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A Dream’s Reality By Charles E.J. Moulton

So it came to pass that Sophie Fernandez again lay in her Kensington art-studio loft, sleeping. She looked like a Goddess, maybe Aphrodite, maybe Artemis, maybe Hera. In any case, her custom of painting in the nude had resulted in a dormant oasis.

After finishing her work, she simply passed out, her jugs full and ripe, her unshaved pussy wet, the locks of her pubic hair curling and waiting for a long and hard cock, her fuckable body resembling mountain-hillsides of creamy canyons.

One empty bottle of Ribera del Duero 2004 stood on the table, a remnant of a solitary celebration. She had made sure to buy the best and favorite Rioja for the completion of a fine artistic reproduction. After all, a British lass of Spanish decent should always drink Rioja wine. So, Olé! Or as the case may have been: Voila! Her painting was finished. She was ready for sex. That was a sweet cause for celebration, indeed.

She looked just as much like a work of art as what she painted. Tall, brown eyed, nougat complexion, enticing hair, long fingernails, soft seductive eyelashes, pink cheeks, her aura peaceful, as peaceful as the softer passages in the Water Music by Händel that had been playing on a loop for God knows how long.

It soothed her subconscious as she slept on that old large couch with no back or ends. Alone, sleeping out an afternoon hangover, dreaming interesting dreams where a man she did not know visited her and told her that he had written a story about her.

Sophie’s one leg lay across the green cloth, emulating the position she lay in within her dream, the foot resting on the fabric, and the other plopped down upon the parquet floor, her pink nailpolish catching the light of the sunrays as her toes twitched. her right hand stretched back above her head and the other softly touching her sleeping cheek, her bare skin sprinkled by little specks of paint, her nipples now bearing a small coat of greens and reds, parts of her tits sprinkled in blues and yellows, wishing for that strange man to come and add some sperm to the color.

It was as if Sophie Fernandez was a part of the art she painted.

It seemed decadent, of course, painting in the nude, drinking wine, eating chocolate, but the kicked off blanket displayed a tanned body: two orbs of glorious mammaries, lickable, shagable, soft, round, bouncy, hot, cool, spermhungry, tit-job-willing, softly leaning to each side, her shaved genitals heaving and sinking along with her suntanned stomach. That slight snore, audible only if a person stood completely still next to her, transporting serenity, sexiness, fertility and, ultimately, love.

She didn’t know it, but someone was in there with her, flying in and out between her dreams and her reality. That spirit, the Goddess of love, Aphrodite, someone that knew more than she did about who she was: someone watched her intently as she slept. That spirit heard Georg Friedrich Händel’s Water Music blasting through the speakers, the tired body of that struggling artists strained, limbs aching, eyes numb from the endless concentration of gazing on a large canvas.

Meticulously, Sophie had spent the last three weeks perfecting a replica.

“The Arrival of Maria de Medici at Marseilles”, on display in Paris at the Louvres, was still her favorite of Rubens entire cycle of 24 paintings for the Queen and mother of Louis XIII, so it came as no surprise that she jumped at the chance to reproduce it. Her rich customer in Oxford, who had ordered the painting, would sure get his money’s worth.

Sophie Fernandez lay there like a drunken swan, the London breeze tickling her aching muscles, the reproduction on display in a room, empty of furniture, filled with paintings, wine and, yes, a stereo.

Sophie woke up, gasping for air, realizing that she had passed out after that last gulp of the delicious wine, the glass still on the table. She felt the breeze caressing her body, the chill feeling a bit like a tongue finger caressing her shoulder. Sophie ruffled her hair, uttered a well formed: “Oooh!” and closed her eyes, protecting her sensitive eyes, and leaned against her hands. Breathing into her palms, she sat there for longer than she could recall, and thought about the dream. Had it been a dream at all?

She looked up, realizing how loud she had set the CD-player and wondered that she had been able to sleep through all of that. She walked across the room and turned down the music, saw her white kimono hanging on the wall, put it on, but kept the recording running in its own loop.

