WARNINGS: This story includes explicit descriptions of sexual acts. If reading this might involve you or another person in an illegal act, or you are offended by the exploration of adult themes in literature or on the Internet, do not read further.
Copyright 1998 by Jane Urquhart
The author is a member of the Net Authors and Creators Union (NACU), which defends the rights of Internet authors and creators. NACU intends to bring suit against any person or corporation infringing copyright.
Specific permission is granted for publication in the news groups Alt.Sex.Stories and Alt.Sex.Stories.Moderated and for archiving by the Alt.Sex.Stories.Moderated archive and DejaNews. All other rights are reserved. Do not repost or distribute by any other means without express permission from the author.
NOTE: This story is part of a series. Later stories sometimes refer to earlier ones, but each also is meant to stand alone. Four stories have appeared previously--"Janey's January," "Janey's February," "Janey's March" and "Janey's Trip."
ANOTHER NOTE: After this, read Sandman's "French Kisses" to get the male point of view on the events narrated below.
Well, that's not exactly true, as you'll see in a minute.
The thing is, I couldn't have written anything this month, anyhow, especially since I didn't do a thing that you'd be interested in. My daughter got sick. She's only eight years old, and all kinds of awful things have been going around in the Boston suburbs all this winter. We went on holiday, and as soon as we got back she got something. She had a bad sore throat, and she was allergic to the antibiotics. She had to go to the hospital, which scared me worse than the disease, hospitals being what they are today. So I spent a lot of time at the hospital in Newton, and I prayed a lot, and I was absolutely petrified. Bob, my husband, was worse off than I was. You know how men are when they can't do anything about something; it drives them nuts. So he was teaching his classes with big black circles under his eyes and bumping into things and wanting to kill somebody, only he didn't know who to kill. (I know, Celeste, that should be "whom," but did you ever hear anybody say, "I don't know whom to kill?" I haven't, so the hell with it.) Besides, nobody's to blame--life's a bitch.
Judy's perfectly fine now. To hear her tell it she just had a big adventure and she doesn't see why everybody's keeping an eagle eye on her and wrapping her up like the Michelin man every time she gets in a draft. Bob's sleeping again--that's actually his greatest talent, even if he is the best medieval historian in the whole world and the dearest man I know. Me, I'm still shaking like an oak leaf in a gale. And let me tell you--compared to worrying about a sick kid, sex is nowhere.
Unfortunately, I also suffered what I thought was another, lesser but still horrible, disaster. My mother came up from Texas to help keep things going and look out for my oldest, Alan, who's ten and swears his sister was shamming, while Bob and I were running back and forth from the hospital. That wasn't the disaster--I was really glad she came, because she's an absolutely wonderful person. She loves my father, and that's what led to the disaster.
See, I keep my story files buried in the computer in a folder called "etymolgy," which is in another folder called "voced" for "vocational education," and that's in yet another called "univbus" for "university business." I figured those were places nobody in her right mind would go to look if she were just messing around with the computer. Actually, there's nothing wrong with my system that wouldn't have worked perfectly well if I hadn't left a printout of "Janey's March" lying right next to the keyboard when the school called and told me Judy was sick.
Somebody else's mother would have put Alan to bed and watched Entertainment Tonight or the latest news about Monica Willy Tripp on the TV. Or read a big coffee table book I bought called English Gardens. Or, possibly, picked up a copy of A Spanish Lover that I had just finished--Joanna Trollope is really good. But that's not my mother.
She waltzed right over and sat her cute little derriere down at my desk, fired up the computer, and started to write a letter to my father. Then she saw my printout. She read it--what would you do? Then she hit the Start button, clicked on "Find," and typed in the filename, which, unfortunately, was right on the top of the printout. Whirr, whirr, and up pops "C:\msworks\univbus\voced..." My mother's no dummy--she probably knows more about computers than I do. I am undone, and I don't even know it--I'm five miles away and frantic about poor Judy.
