WARNING: This story contains explicit sexual matter. If you are under 18, or live in a jurisdiction in which such matter is illegal, please stop reading now.
This story may be archived only with the aurhor's permission and is not to be distributed without this note and the name of the author, changed in any way, or sold. Do not re-post without consulting the author. Copyright 1998 by Jane Urquhart.
NOTE: This is not a "Janey" story.
She was an exemplary mother and she worked arduously on community causes. She was always affable, if not particularly gregarious. Her friends held her in high regard, even though they privately thought that she spoke as if she were an English teacher and that she was excessively proper. They would have considered her a bluestocking intellectual had it not been for her unusual devotion to physical exercise and women's sports. She was, they unanimously agreed, "as square as they come."
Those friends could never have imagined that she would find herself in an awkward, possibly dangerous, certainly compromising position.
For they were totally unaware that she led an absorbing secret life. She spent every moment she could steal from her everyday tasks writing salacious stories, many of them about a woman who shared her body and, she supposed, some heretofore hidden part of her personality. These she posted to an Internet newsgroup dedicated to such works. She also carried on with her readers and with other writers a flourishing electronic mail correspondence devoted to gossip, flirtations, discussions of writing and anything else that struck her fancy.
In her conversations on the Net she merged her true personality with that of her favorite fictional character and she created a world in which that personality lived. That world was quite similar to her real environment--she routinely commented on her (real) children, her domestic activities, her suburban house and the city in which she worked, and she used those things in her stories.
She found this secret life intensely agreeable.
Early in the summer of 1998 she mentioned to a male friend with whom she had carried on a long e-mail flirtation her deep fear that her real identity would be found out. She was confident that dire consequences would follow such a discovery. He jokingly replied that, even with his background in intelligence, it would probably cost him at least $175,000 to break down her security. That much, he said, was more than he was prepared to spend. She replied with the following message:
"What? It's not worth $175,000 to find my address, fly your airplane to Hanscom Field, rent a 1998 Porsche convertible, drive hellbent down 128 (America's Technology Highway), turn off at the Great Plain Avenue exit, zoom wildly through the shaded streets, park in front of my house, ring my doorbell, then, when I answer, rip off my clothes with one swipe of your powerful hand, throw me down on my back on the front porch, untrammel your mighty eight-inch tool, and have your way with me while I'm moaning in ecstasy, at the same time attempting weakly to fend you off?
It was inevitable, given his nature, that he take that message as a challenge. He would not force her, but he would push her to the edge. She would honor her words, joke or not. But he would never force her, even if she believed she was honor bound to let him have what he very dearly wanted.
So, using skills he had acquired while working for various obscure federal agencies, he set out to obtain the required sum. He knew a French politician, currently under government investigation, who would be delighted to see a few embarrassing sums of money disappear from view. He obligingly siphoned off a million and a half francs from his friend's holdings, arranging the transfer so that it would be blamed on a computer error at a small, insolvent Japanese bank. He moved the money to an anonymous account in Grand Cayman, then began contacting various eminent officials he had compromised in the past, using them to find the information he wanted. He specifically asked only for certain details, and told his informants to give him only the data he asked for. He did not want his illusions spoiled.
Ten days after he had received that provocative reply from his female challenger he anonymously sent to her a package containing copies of her driver's license, her certificates of birth, baptism and marriage, the most recent bill itemizing her purchases from an Internet bookstore, and a ninth-grade report card showing an "A" in science and a "C" in something called "Communications Skills." He included a Massachusetts driver's license carrying a female pseudonym and her picture, and a Visa card that matched. Looking at this material before he sent it, he concluded, smiling, that one of the teachers had erred seriously.
Shortly thereafter he sent an e-mail letter to her ordinary, "real life" Internet server address, not her supposedly anonymous address, informing her that he would visit her on one of three dates he specified. She could choose any one of the three. He stated that he would cover all required expenses, and gave her sundry other instructions.
