This is an excerpt from the upcoming book ‘Mirror Secret Mirror’ – we’re posting the first 2 chapters online, over the next few weeks, in the run-up to publishing the book at the end of May.
‘So, I’m fucking your husband. I assume you know this.’
Katya stated it with a casual lack of emotion – harsh, Slavic tongue effortlessly cutting cold. Charlotte’s blue eyes widened in shock. Obviously she knew, but she hadn’t expected her husband’s mistress to just say it, out loud. Now dropping, her focus landed on the model motorbike sitting on the desk between the two women. One of few personal effects to adorn Katya’s otherwise spartan office: concrete floors; high ceilings; three windowless, white walls; one wall entirely sheeted in a giant mirror. Charlotte floundered, still staring at the motorcycle ornament. She knew Katya rode a bike – had seen her in riding leathers before. Although the mistress currently wore a slender business suit.
The wife had avoided looking at the red rose craning out of the glass beside the bike, but the mistress called attention to it.
‘He gave me that, today.’ Her sly smile never touched her lips. ‘It’s my birthday.’
Charlotte’s gulp caught in her throat. She didn’t want to raise her head and make eye contact, but it was pathetic just sitting there. ‘Happy birthday,’ she found herself saying, sounding forlorn rather than bitter.
The mistress poised gracefully in her executive chair, sitting back from the desk but leaning forward slightly, fingers steepling loosely over neatly crossed legs. Her dramatic beauty always striking. Sharp, statuesque facial features – dark, sorcerous eyes. Jet-black hair matched the suit and contrasted fresh, white skin. Deep red lips and painted nails shocked like blood on snow. Glancing a reflection of the scene in the mirror-wall, Charlotte couldn’t help comparing herself unfavourably to her husband’s other lover. Shorter and more rounded – conspicuously normal looking. She regretted her boring choice of clothes: white top and tights with a light-blue skirt. Her soft facial features and curly, hazel hair seemed childish and plain in contrast to the mistress’ exotic splendour.
‘Do you know what is he like? What is he really like?’ Katya’s eyes fixed on Charlotte with the icy sadism of a toying cat.
For a moment, defiance blazed up inside the mistreated wife. She wanted to stand and shout: of course she knew him. They’d been married for years – he was her husband, for Christ’s sake! She knew all his little foibles and eccentricities. The habits and routines he ritualistically went through before going to bed. The anecdotes he liked to repeat about his worldly travels, or his time living in Japan. The silly voice he used to playfully mock her own (supposedly ditsy) inner dialogue. She knew so many things about him that no one else in the whole world knew. But then she thought about the part of him she didn’t know: the part she’d never known… and always wondered. But maybe better not to know. This wasn’t why she came here. Her brief surge of passion fizzled and dimmed.
‘I don’t know.’ She shook her head feebly, then her well-spoken voice adopted a prim tone. ‘I should go. I really have to be getting on.’ Charlotte stood and made towards the door but lost the head start, flustering back for her bag. Katya rose and moved around the desk, cutting off her lover’s wife’s escape. Eyes narrowed, as if ready to pounce.
‘Don’t you want to know? What is he like?’ The Russian was advancing: a tall woman, even without those heeled boots. Pursuing as the wife backed away… drawing up nice and close. The distinctive smoulder of Katya’s perfume was painfully familiar to Charlotte; it smelled like her husband’s affair. The mistress loomed down to whisper in her ear. ‘Because he is not like that with you. He told me this.’ Lifting her hand to twirl a lock of hazel hair by Charlotte’s cheek and pausing to let the humiliation sink in. The wife imagined her tormenter pinching that round, white cheek until it reddened rose. Although in reality the mistress’ fingers just brushed against her, the skin flushing pink of its own accord. ‘Not like that with his sweet, little wife. No, not like that with you. But I will tell you what is he like. What he does. What he enjoy. He is bad man. Your husband is very bad man.’ Relish tickled in her husky voice.
‘Tell me.’ Charlotte’s murmur was low, but the curiosity twinkled as her eyes flicked up to meet Katya’s. She did want to know. Of course she wanted to know. Had always wanted to know. (Maybe that was why she came here?)
