After the first two installments, I decided to make subtle variations to the formula in order to prevent it from getting stale. This is the result of said variation.
“Are you sure you don’t want to play?” Brenda asked with a heartwarming smile.
“Positive,” Thomas replied, noticing the inviting way in which she moved her fingers and specks of light bounced off her perfectly manicured nails. “I’m tired and I’m not good at riddles, anyway.”
“Will you at least stay and watch then?” She insisted, a hopeful tone in her voice.
“Sure, although I’m still a bit surprised by your invitation though.”
“Don’t be. Any friend of Charlie’s is a friend of mine, too.”
Upon being mentioned by name, Charles Devereaux rose from his seat and came to her, his visage embellished by reflections of bliss. “Wow, it’s almost like he’s been hit with a love spell or something!” Thomas thought.
“Ah, there you are, my dear,” Brenda purred. “Tom looks like he could use something sweet and my glass is running empty as well. See to it, will you?”
“Yes, Brenda,” Charlie responded immediately before disappearing into the kitchen. When he returned with the drinks, everyone had already taken their places. The wheel began to spin.
Four contestants were playing this time around and all of them seemed to be handling themselves pretty well. The first three puzzles were solved rather quickly and everyone was having fun. Well, everyone except Thomas, who was at a complete loss regarding the names and concepts being thrown to the mix. He was starting to regret sticking around and the only reason why he hadn’t left already was that he didn’t want to be rude.
Okay, there was another reason, one that was strangely beguiling. Brenda was a magnificent host, commanding the attention of everyone in the room with just a glance or a subtle shake of her hips. Her fingernails continued to exert this uncanny attraction upon the lights all around, giving birth to fleeting patterns that were an exact match to the spinning indentations of the wheel and, to top it all, there was something to be said about her lipstick as well.
Its color was somewhat undetermined, sometimes appearing red, sometimes purple, sometimes with hints of golden brown, an unearthly treasure just waiting to be claimed. It changed every time she pursed her lips and looked at him. It changed every time someone guessed a letter correctly and the board started to light up like a Christmas tree. It changed every time she applied just a little bit more in-between rounds and her already tempting mouth became the epitome of lust.
Dazed by the glistening spectacle taking place in front of him, Thomas soon stopped worrying about everything else besides her lips and her lipstick.
Her lips inching closer to his left cheek.
Her lipstick leaving an almost invisible impression on it.
His body jerked ever so slightly with her phantom touch.
The room began to deliquesce.
* * *
In pulsating waves of evergrowing pleasure, impressions of light and sound returned to him. The wheel had stopped spinning a long time ago and only the two of them were left in the apartment. Brenda stood next to him, practically breathing down his neck. His face was moist but warm.
“Hello again, sleepyhead,” she began talking. “Now that everyone’s gone, I thought we could try a little something. Please, look at the board.”
And so he did. A new riddle had been set up, something wonderful hidden within.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
“The rules for this one are a bit different just to spice things up,” she continued. “I’m precisely three steps away from you. With every letter you guess correctly, I’ll take one step forward. With every incorrect one, I’ll take one step back. You can only go for consonants. If you’re able to make me come to you or solve the puzzle, you’ll get a kiss and joy beyond comparison. If I’m ever more than five steps away from you, the game’s over, and you and I will never see each other again. Are you ready?”
“I think so,” Thomas muttered. He really sucked at riddles, but this was a game he was actually interested in playing.
She produced a small tablet to control the board. “What’s your first guess then?”
“I’d like a P, please.”
A buzzing sound came out of the tablet’s speakers. Brenda took one step back, disappointed. “You can do better,” she said.
Yes, he could. And he would if he managed to focus for a moment. He touched the spot where he was sure she had kissed him earlier, the seeping sensation stimulating his soul.
“S,” he said under the weight of alliteration. She tapped the tablet and her lipstick shone like a beacon in the night as she crept forward. The board whirred behind her, the puzzle starting to unfold.
_ _ S_ _ _ _ S _ _ _ _ _ _ _
“3,” she said. “Go on, make me proud.”
“Let’s go with the letter N then,” Thomas declared, ideas starting to come together.
Another step forward, her satisfaction visible underneath her satin blouse.
“2. Well done. You may still prove yourself worthy in the end. Just look at all those spaces coming to life.”
Four of them in fact, a number that, according to Numerology, resonates with the energies and vibrations of devotion, loyalty, and trust. The board became brighter, irradiating complicity.
_ _ S _ N _ _ S _ _ N N _ N _
“What’s next, Tom?” Her kiss was at hand, but poor judgment could throw it all away. Thomas bit his lower lip, a drop of blood rolled down his tongue.
“I want a T.”
Bzzzt! The appalling sound almost shattered both timpani and spirit. Brenda averted her gaze and he felt miserable seeing the distance between them grow.
“Damn it!” He spat. “Give me an R!”
Bzzzt! The lingering echo felt like a death sentence. She slipped further away. Four steps again. Was her trust in him misguided all along?
“Please let there be a B,” he begged.
Bzzzt! There wasn’t any and the final threshold was about to be crossed. Thomas rubbed his forehead in agony, assaulted by unbearable thoughts. With such a perfect prize to fight for, letting it slip away was worse than a Shakespearean tragedy played outdoors while a tornado raged in. Just one more kiss, please! One more chance to feel the warm embrace of her lips against his cheek… last attempt… last… la…
“L!” he leaped from the chair and Brenda smiled again. “There’s one in this puzzle, I’m sure of it.”
“That’s right,” she agreed. “Does that mean you’ve solved the riddle?” Another tap, another whirr, the perfect moment to end it all.
L _ S _ _ _ _ S _ _ N N _ N _
“Yes, and you’re right,” he whispered.
Brenda’s lips shone even more. “Right about what, Tom?”
“Losing is winning.”
“Good boy,” she slid towards him and kissed him, avidly. “Lose yourself for me and… sleep!”
He rapidly drifted into unconsciousness, head falling onto her breasts. She kissed him again, expanding the pleasure inwards. Electric jolts caused his entire body to tremble, and heightening his mental receptiveness to the maximum. Brenda’s lips brushed against his earlobe, words and thoughts poured within. New games were to be played for the rest of the night, the hypnotic wheel endlessly spinning in his vacant gaze.