Having, it seemed to her, no other course open, she chose a date--Saturday, July 11, the day before her birthday--and booked a two-bedroom suite in a famous resort hotel located on the southern Maine coast. She used the credit card he had sent. Then she informed him of her arrangements.
She had chosen the date for a reason. Having no idea how she would react to this man she knew only from his letters, she had put a limit on the duration of their tryst. She had to attend her own birthday party at her in-laws' cottage in the Maine woods, thirty-five minutes from the hotel, on the afternoon of Sunday, the twelfth. He would have to accept that. So would she.
In downtown Boston, at a fashionable boutique, she was able to buy a very expensive red dress that fit her perfectly. She thought it suitable for dining at the resort's somewhat pretentious restaurant, and her persecutor had requested such a dress. At Victoria's Secret in Copley Place, smiling as she made her choices, she bought new underwear, including a garter belt, a garment she had never worn before, and at Neiman Marcus she found a nightgown so sheer that she could easily crumple it into a ball in the palm of her hand. She also bought a white sun dress, three pairs of silk stockings and a pair of gold sandals. She saw her gynecologist. She went to a manicurist, who scolded her for failing to take better care of her hands. On the day before she was to leave for Maine she visited a hairdresser she had patronized before, thinking that any radical change in her normal style might possibly in some way mar the occasion. She also planned to wear her usual lavender cologne.
For she had decided that even though it appeared that she had no real choice, actually she could easily abort the whole plan simply by dressing in the sweatshirt and jeans she commonly wore in her leisure time and being totally passive. He was, she was convinced, an honorable man, one who would not take advantage of her helplessness if she made clear her distaste for him. She preferred not to do that.
In fact, she was filled with delight. She chose to believe that her very lack of choice released her from any possible twinge of conscience. Her husband and children would be at the grandparents' cottage, where she had to be the following day. No one would ever know where she had been that night; no one would be hurt. Moreover, having corresponded for some time with her soon-to-be lover, she was confident that he would make her adventure worth remembering for the rest of her life. Fantasies were all very well, but reality would be vastly better.
She was standing on the wide veranda of the resort's main building, a pseudo- colonial monstrosity large enough to hold the entire population of most colonial villages, when he rolled up the curving drive in a dark blue Bentley saloon. It seemed to be an old model, similar to one she had seen in a film on television a long time before. He stepped out of the car, turning to face the front door of the hotel, then looked straight at her and smiled. A bellhop dressed in ridiculous colonial livery rushed out to take his garment bag, and a driver removed the car. He walked up the steps, seeming to use his silver-chased walking stick only as a prop, not as the necessity it was. It was four-thirty in the afternoon, and the cool sea breeze was dying. The sun was still high in the sky, for it was not far from the longest day of the year, but the shadows so far north were always long.
"You came," he said.
"Yes," she said. She smiled. "I reserved a table for dinner at seven, and ordered roast beef for both of us."
He took her hand, lifted it, and gently rubbed his thumb across the backs of her fingers. He looked up at her.
"I have touched you. At last."
"Yes," she said. "And I have touched you."
"And you wore the white sun dress."
"No," she said, "not 'the' sun dress, 'a' sun dress. The dress you described wouldn't do at this kind of place."
"I suppose not," he said with a smile. He lifted her hand to his mouth, kissed it gently, then lowered it, still holding it lightly.
She handed him a key with a heavy wooden fob. "Go up and wash. Dinner is a long time off. I'll wait here, in that chair, right over there, for half an hour, then come up. We can have a glass of wine in the room."
"I shan't be long," he said. He let go of her hand and entered the hotel.
She sat in the chair and waited, looking at a stand of burgeoning heliotrope plants. Their startling purple flowers were shadowed as the sun slipped toward the forest not far away. She breathed their perfume as it drifted across the porch. It was going to be a beautiful evening. She was relieved as she realized that he was exactly as he had described himself. Not very tall, but powerfully built, distinguished looking. Hair dark, greying at the temples. A man at the peak of his powers, in his late forties, confident, strong in ways other than physical. His limp, slight, somehow added to the distinction.
