Jean had short blonde hair and coke-bottle glasses, back before those glasses were cool. Jean's favourite movie was Labyrinth, or at least that's what she always said — she might have been joking. Jean wanted to be a musician, but could never decide what instrument she wanted to play. Jean wore boxer shorts. Jean's best friend was a starving artist named Angela, who I actually met only twice. Jean kept a small stack of black metal records under her bed, which she only played after breakups. Jean had had seven boyfriends and two one-night stands before we started dating, which she recounted to me like she was describing what she had for breakfast this morning. Jean still had an old NES she played all the time. Jean liked to be the one on top. Jean's parents were divorced, and her mother lived in France. Jean's shower was barren except for a large block of soap and an usually empty shampoo bottle. Jean was frequently mistaken for a lesbian, something we both joked about. Jean would re-arrange price tags at stores when no one else was looking. Jean had this lovely peach-fuzz around her slit, which would massage my face while I went down on her. Jean watched Jeopardy every day she could and yelled the answers at the TV. Jean was a straight-A college dropout.
You see my dilemma? I want to capture all of Jean Martel, but how do you fit a person into a block of text without slicing them to pieces? I can list everything I know about her, but all this gets me is a list of symptoms with no sign of the disease. I could try to describe her personality, but I don't know how to describe a personality without turning it into a cliché. If I described her as smart, spunky, cynical, with an inscrutable sense of humour, wouldn't she just become your favourite smart, spunky, cynical and inscrutable TV character?
I'll try and give Jean to you the same way she was given to me: through life, through experience. I doubt text can truly take you into someone else's mind, no matter what my English teacher said, but it's the best I can do.
When Jean and I met we were both working dead-end jobs at a furniture store. She was in retail, I was in shipping. We got off at the same time and took the same subway home, and eventually we got to talking.
"God, I wish I worked weekend shifts," Jean said as the train rattled through the dark and grimy tunnel. "Maybe there would be less old people around then. As it is, I feel like I'm in a zombie movie."
"Had anyone die in the store yet?" I said.
Jean grinned. "No, but I wouldn't be too surprised. We ought to start keeping defibrillators under the cash."
"Keep an adult diaper dispenser in the change room."
"Put large-print tags on all the clothes." When we got going like this, riffing on each other's jokes, nothing could stop us. But we were both too tired today. Jean leaned back, trying to rest her head on something, but there was only the shuddering window behind her. When her blonde hair touched it her neck snapped forward, reflexively taking her away from the shaking glass. She kept talking as though nothing had happened. "It's pretty sad when you think about it, eh? All these people work for forty years, and then when they retire they have nothing to do but go to the goddamn mall every day. I mean, shit, is that what we're working for?"
"If I didn't have to work," I said. "I certainly wouldn't go to the mall instead. To me shopping's always been another kind of work."
"So what would you do, Dave?" Jean said.
"I'd go bowling."
Jean laughed. It's rare to get a genuine laugh out of her, wrapped up as she is in her invincible armour of irony. "Bowling? They'd, like, break their wrists."
"Bullshit," I said. "Anyone can go bowling. Plus, bowling is the best sport because it's impossible to really give a shit who wins."
"You sound like you're a fan."
"You can call me Mr. 300."
"Surely you don't weigh quite that much." That one got a laugh out of me.
A minute of chugging through the subway tunnel passed before Jean spoke again. "You want to go bowling tomorrow night? Show off your skills?"
I was taken aback. "Um, sure. I think I'm free."
The subway pulled up to her stop. "Awesome. I hope you still think that it doesn't matter who wins when you get your butt whooped." And with that she darted out of the subway car, leaving me in a daze. Jean tended to have that effect on me.
It wasn't until that night that I wondered whether she had asked me out. But that wasn't possible. We were just going bowling, right?
Patrick's Books & Magazines was a tiny storefront that squeezed in between a drug mart and a dollar store on Dundas Street. Nobody knew who Patrick was, or even whether it was a first or a last name. Jean and I came in after I had soundly defeated her at bowling, her hand fleshy and warm in mine. I was beginning to think that this was a date, and absentmindedly noticing old callouses on her palm.