Blinking into the open room, Sophie wondered. Two hours? Three? Four? What time was it? Sophie glanced over at the Dali clock, closing her robe, studying the clock, designed to look like it was melting, and saw that it was five in the afternoon. Sophie had fallen asleep, drunk, at one. Oh, my.

Mom only knew that Sophie was very successful, but living a free and bohemian lifestyle. Not that she emptied a bottle of Rioja and a box of chocolates every day, but only in order to celebrate the finishing touches of her painting. The gentleman paid £ 4500 for the replica, which gave Sophie something to celebrate. She would buy her mom something special. A computer or something. A good one. Or a tablet. Maybe she would ask her dad to come over alone and she would paint a portrait of him for mom. Maybe she would paint them both. Maybe she would create a sculpture for them. A sculpture of love.

Dazzled, tired, half-drunk, aching and a bit dizzy, the sunrays triggered those dark lucious eyes. Sophie stood there for a moment, basking in the sunshine, letting the silhouettes of the London houses seduce her. London seemed like a good way to celebrate a good month’s work, catapulting out into the familiar funloving life.

Then she remembered her dream. The man. The story. She felt like researching who this charming man had been who had visited her in her dream. It seemed so real and yet like a mystery waiting to be solved, especially since the man in her dream had told her that Sophie had him in the painting.

In that Rubens painting? She had added a face of her own, to be sure.
Mischievous, to be sure. Mischievous to paint an extra face on a painting that was supposed to be an exact replica. But people expected it by now. Ever since grade school, even then she had tried to copy other work, adding something of her own in it. Now it had become her trademark. Even in her replicas of Mona Lisa, her fans tried to find out what element was new in her replica. A tree that wasn’t there in the original? A mountain that had another color? A river that meandered east instead of west? Her fans had become almost like Hitchcocks fans, who waited for his appearance in his own movies. What has Sophie Fernandez planned now?

That’s what they were saying.

Now, in that Maria de Medici painting, Sophie had painted an extra face: the face of a sea-man, a merman if you will, not a mermaid, splashing around next to King Neptune and his chubby sea nymphs. This face had been totally her own invention. She hadn’t even chosen a friend or an associate to pose for the painting. The sea creature had a sympathetic, intellectual face, one that would be her own signature, her own trademark for this special replica.

The new owner of the replica, the rich man from Oxford who paid her £ 4500 for the artwork, had in fact kept saying how eager he was to find out where the new element would lie hidden.

Now, this man in her dream claimed that this face was the face of the dream man named Charles E.J. Moulton. Thoughtfully, Sophie Fernandez walked up to her canvas, reaching for the Mozart-Kugeln, looking thoughtfully at the face, how it smiled at her. Those chocolate covered candy sweets, that lay so a sensually on the table next to the canvas, seemed to be screaming: “Eat me!” at the top of their lungs, as if they had any. They were as candescent as the dream, as rich as the wine, as lucious and her own breasts, as mysteriously candescent as sin.

That face, could it be the face of that person the woman had spoken about? Charles E.J. Moulton? Did a person like that exist? Was this the face of Charles E.J. Moulton? Hmm. Sophie let the chocolate melt in her mouth slowly, picking up the wine and looking at the bottle. Some of her friends claimed that only French wines were real wines and that anything else was a fermented grape juice. Be that as it may, to Sophie Rioja was a work of art. A dangerous work of art, it seemed. After all, one bottle of alcoholic fermented grape juice could produce quite a few strange hallucinations. The effects of wine, however, were just as mysterious as the effects that dreams had on the soul. The names were real memories from dormant dreams though, and Sophie kept remembering those names.

A dream man had just fucked her in her sleep.

Who was he?

As Sophie stepped into the shower that day, rubbing off the paint off her naked body, she wondered. Sophie slipped into her Victorias Secret lingerie, floated into that black Gucci skirt and let that white Versace blouse produce the crowning glory of her looks. Like a perfect recipe for a successful apple pie, Sophie, with that Water Music by Händel still blasting through the speakers, put on her L’Oreal eyshadow and her Revlon lipstick and her Jade rouge and sprinkled herself with some Chopard perfume, turning herself into a work of art, just as much a mystery as a dreamy wine.