He would have given anything to have walked straight and true, no stick in hand, to be perfect for her. But injuries take their toll. As he climbed the stairs he fleetingly remembered that night in Istanbul, dragging himself out of the cul de sac in which he had regained consciousness, the pain searing his brain. Then he shrugged. He had dreamed of this meeting. She was fifteen years younger than he. What right had he had to invade her privacy, to turn a joke into a deadly serious venture? But she had come. And she had worn the sun dress--no, "a" sun dress. He smiled to himself. That was like her, so precise in the details.
She had described herself once as she stood by the bank of a stream, her shirt smeared with mud, her face sweaty and dirty, smiling in joy at some minor triumph, swatting mosquitoes as she waved at the children who had helped her. He had loved her then, just that way. But the sun dress was a fantasy, a fantasy he had told her about in an e-mail exchange, a fantasy come true. Even as he prospered, he had learned to expect nothing from life, to anticipate that plans would go awry, to accept misfortune as the norm. Yet she was there, waiting for him in a wooden chair on a rare gorgeous New England evening. He had given her an ultimatum, and she had responded by planning their meeting in glorious surroundings, taking control as if the whole thing were her idea, forcing him to hope for more. He smiled ruefully at his thoughts as he dried himself after his shower. He had thought himself a cynic. He was behaving as if he were as much a romantic as Victor Hugo.
She is not beautiful, he thought. Not in the way people define beauty now. Her Roman nose might have come from a European painting. It was molded to be forceful, not "cute;" it would have kept her from being a model. Her hair, in unruly waves even at its best, would never have sold shampoo. Her body, its strength and solidity showing in every line, belied its vulnerability. But she could have been a chatelaine six hundred years before, a duchess, a queen. A goddess. Her walk was royal. People will look at her as we enter the dining room, he thought.
He had finished dressing and was opening the wine when she knocked. He put the bottle on the coffee table and opened the door.
"Come in," he said.
She entered, closed the door, and then leaned back against it, smiling, with her hands behind her back. "You look wonderful," she said. "I really didn't know what to expect. I trusted you, of course, but still..."
He would never tell anyone, but he had spent as much time selecting his wardrobe as she had hers. His white polo shirt had come from the most exclusive shop in Washington. He was not really wealthy, having during his days in intelligence been an anomaly--an honest spy. He would tell anyone who asked that he had been only a "desk jockey," not a field agent, which would have made his adventure in Istanbul someone's ironic mistake. He had had to ask a friend at his club for shopping advice and accept considerable ribaldry when he refused to explain why he was interested. He was glad he had made the effort.
She went over and sat on the overstuffed leather couch. He poured two glasses of the vin rouge she had ordered on his instructions, handed one to her, and sat in an easy chair opposite. He knew that the first move was his to make, but he was afraid. The KGB might have taken his life; she could kill a dream.
"Now I want you to tell me how much it really cost. Was your estimate anywhere close?" She laughed. "After all, who knows? I might have said, 'Publish and be damned!'"
"No," he said. "We talked about trust at some length, don't you remember? I trusted you to honor your challenge. My total expenditures came to about a million two hundred thousand francs--that's about $212,000, allowing for fluctuations in the exchange rate. But I did have to pay for unusual speed. I thought you were worth the extra."
"Oh, my!" she said. "And how did your piggy bank get filled so full of foreign money?"
"Well, you see, a French acquaintance of mine had a pile of francs lying around that he might have had difficulty explaining to certain authorities. I just helped him out a little."
"Anonymously, of course?"
"Naturally," he answered. "Bragging about one's good works is very bad form."
She shook her head. "I don't think I'll ask any further about that," she said. "To change the subject ostentatiously, are you happy with my ordering the roast beef? It was that or Maine cooking, and I didn't know what you might like. I never eat lobster indoors, except when I cook it myself."
"It's fine," he answered. "I assure you I've eaten far worse food than anything they'd be likely to serve here."
"Good," she said. "Like my character, I worry a lot."
