When Emma woke up, she felt no remorse at all.  They made love all night, and he was her first.  She fell back in the bed, and laughed. I’m a real woman now, she thought, and she didn’t blush. She felt the itch.  She was ready for more.

“Let’s get married?”

Emma laughed.  She covered her breasts unconsciously with the sheets, and smiled at him, her face flushed with love-hormones. “We don’t even know one another. You don’t know me at all. I could be, I don’t know, a murderess or something, you wouldn’t even know.”

David leaned towards her and they kissed, long and passionately.  “I love you Emma,” he whispered, and dropped his towel.

Afterwards, as Emma lay in his arms, feeling complete, feeling really happy for the first time in her life, he started again.

“Okay. We can get married next week. You have time off after the ceremony right?”

“Yes. I was planning on….”

“Change of plans” he laughed, and she couldn’t resist. “Calistoga. I’m taking you on honeymoon, and if you still love me afterward, we will get married. Deal? Deal.” He answered himself, jumped out of the bed, and then shouted, at the top of his voice.


Then he jumped back into the shower.


They booked in at the Bear Flag Inn, and a young man with skinny legs and a nose that looked so much like the beak of a bird, that they burst out laughing after he showed them to their quarters.

“This is beautiful.” Emma exclaimed as she walked through ‘The Cottage.’  It was adjacent to the swimming pool, and they could watch people sunbathing and jumping into the blue waters.  The queen-sized bedspread was covered in exotic flowers and the staff left them a bottle of champagne and two glasses on the bedside table.  “Come and look. It’s a buck stove, and we have our own private patio. This living room is huge.”

They had drinks at Castello di Amorosa, where they had too much Italian styled wine, and then they took a cab and actually witnessed the Old Faithfull Geyser erupt. Emma laughed like a little girl, enjoying just being a woman in love instead of being the heiress Bradley-Jones. They walked the walk of lovers, hand in hand, embracing one another, Emma leaning in allowing David to wrap his arms around her as they strolled. Emma felt proud. She could see the envy in the eyes of the women.  Why you? David was a Greek God.

They strolled up to Ca’toga Galleria D’Arte where they admired the magnificent art of Carlo Marchiori, and then they went back to the cottage.

Afterward, they took a cab back to Main Street and they ended up at Lovina’s where they had dinner on the patio.  Emma drank some more wine, and David seemed a bit distracted, but as the wine flowed and they ordered, the music in Emma’s heart played on.

“Ready to order guys?”

“I’ll go for your Tiger Prawn & Hodo Soy Curry please. Yum. David?”

“I think I’ll have the 15oz Bone-in Berkshire Lamb Chops.”

They ate, and Emma found she couldn’t stop chattering. And David was interested in everything about her. Love was wonderful.

“The check please?”

Tracy, a stone faced but mousey young woman with a birth mark on the side of her cheek, brought the check.


“What’s wrong honey?” Emma asked.

“My wallet. Gone. All gone. All my cards, everything I have. My social security, even my front door key, all gone. Goddammit!”

Emma felt relieved. “That’s  nothing David. I have plenty of money. Really, relax. We can Whatsapp the stolen cards and block them. Just the flick of the iPhone, problem solved honey.”  David seemed relieved. He smiled, and took her hand. Emma Jones, I really, really love you.”

Emma handed Tracy her Diners Card, and they left.  Emma watched Tracy in the reflection of the glass door when she saw the size of her tip. She jumped up, acting out as only an American girl can.  Emma felt good.

They strolled through night-time Calistoga, Southwards, towards the exit to Highway 101.“My mom and Dad died in Healdsburg, I don’t know, maybe fifty miles from here.  They drowned in the Russian River. I have never spoken about them with anyone after the accident.” David turned in, and pressed his face into Emma’s blonde hair and kissed her softly.  “Thanks for trusting me enough to share, darling Emma. We must go there tomorrow?”

As they reached the end of Main Street, Emma heard a dog barking softly. She turned. Emma loved dogs, all dogs, and they knew it instantly when they saw her. This one, a huge, but still very young American Bulldog came rushing towards her and he jumped up at her, his pink mouth wet. He licked her hands and tried to get closer to her face, as young dogs do.

“Come boy, down boy” Emma toyed with him.  If he was mine, I would name him Rufus, she thought.  When Rufus yelped in pain, Emma was perturbed. She turned, confused by the dog’s pathetic cry for help.

“Goddamned canine piece of shit.”

David kicked Rufus again, and Emma heard bones crush. The dog cried, calling his wolf ancestors for relief. Emma tried to step towards David to stop him, but he madly shoved her away.

He stooped down, and got hold of a fairly large rock that adorned the flower bed in the front garden of the Sushi Restaurant. Emma screamed. David’s eyes were black, and she could see the devil in them. She stepped forward, but David hit her with the back of his hand. Her face stung, and she fell back, landing on her derriere.

David growled like a bear, and then brought the rock down. Rufus cried once, and Emma could hear bones crunch as David broke Rufus’ skull and beat his brains out onto the pavement.

His hands were covered in blood and brains,  and he stood back, his breath rushing in and out. His mouth was wide open, and his eyes stared out into the void. And then he kicked the dog once more, and looking down at his bloody hands, he licked the blood and some brains off his hand, and then licked his left hand clean too.  He hyperventilated in a display of pure pleasure. He grabbed Rufus and pulled him onto the lawn, and then filled the dog’s broken mouth and face with dark earth and sand.


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