When she walked out of the bathroom, she glanced one last time on her reproduction and smiled. She did not have the answers as to what the dream meant, but she maybe the answers would come to her. Maybe she would take some time tomorrow and research who these people were and if they existed at all.

“£4500, she whispered to herself. There’s a good reason to fuck.”

Turning off the stereo and letting that German dude from Halle take the royal break of his sexy afternoon and let King George be a stranger, she strode royally, like the sexy Queen she could be, toward her penthouse door, ready to leave her art loft, ready to experience amorous salvation.

The small “bleede-leep” of her laptop indicated that someone waited for her. Sophie wanted to ignore that someone and just leave, go where ever the wind took her, take her Porsche and just forget about the strenuous detail-obsessed paintbrush-picking and the endless chit-chat of her neurotic voices. After all, London waited for her to rediscover her.

London, the mistress, the casanova, the blowjob.

Sophie glanced over a well formed shoulder, looking over at her Samsung PC, how it blinked and winked at her, telling her that perhaps a new customer was knocking at her virtual door, hoping that she would say yes to an offer.

That familiarly uneasy feeling of being drawn between profession and leisure kept her doing a small fandango of sorts in her doorway, back towards possible work and forth towards a possible one-night-stand. Sophie looked at the decending sun, inspecting it for a moment, making believe that it spoke to her:

“Come to me and I will lead you to my friend: the night, the sun said. Come and dance, wine and dine, sing and laugh. You’ve earned it.”

This time, though, Sophie Fernandez really knew in her heart that this mail couldn’t wait. She quickly walked up to the PC, her heels seductively clicking on the parquet floor.
Impatiently clicking on the keys of the keyboard, Sophie finally and proverbially arrived in her mail programme in an art forum she had joined a month ago. Commercials for a seminar. Her mail site had gone bing just to show her how great a companion this art forum could be. Spam? Nothing but spam?

Sophie pursed her lips, both pairs: facial-lips and pussy-lips, shaking her head in anger, and was just about to close the computer when she saw a strangely familiar name flashing across the screen. It was familiar to her, at least familiar within her dreams. It was an anglo-saxon name, but she was not really sure if the person bearing that name actually was Anglo-Saxon. This man could be British or Australian. International.

Charles E.J. Moulton.

If he existed, was he worth a fuck?

At first the name seemed distant, as if she hadn’t dreamt about that man at all.
Slowly and ever so carefully, Sophie sat down and read the excerpt that was flashing across the screen. The New Members section of the info mail from the art forum now had a new budding trainee: a man in the prime of his life who displayed his paintings in a British art forum. At first, it scared Sophie. She could feel her heart flutter. How come then that this man now appeared on the flashing computer screen in her penthouse? Thoughts of hallucination and conspiracy came to mind. Scary thoughts of possession and obsession meandered through her brainstem and hit her fluttering heart.

Her hands began to shake, her forehead produced light sweat drops that now trickled down her elegantly made up face, ruining her make-up. Sophie felt herself stiffen like a corpse. She felt like laying down, curing the hangover that she again felt. Had she heard that name prior to the dream? No, she had never heard that name. Then why was this name now here on the screen? She didn’t know why, but this scared her.

Carefully, her painted fingernails shaking so hard that they clicked repeatedly against the keys of the computer keyboard, she clicked on the painting that came with the name: a Bob Rossian kind of painting with the red and yellow colors mingled together and black silhouettes of elephants and palm trees gracing the front. The screen waited, bleeped and searched for its source and soon the artist bio presented itself.

The text ran on for quite a bit and she saw that the man was a Renaissance Man of sorts. Sophie felt herself gasping for air, leaned back in her chair and slapped her right hand against her mouth. Uncontrollably, she began laughing. It was a high chuckle, one that helped the initial fear actually transform itself into joy.

Someone was here with her. Aphrodite. How could one otherwise explain the fact that two such unique names presented themselves to her in her sleep and then showed themselves in black and white on the screen.

It didn’t take long to find out that Charles had written a short story named “A Venus Born in London” about a succulent British-Hispanic reproductive artist named Sophie Fernandez. What was this? Demonic possession? Angelic magic? A sign from above?
Had this man been prying in on her life? On the other hand, with the web as prominent as it was, it was not difficult to guess that he had found something about her and decided to write a story about her. But … Sophie winced, looked out toward the London dusk and tried to figure this one out. How could that be?

