The Guest (2014).
At night I’m driving in your car
Pretending that we’ll leave this town
We’re watching all the street lights fade
And now you’re just a stranger’s dream
I took your picture from the frame
And now you’re nothing like you seem
Your shadow fell like last night’s rain
For the last time ….
(Lyrics taken from Chromatic’s Shadow song)
The melancholy sweet pop song wafted through the air of the apartment room, the atmosphere changing where Adam was sitting down, his eyes glued to the screen. He watched as an attractive brunette sat down at her dressing table, her bare face ready for the night out.
Clad in a crimson silk bath robe, that still showcased her wet skin from the shower, Adam stared intently at the laptop, his blue eyes narrowed in concentration, as he tried to pierce through the screen to see what type of brands she was using.
There were dozens of bottles and brushes on her table, and Adam could make out most of them with the zoom feature.
Tom Ford eyeshadow, Chanel No. 5 parfum, Fenty bronzer … the brands and items were expensive and effective at transformation.
The brunette took her time, her already sharp features enhanced, brushstroke by brushstroke, powder by powder, each pencil sketch; a refined definition.
The cheekbones became sharper, the tapered and sharp jaw, even more acute, the shimmering emerald eyes lifted by mascara, the wavy brown locks lined by a hot hair straightener.
Adam felt his breath catch slightly, as the bathrobe came off, and he saw her bare back and buttocks, the long straight legs that seemed to stretch to infinity and the small diamond shaped birthmark on her left thigh.
He watched as she reached up, the long hair falling to the side, revealing a full, shapely breast that was soon covered by a purple lace Agent Provocateur bra. The hips were also soon accented by matching purple high waisted briefs.
Adam felt his breathing coming in shallow and fast, as he beheld the brunette in her purple lingerie, admiring her figure in the full length mirror of her walk-in wardrobe, the marble navel taunt and flat, the long slender arms outstretched above her head, as she pouted and pursed her full red lips.
As she plucked clothes off the rack and tossed them onto her large double bed, Adam also allowed himself to get up and mirror her actions, flipping on the large plasma TV in the centre of the apartment to reflect the laptop’s feed.
Looking down at his phone, he noted the time and flipped his thumbs over to an app, that began to play music from the Bang & Olufsen Beosound Shapes, a rhythmic, pulsating song, The Demon Dance by Julian Winding.
The song throbbed and vibrated the apartment, turning it into a dark twisted fashion show. +
Pleased with the atmosphere, he padded over to his own walk-in wardrobe, and looked at his own collection of exclusive menswear and decided to go with something that would complement the woman’s dress … a Navy Twill O’Connor tuxedo that would contrast the woman’s red Silk Duchesse Pleated Pants and Cotton Velvet Jacket.
Standing at 184 centimetres tall, Adam was the type of person that could be summed up in one word: obsessed. Obsession drove him to success, obsession allowed him to work hours on end without any loss of focus … obsession had given him everything in life, except the perfect arm-piece to bring to cocktail events.
Everything about Adam, signaled intensity. His body was a Michelangelo sculpture, all marbled muscle and virile masculinity, with an equally strong face, that boasted of a strong jawline with a cleft down the middle of the chin and piercing blue eyes that stared out from under tousled, wavy black hair.
Many looked at Adam, like he was the very first and perfect specimen of a male that God had ever created. It wasn’t far from the truth, with his intelligence and ruthless nature an equal match and complement to his physical appearance.
Such looks however, were bought and enhanced by money and a scalpel, and Adam remained conscious of that fact, despite the hundreds of compliments thrown his way, since his life altering surgery.
But his obsessive nature and intelligence were all his, a narcissistic point of pride for him.
Staring at himself in the mirror, he touched his stomach and could only feel hard muscle resisting the pressure. Pleased, he got dressed in the Tom Ford tuxedo and noted with pleasure that the brunette had also finished the final touches to her own Tom Ford outfit, wearing the blazer with only her bra underneath, her enviable collarbone and full bust on display, the bra only just hidden by the button up nature of her velvet jacket.
A hanging diamond necklace came around her neck, as Adam adjusted his black bowtie and dabbed his neck with Giorgio Armarni profumo.