When I got home--even mothers of sick kids have to sleep sometime--she was just awfully sympathetic, forced me to sit down in one of our big floppy chairs and made me a cup of tea. Loose tea, in a pot, none of the crappy teabags I use all the time. She asked me all about Judy, and how was Bob holding up (he was in bed at the time), and reassured me about Alan, whom, of course, I was worried about, too. I relaxed for the first time in about sixteen hours.
Then she smiled her absolutely most evil smile, and said:
"I didn't know you were interested in etymology."
"I'm not, particularly," I said, without a flicker of suspicion.
"Well, the projects you're working on looked interesting to me."
I'm often at loss about what to say, but my brain whirls around like mad all the time. It whirled. Stopped. The cold, hard glare of reality hit me like a ton of bricks.
"What projects?" I said weakly.
"Well, for instance," she said, still smiling, "I thought the Sandman project was particularly fine. I suspected you'd need that little spell sooner or later."
"You did?" I managed what I hoped would pass for a smile myself. Might as well go with the flow, that's what I usually do.
"On the other hand," she said, "I thought the fellow who asked you for Beth's phone number was way out of line." Oh, no. She read my fan mail, too. (Well, of course I get fan mail. You can send some to my mother if you want to. I'll read it before I give it to her, so she won't be shocked.)
"You read my stories, you even read my fan mail--that wasn't nice--and you're still speaking to me?" I was working up to being thunderstruck. I really like that word, mostly, I guess, because it happens to me all the time.
"Look, dear," she said, her smile turning into one of great superiority, "if you really think about this, you'll realize that I was sleeping with men before you were born. It's absolutely necessary in order to produce great hulking wenches like you."
"Well, yes, but that was my father," I said, gulping, "and, anyhow, since I couldn't possibly imagine that, I always assumed I was a product of immaculate conception."
"It's a smart girl who knows who her father is," she said. Then she had the gall to laugh at me when I turned pink.
"It's all right," she said, "He really is your father, I'm pretty sure. The other possibility was a fellow Angus called a 'wee, strange little man,' and since I'm not very big, you had to get your build from Angus."
Remember, it was eleven o'clock at night, I had been in a stew for as long as I could remember, couldn't sleep the night before, and was generally a wreck. She could have waited until morning to drop this on me. But I was sure as hell awake now. Have you ever gotten a new mother all of a sudden? It's a sobering experience.
"Look, you're going to tell me all about this, aren't you. I'm dying of curiosity, now."
"Well," she said, "I had an idea. Tomorrow, after Alan goes to school and you and Bob go away, I'll clean up this shambles you call home, and then I won't have anything to do for three or four hours. It occurred to me that it was most unlikely that you'd be able to write Janey's April in time. I doubt that you'll even have the steam to do the research." Another evil smile. "So I'll just write it for you. Naturally it won't be up to your usual standard, but I'd hate to see you miss a month. When you read it you'll know a little more about your origins."
I went to bed shaking my head.
Here's what she wrote:
MARY ELIZABETH'S APRIL
(FM, FM [same F, different M], then FMF, and
a couple more FM's, in each case not only cons
but positively salivated after by all concerned)
by Mary Elizabeth O'Brien MacDonald, A.B.
It was a dark and snowy night... All right, just kidding, I'll start again.
Since I don't belong to this jolly group that Jane's all involved with, I don't have to follow your silly rules about story codes, do I? I think mine are better. And I do find the younger generation strange when I read all the posts about grammar in your discussion group. Everywhere else, all I hear about is sex, and in your sex-story-author discussions you write about grammar. And you think we're weird!
Now I'll tell you my story.
Being born in Ireland in 1933 was not a very good idea unless you were born rich. Fortunately for me, at least we weren't poor. My father was a newspaper editor, and, since he owned part of the paper, he made a very good living compared to most people in that poor, benighted land. So I lived in Dublin in a nice house and only learned how poor most people were when I went to visit my shoals of aunts and uncles and cousins out in the villages. Sometimes I spent most of the summer visiting one relative or another, usually my widowed Aunt Grace, who was a witch but otherwise perfectly normal, because my father said I should learn how the other half lived. I never knew what my mother said because nobody listened to her.