Sophie completely forgot about time. She walked in to her kitchen and brought out another bottle of wine, a French Bordeaux one this time, a 2006 Chateau Latour. Taking her first sip with her right hand, she clicked on Charles Facebook-site with the other.
She clicked on Charles name, requested for him to be a friend, not really knowing what was happening to her and why she was so afraid. She actually wanted to run out into the open street and leave in her expensive car and forget that this was happening.

She nearly jumped out of her seat, jumping almost as high as her art studio ceiling, when she saw that Charles not only answered her request, but also that he was online.
Sophie laughed again, this time even more uncontrollably.

And suddenly, the urge to eject into the London party scene vanished with the afternoon breeze and was replaced by solving a mystery.

“Hello, my name is Sophie Fernandez,” she wrote. “I would like to be your friend.”
“Hello back,” Charles responded, “that sounds nice. Do I know you?”

“I am not sure,” Sophie answered.

“Tell me something about yourself,” Charles added.

“I live in London,” Sophie wrote, “this is all very confusing, Charles. Who are you?”

“I am an actor, an author, a singer, a painter. I’ll ask you again: do I know you?”

“I would think so. I mean, you wrote a story about me,” Sophie laughed.

“What? How so?”

“Your story ‘A Venus Born in London’ is about a British-Hispanic artist living in London. She paints replicas of famous paintings. That is what I do. That is who I am. You must’ve done a lot of research about me.”

Charles crooned: “Hold on, Sophie. I made those characters up. That all came from my own imagination. I even made sure that the website that I made up in that story didnt exist. I checked and double-checked it. You’re telling me you exist?”

Sophie shook her head and spat: “This is spooky. You mean, you have never really heard of me? That can’t be. You’re putting me on.”

“No.”

“Look, I dreamt about you, Charles. In my dream, I heard your name and a spirit told me I had painted your face into my replica of the Rubens painting.”

The long wait in the online conversation had Sophie thinking that Charles had left for good. Then, the shock. The amazing coincidence. Aphrodite’s prediction. The dream man.

“Sophie,” Charles wrote.

“Yes?”

“I’m in London right now,” he said. “If you tell me where you live I could come over. I mean, if I wrote a story about you and you painted my face into the painting, we should meet. I mean, I would love to meet you.”

“I just showered,” Sophie mused. “I could get naked for you. I mean, I was sort of looking for someone to fuck.”

“Okay.”

“Kensington High Street 45. Fernandez.”

“I’ll be there in 30 minutes.”

Sophie trembled like a crazy cat in a snowstorm for that remaining half hour. This had to be real, though. She looked at the pictures of Charles in the net and realized she had painted his face into the painting without knowing it. Then he must’ve invented the story about her without knowing that she was real. Aphrodite had been here.

Sophie stripped naked and waited, combing her pubic hair and massaging her tits a bit, ruffling her hair. When the doorbell rang, Sophie jumped, feeling like a schoolgirl meeting the man of her dreams for the first time, his voice mellow, his face grinning. Crazy thing to strip naked for a strange man, but Aphrodite had brought her someone she could fuck.

The mystery man.

He arrived, that mystery man, saw her naked and smiled. They kissed, he touched her breasts, two strangers who had met before. Sophie showed Charles her painting and his face gracing the corner. Then and there, they realized it was time to fuck.

Fate had brought them together.

Sophie looked down upon the growing bulge in Charles’ jeans.

“What’s that?”

Charles shrugged.

“Something for you.”

“Is it Christmas?”

She wrinkled her nose a bit, making her cheeks dimple, her tongue licking her lips.

Slowly, she took a few steps up toward Charles, her high heels clicking against the floor. As she dwindled down upon her knees, her ass swayed in a way that reminded Charles of a flowers swaying in the wind. Using her long nails as tools to unzip his pants, she made him feel like a lamb on the way to the slaughter. If that hadn’t been enough, she now pulled down the trousers all the way to the ground using only her mouth.

