It was sexual right from the start. It almost finished before I realised.
Lawrence had left me after a final fight. A screaming match that woke the neighbours, scared the local cats, and strained both of our throats. I threw him out really. I still wanted him; still needed him, but I couldn't cope with his behaviour any longer.
This, you understand, was sexual. The almost public fornication, and random household impalings. His habit of leaving notes in my underwear drawer, obscene messages on my phone. His large rough hands lifting me carelessly by the hips, skirt around my waist, knickers around my knees. His equally large cock, shoving me against the wall with a lovely solidity. Toe-tingling, muscle-cramping, scream-inducing multiple orgasms. Displays of arousal, his and mine, tents and damp knickers just with the thought of it all. A world reduced somehow to simplistic values. His cock. My cunt. Heat, movement, muscle spasms. Sexual, right?
But his morals were nowhere near as tight as his briefs, and eventually he strayed outside our simple world. By the time he told me, I already knew it was over. I think the screaming was a kind of grief process, because afterwards I felt that I had some closure, and managed to move on, after a fashion.
I closed down, too. After six months of the most energetic, frequent, stunning sex in my life, I just stopped. Cold turkey. I remember a while later, lying quietly in bed, reading something, and realising that I hadn't had an orgasm for two weeks. I wasn't really interested in doing anything about it either, and turned back to the book, contented somehow.
I started spending a few more hours at the office, realising with some guilt that I had been slacking off fairly seriously for a while. I started to talk with my colleagues more, and my world began to expand again.
At home one night, I thought about what I was doing, and decided that I should take up walking again. I used to walk on a regular basis BL (Before Lawrence), but I never had the energy for it once we started having sex. Realising that there was no time like the present, I hunted up my walking shoes, put on some old shorts and a tee-shirt, and headed out into the warm summer evening.
That was how I met Danny.
My little house was down the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in a largish dormitory suburb. The houses were fifteen or twenty years old, and small, but nice. In order to get anywhere from home, I needed to walk up to the top of the street, and then turn left or right. Fate, luck, and an aversion to walking uphill led me to the left, and I followed this street around until I reached a significantly older group of houses. Large, airy, tall houses, with big rooms, and narrow sash windows. I've always liked the look of these wooden structures, though I've never lived in one, and I strolled along slowly, peering over fences and hedges, admiring the colours and condition of some of the houses that had been done up, frowning at the almost derelict condition of some of them. When I had bought my house a few years ago, the neighbourhood was going through something of a renewal, but there were a few of these old places that had been handed down through families, and not much had been done.
My eye was caught then by two things.
I was just passing a large grey house, blistered and bedraggled, clearly in need of some attention, but somehow the way the house stood, the angle and proportion of it, the colours and even the lack of attention made it attractive, and I stood for a while, and stared, trying to work out exactly what drew me to it.
The second thing was on the front lawn of that same house. Most of these places had some kind of garden, or a bird bath, or trees on the front lawn. All of the sections were fairly flat and square, so they formed areas where anything could happen really. A frame, if you like, waiting for some art. But this one didn't really fit with the rest. I don't think you could see this very well if you drove past, but in the middle of the lawn there was a large, elaborate pile of rocks. I'm talking three or four trailer-loads of them, various sizes, shapes, types, and presumably weights. But all these rocks had something in common. They had been painted. Rather carefully painted, by the look of them, and all in soft, delicate, pastel colours. You can imagine how they stood out, in this rather staid, old-fashioned street. I couldn't take my eyes off the pile of rocks, even though I couldn't decide if they were beautiful or ridiculously ugly. I just stared.
Some time later, as I was standing, holding the top of the hedge down, and peering at the pile, a man with overalls appeared from the side of the house. His blue clothing was splattered with fairly random sprays of colour. Pastel colour. And he was carrying a largish boulder in both hands. A fairly flat river stone, incongruously painted a pale green, which he carefully placed on top of the pile, moved slightly, after looking at it, then stood back, stared again, and walked back around the side of the house.
I wasn't sure if he had seen me or not, but I'd had a chance to look at him. He was a big man, not fat, but tall, and broad shouldered, his ragged red hair splaying untidily from his clean-shaven freckled face. His hands looked suitably large as well, carrying the stone carefully, and his booted feet gave the impression of considerable size too, though boots are often deceiving that way.