Aunt Grace taught me how to dig peat and potatoes, and when I was old enough, she taught me about sex, which she remembered very pleasantly. (She also taught me a little sorcery, but she didn't think I was good enough at it to go through the whole curriculum.)
In the winters I went to a nice girls' school in Dublin, where the nuns taught us Latin and history and English, because they had some strange notions about women. Nobody had ever heard of "self esteem," and girls were certainly not supposed to have it, but we picked up a lot of it at that school. They taught us that God loved us and that we had a right to our opinions and that if we didn't think our parents were right, we weren't necessarily wrong. We taught each other about sex, mostly not very well, but, of course, I had got most of it from Aunt Grace. By the time I graduated from what you call high school here, I knew a lot, in theory. My father, who was quite enlightened in many ways, paid for me to go to a good university, from which I received my degree in 1954, at the age of twenty-one. For a graduation present, he offered me a trip to Europe, if I could find someone to go with me.
I still knew a lot about sex, in theory. Unlike many women of my cohort, however, I had a theory that sex would be really a lot of fun--Aunt Grace certainly thought it was. The problem that faced me was that it was a disaster if any girl had sex before she was married, and the men didn't get married until they were around forty. The women, perforce, also waited until they were very much older than I was at the time I entertained this unorthodox theory. A trip to Europe seemed to be just what I needed. So I set about finding someone to go with me.
I found Alice, a girl (I think we were still "girls" then) I had known fairly well in college. She was a bit strange--she was pretty, but she always looked just slightly angry. Actually, she wasn't, but she looked that way, and it put the young men off. She didn't smile much, but she was smart and she was good to talk to, when I could get her to talk. More to the point, she talked her parents into paying for a trip to Europe with no trouble at all. So there we were--two well-educated virgins ready to see the sights. The sights I wished to see were not the ones my father had in mind.
I had a plan. Perhaps not a plan, but at least a nebulous idea of a plan. I had known for quite a long time how to give myself orgasms (Aunt Grace had improved my technique quite a lot), but I was extremely interested in getting some nice man to do it for me. I had resolved that this trip was going to be my opportunity--I'd meet all these delightful men, preferably French, and one or possibly several of them was or were going to fuck me to a fare-thee-well. I finally decided I had to share this agenda with Alice, but she wasn't very enthusiastic. I, however, was, and she said she wouldn't hold it against me if I did something she didn't want to do.
We flew to Paris. It was beautiful, and we went to the Jeu des Paumes and the Louvre and walked along the Seine and ate wonderful meals, but we didn't meet any useful men. My French was only fair, and Alice didn't talk enough to do any good even though she could speak the language a little. We didn't have a fixed itinerary, so we decided to go to Venice by way of Switzerland and Austria because I could speak some German. For all I knew, Swiss men would be better, whatever the folktales said.
We took the train to Zurich, got off, got a hotel, looked around, and decided it was too stuffy for words. (I later learned we should have gone to Geneva, but that's another story: perhaps I'll tell you about my trip to Geneva sometime, if Jane will let me. She's so strait-laced.) So the next day we got back on the train and went down the line a bit to Innsbruck. We were starved when we got there, so we each had a bowl of goulash soup in the railroad station, then we walked up into town and fell in love with the place.
You could stand in the main street and look up at enormous mountains. There were gasthauses--guest houses--all over the place, and sausage shops and a theater. Everything was half-timbered. It looked like pictures I'd seen on the labels of Black Forest cake cans. And, just as an afterthought, there were all these dark, good-looking men wandering around. Some of the older ones were even wearing lederhosen, which are like short pants only made of leather. Big hairy thighs. I must admit I liked that.
So we went and got a double room in the Hotel Central and went to bed.
