Copyright © 1998 by sandman
Author's notes: This is a companion to "Janey's April" by Janey. The order you read the stories in is not important although it will be easier to understand the formal language in this story if you read Janey's story first. If you read this story first you should next read "Janey's April." If you've already read "Janey's April," kick back and prepare to see the world through different eyes.
When I read "Janey's April" I was amazed at the richness of the Jean-Claude character and wanted to know more about him. So I sat down and wrote down the details that Janey hinted at in her story. When I got to the point where Jean-Claude participated in Janey's story I kept right on going. The ending of the two stories is EXACTLY THE SAME. The perspectives are different though and therein lies the tale.
A final note. This story is told by a Frenchman and the narrative tends to be formal and is not always perfect. Some mistakes are deliberate and some are accidental. You will enjoy the story more if you imagine the narrative with a French accent.
Credits: From beginning to end this is Janey's story. It's her character and her plot. Mike Ink, a reclusive wordsmith, has saved us all the perils of my grammar and punctuation (among other things) and polished this story more than I ever dared dream.
I was born in 1935 in Lyons, France. It was a very bad time to be a Frenchman, it was a very bad time to be a child. All around me the great post-war depression raged and people whispered in hushed tones that the winds of war were echoing through the hills again. And at the age of four, war did indeed arrive sweeping away the last remnants of my childhood innocence for war cares nothing of such things.
My Papa, a great and noble man, spoke soothing words to the German occupiers by day and worked for the French resistance by night. Often we would shelter Allied soldiers on their way back to friendly territory. It was a dangerous thing what we did, for the Germans wished to make many examples, that people would not do what my family did.
As the youngest brother of three older sisters, I had a very pronounced education in the differences between boys and girls, all the more so since our parents kept us separated from our neighbors.
Children know nothing of responsibility or danger. If I were allowed to play with the other children my age, I might say something and my friend might say something to his parents, and not all Frenchmen could be trusted. My father was certainly not going to leave that trust up to the idle chatter of young boys.
So, as war raged around us, I played house and sipped tea with my sisters in our tiny dwelling. I saw them nude countless times, and they I, for it was a small house and nudity to the French simply was not the shameful thing you Americans like to think. And so, at a very early age I knew the difference between boys and girls. Thanks to the war, I learned at a very early age what that difference was for. I also learned at the same time many things which to this day are burned into my very soul.
It was 1943, and the war was going very badly for the Germans. Allied bombers were wreaking havoc with their war effort, and they were powerless to do anything about it. Like the bullies they were, they took it out on those who were powerless against them, and ground the people of France under their boots.
Occasionally the German forces would manage to shoot down a bomber and just as occasionally a survivor would manage to make it to the underground. That particular night we were housing a young American soldier in the secret room our Father had built in the basement. My sister, Jeannette, and I were keeping the young man company, and he was telling us of the war and how well it was going.
His name was Bill Gere, and he was only sixteen, and barely that. He went into great detail about how he had fooled the recruiting officer into believing he was eighteen. He was only three years older than Jeannette, who sat beside him, listening politely. It was nothing we had not done hundreds of times before. But today would be different.
Today the war, which was always a thing raging around outside our front door, came inside.
We fell quiet when we heard a pounding on the ceiling, a signal that someone was at the door and to remain quiet. It was probably Mademoiselle Vinchie coming to borrow a cup of milk, but even a false alarm could set our nerves on edge. Though I was only seven, I knew enough to feel fear and the frustration at being unable to do anything about it.
How long we sat there listening quietly to the muffled voices and thuds of people moving about I can not say. Time ceased to exist after that first warning. Bill had put his arm around Jeannette, trying to calm her, though there was sweat on his brow and he glanced nervously at the ceiling.
When the door opened, we all gave a start, and Bill was on his feet fumbling for his side arm.
My father's face was a mixture of fear and authority. "For the next several days some German soldiers will be quartered in our house."
His voice was hushed, a whisper so low we had to strain to hear it though its tone brokered no argument.
He stared at Jeannette a moment. It was a thoughtful stare, a considerate stare. I did not understand it at the time, but I do now.
Papa was thinking that Jeannette was no longer a little girl, and that maybe it would be best if the Germans would not see her. Then he glanced over at Bill, and I know now that he worried about Bill as well.
"You two stay with the American." He told us. "Stay quiet. This will pass if you keep your heads." And then he closed the door, leaving us alone.
