CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO...
by Dan Dillard
“Highly recommended, buddy,” Ron said.
Leo looked at the email on the screen.
CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS
“You hired a house cleaner?” Leo asked.
“Got the number from a guy I work with.”
Leo tapped his fingers on the desk, then asked again. “Nobody I know?”
“Nah, new guy. But my place is spic-n-span for the first time in... well since I moved in and, get this,” he said and paused as if checking to see if the coast was clear.
“Yeah?” Leo asked, to hurry things along.
“Get this. For fifty bucks, she’ll service you too.”
“Yeah, ya know. You get this house cleaning service for your wife, and you get a little present as well. I’m set up again for next Thursday and I’ve got a couple crisp fifty dollar bills ready to go.”
“Yeah, I thought I’d hit her up right when she got there. Then after the house is sparkly, I’d hit it again.”
“Classy,” Leo said.
Ron chuckled like a gangster from a black and white film. Nyah ha ha.
“I’m just looking to get the house clean,” Leo interrupted. “She worries so much about it, we can’t relax. I can’t do anything spontaneous without hearing the whining. And by the time she stops, she’s exhausted from cleaning,” Leo said.
Ron snorted into the phone. “That’s just weird. My ol’ lady never cleaned shit. Might be why we’re divorced.”
“Somehow I doubt that was it.”
“Funny guy,” Ron said. “Hey, remember—just give her the fifty when she’s done. That way you can get done.”
He nyah-ha’d once more and hung the phone up. Leo put his cell on his desk and looked back at the email.
“Godliness and prostitution. Why not?”
He shrugged and dialed the number. It rang four or five times when the line went silent. Then a meek voice answered.
“Hi. My name is Leo. I’m looking for a house cleaning. Needs to be very thorough. Are you available sometime next week?”
“Thursday afternoon. One o’clock,” she said, still very meek.
“That will be fine.”
They discussed price before ending the call and he marked it on his calendar. Then he called his wife but got her voicemail. A real estate agent, she was on the go and Leo figured she was showing a house. He left a message.
“Hey, get your bags packed. Your birthday weekend is going to be spent sipping cold drinks on the sand. We’ll leave Thursday evening, right after work. Love you.”
He had a grin on his face the whole drive home. It sounded silly, but the thought of a weekend with no worries would be good for them. If she knew she had a clean house to come home to, they could both relax.
The fairy tale didn’t last long. She started her routine of worry within seconds of walking in the door that night.
“I’m excited, but there’s so much to do around here before we go. I hate to come back to a filthy house,” she said.
“Tina, stop worrying. I’m going to take care of everything. Everything! I promise, you just go sell some houses this week so we can afford to pay for the trip,” he said.
Tina smiled, but he could see the unease leaking through.
“I’ll try my best,” she said.
Tuesday and Wednesday were a blur, leaving no time for anything to get done at home. He worked extra hours to make up for the time he was going to miss, and Tina had several late afternoon and evening showings. Neither was getting to bed before midnight and back up by six to start the next day. Thursday morning his desk phone rang as soon as he sat down.
“This is Leo,” he said.
“Good morning, sir. My name is Xander and I represent the Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness cleaning service. I was just calling to confirm your appointment for today?”
“Oh, yeah, hi. I’d forgotten, thanks for reminding me. Yes, I’m going to leave work early today to meet the cleaning folks. One o’clock, right?”
“Not folks, just Leah. She’ll be there precisely at one to take care of all your needs.”
And you get a little present as well, he thought, hearing Ron’s perverted tone in his head along with the stupid laugh. He had no intentions of using the fifty-dollar suggestion.
“Sounds great. Hey, I forgot to ask, do you take debit cards?” Leo said.
“Cash only, sir. We’re a small business, just getting started. As a matter of fact, can you tell me how you heard of us?”
“My friend, Ron. He sent me an email, recommended your business quite highly.”
“Yes, Ron,” Xander said.
"So I guess I'll see you this afternoon, then."
“Leah. She'll be there at one. And thank you for your business, sir. Please keep us in mind for future work. Remember, cleanliness is next to Godliness,” Xander said.
“Yeah. Hey, thanks for the reminder.”
Leo spent the rest of the morning tying up loose ends from the week. He checked his briefcase for the diamond earrings he’d bought Tina. It was the only safe hiding place from her prying eyes. At quarter to twelve, he shut down his computer and said goodbye to some jealous co-workers.
“Off to the beach for three days!” he announced.
Leo stopped on the thirty minute drive home to take some cash out of the bank and got home with time to spare. He wasn’t sure what to do so he called Tina to pass some time.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Working. Looking forward to the trip.”
“Me too. It will be so nice to bake in the sun with a rum buzz. You might even get some sex.”
“Hey, it’s not my birthday,” he said.
“Well, it would be for me,” she replied. “I’ve got a lot of paperwork to finish, but I should be home around five today. We can get on the road after that.”
“I’ll beat you home, and have everything ready to go.”
He saw a silver minivan pull into his driveway as he told Tina he loved her. There was a magnet on the side. Black with white lettering of the cleaning business’s name. Angel wings stuck out from the sides and there was a halo above the word “Godliness.”
The woman who stepped out of the car was tall and thin, with darker skin and long black hair. She approached the house with a bucket full of various sprays and such, then rang his doorbell. Leo’s excitement grew as his plan was working.
“Hi,” he said, after he opened the door. “Are you Leah?”
“Yes, sir,” she said.
Her voice was soft, harmless. It was the same woman he’d spoken to on the phone.
“Come on in.”