The next morning Alice and I walked all over the place, had lunch, walked some more, and around three in the afternoon decided to have a cup of coffee or something and sit down for a while. We went into a small hotel, looked in at the tiny bar, and saw several people sitting around drinking and talking. Only two little tables were free so we went to one of them, shucked our rucksacks and sat down.
The other customers obviously knew each other. I was able to see pretty quickly that there were two Austrian women, two French and two American. There was one Frenchman and there were half a dozen American men. One of the American men was with one of the American women. They were all talking to each other and laughing about trips they had made or were going to make to Zell-am-See or Salzburg or Venice, or about ski trips they had been on last winter or were going on next. They were drinking everything imaginable--coffee, tea, wine, beer, cognac, Pernod, even water. In all, they looked like a pleasant group. Hence I was delighted when one of the American men came over and asked to sit with us.
He introduced himself as Don something-or-other and started asking all about our trip and where we were going next. He was good looking; about five six, only a little taller than I was; he was tanned, had black hair cut quite short even for those days, and brown, sort of slitty eyes. I can't imagine what his ancestry was. He said he was a medical student at the university there.
After a while Don said, "Come on over with me and meet the rest of the gang-- nearly everybody here hangs out together all the time."
So we got up and walked over to another table. Don introduced us to the people sitting there, and soon the rest of his friends got up, came over and started shaking hands like Frenchmen, telling us their names. The American couple were free-lance photographers, a little older than the rest. The older of the Austrian women, Olga, was a countess! There was an army officer on leave, a couple more graduate students and a newspaper reporter who for the moment was just travelling around looking at Europe. One of the men turned out to be a Canadian who was working for some large company there. Every time he opened his mouth somebody kidded him about his accent, but he just sort of shook it off and kept on being very serious about everything that came up. None of them were married except the photographers, but I could tell the Canadian had his eye on one of the American women.
We sat there drinking with them for the rest of the afternoon, occasionally looking out the windows at the huge mountains. I finally switched to red wine, but Alice stuck to tea. Once in a while somebody left, and a couple of new people, two Frenchmen and a Swedish woman, a gorgeous blonde as tall as Jane is now, came in and joined the crowd. The bartender, Fritz, an older man who managed to look like an aristocrat in an apron, joined in the conversation from his position behind the bar. People moved around, talking to one and another, but Don stayed close to us. He had one hurried private conversation with the reporter, Jack, but came back to sit at our table. Having known few Americans, I was amazed at the general friendliness.
Don was a little more than friendly. After a while he took my hand and put it on my leg under the table, then kept his hand there and gently stroked my leg with his thumb. I liked it. I especially liked it when he let his fingers slip off to the inside of my thigh. Of course all the time we were still talking to everybody, and I didn't even notice this. Of course not.
Around six someone suggested dinner, so we all trooped off together to a big restaurant down the block from the Kreid. By that time I'd had three glasses of wine and felt rather jolly. When I feel that way my language deteriorates until I begin to sound like one of the sure-and-begorrah farmers I knew when I visited Aunt Grace. Everybody else except Alice and the Canadian's girl got a little boisterous, too. Don sat next to me and gradually worked his hand almost all the way up to his obvious destination. It must have been hard for him to eat with one hand, but I suppose he got a lot of practice. Once I smiled and offered to cut his wiener schnitzel for him. He blushed right through his tan and moved his hand away. But soon it was right back where it had been.
Supper finally came to an end and people started leaving. Don and Jack and some others suggested we go back to the Kreid, where we had been drinking earlier. Alice told me she was going back to our hotel; I told her I'd be back in a little while. I'd had a little more wine with supper and couldn't see why I shouldn't have just one or two more glasses.
Back at the bar there were only five of us left, Don, Jack, an Austrian woman named Lena and a big fellow named Jean-Claude. And me. Lena kept nuzzling Jack and he kept shifting away. Jean-Claude smiled a lot, never opened his mouth, and looked like an innocent little boy. Don talked--he talked a great deal--and pretty soon they were telling stories, some of them fairly raw for a sheltered girl like me. I don't remember any of the stories, although they were side-splitting at the time, and I don't think I said much. I regret to say I think I just sat there with a bemused grin on my face. I think I was grinning because Don had finally got his hand right down on my bullseye and was rubbing it gently. I sort of rubbed back against his hand. I began to see why some women preferred skirts to the slacks I was wearing.
