.’

A creeping sense of dread trickled down my spine. ‘No, I’m not. It’s over. I’m sorry to break it to you like this –‘

She didn’t give me a chance to finish. She grabbed my collar and kissed me hard, biting my lips. Oh shit, I wanted her. I could have shoved her against the shop window and done her right there. She pulled away, smiling wickedly. ‘You are still mine,’ she said softly, brushing her fingers over my lips. ‘Silly boy.’ She turned and vanished into the crowd.

I shuddered and tried to get a hold of myself. Turned back to the window, acted like nothing had happened. There, there was the ring. White gold with a single diamond. Perfect. Classy. Just like Lara. I went into the shop.

The smell of Kasumi’s perfume clung to me, I realised as I drove home that night. It filled the car. Lara was bound to smell it the minute I walked through the door. Panic filled me as I tried to think of a plausible excuse. I should stop somewhere and buy her flowers. That might work. I pulled into a garage, filled the car and bought a huge bouquet of roses and carnations.

The house was quiet; a light was on in our bedroom. I smiled, anticipating Lara’s face when she saw the ring and the flowers. She’d laugh her pretty laugh and say she loved me. I grinned and shoved my key into the lock, but the front door swung open before I could turn it.

I entered the hall, expecting to see Lara waiting there. No sign of her. I flicked on the light and called her name. No answer. Maybe she was in the shower. I ran up the stairs.

Our bedroom door was closed. I pushed it open and a nauseating smell flooded the hall. I stumbled back, away from the smell, away from the sight. ‘Oh no, oh please no, no, nonononono…’

Kasumi sat on the bed, smiling at me. Her white dress was splashed with red. Her perfectly manicured fingernails were stained red. Red streaks painted her face. Red soaked her long, bare legs. Red soaked the bed sheets. Red, red everywhere. My eyes followed the trail of red to the carpet. Lara lay on her back, glassy eyes staring upwards. She was naked. I couldn’t begin to count the number of knives in her body.

A knife in each wrist, pinning her to the floor. A knife in her throat, in each breast… I couldn’t go on looking. I couldn’t. Lara, lovely, loyal Lara… No. No, no, no… I stared at Kasumi. She smiled angelically at me.

‘Silly girl,’ she said. ‘I told her you were mine and she shouted at me.’ She licked her fingers, sucking off the red. Sucking off the blood. Sucking off Lara’s blood.

I fell to my knees; my stomach heaving as I finally identified the nauseating smell that had assaulted me when I opened the door. Vanilla and jasmine. I bent over and threw up. Kasumi laughed like breaking glass.

Copyright Naomi Clark 2006

So far this year Naomi has had stories published in World of Wonder and Dark Fire ezines, in addition to articles for a local magazine. She lives in Cambridge, UK and is an English/Creative Writing graduate.

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