Tag Archives: lips

The Wonder of Women By Charles E.J. Moulton

I have always been psychic. Feeling people. Spiritually, I mean. I go into a room and immediately feel the atmosphere. If it’s good, I am flying, baby. If it’s bad, I am down to the ground.

To top that off, I admire the female anima, the suave caress of the female soul, the force that inspires us to create art, make music, make love, write poems.

Often, when I sit in the bus, and a beautiful woman comes and sits down, that female anima comes gleaming and glittering over at me. So, ever so subtily and carefully, I study her, looking at the curve of her breasts, the swaying of her buttcheeks, her lips and how they would feel around my hard cock. In my mind, I spread that girls legs, lick her pussy only to shove my hard dick into her throbbing clit. I have made love to hundreds of women in my mind like that, squirting cum into their hot and willing mouths.

But it isn’t just their bodies that arouse me. In fact, it’s the anima that raises my prick: that endearing magic of elegance, eloquence and arrogance that signifies the female spirit. We men love to obey them, kiss them, unwrap them and fuck them until they beg for more. Their beauty is endless and therefore endless in arousal, always begging for more. The female energy invites you into endless copulation, just as endless as the soul is endless in conciousness.

Wonder, oh, the wonder of wonderful women.

As I was sitting in the bus today, not only did I study the girl that came up and sat opposite me, the curve of her boobies and the swaying of her arse. I also imagined what it would be like to be her, have a hot and bothered male with a growing cock studying you like a meaty and marinated steak.

Then I closed my eyes. I imagined myself not having a penis, but a vagina. Then I imagined having round hips, big tits and erect nipples. I imagined myself making myself up every day, choosing a bra and panties and a skirt and then walking out in high heels and having all those men rubberneckin’ me, looking at my tight butt, dreaming of sticking their fat schlongs in my hot little fanny.

I imagined what it felt like to have that long hard dick shoved into me like I had shoved my cock into dozens of pussies before.

Had I been my dream fuck, having my stern rod catapulted into my hot cunt, what would I have felt? How does it feel to have a long hot banana shooting up and out of your crack?

As I sat there, fantasizing about my dream fuck, I realized that, believing in reincarnation, that I might have been a woman in a previous life, with all that entails, the ups and the downs, the periods and the hormonal outbursts.

And I realized that sex connects souls. It focuses two people’s emotions with one purpose: symbiosis. Unity. The act that binds a couple, at best, produces a baby. Sex is nature’s necessity, a foundation for our survival. It is peaceful and built into our DNA.

I believe in reincarnation, in the existance of the afterlife and in a concious and emotional God that put his energy into everyone’s emotions: a source we can tap into whenever we want. A source we need no religion to find.

Soul.

I also believe in logic.

What was before the big bang and where does the universe end? Microcosmos vs. Macrocosmos? These questions have one answer: a divine intelligence.

I also believe in Jesus’ resurrection.

Jesus chose a woman to spread the word of his resurrection: Mary Magdalene.

There were more gospels that were not published. The patriarchal priesthood would have been out of a job if the anima had ruled as it would have deserved.

The male priests grabbed the trophy of priesthood, although women clearly were wiser.

Adam and Eve’s shame was their downfall. Or does an animal feel ashamed when creating a baby? So why do humans love babies but discard how they are made?

Sex is kissing, hugging, loving.

Why do we cheer in movies when someone is killed and cringe when they make love?

Weren’t we taught to love one another?

Violence is sin.

Faithful sex is not.

Think about it.

It’s just simple logic.

Cabin By M. Earl Smith

All in all, I couldn’t help but laugh. After all, you were turning out to be bolder that I had imagined.

You responded quite well to the reduction of my paranoia, as well as a decrease in attention. Perhaps a lot of that was my worrying about losing someone as amazing as you in my life, but either way, I was an old hand at this game, and I should have known better. The old adage was true: when you were relaxed, and spending most of the time having a good time as opposed to worrying about what the future would hold, things went a lot smoother than when I was whining about this or that. For the first time in a long time, we were both having fun.

It was of little surprise, then, when you texted me and asked me about having a drink. You bragged a few weeks ago about having moonshine at home, but I was skeptical as to if you had ever partaken. I, on the other hand, was familiar with drinking. It had bothered you, you said, so I was careful with the scenarios that I allowed alcohol to become a part of.

I was already at the cabin, sitting at the table, thinking, when you arrived. I smiled, and hugged you before putting my hand around your waist, to lead you in. Once inside, I placed an arm gently on either side of you and grinned, leaning in to kiss your neck. You moaned softly, letting this go on for a few minutes before placing a hand on my chest, slowly moving me back. I did as you wished. You smiled, and offered me one kiss before nodding at a brown bag on the table. “Did you rent this place for the night?”

I grinned, and nodded, handing you my keys. “Put these with yours. If we are drinking, nobody is driving.”

You laughed, as if you knew something that I didn’t know, and walked towards the table. Looking in the bag, you pulled out two bottles. One was a simple bottle of vodka, one of my favorites. The other, you noticed with a chuckle, was a bottle of chocolate liqueur.

“I guess I know which one is for who,” you said, removing two shot glasses from the bag.

I laughed, and removed my jacket and tie, tossing them over a chair. “Given your relative inexperience, I figured you should start light. After all, this is just a little fun. Speaking of which, let’s turn this into a game. We will each pour a shot, and one asks the other a question. If it’s true, the person who was asked has to drink, and if it’s false, the person who asked the question has to. Fair enough?”

You giggled, and sat down. “I have a feeling you’re not going to fare well, old man” you teased, filling each glass up to the brim with the chosen drinks. “I get to ask first. You kissed your first girl before you were sixteen, right?”

I smiled, and reached for the vodka. As I did, you put your hand over mine, a fierce look in your eye. “Merle, you’re not a mean drunk, are you?”

I tried hard to restrain my laughter. “Mean? No. I’m actually a silly drunk. I grew up in a family of mean drunks, and I went the other way with it. Why be angry when you’re giddy? Truth be told, I rarely get drunk at all.”

You smiled, and moved your hand. I picked the shot up and downed it, wincing as I did so. The vodka was smooth, but strong, and it sent a warm shock through my system as it went down. Shaking my head, I poured myself another shot and looked straight into your beautiful blue eyes.

“You’ve tried smoking at least once in your life” I said slowly, asking a question that I won’t mind hearing the answer to.

You giggled, and nodded towards my glass, pushing yours away slightly. I shook my head, a little surprised, but, of course, I believed you. With a grin, I raised the second shot in a mock toast and downed it. The second goes down much smoother than the first, and the sting of the alcohol brought a flush to my cheeks that is noticeable even with my beard. Wicked delight danced through your eyes as you refilled my glass.

“Your turn to ask” I said, trying to conceal my giddiness. I was far from drunk, but I felt the effects of the alcohol. The next question, however, sucks all humor out of the room.

“You fell harder for me than you did her, didn’t you?”

All I could do, for a long minute, was stare, so much that you started to reach for your glass, a bit of disappointment in your eyes. I cleared my throat and shook my head, reaching for my own glass, admitting to you that you had a greater hold on me than anyone else ever had. As I went to drink the shot, you reached across the table, pulling it away from me. As you set it on the table, you pushed my chair back from the table and straddled me.

I sighed, saying nothing. I wrapped my arms around your waist and started kissing your neck, hitting the spots behind your ear and along your jawline that made you quiver with anticipation. As I leaned in, you whispered the words in my ear that you knew drove me to the brink of madness with passion for you.

“Quit being a chicken and kiss me.”

The green light given, my lips locked with yours, holding the first kiss for a long time as our jaws worked in unison with one another. Soon, my tongue slid into your mouth, intertwining with yours as you softly pressed your body to mine. I ran my hands under your shirt, along your hips and sides first, before gently reaching up to unsnap your bra. Pulling it loose, I sat it aside and ran my hands along your breasts, feeling your nipples harden at my touch. You tensed a little, as if unsure what to do, before wrapping your arms around my neck, to continue kissing me.

I stood, cupping my hands on your ass I did. You emitted a little gasp of surprise, only to grin and kiss me with more force. It was so intense that I had to stop for a moment to catch my breath, and to reposition my hold on you. The kissing intensified with each step, your legs wrapped around me as you pushed your pussy against me, fabric on fabric. Finally, I made it to the bed, to gently lay you down.

Free from my grip, you slowly crawled to the top of the and looked at me, curled up, not sure what to expect next. I crawled up next you, face to face, and start kissing you again. You returned my kisses, as my hands run up your legs, softly rubbing your pussy through your jeans. You pressed yourself into my hand and kissed on. I slowly moved one of my hands up and unbuttoned your jeans. You froze, reaching your hand down to clasp over mine as you, in a rare moment, looked me in the eyes.

You stared at me for a long second before you slowly started to work your jeans off of your slender, curved hips. It was with a faint surprise that I noted that your panties came off at the same time, and as you slid them past your ankles, to carefully be set aside next to you, I gently started to slide the tips of my fingers up and down your thighs, allowing them to trace occasionally across your pussy, leaving you to wonder if it was intentional or not. This went on for a few minutes before I started to slowly trace circles around your pussy, rubbing along your lips and your clit softly. Another moan of pleasure escaped from you, and you bit your lip as you stared at me in anticipation.

My index finger focused on your clit, rubbing it softly in slow, circular motions as I tickled along your opening with the tips of my fingers on the opposite hand. By this point, your pussy started to grow wet, and it was plain to see that you enjoyed being teased in this way. My hand rubbed up and down on your clit, and, with a steady hand, I slid two fingers into your pussy. You moaned softly, and started to work your hips against the soft thrusts of my hand.

My hand never left you. In a swift motion, I positioned myself between your legs and, with a chuckle, my tongue moved in, to nibble at your thighs for a second before moving northward. In a matter of moments, my tongue replaced my fingers on your clit, and you quickly grew wetter as the tip of my tongue flicked softly against you. You growled in delight, and ran your fingers through my hair.

I took my time, my fingers working in and out of you slowly as I built you towards your climax. My tongue never ceased in its endeavors, and you soon started to softly buck your hips against my mouth and hand as anticipation built within you. You moaned louder, and I felt your thighs tighten around my head. Arching your neck and back, you let out a shriek of pure delight as you reached your climax, coming all over my face and hand, as well as the sheets below. I chuckled, even as my mouth was soaked with your juices, as I continued to lick and finger you for a few more moments, even as you ran both fingers through my hair and trembled under my touch.

I laughed as I finally pulled away. As I looked up, I saw a smile on your face, even as your skin trembled under the effects of what you just experienced. As I crawled into the bed next to you, I grinned, and took you into my arms.

“Worth it?” I said.

You nodded, saying nothing. After all, no words were needed.

The Intern By Ben Rattle

“Oh my God,” said Clare, “That intern fancies you so much it’s ridiculous. He won’t stop staring.”

Ruth glanced at the young man stood at the bar. Their eyes met. He blushed and looked away.

Ruth shook her head, “Way too young.”

“His names Dom and he’s twenty one. Fresh out of uni.”

“Exactly. Too young. Jesus, can you imagine? He’d be like a rabbit in the headlights. I’d eat him alive.”

“Kinky bitch,” Clare grinned and sucked on her

straw, “Well if you won’t have him I will. I think he’s cute.”

“Be my guest.”

“Don’t be getting jealous now if he turns out to be some sort of super stud. Younger guys, they can go all night.”

Ruth sipped at her vodka and said, “I prefer quality to quantity.”

“Good for you.” Clare got to her feet and swayed unsteadily, “Ooh fuck,” she said, trying to find her balance and smooth down the creases in her skirt at the same time, “Now watch this. Textbook pick up.”

“Don’t do anything you’re going to regret in the morning.”

“As if,” said Clare.

But Dom wasn’t having any of it. And half an hour later Clare stumbled off with a few of the others, for a Friday night kebab. Alone, Ruth finished the last of her drink then picked up her coat and folded it over an arm.

Dom stopped her halfway to the door, dashing over from the bar and jumping in between her and the exit.

“Hi,” he said, his cheeks rosy and flushed.

“Hi,” said Ruth. Not returning his smile.

“You’re not leaving are you?”

“Ah-huh,” Ruth took a step to the side. Dom did too.

“Don’t,” he said, grinning, cocky and sheepish all at once.

“Oh,” said Ruth, “Why?” She gave him her best this had better be good face. The one she had learned from her mum.

“I mean don’t go yet,” said Dom, turning pale, “I noticed you looking over and I’m new and, we haven’t had a chance to talk. Why don’t I buy you a drink?”

Ruth glanced at her watch.

“I’m Dom,” he said, holding out a hand.

“I know,” said Ruth, not shaking it. “It’s late.”

“Just one drink.” Dom his clasped his hands together, “Please. Look, I’ll beg.”

“Don’t,” said Ruth, “That’s not cool.”

“Just one tiny, little, drink.”

“Okay,” said Ruth, “Listen. You do not want a drink with me. I am a bitch, okay?”

“I can take it.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Alright then. But I warned you. And just one then I’m gone.”

“Awesome,” Dom bounded over to the bar. “What can I get you?”

Ruth shook her head reached for her handbag, “I’ll get them.”

“Really?” said Dom, looking confused.

“Yes. I get paid more than you. You’re on like what, two pound an hour?”

“Five twenty.”

“I’ll get them.”

“So,” said Dom, after the barman had placed their drinks in front of them, “Have you been here long? Not here as in here-” he gestured around them, “I mean, at work.”

“I know what you meant,” said Ruth, placing her coat on a stool. “Look, let’s get one thing straight, you’re not my type. I’m just having a drink with you to be polite.”

“Wow. Okay. So, what is your type?”

Ruth shrugged, “Oh I don’t know. Rugged guys, I guess.”

“I’m rugged,” said Dom, frowning.

“Sure you are. With those pretty curls.”

“Dom put a hand to his head and ruffled his long brown locks. Your friend said I had nice hair.”