"But you're not really like your character, are you?" he said. "You're cool; she's not. You're in command of yourself; she goes with the flow, as she says so often. I noticed that within a few seconds of seeing you."
"Not really," she said. "How could I be? She talks about the daily drudgery of life, but she doesn't have to do it. She doesn't have to be lifeguard for a flock of visiting kids at a dinky little pool when she goes to her in-laws' cottage in Maine. She doesn't have to worry about the cost of remodeling her kitchen. She doesn't have to pray that her children won't do something fatally stupid. She doesn't have to worry about anything, really.
"Besides, she's not a writer. I am. She's never had to force herself to ignore bad reviews. She's never wondered for a second how on earth she'd come up with a story for the next month. She never writes a whole story and throws it away. But she's real--I want you to know that. She talks to me. She pouts when I want to make her do something she doesn't want to. 'What do you think I am, a slut?' she'll say. Then there's no help for it, I have to think of something else."
"But she let you call her 'desperately unhappy' in June," he said. "She's not really too bad."
"I was amazed! I suppose she does get worried sometimes, worried about me." She laughed. "Oh, my, I'd love to be Janey the fuckbunny, with someone else to do all the work!"
"I envy you," he said. "I actually do write about my life--my stories really start out as memoirs. You have to make yours up, but you have a lot more scope."
"I'm not so sure," she said. "I think maybe your character wrote the private one you sent me. It wasn't your style at all."
"Touché," he said. He smiled. "He does take over sometimes, but I still think Janey gives you more room to maneuver."
"As long as I don't make her mad!"
Then she stood and offered him her hand.
"You defer to me too much," she said as they walked toward one of the bedrooms. "I'm not a goddess, even though you've insisted on calling me one. So in a little while I'll defer to you, but right now I'm going to lead. You've said several times in your letters that a woman gives you a gift when she permits you to take her sexually. I want to give you that gift actively. I don't want to surrender, I want to give myself to you."
He thought about that for a moment. In the past women indeed had surrendered to him, and he had thought of that surrender as a gift. But he'd known for some time that this woman was unusual. He had fallen in love with a character in a story, then a correspondent, and finally he had found himself dealing with... a real person. He had felt deliciously in control while he searched out her identity, but things had changed somehow--he felt as though he were navigating with a chart that was just a little off, a few things out of place. He had felt that way before, of course; unexpected things happened, and sometimes the consequences of error might have been very serious indeed. Just as they could be this time.
"Whatever you want," he said. Inside the bedroom, she turned and spoke to him.
"So far," she said, "only our hands have touched. Now I want you to kiss me." She waited.
Like her character, she was taller than he was. He forgot that when he took her in his arms. He forgot how she looked, her name, his own infirmity. Her lips took him in, and she pressed hard against his body. Their tongues met. Vertigo overtook him; he felt as though he might fall. He shook with anticipation. He ran one hand smoothly down her back, feeling bra strap, hard flesh that carried a soft covering, finally a bikini line.
She felt a rush of desire. At the same time, she was smiling inside. The fantasy he'd shared in one of his letters specifically called for the absence of underwear. She hoped he'd find the proceedings satisfactory--enough to make up for what must be a crushing disappointment. The she broke the kiss, pulling away.
That he thought he could manage. He had felt the zipper in the back of the white sun dress. She turned around to offer it to him. But she was still so close! Instead of reaching for the zipper, he put both arms around her, each hand cupping a small breast, soft, soft. Then he felt the nipples stiffen, and she sighed, throwing her head back, leaning back against him, putting her hands on his.
"Stop!" she said. "I am fending you off, weakly. Undress me!"
