"Baby, please," she sobbed. "I just don't know..." she looked off toward the window, her profile twisted in anguish, " ... how it all gets ahold of me."
Kane regarded her in silence over the rim of his whiskey. She looked deflated but tense. A few hours ago she would've stopped traffic. Now she looked ready to lie down in it.
The only windows faced the alley, and a random spiral of smoke drifted through pale shafts of streetlight from the ash tray where her latest cigarette lay forgotten and smoldering. Her face was streaked with tears and mascara, and her crossed leg was doing a nervous shake as she gripped each arm of the chair.
"You're gonna hate me, aren't you?"
Kane wondered what her skin would taste like now. Her neck looked so pale it seemed to be glowing. She wore a blousy, cowl neck sweater that plunged to her navel, exposing more than it covered. It was as black as her miniskirt and torn up pantyhose, and the way it hung off her shoulders made it appear in constant danger of falling off. Her breasts were eminently noticeable, but she seemed unaware of them as they swayed to her nervous gestures.
"You're not going to talk to me? Is this your way of writing me off?"
Kane sighed and took a pull off his drink. His eyes kept moving back and forth between the careless wobble of her weighty breasts, her white knuckled fingers and her darting eyes. Half in shadow, he knew she couldn't follow his gaze. He looked at the shadow in the valley between her breasts and felt a sudden urge to fast-pitch his bourbon at the window. It would make more noise and shards that way.
But he sat still. Took another hit. Said nothing again.
She took a deep breath and rang the buzzer. Then she stood through those awkward seconds, being expected yet suffering the small indignity of waiting to be let in. The height of her pumps made her legs feel strong – supple and lithe as saplings. In those moments, she could feel the heat of her pulse in the surface of her skin – cells pumping with excitement and a strain of fear.
It was always like this waiting to enter another strange room and stand at the center of a circle tinged with the faint stink of adrenalin and lust.
Tino looked high when he finally opened the door. She could smell the lingering vapors inside: herb laced with something pharmaceutical. He grinned, looking down at her from his imposing height, eyes quickly moving from her face to the conspicuous display of her breasts spilling from the deep plunge of her sweater.
She walked in, breezing past any chance of a hug or kiss. She'd never kissed Tino once. At least never on the mouth.
The mouth was personal.
"Okay, I fucked up. Is that what you want to hear?" she meandered on. "I keep fucking up. It's what I do. Maybe you never should've told me you love me, 'cuz obviously I'm just fucking that up, too."
The still calm of his position in the worn chair didn't begin to convey the flash in his mind of bolting to his feet and whipping his drink, seeing her jump in fear as a glittering shower of broken glass shattered whatever thread remained between them. The stronger part of him wanted to touch her, hold her like the pieces of something rare and priceless and broken and whisper his love would be strong enough to put it all back together. But he didn't do that, either.
"Maybe I just deserve what I get," she told herself as much as him in a tone of defeat. "All I'm ever left with in the end is me."
He set his glass on the table by the chair. Her eyes narrowed as she tried to read his face in the shadows. Her hands slowly moved off the chair arms to the low slung edges of the cowl, pulling them together to cover herself, as if she were suddenly aware of turning into something indecent. It came off as a gesture of sadness and shame. Her sadness, but his shame. The way she pulled the fabric around her body reminded Kane of the way she was wrapping herself around a bad time. Something vital within her began to recede, and he knew he could never live with himself if he sat quietly by and watched it go.
But he sat quietly by, watching.
Two more were waiting inside on the couch. They didn't say their names. She'd told Tino on the phone that afternoon she didn't want to know them. Names were personal, too, and she wasn't there to make friends. It was all about skin.
The shorter one had dark, curly hair and a bewildered expression that looked permanent. He had a slight paunch, and actually stood up to extend his hand.
Taye smiled sweetly and took his hand without shaking it. One look and she knew he'd spent his life following men like Tino who surrounded themselves with weaklings in order to look strong. Tino was alpha mongrel all the way.
The other one was taller and younger. He had long, powerful looking legs. Taye barely looked at his face. It was handsome enough, but not especially memorable. She studied his hips and thighs and immediately found herself wondering if they'd live up to their implicit promise.
Taye smiled at everyone. She felt like a flight attendant just before take-off to Babylon.