The bookstore was not fancy. Pulpy paperbacks were stacked in a loose approximation of alphabetical order, with genre written on pieces of duct-tape stuck to the shelves. Some of them were going yellow. Behind the counter — okay, really a table with a cash register on it — a middle-aged woman briefly made eye contact and then returned to her tabloid.
"What are we doing in here?" I said quietly.
"Just check it out," Jean said. "Isn't this the greatest place?"
"I don't understand." It was a pretty cruddy little shop.
Jean shrugged and lead me deeper into the store. At the back we brushed by a teenager and found a rack of porno mags. A small army of scantily-clad woman stared out at me trying their best to look desirous.
"It's so sketchy it's great," she said. "But you can actually get good books here too." Jean turned to the nearest shelf and hunted around in it before pulling out a dusty volume. "See, look at this. Death on the Instalment Plan, by Celine. One of the best authors of the twentieth century, though no one's heard of him, and he's sitting across from Jugs Magazine. Isn't that like the greatest thing you've ever seen?"
"I guess so," I said. Jean was always more attracted than me to dualities, high and low jammed together and violently mating. Maybe that was why she liked me — half man and half child, half determined and half cowardly.
Jean dropped the Celine book into my hands. "Here, I'm getting this for you. You need to read it."
"I can pay--"
"You most certainly cannot," she said. "This is a gift." She thought for a moment and than plucked a porno magazine off the shelf as well. It was the April issue of a classy publication called Ass Lovers' Monthly. "You have to get some smut as well. It's the Patrick's Books experience."
I mutely followed Jean, caught up in her unstoppable whirlwind. She paid for the book and the magazine and handed the bag to me. The clerk didn't look up. Jean had the broadest grin on her face as we left the sketchy store. It was the joy of spreading your idiosyncratic happiness.
To this day I haven't finished Death on the Instalment Plan. I don't read a lot, and it's just too cynical for me. The April issue of Ass Lovers' Monthly is still in its plastic wrap underneath my bed. I'm not much of an ass man.
Jean looked at the cover of that magazine a month later, in between bouts of fucking. "You know what I love about this? The punctuation in the title. It's not Ass Lover's, like it's appealing to a singular ass lover. It's the plural form. It's like by buying this magazine you're inducted into a society of ass lovers who promote ass loving everywhere. There's a community."
"I think you're reading too much into it," I said.
Jean crawled back onto the bed and squatted. "So why is it still unopened? You're a man, you guys love porn."
"That is sexist stereotyping," I said playfully. "And for your information, I've only jacked off thinking of you for the past month."
"Aww, that's so sweet," she said. I had no idea whether she was being sincere or not. She crawled towards me with that coy glimmer in her eyes. I loved that look. "Can I see it?"
"What, the porn? Go right ahead."
"No. You masturbating." Jean had that coy smile, with her lower lip sticking out begging, that made me a slave to her every desire. So of course I did this.
I sat up and stared at her, caressing my balls almost absentmindedly. Just the sight of Jean sitting on the edge of my bed, naked as the day she was born with that adventurous look in her eyes, was enough to awaken my previously spent cock. My other hand roamed my chest, touching nipples, shoulders stomach -- I knew that once I started on my cock every other sensation would be blotted out.
Without any coaxing, my rod straightened and rose like a charmed snake. I stared at Jean, at her raw pink nipples, at the mole under her left breast, at her skinny and pale body. I wrapped a fist around my cock and started pumping. It was slick with the juices from our earlier lovemaking, and my hand glided easily up and down the shaft. Jean stared, transfixed.
She slung a leg over the edge of the bed and lay before me spread-eagle, like a Playboy centrefold. Her lightly thatched pussy was visibly moist. She wrapped one hand around one of her small but pert breasts and massaged it, her thumb tracing her already hard nipples. I stroked faster.
Soon Jean was splayed before me, one hand shamelessly plunging in and out her cunt, the other rubbing furiously at her clit. I was pumping away at my cock, my hand giving pleasure like it never had before, pleasure that outbroke on my face and in my posture.