I can not begin to tell you how terrible that first night was. Even today, I wish that we had had at least a clock in that room. The tick-tocking away of the seconds would have at least marked the passage of time, giving us something else to think about instead of the danger we were in from men with guns walking above us. Boredom and terror merged into an endless litany of torment.
The second day was just as bad, though by now we had at least gotten used to our situation. Bill had taken on the role of Jeannette's protector, his arm constantly around her. With nothing else to occupy my attention, I noticed how they touched each other; how Bill's fingers idly felt Jeannette's arm; how her fingers weaved into his; how they would nuzzle their heads into each other. We could not talk, nor could we move lest we give ourselves away, but between my sister and this American crewman much was being said.
That night something happened upstairs. I later learned that one of the solders had touched my eleven year old sister in a way he should not have, and my Father took issue with it. There was a lot of scuffling and shouting and the sounds of things breaking, and then a gunshot. My father was not hurt, another soldier had grabbed the man's arm and changed the aim. The soldier was moved to another house and things got quiet again.
But we did not know what was happening. My sister and I were sure the Nazis were murdering our family. We knew they would do it just for the sport of it. I know that sounds horrible, but it was almost true.
In war, men do terrible things, things they would never do in peacetime.
When the scuffling started, my sister rose to her feet, staring at the ceiling as if somehow she could see through it and know everything would be all right. When the gunshot went off she squealed. Loudly.
Too loudly. Bill, who was standing beside her, hugged her tight as she trembled in his arms. We were sure we had been heard.
It was too much for Jeannette, and she began sobbing. The sobs were small whimpers at first, but as the unknown and our danger gave birth to her fears the whimpers became louder, just when it was beginning to get quiet upstairs. Left alone, my sister would have doomed us all, but Bill kissed her. It was not a friendly, reassuring kiss on the cheek. It was a forceful, demanding kiss, on her lips, with all the confidence born from their many hours of touching.
I know he did it to quiet her. Knowing what I know now of men and women, Bill did not set out seduce my sister. The touching was a comfort; nothing more, nothing less. The kiss was to quiet her -- the only way he could do it without scaring her more. But the kiss, surrounded on all sides by fear and terror, perched over the abyss of life and death, took on a life of its own.
Everything became quiet as they looked into each other's eyes. To them it must have seemed as if the world had stopped and maybe it had.
I sat in the corner watching them watch each other -- a seven year old boy trying to understand things much larger than himself.
They kissed again, and it was not a slow, tender thing, but a thing born of need. Not the need of lust, but the need to feel safe and wanted. This too, I did not understand at the time, but do now. From within this kiss they removed each other's clothing, in a strange, silent ballet.
I knew the difference between boys and girls, but as Bill's engorged penis came into view the second part of my education began, as I learned the difference between women and men.
In the tiny room, Bill and Jeannette moved to the bed and she spread her legs for him, an invitation he accepted readily as he slid into her. In the dim light, I saw them move together in silence. There was a muffled gasp as Bill stiffened in Jeannette's arms, and then he rolled off beside her and they fell asleep in each other's arms.
The next day the German soldiers moved on, and life returned to normal when Bill moved on to his next stop. A week later, I held Jeannette in my arms as she grieved for Bill. He had been shot by a German patrol. As I held her quivering body in my small arms, I began to understand the intimacy of touch Jeannette and Bill had shared during those terrifying days.
I grieved for Bill as well. He was a nice boy who deserved more than a cold, unmarked grave. Many had passed through our doors to die shortly thereafter, and I grieved for them as well. But not like Jeannette grieved for Bill. Bill had become a part of my sister's heart, and she never forgot him.
I love my sisters, one and all, but our shared terror in the basement brought me closest to Jeannette. Naturally, I asked her about what happened in the basement, and she surprised me by being honest and forthright. Years later, she had confided that since I had watched her with Bill, she felt there was nothing to hide. She was a little afraid that if she displeased me, I would go to our Father. I had seen sex, but Jeannette explained it to me, giving concept to action.
As time went on, the initial explanation led to still more questions about touch, love, lust, sex, and eventually masturbation, all of which Jeannette answered to the best of her ability. Though Bill had been her first, and had not brought her to climax, she was still a voice of profound wisdom to an inquisitive boy.
