The Basement

How real are your fantasies? Pablo Picasso once said, “Everything you can imagine is real.” Was Picasso suggesting that our fantasy lives can be just as satisfying as our experiences in the physical world? Or did he mean that our imagination can become powerful enough to create tangibility?

* * * *

For several days the hurricane had been brewing in the Atlantic. Then, the news came that it would make landfall early this evening. The U. S. Weather Bureau predicted torrential rains and destructive winds, and advised residents around Wilmington to batten down the hatches.

Claudia had worked all afternoon dragging plywood sheets from the garage and bolting them over the windows, a daunting task for a woman weighing less than a hundred-fifteen pounds, but she loved a challenge. The cottage had withstood everything Mother Nature had thrown at the North Carolina coast for nearly thirty years, and she was determined it would weather this storm as well.

She’d checked and double-checked everything, so there was nothing left but go inside and wait for the sirens in Myrtle Grove to announce the storm’s arrival. If not for the phone calls, she’d have finished an hour ago, but just like every other time one of these storms had come her way, friends and relatives called, worrying about how she’d weather the storm. In the end, Claudia had gone about her business and ignored the phone, but even from outside, she’d heard it ring now and then.

Inside, she stripped off her wet clothes, tossed them in the dryer, and headed for the bathroom to draw a hot bath. Just as she started the water, the phone rang again. Damn! Can’t they just let it alone? She let it ring for a while, but it wouldn’t stop. Finally, she picked it up, naked and irritated. “Hello!”

“Hi, Claudia. For a moment there, I thought the storm had already blown you away.” It was her brother in Chicago.

“Oh, hi Jack. Sorry for the curt answer, but a ringing phone does that to me, especially when I’m tired and naked.”

“Naked? Did I interrupt something?”

“Yes, but not what you’re thinking. Why does your mind always go to sex?”

“Runs in the family, I guess.”

“You think? What’s up, Jack?”

“Just worried about you; making sure you’re safe.”

Okay. Here it comes. “Worried! What about?”

“You of course. I don’t understand why a single woman like you insists on living in an isolated house in the middle of hurricane country?”

“Jack, we’ve been over this. I love the house; I love the area; I love the isolation. Stop worrying. Hey, I’m freezing my ass off standing here naked talking to you. I’ve gotta go.”

“Okay, keep safe. You hear?”

“Yes, Jack. I’ll be okay. I’m going to the basement right away. Bye Jack, love you.”

No matter how well intended these calls were, they never failed to irritate her. For one thing, she resented the implication that a woman couldn’t handle whatever was thrown at her as well as a man. Second, she loved the isolation of this place. As a writer, she found creative ideas seldom came when she was around people. Isolation stimulated her imagination. Third, she was used to the routine of preparing for the storms; she’d performed these chores once or twice a year since moving from Chicago seven years earlier, and she was damn good at it. Of course, she’d had Robert to help with the heavy work for a while. When he ran off with the teenybopper though, she’d found herself doing everything. Bolting sheets of plywood over windows begs the use of more than two hands, but somehow, she’d managed.

She didn’t mind the extra chores around the house; she could handle the physical work, and most of the time she did enjoy the isolation. But being alone during a storm sometimes got her down. The place was packed with wonderful memories of her first years here with Robert, and a storm always stirred up those memories.

From the beginning, they’d known about the frequent storms and had spent a few months making the basement a comfortable living space, installing a kitchen stocked with at least a week’s supply of food, a bathroom, a bed, a couch and a small TV. They’d even connected a generator for power failures.

When the storms came, they’d closed up the topside and retreated to the basement. The cottage was on high ground, so they never worried about flooding. The winds had worried them most; huge trees surrounded the house, some large enough to crush it if they fell.

At first, even the storms were exciting. Adventures, she’d called them. At night while the wind and rain raged outside, Robert would open a bottle of wine, they’d have dinner, then go to bed and make love all night long. She missed those intimate times the most during hurricane season.

Since Robert left, she’d tried to keep herself occupied with her writing and the little garden she grew out back, but when the storms came, she missed him terribly. She missed his arms around her at night. She missed the tickle of his chest hair on her nose. She missed the scent his skin, especially when he was sexually aroused. Robert was a very sexy guy, and sex with him was a difficult habit to break.

By the time the bath filled, she was shivering, but once submerged in the warm scented water, she stayed longer than planned, even taking time to shave her legs and pubic area. She always enjoyed a bath more when she made it a sexual experience. The feel of her freshly shaved mound inspired a few additional caresses; not a full-blown self-pleasuring session, just enough to build a little sexual tension. She loved the heady feel of arousal.

After the bath, Claudia wrapped herself in a soft terrycloth robe, brewed a pot of tea and sat on the couch to watch storm coverage. Nothing much had happened since lunch; the same wind-blown reporters stood on the same beaches, reminiscing about past storms and the damage they’d caused. After flicking through a few channels and finding nothing of interest, she turned off the idiot-tube, took another sip of Earl Grey and reclined into the soft cushions.