“My friend eats pork scratchings and listens to Justin Bieber.”

Dom shrugged, “Well you’re not my type. Too snooty.”

And stuck up. And this whole mega bitch thing…obviously an act. I bet you sleep with cuddly toys and wear Frozen pyjamas.”

“I so do not.”

“Prove it. Take me back to yours.”

“Persistent aren’t you?”

Dom smiled over the rim of his glass, “I always get what I want.”

Ruth narrowed her eyes. “Okay,” she said, tapping a scarlet nail against her glass, “You can come back to mine. But I have to warn you, I don’t do vanilla.”

“I don’t get you,” said Dom.

“I mean, I like things a bit, spicy.”

“Oh,” Dom’s face lit up, “You mean, like chains and shit. Like-” he leaned in close, “Like Fifty Shades. That’s cool.”

“Is it now?” said Ruth. “Well here’s how it is. There’s something I’d like to try with you. Something a bit…different. If you let me do it, afterwards, you can have me however you want.”

Dom’s mouth dropped.

Ruth stepped up close and whispered in his ear: “You can fuck my mouth, my pussy. Maybe even my ass. Any position. All yours.” She stepped back and held out her hand. “Do we have a deal?”

“What is it that you want too-”

Ruth shook her head, “No questions, or the deal is off.”

Dom swallowed hard and said, “And you’ll let me-however I want?”

“You have my word.”

“Okay, deal.”

“Excellent,” said Ruth, her eyes glittering. “Come on then.”

Ruth took the drink from his hand and pulled him towards the exit. Outside, she hailed a taxi and they sat in the back not speaking. At a red light Dom tried to kiss her on the lips, but Ruth pulled away and wagged a finger in his face telling him, “Not ’till I say so.”

Soon Dom was sat on Ruth’s sofa with a grey and very old cat curled, dribbling, on his left shoulder.

“He likes you,” said Ruth, handing Dom a whiskey, “You should be flattered. Last time I brought a guy back Lucifer shat in his shoes.”

“Please don’t do that to me,” said Dom, tickling under the cat’s chin, “I only bought these yesterday.”

Ruth sat beside him and rested a hand on his knee. Dom shivered, the muscles of his thigh contracting under her touch.

“Relax,” said Ruth, running her fingers over his knee cap. “And drink up. I want you a bit pissed.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. Just a bit though.”

“Okay,” Dom swallowed a slug of whiskey and began to cough. “Eurgh,”he said, “That’s minging.”

“That’s very expensive single malt whiskey.”

“Do I have to finish it?”

Ruth nodded and traced her finger slowly up his thigh, eyes fixed on the swelling in his trousers. She frowned and pulled away, “You’re not a virgin are you?”

“No,” said Dom, his lips pulled back over his gums as he drained the last drop of amber liquid in his glass. “Course not.”

“Good. So tell me,” Ruth rested her hand on Dom’s bulge and smiled as she felt it twitch and strain against the fabric of his chino’s, “How many girls have you fucked?”

“Eight,” said Dom, gasping, eyes half shut.

Ruth squeezed his balls.

“Ow. Okay, four.”

“Tell me about your first time.”

“I was seventeen.”

“How old was she?”

“Fifteen,” said Dom, after a moment’s hesitation.

Ruth shook her head.

“Naughty boy.” She unzipped his trousers and pulled out his cock, “And?”

“We did it in a field. A corn field.”

“Really?”

Dom nodded. “Her Dad was a farmer.”

“Farmer’s daughter. Lucky boy. Did she have freckles and blonde hair?”

Dom shook his head.

“Fat with big tits. Oh Jesus,” he stared down at Ruth’s hand in his lap, her nails making a crimson ring around his shaft as she worked him slowly up and down. “Jesus,” he said again.

Ruth whipped her hand away: “You’re not going to cum are you?”

“No,” said Dom, his breathing shallow.

“You’re sweating.”

“It’s hot.”

Ruth jumped off the sofa. “Okay, you need to calm down. Clothes off. I want you naked.”

Ruth folded her arms and watched as he pulled his t-shirt over his head. Soon he was down to shorts and white sport socks.

“My God,” said Ruth, shaking her head, “Do you live in a gym?”

“I like to stay in shape,” said Dom flexing his abs, “Not bad heh?”

“Whatever,” Ruth gestured to his feet, “You can keep those on, but the tighty whities need to come off.”

“What about you?” said Dom, wriggling out of his shorts and clasping a hand over his manhood.

Ruth smiled, “Oh, I’ve got something special to get into.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah,” she said, stepping forward and getting down on her knees. She moved his hand aside and took him in her mouth, swirling her tongue around the tip of his cock.

“That’s just a taste of what you can have later,” she said, standing up and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, “If you’re a good boy. Wait here. I’ll call you when it’s time for you to come in.”

Shutting the bedroom door behind her, Ruth kicked off her shoes and soon stood as naked as her victim. She stopped to admire herself briefly in the mirror, then reached under the bed for her basket of toys, rummaging inside until she found what she needed.

But would he go through with it, she wondered. The million dollar question. And how would she look him in the eye at work if he did? Assuming he came back at all and didn’t run away, scarred for life.

Bollocks. It would be a box ticked. For both of them. And the cocky little twat needed to learn you had to be careful what you wished for.

When she was ready, she lay on the bed with her legs spread and shouted his name.

The door opened a moment later and Dom peered in.

“Come in then,” said Ruth.

Dom froze in the doorway. “What the fuck is that?”

Ruth stroked the rubber cock strapped to her crotch, “What this?

“Yes. Exactly. What the fuck is that?”

“This is Tyson.”

“Why’s it called Tyson?”

“Well, it’s big and black. And if you want to fuck me-”Ruth got to her knees and crawled to the edge of the bed, “Then Tyson and your tight little arsehole are going to get very well acquainted.”

Dom’s face crumpled. His dick wilted.

Ruth chewed on her bottom lip and said, “Don’t be scared.”

“It’s huge.”

“I’ll be gentle.”

“And what’s with all the…veins?”

“Sexy aren’t they?”

“They’re terrifying.”

Ruth sighed. “Okay,” she said, “We had a deal but okay. I guess you’re too much of a pussy. Fine. But then you can’t have this-”

Ruth opened her legs and hooked a finger under the leather harness, inching it to the side.

“Oh God,” said Dom, staring at her cunt. Ruth ran a finger up and down her lips, already moist and swollen. “Come here,” she ordered.

Dom stepped forward. Ruth grasped his hand and held it between her legs.

“Don’t you want your cock in there?”

“Yes,” said Dom, his fingers edging inside.

Ruth grasped his wrist, pulled him out of her and wrapped his wet hand around the dildo.

“So, is the deal still on?”

Dom took a deep breath, “I guess,” he said. He stared at the rubber shaft in his hand then, eyes widening, recoiled as though it were a venomous snake: “You won’t tell anyone will you?”

“As if,” said Ruth, mouth falling open in mock shock. She pulled him forward and put his hand back on her dick. “Scouts honour. And for God’s sake don’t look so nervous, you might enjoy it.”

“I doubt it.”

“We’ll see.” Eyes gleaming, Ruth grabbed a handful of his locks and tugged his head back, baring his throat. “Well now muscle boy,” she whispered, her teeth grazing his neck, “You are my little bitch, got it?”

Dom mumbled yes. Ruth yanked on his hair.

“Say it.”

“Shit. I’m your bitch.”

“Good boy. Now get down there and show me how you suck cock.”

“Wait,” said Dom, “I don’t know where it’s been.”

Ruth stood up and pushed Dom to his knees. She grinned down at him and said, “Don’t worry, it hasn’t been in any guys. You’re my first. Doesn’t that make you feel special bitch?”

Ruth grabbed the back of his head and began to screw his mouth, the harness pressing tight on her clit as she thrust her hips back and forth.

“Fuck,” she said, digging her fingers into his scalp, twisting them in his hair-loving the way his face had gone red and kind of puckered, like he was sucking on a lemon. She could cum like this if she let herself. His brown eyes staring up at her, pleading for the humiliation to be over.

No. Save it. She yanked her dick out of his mouth and said, “Ready little boy?”

He didn’t look ready. More like he was about to walk in front of a firing squad. But he stood up anyway and bent over the edge of the bed.

Ruth ran her hands over the ridges of muscle in his back and trailed them down to the cleft of his buttocks. He shivered as she peeled his cheeks apart and flinched as she ran a probing finger around his anus.

“You need to relax,” she purred, “Have you never done anal?”

“Once, kind of. We couldn’t really get it in.”

“You probably rushed it. You have to take your time and work up to it or it’s not good. Pass me the lube.”

Dom peered at her over his shoulder, “Is this going to hurt?”

Ruth dropped a pearly drop of jelly onto his arsehole, “Not if you get into it. There,” she said, pushing a finger half way inside him, “That’s not too bad is it?”

“Fuck.”

“Breathe. Relax, let it in.”

“Fuck,” said Dom again, burying his face in the duvet and sounding like he’d been punched in the stomach. Ruth smacked him on the arse.

“Turn around. I want you on your back. Legs in the air. Two fingers this time.” She locked her eyes onto his, “There, you like it. I can see you do.”

Dom shook his head. Ruth laughed and reached for his cock with her free hand.

“So why’s this so hard?”

“I’m not gay,” said Dom, squeezing his eyes shut.

“Don’t be a prick. Stop fighting it.” Ruth curled her fingers up inside him and said, “G spot bitch. Feels good doesn’t it?”

“Oh my god.” said Dom, his dick swelling as Ruth pushed deeper inside him.

“Just go with it. Surrender to me.” She yanked her fingers out fast making Dom shudder and poured lube on her cock. “Eyes open. I want you to watch it go in. And for fuck’s sake, wank yourself off,” Ruth grasped her shaft and held it in position: “I’m going to peel you like an orange little boy.”

Afterwards they both collapsed, gasping onto the bed, drops of cum drying on their naked bodies. Ruth lit a fag and smoked with her eyes shut. Dom just lay there. Staring at the ceiling. Forehead creased in a frown.

“Tell me that wasn’t the best orgasm you ever had?” said Ruth turning towards him.

“You said you’d be gentle.”

“I got carried away watching you moan.”

“My arse hurts.”

“You’ll be okay in a day or so. And if you ever you fuck a girl in the arse you’ll appreciate how she feels.”

Dom sat up and stretched the muscles of his arms. He gazed at Ruth’s curves, eyes drinking up the swell of her breasts, her stomach and the soft mound between her legs, with its tuft of brown hair.

“You know what,” he said, his cock starting to stiffen, “You are so right. I really will. Now, where’s that lube?”

“Hang on,” said Ruth, propping herself up on her elbows, “You’ve literally just cum.”

Dom shrugged and grasped his dick, “I can go all night,” he said. “Besides, we had a deal, remember? Now you’re my bitch.”

Dinner For Two By Cristiano Montanari

Needing assurance that nothing would distract her from that pivotal moment, she reached for the little black radio she kept by the kitchen counter. With a twist of her wrist the dial went down, snuffing the mellifluous voice chanting that week’s Top Forty like a mantra of sorts. Even music, her favorite distraction be it classical or bubblegum pop, had to be sacrificed for the sake of that one crucial, precious slice of time in which she would finally find out – am I good enough? Have I studied hard enough? Am I wasting time and money on nothing more than a mirage, an illusion?

Once again, the last of several instances, she considered the edge of the knife. Holding the instrument in her hand, she indulged with her eyes but dared not pass a finger along the line. She knew it was sharp, she made sure that it would be so. Nothing less would suffice.

Gathering all of her concentration, she held the flesh in place with her left hand, checking that she was not applying any more pressure than strictly necessary, while the right accompanied the blade on its way down, slicing the tissue with a single and effortless motion.

One. Two. Three. Six. With the square head of the takohiki she gently scooped up the thin slices of mackerel, a rosy pearl tone crowned by the blues and grays of the skin. She arranged the three slices in a fan, over very little garnish, and sprinkled just the right amount of sauce over the dish, now complete. She adjusted the square piece of ceramic before her, her eyes inquisitively moved from her piece to the illustration on Japanese Cooking – A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji.

No mistake. Her cured mackerel sashimi was a masterpiece, in everything identical to the ideal form sketched by the master chef himself. Passing her tongue across her shapely plump lips, she realised her mouth was salivating ever so lightly, and it wasn’t only because of the food. The whole process, the procession of her hands from tools to flesh, and now the finished product before her, it all led her to a kind of elation that she did not feel often; surely not while travelling, watching a movie or laying in bed with her quarterly catch. This was better than most things, and surely better than sex.

The time had come. She reached for her lacquered wood chopsticks, a costly present to herself shipped straight from Japan years before. Next to the sashimi, a kelp salad that nearly threw her flat mate into an hissy fit.

“Bwah! Seaweed?” she had blurted on her way out, slinging her cheap knockoff purse and nearly falling off her heels. She had, of course, ignored her. They did get along just fine, on most things; just not on the respective definitions of ‘classy’ or ‘worth living for’. Nothing serious, when all was said and done. Maybe that kelp salad could be a metaphor for conflicting worldviews. Some saw a delicacy, some saw seaweeds.

Itadakimasu. She picked up a slice of sashimi with the tips of the chopsticks… and the doorbell rang.

… what the?

It was nearly nine in the evening, and no one was meant to come bothering her. Hell, she had chosen this evening specifically because she would be alone in the flat. She had woken up way too early and dashed to the Asian market that very morning, in order to make sure to have the best ingredients. She had selected and cut for herself a nice little slice of peace and quiet.

And the doorbell rang.

She slid carefully the plate into an open slot in the refrigerator, hoping it wouldn’t spoil the taste too much, and jumped down from the stool she had been sitting on. She slid into her slippers and made her way to the door – a handful of steps away, given how small the flat was.

Laying against the door, she put her eye to the peephole. On the other side, a crew-cut guy in jacket, sweater and jeans was staring into the little glass eye, as if something could actually be seen from outside.