Then, both of them went for their final items, wallets, phones, watches and other essentials. He watched as the brunette dialed in for a Uber, and the door to her apartment close softly behind her, before killing the live feed and heading down to his apartment garage, where a myriad of sports and hypercars awaited him.
Taking a pair of keys off the rack, he turned on a dark carbon black Mclaren P1 and slowly eased the vehicle out of the garage.
They had arranged to meet at one of NYC’s finest restaurants, Daniel and at 6.30pm, Adam parked the Mclaren and got out, at the same time as the brunette. They both smiled at each other, and Adam offered one of his forearms for her to hold, the brunette pursing prettily at him, in recognition of the gentlemanly gesture.
They walked to the revolving front door, all bronze, and dark wood with marble walls, and were shown to their seats, the moment the maitre d’hotel recognised Adam.
Settling in, the brunette glanced around her happily, eager to sample the French cuisine on offer. Adam, waited patiently, rehearsing what he suspected she would order, and was pleased to know his prior research about her was correct.
Adam rolled off his order smoothly, and the rest of the dinner was spent, with Adam confirming what he already knew about the brunette.
Vivienne Lockwood was her full name, a heiress to a luxury cruise company, and well-renowned socialite. She dabbled in the film industry as a producer, and enjoyed a great number of dalliances and social circles.
Both of which had mysteriously shrunken a little in recent times, with several of her male admirers having been taken away on long holidays or her favourite one disappearing at sea.
So she was pleased when she met Adam, a veritable Adonis even among the famous and beautiful of the elite.
What she wasn’t aware of though, was that Adam had been researching her for the past 6 months, a project that had come about from his obsession with her, having once seen her on the spread of a magazine.
For 24 long weeks, Adam had studied her and carefully orchestrated everything to lead up to this moment.
The installation of the security feed in her apartment had been easy. He had gotten his workers to install it, under the pretense that the apartment building was faulty. In addition to a live-feed, there were trackers on her cars and an app on his phone that notified him of any strange deviation in her schedule.
Adam was also hardwired into her social media, frequenting her page regularly to check in on her favourite spots, her regular brunch eateries, her small desires and even her closest friends, which he had done cursory research on, to determine her best friend.
Everything about her was scrutinised and examined under Adam’s unerring inspection. Her online brand, the social media manager of her team, even the fabric of her bed … none of it escaped Adam’s attention.
Aware of her large social circle, Adam didn’t have any hesitation in removing her favourite distraction with a well timed scuba trip and drowning him in the Bahamian waters.
It had been easier than he had expected. With his huge mass, the man barely struggled, and died with minimal resistance, no doubt the huge amount of alcohol in his system contributing to the speed in which he met his demise.
The body was found an entire week later, far out to sea, Adam already back at work in his office, when the news was announced.
It was common for Adam to spend his nights, staring intently at the live feed of Vivienne’s apartment, observing her in her grief, marveling at the way how she writhed whilst masturbating, and watching her in her deepest, darkest and most private moments, sympathising with the times when she talked to her friends or herself as she admitted faults and sins, wishing he could be there for her.
And now, now he was with her, on a proper date, saying and expressing all the right things. Laughing with her, smiling with her … Adam was delirious on this high and wanted to ride it forever.
He wanted to own it, and possess it. Control it and mold it to his liking. He wanted it begging and yearned for it to dominate him.
He couldn’t mess things up now. Not when he worked so hard and so long.
So he kept up his appearance, his shield. He was the perfect gentleman, the type of man that Vivienne had told her girlfriends, hundreds of times before. He poured generous amounts of her favourite wine, that he had privately bought to Daniels, hours before their meeting. He laughed at stories that she bought up, even though he was fully aware of their ending, having seen her instagram stories hundreds of times.
Adam was endlessly charming. He knew his best side and rehearsed endlessly how to laugh in multiple ways, from sympathetic chuckles to big booming laughs that showed how much he loved her jokes. All of these actions were calculated and designed to only display his perfect side, the angle of the face that was the most pleasing, photogenic and aesthetically worthy.
Vivienne loved it all. She couldn’t believe that she had finally met the perfect man. She was entirely oblivious to his efforts. They seemed natural. This was her first time meeting a man, who was so effortlessly a man.
The first date could not be going any better. She was determined to see things through to the absolute limits tonight with Adam. She wanted all of him.
He wanted all of her.