No bitch, no honey, no baby, no cunt.
Those were the rules. Denigrating language was off limits, but Taye's nipples were already tingling with heat over the notion they were already thinking it.
He was suddenly desperate to see that force of selfless nastiness in her come back, the feral libertine residing inside a tortured angel. It was the part of her that filled him with anger and plunged him into a pit of hopeless anguish. The part of her he disdained for her narcissistic arrogance. The part the tortured angel could never accept being connected to. The part he ached for with a hardness that would never leave him in peace.
Her hair was a mess, like she'd been dancing or someone had been pulling it. It was dirty blonde and fine, falling just shy of her shoulders.
Kane knew it would only be a matter of time before Taye would see the unstoppable signs of his arousal lifting against the fabric of his trousers. It wouldn't have been the first time to happen this way, even though earlier, before it had begun to rain, she had scorched new boundaries to the ever expanding region of her own obsessions. Pure contradiction flowed through his veins as he watched her clutch her sweater around her body. She lowered her head and gave herself over to dry-eyed sobbing.
"Taye," he said, firm but soft. She went silent and looked back up. "We're all only left with ourselves in the end. It's not the worst person to end up with."
She fumbled for a new cigarette, lighting it while the other was still burning down. The sweater fell apart as she moved. Kane watched the inner curve of her breast playing against the edge.
"Easy for you to say."
She was right about that much. It had been easy to say. It was one of those platitudes he half believed that didn't feel like the natural truth when he turned it back on himself. The natural truth was he envied her. She was the pure incarnation of herself, an animal of voracious hungers and fragile delicacies. She fit down inside her own spirit and appetites in a way Kane would never survive.
She took the wine Tino poured her from a bottle of cheap white sitting on a coffee table pocked with scuffs and char marks. It tasted like it might have been chilled an hour ago. Tino dragged in a chair from the kitchen and set it on the other side of the table, facing the sofa. Taye sat on his right thigh, her short skirt bunching around her hips.
The small talk shrank down to nothing when Tino put his hand on her thigh, running it up her hose encased flesh and under her skirt. He cupped her pussy through the fabric, the pleated fringe of her skirt barely covering the motion of his hand. The boys on the couch smiled and pulled at their beer cans.
The taller, muscular one let his empty hand drift over the crotch of his tightly packed jeans.
Good, Taye thought. Good boy.
Kane set his glass aside and rubbed his face with both hands. Then he leaned forward, arms folded across his knees. She was waiting, he knew, but he wasn't able to look up at her at the moment. She was a raw thing, pure motion. He was the fading afterimage of something invented by strangers. She tripped in and out of the gutter as a tourist. His gutter was deep inside where she would never see.
Long, slow breath going in. Longer and slower going back out in a thin stream.
"They always put exotic birds in cages," he told the floor. "But the only bird worth having in a cage is one who knows the door's open, but she stays because it's her choice."
He looked up and found her still holding her sweater closed. Her grip had relaxed slightly. She was looking into the alley through the window, as if she hadn't heard him.
"Stand up," he said, leaning back in the chair again.
She turned her head but still didn't look at his face. She made standing look painful; not in her body but her face.
"Please don't look at me like that now ... not now," she said, looking as if she wanted to disappear behind the wide flaps of her sweater.
"Let go of the sweater," he said. "Why cover yourself now?"
Taye finally looked at his face, pleading with her eyes.
"You showed them, didn't you? You put it all to work like a machine on fire, but here, with someone you mean to love you're suddenly full of shame? Just take it off. It makes you look like a cartoon."
She pulled the sweater over her head and half threw it onto the chair behind her. She crossed her arms under her moonish breasts as if she were cold. She looked back at the windows again while Kane quietly studied her. Her spikes were lying on the floor by the chair. They looked sturdier than she did. Her areolas goose pimpled despite the close heat of the apartment.
Kane lost the urge to whip the glass at the windows. His last comment deflated his anger. He started to feel as broken as she looked, and the simple gesture of pulling off her sweater brought home how magnificent she was at full stride. He knew wherever she'd been that night she'd been shining like a gutter sapphire.
Tino's fingers dug through her pantyhose into her mound. He didn't know how to touch her very well, but he liked touching her in front of other people, and it made her feel like her heartbeat was coming straight from the core of her pussy. She ground against his thigh while his hand cupped and pressed. The heat between her thighs swelled and she started to flush.
