Part I

Mark Hammond loved his wife — everyone knew this. That’s why he had special plans for Laura that day, an evening of pampering and relaxation. He was nervous that it wouldn’t be perfect enough for Laura but all she was really looking forward to was not having to make dinner that night. When Mark came home from his half-day at work Laura was asleep on the sofa and didn’t even hear him come in, “wakey wakey, beautiful!” Mark whispered to his wife as he nudged her awake.

Laura grunted and said, “I didn’t know you’d be home early!”

“Surprise!” Mark smiled and Laura laughed, he continued, “I have dinner planned out perfectly, all of your favorite things but first, it’s spa time!”

“You know, if I didn’t know you any better I’d think you’ve been cheating on me!”

Mark laughed and kissed his wife’s forehead, “and I’d think myself to be the dumbest man in the world if I had done that. Wait here!”

Mark ran up the stairs to the couple’s master bathroom and Laura could hear the sound of water as her husband began to run a bath. She smiled to herself and didn’t understand how she got so lucky in finding this man. Laura was still tired from her nap and couldn’t remember when she had fallen asleep — her mind was still groggy and she had to fight back slumber while she waited for her husband to return downstairs.

As she was on the precipice of wakefulness and sleep, Mark was finally back downstairs with her robe and a tube of something that she had never seen in the house before, “oh, god. What the hell are you having me do?”

“When I was out getting the food for tonight’s dinner I had seen this cool lavender soak bath thing — that’s what’s waiting upstairs for you — and then I also found this equally interesting cucumber mint mask.” Mark put the robe and face mask in Laura’s lap, “here go slip into your robe and put on this mask!”

“And did you get cucumbers for my eyes, too?”

Mark gapped — he didn’t think to get cucumbers.

“I’m just kidding, hon, this is perfect.” Laura was so full of love, and her husband’s childlike desire to give her a perfect day was adorable, “I’ll be upstairs in a second.”

Mark returned upstairs and Laura stripped herself of her day clothes, slipped on her robe and applied the face mask in the downstairs powder room. It wasn’t easy getting changed in such a small space but it seemed Mark wanted to give her a full on “spa” experience. Once she was prepped to be pampered she went upstairs to join Mark.

When Laura opened the bathroom door her nose was overpowered by the lavender scented bath — she could already tell Mark added way too much. She didn’t say anything. “Rub-a-dub-dub!” She said with a giggle and entered the tub.

Mark was sitting on the counter across from her and pretended to cover his eyes as Laura took of her robe but it was clear he was peaking through his fingers. “I hope you love it!”

The water was scalding hot — just how she liked it. “I do,” she responded as she slipped out of her robe and submerged her body into the water, “can you please put this on the counter?”

Mark got to his feet and retrieved the robe from Laura, and put it on the counter where he had been sitting. He then sat himself on the brim of the tub and smiled to himself as he admired his beautiful wife.

Laura slid her body further into the water until the foamy bubbles touched her chin and closed her eyes. “I could soak in this until I die,” she said through closed eyes and laughed.

Mark laughed too, but the couple stopped laughing when they heard a car pull into the driveway. “Stay put,” he told Laura as he went to look out the window.

“Do you know who it is?”

“No, but it looks like they’re just using the driveway to turn around.”

“How dare they ruin my day!” Laura laughed and relaxed once more.

Mark returned to his wife’s side on the brim of the tub and leaned in to kiss her. Laura placed a finger over his lips to stop him for a second, “This is sweet, hon. Thank you so much, I love you.” She pulled her hand away from his mouth and he planted that kiss on her forehead.

Mark kept his face close to hers, “I’m so happy you’re enjoying yourself already. I love you t—,”’ but mark was interrupted.

“Laura, I’m home!” Came Mark’s voice from downstairs.

Laura gasped but the Mark before her was quick and slammed his hand over her mouth to silence her.

“Laura?” Mark called from downstairs.

“I’ll be down in just a minute!” Laura didn’t understand how she had just heard her own voice come out of the man before her. Those few seconds of horror felt like an eternity and Laura hoped that her husband would come upstairs to greet her but he never came. She didn’t understand what was happening and didn’t realize she was being drowned before it was too late. She flailed and tried to find his face, or anything to grab on to, but she failed.

The door started to rattle and Mark was knocking on the door now. “Laura? What’s going on?” He asked frantically from the other side.

The struggle ceased. Laura was dead in the bathtub. “I lost my balance and slipped in the tub. I’m alright. I’ll be down in just a second.” The impersonator said, using Laura’s voice.

“Okay, I’m going to start getting things ready for dinner. I’ll be in the kitchen.” Mark went back downstairs.

The impersonator waited to make sure Mark was downstairs before it, too, went down to join him. When it entered the kitchen Mark was chopping up garlic and onion on a cutting board, “I’ve got such a special evening planned for you, love!” Mark glanced up toward his wife and gave her a wink.

“I hope it’s a killer time.” Laura responded.

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