After a while Don got up and said to the others, "Mary and I have to go. See you guys tomorrow."
So I smiled brightly and got up, too. I was maybe a little tipsy, even a lot tipsy, but I wasn't so drunk I couldn't figure out what Don had in mind. I was happy as a lark. I was scared to death. I was like a happy, scared lark.
Don took my hand and we sauntered out of the hotel.
"Where are we going?" I said brightly.
"Well," said Don, "I know this guy that has a hotel room and some really good schnapps. Me."
"I've never tried schnapps," I said. I let go of his hand and danced lightly ahead. Looking back at him, I trilled, "Lots of things I've never tried." I really did "trill." I'm mortified to tell you, but that's the way it was. You tend to trill if you're tipsy, happy and scared out of your wits. Or at least I do. It never happens any more. Pity.
"You'll like schnapps," he promised. "I'm glad to see you like to try new things."
I stopped until he caught up and he took my hand. I didn't know anything to say so I just walked along smiling a foolish smile. Don smiled, too, but I think he wasn't as tipsy as I was, so he smiled more normally.
His hotel was less than a block from the Kreid. It was about 10:30. He got a key out of his pocket and unlocked the door to his hotel, leading me into a dimly-lit lobby.
"No bar here," he said, "and they lock up at ten."
We tiptoed across the floor to a tiny elevator and got in. While the accordion grill was still closing Don put his arms around me and kissed me. He poked his tongue up against my lips and opened mine. He pulled me close to him and explored the inside of my mouth. I found this very exciting, especially when I started using my tongue to examine his teeth. The enormous bulge in his trousers tended to make me excited, too. Electric shocks just like the ones I got from that big static wheel in physics class started going up and down my body, only there were lots of them and they just kept zipping through me. I could feel lubrication pouring into my private parts. Bear in mind: the kisses, the hand up my leg, all this was absolutely new to me. It did, however, match my theory. All this went on between the lobby and the second floor, where the gate ground open and I jumped. My teeth bumped his and it hurt quite a lot. So when he led me out of the elevator I still had one hand over my mouth.
"Hey," he asked, "are you o.k.?"
I unhanded my mouth, wiggled my lips, and said, "Yes, I am now." I smiled tremulously. He led me down the hall a couple of doors to Room 607, unlocked it and led me inside. I was still so afraid I thought my teeth would chatter, but I also thought that would hurt so I kept my mouth tight shut. But not for long.
No sooner had he shut the door than Don turned, took me in his arms, kissed me, hard, and began tearing at the buttons on my shirt. I was not prepared. My theories on sex got a little hazy at his point. I pushed him away as hard as I could, stood still a minute, and got my breath. He was looking at me, puzzled.
"I'm sorry," I said. "You took me by surprise."
"Didn't you come here to get fucked?"
I blushed. "Well, yes," I said, "I suppose I did, actually."
Don smiled and said, "Well, sweetie, why don't we get started.?"
So I took off my clothes and put them on a chair. My hands were shaking. I could barely force myself to look as he disrobed. Only a tiny bulb lighted the room, but I could see his body. He was muscular, just as I'd thought my first man must be. He wasn't smiling. I went over and sat on the bed a few feet from where he was standing, I was very excited; I wondered what would happen next.
Out of his clothes, he pushed me back and fell on top of me, our legs still hanging off the side of the bed. With his knees he pushed my legs apart.
"Aren't you going to put it in?" he said. "That's what nice girls do."
"All right," I said. Something didn't feel right, but my theories simply hadn't covered this part of the endeavour. I took his penis in my hand. Never having felt such a thing before, I marvelled at its texture--very smooth, warm, and very hard. But I marvelled a second too long.