"Looks like you know Tino pretty good," the curly one said, beginning to show the trouble he was having to breathe.
Taye sipped her wine as she pulled the side of her sweater away from her breast, rolling her finger around the nipple, teasing it to grow.
"Not really," she said. "We just get together to fuck now and then. Tino's a pig, but his cock makes my pussy feel good."
She snickered out loud at the looks on their faces. The taller one laughed and squeezed his cock through his pants. Taye let him see how she was watching his hand while she ground down harder on Tino's solid thigh. His fingers dug harder to get at her. She closed her eyes and moaned for everyone.
Pain and heat began to pour through Kane's blood. Images of disembodied hands pawing over Taye's naked breasts shot through his mind. Lurid curiosities challenged the remnants of civility in his soul to a duel. He was overwhelmed by the irrational urge to lay her naked body on the floor and lick her skin as he lashed her ass with his thick leather belt.
The way she took delirious flight in being bent over and spanked or whipped with a belt was beyond his understanding. But whenever it happened, that sapphire glow wrapped itself around her like a rarified aura he could never step out of. What they both turned into in those moments scared him more than he could tell her. She had assured him many times it was not an act of violence but the only way he could touch certain places within her.
Sometimes he wondered if she did what she did just to move him to lay into her that much harder. But for Kane, there was only one real rule, and to strike the creature she was in anger would be to cease being a man. There were no exceptions. He closed his eyes and thought of the last time he'd been to the sea alone.
"Now the rest," he said calmly, opening his eyes again after the moment passed. When it came down to the marrow, she was a far better thing to envision than the cold, unforgiving sea.
Something in her face started to look too tired to be ashamed anymore. She pulled down the short zipper on her skirt and pushed it over her hips. She wasn't wearing panties under her hose, and there was another large rip in the nylon just where it should have been clothing her pussy.
Kane wondered if she'd been wearing panties when she first pulled on the hose. The image of her carefully stretching the flexible material up her thighs made his blood simmer. Now Taye nervously peeled the ruined pantyhose down her legs. They rolled along her skin into a frayed bunch, torn apart by strange hands that would not be denied the intoxicating feel of her ripe body. Leaning down, it looked as if she were dipping the tips of her breasts into something pale crimson.
She rolled the hose off her feet and left them in a ball on the floor. Then she came back upright and faced him one more time.
"That's gonna make me wet if you don't stop, T," she smiled, looking at the others on the couch as they watched Tino's fingers play.
"You don't want me to stop," he said. "Not now when everyone's just about to see how pretty that pussy is."
He reached over with his other hand, using both to pull at the seam of her pantyhose until the crotch ripped open wide. "Good girl," he said, putting his hand back on her naked pussy. "No panties."
Taye caught herself thinking how tedious it might get doing this for a living, not as she did now and then like a tourist visiting exotic slums where she could crawl out of her own skin and become a profane object of desire. It was a plastic exercise in Olympian depravity and she was Aphrodite for an hour or two.
"There you are," said Kane. "Every shimmering inch of you."
With her head cast down, her hair hung over her face. She didn't bother pushing it away. She looked pale and bluish in the light bleeding in from the alley. Even her shape seemed different somehow. Supple, rounded and firm, as always, but as if the harder edges were gone. She was one woman with two bodies. Somehow her breasts seemed to quiver without moving. Images of strange hands cupping and squeezing them came to Kane's mind and despite the static electrical pulse in his cock, he looked away and tried to will the intrusion from his mind.
He thought if he kissed her now her skin would only bear the traces of other men's sweat and cum. He didn't try imagining whatever she'd been walking through the center of. It was a cannon he'd been shot through before.
Her pussy mound was freshly shaved, and a few hours ago everything she had would have smelled of shampoo and perfume. Flashes of hard, blind cocks sluicing fast in and out of her pussy shoved through his mind. He closed his eyes, leaned his head back against the chair and breathed long and deep as he slowly exhaled the visions.
When he opened his eyes her arms were crossed over her breasts. Shame and protection, but protection from whom? Her thighs still had the slender look of strength she could never repress, but there was a weariness in the way one knee turned slightly toward the other. Kane looked at her thighs and felt the sense memory of their touch. Whenever she opened them for him, splaying open that tributary of soft skin with that wet, crimson slash at the apex, it was like traveling the only road there was to a better part of himself.