“Minnie’s out” she blurted, hoping for the nuisance to simply disappear. She never liked her flatmate’s boyfriend much, and he really had no business being there anyway. Couldn’t they at least bother to keep tabs on each other?

“Really? Didn’t know. Can I come in a sec?” she asked unassumingly.

Now, she might not have been the prettiest, most popular or most in demand among them all, but she had at least a reputation for politeness. Still pining away from her sushi platter and seeing no way out of an awkward five minutes of conversation, she opened the door and silently gestured for him to come inside. He obliged, removing his jacket and casually slinging it over the coat hanger by the entrance. That was one thing she didn’t really like about him – how he felt as if he was the master of wherever he went, and how he made no effort to dissimulate it.

“So, Minnie’s not here, huh? Though she’d at least let me know.”

“Yeah, she should have.”

The two stood then by the door, facing each other. Although he donned a rather simple attire, one could tell it was not the kind of thing that would be found in a thrift store; unlike hers, a woolen  sweater and jeans she had paid a grand amount of £10. How could she afford fresh fish and Asian ingredients otherwise?

He stared at her for a while, as if waiting for a cue she had no intention to let off. Finally, he sighed and locked eyes with hers.

Was that a tingle down her spine? Come on, let’s be serious. Not my type, she thought. Better leave Holier-Than-Thou to chicks like Minnie, who could afford reverse high maintenance.

“The polite thing to do is to offer a cup of tea” he suggested, bending his chest toward her and closing the distance between them a bit. She instinctively recoiled, which did not seem to bother him too much as he produced a mischievous grin.

“Yeah, the polite thing. Minnie won’t be back for a while I think” she spelled out.

Implied suggestion: no reason for you to hang around.

“I’ll just drink my tea extra slow.”

She didn’t bother retorting; she vaguely gestured toward the living room, in which he had been numerous times already, and went to the kitchen to do the polite thing. While putting the kettle on the flame and arranging tea bags into a pair of cups, she took time alone to stew her irritation.

Not only he interrupts her long planned Japanese dinner, but he also comes in and makes himself at home just like it was – his – home, which it wasn’t. Just because he had been dating Minnie for a few months it did not mean he could just kick back and relax in their living room, while she served him tea like some kind of housemaid. You ask ‘is Minnie here?’, I answer ‘sorry she’s out’ and you go after her. Simple.

She conveniently ignored, at first, the aftertaste of that tingling sensation, stinging like fresh wasabi and equally difficult to ignore. Was there any specific reason why, since the very beginning, she could not simply dismiss this one guy as the latest nobody, one more name in the procession of cute assholes Minnie had brought over in the two years in which they roomed together? Something that plucked a string she had always hoped not to have in her?

It would have been better for all of them if he just guzzled his tea and left. There was a slight chance Minnie could be back early, and she was notoriously jealous about her boys, sometimes violently so.

She poured the boiling water into the cups, which she put on a battered tray along with the sugar jar and the carton of milk. Balancing the whole on one hand, she made her way to the living room, in which the light was on. Well, at least he had the sense to save on electricity and left the corridor lights off. Minnie always ‘forgot’ to pay her own share of the bills on time.

Just before entering the living room, she stopped on her tracks. As silently as possible she laid the tray on the floor, crouched by the door slightly open and observed the fairly unexpected scene before her.

Now, neither her nor her flatmate were particularly tidy people. Clean, yes; tidy, not so much. No matter how hard she tried to look after the well being of her own possessions, random stuff always seemed to find its way in the most random corners of the flat – brushes, shirts, empty cups of tea, you name it. Shoes, especially. Shoes seemed to have a life of their own.

And it was a shoe that he was now holding in his hand, while sitting cross-legged on the fluffy carpet. And not any shoe: it was the left one of her only pair of real good shoes, low-heel red sandals she bought as a present for herself two birthdays ago. He manipulated the object as if it were some kind of precious foreign artifact, in his eyes a glimmer that was difficult to interpret, something between elation and cautious, measured fascination.

She stood there, watching him. What the hell was he doing? What… what’s the deal? Yet, she felt no compulsion to barge into the living room and stop him dead in his tracks. She had completely forgotten about the delicacy waiting for her in the fridge, the tea getting cold or the fact that she could no stand the guy. In fact, for the first time she felt… interest. Apparently, his mysterious gesture had managed to do what his arrogant attitude could not achieve.

She saw him holding the shoe in his hand, cradling it between his slender fingers. Then, without as much as a look behind his shoulders or any attempt to dissimulate, neared the red sandal to his mouth and gave a tiny, almost imperceptible kiss to the insole. It made no sound. He passed the tip of the tongue upon his lips, a triumphant look in his eyes.

He did it again, this time with more impetus. His lips – which were, she had to admit, somewhat plump yet rather well shaped – produced a little snappy sound this time around, as they parted from the leathery surface.

What was he so happy about?

Well, of course she did know. She wasn’t born yesterday, and she did know that a grown man passionately making out with a shoe could only mean one thing. But, in her house? With… with her shoes?

A third time he neared the piece of footwear to his mouth; yet, this time, a chaste kiss was not enough. He stuck his tongue out and carefully moved it across the insole surface, with calm and controlled movements. From the point where string and leather crossed, all the way to the heel, he covered the distance in one swift movement. The living room was tiny, and so she could see all the way from her hiding spot the glistening of his saliva on the insole.

Ok, that was more than enough. She picked up the tray and entered the room, trying to look as calm and nonplussed as possible.

“Those are my shoes, not Minnie’s.”

She had not expected any kind of embarrassment or awkwardness from a guy like that. She had expected arrogant misdirection.

“I thought so.”

She had not expected that. Neither she had expected a kind of gentleness, of tenderness in his voice, a change from his usual smug register.

“… Still want that tea?” was all she could muster as a reply.

“In a bit. Why don’t you come a little closer?”

He invited her with a gesture of his hand, and she obliged. This would have been the time to yell, to punch him in the face, to kick him out of her flat and maybe tell Minnie on him. But she did none of that, and she had no intention to.

Because, she admitted to herself, she was curious. She was curious to see where this preposterous scene would lead her. Where it would lead them.

“Minnie is all about platforms, stilts and the likes” he continued. “She could never have the class for these.”

“You shouldn’t take like that about your girlfriend.”

“My girlfriend? The one who is currently fucking one of her classmates, and will do so for the whole night?”

“I knew it would only be you here and… don’t look at me like that! Had no intention to make a move but, now… those” he said, gesturing toward me with the shoe still cradled in his hands. “I was dying to see you wearing them.”

“I had them on at the last group party” she objected, though she fully know what he really meant. She sat on the secondhand armchair, crossing her legs so that her left slipper was hovering mere centimeters from his face.

Minutes of awkward silence, before she spoke.

“Just so we’re clear, I decide when it’s too far” she said, injecting as much ice as she could in her voice. “In case you didn’t notice, I am not that kind of girl.”

“Oh, I noticed plenty” he replied. “Stern, serious, dedicated to her craft, always sitting two arms apart from the nearest person at parties. A rare find, nowadays.”

She gestured as if to remove her slipper, but he coiled forward and put his hand, bony and nervous, between hers and her foot.

“Nope. I get to do it, thank you very much” he blurted out, sounding actually concerned. Pretty specific we are, she thought while giggling to herself. If she made sure to be forceful enough should things go too far, this could actually turn out quite entertaining.

Blame it on my artist’s inspiration, she thought.

“See, I can read the kind of person one is from the shoes she wears” he mused while he removed her slipper and woolen sock, tossing them in a corner. He held in his hand, with the same gentleness he displayed to the shoe, her left foot – contemplating it as if it were a holy relic, just as much as the sandal.

“Sandalomancy? That has to be a new one.”

He smirked. “Already, the choice of a sandal displays a keen sense of balance, knowing exactly what and how much to show. The low heel gives your ankle just the right inclination needed to reflect your balance personality, your sense of measure and restrained, yet flowing sensuality. The woven nature of the strings also lighten up what would be, otherwise, an excessively serious piece of footwear. I’m sure you can lighten up too when needed, right?”

She pressed the sole of her foot flat onto his face and pushed forward; he had to prop with his arms in order not to tumble on the floor. Playful banter, since she hadn’t pushed very hard, and for him it probably had been more of a treat than a punishment anyway. He resumed his position and grinned, taking hold of her left foot with a slightly stronger grip.

Part of why she wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as she should have been, she realised, was that she had always liked her own feet. They were the one part of her body she really had nothing to blame for: they were fairly long yet neither flat nor excessively arched; the toes, lined so to form a perfect curve, were slim and perfectly shaped. Thanks to her obsessive body hygiene, the soles were only slightly rougher than the skin of the back and her nails left their natural color but trimmed and polished. Strong in the conviction of having feet much better than he deserved, she stretched the left one in his hand, so as to give him a better grip.

More than you can handle?

He conjoined foot and shoe, an enthralled look on his face. Letting go of the former, he slid it into the sandal until it fit perfectly and effortlessly; then, proceeded to tie the strings around her ankle, with a calm and gentleness she couldn’t help but admire. In spite of her reservation, she was almost starting to like the guy. Almost.

Once done, still kneeled on the floor, he stood back a little so to enjoy his own craftsmanship. Between his hands laid her left foot, perfectly clad in that red, low-heeled sandal.

“Fantastic” he muttered in amazement. “Although I could object on the rather commonplace choice of colour.”

“This sandal’s heel could hurt more than my bare foot” she retorted way too gently, letting her hands run from her knee to her ankle, grazing the shoe’s laces. He reached with his own hand, hesitated for an instant and then met hers just where ankle and laces crossed. From his lower position, he looked at her with eyes that still retained a tinge of their former arrogance, yet were now touched by a hint of – hope? Expectation?

“I’m hungry.”

… Huh?

“I said I’m hungry”

How was she meant to interpret that? Well, she hadn’t meant to let him go that far but, at this point, she thought, I might as well give him a little more before closing the lid. After all, it’s not like we could really see each other again… after that. Her stern self-righteousness would never allow that.

Reluctantly, she moved her sandal-clad foot forward a bit, closer to his mouth. He showed no intention to do what she assumed he wanted to, namely lick it or at least suck on her toes. Instead, he got up and moved as if to leave the room.

“I will be back in a second” he said, and disappeared in the hallway.

The next couple of minutes were, without a doubt, the most nervous lapse of time she had experienced in quite a while. Not even the trial of slicing sashimi to perfection could compare. Aside from life drawing class, she never took anything more seriously than cooking; yet, those two minutes were the most serious she had in quite a while, as she stood sitting on the armchair with one foot in a sandal, and one in sock and slipper. A ridiculous, comical sight for someone who hadn’t seen the whole. Kind of like most moments in life, she thought.

He came back into the room with a plate and a tiny bowl. He sat once again in front of her, laying the plate and the bowl onto the carpet with great care, so that none of the content would spill. Inside the bowl she could see a dark, brownish liquid; it was the soy and sesame sauce she had prepared just a while ago. On the plate…

… Her sashimi! He had stolen her precious masterpiece!

She very nearly jumped off the armchair, and would have done so if not for fear of knocking over the culinary display on the carpet.

“Who told you you could touch that?”

“It’s all there was ready inside the fridge” he answered with absolute calm. “I will take you out for dinner some evening, to make up for it. Deal?”

The sashimi had gone in and out of the fridge once, already too much. Besides, it had to be eaten one way or another.

“Fine. But we split even.”

“Alright” he proclaimed cheerfully, picking up the bowl of Asian sauce. He dipped an index finger into the opaque liquid, and then let it drip over the back of her foot. The droplets ran down her smooth skin until each encountered a string, forming little pools all over the surface.

He extended his tongue and ran the full length from toes to ankle, digging in every crevice and nook, moving in circles or serpentines according to the path designed by the leather lace. With each movement he picked up a droplet of sauce, which he would then let run all over the tongue, savoring it gently.

“Me too” she muttered, hardly dissimulating the pleasurable sensation of feeling her skin explored by his tongue. He once again dipped a finger into the sauce, and then raised his arm to let it drip on her tongue.

“Did you make it yourself?”

“Yes.”

“It’s pretty good.”

“Tastes even better along with the dish it’s meant for.”

“I bet.”

He had been thoughtful enough to bring also the chopsticks. He picked them up and held them nimbly in his hands, opening and closing them a few times as if to test the grip. He gently picked up the sashimi, one slice at a time, and laid just about half of them on the back of her foot. Following the previous procedure, he sprinkled some more sauce both on those slices, and the leftover ones.

“Those are for you” he said, gesturing toward the plate. “If you manage to stand still.”

Wouldn’t have taken much effort, she thought. The fish itself, and the sauce made for rather sticky surfaces. She would have to actively try screwing up, and she had no intention to. This was the kind of game that was only fun if both of them won.

She stood perfectly still as he took hold of her ankle and gently neared her foot to his mouth. He puckered his lips and, one by one, he sucked in the thin slices of sashimi. Each subtle movement of both the food and his tongue across her skin surface, by now entirely moist, sent waves of squirming please up her leg, all the way to her crotch and torso. A few times she had to forcefully tighten her lips as to not let out a faint sigh.

She had done the right thing, letting things play out for once, going with the flow. Even after the sashimi on her had all been eaten, she pressed her foot forward attempting to squeeze every final drop of pleasure from his tongue. Once there was nothing left to savor, he stood up with the plate of leftover in his hands.

“You’ve been pretty good. Have you done this before?”

“Hmm, not exactly this.”

She wasn’t going to spill the beans on her private life so easily, but truth to be told there wouldn’t have been much to spill. A couple of episodes of forceful sex, blindfolds here and there, tied wrists once; none of those even compared with the pleasurable amusement she had just experienced.

“Well, good job. Now it’s your turn” he chimed, picking up a slice of fish and some kelp with his fingers. He moved forward and pointed a knee on the armchair, pressing her against the back. They were now at centimeters from each other. She could feel his breath, a clean and fresh smell mixed with the acrid aroma of the sauce. Surprisingly pleasant.