When dessert came, Adam took a calculated risk and placed his hands over hers. She responded immediately, caressing his hand back.
From there, the night took on a dream-like quality.
Blurriness overtook the proceedings. Adam was riding such a high, he wasn’t sure he was even properly aware of what he was doing.
He recalled the shape of her legs in his Mclaren, the hard press of her lips against his as they smashed together in the elevator ride up to her apartment.
The sensation of familiarity as he knew instantly where to go in her room, having seen it a thousand times before on his laptop.
The way she giggled as he peeled off her blazer and held her breasts and bra in his hands.
The kisses that felt warm and soft on his stomach as she slowly made her way down.
The soft squelch of her groin against his, the warm sensation suffusing through his entire system.
The erotic moans, as her arms were splayed across his back, clenching him harder to her as they moved in unison.
Then darkness claimed him.
Adam awoke to the sounds of a song that only he could hear:
Think of me
I’ll never break your heart
Think of me
You’re always in the dark
I am your light, your light, your light
Think of me
You’re never in the dark
(Lyrics taken from Kaleida’s Think song)
Snapping upright, Adam looked across and panicked, hoping that the night had turned out differently.
He was instantly proven correct.
He was still in his apartment, all the glided cage luxury suffocating him, the bed empty and cold, no naked gorgeous brunette next to him.
He had imagined the ending. Everything was true up to a point; when he bought out her favourite wine, she had asked him, suspicious as to how he knew.
His stammering answer roused her instincts and with a cold fury, she stormed out of Daniels and set the hounds on him.
He only barely escaped the numerous lawyers and subsequent scandal through his use of dummy corporations, a private settlement with the Lockwood estate and the promise to erase all footage of her.
All 6 months.
All 24 weeks of footage, research, examination and study …. gone.
But Adam was an obsessive man. He would find another woman. His quest wouldn’t stop.
Not for anyone.
Not for anything.
Eventually … Adam would find his Eve.
I struggled with this one.
It was difficult to find a proper twist and revelation for this story. And I originally wanted to create a story about an abusive boyfriend. But the story starting turning into another type. Thus how this narrative ended up going into You (Netflix) territory.
I wanted to make Adam attractive, but destructive. The film The Invisible Man (2020) really kind of helped me establish how an incredibly good looking individual, can still be charming, debonair and intelligent, whilst utterly abusive, and intrusive. Adam was very much based on my first impression of Adrian Griffin in that film, with a splash of Joe Goldberg from the aforementioned Netflix series above.
And of course, David Collins from The Guest, which features one of my all-time favourite synth soundtracks.
However, I suffered from writing block regarding this for a long time. Over a solid week.
But I suspect it’s simply to do with the fact that I do not have a lot of experience or exposure to abusive relationships. A lot of my own personal experience is incredibly benign and loving, with almost nothing unhealthy about them, and all the fiction I expose myself to, are similar.
If I do suffer from writer’s block … I know that I am tackling a challenging topic. A story that I don’t have a lot of clarity and descriptive powers to handle. It’s a step away from my comfort zone, discussing things military, myself, sappy romance and action scenes.
An important aspect of writing is to attempt these kind of topics that you have no handle on. Even if the product is shitty. And I think this one is.
There are some obvious clues that I struggled.
Sentences become a bit meandering and lack their crispness and I end up letting the narrative peter out and fizzle in a unsatisfactory kind of way, instead of having my hand on the steering wheel and guiding it to a proper conclusion.
Hence, I think my twist in this story, about it being a dream, is, I think, a bit of a flaw. Too reminiscent of Shaymalan twists.
But to make the whole thing a dream, felt even cheaper. So I made it out that Adam was dreaming about the perfect conclusion to his obsessive quest.
There were a lot of things I was attempting here. I wanted to allow you, the reader to experience the songs, so that you have some kind of soundtrack you could play whilst reading.
I was also italicising a lot of brand names to help create the world and instant familiarity, whilst trying to highlight how shallow and narcissistic this world that Adam inhabited really was.
Finally, it’s obvious, but if you arrange letters in Vivienne, you do get the name “Eve” in there. Hence the rather on-the-nose reference. Lockwood, I stole from a Harlan Coben character, but is apt, because he is locked in the woods of his own obsessive nature.
That’s it for now. Expect another few more pieces soon.