I waited for a while, watching the pile of rocks some more, but he didn't reappear, and eventually I moved on, as yet unaware of the magnetism the house, the rocks, and the man possessed. I decided I should walk as far as the Italian café further down the road, did so, stopped there for a quiet coffee, and headed back home, pausing briefly to check out the rocks again the near-dark. Nothing seemed to have changed, and I continued home.
I slept peacefully that night, and woke feeling refreshed and restored. It was Saturday, and I had no need to head to work, so I stayed in bed for a while, hopping out briefly to heat the jug, crawling back into bed with a hot drink, and then reading a few magazines I'd not had time for when I was still fucking Lawrence.
As I reached the end of the last magazine, I thought about him, wondering where he was, and what he was up to. I guessed he was at that tart's place, fucking up a storm, much as he would have been doing here. I sure as hell wouldn't have had a quiet sunny morning to myself if he'd been here.
Maybe it was one of the articles in the magazine, or the thought of Lawrence's impressive endowment, or the sun, or being naked in bed in the daytime, but for the first time in ages, I felt horny. As I lay there, eyes closed, I imagined that Lawrence had wriggled down the bed, and woken me, as he often did, with his head between my legs.
Silently, and with infinite patience, he would stroke my legs with his fingers, and his tongue, dampening my skin with his lips, his hot breath upon me, his hands gently spreading my knees to give him access to me. In reality, as I thought this, my fingers found their way down between my damp thighs, and began stroking in his place.
As I imagined his tongue carefully licking my labia, his slipperiness matching mine, I tried to replicate that action with my fingers, scooping some moisture so I could slide them effortlessly. As my fingers stroked upwards, I accidentally scuffed my fingertip across the top of my erect clitoris, sending a shivering shockwave of pleasure through me. It had been too long, after all.
Thinking of his lips again, and his tongue, scraping across me just like my careful fingers, I scooped some more moisture from deep inside, and applied it carefully to my clit, moving my fingertip gently around and around, pushing or pulling it directly of the top again every now and then, faster and faster, as I felt my body tense.
Imagining his head bobbing quickly between my thighs now, it was as though I could feel him exploring inside me with his fingers, scraping my butt with his fingernails, teasing my ass with a gentle fingertip, pressing without intruding, all the time gyrating madly on my clit with his tongue. I got closer and closer, my fingers swirling quickly but gently, and I could feel my orgasm closing in on me.
Just as I crossed the point of no return, and my body started to shudder, his imagined head lifted from between my legs, and it wasn't the dark haired sexy unreliable Lawrence. It was the redhead from the rock house, his dishevelled hair surrounding green eyes and a mischievous grin. I came then, hard, panting loudly with the release, my fingers chasing wildly over my clit as my thighs pounded on the bed. And I didn't stop. I kept caressing myself, hot and wet now, and persevered, stroking around when I had to, over the top when I could, my other hand pinching my hard nipples, as I writhed on the bed, and came again, harder, longer, and then collapsed, soaked and exhausted for a few minutes, on the bed, thinking only of one thing. What, I wondered, between shudders, was that redheaded man doing there? He's not remotely sexy, and I don't even know him.
A few minutes later, I was feeling invigorated, rather than tired, and I got out of bed, had a quick shower, and thought about some breakfast. I decided in the end that I would walk back down to the café I had been at the night before, and see if I could get something decent to eat there. I realised deep down that I wanted to see the rocks again, and work out what the attraction was, but I wasn't ready to admit that to myself, so the self-deceit of the café worked well.
I set out, once again in shorts and shirt, decent walking shoes, and this time, a sunhat. There was no hesitation in which way to go, indeed I hurried along to the old houses, eager to check.
I got to the pile of rocks, and couldn't see any difference, other than that the stones were even more artificial looking in the bright sunshine. As I watched, the redhead reappeared with another stone. Smaller this time, and pink.
"Excuse me," I found myself asking. "I'm not sure if it's rude for me to ask, but what are you doing with those rocks?"
"Huh? Oh, hello. Well, painting them."
"Oh. I... well, it's a bit complicated. Umm... Danny. My name is Danny."
"Oh, look, I'm the one who should be sorry, butting in like that. Jo. It's actually Josephine, but don't you dare. Listen, I should..."
"No, hold on. Look, you weren't rude, and I wasn't forthcoming with an explanation. If I could just put this down first."
"Oh, yes, go ahead. Sorry. Again." He turned from me to the rockpile, obviously working out where the pink stone should go. "Listen, how about we... ," and he stopped again, while he placed the stone. "... put the apologies aside, and start again?"