We grew closer still when I asked her how girls masturbated. When I wondered at her answer, she took me again to the basement and showed me. From there, she taught me how a woman really liked to be kissed.
It was all a great game to me. I was too young to experience anything but mild pleasure as she would finger my penis, or on occasion suck on it. But I enjoyed knowing how much my kisses pleased her. I enjoyed her soft, warm fingers around my penis as I sucked her clitoris between my lips. It was far more fun than playing house or tea party, and for a young, isolated boy in the midst of a war, I guess it was as good a way as any to pass the time.
Eventually the war ended, and I was suddenly free to be a young boy again. My time with Jeannette became less frequent, as we both cultivated other friends and experiences.
Though Jeannette was a most wonderful teacher, I was still very much a virgin. Thanks to Bill and my sister I had a very good idea of how things were done between a man and a woman, and thanks to my sister I was far beyond my years in the art of pleasing a woman. But it would be many years later before the last of my education was completed.
In the years following the war, it was a great time to be a Frenchman.
Though the war had ravaged our country and scarred our lives horribly, thanks to Allied assistance and our own determination we were rebuilding our shattered country. For the first time in memory, French people looked to the future with anticipation instead of dread.
The war had taken a generation of men, leaving only the very old, the very young, or the very lucky. Millions of widows had sacrificed their husbands for our freedom, and they all looked with envious eyes at the women whose men still remained. In the years after the war, a man in France did not have to look for a woman; in France, a woman would find him.
In 1950, at the age of fifteen, my Father took me into his business and I helped him wherever I could, learning the trade our family had been in for generations. I suppose I knew what my father was doing when he and his secretary would sneak away in the afternoons. Their flushed skin and dishelved appearances on their return were more than enough clues for a boy with my background.
It was a surprise at first, for if a child knows anything at all, it is that he will live forever, and that his parents would always be together. When I first realized what they were doing I was worried, but I realized that my Father still loved my Mother, and so after a while I accepted this as something grownups did.
It helped that I rather liked Celeste. She was a very beautiful woman who had lost her husband in the war. In the office we would often chat while we worked, sharing many likes and dislikes.
My father got a tip that a large American newspaper needed a reliable source of paper, and so would be gone for a month while he followed that lead. At first, nothing seemed any different, other than the fact that the office seemed more peaceful and work seemed to flow more smoothly. But when I looked up from my desk, it was often I would find Celeste looking at me as if she were lost in thought.
A week had passed before Celeste asked me, "Your Father and I usually go out for a glass of wine at this time. Would you like to join me?"
It seemed harmless enough, and I agreed readily as it was a warm spring day and the office seemed so gloomy and oppressive. We walked a few blocks to a sidewalk bistro and sipped wine while we chatted and watched the people bustling along.
"So many women." Celeste said pointedly, noting that at least twenty women passed by for every man. "With things as they are in France these days you must have many beautiful girlfriends, no?"
I blushed for the answer truly was no. At fifteen, I thought of such things, of course, but Jeannette was long married, and I was so busy between school and helping my Father at business that I had no time for such things. I told her the latter.
She tisk-tisked me. "You remind me very much of your papa. So big, so strong, so handsome. It is hard for me sometimes to think of you as a boy. It is a shame you do not have a girlfriend to share these qualities with."
My blush grew deeper, from her flattery. I did not know how to reply to her. And so an awkward silence fell over what had been a light and cheery afternoon in the sun.
"Did I offend you?" Celeste asked with an almost amused expression on her face.
"No. Not at all!" I answered hastily. "I - I - No one has ever told me I was big and handsome before. I do not know how to respond!"
And there my friends, you have my secret to charming the ladies. If my sisters taught me anything at all, they taught me that there is nothing a woman hates more than a lie, and an avoidance of the truth or a lie of omission is just as bad. To admit ignorance or weakness is no great thing to them, and they will not think less of you should you do this, but to speak a lie will build a wall between you that is very hard to tear down.
Celeste laughed lightly at my confession and took my hand in hers, patting it soothingly, "Why Jean-Claude, when a woman tells you how big and handsome you are, you tell her how pretty she is! And if she is not pretty, tell her how nice her dress is or how nice her hair is!
If you do this small thing very wonderful things will happen, you will see!"
"You are very pretty." I said, following her instructions, but I meant it too and was glad for the excuse to say it.
Celeste laughed lightly again. "Oh, that is very good! Next time, say it with more conviction. Then tell her why she is pretty. A woman will never believe she is beautiful until a man tells her why.