She opened her mouth wide, sticking her tongue out; he offered her a slice, putting it in her mouth along with the tip of his fingers. Her lips closed down on them, sucking them dry as he pulled them out. The second slice went in, and her mouth suctioned even harder, as if trying to restrain him.

Then it was the turn of the final slice. As his hand moved forward she grabbed his wrist and forced his fingers deeper inside her mouth, all the way down to their final joint. He had to actively pull out, and left her slightly gasping for air, her eyes gleaming behind the glass frames.

“You are a pretty good cook.”

“I practice a lot.”

“Perhaps you could cook for me again, someday.”

“Don’t forget, you owe me a dinner first.”

Out of the blue, close to each other they both burst into laughter, a cathartic diffusion of the accumulated tension. Necessary, she thought. It would have been either that, or raw sex on that very armchair, and she wasn’t up for the latter. He was someone else’s boyfriend and, in spite of what had just happened, she still had a soupçon of self-respect left in her.

“I should get going now” he said, getting up on his feet. “Before, you know… we let ourselves go too far.”

“Yup.”

“We are both way too decent, aren’t we?”

“Debatable.”

“You’re right! Where are my manners!”

He walked across the room and picked up the sock and slipper he had thrown away casually moments before. He brought them over to her, kneeled again.

“Please allow me to.”

Slowly he untied the heeled sandal, making sure to pull the shoe gently. Yet one more time he pulled her foot to himself, and with great care licked every single inch of it, until there was no trace of sauce left on the skin. Then, he straightened out the sock and slid her foot inside it, ruffling the wool around the ankle. Finally, the slipper, back in place.

He helped her off the armchair, and the two reached the apartment door. She opened it for him, he made his exit but not before indulging a bit on the doorstep.

“I’ll pay for the dry cleaning.”

“Huh?”

“The shoes. You can’t leave them like that.”

“Ah, yeah. No problem, I can still afford that much.”

“Cool. Well, then… if there will be a next time.”

How could she know? In twenty minutes she went from annoyance to almost wanting him to stay. Too much stuff to think about.

“We’ll see.”

He then turned around and went down the staircase, disappearing from sight. She shut the door, and set about straightening up the mess. She picked up the plates, the tea tray and brought them over to the kitchen sink. She ripped a corner from a piece of paper and stuck it at the mackerel sashimi page of Shizuo Tsuji’s cookbook. She then perched on a stool by the counter, and laid her head upon her crossed arms.

Moved her tongue up and down her lips. Felt the taste of her supreme cuisine, of his fingertips.

Not bad at all.

 

Nightcap By Ty Spencer Vossler‏

Mexico City has just about anything you’re not looking for. Lucia had been many times— had lived in the ghetto of Colonia Guadalupe Chalma as a child. She didn’t care much for the broad-shouldered city—too fast and aggressive. Given her past it was a miracle that she added Doctor to the front of her name. Lucia specialized in Topology—a branch of algebra so intangible that few women dare to swim its abstract waters. Lucia was in Mexico City to sit on a Masters exam panel.

She spent leisurely hours in the hotel room, resting, reading, and channel surfing. Flipping through options she paused at an advertisement for a blues concert at the convention center across the street. She walked to the balcony window and saw the billboard: Smokey Harris—One Night Only. Lucia owned several of his CD’s. On the announcement Smokey Harris stood tall and handsome—posing with his signature hand-made guitar. She thought to check if tickets were still available, yet felt too lazy. She returned her attention to the television.  Smokey was singing a sad tune—eyes closed, swaying and lost in the music.

After a short nap Lucia showered and dressed in an embroidered gold and black Indian blouse, partnered with a pleated ankle-length skirt. As an afterthought she wore an ankle bracelet with semi-precious stones and tiny brass chimes that tinkled when she walked. She took an elevator down to the restaurant, sat in a dark corner, ordered a glass of white wine and a chef salad. With few other diners to distract she was soon covering a napkin with new Topology ideas. Shaking free for a moment, she reminded herself to call home.

Lucia was mother to a beautiful Four-year-old—married to an American writer she’d met by chance many years earlier. They’d lived in the States for nine years before moving to Mexico.

A lot of water under the bridge, she thought. Having Rita changed their lives. Her passion for Wyler was gradually replaced by her focus on Rita. They talked about how the fire was reduced to embers—yet Rita was worth any sacrifice.

# # #

Lucia’s focus changed when Smokey Harris and two others sat nearby. They didn’t appear to take notice of her—yet as he perused the menu, Smokey looked up, smiled and winked at her.

“Buenos tardes.”

Lucia returned his smile with a corrected, “Buenos noches.”

He glanced at his watch and nodded, “So it is, so it is.”

After a waiter took his order, Smokey whispered something and gave a nod in her direction. The other men at the table shook their heads. A few minutes later a bottle of Dom Perignon arrived to Lucia’s table.

“From the gentleman,” the waiter gestured.

Taking his cue, Smokey walked over. His friends stayed put—one said, “You too much, man.”

“I took a risk that you might like Champagne,” he began.

She smiled, “An expensive risk, Mr. Harris.”

“Blues fan?”

“And jazz too. I’ve heard you play both.”

“You know baby—jazz is just blues that’s tumbled down some stairs.”

Champagne traveled up her nose and she coughed as she laughed. Smokey patted her back and then rubbed the back of her neck.

“Thank you,” she said.

“You had me a little worried—thought I’d have to do some mouth-to-mouth.”

Lucia smiled and a swallowed some water.

“Coming to the show tomorrow night?”

She shook her head, “No—I don’t have a ticket.”

“Too late—all sold out,” he reached into his front shirt pocket, “but there’s ways around that.” He presented her with a ticket.

“Oh, that’s very nice of you, thank you.”

“That’ll put you front and center and get you backstage after the show. “

She touched a hand to her heart, “I don’t know what to say.”

“How ‘bout sharing some bubbly with ol’ Smokey?”

The waiter brought another flute without being asked.

“Here’s to beautiful Mexican women,” he raised his glass adding, “pretty lady, you got a million-watt smile.”

They touched glasses and sipped.

The getting-to-know-you chitchat ensued.  She was teaching in Acapulco and last year he’d played on a cruise ship that stopped there.

“I watched those cliff divers,” he said. “That’s some scary shit.”

He learned that she was married and had a daughter. She discovered that he was between relationships—father of two sons from previous marriage.

Lucia’s salad arrived and Smokey leered at it with one eye closed.

“That all you havin’?”

“I’m not very hungry.”

She nibbled her salad while he waited for his steak.

“How’d you get cozy with the blues pretty lady?”

“I don’t remember—college I think. I like the sadness and passion—how the songs tell stories.”

“That’s right they do, and you know what?”

“What?”

“You gonna leave me with some bitter blues if you don’t join me for a nightcap—might even play a song or two.”

“What is a nightcap?” She wasn’t familiar with the word.

“Last drink folks have before they call it a night.”

“Oh,” she nodded, “yes, and I’d like very much to hear you play.”

“Great.”

After dinner he signed for the tab and proffered Lucia the crook of his arm.

“Shall we?”  He paused briefly to introduce her to his friends, who stood.

“Dorsey,” the first man said, “it’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Everett,” introduced the other, “you folks have yourself a nice evening. Don’t keep him out too late, young lady,” he wagged a finger.

“Later brothers,” the three men shared a special handshake. Smokey escorted Lucia to the elevator.

“Dorsey, Everett and me—we’ve been playing together since we were kids. Our first band was, The Smoking Lizards.”

# # #

He had rented an entire suite, replete with a lighted fountain in the living room. He flipped on the lights and rotated a knob to dim them down.

“My goodness,” she managed as she watched the fountain spring to life.

“There’s another one in the bedroom.” He kicked off his shoes, “Make yourself at home.”

Lucia lifted her legs to remove her sandals.

Smoky led her into the bedroom.

“This’s where I keep Baby Blue—my guitar.”

The bedroom fountain was a sculpted mermaid, emptying water from a giant shell into a waiting pond. A full bar took up space beneath a flat-screen television hanging on the wall.

“What can I get you?” He asked.

“Nothing for me, thank you—the champagne was enough.”

He gestured to the bedroom fountain, “Doubles as a Jacuzzi—feels real nice after a concert. I always get this room when I play here.”

The over-sized bed was covered with bright throw pillows and his acoustic guitar was leaned against a nightstand. He reached for it and motioned for Lucia to sit next to him on the bed.

“This song’s for a beautiful flower called Lucia,” and he began playing.

His fingers lifted, pressed and wiggled changing mere notes into his signature style of play. His song was about a woman he’d given his soul to—only to be left twisting. He played with eyes closed, peeking at Lucia now and again until the final note resonated, and faded.

“That was so beautiful,” she smiled.

“Let you in on a little secret,” he answered, “right this moment—nothing in this world’s as beautiful as you.”

Lucia didn’t resist when he touched her face, and kissed her. His lips were soft and she returned it with the tip of her tongue. The moist sound of subsequent kisses made her lightheaded. His lips journeyed to the bird’s nest of her throat—to her ear—delicate, slow kisses that made her wet. His strumming hand slipped up beneath her blouse to rub her smooth brown back. Then, with a deft twist of thumb and forefinger he released the catch and her tits sprang forward.

Lifting the front of her blouse he trapped a brown nipple with his front teeth. Lucia combed her fingers through his hair as he suckled.

“Beautiful,” he whispered easing her to her back. His tongue traveled to the softness of her belly. She lifted when his fingers hooked inside the waistband of her skirt and panties.

“Sweet Jesus,” he groaned as he peeled them down, “the Garden of Eden.”

Smokey knelt to spread her pussy lips with his thumbs—flicking his tongue over the hooded flesh of her tiny pearl. She responded with a melodious moan and thrust against him.

“Like honey,” he said, pausing to slipped out of his pants. Lucia gawked at his thick, attenuated cock pulsing like a separate animal. He returned, licking, sliding a long, tapered index finger inside and curling it upward.

“Ayyy, get inside,” she gasped, “Huh-huh-huh!”

Smokey scooted until his bulbous tip touched her outer pedals. Caressing up and down until it glistened—he slowly pushed inside. Lucia stiffened and then shivered with pleasure as her pussy sheathed his broad shaft.

“We’ll take it nice and easy, baby—that’s right—nice and slow.”

When his entire length was wetted, Lucia moaned, spread wider and squeezed his lower arms. He cupped his hands under her knees to lift them over his shoulders.

He saw that her pussy lips were stretched taut around his thickness. He gazed into Lucia’s almond-shaped eyes—glazed with passion—loved how she inhaled so deeply when he was slipping in, followed by a deep, satisfied groan when he was in all the way. She dug her heels into his shoulder blades as he moved. When he bent to suck a nipple she unhooked her legs and brought them around his back to set a counter-rhythm with her hips.

Her first orgasm surprised him with its intensity—rhythmic muscular contractions, desperate cries.

“That’s right baby,” he said as he pushed through each successive spasm.

“Oh-oh-oh—ayyy—ohhh, ayyy!” Her sea-gull cries filled the bedroom.

She twitched and squeezed around his cock as Smokey stroked relentlessly—kissing and suckling until another one took hold. She thrashed beneath him, lifting her ass, clasping his shoulders and rubbing her calves over his back.

She’s playing her song, he thought. Each woman he’d been with had her own distinct way. Lucia’s song was original and lovely to the ear.

Smoky plunged to the hilt, balls leaping.

“Jesus—awww,” he growled as he spurt, “awww—shit—aw-aw-awww!”

# # #

For a long while after he stayed inside—kissing her tenderly. The impressive size of his cock afforded the luxury of staying inside until he was ready to leave. When he finally did, the wet sounds of compressed air were followed by a splurge of semen.

His ebony cock was glazed and Lucia’s dark snatch was matted with leavings. Smokey hummed an appreciative, “Mm-mm-mm” and thought he’d never seen anything so wonderful in all his life.

Breathing slowed—the bluesman leisurely nibbled and left a mark on the skin around her nipple. Lucia felt so sensitive that she thought the slightest breeze would make her cum again. Her knees were still lifted and she rubbed a foot lazily over his hips. They smiled at the same time.

“That husband of yours is one lucky buck—waking up to a smile like that every morning.”

“You make love like you play guitar,” she answered.

Smokey kissed her.  She smelled like cinnamon and sex. He had cried out for Jesus when he spurted. Must be a reason for that, he thought. Almighty must know that the secret to heaven on Earth is written between the parentheses of a pussy.

A short time later Smoky was ready to play another song and this one lasted much longer.

# # #

The next night Lucia phoned home before she walked to the concert. Smokey sent her a large bouquet of roses.

After the concert he welcomed her backstage with open arms, yet she saw he was already hooked up with another fan. Undoubtedly she would soon enjoy a free concert. Lucia was okay with that. She’d come to Mexico City without expectations and been privy to Smokey’s most intimate song—oh-so-sweet. Her memories would travel away from this city along with a pressed rose.

As she turned to leave Dorsey caught her by the elbow.

“Hey Lucia—where you goin’ girl?  I was hopin’ you’d hang around, join me later for a little nightcap.”

Runaway Slave By Claudette Harlow

Jo turtled into the peacoat collar’s thick warmth as the wind gusted off the snowy canal below. Passing the few open coffeehouses, the aroma of marijuana and hot coffee almost distracted her. She shook her shoulders to signal the path ahead. If a cockring would keep Pau’s dick harder, then she was going to find him one. Today. Now.

She was mentally repeating those instructions when she bumped into the tall muscular back of a man on the sidewalk. As he spun to face her, her foot slipped and she felt herself stumble to her knees. Reaching up to stop falling, her hand had scraped down his crotch and over his generously proportioned cock and balls. Jo drew her fingers back as if they were on fire.

Jo swallowed hard and pretended to fumble again, lightly spreading her fingers to measure the length of his cock. She couldn’t stretch them wide enough. She half snorted a gasp as her thumb pressed against his plump cockhead.