He obeyed. The zipper came down smoothly to a point below her waist. He
slipped the slim shoulder straps of the dress down her arms, then tugged gently at the skirt until it fell to the floor. She stepped out of it. He caught his breath as he looked at her smooth back, the lacy underwear, her long legs. A few widely spaced freckles sprinkled her shoulders. He ran his hands down her arms; she lay back against him for a moment. The she spoke:
He fumbled as he released the hooks on her brassiere, but soon let it fall to the floor beside them. She took one pace forward, stepped out of her flat white shoes and turned around, showing just a tiny smile while her eyes laughed. He was mesmerized by the sight of her breasts. Small, yes, he thought. Perfect. Pulling himself together, he went down on one knee to release the hooks on the garter belt, used both hands to bring her stockings smoothly to her feet. Then he reached up, took the upper edge of the bikini pants between his thumbs and forefingers and gently pulled them down. He then raised himself only enough to put his brow to her belly, to feel the warmth of her skin against his head. She caressed his hair.
"Stand up," she commanded. "My turn."
And she undressed him as carefully as he had her, pulling the shirt gently over his head, untying his shoes as if he were a child, staring into his eyes silently as she unbuckled his belt, gently moving his solidly erect penis out of the way and smiling at him when she pulled down his shorts. She ignored the white, years-old scars on his bad leg. The silence was electrifying. Both of them could hear the waves crashing on the shore two hundred yards away.
"Now lie down," she said, "and I'll join you."
As he moved toward the bed, he said to her, "I love you, you know."
"No," she said, "we don't love each other, not in the storybook sense, because our loyalties are to other people. But I can love you tonight, and you can love me, because we are here together, and we feel loving toward one another. Two writers, living their fantasies just once!"
"If you were Janey," he said, "you'd be having qualms, and you'd be making jokes."
"But I'm not," she said. "I'm Janey's creator. She's part of me, but I'm a great deal stronger than she is in some ways, and weaker in others. And she doesn't make jokes, you know, she just makes you smile, and sometimes laugh, by being Janey. She does it to me, too!" Then she herself smiled a great sunburst of a smile. "You know who I really am, and it's not Janey!"
He lay on the large bed, wondering what she would do next. Not Janey, he thought. No one he had ever known. Older than her years, he thought, but gloriously young.
She placed herself next to him and propped herself on her elbows, smiling into his face. Then with one finger she traced a line from his neck to his groin. He shivered. She used a forefinger to scrape lightly at his nipple. Thrills shot through his body. Then she put her mouth on his chest, using her tongue to do what her finger had done moments before.
She looked up, smiled, ran a hand through his hair. She moved slightly and kissed his neck, then his mouth. Her tongue limned his lips, then met his. Unmoving except for their mouths, they tasted each other. Finally she broke the kiss and slid down, once again caressing his nipple with her tongue, then moving further, taking his penis in her hand, bringing her mouth down so that could use her tongue to stir him to his depths once more. He put his hand on her head, lightly, feeling the stiffness of her hair, urging her to take him deeper. But she refused to be hurried.
With her lips closed over the head of his penis, she touched him only lightly, first on one side, then the other. The tip. She turned her head slightly, so that she could lick the sensitive spot just under the slit. He had tried to lie still, but his body revolted. His hips jerked upward toward her face. She looked at him and smiled.
"Don't be in such a rush," she said solemnly. "I like to take time over important projects." Her mouth returned to his penis, her tongue to its task. Then she licked harder, the roughness of her tongue sending thrills through his body. His hand trembled on her head as he resisted the urge to shove hard, jam himself into her throat. She was no longer an untouchable goddess, she was a source of pleasure that almost drove notions of civilized behavior out of his brain. She took him a tiny bit deeper into her mouth, moving her tongue around the swelling head, sending more jolts of pleasure through him, still controlling the depth of penetration with her hand. And she looked at him, propped on the pillow, her eyes sending a message of mischief. All the while, she touched him with her tongue, suddenly withdrawing it, barely touching again, then wrapping him with it, scraping hard.
He could no longer hold still, but he controlled himself. Small hip movements betrayed his feelings.
"Oh, God," he said, moaning. "Not long now--you can stop." That statement had taken more will power than he had had to call upon in several years.
