Champagne and Doubt

by Sara Carey

Two champagne flutes next to a pink flower arrangement.

The twinkling lights in the restaurant were beginning to blur together. Emily’s cheeks were warm, her hair falling in soft tendrils around her face. She couldn’t believe she was sitting across such a handsome man, and she knew that she was way out of her league when she saw the prices from the menu. Luckily, he had requested a bottle of champagne for their table and Emily’s nerves had dissolved with every sip. She leaned closer to David, not able to help herself as his perfect smile caused her to sway.  

“So, you’ve never been to this restaurant before?” David asked, wiping his mouth with his napkin.

Giggling, Emily picked up her champagne flute and took a sip.

“No, this is the first time I’ve been inside. But I’ve driven past it once or twice.” She set her glass back down.

David had met her there in a dark expensive suit, his shiny gold cuff links sparkling in the candlelight. She just hoped he didn’t notice that her little black dress was faded with age and her black heels were scuffed around the toes.  

David lifted the bottle of champagne and held it above Emily’s glass.

“Want me to top you off?”

Emily shook her head slightly. “Oh, I don’t think so. I’ve already had four,” she said as he filled her glass again and they both burst out in laughter.

She sighed, her endorphins buzzing and making her body feel so light she could float away.

“So, you were saying that you work in a dentist’s office?” David asked, setting the bottle down without bothering to fill his own glass.

“Yes, well as a receptionist. Nothing as important as being a sales executive,” Emily replied, eyebrows raising.

“Oh, it’s not that glamorous, although it does pay well.”

Way more than a receptionist I bet.” Emily giggled.

The waiter approached, discreetly passing the check to David who didn’t seem to notice that the rest of the restaurant was mostly empty. Emily peered at her phone, ignoring all the missed texts from her sister, and saw to her surprise that it was closing time.

“It’s gotten so late! I didn’t even notice.”

David laid the check to the side without looking at it and leaned over the table.

“It’s easy to let the time slip away when you’re having a good time.” He reached his hand over to lightly brush his knuckles against hers, causing Emily to blush.

“What do you say we continue this fun? I’ll show you my new penthouse, and I have an aged wine I’d love to share,” David said with a wink, tilting his head.

Emily’s smile faltered, only slightly, but just enough for him to notice.

“You don’t have to.” He brushed his hair from his forehead. “I know it’s our first date, but I’ve never met someone so wonderful. I spoke without thinking it through.”

Emily sighed, feeling guilty for embarrassing him. She knew what her sister would say if she left with him. But she was having a good time and she was finding it difficult to tell him no. Her lips curved up and she reached out to grasp his hand, the champagne emboldening her.

“I would love to.”

He grinned and gripped her hand back, stroking his thumb across her skin, sending shivers down her spine. He then grabbed the discarded bill and Emily stood, excusing herself to the restroom while he paid.

Once in the bathroom, she stared at her reflection in the mirror. Her cheeks were flushed crimson and were hot to the touch. Her heart beat wildly against her chest and she took a deep breath to steady herself. Remembering her sister, she pulled out her phone and scanned the texts.

Emily, this is not a good idea!                        

U srsly just started talking to him on that app 2 days ago.

I’m serious. Come home. Remember the last date u had?


Have u even been paying attention to the news?

Someone found a body today! This is dangerous.

Emily ignored the rest of the texts and shoved her phone back into her purse. Doubt creeped up along the back of her mind, prickling her skin with hesitation. Emily forced it away remembering David’s kind smile and easy demeanor. Her sister was just jealous that she was out on a nice date in a fancy restaurant with a handsome young man. With a quick spritz of water to the face and an adjustment of hair, Emily turned on her heel and back out into the restaurant.

David was standing by the table, idly twisting his cloth napkin with his fingers when he saw her approach.

“There you are! I was worried you might have run off, turned away by my terrible looks.” He winked, sending Emily into a wave of giggles.          

He gathered his jacket and pushed his chair in before gesturing to her champagne glass.

“Want to finish that before we go?”

“Oh.” She paused, hesitantly reaching for the glass, “Sure.” And finished the half empty flute before he gently led her away.

Once outside, the heat of the city caressed her face, making her hair stick to the nape of her neck. David was trying to hail a taxi and Emily took that moment to look at her phone again.

Where R U? U aren’t replying and I’m getting worried.

David grabbed her arm and ushered her into a waiting taxi, forcing Emily to put her phone away. Once on the road, David’s manners became bolder as he scooted closer to Emily, their thighs touching and faces breaths away. Without another beat, his lips met her own, his body pressing hers into the back of the taxi seat. Whether the driver of the car noticed or cared was beyond Emily, but she languished in the feel of David’s hands on her hips and breath against her lips. Distantly, the radio blasted the news station, a monotone reporter’s voice filling the car.

“Police are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding the scene. Although the body has not yet been identified, it has been ruled a homicide.”