He calmly grasped her outstretched fingers and started to pull her up as a gust of wind caught under her unbuttoned coat. The first thing he noticed was her collar. Then her eyes. He puffed out a chilled breath when he saw the rest of her.

Above her fur-trimmed boots, beneath her black peacoat, Jo wore the high fetish fashion that only the wealthiest Masters and Mistresses buy for their toys and slaves. It revealed and concealed the body in sensual surprises as she shifted from leg to leg and finally stood. All the while, her eyes locked into his.

His eyes were milky brown and made her think of morning coffee and fucking at dawn. The mental image of her lips around that cockhead her thumb had grazed was burning in her mind. It was a stranger’s cock and it frightened her what she was feeling, what she was wanting. She wanted it.

She swayed and weaved until he touched her shoulder, dipping his head to look closer into her now half-lidded eyes.

“Are you stoned?” he asked in a raspy voice.

Her only response was to slowly lick the oval of her mouth.

He laughed lightly. She pulled her coat closed and took a hesitant step closer. The scent of her perfume and the brush of her hair made him alert as she whispered hotly at his ear.

“Take me somewhere and fuck me. Please.”

Jo was shocked to hear herself. It wasn’t just that this stranger’s cock was bigger and thicker. That was a bonus. It was that she wanted a stranger’s cock to suck and worship and to fuck her until she lost herself again to the feeling. That dangerous, who-knows-what-will-happen fucking and pleasuring.

“Please,” she repeated in a softer voice.

His fingers traced along her jaw then his thumb grazed across her collar, suddenly slipping his thumb through the ring at the center. He pulled her tight against his body. She could feel his cock hardening against her thigh.

“Again,” he commanded.

“Please fuck me.” Jo closed her eyes and draped her body along his, her hand between them caressing up and down his cock.

“I’m going to fuck you,” he rapsed into her hair. He pulled away and smiled brightly. “But I need to buy a new leash for this first,” he tapped the thick collar ring with a finger. “Then I will take you home and fuck you until you weep.”

Jo remained silent as he linked their arms and guided her along the sidewalk. The wind kept gusting into her eyes and making her shiver. As they walked, she tried to sneak glances at his cock, still hard and straining at his pants.

She wanted to stop him. To fall to her knees in front of him and unbuckle his belt. She wanted to slowly and carefully unzip his pants and engulf his cock in her mouth. She wanted to feel her throat resist until she swallowed and relaxed, feeling his thick cockhead slide down her throat. She could think of nothing but fucking his cock with her mouth and tongue, worshipping it, exulting in it, and with it.

She followed his lead, slowly building a mental scene in her mind. His hand snapping the clip of the leash on the ring of her collar. His fingers gripping the fresh leather strap, pulling her like a half-tamed animal to his erect cock and taking her – raw and hard and – Jo felt her knees weaken and she stiffened, leaning closer against him.

His upper arm, biceps well developed, skimmed against her breast as they walked. Jo felt it like edging. So close, such squeezing pressure but she wanted him to…do things to her nipples. Lick them, kiss them, bite them, suck them, pinch them, tease them…while she was unable to stop him. Tied up or restrained, open to his desires.

“Make me cum,” she pleaded silently with each footsep.

He pulled her through a doorway and stood looking around at the shelves. “Stay here,” he said, moving toward the back.

Jo tried to slow down her heartbeat and take deep breaths. She gazed uninterested around the shelves of the store until she saw a glass case displaying cockrings. She stepped closer and drew her forefinger slowly across the glass top. Like a double exposure or a ghost image, she envisioned Pau’s cock multiplied within each of the various rings and cock jewelry.

I’m wearing this one right now,” grumbled a voice in front of her. She looked aside and saw a man with his pants down and his cock and balls standing straight out at her. She saw a series of black leather straps encasing various parts of the man’s ball sac and cock shaft. The man swatted his cockhead and the shaft swung back and forth like a pendulum. “Hard as a rock. He grinned and pulled up his pants. “You want a cockring?”

Jo’s lips squenched. She wanted the stranger – she didn’t even know his name – she wanted him to come back now and put his leash on her collar. Her voice was so soft. “Please.”

“Well,” said the man stepping behind the counter and leaning closer as he played finger games with himself. “Tell me about this cock worthy of adornment.”

Jo felt a surge of lassitude rise up from her feet to the collar around her neck. She felt drained and sleepy. Her voice droned in her ears.

“Perfect. It is a perfect cock. Steady. Pulsing.” Jo’s knees buckled again and she steadied herself against the case, her hand uncontrollably rubbing over her pussy. “Master’s cock…” She groaned and pressed her thighs tightly together.

The man behind the counter followed her lead and started rubbing his cock through his pants. “Ohhh,” he moaned. “Yeah, yeah.”

“This one, I think,” said the stranger, clipping a hook to Jo’s collar ring and pulling the leash tight.

Her hand immediately stopped and Jo slumped. Her eyes were wet as she looked shyly up at him. She dipped her head in a slight bow and smiled gently. She sighed loudly. “Please fuck me,” she whispered hoarsely. “Please.”

The man behind the counter didn’t pause in his stroking. “You fuck her here. Now. No charge for the leash. It’s a freebie.”

The stranger leaned close to Jo and bored into her eyes. His gaze was as hard as his cock and Jo went glassy-eyed.

“Lock the door,” he said.

The man behind the counter nodded eagerly and flipped the deadbolt. Putting up the closed sign, he spun around and slid his hand down his pants. “Fuck her,” he groaned.

Jo peeled off her clothes in an awkward slow dance until she stood behind the cockring counter. Like a snake, her hand and arm moved inside the case, lightly touching this ring and that. She flicked her eyes up at the store man.

He nodded. “Any one you want,” he gasped, stroking his pants harder. A darker wet stain spreading beneath his fingers.

Jo brushed her fingers across the rings again and again. Some were gold; some shining silver and chrome. The leather ones yielded beneath her touch. She finally chose a black leather strap with a buckle.

Jo swiveled her neck and shrugged her shoulders, settling easily to her knees. She held the cockring in one hand and with the other beckoned the stranger.

Jo breathed warmly on his cock as she looped the strap around his ballsac and the root of his shaft and tightened it. She pulled it snug then a notch tighter before slipping the buckle closed.

She kissed the taut curves of his balls and glanced up at him.

“I want your cum. Every last drop.”

The store owner slid down to the floor watching and listening, his hand pumping inside his pants.

The stranger’s cock looked huge now, the skin taut and flushed. He was mostly shaved with a trim narrow path just above the shaft root.

The pink and purple skin tones, the throbbing blue veins were contrasts to the starker black leather strap and the silvery buckle.

Jo’s pursed lips lowered, widened slightly, and engulfed the wide head of his cock in her mouth. Her tongue flicked across his cockhole and she sucked gently, then harder. At the first taste of him, she felt herself drifting into subspace.         She loved gliding her tight wet lips slowly over the head, catching them in a pause at the rim, licking the circle of the rim quickly, and then plunging his mouth all the way to the root of his cock. She slowly dragged her lips back up the shaft and stroked the head in a rhythm with just her tight lips. Long slow sucking down his shaft then quick sucks on the head. Her tongue swirled around the head and when her mouth was filled with his cock, she stretched her tongue out to lick at his tight balls.

When Jo’s tongue brushed over and wetted the leather cocking, the store owner groaned loudly. “I can’t do this anymore. I’m cumming!”

He pulled his cock from his pants and jerked it a few times before shooting thick spurts of cum down his pant leg and on the floor.

The stranger pulled his cock roughly from Jo’s mouth and pulled her leash until she was on her hands and knees. He pulled and guided her over to the store owner’s slumped body.

The stranger pushed Jo’s head down until her nose was an inch from a puddle of cum. She closed her eyes and slowly slid out her tongue. Before the tip touched the cum, he yanked her head backward by the leash.

The store owner’s eyes blinked. He waved a limp hand toward the door.

The stranger kept a tight grip on Jo’s leash as they walked to his home.

“I’m going to fuck you,” he told her several times on the short walk.

“Please,” she answered.

Just Lie Back and Enjoy By Stephen Faulkner

The woman is young, perhaps in her early to mid-twenties and clad only in a loose fitting, soft linen robe with a sash-tied closure cinched tightly around her slender waist. Her palms are sweaty with anticipation for the service that is soon to be performed for her benefit. She is led through a door marked with a plaque reading “Consummation Room.” The room is long, windowless and furnished with ten identical, specially designed chairs. Stirrups like those employed by gynecologists for pelvic examinations are a part of each chair and gleam brightly in the glare of the overhead lights. The room is white tiled from floor to ceiling; the effect is at once sterile, institutional and uninviting. Apprehensively, the young woman takes the seat indicated to her, the one nearest the far wall, and dutifully places her bare feet in the stirrups before resting her weight against the cushioned back. The chair is very comfortable; she relaxes a little as she tries to calm her anxiety.

At a silent signal the shadow lights came on around her and with them is offered the first illusion of the experience she is about to undergo – that of privacy. It is an illusion because she has been told that in the Consummation Room she will be alone, that the experience will be given her in total solitude. Forget about the other nine chairs with their similarities to the one in which you will be resting, staff members have assured her. You will be all alone is the lie she has been told and which she believes as she unties the sash at her waist and throws open the robe, baring her body to the pleasant warmth of the room. The shadow lights surround her with their enveloping opaqueness, making the small pool of light at its center of the darkness her only reality. Speakers rise from either side of the headrest of the chair and slowly converge on her to cup her ears, encase her in muffled silence. Now she can neither see nor hear the action taking place in the other nine chairs as similarly alluded, willfully gullible women take their appointed seats in the room. Each woman is led in one at a time until each individual set of shadow light comes on to mask the presence of each woman in the room from the others.

The young woman places her hands along the inside of her thighs, sliding them sensuously inward, tracing tickling lines toward her pubis that surrounds and covers her vulva like a feathered mesh as she wonders when it will all begin and what it will be like. She has known the solitary pleasures of masturbation before and so now she focuses on those memories and what she recalls of what her girlfriends had told her of their experiences in the Consummation Room, their descriptions of ecstasy unspeakably wonderful feelings flooding through them and the explosions of emotions coupled with physical reactions never before imagined. Some of the experiences those friends chose to share seemed to hold a rather violent edge with the use of words like “explosive” and “convulsive” and “near to a seizure.” So she had been apprehensive at first, uncertain even when listening to their assurance that the experience was pleasurable, all delirious, wonderful, indescribable orgasmic bliss brought to the nth degree. “Your fingers wouldn’t even know how to begin to do what their machines make you feel,” her best friend insisted. Feel like what? she wanted to know, expecting another horror story of seizures and convulsions. Her friend shook her head as she sank into a private reverie of her own last time in the Consummation Room. She looked up and shrugged. “Best way to describe it,” she said, “is that it’s like going to heaven and coming back again.” With that last, unequivocal assurance the uncertainty that had lodged in the young woman’s mind like the solid, impassible winter ice on a shallow river was broken. The balance of her indecision had been tipped and she agreed to take the chance. So here she is though still understandably apprehensive about the whole thing. And now doubly anxious for it to begin, her curiosity is heightened, nervous shudders vibrating pleasantly through her skin. Nothing to fear, she recalls the words of her friends: no fear of pregnancy or disease and no emotional hang ups. Just the glorious feeling of love (ye, love) surging through you with a flow of incredible orgasms without any emotional obligations owed to anyone.

The womblike warmth of her little private sanctuary sooths her and she closes her eyes as the volume of the speakers slowly rise, encasing her in its own little world of sound. The music she hears as a soft background is that which, on her preliminary questionnaire, she had noted as her favorite band and the voice, whispering from the shadows, ripples through her naked body like an aural caress, a fantasy coming true. Sonorous yet sweet, it speaks to her intimately, knowingly. If asked later what that voice from the speakers had so sweetly and caringly said and promised, she would be unable to recall. It would be like trying to remember a dream that has already begun to fade back into the depths of the subconscious. All she would be able to say, then, would be that it was just wonderful, say that she had the perfect lover. She would say he as if she had been with a real flesh and blood man whose words, caresses and expert ministrations were true and not simply the product of the answers she had given on a printed form – loving, considerate, gentle, deep-voiced, sexy, caring. HE as a person, a man, a human being, a lover known, knowing and real. The illusion, then, gains momentum.

A cool flat surface lowers and rests across her forehead, molding itself to the forward cranial slope above the eyes and is soon equalized to the temperature of the skin and is quickly forgotten, Sonically, it probes the pleasure centers of the young woman’s brain and, finding their particular wave patterns, it hums softly in waiting as the man-shaped phallic thing rises and patiently poises between her stirrup spread legs. Were her eyes open so she could witness its rise from its holster concealed underneath the specialized chair, she might interpret it intended use as for something vile and wicked, its thickness and length as a weapon of some kind. But her eyes are closed, the tendrils of the high frequency stimulations focusing her attention on the artificially produced sensations which are running through her body and the responses those stimulations cause: the raising of gooseflesh on the skin of her arms, lower abdomen and thighs; the gradual rise in body temperature; the tingling heat that runs like liquid fire in concentric circles around the aureoles of her nipples; the increased rate of her heartbeat; the unexpected panting labor of her breathing; the increased flow of vaginal secretions; the sudden giddy clutch and release of her abdominal and vaginal muscles.

Words are no longer heard as the wet tickle of kisses are felt up and down her naked torso, the strange sensation of a second tongue in her mouth which she accepts, invites, with which she eagerly plays and wrestles with the strength and slippery slide of her own tongue. The face she sees is of her own creation, her own beautiful fantasy lover. The illusion is now so complete that he is no longer just a notion, an idea, but a solid reality to her, a man with a face (no matter how shadowily seen) and a body with heft, texture, heat. She moans in rapturous bliss as he lowers his weight on top of her, his groin pressed to hers, his exited (exciting, inflaming) sex so near her vulva that she is overcome with the intensity of her desire to feel him inside of her. She says something encouraging that no one else hears, something mildly demanding. The stimulator on her brow also senses this and reacts, moves the progression into its next phase.