Her eyes laughed at him as she continued to caress him with her tongue. Lightly, then harshly. From side to side, and then up and down. As his hips jerked once more, powerfully, she closed her lips tightly around him. Then she tasted his juices as they spurted into her mouth. She waited for the second burst, then swallowed. More came. She swallowed again. Slowly the torrent ebbed. She held him with her hand as gradually he softened. She licked him, gently now. He found the sensation nearly unbearable. Then she let go and slid up until her face could touch his. She kissed him, lingeringly. He held her to his chest. Then she raised her head, looked at him and smiled.
"I think you mentioned something about liking that sort of thing," she said.
Unlike her, he was not yet in a joking mood.
"I can't believe it," he said. "For weeks I went to sleep at night imagining that."
She lifted herself on her elbows, smiling. "You're not going to sleep now, are you?"
She was heavy, but he was strong. With a sudden effort he flipped her off his chest and placed her head flat on the pillow, her body arrayed on the bed.
"On the contrary," he said. He flung himself over her, landing with an elbow on each side of her upper arms. Then he kissed her. He ground his lips against hers, forced her mouth open and pushed his tongue in roughly. Her arms went around him and she clasped him tightly to her breasts. Then he broke the kiss, raised himself above her. She looked at him helplessly, unable to move. Or, she thought, unwilling.
He smiled at her from his new position of superiority. Then, very deliberately, he placed a palm over a breast. He squeezed gently, then harder. She closed her eyes.
"Oh, yes," she said quietly. "Oh, yes."
He felt the hard nipple against his hand, pulled himself up on his knees and took the other breast in hand, kneading lightly, fondling the nipple between his fingers. Then he leaned down and sucked the nipple, scraping it with his tongue. She shivered. He kissed her belly, then moved down farther. Her legs opened wide. He used two fingers to find his destination, then buried his nose in her pubic hair, reaching with his tongue the opening he had created with his hand. He searched, found her clitoris, moved his tongue over it, began to suck, to lick. He tasted her; he explored her secrets. This time her hand was on his head, pushing him, urging him on. It took only a minute or two. She jerked suddenly, threw her head back and forth, one side to the other, producing tiny shrill gasps. He would not stop until she raised herself and pulled him back up to her, holding him against her, her eyes closed.
"I recall your saying that you didn't find that sort of thing distasteful," he said, smiling.
"Oh, no!" She opened her eyes and smiled. "Not at all. In fact, de rigueur. Absolutely necessary. A Good Thing."
He lay himself alongside her, his hand softly stroking her stomach.
She turned her head and smiled lazily. "Got your money's worth yet?"
He appeared to give this some serious thought.
"What I have so far is worth more than the entire French treasury," he said, "but I'm greedy. I want more."
"Then let's get ready for supper, take a little walk, and have something to eat. I'm starving." She looked thoughtful. "Later we might consider working a little more on the accounts." She paused. "I want first shot at the bathroom."
She rolled over and stood. Stretching, she raised her long arms over her head, looking down at him, smiling. Looking at her face, her tousled hair, her small breasts, her long legs, he felt a stirring in his penis.
"You'd better move fast," he said, "or you'll find yourself back in this bed."
"Hah!" she said, turning. "Just concentrate on food for a little while." She leaned over, gathered her clothes, and walked through the connecting door into the other bedroom. She dropped the garments in a chair and entered the bath. A few minutes later she went to the door of his room, looked in, and said, "Your turn. Go ahead and have your shower."
She hung the sun dress on a hanger and put it in the closet, bundling the remainder of her clothes into the laundry hamper. She laid out the red dress on the bed, then noticed a small package, wrapped in heavy white paper and tied with a red ribbon, lying on the bedside table.