Red elegant fingernails grasping glory, she opened her eyes wide, making a very indicative “Ooh!”-movement with her lips upon seeing what was waiting for her. Her one index finger grabbed the buckle of his belt and seductively felt how hard it was.

With a very spiritual and candescent looking grin, a six inch gender literally catapulted out of his pants into her face.

“It’s huge.”

“20 centimetres.”

Sophie carefully opened her mouth and wrapped her elegant cocksucker lips around his shaft, making little squeaking noises and smacking her lips in the process. That fabulous sensation made her see stars. She licked his cock, gave him deep throat, sucked on his balls, ready to be a submissive whore, letting that game of hide-and-seek go and just become the cock sucking hooker that she knew she could be.

With enthusiastic lips and swirling tongue, Sophie boobing her head back and forth like a regular slut, she gave Charles the blowjob of his life, tasting that salty sausage and feeling its length tickling her tonsils.

The sun was setting as he inserted his tongue into Sophie’s snatch for the first time, giving her the feeling that he buried his face deeper and deeper into her clit by the second, probing her like an oil-drill. So deep, in fact, that Sophie soon only saw his hair looking like an extension of her pubic hair. The sound he was made was quite similar to the sound a man made while drinking beer. The slurping and licking made her think that there were gallons of clitty-juice in there – and there probably was.

She laughed to herself, aroused by this amazing sensation.

Soon enough, Charles turned Sophie around and stuck in his cock from behind. Sophie knew that her ass-cheeks wobbled as he fucked her. Well, Charles fucked her through and through right then and there and she bet he really enjoyed seeing how wobbly her butt could be while he pounded her. No tightness there. Just a nice wobbly butt that loved being fucked like the cocklover’s ass it was.

It didn’t take very long for Charles to change holes, so to speak.

For every thrust Sophie’s horny lust grew more insatiable and Charles’ dick harder, Sophie’s back entrance tight and lovely. They were getting into a steady rhythm now, sort of a marching beat: thrust in, slide out, thrust in, slide out. For every time he thrust in, her boobs bounced to and fro, causing her to look only to moan and yelp and their almost choreographical dancing beat giving her a second orgasm. Charles bent over to lick her back as he fucked her ass. It turned into an amazing ballet of cock and butt, tongues and tits.

With a fantastic smacking sound, Charles slid out his cock out of her asshole, jerking off quicker and faster than Sophie had ever had seen anyone jerk off before. His manhood grew so big that she literally felt like watching a tower erupt out of the ground.

“Come on, mystery man,” she gasped, “squirt on my face!”

Shockwaves of bloodshots came racing down from his chest, the sperm factory now preparing for a spectalar lift-off.

“With pleasure, fictional fuck!”

One gigantic load pinpointed her open tongue, sliding down into her throat. The second shot spread onto her happy laughing cheek. The third came flying across her forehead, landing on a lock of her hair.

It was then that Sophie woke up, realizing that she had been dreaming.

That evening, she turned on the computer and found Charles’ name in the web.

The rest is history.

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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.

Nympho Librarian By Mike Sharlow

I visited my friend Tom, almost always without notice, because he didn’t have a phone. Tom was about six-two with a bushy unkempt moustache and long curly blond hair similar to Custer’s. Tom had bad teeth, because he pathologically avoided the dentist. He said that he couldn’t stand to have someone sticking their fingers, anything in his mouth. It made him have panic attacks. The way he talked about it, it made me think someone at sometime stuck something truly rotten and revolting in his mouth. Now his teeth were decaying.

Tom smoked generic cigarettes, and being a recovering alcoholic, he washed them down with coffee rather than booze. As long I had known Tom, he had never been employed. Like a lot of recovering alcoholics, he discovered, that once he stopped drinking, the mental illness he had always had took the opportunity to rear its ugly head now that the booze no longer kept it at bay. Supposedly, Tom’s mental illness was so debilitating that he couldn’t work. He got social security since he was disabled. I kind of thought it was bullshit. Granted, he was kind of fucked up, but I didn’t know anybody that wasn’t. I guess the stress of a job was too much for him. It would cause some kind of break down for him. Tom appeared to function quite sanely, lucidly, and even highly functioning. He was quite intelligent, and spent much of his free time in the library reading up on any subject that interested him. Sometimes he got a little abstract, which some people found strange, but he made more sense to me than most people I knew.