But be careful, Jean-Claude, because if you do this small thing, the woman shall give you her heart, and that is a very delicate thing indeed!"
"I love the way the sun highlights your hair." I said, my voice becoming wistful. "I love the color in your cheeks and the way your eyes sparkle. I love the way you look at me in the office when you think I'm not looking."
Celeste's smile faded at that, softening into an expression that seemed to me that I had said it right. She leaned over and kissed me on one cheek with her full, moist lips, then on my other cheek, but it was a stretch for her and the corner of her lips pressed against mine.
She paused briefly, and drew back until her lips were pressed to mine.
Her lips parted slightly in invitation, but I did not know enough to reply, and the moment passed.
She was blushing furiously when she pulled away; the blush of a woman who has done something which perhaps she should not, but something which she has enjoyed anyway.
"You see? Very wonderful things!"
For the second time that day I was speechless.
We finished our drinks and returned to the office.
That night I lay in bed thinking of Celeste, and the feel of her lips pressed to mine. I dreamed of kissing her between her legs as I used to kiss Jeannette, and wondered if Celeste would enjoy it as much. I wondered if Celeste would do other things with me as well. Things I had been too young to enjoy with Jeannette, but things I now was more than ready for.
From the room next door I heard the muffled moans and shuffles of my sister Annette as she pleasured herself; something she did far more frequently now that my other two sisters had married, leaving Annette with her very own room. Sometimes I would lie awake wondering what would happen if I went to her at such a time and offered myself to her. I wondered if maybe she would let me play with her as I had played with Jeannette.
But what had happened between Jeannette and I had simply happened.
Annette and I were not so close and I feared that if I did something so foolish it would estrange me from my sister. And so, through the thin walls, I contented myself with listening. Maybe she listened to me too. Maybe she thought of offering herself to me at such moments.
Life is strange is it not?
I removed my penis and began the soft, rhythmic strokes that had always brought me such pleasure. Annette's muffled moans filled my ears and the memory of Celeste's kiss filled my thoughts, as my hand danced in the darkness.
Jeannette's instructions had left me with very vivid memories. About now, Annette's finger would be pressing in fast circles around her clitoris, her hips rising to meet her imaginary lover. Another hand would be stroking her breasts, tracing the areola around an erect nipple, or maybe she was thrusting her fingers inside herself. My head arched as I followed the vivid imagery. I cupped a hand around my balls to heighten the pleasure, then I let my thoughts drift to Celeste, and I took her as Bill had taken Jeannette. I was young; it did not take long. I was alone; it did not need to.
The next day, Celeste arrived late to work, but she took my breath away when she did. It was a new dress she wore that day, but even without what had passed between us the day before, this thing would have planted the seed of lust in my heart. Today, she wore a blouse with a plunging neckline that gave tantalizing glimpses of her breasts. Celeste did not have huge breasts as some women do, but what she did have were perfectly shaped breasts. They were just the right size to hold in one's hands, with two very, very prominent nipples, which were, at the moment, creating two very prominent bumps in her blouse.
Her skirt was very short. It was not a miniskirt, for it would be years before that boon-to-mankind would be adopted. But it did end just below her knees, which at the time was considered a very racy thing for a woman to do -- even in France. And to highlight the legs she had placed on display, she wore high-heeled shoes. To a man, wise in the ways of the world, the dress would have made her seem an object of desire. To a boy, the dress was devastating. My penis was saluting her from the moment she walked into the office.
She greeted me as if nothing of note had passed between us the day before, and as if she were not wearing a dress designed to instill lust in any man who saw her. Then she began to chat about trivial things, things I paid scant attention to, as my eyes stayed glued to the vision of loveliness before me.
She would have been blind not to have seen the effect she was having on me, but she did not acknowledge it. As the day wore on, I was treated to tantalizing glimpses of her as she played with me. When she bent over to look at some papers on my desk, the plunging neckline suddenly revealed even more of her tantalizing breasts. When she moved the chair over to start filing some papers, she was positioned so I could ALMOST see up her skirt. When she bent over to pick up some dropped item, obscene thoughts immediately sprang to my mind.
I say these things and know they sound cheap, like she was throwing herself at me, hoping to drive me so wild with lust that I would take her right there on her desk. But that is not the way it was at all.