‘Where to start?’ The mistress made a show of flicking through various memories with her eyes, off-hand nonchalance deliberately offensive. ‘One day, your husband and I… take little, student girl – twenty-ish, geeky glasses, cute. We take her here… and we fuck her.’ Charlotte felt numb, but sensed some kind of discomfort in her gut – like getting stabbed under anaesthetic. ‘Well, not in here. Through there… behind the mirror.’ Katya gestured over her shoulder, body slanting, so the wife could see past more easily: the mysterious mirror-wall.
‘What’s behind the mirror?’
‘What did he tell you?’
‘That it was a storeroom. He said the old building had to be rented as a whole. That there was too much space. But it was cheap, for London, so it didn’t matter. Said the mirror was always there. That the place must’ve been used as a dance school or something. I always thought it was… I always found it…’ Katya was staring intently. Charlotte gulped out the words, ‘A bit sinister.’
The mistress smiled with her mouth for the first time. An alluring smile, but not a pleasant one, the wry curl of red lips drawing attention to the self-satisfied arrogance permanently chiselled into her expression. ‘This was never a dancing school. And that was never a storeroom.’ Pointing through the mirror. ‘That is our playroom – where we play with our toys.’ Still twirling Charlotte’s coil of hair, Katya drew back slightly, getting a better view of the tormented wife’s face. ‘We met this girl at one of his drinks things. She thinks he is great man. Wants to please him… very much. And she must please me too. And we come, all three of us, back here. So little, student girl can see “where the magic happens”.’
She laughed sneeringly. ‘We take her in there and play games. Make her our plaything. Make her into our bitch.’ She snarled the word bitch with extra contempt. ‘We strip her down, put collar on her… and leash. Stick plug in her asshole, with little doggy-tail. Make her wag her butt as she lick your husband’s come out of me. Little puppy-bitch!’ Spitting the word again. ‘We play many games with her. Tie her to chair and I whip this bitch’s ass. I laugh even more watching him do it. She crying and squealing. Tell us she do anything. Want to be our slave. And he fuck her little pussy, very brutal. She love it.’ Pausing to savour the memory. ‘This little, student girl find out lots about her dark side, this night. No one show her where to look before.’
Charlotte could feel the goosebumps, her body quivering as the sensation tickled up her spine. She believed the story – knew it was true – could imagine the scene clearly. A bewildering excess of emotions racing and spinning. She still felt numb, like how all the colours mixed together appear white… and feel blank. Pain and anger, hatred and humiliation, defeat and despair, curiosity and desire… a hundred swirling shades of jealousy. She couldn’t really pick the individual feelings out as distinct from the general melee. Except (perversely) the envious rage she felt towards the little, student girl. Charlotte’s husband had never fucked her with that kind of brutality.
‘And what about you, little wifey? You have a dark side?’ Katya’s tone was mocking.
The wife composed herself, looking the mistress in the eye and speaking softly. ‘Show me.’
Before releasing Charlotte’s kink of hair, Katya gave it a little tug, tweaking the skin as the lock pulled taut. Her eyes sparkled, tasting the wince. She turned and strode around the desk towards the door at the far corner of the room. Charlotte recalled seeing her husband gazing at his lover after the three of them small-talked during one of his drinks events. He’d watched her turn away and then groped his eyes up those long legs before settling them on those perfectly shaped buttocks… for a protracted period of time. Even more humiliating because the woman from the gallery noticed him doing it as well. Katya beckoned with a sharp flick of the wrist, jolting Charlotte to follow her lead. She turned off the office light as she pulled open the corner door. The wife followed into a gloomy storeroom: cluttered high with boxes, but with space for the door leading through to the secret chamber. Katya closed the office door decisively, so they now stood in the dark. Charlotte’s heart was racing. Could the mistress hear it thumping? Seemed so loud in the silence. Katya clicked a lighter and held the flame between them. Fire writhed in bewitching eyes. A blood-red smile spotlighted against the darkness. The wife suddenly realised she was in too deep. Maybe she didn’t want to see. Didn’t want to know. Didn’t want to go any deeper. But she stood transfixed as the mistress pulled open the inner door.