The small motors that position the dome ended dowel at the splayed pink juncture of her thighs whine and whir, unheard by the young woman who is bathed only in sounds that she has chosen, the lover’s voice which she has described. Subtly, the sonic stimulator adds the new tone which is necessary to bring her to the final, heightened need. As always with new subjects it comes quickly and the stimulator compensates for the young woman’s swift reaction by shifting directly to what the programmers of the machine call the “consummation tone.” Blood floods tiny capillaries, engorging the center of her clitoris and she lets out a weak cry at the unaccustomed sensation before sinking back into the increasing frequency and intensity of the ebb and flow of her building orgasm. “Don’t be alarmed,” says the voice soothingly as the little motors move the pseudo-penis to touch the glistening, sensitive flesh of her labia. “I’ll be gentle,” it says as the thing eases forward, achieves a slow and gradual penetration into her vaginal canal, making her a virgin no more. This is not a thought she has at that moment, only a consideration later brought to mind: virgin no more. Consummation. The upper extension of the device massages and stimulates her clitoris in a way, as her friends had promised, that she could never have managed alone with only her own artful fingers and furiously working wrist. The feeling of fullness, of being lovingly violated along with everything she had been warned to expect in her bodily responses are all there, coming at her, flooding her in a continuous barrage of stimuli and reactions: the convulsive intensity, the rapturous seizures of both body and mind, the explosive tingling running the gamut of nerve endings from head to toe though centering on the genitals, breasts and guts. They whorl and rise, expand and condense within her in an ecstatic dancing rush that seems to go on forever. Eternity must be like this, she thinks with what mind her reeling emotions have left her; heaven and hell gloriously intermixed.

The words are all wrong, she finds herself thinking as the sensations wane, the orgasmic responses lessen and die, the ersatz hard on is slowly removed from her vagina to be sterilized and housed in preparation for its next use. Her private lover of the mind kisses her his last and draws his weight and warmth, his beautiful sexy voice away. Explosions, convulsions, seizures, yes but how to describe it all without frightening away one who has not experienced it. Soft explosions? Loving seizures? Convulsions emptied of fear? Little deaths? Journey beyond self and soul into the enclosing, embracing, protecting arms of…?

A warning sound foretells the end of privacy. She draws the robe closed around her as the various pieces of paraphernalia are drawn away from her skin. She clutches the soft cloth tightly at the throat and navel as she momentarily forgets the sash-tie in her rush to cover her nakedness. The shadow lights dim, then blanch, The Consummation Room, fully illuminated now, is still white tiled and institutionally characterless, holds ten specially designed chairs once more.

She walks down the row to the exit door, is surprised when she touches a seat for balance and feels the warmth, the telltale sticky texture of another woman’s recent “consummation.” She smiles. Illusions are a humorous thing when understood, she thinks, a business after all, one which provides a necessary outlet. Soon. Her mind conjures the word unbidden as she leaves the Room and walks down the hall to the Changing Facility where her clothes and possessions are safely locked away. Soon I will come here again.

Consummation: the word surfaces in her mind as she drops the robe as she stands before the locker. Orgasm, illusion, ecstasy, all for a fixed price. Price: the only obligation and that all had been dealt with at the front desk. Yes, she thinks again, I’ll definitely be back here again. Hadn’t her friends told her that one time wouldn’t be sufficient? Such a harmless addiction, really, they said. And now her own voice would echo their wonder and certainty her face become a mirror to the looks on their faces, softened and frozen in remembered rapture.

She changes into her street clothes in silence. On her face is the same distracted, lost-in-reverie expression exhibited on the faces of the other nine nude and semi-clothed women in the room with her. The Changing Facility – nothing more than a locker room, really, as it always is after individual “consummations” have been completed, a place where modesty is superfluous, a room peopled by women momentarily blinded to their surroundings by their obsessive thoughts.

On the street again the young woman, overcome with a sudden clarity of recall and reason, realizes that the word chosen by her friends to describe the experience meted out in the Consummation Room is quite an apt on: addiction. No wonder the Center for Sexual Fulfillment turns such a handsome profit each year. Ecstasy, once proven to be a safe and available commodity, will always be in demand.

The thought is lost, however, clarity of insight hazed over as she mentally tallies her savings in order to determine when she will have enough in the bank to afford her next :consummation.” The end result quickly calculated, is that she will have to wait a full month. Not soon enough, she tells herself dejectedly as the crosswalk light turns to green.

I don’t know if he will wait that long for me to return.

Stabbing Pleasure By Sunni Brock

I smell your desire
Inhaling your breath
As our tongues touch then embrace
And I reach downward
Smoothing the warm mist of perspiration
Over the tingling hairs of your navel

You rise suddenly and
Your arrow pricks my finger
Leaving a single drop of sticky sweetness
On my throbbing fingertip

My nipples are racing
To escape their bindings
I feel my thighs trembling
My stomach tightens

I am clenching
Moist, warm, and waiting
Engorged with the thrill
Of your immanent entry

Maneuvering my hips over yours
Freeing my full breasts
And cupping them
Into your face

Biting, teasing, nibbling
A direct nerve
Between my bosom
And maidenhead

I feel your arrow tapping
Ready to accept my invitation
I am so swollen it aches
Engorged to the edge of ecstasy

Breath held for a moment
My lips part in anticipation
Then the tip barely probing
I feel myself spreading slowly
You gliding gently, firmly in

In…

In…

Deeper,
Slowly,
Ever deeper
Until I can hardly –

Your
Arrow
Plunges
Deeply
Into
My
Open
Heart

…and I gasp as I teeter on the brink

and you retreat

then stab again

and again

and I die a little

again

and again

Until I break open
Gushing love from my legs
in a torrent release of rapture
flowing down the creases of our bodies
into rivulets over the sheets

Queen of the Black Pyramid By J. Malcolm Stewart

From the Diary of Jean Martin Samael: Isla de la Sangre, off the coast of Belize, 5th of March, 1929

After days and nights of fighting through the teeth of the wilderness, I came to the clearing where stood the Black Pyramid.

It rose from the floor of the jungle; its massive, chiseled blocks of black, volcanic stone wrapped in vanishing mist. The structure shimmered in the light of Luna, anticipated the evening ritual.

With failing legs, I ascended the steps of the exterior, leaving the sounds and smells of the untamed darkness behind me. The distant sound of drumming was lifted to my ears by the wind.

And from somewhere, I heard a wolf howl.

I paused for moment to take a drink from my canteen. The last swig of water contained within passed through my lips like a whisper. It barely touched the thirst that was within me. The dryness that spread throughout my body had less to do with sweat or dehydration and more to do with a need I did not want to put in words.

The guides and the witch doctors who had told me how to find this place had also warned me. They had warned me of the growing thirst in my body that would become a physical need. A need that had propelled me through the humid jungle nights to these steps. A need that could only met by the queen of the Pyramid herself.

I knew she was waiting there in the shadows of the main, upper chamber. The night air had the taste of her ritual and her madness. The heavy air bore the scent of her into my nostrils like an obscene perfume, damp and earthy, a touch of evergreen in the passing.

The memory of her scent brought renewed vigor to my tired legs. With a final surge, I made my way up the final steps to the Pyramid’s apex.

The rising moon’s light became muted as I made my way under the Pyramid’s archways. The semi-darkness that greeted me was punctuated with flicking flame from the torches on the wall.

I stood a moment to see my reflection on the surface of the smoothly polished walls. I saw myself bent and distorted by the curvature of the stone, like some underwater creature viewed from the surface of a turbulent sea. My brown hair showed a hint of grey at the edges and my eyes, usually the color of the sea, looked pale and washed out in the glasslike wall. A wild, stringy beard was forming on my cheeks and chin. A sad consequence of my journey away from civilization.

I marveled at myself. Only months before, I had been a respected, reputable man of industry having left my beloved Corsica to make my fortune in the newly reformed republic of Mexico. The new overlords of the country, eager to quench the smoldering fires of the revolution, rushed to embrace the progress that came with my building projects.

It was there where I first found her. In the ancient remnants of Tenochtitlan, underneath Mexico City, my workers and I found her chamber. It had waited buried and undisturbed for nearly five hundred years. The superstitious amongst my workers fear to enter into what they called in Spanish La Morada de Diosa de Bestia: The Abode of the Goddess of Beasts.

I dismissed their fears, entering into the chamber to prove myself a modern man, a man of reason. It was there I came into her presence. Not merely a feeling, but a taste, a smell of something forgotten and buried. Something ancient and primal. A presence that spoke of wild nights of bloody sacrifice and the sound of howling wolves.

For months I poured over the legends and the histories of the goddess, delving into a ritual that predated the landing of the Conquistadors by centuries. I forgot all other pursuits, my business concerns, my social standing, my family obligations. To me, the goddess was all.

The stories and rumors eventually lead me here to the Island of Blood, the last known stronghold of the Queen of Wolves. Here into the chamber of her worship.

In the side of my vision, there are glimpses of animal shapes, loping on all fours through the chamber’s corridors. This night she had gathered her children to her. To bear witness to the task for which I had been summoned.

A few more weary steps brought me to the altar. I stopped to run my hands over the smoothed stone of its black surface. The grooves and indentions all told a story to me. A story of pain and passion, of lives given and lives taken. A story old when the salons and cathedrals of Europe were young. A story written in bloody, dark stones.

All of it whispered to me while I stood there. Again in the rippling stones of its surface I saw myself transfixed by its power, seduced by its mysteries.

“What do you see there in the stones?” echoed a woman’s voice from the chamber’s darkness. “A man? Or a monster?”

The dry roof of my mouth almost prevented me from forming words.

“I… I,” I began. “I don‘t know…”

“Really, my love?” said the voice from the dark, lingering over the last syllables in her phrase with a mocking joy. “Do you know what means? To come to me in my temple underneath the fullness of the moon?”

“Yes, I do,” I said.

I heard the sound of footsteps moving purposely over stone.

“Are you truly ready Jean Martin Samael?” said her voice as it came closer to me. “Are you ready to give yourself upon this altar to me without reservation? Are you prepared to throw away your reputation, your standing, your veneer of civility to have me? Only me?”

The dryness in my mouth was unbearable. The sound of her voice alone brought my body alive with the touch of fire and ice, from the tip of head into the depths of my groin.

“Yes!” I heard my voice calling out into the humid air. “I give the only worthy sacrifice to your greatness. Myself!”

The queen entered the chamber in the fire light, her violet eyes piercing the shadows.

I saw her taught, sculpted body was covered only by the burgundy robe given to the Pyramid’s high priestess. Her hair blossomed dark against her pale creamy skin like dyed silk. Above the robe’s clasp was her string of pearls, which glittered as dark as the night skies above.

I could see the shape of her erect nipples against the fabric of her robe and her coal-painted fingertips hovered on her stomach just above the form of her trimmed vagina.

As she walked toward me, her lips beckoned a bloody red smile against her white teeth. Without the need of words, I heard my name whispered in her eyes.

She came to a halt in front of me, our bodies almost touching. With a single motion she brought the robe’s clasp undone and let it fall from her shoulders.

She stood a moment there in front of me, unveiled in the half-light, the perfection of her pear-shaped bosoms framed in my eyes. Against the nature my desire, I wondered about the fate of those who had beheld this sight across the centuries.

Her smile was wicked and her eyes danced with a darkly held desire. A desire chained and held to Earth by flesh of our bodies. Then her hands were at my chest, disposing of my coat and undoing my shirt with shredding of fabric and thread.

I felt her lips across my chest, lingering over my nipples with her tongue. In the next moment, her hand fell downward to my belt buckle and pants. With a girlish giggle, she slid to the floor on her knees.

With her nimble hands, she worked the belt and pants to the floor to reveal my erect penis. I felt the touch of her lips to its tip, joyfully rolling her tongue across its edges. With her right hand, she firmly stroked the base of it further into her mouth. Her left hand applied a light caress of my scrotum, following the course of my erection as it continued to grow against the top of her mouth.

The power of her action left me groaning and weak. I could myself building and surging towards letting go. But in manner of a woman who knew all the forms of erotic cruelty, she took her lips away from her task, sliding her body up against mine until our lips met in passion.

The same tongue that had given pleasure to one part of my body rolled and turned through my mouth like a tidal wave. Then, with a firm push to my chest, she moved away from me to lie on the altar.

Again, she exposed her full body to me, displayed against the cold stone surface of the altar. She held me in place with her eyes, reaching down again to touch herself, not allowing me to release my lust.

With the laugh of an imp, she turned herself over on the slab, showing to me her naked bottom and the wolfs-head brand on the small of back.

Arching her back, she brought her backside against me, letting the smooth texture of her bottom meet my penis. As I took hold of her waist, I felt the damp touch of her vaginal walls encircle my member. A sucking gasp escaped her lips.

“Fuck me,” she demanded.

I let myself enter her. The world became a sensation of thrusting and moaning, both hers and mine. The touch of her against my body spurred me faster and harder until the chamber came alive with the sound of our slapping bodies. The scent of damp evergreen rose in my nostrils until I could remember no other thing.

Somewhere underneath me, I heard her voice repeating the same two words of before, the form of them building and rising with her excitement.

Then I heard another voice joining in with her. A distant sounding man’s voice, almost like my voice but filled with a passion I had never felt before. And that voice was close to climax, meeting passion with passion, fire with fire.

I felt myself let go with a release of ice, surging past boundaries of flesh and gravity to enter into the core of her being. The queen’s body tensed, grabbing my organ with her inner walls, receiving my worship to her with an overwhelming joy.

I heard her cry out once more and then release me. The last of my strength gone, I fell to her side on the cool stones of the altar.

After a moment of gasping and heaving, I felt the presence of her lips next my ear.

