In Pursuit of Mr. Sands: Part 4 of a KDG Consortium Story

Mondays are always happier when they start with a cheeky little read, and nobody is cheekier than Mr. Sands. Unless it’s Elise North.  Today is the fourth instalment of In Pursuit of Mr. Sands,  and Elise gets the distinct feeling that Mr. Sands is watching her watch him.  As I said,  I’ve been in pursuit of Mr. Sands for quite some time now, and somehow he always manages to elude me. And surprise me. Just recently he made another titillating appearance, only to lead me on a merry chase. I lost him in North Africa somewhere and ended up recovering in Delphi, where I met up with some unexpected acquaintances. (More on that to come. )Never mind. There are worse places to end up, and I’m sure Mr. Sands will raise his oh so fascinating head again when I least expect him.

But for now, Elise finds Mr. Sands hanging out in Soho, not doing what she expected him to do.

If you missed the last instalment of Mr. Sands, catch up with this link.



In Pursuit of Mr. Sands Part 4: Watching Me Watch Him

Pretending to be doing a customer relations survey for the airline, I telephoned the woman who had been Mr. Sands’ inflight meal. Sarah Martin was her name, and she managed a bookstore in Brixton. She had scrimped and saved for her holiday in the Big Apple, had gone with empty suite cases and came back with them crammed with bargains. Being upgraded to first class for the trip home was the cherry on top of her holiday cake.

Sadly, all she remembered about her first class flight was that the food was fab, and she’d slept right through most of it. Oh, and the flight attendants had been particularly helpful. Perhaps that one final orgasm had also wiped her memory of events Mr. Sands would prefer she not share with nosy people like me and Magda Gardener. None of the flight attendants who knew about Mr. Sands could be reached for comment. I was informed they’d all made quick turnarounds on other international flights, which I found rather strange since after an international flight, one would have expected at least an overnight layover to rest. Still it was easy enough for me to find their details. I left each of them a message to get in touch when they could.

All this I did by phone. What information I could find on Sands specifically wasn’t much other than he was clearly a regular on the JFK to Heathrow redeye. Magda Gardener suspected he lived somewhere in the Hebrides, but no one knew exactly where. In truth he seemed to be even more of a high class vagabond than I was. Most of the research I did on the flat’s souped up iMac, a lot of it from resources and leads Magda had given me when I took the job. But I had a few good sources of my own. It was my job, after all. Still it seemed that Mr. Sands was a very private, off the grid sort of guy. I had lots of time for research and phone calls because for twenty-four hours, Mr. Sands didn’t leave his flat. Was he ill? Was he like a snake, sleeping for days while he digested his meal. That wasn’t a very sexy thought, was it? There was no other exit from his flat. A. Rivers had given me the floor plans for Sands’ apartment when she’d given me details to my own. Magda definitely had savvy help. But even if there had been some sort of fire escape or back stairs, it was obvious he hadn’t used it. I could see him moving about inside, see the periodic digital light of the telly, or maybe a laptop. He wasn’t secretive about his presence. He never drew the curtains, even when he was fresh from the shower or undressing for bed. Perhaps it was a part of his thrall to hide in plain sight and yet be so irresistibly visible that he was like a peacock fanning his tail. At any rate, he had my full attention, and my PI sense was telling me he knew it.

I was surprised when Magda called me for an update. Every other job I’d ever done for her she had been a totally hands off, ‘my people will get with your people’ sort of client. “Well?” Her voice filtered into my ear as I sat at the big bay window drinking my morning coffee getting bagel crumbs on the floor. I had slept very little. From the looks of it, neither had Mr. Sands, and yet he’d stayed put. Kibosh the snake theory then.

“I’m sure he knows I’m here. He’s just playing with me.”

For a moment there was silence as the woman took a sip of something of her own. “Does that surprise you after your inflight entertainment?”

“I expected as much, and I have the feeling that’s exactly why you put the flat right across from him.”

I took her silence as an affirmative. “What is it you want from me? I don’t need the money you know?” I spoke around a mouthful of bagel.

“Of course you don’t. That means you have no agenda of your own, Ms. North.” Before I could respond to that, she said, “you like the flat?

“The flat’s great, yes, but I don’t like making myself a sitting target to anyone I’m tailing.”

Her chuckle was whisky and honey smooth. “Not even someone as enticing as a handsome incubus.”

“Leaving myself exposed has cost me often enough that I’ve learned when to walk away, Ms. Gardener.”

“Yes I know the cost, Ms. North, it even ended you in the hospital a few of those times, if I’m not mistaken.” The woman clearly had more complete information on me than I had on her, but I was doing what I could to even the odds in that department. There wasn’t much else to do except watch and wait until Mr. Sands gave me another little peek.

“Look, Ms. North, I’m interested to see how our Mr. Sands responds to you. Don’t you think he’s as intrigued by the woman his magic can’t affect as she is by him? I certainly am. There’s a great deal to be learned about our Mr. Sands from more than just his eating habits.”

“Of course I’m intrigued, but being intrigued could cost me a lot more than even you can afford to pay.”

“I understand, Ms. North, but if you could just hold tight for a couple more days, watch him watch you, as it were. If at any time you feel you’re in danger, then by all means leave. You’re too valuable to risk, and I think no one is more ideally suited to learn about Mr. Sands than you are.”

By the second morning I was battling with lack of sleep that even caffeine wasn’t helping, and I was certain he knew he was being watched. Of course he would, wouldn’t he? I was betting he’d even feed on that exhibitionism. He’d get no nourishment from me, but as I said sex is its own magic, and no one is immune. His interaction was playful, teasing. I never thought for a moment that I was in danger. He was, after all, just an incubus. I’d dealt with worse.

He slipped from the bathroom in a wave of steam with only a towel tucked low around his hips. I nearly spilled coffee down my shirt at the exquisite view he afforded me. I watched with heart racing as he disappeared momentarily and returned with a cup of coffee of his own and a copy of The Guardian. Then he parked himself in the wing backed chairs smack dab in front of the big bay window and, as he sipped and perused the paper, folded for an easy one-handed read, his other hand strayed to his lap. As though he were barely mindful of the act, he opened the towel and cupped himself absently. Any man might sit in the privacy of his living room on a Sunday morning and, without giving it a second thought, reach for an adjustment of his junk, perhaps a fondle, maybe a caress. Something about Mr. Sands indulging in such an ordinary act of maleness made it extraordinary. And very arousing. I certainly wasn’t about to tell Magda Gardener that in my report though. By the time he laid the paper aside, I couldn’t have looked away if I wanted to. And then he did the unthinkable. He simply stood and walked away, leaving the towel behind, but as he did, he glanced over his shoulder and blew me a kiss.

He couldn’t see me. I was sure of it, and yet he had known. Still fighting off my own arousal, which now left me feeling like an embarrassed teenager, but the implications of what I was feeling were huge. Damn, I had been in therapy so long that I had become self-analyzing. I took a couple of deep breaths and made myself a strong coffee with the very expensive coffee maker, all the while keeping one eye on his flat.

It wasn’t long before I saw movement in his flat. He returned to sit in front of the window with a book in hand, a detective novel. He was fully clothed this time, in jeans and a loose-fitting blue shirt that somehow made me only more aware of what was underneath. This was a man truly comfortable in his skin. But then he wasn’t just a man, was he?


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