She toyed with me like an elegant stripper toys with her audience. It was as a game to her to tease me. If she had planned to go no further, it would have been a very cruel tease. But Celeste was not cruel.
Again that afternoon we went to the bistro to share some wine and enjoy the fine spring day. When I stood up from my desk for the first time that day, Celeste's eyes drifted down to the bulge in my pants, and her self-satisfied smirk was the only acknowledgement she gave to her effect on me.
Over wine, she asked me to help her rearrange some furniture at her apartment after work, and I readily agreed. I did not know what to expect, but the merest hint of a possibility of a chance was enough to make me her willing slave. The rest of the afternoon could not pass quickly enough.
The job consisted of pushing a few chairs and a sofa around -- nothing too strenuous. When I was done, Celeste was very pleased with the results, and she offered me some wine as I rested on the sofa.
She sat next to me and took a small sip of wine before saying, "I have been wanting to rearrange my apartment for the longest time. It is so nice to have a strong man around to do these things."
"It is nice to do these things for a pretty woman." I replied, remembering her instructions. But though the words were coached, the meaning was not -- I meant every word.
She smiled then leaned over and kissed me. Again, on the cheek.
Again, a friendly kiss.
"You remembered," she said, smiling as she ran her finger around the rim of her glass.
"It is easy when it is also the truth," I replied. "You are a very pretty woman."
"Why?" she asked, reminding me of the most important part.
A million reasons sprang instantly to mind and I struggled to give them form. "Your skin is like the softest silk, and your lips are sweeter than wine. The way you smile, the way you brush your hair from your eyes, the way it falls across your shoulders, and your dress, your dress," I stumbled, unable to find the words.
"You like maybe the way my breasts fill out my dress?"
Oh yes! I could only nod.
"And my skirt? Do you like the way they show off my legs?"
With each word that fell from her lips, I died a slow lingering death, but what a way to die. The world had stopped, and this time there were not even soldiers around.
She reached over and took my hand in hers, then ran my hand along her arm.
"Soft like silk? That's very nice. You'll have to remember that for the other girls you will charm." She ran my hand down to her skirt, running it under the fabric so that it rested on her knee. "But perhaps I am softer here?" she asked, her voice falling, becoming ripe with anticipation. She pulled my hand up farther along her leg, guiding it along the inside of her thigh. "I think that now maybe you would like to taste my lips again." And as she guided my hand ever upward, she leaned into my arms and kissed me.
As she parted my lips with her tongue, Celeste expanded my knowledge of intimacy. A French kiss had never been a part of my education.
The feel of her tongue rubbing against mine, and then my tongue exploring her mouth was almost as earth-shattering as the discovery that Celeste was not wearing panties and that she was slick with desire.
The kiss was new to me, how to pleasure a woman was not. It had been years, but my fingers had not forgotten how to part a woman, and how to seek out that special spot that gave her so much pleasure. Celeste gasped in pleasure and surprise as I touched her.
She pulled back and looked at me with surprise and maybe a little fear. "You've done this before?"
"This, yes." I answered, pausing in my ministrations. "Am I doing it wrong?"
She softened, and put her hands on mine, moving my hand in slow circles, as she answered, "No." And then she kissed me again.
As her breathing became heavy, her hands drifted down to my pants and began tearing at them to free what lay inside. Then she leaned back, pulling me on top of her, and guided me inside her.
It was not what I expected.
It was better.
For a day, my penis had protested at the confines of my clothing as Celeste had teased me. For an afternoon, I was ready to explode from the feel of Celeste's womanhood against my fingers. Suddenly I was free, and wrapped around me was a warm, moist vagina that was pulsing from the attentions I had had given it. And below me was Celeste, my beautiful Celeste.
I moved as I remembered Bill moving, then I moved as I needed to move.
I did not need to move for long. It had barely begun, and it was over; the feel of Celeste around me, providing more stimulation than I had ever experienced before, after so much anticipation, was too much.
But when my pleasure came, it was no weak, timid thing.
Celeste looked disappointed, as my eyes focused.
"Are you always so quick with your girls?" she asked.
"You are my first," I answered.
"Surely not!" she protested.
Then I told her of basements and sisters, while I rested in her arms.
"Then the next time shall be better." she said firmly. "Next time, you must not be so quick. It is not the ending, for that is always the same, it is how you get there."
I was very young; and if youth is quickly spent, it is quickly replenished. The second time was better -- for both of us.