"Put your arms down," he told her. "Never be ashamed in front of me."
Her arms moved and her beasts found their natural shape again. She heaved one, quick, sudden sob with her body. Her eyes were dry except for the lacquered sparkle in them. Her nipples gradually tightened into pebbled knots and Kane couldn't suppress the motion of his hand as it drifted over the shape of his cock in his pants.
Another image flashed through his mind of a time a couple of weeks before. She'd been bent over the formica topped table in the apartment kitchenette, naked as he drove his cock into her body from behind, barely in control as he repeatedly smacked the cheek of her ass. Own it! she'd screamed until someone started banging on the wall. Own that fucking pussy! Prove it's all yours ... prove you deserve it!
Belonging only lights on our shoulders for fleeting moments, he thought, his eyes trailing over the intricate shapes of her existence.
Tino's fingers peeled her flushing slit apart as she lifted the hem of her skirt to give the others the wide open view. She felt like a piece of split fruit on display in a market window. Strange eyes looked on with mounting hunger. No pretense of love, affection or respect. No dinner, no movie, no sweet talk. It was a roomful of pigs slopping at a trough of ambrosia. The sinews in her body began to sing with electricity.
"That's ... fuckin' beautiful," the tall one said.
Tino pushed his middle finger up inside Taye's slit. She let her thighs drift wider and sighed for them. Something about the eyes of the others seeing it all made his finger feel thicker, deeper ... more ... resonant.
Taye handed her glass backward to Tino. He set it on the floor, keeping the other hand on her pussy. Curly and the tall one were watching his finger sluice in and out of her. All the cells in her skin prickled with heat as she pulled open the plunging sides of her sweater, displaying her shapely breasts. She cupped them in her hands and squeezed her flesh, letting out an audible mewl.
"I guess you boys like my pussy," she grinned, taking Tino's wrist, pulling his hand from her pussy and lifting it to her face. She watched the men on the couch as she sucked her own froth off his finger, sucking the digit like a miniature cock, finally releasing it from her lips with an exaggerated smack.
"Mmmm, sweet and juicy, if I say so myself," she purred. Then she rose to her feet and pulled the sweater over her head. She squeezed her naked breasts again, feeling the throb deepen in her nipples as the men on the couch watched her every move. She sashayed around the coffee table and stood hands on hips between the two men on the couch. She brought both hands up to play with her nipples as she looked at the curly one with a gaze that made him blink.
Please, sir, could you unzip my skirt? It's beginning to feel too tight."
The curly one grinned and shot a gleefully bewildered look at both Tino and the tall one before reaching up to lower the zipper on Taye's skirt. As the fabric loosened around her hips, she uttered a long, exaggerated sigh of relief. Then the tall one reached over and pulled it down her legs.
"Thank you," she chirped like a canary about to devour three stray cats.
"You're like a bird that keeps flying in and out of that cage," he said. "Just to see how long the door stays open. To see if you're inside or out when it finally shuts."
Her body heaved another disconnected sob, making her breasts quiver while more mascara blackened tears washed over the first streaks.
"Please," she said, verging on sputtering, "don't shut me out now. Fuck, not now. I'm gonna get better. You know there's a good girl inside me. You said so. You're the one who introduced me. Please..."
He finally stood up and went to her. He lifted the burning cigarette from the ash tray and dragged hard on it once before stubbing it out. The hard shank bulging the front of his pants loomed conspicuously between them, but she looked at his face as if she hadn't noticed. He touched her cheek and smeared his thumb across the mascara trail.
"Sometimes maybe the bird wants to hear that cage door slam. Just so she knows someone needs her," Taye said.
"Then you never really know if she's there by choice. Life is just fucked up that way."
"Yeah, and birds don't fly cuz they have a choice."
Her lips were slack and slightly parted. He wanted to kiss them with his whole body. He wanted to give her half the years he'd lived in that one, single, life-affirming kiss. But he wasn't going to introduce her to the creature the taste of other men would turn him into. They were nothing but scars on the walls of his heart's cathedral, and the burning rush of blood in his cock was making him dizzy. He slid his hand from her face to the back of her neck as he led her toward the cramped bathroom.