“It’s done, my love,” she said with the wind of her breath against my face, her body damp with the sweat of our passion. “You, of your own free will have come to the queen of the Black Pyramid and worshiped her body and soul under the light of the full moon. Now, and forever, you are mine.”

The weight of my deeds rested alongside the euphoria of my climax. I knew what she was saying and I knew it to be true. But I no longer cared about that. I had found her. She was mine. And I was hers.

Ven, mi amor,” she said, beckoning me to my feet with an outstretched hand. “Come and see what I have prepared for you.”

Rising, I followed her from the chamber into the adjoining throne room. There, on the raised dais, sat two thrones side by side, made of human bones. They shone like pale death in the filtered moonlight. Before the dais were the rows of her assembled subjects, the creatures of the night come to pay homage to the throne of the queen and her chosen mate.

We ascended the steps to take our place amongst our kingdom, playing the role master and mistress to the dregs of darkness.

“Now and forever, you belong to me,” said my dark queen as she stroked my cheek. “The outside world will no longer touch you. No longer will you fear or doubt. The only things that exist in your world now are the icy touch of my body, the sound of my voice, the caress of my lips.”

With that said, I took another taste of her red painted lips, the sharp taste of evergreen remaining in my mouth.

Before me on the floor of the throne room was the torn remnants of the night’s prey. Whatever it had been, human or animal now lay mangled in the half-light. It shone bloody in my eyes, the smell of it filling my nostrils and the copper taste of it already in my mouth. Against the sides of my tongue, I could feel tips of my incisors sharpening in anticipation of my lover’s feast.

“Now, my love,” whispered my queen. “Arise and eat.”

Somewhere in the darkness, I heard the growl of an animal which transformed into a howl. The sound of a beast full of rage and passion. A monster lost forever to the cold embrace of the Queen of the Black Pyramid.

Far, far too late, after my body was full of blood and flesh, I came to understand that the cry of the beast had been my very own.

Lilly White By Madeleine Pryze

Lilly looks up at a mansion of sandstone and leaded glass. Birds tweet nearby. When Lilly moves, the gravel whispers beneath her feet.

She mounts the well-worn step and reaches for the knocker. It has a peculiar shape that she can’t decipher – a bow on its side? A handlebar moustache? It makes a noise like any other knocker.

Lilly waits in the aural ocean of rustling leaves.

She starts to wonder if she has the right estate.

How long must one wait before it is no longer rude to knock again?

The door opens. It is Genevieve Reynolds, beaming from ear to ear. “Sorry I left you for so long, our manservant is on his weekend at home! Come in!

Genevieve moves like a dancer; her feet don’t make any sound on the polished chessboard of the long hallway. This is the sister of the man I’m supposed to meet? Lilly thinks. Mother wouldn’t set me up with anyone less than a proper gentleman…

“I was making a cool drink, would you like one?”

“Please.” Lilly follows.

From what must be the kitchen, Genevieve calls, “I’m dreadfully sorry that Sebastian and Bertie aren’t here. They knew we were to dine early but they’re still on one of their silly hunts in the woods. Three guesses who shall have to wash the muzzles of all the hounds when they return!”

“I can’t abide fox hunting. Those poor animals.”

In the kitchen, Lilly is passed a glass of fresh orange juice. She sips it; the glass is cold and the juice delicious, slipping down her throat.

When she lowers her glass, Genevieve is looking at her intently. “You have a lovely neck. The gown last night failed to show it off.”

Lilly swallows the last of the juice. “Maybe that’s why none of those eligible bachelors took a shine to me.”

“Oh, you don’t want any of those little boys. Debutante balls aren’t the matchmaking wonders that our parents would wish them to be. There just aren’t many ripe apples left around here anymore. Look at me, twenty-three and not married! I’m a spinster!”

She laughs, and Lilly watches her. This young woman has so much confidence, so much poise. She is so very womanly, and yet not girlish at all. Genevieve is utterly at peace with herself.

“I wondered at your accent,” Lilly reveals, “until you told me your name.”

“Mother was French. Sebastian allowed it. He was a rogue, to find himself a Parisian bride and drag her back here once I was born! You know, he wanted to pass me off as an orphaned niece? The things people feel they have to say to fit in! England is a stuffy old place, isn’t it?”

Lilly opens her mouth to speak, but doesn’t get the chance.

“I say, have you ever heard of a French gentleman named Manet? He wasn’t stuffy in the slightest. You know, he painted the filthiest picture of this girl Olympia, who was an honest-to-goodness—” She looks around conspiratorially, “—fille de joie!”

“A what?”

“A… professional, a… lady of the night!”

“Oh!”

“It was downright blasphemous,” giggles Genevieve, and leans back with her arms pushing up her breasts, blowing a kiss up to the heavens and fluttering her eyelashes.

Scandalous! Lilly thinks, but at the same time feels a trill of excitement run up her body at the naughtiness of it all. And Genevieve goes on:

“Of course your father is fun, isn’t he! I don’t think I’ve ever seen Sebastian laugh so much, not since Mother died.”

“You call him by his given name?”

A brown newt runs under a door that joins the kitchen to the garden. It tastes the air, turns around on its hooked toes, then hides in the cool shade of the iron oven.

“Father and I don’t … understand one another. We are very different. I am much more like my mother, and he didn’t understand her much either.”

“How so?” asks Lilly, and immediately regrets the question. Who is she to ask anything of this young woman, who she hardly knows and met less than twenty hours ago? To interrogate a stranger in their own home…!

Genevieve takes a glance through the window at the verdant orchard outside. The newt dashes away from her feet and escapes the way it came in with a papery rustle.

“Sebastian and Bertie could be hours. Let’s go upstairs – I want to show you something!”

A girlish pleasure takes over Lilly. She never had a sister and her mother kept away anyone who could have become a close girlfriend. To see Genevieve’s excitement is to be infected by it; together they dash, giggling, up the huge sweeping staircase that takes them from the hallway to the upper landing.

“The east wing,” says Genevieve, checking the degree of dust on a door knob before entrusting her white glove to it, “is where we keep our skeletons.”

She looks Lilly in the eye. “You aren’t scared of ghosts, are you?”

Lilly shivers.

Genevieve laughs a deep, booming laugh and slaps Lilly on the shoulder. “Come on, I’m teasing! Follow me!”

The door opens into a long corridor lit from the right by dozens of sash windows. The left side is a wall of paintings – landscapes of exotic places Lilly recognise as Prague, Paris, the Nile in Egypt – interrupted occasionally by mahogany panelled doors, all closed.

The last door in the hallway is the one that Genevieve stops by. “This was my mother’s private study. Sebastian wasn’t expressly forbidden to enter it, but… Well, I don’t think he was always comfortable here. Or wanted to think about her amongst all these things.”

Genevieve opens the door with a strange expression on her face: excitement? Or apprehension? Is it possible for it to be both at the same time? Lilly doesn’t know, but at first she is confused when she steps into the room behind Genevieve.

It looks just like a normal room. A bed, some cabinets, and two tall bookcases against the left wall. To the right, a small table in each corner display sets of curios in wood, glass and bronze. The walls are otherwise occupied by paintings and photographic portraits, an array of sepia and oil.

In all respects perfectly normal.

“I don’t…” Lilly begins, then tapers off. Genevieve is examining a large painting beside the door, positioned so that the light from the windows frames it perfectly. The painting is about as big as the door itself, produced landscape and gilded in gold-leaf wood.

In the picture, a woman lays on an untidy bed. At first, Lilly mistakes it for Titian’s Sleeping Venus, the classical depiction of that most famous Roman goddess. But in this painting, “Venus” has a bracelet, a choker, pearl earrings, and in her demeanour has something else… Something in her gaze that marks her out as different. A knowable, even forgivable sin. Everything in the picture gives off a sumptuousness: the flower in her hair, and the rich oriental blanket on which she lies.

“She is cast in such hard light,” Lilly murmurs. “It shows everything except what she covers with her hand…”

“A shame she does that, yes?” suggests Genevieve, with laughter in her voice. “That isn’t a lilly behind her ear, before you ask – a white orchid.”

Suddenly it strikes Lilly. This isn’t Venus at all – but Genevieve’s fille de joie – a prostitute!

“She’s…” Lilly chokes on the word.

“She is a real woman.” Genevieve looks with deep appreciation at the picture. “But the painting is a copy only – the original has yet to even be put on display to the public. What a stir it will cause in Paris!”

Lilly’s eye catches a small portrait next to it, rendered in rich oils. Another nude, but this lady laced in the most outrageous manner, as though those loose shifts were never intended to cover her nakedness at all! And a third picture, a photograph in smudgy sepia, of a thin young girl putting on – or taking off – her stockings. She is otherwise naked. Her lips are painted bright red; there is a wink in her eye.

“Pornography!” Lilly is embarrassed by having to state the obvious, but she cannot help it. “The police…”

“They don’t know anything about this room. It was Mother’s interest and no-one else’s business. Sebastian was very… generous to let her maintain this hobby of hers.”

Every painting, every photograph – even the lamp, which is shaped like a man’s… The size of it! And the clock on the table, with moving hands tracing invisible lines over the contours of a couple engaged in—

“I must sit down!”

Genevieve smiles as Lilly sits in a velvet-lined armchair. She hands Lilly a fan, which Lilly opens to prevent herself from fainting. The image inked into the folds is another nude woman, wearing a fur hat and covering herself with a fur glove.

“Don’t look at it,” Genevieve scratches her temple, “if that helps. Or the chair…”

Lilly’s hands grasp tighter at the chair’s arms. She daren’t look down, but she isn’t in control of her head, which swims with cool vapours. The rich velvet of the seat’s covering seems maroon at a glance, but is shades of red. In the swirls of its pattern are tiny running figures, boys and girls, grinning as they’re chased by obscene fauns and satyrs with engorged…

“My goodness.”

“Are you okay?”

Lilly takes a breath. “I’m fine. This is quite a shock. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

“Isn’t it fabulous?” breathes Genevieve. When she talks about these things, her accent thickens. This must be a little like how her mother sounded when she spoke, thinks Lilly.

…Her mother!

“This room was hers, you say? Your mother’s?”

A smile spreads like wildfire across the young woman’s soft features. “She had an interest in archaeology, much like Sebastian. But their interest diverged there, I’m afraid. Sebastian was there in Pompeii a few years ago.”

“That buried Italian city? Father mentioned it last summer…”

“They found all the buildings that those poor people lived in, right before the volcano blew up in their faces! The houses were preserved with people and furniture and all their things… Those excavators are there right now, scraping ash off the wall to reveal all their frescos and graffiti and… all sorts. Do you know what else they found?”

“I dread to ask!” Lilly gasps and then, despite herself, giggles.

“Disgusting drawings and paintings and murals, all with people doing it!

“That’s terrible!”

“The ancient Romans evidently had a different view on nakedness. They thought it was just ordinary… even fun. Not shameful at all. Eroticism was a good thing, for them – not illegal blasphemy like our good Queen would have us believe. Why, it’s the most natural thing in the world!”

A series of loud noises erupts from the lower floors.

“Sebastian!” Genevieve gasps. “And Bertie! They’re back! Come on!”

Giggling, the two girls return to the hallway. Lilly is almost sorry to leave the soft velvet of the chair, even with its hidden erotic images. It is only when she stands that she realises the arms, which she’d been holding so tightly, are the ends of long, smooth phalluses.

Genevieve pulls the doors closed and messes with her hair again. “Sebastian doesn’t like me going in there. It’s forbidden! I’ll tell him we were in the solarium…”

Downstairs, the men claim to have forgotten all about the arranged dinner, and certain distinct gestures belie their attempts to hide the numerous nips they must have had from flasks concealed about their persons; Bertie has, according to his father, suffered a fall as a result of a desperate vixen and sprained his ankle. Dinner is called off; Genevieve apologies profusely, but her words hide the pleasure at being the main attraction of the afternoon, and she winks as Lilly makes her departure.

Outside, Lilly wonders whether she should ask Sebastian Reynolds to arrange for her a carriage. It wouldn’t be out of order. But just as she is waiting in the gravel for her overwrought mind to make a decision, the front door opens again and Genevieve slips out.

“I wanted to give you this,” she exclaims, “but didn’t want Sebastian to see!”

Before Lilly can protest the young woman plants a decorous kiss on her cheek. The lipstick might not have left a mark, but the warmth remains.

As Genevieve disappears back into the house, Lilly looks down at the package in her hands. It is a large book, wrapped in soft red felt.

# # #

“How was Sebastian’s lot?” asks Lilly’s father upon her return.

“Very nice, father, and quote accommodating.”

“Did they show you a good time?”

Lilly thinks about this.

“I think they were holding back a little.”

# # #

That night, she undresses and dons her nightdress to sleep. Her bedroom is a small, lonely room in eggshell white and forest green, like her eyes. It hasn’t been redecorated since her birth. When she sleeps, she feels as though her four-poster bed is a cot and she sleeps within, like a child, protected.

She doesn’t go to sleep immediately. Lighting an oil lamp, she intends to study her gift from Genevieve. The weight and shape of the package have already revealed it to be a book, but it’s only when she unwraps it that she realises it’s something the like of which she’s never seen.

Leather-bound with no title, at first she wonders if it’s a portfolio of newssheet clippings… but upon opening it, she’s greeted with a lurid inner title page with words drawn laterally across a pair of full, round breasts.

She closes the book with a slap. The afterimage of the etching print fails to fade in her mind’s eye. White on black, it throbs in her mind: two full, round breasts. A matching pair. Nipples described in fine detail, areola and all.

Why would she give me something like this…?

Slowly, convinced that she is alone (as always) in her bedroom, she opens the book again.

The title page stares at her from atop those curved profanities. A LITHOGRAPHIC PORTFOLIO OF THE LADIES OF THE MOULIN ROUGE, PARIS. The inner pages are in turn fascinating, disgusting and exhilarating. Each lithograph, reproduced expensively yet faithfully on each of the heavy pages, produces a new frisson of excitement in Lilly.