We never took our eyes off each other's bodies as they heaved and sweat and humped our hands. We were an erotic circuit, always taking the pleasure we were shown, intensifying it, and returning it to the other. Our gasps and heavy exhalations became synchronized, as we moved in concert, forming an escalating symphony of groans. I could barely see straight.
"Oh god ... coming..." I grunted.
"Me ... too..."
I shuddered and orgasmed. The first rope of my cum landed on Jean's thigh, the rest dribbled onto my bedsheets. She shuddered right behind me, letting out a mighty scream and then going limp. She almost fell off the bed, but managed to catch herself in time.
We were red-faced, frantically gasping for air. Jean grinned at me, or maybe I grinned first. "You look like you've got that down to a science."
"It's really more of an art," I said. "You don't look like a novice yourself."
"Every day since I was fourteen," she said. We embraced spontaneously, despite our shaking and stickiness.
But I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah, the shady bookshop. After that we stopped at a bar and had a couple of drinks. We talked a lot, about seemingly everything in the universe. In what seemed like half an hour at most it had gone from early evening to midnight, so we decided to call it quits.
The subway ride home was silent. We were both thinking, I guess. Eventually we got to her stop again. She pulled herself up by the handrail, a little wobbly. "Well, thanks for tonight, Dave. I had a lot of fun hanging out with you."
"Thanks. We should do it again sometime." There was a pause in the air. Those mundane statements of goodbye weren't the right way to end this. She turned to go.
If I have one thing to teach you, it's this: there are moments in your life when you can either kiss someone or not, and if you don't that moment will never come again, and if you do you can never take it back. On my long nights of self-doubt where I list all my faults and failings, there is one golden decision I can cling to: on that night as Jean Martel turned to step off the subway train, I stood up and kissed her.
She tasted like strawberry ice cream. She didn't seem surprised or anything, she just wrapped her arms around me and held me tight. The doors slid up behind her and the train moved on, leaving her stop behind, continuing on our way.
When I woke up the first thing I was aware of was a pain in my neck. Then came the headache. Nausea finished a respectable third. I stumbled off my too-small couch and barely reached the washroom in time to vomit into the toilet. The world, and my thoughts, were still blurry and aggravating. I gargled some water to get the taste out of my mouth. I was dimly aware that the floor was wet.
My apartment, charitably called a one-bedroom, was entirely too cramped, but that was the price I paid for not having to put up with a room-mate. The kitchen, bedroom, and living room all kind of spilled out into one another. So I figured out pretty quickly that Jean was collapsed on my bed, topless. Come to think of it, I wasn't wearing a shirt either. I guessed we drunk more than I thought last night.
I tip-toed to Jean's side, and heard her lightly snoring. It was kind of adorable. In sleep, her face looked childlike, almost angelic, the blonde bang that crossed it forming a halo. I stood there for just a moment, watching her.
A moment became a minute, and a minute ten, and when Jean eventually awoke (however long that took) we were staring at each other. There's nothing quite like watching the dreamy film around someone's eyes disperse and seeing them slowly regain sharp intelligence.
Jean rolled over and waved at me. "Hey there Dave. What's up?"
"You're in my bed," I said.
"So I am." Jean pointed at my shirtless torso. "I can see your nipples."
"About that ... did we, uh..."
"I don't think so," she said. "We fuck, and then I pass out with my bra and pants on? This isn't a PG-13 movie."
I nodded, and moving my head felt like an earthquake. "Shit, I'm hung over. I'm gonna make some coffee. You want some."
Jean sat up. "Nah, I'm good. Don't really get hung over. I feel peachy keen right now."
I stared at her. "You lucky bitch."
She shrugged. "Yeah, but Angela says one day it'll all catch up to me, so don't get too jealous."
I was barely lucid enough to work my coffee machine, and gulped down the bitter sludge it spat out. Jean lightly sipped at her mug. "I think it's starting to come back to me," she said. "We went back here, and then we started making out, but then you broke away suddenly and puked on both of our shirts. By the time I had gotten them off you were asleep on the couch."
"Jesus," I muttered. "Sorry you had to see that."