"Oh, let's. Hi there. I'm Jo. I live down the street. I was wondering why you are painting all those rocks."
"Hi Jo. Bet that stands for Josephine, right? I'm Danny."
"Yeah, it's the sunshine that does it. Listen, I left the tap running out the back. I can tell you out there, or you can wait here."
"Oh, I'm fine here, really. I don't mean to intrude."
"You're not. I'll just be a minute. Well, I hope."
"Yeah, it's just I get lost in what... oh, come on through, will you? I'll end up leaving you standing there."
"Well, if you're sure?"
"Yeah, come on. I'm fairly harmless. You'll be okay."
"Oh, I didn't even think of that. I should have, I guess."
"Too late now Jo. You said yes."
He opened the gate for me, and stood there with a big freckly grin. "Close enough."
"Are you always this persuasive Danny?"
"Hey, mostly people don't even speak to me. I'm practicing on you."
I had to admit he was charming, and happily followed him down the narrow path, peering briefly at the rock pile from a different angle. It didn't look much different, actually. "Danny, did you paint all those rocks yourself?"
"Yeah, I guess I did. It's taken a while. I suppose you think I'm crazy?" He looked vaguely worried by that idea, as he led me past the house.
"Well, to be honest, the thought has crossed my mind, but I'm waiting until you explain. Oh, wow."
The cobblestoned area directly behind the house was littered with what were obviously tools of some sort, and in the centre was a large old bathtub, a hose tied to the tap end of the tub, a short piece suspended out toward the middle of the bath. Where the water fell from the end of the hose, a large grey rock was sitting, getting a liberal soaking.
There was no drainage attached to the tub, and obviously no plug, because there was a steady stream of water flowing out the bottom of the old cast iron, out between the claw feet at the opposite end from the hose, and then across the cobblestones, following the gentle slope of the land out away from the house.
Beside the bath, an equally rusty trailer sat, the towing end tilted down to the ground, rocks randomly stacked at that end, some having fallen to the ground beneath. The whole are area had a look of permanence, as though Danny had been working here for quite some time. I got the impression he had been, as he unhurriedly turned off the tap leading to the tub, seeming very comfortable with the arrangement.
He turned then to face me, lifted his arms as though encompassing all of this mess. "Can I trust you Jo?"
"Yeah, you can Danny." I wasn't even making sense to myself now. What was I doing out here with this crazy guy. Bad enough talking to him out in public, but now he had me all to himself. But for some reason, I felt comfortable and safe.
"You can trust me too Jo. I'm not crazy. Well, not mostly. I wonder if I could keep working while I explain?"
"Oh, go ahead. What are you going to do?"
"That rock in the bathtub. I need to sand it."
"Sand it? What for?"
"So the paint will stick better."
"There's one thing."
"It's a bit messy."
"Yep. So normally, I just..."
"Well, the dust gets everywhere, so I just sand the rocks naked."
"You work out here in the yard with nothing on?"
"Yeah. Listen, I shouldn't have said. I'll just do this one in my overalls. Sorry Jo."
"Uhh... no... hold on... no, just go ahead. Really."
"No, I can see you are embarrassed now."
"No Danny, I'm not, really. I'd think you might be though."
"No, I... are you sure?"
"Yes, go on. Should I sit somewhere I can't see you then?"
"Not on my account."
"Well then, I'll stay here." He grinned at me again then, turned to the tub, picked up some gritty paper from the rim, placed it on top of the rock, straightened up, and unzipped his overalls.
As he stepped out of the blue covering, it was apparent he had nothing to be embarrassed about. The rest of his body was in proportion with the parts I'd already seen, and he seemed not to have any fat on him at all. He turned to me then without any embarrassment, and my attention was taken by his large swinging penis, protruding from a bush of red hair that somehow seemed as unkept as that on top of his head. I'm not sure that I can explain the non-sexual nature of the exchange, but it made sense at the time.
"Hey, listen, can you get the tap?" He pointed back where he had turned the water off earlier. The tap was on the back wall of the house. For the record, the housepaint didn't look any better around this side. "Don't turn it on yet. Not until I ask, okay? You can sit there if you like, in the sun." I walked over and sat down, and watched him climb into the tub, kneel down, and start to scrub the stone.
As he worked in the tub, I had an unobstructed view of various parts of his body. It might not have been sexual, but it was certainly sensual, sitting in the warm sunshine, watching a muscled nude redheaded large man moving so gracefully. It didn't seem strange either, though it certainly should have. I seemed to have put normality on hold, and had no intention of doing anything about it. He called out to me now and then to turn the water on or off, and eventually he had worked his way over the entire stone.