Celeste was my second teacher, but my first true passion. When my father returned from his trip, it seemed so strange to have to share her with him, and I even felt jealous of him when he and Celeste would leave the office in the afternoons for their rendezvous. But this too I eventually accepted. Celeste still made time for me, and that was enough.
My time with Celeste ended when I joined the army, as all young Frenchmen of age must do. It was 1953, and the war was now well behind us, but never again would we allow our beloved France to be soiled by the boots of foreign tyrants. And if any man left in the world fit that mold, it was Joseph Stalin. And so I got my training, and I got my gun, and was stationed in Innsbruck, Austria to protect the French zone from the red menace.
Mostly this consisted of drilling night and day, and living the life of a bored, chaste, private. I had friends, of course. In the army, you depend on your friends not only to save your life, but to make the boredom bearable. As 1953 turned into 1954, one by one my friends found local girls to keep them occupied, and I discovered I had a problem.
I had never had to seduce a woman. I did not know how. Up to now, I didn't have to. But Innsbruck had a large military base, with plenty of men to keep the women occupied, those who weren't otherwise occupied that is, and sometimes even them. In short, there were more than enough men to go around. I had never felt so lonely in my life.
In my explorations of the city, I discovered a group of Americans staying at the Kreid, a local hotel. From my experiences with the war, I had a fascination with Americans, and I would visit the hotel often to speak with them and learn more about them and their country.
It was a very pleasant way to pass the time.
That was how I first met Mary Elizabeth. She had come into the bar with Don, a man who had been at the hotel for a few weeks. He seemed to spend each evening in the company of a new woman. The first thought that crossed my mind as we were introduced was, "How could such a wonderful woman involve herself with Don?"
Of course, people would also wonder why a woman like Celeste would involve herself with a mere boy. The answer to both questions, of course, was that we were both handy. But this I would not understand until later.
As we talked, I noticed that Don's hand was not visible, and that Mary was flushed in the manner I have seen a woman flushed before. It was hard for me to keep up with the jovial conversation, when a few scant feet away from me, a very beautiful woman was wrapped in the throes of sexual ecstasy. I never liked Don before, but never less than at that moment when the two of them left the bar.
I was very miserable when I returned to my apartment.
Three days later I had leave again, and decided to pass the afternoon in the bar. It was a slow day, and only Fritz, the bartender, was there to keep me company. I would have left, but really, I had no place to go, and if you had no place to go, the Kreid was as good a place as any.
" Grüss Gott, Mam'selle!" Fritz called, and I looked up from my newspaper to see Mary Elizabeth enter the bar. She smiled at him, a warm, amused smile, and then turned to survey the empty room. When she saw me, I stood. It was, after all, the polite thing to do when a lady enters the room. I wanted to know this beautiful woman better, and patted the chair next to me, a silent invitation to join me. One which she accepted.
"You should not have gone with Don that night," I said. "Don is an idiot."
No doubt, by now she already knew this, but it did not hurt to remind her. It is not perhaps the best way to start a conversation with a beautiful woman, but at the moment it was the only thing which sprang to my mind.
"Then why didn't you push him away, and take his place next to me?" she asked, a note of challenge in her tone.
"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," I answered sincerely.
"Well," she said, "I am young, too, and perhaps not as careful as I should be."
"I am younger than Don," I 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."
It was a hope more than a promise, but I certainly meant to try, and she accepted my offer.
Over wine, I told her of my life in the army, and what I wanted to do when I got out. She told me of her home in Ireland, and how she was touring Europe after graduating from a university. Such things were rare in those days. It was not unheard of to hear of a woman who graduated from college, but it was very rare to meet such a person. In addition to her most formidable beauty, Mary was a person of exceptional intelligence, as our delightful conversation revealed.
When she had finished her second glass of wine, I asked her if she would like to take a walk in the park. I had meant to continue our conversation as we stretched our legs a bit and walked off the alcohol. But, the day was so beautiful, the scenery so breathtaking, and the company so divine, that I found myself at a loss for words. I worried that the silence would disturb Mary, but she seemed content just to hold my arm as we enjoyed the walk.
Eventually we came to a restaurant I knew well, and though it was early, I asked Mary if she would like to stop for a meal.
"This is a good place to eat," I told her after she said yes. "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," she answered.