She stood in the open doorway, hugging herself around the middle while he knelt on the floor by the tub and ran water, holding his hand under the tap until the temperature felt right.
"My friend, Alicia, says if you've seen one cock you've seen 'em all," she said a coy smirk. "But if she ever saw yours she'd have to change her mind."
She angled the plastic bottle above the tall one's commanding erection firmly gripped in her left hand, letting a long strand of clear oil drip over the straining flesh. Standing stout and tall, it looked so hard it nearly pulsed visibly, with a thick ridge curling around the tapered flair of its crown. The viscous oil cascaded over the shaft, causing the ripe flesh to glisten in the septic glare of fluorescent light.
Tino had dragged the coffee table off to the side of the room. Taye was still wearing her torn pantyhose, but all three men were naked. The tall one was lying on the floor where the coffee table had been. Tino and the curly one were both stroking their sap oozing poles as they watched Taye methodically lacquer and fondle the tall one's cock.
She felt relieved for the huge rip in the crotch of her hose. Her pussy was broiling with heat. Her slit needed touching, even if only by air.
"Alicia would sing a whole different tune if she could get her nasty little mitts on this," Taye said, looking up at her prone companion. His long, muscular legs were open far enough for Taye to kneel and play between them.
She let her hand glide up and down his blunt shaft just enough to spread the oil evenly, from balls to tip, rolling her thumb playfully over his richly inflated knob. The tall man uttered a muted groan. Then Taye rose up straight on her knees, bringing her hairless pussy mound level with his cock, and pressed the fertile stalk against her body.
"That's how far up in me you'd go if you fucked me. Did you know that? Oh yeah, that's how deep you'd go. You'd make Alicia cream like such a little whore," she giggled. "But she'll never know 'cuz tonight your cock is all mine."
Taye let go of his cock and took a few moments to drip oil over her lush, round breasts. She felt slender and sleek, with flawlessly smooth skin that was tingling with energy. She twisted her prominent nipples and cooed to her companions before settling back on her haunches. She cupped the tall one's spunk laden balls in one hand and resumed stroking his slippery shaft with the other.
"My pussy's so wet right now I could just fuck your brains out," she said, almost calmly, "but today I can only make you cum with my hands and watch you squirt like a big, fat, fucking fountain. Oh yeah ... I love watching you cum, knowing I made you shoot all that spunk just for me."
Taye looked up at him with a lusty, coquettish grin that could melt a glacier. Still, there was something seriously formidable in her eyes, as if to say 'proceed with caution'.
"Mouthwash," Kane said, nodding at the bottle on the sink.
Her face screwed into a distortion of protest and self-reproach.
"Just fucking do it," he said. His voice went metallic over the words.
Taye snapped up the bottle and uncapped it, pouring it into her mouth like she was taking a drink. When she spat, she spat with her whole body.
Water running, tub slowly filling, Kane stood back up and took her by the hand, leading her to the tub. He never let go while she stepped in and sank down.
"Put your head under the tap," he told her. While she did, he squeezed shampoo into the palm of his left hand. She pulled her head back out and up and he calmly lathered her fine hair from his kneeling position, massaging her scalp with sure fingers. Own it, her words echoed again through his mind. Own me. Prove it!
She sobbed a little more and he shushed her, finally guiding her head back under the water to rinse. When she came back upright she fingered her wet hair back as her head reclined into the cradle of his palm.
"If only I could really fuck that cock," she mused. "I know you'd love it as much as me, but I can't. I have to be good. You see, I'm working real hard to be faithful to my man, so he's the only one gets my pussy and ass."
Taye grinned as she noticed the tall one's jaw tighten in an effort to hold back an untimely flood of spunk. His abs were tight and firm, and every bit as hairless as the base of his cock. She started working his shaft with both hands, stroking up and down his thick length and twisting at the same time.
"I'm gonna make you cum like the fourth of July," she purred, studying his cock like some exotic bird.
Her breasts quivered enticingly with the motion of her arms. Gradually, she started stroking him faster. Tino reached to fondle and squeeze the left side, keeping his hand in motion on his cock while the curly one fondled her on the the right. Their hands were rough and graceless. She uttered a soft growl of approval as a different man caressed each of her sumptuous breasts.