I knocked on his door. I heard the TV on inside so I knew he was home. Before he answered the door, he turned the TV off. I thought it was his etiquette, but after I got to know him very well I realized that he didn’t want anything else in the room vying for my attention. Tom liked to dominate conversation, and he liked an audience, even of one. Tom felt like he deserved an audience. He believed his intelligence gave birth to ideas and thought that the rest of the world should pay attention to, and at least give him the proper respect he deserved. Tom talked like he was an undiscovered genius, and he was resentful that mankind hadn’t acknowledge him yet. But I wanted to ask him, “Don’t you think you should do something of genius for mankind to acknowledge that you have that value?”

“Hey buddy,” he said when he opened the door. He was visibly happy to see me. He always was, to varying degrees.

“Hi Tom.”

“What’s new? Have a seat. Wanna cup of coffee?”

“Sure,” I said.

“How’s the kids?” he asked, although I think he only saw my kids once, the one time he visited my house. He was visibly uncomfortable being in my home. I never took it personally that he didn’t want to visit me. My life, my home, reminded him of everything he didn’t have. Tom lived in an efficiency apartment. I had a house, a family, a decent job. He envied my life, but I also envied something he had that I didn’t. Freedom. Free to do whatever he wanted to do on any given day.

Most of our conversations were about writing. That was how we became friends. Tom was a friend of one of my brother’s friends, so we crossed paths at some birthday party for someone neither of us knew very well. The subject of books came up which led to writing, and I shared that I had published a novel in the small press. Tom was a poet, but he had aspirations to write a commercially viable science fiction novel, something that would make him a lot of money, something that would get made into a movie like a Michael Crichton novel. Tom wanted to collaborate on it with me. I got the feeling that it was why he wanted to be my friend. Tom was a man of a lot of ideas but little action. I saw exactly how it would have worked out. He would be feeding me plot and storyline, and I would be pounding the words out. The whole idea of collaborating with him gave me anxiety. I finally convinced him that he could do it on his own. And he did write it. It was a crappy piece of shit, but a lot of crappy pieces of shit go on to get published. His never did. But while we wrote our novels, we became each other’s muse. I always left his apartment feeling creatively charged.

I hadn’t seen Tom in few days, so we spent a couple of minutes catching up.

“Writing much lately?” he asked.

“Yeah, I have been. My wife has been giving me a bunch of shit for how much I have been. You know, if I published a book and made a million dollars it would be a different story.”

“Course it would,” he said and got that look on his face that showed restraint. I know he wanted to tell me that she was fucking bitch and that I should leave her. Even if I wanted to, I didn’t know how I could. “You’re a lot different than she is,” he said. It was his way of saying that I shouldn’t be with her.

“How’s your writing going?” I asked. I didn’t want to talk about my wife anymore.

“I just sent my novel out again. I still don’t know what I want to write about next. Honestly, I’m not sure I want to invest the time in another novel, until I see if something happens with this one.”

I figured this was the way a lot of pseudo-writers quit writing. They don’t acquire the success they want and they quit. I always thought that writing wasn’t a choice. For me, it was something I needed to do, had to do to feel like my life meant something. Without it, I think I would eventually blow my brains out. It was how I defined myself. Mind you, this didn’t ever mean that I was a good, or even an adequate writer. It meant that I didn’t feel like I had a choice. Doing it was living. Not doing it was a slow death.

“I went to the library today,” Tom said.

So, I thought, you always go to the library.

“I found some pictures.”

“Pictures of what? What kind of pictures?”

“They fell out of the paper towel dispenser, when I pulled a towel out to dry my hands.”

“They fell out? Pictures of what? Nude pictures?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said and smiled uncomfortably. Tom wasn’t a prude, so I didn’t quite understand his apprehension.

“Who are they of?” I was asking for specifics like, male or female, old or young. I was looking for physical attributes to see if I wanted to see them. “Do you have them?”