"No, I should be thanking you," said Jean. "If you hadn't passed out you would have been witness to me puking for about three hours straight. Incidentally, I think your toilet's clogged."
I laughed, but she wasn't joking. It would at least explain the thin layer of water that covered the bathroom floor. "Not either of our proudest moments, I suppose."
Jean shrugged, but there was something in her eyes and that surrendering motion of her shoulders that signalled fear. "Well, I had a pretty good time last night, but I guess if you..."
I stepped forward, close to her, until our bare torsos were almost touching. "I had a great time. Vomit and all."
She wrapped her hands around my head and shoved my lips onto hers. We kissed hungrily, our lips constantly in motion, and I licked the taste of that bitter coffee off her to get to the sweetness underneath. Her bra fell off and was momentarily pinned between our bodies. I'm not sure who unhooked it.
With more strength than I can usually muster I hoisted up Jean onto my kitchen table and latched onto one of her breasts. She let out a long, sharp breath as my tongue lapped around her hard nipple, my hands yanking insistently at her jeans.
"Lie back," I hissed into her ear. "I'm having you for breakfast."
"Is that supposed to be dirty talk?" Jean said with a cavalier look in her eyes.
"Quit complaining and get your pants off."
She complied, leaning back and letting me peel off her jeans. Her legs were well-shaped, thick where they were supposed to be thick — a little muscular, in fact. I grabbed the hem of her boxers with my teeth and tugged down, which sounds great but in reality I just ended up tearing her underwear.
"Hey, I was using tho-- ooooooh."
Like a starving dog I dug into Jean's pussy. I rubbed my face against her mons and lapped at her clit. She was moist. Her legs were spread wide to let me do my work. With one finger I slowly circled her slit, rubbing at the edge, teasing her while I lightly flicked at her clit with my tongue.
I quit teasing and slid one finger into Jean's wanting cunt. I sawed my hand in and out as I sucked at her clit, and was rewarded with a long, low moan. But I was insatiable. I licked harder and harder, like I was in the desert and she the last source of water. I finger-fucked her harder, my palm slamming into her ass. Jean responded rhythmically. Her groans and grunts started out low and travelled up the scale, as her golden pussy flexed against me more and more.
Finally, she let out one long cry, and with a fistful of my hair mashed my face into her cunt. After she came she lay on that kitchen table, pants and torn boxer shorts down around her ankles, positively glowing. I looked on with the smile that comes with a job well done. Oh, and with an enormous hard-on.
Jean sat up, rubbing her back. "That was fun," she giggled.
"We're just getting started."
We began kissing again, without the desperate speed of earlier, taking a bit more time to fully explore the insides of the others' mouth. Then Jean suddenly stiffened and hopped down off the table. She almost tripped on her scrunched-up pants, but managed to catch herself.
"Shit," she said. "I have to be at work twenty minutes ago."
It was true, I realized. She had an early shift today. Disappointment was the first emotion to break out in my mind, followed by a distant guilt.
Jean hastily pulled up her pants, discarding her ruined underwear. "Looks like I'm going commando today. Dave, can I borrow one of your shirts? Mine still has puke on it."
"Uh, sure thing."
Even in an old plaid shirt that was way too big for her Jean looked amazing. "Really sorry to leave you hanging like that, but you know..."
"It's okay," I said. "My fault. I distracted you."
"You can distract me anytime. Seriously, I'll make this up to you later." She blew me a kiss and was out the door, as always a whirling dervish.
After she left I jacked off to the memory of her pussy. Even by myself I reached a knee-shaking orgasm.
It was pouring rain on the day Jean Martel lost her virginity. (Or so she tells me; this is all hearsay but at least it's true for one person.) Her younger brother's friend Lyle had come over to play video games. The only issue was that Jean's brother wasn't actually there. He was, it turned out later, stuck behind a traffic accident.
So Jean was shanghaied into keeping him company and making sure he didn't break anything. To her surprise Lyle was actually, and I quote, "an interesting guy". Somehow they ended up in her room and she reached into his pants and things spiralled out from there.