"Put it in!" he said. "I'm so hot I could burn."
"But... aren't you supposed to wear something?" I had heard about rubbers. You may not be aware that the pill was yet a long time off.
"Nah," he said, "we don't do that here."
As I've heard Jane say so many times, what did I know?
So I bravely began forcing his weapon into my vagina. It didn't go easily. The lubrication had stopped. And I was still shaking.
He began pumping furiously. I just lay there, wondering what on earth I had got myself into. I didn't have long to wonder--almost immediately, he came, shaking, moaning, and squeezing me so tightly I couldn't breathe. Then he relaxed. After a moment he pulled his flaccid penis out of me and stood up. I had had a moment or two of odd feelings I couldn't quite describe, plus the not altogether unpleasant feeling of my vagina having been stretched to what felt like its limits.
"Want some schnapps?" he said, smiling broadly.
"I don't think so," I said. I had been tiddly from the wine, but at this point I was more sober than I had ever been in my life. "I think I'd better go."
He smiled and jerked his head. "Well, if that's what you want."
I put on my clothes while he stood there nude. I moved toward the door. He grasped my arm and pulled me around, then he kissed me, fairly gently. That was nice, I thought. Then he opened the door and let me out. I walked down the hall to the elevator, got on and descended. I walked on, down the main street to our hotel. I rang the bell, was admitted, and went up to our room. Alice was asleep. I quietly took a washcloth and some water from the pitcher by the bed and washed myself--his fluids had dripped down my thighs. I hurt a little, but not much. I fell into bed and went to sleep almost immediately, still wondering what was wrong. Something was.
Alice got up early the next morning and brought us semmels--they're an Austrian roll--and tea from the cafe downstairs. When I finally waked up, she asked me how the evening went.
"OK," I said. "We just had a few more drinks."
I put the night before out of my mind. We took a side trip to Salzburg for a couple of days, visiting Mozart's house and the water garden, then returned to Innsbruck.
The next day Alice decided we ought to walk around in the foothills just outside of town. We did. Alice never talked much, and that morning I was quiet. I finally began thinking about my night with Don. My theories about sex obviously were lacking in some way. I could simply decide that I'd been misled about the glories of romping in bed, or I could assume that somewhere there was a better harvest to be reaped. I worried a little about being pregnant, but thought it unlikely, given the time of the month. I was quite certain about that element of my theories--Aunt Grace had made the cycle very clear. Still, watching the cycle was not a perfect way of birth control. There'd have been a lot fewer Irishmen if it had been. I decided it was up to God, and since I had done nothing to him lately, perhaps he would do nothing to me. I decided to persevere. How, I had no idea.
The big fellow from three days before, Jean-Claude, did. That afternoon Alice wanted to wander around the shops again. I begged off and went back to the Kreid bar. It was early; nobody was there except Fritz, standing behind the bar polishing glasses, and Jean-Claude, to whom I had hardly spoken. Fritz smiled, waved, and said, "Grüss Gott, Mam'selle!" I smiled back--who could resist such polyglot gallantry?
Jean-Claude, sitting in a banquette with a newspaper and a glass of that horrible Alsace beer in front of him, said nothing. He merely smiled and indicated the seat beside him. I sat. A gentleman, he stood while I took my seat. He still looked like an innocent little boy, this time wearing a uniform, but when I saw that he was reading Le Monde, I decided that he must at least be an intelligent little boy. Fritz brought me a cup of tea--he'd even remembered what I ordered.
To my utter amazement, Jean-Claude spoke careful, accurate English made more delightful by his French accent. I can't possibly write his words so that they sound the way he made them sound, so you'll just have to imagine it for yourself.
"You should not have gone with Don that night," he said. "Don is an idiot."
That was a shot across the bow if I ever heard one. I decided to return his fire.
"Then why didn't you push him away and take his place next to me?" I said.
"I am shy. I am young and I am careful. Today I have no one to push out of the way, so I asked you to sit with me." Obviously, a cease fire was in order.