She pushed the ribbon out of the way--there was no card--unwrapped the small box and read the legend: Van Cleef & Arpels, 61, La Croisette, 06400 Cannes. She opened the box. On top was a fifty-franc note, and three one-franc coins lay loose alongside it. On a puffy white silk pillow lay a three-strand pearl choker, a ruby in the center. Matching pearl earrings were attached below. There was a note: "That's it--nothing left!" She smiled. She loosed the choker from the box and put it on. It fit exactly--she was amazed. She turned to the mirror over the dresser and gasped. The jewels were stunning. Then she unhooked the earrings from their backing and put them on. Smiled. Standing there naked, looking at herself in the mirror wearing probably ten thousand dollars worth of jewelry. Maybe more. Maybe less. Unbelievable. She gently tapped the box on the dresser top two or three times, musing, and set it down. Then she walked to bathroom door and opened it.
She could hear the shower, pounding down inside a glass door. Somewhere this bizarre Maine hotel had found pre-conservation shower heads. Through the frosted glass she could see him move. She opened the door.
He shook his head to clear his eyes, looked at her and froze. He had expected her to wear the jewelry with the red dress. Actually, he thought, I'm still looking forward to the red dress. But meanwhile...
"If you come in," he said, "dinner is sure to be delayed."
"Not bloody likely," she said, stepping into his arms. "Close the door--we're soaking the place."
He did. When he turned again to look at her, she was holding out a washcloth.
"Please," she said.
"Whose fantasy is this, anyway? You're supposed to wash me first."
"No lip, please, wash me."
So he did, though he trembled throughout with extreme pleasure. He started with her face, scrubbing lightly, and was reminded of the many times he'd washed his children's faces. He then soaped and cleaned her neck, carefully lifting the pearls, then her chest, her breasts, lingering over her nipples as she closed her eyes and moaned gently.
"Keep going," she said. "Think about food."
"Turn around then," he said. She did, and he washed her back, going down to her legs, her calves, her ankles. She faced him again, and he came back up her legs, calves first, thighs, the "v" that held her vagina.
"I'm failing to think about food," he said.
She smiled, took the washcloth from him and draped it on his very much erect penis.
"Make that go away until after supper," she said. "Roast beef. Red, pink or brown, your choice. Potatoes Anna with cheese and minced onions. French-cut green beans. Remember?" The water pounded down.
He handed the washcloth back and she vigorously scrubbed him from top to bottom, caressing his still almost-hard penis lovingly as she completed her task. Then she turned off the water, opened the door, and stepped out. Taking a towel from a pile on a stand near the door, she rubbed her hair and dried herself all over as he stood in the shower and watched. Then she looked up and smiled.
"Ten minutes?" she asked.
"Make it fifteen," he said. "I need to shave."
"I'll knock," she said, leaving the bath.
While he shaved, he decided once more that women were the real oppressors, no matter what this woman had told him in the occasional feminist rant she had aimed in his direction. Food, indeed. I seem to be hard-wired to be a sexist pig, he thought, smiling ruefully, but so far it hasn't hurt at all.
She took her time dressing, then found herself laughing about it. After all, what was there to do? Dry the choker. A little lipstick, perhaps a touch of blush, a little cologne. Eyeshadow, not much. Clothing herself was not difficult--she simply pulled on her stockings, took the orange-red dress off its hanger and slipped it on. No underwear this time. Silk against her skin. Not her choice, of course, but she was humoring him. The dress, matched perfectly to her complexion by Monsieur James himself, was by far the most luxurious she had ever had. The gold sandals, with their flat heels, set off her outfit perfectly. Tart clothes, she thought, but he'll like them. Men. Expensive tart clothes, she amended, smiling.
When she knocked, he was ready, waiting. He wore a beige linen jacket, a light blue shirt with barely noticeable stripes, a grey tie with tiny red polka dots, navy blue tropical trousers. A bespoke shirt, she wondered? She'd never seen one like it, and it was old, just slightly foreign, she could tell; something he liked, not something he'd bought especially for this occasion.
"Shall we dine?" he said. He offered her his arm.
"Indeed," she said. "I've been looking forward to it all afternoon."
"All afternoon?" he inquired.
"Well, it did occasionally slip my mind. But most of the afternoon."
They walked down the stairs arm in arm, then into the dining room.