At that time Jean was eighteen, in her first year at McGill, where she would go through four majors in eighteen months before dropping out. Her brother and Lyle were in tenth grade. She had fooled around with some guys before, but never gone all the way. But as soon as she touched his dick Lyle was a pornographic robot, wordlessly pulling her pants down, constantly pushing forward until he was thrusting through her hymen. Three short strokes later and he came, pulling out to shoot on her tits.
It was painful and disillusioning. The two of them never really talked again, her brother never found out, and she swore off men, dedicating herself to the one-woman cult of masturbation. Obviously (she told me this postcoitally) it didn't stick, but she still remembered every detail.
Like I said, I don't know if this is the truth. Maybe Lyle (if that's even his name) rocked her world and she just didn't want to threaten my self-esteem. Like I would feel envious of a fifteen-year-old kid anyway.
Okay, I'll admit it. I'm a little jealous. Not proud of it.
The furniture store. Two PM on a Tuesday. Half a week since I had tasted Jean's pussy.
Jean bounded up to me with a bright grin on her face. "You've got to see this, Dave. We've got a busker outside."
"You know, like a street performer?"
"Oh. I think that's a first." We were nestled away in a dull residential area that rarely saw a lot of foot traffic. But summer was winding down, and the school year was approaching, so the place was packed with kids going off to college. I guess if you were going to busk here it this would be this time of year.
We drifted through the crowds and reached the front of the store, where we could see and hear a silver-haired man strumming out the old standards on an acoustic guitar. Judging from the money haphazardly dropped in his case, he wasn't doing too badly. I don't think the guy was a hobo — or if he was, he pulled it off with a remarkable amount of dignity.
Jean put an arm around my waist and rested her head on my shoulder. I was startled at the public contact. "I still owe you from last weekend," she said.
"You'd better be careful," I said, teasing her. "I charge interest."
"Well, I guess I'd better pay it back right away, then."
"How about Thursday night?"
"How about right now?"
Once again I was startled. "You serious? We're kind of busy..."
"Fuck the customers. I don't get horny that often." (This was a lie.) "So you'd better take advantage when that happens."
What can I say? I followed her into the employee bathroom, feeling my cock begin to stiffen in my pants.
Jean shut the door and pulled open my fly. She moved quickly, unbuttoning my jeans and dropping them around my ankles. She reached up and rubbed her hand along my boxer shorts, rubbing the fabric across my cock and teasing my balls. She was grinning ear to ear. I don't think I'd ever seen a girl look this excited about giving head.
She tugged my shorts down and my cock flopped out, almost hitting her in the face. Jean took this all in stride. On her knees she rubbed my prick up and down, pumping her soft fist around the shaft. I groaned, and groaned some more when she leaned forward to take my balls into her mouth. Jean sucked one then the other, releasing each from the warm bath of her mouth with a satisfying smack of her lips. And then it was time for the main course.
Jean rose a little on her knees and began licking the head of my cock — short, darting, almost teasing touches of her pale pink tongue. She kissed it up and down, leaving warm fingerprints, and then she enveloped it whole. I gasped out. She slurped and bobbed and sucked and blew and all those wonderful things that girls do. When she broke off for a breath of air, she kept pumping my now-slick cock rapidly, and gave me that wide-eyed grin again. Looking at her smile I began to feel that lurch of the heart, that feels a bit like a subway train as it starts moving, that so-long-sought-after feeling. It was probably just erotic delirium, but I started falling in love.
She returned to her enthusiastic sucking and it wasn't long before I was groaning and yelping out a warning. That didn't deter her. She pressed her lips down as far as she could go and I just started shooting, sending spurt after spurt of cum down her throat. Finally I staggered away, weak-kneed, and had to lean against a sink to stop from falling down.
"Whew," was all I could say.
"You're welcome," Jean said as she got up. She paced around for a second, shaking out her knees. "But I'd really probably get back to work."
"You've got a bit of jizz on your cheek," I said.
She wiped it off with a paper towel and smiled at me. "That's what I need a man for: to tell me when I've got cum on my lips. You know Dave, I think this might just work out."