"Well," I said, "I am young, too, and perhaps not as careful as I should be."
"I am younger than Don," he said, "but I am not an idiot. Please stay with me this afternoon. I will buy your wine and make you happy to be with me."
I was young, but I was certainly old enough to know a good offer when I heard one.
Jean-Claude told me he was part of the army occupying the French Zone of Austria. By that time the occupation was largely a formality, and the French troops had virtually nothing to do, but a French force was still in place, as were British, U.S. and Russian troops in their respective zones. We were all expecting the Russians to invade Europe at any moment--whenever the city fire siren went off in Innsbruck we expected an air raid. Alice and I had seen a few soldiers around, but had given them no thought at all. Soldiers were a common sight everywhere in Europe.
He did indeed pay that afternoon for my two glasses of wine, which I drank while I listened to him describe his life at home. He was merely serving his time in the army, he explained, as every young Frenchman had to do; he would be back in Lyons in three months, free to begin working in his father's wholesale paper business. He had three older sisters. He was only nineteen.
As I finished my second glass, he said that he would like to go walk in the park for a while, and asked very formally if I would join him. As we walked, he was mostly silent, stopping now and then to look at a flower bed or one of the small statues that decorated the park. We watched a bunch of boys playing football--what we call soccer here--for a few minutes. I noticed how incredibly calm he seemed, especially after Don, who chattered away every minute and seemed a bit nervous all the time. I fell into Jean-Claude's rhythm, moseying along, drinking in the atmosphere, taking a lazy walk. After a while we walked out of the park, along the street, and he stopped us at the door of a small restaurant. He asked if I wanted to eat and we looked at the handwritten menu set in a glass frame by the door. We went in and sat down. It was pleasant--darkish, overdecorated like most Innsbruck restaurants, not crowded.
"This is a good place to eat," he said. "Most Austrian food is not good, but the cook here has been to a better school than most. If you let me, I will order for you. Will you drink beer?"
"Certainly," I said. I could read the menu, but it seemed to please him to be in charge, so why should I complain? I had a distinct impression that he was trying out new skills.
When he had ordered he seemed a bit short of conversation. I couldn't help teasing him a little.
"How did you learn to please women so well?" I asked. For he was certainly pleasing me, in his quiet way.
He smiled his little boy smile and blushed. Bear in mind that this young man was at least six feet tall and probably weighed two hundred pounds. I was only five-four and weighed half of that, but I thought of him as two hundred pounds of blushing infant and was moved almost to tears.
"Perhaps you overestimate me," he said. "I only want to please you."
"I like being with you because you are quiet and calm," I said.
"I am not quite so calm on the inside," he replied. "You disturb me. You are a very nice girl, yet you went with Don that night so easily, as if you spend every night with a different man."
"Oh, no," I said. Then I blurted out the whole story--my theories of sex, my utter lack of experience, the fiasco of three nights before. I had thought of him as an infant. Now I thought of myself as one.
"That is a very sad story," he said, just then the waiter came, bearing our dinners on plain white china plates. We sat quietly until he had served us and gone away. Jean-Claude continued. "I now wish that I had pushed Don away that night. After we eat our dinner, perhaps I will not be so shy." He smiled again and began to eat.
That was when I first realized that French people have a very different idea of food and how to treat it from that of the Irish. They don't just eat, they think about what they are eating. We talked intermittently about the things we liked in Innsbruck as we ate our wiebelfleisch, a simple steak with onions, and our boiled potatoes. I thought the beer was far better than what he had been drinking at the hotel, but he disagreed, politely. I think he was a thoroughgoing patriot, rather than a connoisseur of beer. I was pretty confident that the day the occupation ended there would not be a single bottle of Alsatian beer anywhere in Austria, and a good thing, too.
It was dark and beginning to rain, just a light mist, as we left the restaurant.
Jean-Claude turned to me and said, "When you talk to your very good friends years from now, I would prefer that you not mention that night. Instead, I will be your first man, and you will forget that night." He looked at me questioningly. "Will you come with me?"