He gave the major domo his name and they were shown to a table situated by a window through which they could see the grounds that fell away toward the sea. A waiter appeared and introduced himself--his name was Rick. Rick brought the bottle of wine she had ordered as she'd been instructed, stood stiffly through the tasting ritual and learned their preferences for rare or medium roast beef. Then they were left alone.
She smiled. "Are you hungry yet?"
"I hate to admit it," he said, "but you've finally persuaded me to think of food."
As they waited the few minutes it took for their dinner to arrive--an advantage of ordering in advance, he noted--she asked about his trip, he spoke of a job he was working on, and she told him she was writing a new story, this one about a woman shipwrecked on an island. When they had begun to eat, he changed the subject.
"This was my idea," he said, "but you seem to have made all the plans. What do we do after dinner?"
"Didn't you bring a book?" she asked, "Or maybe you'd like to drive into town for a movie." She smiled demurely.
"I don't think so," he said. "Any other ideas?"
"Well," she said, "perhaps we could go back to the room and you could fuck me until my ears fly off. Maybe after that we could read our books."
An older woman at the next table dropped her fork, looked dumbly at them and asked a passing waiter to bring her another.
"Maybe she wants to know what we're reading," she whispered.
"Let's not tell her," he said. "But I do like your idea, at least the first part."
"You mean go back to room, after the sherbet, of course, where you will carefully remove my beautiful red dress, only to find that there is nothing whatever underneath it?"
He looked at her, minutely examining her chest, but was unable to determine whether she was telling the truth. So he reached past the corner of the table that separated them and gently ran his hand down her side. He smiled. The woman at the next table watched, fascinated. He took another bite of roast beef. Considering her deprecation of New England food, it really was not bad at all. He was, however, once again having trouble concentrating on his meal. He ate a bite of the potato dish without having tasted it.
"The beef comes from Wolf's Neck Farm, just up the coast," she said. "It's organic. I asked."
"And the woman with no underwear comes from Texas."
"And is it customary there to fuck people until their ears fly off?" he asked.
"Slight exaggerations are common," she said. "But in this case I expect you to do your duty."
"I see. What about stealthy approaches in public places?
"You could put your hand on my knee without causing a scandal, I think."
"No, I'm eating, as ordered," he said. "But tell me, have you ever been kissed soundly at a table in a pretentious restaurant?"
"Not yet," she answered.
He carefully wiped his mouth with his napkin and laid it on the table. Then he leaned toward her, put a hand on her neck, pulled her toward him, and kissed her. Soundly. For at least thirty seconds. Released, she smiled, and so did he. The woman at the next table gasped audibly and touched her husband's hand. By the time he looked toward them they were calmly feeding themselves once more.
Then she looked over at her curious neighbor.
"It's my birthday," she explained. "Tomorrow."
"Oh," said the woman, forcing a tiny smile.
"And he's my lover," she added. "My husband is away on business." She smiled widely at the woman.
"Oh," said the woman, busying herself with her tableware.
Then the woman turned to her husband and said loudly, "It's her birthday!"
"Uh," said the husband.
The woman in the red dress laughed out loud.
Calming herself, she said quietly to her companion, the wounded agent, "And I brought my birthday suit!"
"Indeed," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing it--again. Or some more. Or whatever. In fact, if I squint just a little, I think I can see it through that dress."
"I don't think so," she said, "but it's there."
She lifted a fork full of green beans to her mouth and chewed thoughtfully. Then she spoke.
"What did you think of my technique?"
He paused, his fork halfway to his mouth.
"Yes. Fellatio. I understand there are different ways to perform," she said. "It's just like putting the shot or throwing a javelin. It's useful to know all the tricks. I've never studied it much, you know."
The woman at the next table listened carefully, stiffly holding a glass of water.
"For an amateur," he said, "I'd say you're world class." Then he continued to eat. "But you are a bit forceful in insisting that it be done your way."
"Thank you," she said. "You see, I thought of you as the instrument I was playing, and, like most amateurs, I was very carefully following the notes. I really hadn't considered your tendency to move around so much."