As I turned the water off one last time, he hopped out of the tub on the other side, and lifted the stone up. Turning away from me then, he walked across to a series of four wooden stands, the first couple of which were topped by presumably earlier sanded rocks. The stands were splattered with various pastel colours, and I guessed the rocks must have been painted there, and left to dry in the sun. He lifted the freshly sanded rock to the top of the first vacant stand. There was one left now without a rock
Danny had managed to avoid explaining anything at all so far, I just realised, as he turned back to me with a finger pointed in the air. His request was clear. He wanted to do one more. I just nodded, ready to deal with the tap again.
Danny picked another stone, this one a little smaller, from the tilted wheelbarrow, and returned to the tub.
"I usually sand them twice," he told me in way of explanation. "So I'll just give this one a first dose, and then leave it for a while. It's not as rough as the last one though, so shouldn't take long." I nodded again.
That was when I did the second crazy thing that day, suspension of normality going above and beyond this time. I reached down to my shoes, sitting there, and unlaced them, then stood up, on the hot cobblestones near the tap, looked around me, took a deep breath, threw my sunhat to the ground, and pulled my shirt over my head. The feel of the air on my skin was cool for a moment, but the sun warmed me again quickly, and I kept going, before I lost my nerve. Pushing each shoe off with the opposite foot, I flicked off my socks, and then pulled my shorts down off my hips, and down my bare legs. Standing in bra and knickers now, I looked up at Danny. He was standing staring at me, saying nothing. I didn't dare stop, and reached behind my back, unsnapping my bra, and letting it fall to my hands. My breasts felt free and right in the open air, and I smiled at Danny before wiggling out of my knickers. Strangely enough, it still didn't feel sexual, and I strolled over to the bathtub, enjoying the warmth of the sun on my bare skin, and the bounce of my breasts in the air.
I picked the sunhat up, placed it back on my head, and walked over to the bathtub. "Danny," I said quietly to him. "I want to help." He picked up another piece of the grit paper, and without saying a word, showed me how to rub the rock. It actually became awkward with both of us working on it at the same time, and once he was happy that I was comfortable, he went and gathered another one from the trailer.
The process was fairly simple, and I enjoyed the brainlessness of it, and chatted with Danny about nothing at all, still not getting any explanation from him, and not needing any. It seemed sufficient to do it. The sanding required that the stone be rubbed down with the grit paper, dry, and then rubbed down again wet. We would take turns hopping over to the tap, and turning it on or off as required. Occasionally, within the confines of the tub, we would touch each other. It registered somewhere in my mind, but it wasn't like the touch of a lover.
Soon enough the two stones were finished, and Danny looked at my efforts to make sure they were up to standard. He nodded happily as he turned the rock over, and then, at the same time, we both said "shower?"
He took my hand then, and led me into the house. I threw the sunhat back with my other clothes as I entered the house. I half expected an appalling mess, or some other eccentricity, but it looked surprisingly normal inside. The old house had the expected high ceilings, and more room than a modern house. The bathroom had a large shower enclosure, and Danny started the water without speaking. He had snagged a couple of towels on the way down the hall, and he indicated that I should have a shower before him. I insisted that if we could sand rocks in his bathtub, naked, together, than we should be able to share a shower. So he climbed in after me, and we soaped each other liberally and washed off the dust. Again, the touching was sensuous rather than sexual, and completely innocent.
After we showered, I went back outside and collected my clothes. I considered putting them back on, but Danny was still naked, and it was warm and comfortable, so I just put them aside. Danny made some lunch, simple sandwiches with cheese and tomato, a level of domestication I hadn't linked with the stone painter. I was strangely tired after lunch, and lay down on the sofa, answering questions from Danny about where I lived and what I did. Somehow, to add to the impossibilities of the day, I fell asleep, naked, on a strange man's sofa.
When I woke, it must have been hours later, as the sun was disappearing from the sky, and I was hungry again. I couldn't find Danny in the house, and was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable, so I put my clothes back on, and headed back out behind the house.
There was Danny, dressed in his overalls again, painting one of the rocks up on the stands. It was slowly changing from grey to a pale blue. He saw me and stopped. I walked up to him, comfortable again for some reason, pulled down his head, and kissed him on the cheek.
"Jo, what was that for?"