That night was so very different. No hand up my leg. No assumptions. No smirks. Of course I would go with him.
Jean-Claude had an apartment. He told me he worked whenever he wanted; his officers didn't care as long as his work, some kind of supply accounting, got done. And he didn't have to live in the barracks with the infantry. (I don't think I would have gone to the barracks.) This was a typical, rather stark Austrian-style apartment, but there were bright, modern prints on the walls, comfortable chairs, lamps that looked like antiques, and even curtains at the windows. He said one of his sisters had come to visit and was horrified. She insisted he was living like an Austrian, which could not be tolerated, and spent a week decorating the apartment. She may have been a bigot, but she knew what she was doing.
As he closed the door, Jean-Claude reached out, took my bag, and hung it on a hook by the door. Then he offered me a chair and went into his tiny kitchen. He came back with two cognac snifters and a plate of little French cookies on a tray.
"This will make you feel daring," he said as he poured the brandy into our glasses. "It will also make me feel daring." So we sat opposite each other and sipped warm cognac. What it did was make me feel not daring, but relaxed. After all, what I had done a few nights before hadn't made me feel any more confident in my theories--it had only made me more determined to test them further. For all I knew, I was in for another quick wrestling match with no gain to be had. But sitting there, sipping very good brandy, made me feel as if Jean-Claude, young as he was, might know things Don had never dreamt of.
Finally, Jean-Claude swallowed what was left of his brandy in a single gulp--a most un-French thing to do. He stood, reached out, and took my hand.
"I have been wanting to kiss you ever since I first saw you," he said. He gently pulled me to him and looked me straight in the eye, then kissed me. That kiss was a revelation. It didn't begin on my lips. First, he kissed the back of my hand--really, not an air kiss like those you can still get from old men in France. Then he kissed the inside of my elbow. That made me shiver. Then he pulled me close, put his arms around me, and kissed my eyes, which were shut by then, one at a time. Then he began what was to be the best kiss I ever got, before or since, by simply brushing my lips. Gradually his tongue came out and he just touched my mouth. But my mouth opened as if he had used a key. He moved slowly, increasingly moving his tongue deeper, flicking my teeth, touching the inside of my upper lip, pressing my lips harder, going deeper into my mouth. By that time I was clutching him as if for dear life. When he finally pulled back, I opened my eyes. He was smiling. Then he simply kissed me again, this time without the very gradual approach. I felt as if I were going to lose consciousness. I was actually dizzy. Inside, I felt like a bottle of carbonated water. He broke the kiss again; I could have stayed there indefinitely.
"Come," He said. "I want to see you. Now you must take off your clothes."
He spoke so matter-of-factly that I started unbuttoning my shirt as if I got such instructions every day. He took off his necktie and the hard wool shirt he was wearing, then his shoes and trousers, while I stripped. He took our clothes and put them on a chair, then led me into his bedroom. Like the living room, it was warmly decorated, not feminine, but carefully planned. The bed was typical Austrian nondescript. He stripped the sheets back and turned to me, again taking my hand. Then he pulled back, looking at me.
"You are much more beautiful without those clothes," he said. "I should like to see you in a beautiful gown, but now I think this way is better." Once again he smiled a gentle smile. His penis was obviously as hard as a rock, but he seemed totally unconcerned about it, just looking at my naked body, examining me as if I were a picture on the wall. It was very flattering. He himself was a big man, of course, well muscled, brown from the sun. His blue eyes contrasted with the darkness of the rest of his body. Like most soldiers, he had had his hair cut quite short. It was a nice, ordinary brown. He was a handsome man, with, still, somehow, the look of an innocent.
"I want to touch your breasts," he said, "but I will wait until we are in bed." Then he gestured as if he were holding a door for me. I climbed into his bed as gracefully as I could, given that I was shaking just as I had on the night with Don, but for a very different reason. I was consumed with lust in a way I had never been before. Then I looked up at him standing there, and I was the one who smiled. I held out my arms for him.