“Turn that off!” David screeched at the taxi driver.

Emily jolted and scooted away, tugging the hem of her dress down and brushing her hair behind her ears. David turned back to look at her, his cheeks flushed, and lips swollen.

“Sorry about that. Nobody wants to hear such dark things while in the company of a beautiful woman,” he said dipping his head to kiss her again.

Emily’s phone vibrated, disrupting the kiss as she fumbled into her purse to retrieve it.

“Who is that?”

Emily looked at the screen, her eyes taking longer than usual to focus.

“Oh, it’s just my sister.” Her fingers slid along the screen, and then shoved the phone back into her purse.

David leaned forward again but was interrupted another time by the sudden stop of the taxi and the driver angrily declaring that they had reached their destination. Reaching into his wallet, David pulled out several bills and thrusted it towards the driver and then threw himself out the car. Emily scooted across the seat and followed David without a glance back.

On wobbly legs, Emily followed David inside, too tipsy to regard how massive the building was. All her focus was keeping her legs steady as she walked through the giant sliding doors and into the cool lobby. David tugged on her wrist and pulled her along towards an elevator where he used a key to access it. Emily swayed on her feet and he placed his hand on her lower back to steady her as the elevator’s doors slid open and they walked inside.

No sooner had the doors shut behind them David was all over Emily again, pushing her against the wall as the elevator rose. His kisses became feverish and his hands gripped her sides tightly as he pressed himself close to her.

She began cursing herself for drinking that last flute of champagne as her head began spinning against the heat of David’s body. The elevator came to a stop and David pulled her away from the wall and into his penthouse. Behind her, she heard David lock the elevator and as she turned to watch him, she teetered to the ground, her knees slamming hard into the cool ceramic floor.     

David didn’t even glance at her as he pocketed his key and shrugged off his jacket. Emily tried to stand but found her body would not cooperate. How much did she really have to drink? She couldn’t remember. She tugged her purse off her shoulder only to be jostled by surprise when David snatched it away.

“You won’t be needing this anymore.”

Emily shivered, her eyes searching David’s face. David stalked around her, tossing her purse into the distance. She scooted away from him, but still could not get her feet underneath her to stand. He rolled his shirt sleeves up, his mouth curving into a mockery of a smile.

“So, what do you think? Nice place, huh? It’s costing me a fortune, but it’s worth the money. Especially considering all the sound proofing that went into the walls and floors.”

Emily scooted herself along the floor until her back was against the wall.

“David, this is a mistake. Just stop and think about what you’re doing.”

He laughed, finished rolling his sleeves, and then bent down to grab her shoulders, pulling her to stand awkwardly. He brought his face close to hers and she could smell the sweat that lined his hairline and slicked down his neck.

“You were too easy, Emily. Shouldn’t you have more respect for yourself? Going home with a stranger on the first night? You really know how to live it up, huh,” his voice vibrated against her skin as he kissed her throat.

“You are going to regret this. Trust me,” Emily whispered, shutting her eyelids tightly as he forced his mouth up the side of her neck.

She could feel the rhythm of his heartbeat against her body, and she tried again to move away from him. He gripped her tighter, forcing her arms up around his sides in a cruel embrace.

“What’s wrong, Emily? I thought you wanted to be here with me,” he laughed into her hair.

Emily swallowed. Her sister tried to warn her, but she didn’t listen. Now it was out of her control as he pressed his body even closer to hers and she was forced to feel the warmth of his skin. She tilted her head up, fighting against him, but knew she had no choice but to give in. He felt her loosen and he laughed at his triumph.  Then, with a sickening crunch, blood fell to the floor at their feet, pouring in fat droplets on the white tile that stretched out around them.

David’s head flew back, his body tensing and growing rigid. Deep within his sides, Emily’s talons dug into his flesh, paralyzing him against her. Blood dribbled down his chin as his wide eyes looked at her, desire no longer present on his face.

“My sister told me this was a bad idea.” Her voice no longer small and sweet, but deep with hunger.

“She warned me that I always find the bad guys. But I wasn’t so sure with you. Until you drugged my drink. Then I knew.”

Her talons twitched, forcing a whimper from David.

“She’s mainly just afraid I’ll leave a mess behind like last time.”

David tried to speak, but only managed a gurgled grunt. Emily tilted her head to the side, her smile stretching beyond what was natural to show her elongated teeth.

“You were just too easy David. I tried to contain myself. But you really know how to live it up, huh?”

David didn’t have a chance to respond as she clamped onto his neck. The hot rush of his blood filled her mouth as she ravaged his flesh, his body falling limp in her arms. She dug deeper in his sides, bringing him closer in a cruel embrace of blood. With a contented sigh, Emily devoured David, and once she was finished, she enjoyed a glass of his aged wine.

Category: Featured, Fiction, Short Story, SNHU Creative Writing, SNHU online creative writing, SNHU Student