It seemed so strange to lead, and have such a pretty woman follow. To her, it seemed no great thing, but to me, I was feeling my way blindly. I ordered for the both of us and then again fell silent.
But this time Mary did not seem as content with our silence.
"How did you learn to please women so well?" she asked.
Was I pleasing her? That was good to know! I smiled at the thought.
"Perhaps you overestimate me," I answered. "I only want to please you."
"I like being with you because you are quiet and calm," she said.
"I am not quite so calm on the inside," I replied honestly, even though it showed weakness. "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!" she said hastily.
She repaid my honesty with her own, as she told me the most remarkable tale of what she thought sex to be, and confessed her innocence in the area. She chose Don to introduce her to the joys of lovemaking, and the result had been a laughable fiasco.
"That is a very sad story," I said, as the waiter brought us our dinners. We waited patiently for him to serve us and retire. "I wish now that I had pushed Don away that night. After we eat our dinner, perhaps I will not be so shy."
We talked of small things over dinner, ignoring for a time the great honesty that had grown between us. This woman was becoming very special to me in ways that even now I can not truly say. Even when we disagreed over my taste in beer, it was like a fire between us that only burned hotter.
When we finished and got up to leave, we found the hours had slipped by over good food, drink, and company. It was dark outside, and it was beginning to rain as we left.
I very much wanted Mary, needed her even. The day had been so wonderful that I did not want the night to end it. I did not know the things to say to a woman at such a time, so I fell back on honesty, which had served me so very well up to now.
"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." I looked at her, imploring her as I asked the question I had to ask "Will you come with me?"
When she said yes, my heart soared and I walked on air beside her back to my apartment. The feel of her as she huddled close beside me under the tiny umbrella the proprietor had lent us was the barest hint of what was to come.
She looked over my apartment as I hung up her bag, and I gave silent thanks that Annette had decided to visit me a few months ago and change the decoration from post-Neanderthal to almost civilized.
"This will make you feel daring," I said as I poured us some cognac.
"It will also make ME feel daring."
The cognac, together with the beer, did help a little, though I lived in fear that my inexperience would cause this wonderful woman to fly away. I swallowed the last of the cognac in a large gulp. It was now, or maybe it would be never. If anything was to happen, it must be now, and I must make it happen.
"I have been wanting to kiss you ever since I first saw you," I said, pulling her gently to me.
I gazed into her eyes for a moment, for the eyes are the windows to the soul. Mary had a beautiful soul. Her lips parted slightly in anticipation. If she did not refuse me now, I was no stranger to this place. In getting a woman to this place, I was a virgin still, but once here, I was master of all I surveyed.
I kissed the back of her hand, then her elbow, tasting the sweet, salty tastes of her warm flesh, and she shivered as I did this. I pulled her closer, putting my arms around her. Her eyes were closed as she enjoyed my kisses and touches. I kissed each eye before I ran my lips over hers, just enjoying the simple contact of lips passing lips. I ran my tongue around her lips as I tasted her, and her lips parted to accept me. Then Mary began pulling at me as the kiss turned passionate.
We parted for a moment to gaze at each other, acknowledging the pleasures felt thus far. It was her chance to say "No." This thing she did not say. And I kissed her again.
"Come," I said. "I want to see you. Now you must take off your clothes."
Yes, I know this is not the best thing to say at such a time. But I was young, and Mary made me feel powerful and weak at the same time, and the cognac made me feel bold. When Mary started to remove her shirt, I knew that I had said the right thing. If what I said was incomprehensible, yet produced the desired result, then that too would be the right thing, no?
We disrobed, and Mary was as beautiful as I had imagined, young, soft, and round in all the right places. Then I took her hand in mine, and together we walked to the bedroom.
"You are much more beautiful without those clothes," I said after I had turned down the sheets to the bed. "I should like to see you in a beautiful gown, but now I think this way is better."
I could not help but let myself gaze at her lovely form as she stood there, and under that gaze, she blossomed before my eyes, becoming very proud in my adoration.
"I want to touch your breasts," I said, "but I will wait until we are in bed."
Yes, yes. This too is not the best thing to say to a woman at such a time, but with Celeste and Jeannette, I had merely to ask. There would be much time for me to learn subtlety, and fortunately, Mary was a very understanding woman.
Mary climbed onto the bed, and then she did something I shall remember always: she smiled and held her arms out to me. Such a simple thing, really. But I was very grateful at the calm it instilled in me.