Hotel Iris

Hotel Iris by Yōko Ogawa Read Free Book Online

Book: Hotel Iris by Yōko Ogawa Read Free Book Online
Authors: Yōko Ogawa
Tags: Fiction, General
the books on the shelves were perfectly aligned, the gas heater was polished to a bright shine, and every wrinkle had been smoothed from the cover on the bed. The room was stuffy, not cozy, and it made me feel I should return the cushion I had propped on my knees to its original place on the couch.
    “Would you like something to drink?” he asked, hurrying off to the kitchen. When he reappeared, the teapot, cups, kettle, and creamer were arranged on a tray with the same care as the room itself.
    I watched as he warmed the cups, measured the tea, and filled the pot with boiling water. Then he covered the pot and waited. He added milk to each cup, uncovered the pot,and held it high above the cups to pour. The long stream of tea frothed into the milk. Removing the lid from the sugar bowl, he finished his little ritual by giving the cup a half-turn in my direction.
    This was the first time I noticed the exquisite movement of his fingers. They were not particularly strong—almost delicate, in fact—spotted with moles and freckles; the fingernails were dark. But when they began to move, they bewitched anything they touched, casting a spell that demanded submission.
    I took a sip of tea and looked out the window. A scuba-diving boat cut across the inlet. The town was obscured behind the sparkling waves. A small brown bird flitted down to the deck for a moment and then flew away.
    Then I noticed his desk—old and plain, with the tools of his trade neatly arranged on top: five sharp pencils, two well-worn dictionaries, a paperweight, a magnifying glass, a letter opener, various thick books. One notebook lay open, and the writing on the page was as precise as the arrangement on the desk. The tiny characters had been copied out perfectly, with no changes or corrections.
    “Is this the novel about Marie?” I asked. I reached out for the book, but he stopped my hand. Perhaps he didn’t want me to touch his things, or perhaps he simply wanted to touch me.
    “That’s right,” he said.
    It was the first time I’d seen Russian writing.
    “Russian is interesting to look at, even if you don’t understand it,” I said.
    “And why is that?”
    “It’s like a code meant for keeping romantic secrets.” He was still holding my hand. “What is Marie up to these days?” I asked.
    “She has finally met the riding master. They are embracing in a corner of the stable. He has his riding crop in his hand. A horse whinnies softly, shaking its halter. Straw rustles at their feet. A ray of sunlight cuts through the darkness, and then they …” He drew me close and pressed his mouth to mine. I could feel the warmth of his lips and the rough parching of old age. It was a quiet kiss. Even the sound of the waves outside had stopped, and the silence seemed to draw us in.
    His desire grew bit by bit. His hands wandered from my shoulders to my hips, lingering at each bone and rib along the way. I didn’t know how to respond—I could only obey him.
    I didn’t know whether the things the translator did to my body were normal, nor how to find out. But I suspected they were special, different from the pictures I would imagine at the front desk of the Iris when the secret night noises drifted down from the rooms.
    Then, at last, he said it.
    “Take off your clothes.”
    It was the first order he gave me, and I trembled at the thought that this voice was now speaking only to me. I shook my head, not to refuse but to hide the trembling. “Take everything off,” he said. Desire and impatience stirred under his calm expression. He had been as timid as usual all day—until we reached the island, where his rule over me began.
    “No,” I said, crossing the room and trying to open the door. The teacups he had set out for us rattled.
    “Do you want to leave?” I had not noticed him move, but he was standing in front of the door when I reached it. He took hold of my wrist. “There’s half an hour until the next boat.” Pain slowly quivered

Similar Books

Having Everything Right

Robert Michael; Kim; Pyle Stafford

The China Doll

Deborah Nam-Krane

Locked and Loaded

Mandy Baxter

Warm Hearts

Barbara Delinsky

Betrayed by Trust

Hailey Hogan

Rose in the Bud

Susan Barrie

Text Appeal

Lexi Ryan