“They’re of one of the librarians,” he said.

“What the hell?”

“Yeah,” he said then paused. “Want to see them?”

“Yeah,” I said excitedly.

He started to get up, and then he said, “I don’t know I feel lecherous showing these pictures. I’m sure she doesn’t know they were in there. Probably some pissed off ex-boyfriend put them there.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Don’t tell anybody about them.”

“I won’t. I understand.” Tom didn’t give a shit about exposing this woman. He was concerned that I might rat him out. He could be a bit paranoid.

He handed three 5×7 color photos to me. She was kind of cute. She had mid length reddish-blonde hair, and it was her true color. All of the photos were basically the same. She was completely naked. She was lying or leaning back with her legs spread apart to varying degrees. Her pussy looked very red and swollen like she had just had sex.

“Wow, I think I recognize her,” I said. I was no stranger to the library either. Odd as it was, I stared at her face as much as the rest her body at its vulnerable best. She was a little chunky with pale Irish skin. She was smiling like she was pleasing someone or had just pleased them. I think both. I wanted to keep the image of her face in my head for the next time I went to the library, which would be at my first opportunity. “What are you going to do with them?”

“I thought about giving them back to her so she knows what some asshole did to her. I’m all for taking the pictures, but he didn’t have to do that to her.”

I was thinking that Tom probably jerked off to her more than once since he found the pictures. Who wouldn’t?

“As unlikely as it seems, maybe she put them there herself,” I said.

“I doubt it,” Tom said. “I think I’ll just throw them away.”

“Don’t do that. I’ll take them off your hands,” I said.

“I don’t think so.”

“I won’t show them to anyone.” Both of us knew I was lying. I would be discrete with them, but at some point I would show them to someone. How couldn’t I?

“I think I’ll just throw them away,” Tom said with a tone of integrity in his voice that I thought was probably bullshit. He was one of the biggest horn-dogs I knew. As long as I knew him he hadn’t had a girlfriend, nor do I think he had even gotten laid, and it wasn’t for lack of want or trying. He wasn’t going to throw those pictures away. If there was a possibility that they could get him laid, he would use them. What assumptions or conclusions he would come to in his somewhat complex and convoluted mind were the unknowns. Once Tom and I went to a strip club, and on the ride home he kept talking about one of the strippers and how she had special interest in him. “She kept looking at me,” Tom said. “I think she really liked me. Damn, I should have asked her for her number.” I don’t know how someone can be so intelligent and so deluded at the same time. The girl was a stripper. Her job was to make every man think he was special. That was how she got tips. It had been way too long since Tom had gotten laid. Jerking off satisfies a temporary urge, but only real sex truly treats the malady

I went to the library a couple of days after I visited Tom. For some reason I didn’t think she would be there, but she was. At first I wasn’t sure it was her, because I imagined her shorter from the picture. She had also gained some weight from the picture, but for all I knew she might have gained and lost a couple of different times since the pictures had been taken. She was wearing a dark blue skirt with nylons and a buttoned up white blouse. Her shoes, although I didn’t know what they were called, were also conservative looking. By the way this woman dressed, I didn’t think she would pose for the kind of pictures she did.

I checked out a couple of books I knew I would never read. Not that I would never read these books. It was just that I had a pile at home I was working through. The other librarian checked me out, but I got a better look at the red head, and I heard her voice. It was high and young in tone.

It was probably just me, but I got a sense that she knew I was up to something. After I left the library, and as I walked to my car, I realized how much I must have been staring at her.

Four days later I had a chance to visit Tom again. I wanted to tell him that I had seen her. I wanted to see those pictures again after I had seen her in person so recently.

I heard the TV on inside. I thought it was strange that he found so much to watch even though he didn’t have cable. Without cable only five stations were available. For a guy who lived alone I could see how the background noise of TV could help alleviate loneliness.

Tom turned off the TV and opened the door. He was as glad to see me as he always was.

“I saw her,” I said.

“Yeah, so did I. A couple of times. I talked to her.” Then he hesitated for a moment and said, “About the pictures.”

“Really? How did that go?” I hoped for the best but expected the worst.