She nodded and stepped in. Leo waited as she looked around, scanning the house. He followed her as she walked through the kitchen into the living room and then back to each of the two bedrooms. The home was small, but built with the highest quality.
“You have a lovely home, sir,” she said.
Her words were almost inaudible.
She smiled at his polite response, green eyes gleaming. It was impossible to place her nationality or her slight accent. She had beauty like he had never seen and she smelled like a newly opened rosebud. Not fragrant or rose scented, but like an actual rose.
“I can have this done in three hours, sir, if that will satisfy,” she said.
“That would be perfect, Leah. Please, call me Leo. Really, it’s fine.”
“Sir is fine. I prefer it,” she said.
Leo was almost embarrassed by her formal way of addressing him. If that will satisfy. He felt like royalty talking to a servant and she hadn’t even started.
“I have some items to get from my vehicle and I’ll get started,” she said, still with the soft voice.
“Do you need some help? I can give you a hand carrying …”
“No sir,” she interrupted. “This is my job.”
He watched her walk out to the van and retrieve a vacuum and a few other various items. Her clothes were quite conservative, but made his imagination wander. He caught himself looking and shook his head. It was a lustful attraction he hadn’t felt in ages. Not since he’d been a teen.
Leah began her ritual, attacking from the ceiling and working her way down. Leo caught himself peeking at her, and each time they happened to pass one another, his nostrils filled with the scent of roses. He noticed the whole house began to smell that way.
After two hours, he ventured back to his master suite where she was working on the bathroom. His intention was to offer her something to drink. He caught a glimpse of her in the mirror, where she had stopped for just a moment, and was drinking from a water bottle. Sweat had beaded on her forehead and she had removed her t-shirt. The tank top she’d worn underneath was damp, and it was obvious she had no bra on beneath. She wiped the glistening beads of water from her chest and went back to cleaning. Her movements were graceful and catlike. Lovely.
Leo couldn’t stop watching her. He felt himself stiffen and grow warm. His face flushed. He couldn’t imagine a being more attractive, and for that moment, he wouldn’t have been able to pick Tina out of a lineup. In the next moment, he saw Leah looking back at him. She was smiling. It wasn’t sultry, but he got the feeling she enjoyed being watched.
“Is there something I can do for you, sir?” she asked and continued to smile.
“Uh, no. I was just going to offer you something cold to drink.”
“I have water, thank you. Is that all you wanted, sir?”
She moved past him, brushing against him ever so lightly, to grab a bottle of spray cleaner and a rag. Leo was speechless. His mind was numb and his desire had begun to show. Leah glanced at his zipper, then back at his eyes.
“You’re doing a wonderful job,” he said, trying to change the subject.
She laughed in her shy, quiet way, then brushed past him again. Her scent and the warmth of her skin overwhelmed him. He grabbed her by the arm and pulled her against his body, facing away from him. She squeaked, struggling momentarily, then turning her head to see him.
“Is this what you really wanted?”
“I can feel you. You’re desire for me. Is that why you called upon us?”
“No,” he said. “I called to get the house clean. I’ve just never seen anyone like you. I can't help myself. I'm so sorry.”
He let her go, redfaced. She smiled again, reaching behind him to pull him closer.
“No need to apologize. Is this what you really desire, sir?” she said.
She turned around pressing herself against him, grinding her body on his. Leo couldn’t contain himself as he grabbed at her breasts. He felt her belly, then the small of her back, and finally he groped her buttocks as he licked her neck. She tasted as sweet as she smelled. Like no other woman he’d experienced. She pulled away when he tried to kiss her lips.
“You’re paying me, sir. Allow me to pleasure you.”
Leah unbuckled his belt and dropped his pants to the floor, then eased him out of the shirt he was wearing. Then she pulled his boxers off. There was no hiding his lust at that point. She pushed him against the double sink and rubbed her soft hands between his thighs. He moaned with pleasure. She placed a hand on his chest, letting him know he needed to stay still. Then she undressed slowly. It wasn’t a dance, but her moves were fluid and hypnotizing.
He got lost in her flawless skin, her lovely face, the way her hair laid perfectly. He closed his eyes as she began to kiss his chest and massage his shoulders. She worked her way down slowly and delicately, touching every tingling inch of him. He shuddered, wanting nothing more than release, all the while seeing roses in his mind.
Leah knelt, pleasing him like he’d never experienced and he grabbed at her hair and her shoulders to steady himself. What he felt caused him to open his eyes. Strange knobs pulsed from her shoulder blades, protruding more with each of her gyrations. What he saw was magical, beautiful, and terrifying. Her fingers danced up and down his ribs, then gripped him at the waist, driving him in deeper. The knobs had become long limbs, wings of a leathery sort, and as he climaxed, they unfurled to their full potential. Leo screamed in ecstasy as Leah let him go. She stood to face him, wiping blood from her mouth. She had removed his genitalia with her pointed teeth. He didn't seem to notice or care. He was infatuated with the monster that stood before him.
Her true self realized, she was still a thing of indescribable, yet odd beauty. Her skin deepened,less the tan it appeared before, and had more of a reddish color. Her hair draped silky and black against her shoulders. Her body was muscular, and more animal than human-looking with the twelve foot wingspan that touched wall to wall in the bathroom. He could not look away. He felt no pain, simply his life draining as did his blood. Leah's teeth gleamed with smeared red. She placed her hand on his cheek. As his skin turned the sickly gray of a dying man.
"I love you," he said.
His eyes filled with tears.
"I love you too," she said.
“Are you an angel.”
“Yes, Leo, I am.”
“Is this heaven?”
“It is not,” she said.
“I had hopes for you, Leo, but thou shalt not commit adultery.”