All the portraits are women, many of whom are clearly, almost stereotypically French. They are arranged into “scenes”, each “scene” encompassing nine or ten lithographs. The first is named “1840-1845”, and seems to show a different age. But the things that don’t change are voluptuous and in sharp focus: an erect nipple or tuft of hair.

And yet, Lilly finds this not as shocking as she thought she might. Have I been corrupted so quickly?

The last section covers 1960-1864 – the book is very recent indeed – and she is stunned to find that she recognises one of the last girls.

Two pages from the back, a young blonde is reclined against a mountain of cushions. One arm is wrapped around a tall narrow bottle of green glass, whose label has been scraped away and replaced with a small card reading “GREENE MUSE”. The bottle is empty; the girl is entirely naked. Her fingernails are painted green. Her legs are spread and between them, the fingers of her right hand part the lips of her womanhood, exposing its purple depths to both the photographer and the reader.

Lilly drops the book down the side of the bed, but an afterimage of the girl’s magnetic gaze lingers in her mind.

…Genevieve!

She stares at the discoloured images within its pages, wondering at the decency of what one person might call evil, what another might call natural. How can it be anything but natural? she thinks, and jumps at something under her nightdress.

She had wondered if it were an animal – the newt from Genevieve’s kitchen springs to mind – but is shocked to find that it was her own hand. She hadn’t realised what it was doing, of its own accord. The thought occurs that she could turn a blind eye to its antics. What happens behind closed doors, in one’s own bedroom, is of course utterly private.

Mimicking, in part, the posture of Genevieve of the Moulin Rouge, 1965, Lilly allows her fingers to explore a place that had, until then, been a void of wickedness to be covered up. She finds that if this is a void, it is filled not with wickedness, but deliciousness to be savoured.

What would Genevieve think of this? she wonders, and this thought quickens her breath, quickens her wrist, quickens her first arrival of the night.

# # #

Lilly has never seen the room where Genevieve sleeps. Genevieve confesses that it bears no imprint of her personality. It is, she says, just another room.

The next time they get the chance to be together, it is November. They go instead to the secret museum of her mother, which they discover is now locked.

“My father,” muses Genevieve, fishing about in her purse. “He must have known I was in here and locked it. But I had John create me a replica.”

She produces the key from her purse with a wicked grin. Lilly’s heart leaps. You know what is in here. Lilly can’t wait for Genevieve to sweep open the door and close it behind them, sealing the boundary of their privacy. You know that this is the threshold to more than just a room.

They steps inside. When Lilly asks if they can open a window, she does so in a whisper that Genevieve teases her for.

“No-one is home, Lilly, and nor will they be until the early hours of the morning.”

“You are sure?”

“I am.” She drops her purse into the velvet-lined armchair that had been the vessel for Lilly’s introduction to this new world. Even seeing it now makes Lilly feel light-headed, as though the miniature figures frolicking within the stitches of the velvet are visions of her future.

Lilly takes her eyes from the chair and the purse and settle them on Genevieve, who looks right back at her. Without severing the link between their eyes, Genevieve peels loose the ribbon that keeps her hair in place. Blonde coils unravel around her face and neck, bouncing on her shoulders.

She turns around.

Lilly sees the laces of her dress. Her hands have a life of their own. They find the bow and untangle its strands. The laces hang free. Without turning, Genevieve pinches the shoulders of her dress and spreads the fabric. The laces loosen, slipping from the eyes of the rich fabric, which then slides free from the delicate scaffold of Genevieve’s shoulders.

She turns within the sliding cylinder of the dress. It drops as she reaches up, running her fingers through her hair. When the dress is a velvet puddle around her feet, there is only Genevieve’s bodice and stockings. There is no skirt support or bustle, no under-petticoat.

“I am overdressed,” says Lilly, embarrassed. It could take an age for her to reach Genevieve’s state of bareness.

“Layers,” replies Genevieve, “are like hor d’oeuvres.”

“Whore’s what…?” Lilly’s smile, she hopes, is voracious.

Genevieve takes her time with Lilly’s dress. The outer layer is peeled away, then a silky under-petticoat, then the crinoline. It rests on its curved wires in the corner of the room, quivering, as Genevieve tackles Lilly’s corset.

“When this is removed,” says the voice behind Lilly, “you shall breathe a new air.”

“I know it.”

“And I… shall keep the lace as a bracelet.”

Lilly giggles as the corset breaks open like a pecan shell. There is little loose flesh to sag free; she gasps as two slim hands arrive under her chemise and stroke the ticklish lines of her waist.

“I want,” breathes Genevieve, “to lay my lips on this white skin.”

Lilly murmurs, “I want to let you.”

But her heart beats in her chest like a drum. Genevieve admits to hearing it and guides her to the bed. “Lie here. Don’t worry. One does not need to be afraid when one knows the procedures are in the hands of an experienced professional.”

“A professional like your Olympia?” Lilly teases.

“If I were,” Genevieve drapes herself over Lilly in a single fluid motion, “I should be far richer than I am.”

The girl on top works her fingers into the neck of Lilly’s chemise. Its hem dips between her breasts; so do the girl’s fingers, which stroke lines that Lilly can feel like they were scored with a knife. Those lines burn as Genevieve describes new ones, down the curve of each breast, then up, then between her prominent collar bones, where Genevieve kisses, taking Lilly’s breath away.

The chemise comes away and flutters to the burgundy carpet. Genevieve’s breath trickles over her nipples. They stiffen; Lilly murmurs something unintelligible; muscles contract within her that she has rarely exercised.

“May I?” whispers Genevieve, with her fingers hooked into the hem of Lilly’s drawers.

“Don’t ask me. Undress me.”

Are those my words? Lilly wonders, squeezing her eyes tightly shut. Without this sense, another has room to grow: she gasps at every kiss that is imprinted on her breasts, stomach, the curve of her pelvis. Genevieve’s fingers stroke her as they tug the drawers away. Lilly has never been naked with anyone but Orpha, many years ago. And yet I’m not nervous, or—

A warm kiss, directly on her sex, throws all words from her mind.

It was brief, but the warmth remains. In fact, a fire has swept through Lilly’s loins and stomach. She opens her eyes to see Genevieve kneeling over her, her thighs forming an arch over Lilly’s belly. Sunlight streams behind her and through her hair.

A nightingale alights the windowsill and trills in two voices. The sunlight appears to brighten.

Lilly is reaching up to run her hands over Genevieve’s elaborately decorated bodice. It is deep blue, bone-ribbed, and adorned with silver birds and butterflies sewn into the silk. Similar butterflies made of ribbon are attached to the garters; the suspenders are silken elastic that Lilly slides her fingers beneath to grasp Genevieve’s hard thighs.

“The stockings are from Paris,” intones Genevieve, biting her lip, “the bodice is haute couture from Worth and Bobergh. I have never worn it.”

“It’s beautiful.”

“Unclip the stockings.”

The clips are tiny silver hourglasses. The elasticised blue silk springs back and in a sudden, elegant movement, Genevieve is no longer on her knees but on her back between Lilly’s legs, with her own legs straight as arrows up in the air; the stockings are peeled away in a second, revealing white lustrous skin and ankles like pearls.

When Genevieve coils into a sideways sitting position beside Lilly, it is a momentary ballet that is less seen than existing only as an afterimage in the mind’s eye.

“You’re like a dancer,” breathes Lilly.

“I was a dancer. But not the kind you’ve ever seen.”

She is over Lilly now, her hair tickling Lilly’s face, arms planted either side. Over her shoulder, Genevieve’s bodice is seen to shrink and disappear between the orbs of her pale buttocks.

Lilly cannot admire them for long. Genevieve’s kiss is long and hot. Before Lilly knows what is happening a tongue is snaking into her mouth, and its muscular intrusion arouses her intensely. She responds, and their tongues intertwine.

Then Genevieve rolls aside, onto her back. Her eyes stare upward at the roof of the bed, and her hands rest palms-up beside her face. Lilly understands that she is to do something, so she moves onto her side and slowly unfastens the front of the bodice. Its laces are tight but once the clasp and first knot are out of the way, they loosen themselves so that a pale strip of flesh is shown: Genevieve’s sternum, her belly button, a tuft of blonde public hair.

The bodice is spread. Only the garters remain. “You can leave them on, if you like.” Lilly’s mind reels from the lessons she is learning, lessons she had never expected.

Then Genevieve is pulling her close, with the bodice opening like a flower to admit both their slim lengths. Two hot bellies press against each other, transferring warmth. Each girl feels the other’s nipples as small hard objects between them.

“Let me—” begins Genevieve, but she needn’t finish. Lilly has already made enough space between them for Genevieve’s slender arm to lower. Just like the time in the bath, her expert fingers both spread Lilly and touch the soft flesh between the folds. Her longest finger strokes slowly, slowly, and when it encounters moisture, enters.

Lilly feels herself close around the finger. It is slick enough to move in and out even under the pressure of Lilly’s muscles. Genevieve knows when to crook the finger and when to straighten; it is as though she draws shapes on Lilly’s inner wall, inveigling powerful jolts of pleasure.

Another kiss, this quicker and harder than the first. Between their pressed lips Genevieve breathes, “Do me.” Lilly’s hand is already groping embarrassingly at Genevieve’s flat stomach, now slick with sweat, in its attempt to find another place.

There: it has found it. Lilly hasn’t learnt the configuration that will allow her outer fingers to spread and inner finger to stroke, so she uses two to furrow through Genevieve’s soft down, and then the softer silken passage beneath.

Genevieve gasps; Lilly lets the gasp become a kiss, and they are breathing each other’s air, breathing each other, their gasps their breaths.

The speed of it shocks Lilly. Not already! She contracts and her whole body wants to curl toward the sensation quickly building in her loins. She cries out, sheets sticking to her bucking body, and comes hard in waves. A spurt of clear fluid jumps between Genevieve’s fingers, and she giggles naughtily.

Shocked, Lilly pulls back. “Is that not normal!?”

“It is for some girls.” Genevieve licks juices that are running down the side of her hand. “You taste delicious.”

“You are positively filthy!”

“I am told I taste sweet.” It is an invitation. Genevieve waits for instruction, a look of amused patience on her face. Nervous and unsure, Lilly says, “You could kneel.”

“Would that be nice?” teases Genevieve.

“You tell me!”

Genevieve rises to her knees and throws aside the bodice, which has collected their sweat. Upright, her body is lithe and very slender. Her ribs are just discernible down her side. The arc of her clavicle, the sweep of her underarm down to her breast, is exquisite to Lilly.

Slowly, almost excruciatingly slowly, Genevieve kneels. She dips her back and elevates her buttocks, which – I can’t! But I want to… – Lilly nips with her teeth, eliciting a gasp and a giggle. Genevieve’s small but shapely breasts hang like ripe fruit. Lilly cups them in her hands. To do this she must press her thighs against Genevieve’s, her pubis against her exposed sex.

“Your body is so hot,” whispers the kneeling girl. The girl behind relishes the weight of the breasts in her palms, admiring the stunning beauty of the one who is almost prostrate before her.

Lilly is jealous of this girl’s beauty and sexiness. But she is pleased, empowered, by the thought that she owns that beauty and sexiness.

“You are mine,” she whispers, unintentionally, and then winces when she feels Genevieve’s body tense. Genevieve does not look around. Then she lowers her stomach again and shifts her balance, so that she can use one hand to brush her hair away from one side of her face.

There is a smile there.

Lilly breathes a sigh of relief. Thank goodness!

“Yes,” Genevieve replies, pouting. “I am.”

Unexpectedly, there is no puzzle about approaching Genevieve here, no mystery of how to unlock the potential pleasure awaiting in this engorged diamond of pink flesh. It seems natural for Lilly to take it in her mouth as though drinking from a small jug, and sucking gently.

This elicits an immediate gasp and low moan from Genevieve. Lilly smiles, and this reshaping of her lips produces further effects. It’s working… She uses her tongue to lap at this supple cup, exciting the outside as well as the inside. Genevieve is breathing hard; she has rebalanced again so that she can massage her breast with her right hand.

By the window, the nightingale chirrups and flutters away.

Lilly has to control herself. The greatest pleasures that Genevieve has shown her were derived from patience and tenderness. She will not suck too hard; she will not employ a finger her when her tongue will do.

It seems to work. Genevieve pressed her body into Lilly’s face, and for a panicky moment Lilly cannot breathe; then there is a hot rush of thick liquid on her tongue and yes, Genevieve hadn’t lied: she tastes very sweet.

# # #

It is the eighth day of September 1866 and today is Lilly’s birthday.

A gift in a small box awaits her between plat principal and dessert. She deftly pulls aside the ribbon – she has become an expert in using her fingers deftly – and lifts off the tiny round lid. Within the box is a necklace: a small bird, in flight, on a silver chain.

“Genevieve, it’s beautiful.”

“There was a bird in my mother’s room,” Genevieve purses her lips to receive her wine glass, “the first time we were together.”

“I hadn’t thought you’d noticed!”

Genevieve swallows crisp white Sauvignon Blanc. “Of course I noticed.”

“Thank you.”

The maître d” is correcting someone’s order, “Il n’y aura pas de charge, bien sûr,” and a waiter tops up somebody else’s glass. The clatter of crockery and cutlery is audible only when the kitchen doors swing open.

“You look sad,” Genevieve observes.

“Sometimes my mother would buy me gifts like this.”

“I understand. But your mother only wanted to show you her world. She wouldn’t have stood for me showing you another.”

Lilly nods. “Perfectly true.” She smiles. “Whereas yours…?”

“Mine,” says Genevieve, raising her glass, “would be willing me back to our apartment to bathe and then…”

“And then?”

Genevieve bites her lip. “I would like to see you wear your gift. And nothing else.”

A laugh cuts through Lilly’s sadness. It always does. Genevieve is always the one to do this: her tutor, her lover, her guiding star. The orange light of dusk strikes the curve of Genevieve’s face, and Lilly thinks, she is everything I want to be.