“I asked her if I could to talk to her in private, and we walked up to the nonfiction upstairs way in back.” Tom introduced himself and learned that her name was Cindy. He told her that he found something in the men’s restroom, and he handed her one the pictures in an envelope. Tom left the other two at home. How would she know that he found three? She stared at the picture, and her pasty Irish complexion became a dark pink, as her green eyes welled. Tom told her he was sorry, but he thought she should know.

“Do you have any others?” She asked. She obviously knew how many had been taken.

“She was really intimidating. I didn’t know what to say, but I said no, and she didn’t believe me.”

“I want the others,” she demanded. Being a librarian, she knew how to talk harshly but quietly.

Tom admitted to having two others.

As she snatched the one from his boney fingers she asked him why he didn’t bring the other two.

“I said I wanted to take her out on a date, maybe for coffee, but she called me a freak and accused me of knowing her ex-boyfriend and that we were in it together.”

“In what together?” I asked.

“I don’t know. I didn’t ask. I didn’t have a chance to.”

She stuck her finger in Tom’s chest and told him that he better go get the other pictures, “Now!”

“Then she pushed me. That woman is strong.”

Tom reeled back and fell into a book shelf. The shelves didn’t domino over like in the movies. Library shelves and sturdy and well supported, but Tom said, as he crashed into the stacks that about a hundred books fell off onto the floor, and ended up on the floor himself.

“I hit my head. Look at this lump,” Tom said meekly like a battered husband, as he pulled his hair back to show me.

He had a small knot.

“Did you take her the other pictures?”

“Not yet, but if I ever want to go back to the library I’ll have to,” he said and sighed heavily.

“It will be okay. I’ll go with you if you want?”

“No. I hoping that she’s had some time to cool off, and we can still have that cup of coffee.”

“Really?” I didn’t think there was any way this woman would be interested in establishing a relationship with Tom based upon an introduction from the chance finding of explicit pictures. “Would you want to go out with someone that has the ability to physically abuse you? Maybe she beat the shit out of the other guy, so he retaliated by humiliating her with strategically placing the pictures in the library.”

“Yeah, I suppose,” Tom said.

“I would just drop the other two pictures off and walk away. Let it go.”

The next time I saw Tom he told me that he tried to give her the pictures and walk away, but Cindy found him a little later, when he was browsing through the fiction section. I know Tom well enough to know that he wanted her to approach him; otherwise he would have left the library after dropping off the pictures. “She apologized for pushing me. And thanked me for bringing them.”

“That’s good,” I said.

“She asked me if I showed the pictures to anyone else who knows she works here, and I told her I didn’t, so don’t say anything when you meet her.”

“What?” I said.

“We went for coffee, and then she took me back to her place and fucked my brains out,” Tom said with his chest puffed up like a rooster.

I had never seen him feeling quite so good about himself. I was dumbstruck and then envious. I didn’t know if I should congratulate him, or be concerned for his welfare. “When do you think I’ll meet her?”

“I don’t know. We’ll see how things go.”

Well, I never did formally meet her. Tom only saw her one more time when she came over to his place and screwed him a couple of days after she screwed him the first time. Tom thinks she wanted to be sure he had given her all the pictures. But he also believed she had a thing for him, because she didn’t necessarily have to fuck him twice to find out if he gave her everything he had. Of course, he regretted ever telling her how many he found. “If I had only said I had one other at home.”

“At what point were you going to use it to have her screw you again. And do you think it would be worth the ass-kicking she’d give you afterwards?”

“She couldn’t take me. I’d be ready for her next time,” Tom said and nodded subtly but confidently.

For the next six months I listened to him talk about Cindy and the lost opportunity. And for the next six months Tom parked himself within eyeshot of the bathroom, and after almost every visitor to the men’s restroom (he didn’t bother with the real old guys), Tom checked the towel dispenser.

“Don’t you end up going into the restroom a lot? Doesn’t anyone ever say anything to you?”

“One of the librarians did, but I told her I had a bladder condition.”

Tom never did find anymore pictures. I have to admit, when I go to the library and use the restroom, I slide my fingers up the paper towel dispenser just to make sure.