Since childhood, she had been an expert at fantasizing. She had always thought her penchant for daydreaming had a lot to do with her becoming a writer. More times than she could count, imagination had been her savior. When Robert left, the loneliness had overwhelmed her. For months, she wouldn’t admit even to herself, that she still loved him. Finally, she discovered she could fantasize the loneliness away. Her fantasies always took her back there, back to those wonderful first years with Robert. She told herself the fantasizing was harmless as long she knew it was fantasy.

In the past year, her imaginary visits to those special times had become so realistic that sometimes the line between reality and fantasy blurred. She knew of course, it was her own fingers touching herself, but the sensations brought on by the virtual time-travel seemed entirely real.

Closing her eyes, Claudia reclined into the softness of the cushions and let the sounds of wind and rain remind her of another stormy night.

* * * *

Ensconced in the basement, storm sounds muffled by the insulation above and around us, we are safe and warm. Robert and I lie in bed, exchanging soft, lip-only kisses. The wind had killed our electric power, but rather than start the generator, a dozen candles provide our lighting. His hands apply tender touches to my body. Having done this so many times, the caressing fingers know the places and the pressure I like. His fingers even know the sequence I prefer the caresses to follow. They start their journey on my face―my lips, my closed eyes, my ears―touching, stroking, probing. As they move across my neck, they stop on the pulse there, verifying my rising excitement. When the fingers reach my chest, they stroke lightly between my breasts, coming close but never touching the more sensitive spots. I feel my labia begin to swell; I bend my knees and open my thighs, needing the fingers to explore there too. I’m impatient, and I squirm, trying to make contact, but the fingers know best and seek other places to stroke. They caress from my spread knees, along the inside of my thighs, toward my sexual center. Still bypassing my more sensitive points, the fingers travel across my abdomen and return to my breasts. They circle my stiff nipples, then pinch and twist the erect buds. Gasping, I push up, reaching for more.

Finally, a hand travels to my pussy, opening the labia, testing the wet, slick folds, exploring all the sensitive places. As the fingers focus on my clit, I feel my orgasm grow and know that very soon I’ll explode. While one hand is busy with my pussy, the other moves back and forth between my breasts, abrading the nipples, creating the erotic pain they need. As my lust grows and my orgasm builds, I hear a pounding in my ears, persistent, demanding. I’ve heard this pounding before, but never so disturbing, so insistent. It seems almost like it’s is coming from somewhere outside me…

Through her pre-orgasmic haze, Claudia realized someone was actually pounding on her front door. As she pulled herself from the trance, anger flooded her senses. She drew the robe around her body, covering her nakedness from the unknown intruder. Why was someone knocking on her door in the middle of a storm? No one should be out in this. She considered ignoring the knock, but then it sounded again, even more insistent. Do they know I’m in here?

Quietly moving to the door, she peered through the peephole. The man standing on the porch was partly lit by the porch lamp. His drenched, floppy hat shadowed his face. When he moved closer to knock again, she recognized him. Robert! Robert is standing on my porch. She released the latch and swung the door wide. “Robert? Is that you?”

The man looks startled, confused; taking a step back he manages, “I…May I come in out of this storm?”

“Oh! I’m sorry. Of course, come in.”

He entered, dripping water. “Thanks. Whew! It’s wet out there.”

“What are you doing here? What’s wrong?” She closed and latched the door, then turned toward the man.

He still looked puzzled. “You called me Robert a moment ago. Have we met before?”
He looked genuinely confused, and now that he was inside, she realized the man couldn’t be Robert. Her Robert was thirty-nine. This man was in his mid-twenties. He was just a look-alike, that’s all. “I’m sorry! I mistook you for someone I once knew. Now in good light, I see you can’t be him. He’s twelve or fifteen years older than you.” She held out her hand, “Hi! I’m Claudia.”

He studied her face for a moment, took her hand in both of his, smiled, and said, “Claudia. I like that name, and it fits you. I’m Robert, as you just guessed.”

His large hands swallowed hers in a firm, yet gentle grip. Even though his hands were wet, hers felt warm and comfortable in his, as if it belonged there.

“Thanks for answering the door; I know it’s dangerous to let strangers into your house these days, especially this time of day. I wouldn’t have bothered you, but I need to use a phone. I ran off the road a ways back.”

“Of course, the phone’s right there. This is a bad time to get help, though. We’re expecting a hurricane to hit land any time now, and when it does only emergency services will come out.”

“You’re probably right, but I’ll try anyway.” Removing his soggy hat, he dropped it on the floor by the table. Putting the phone to his ear, he listened. “Uh-oh, no dial tone.” He turned toward her. “You wouldn’t by any chance, have a cellphone, would you?”

“I’m sorry. I’ve never bothered to get one.”

The warning signal from Myrtle Grove startled them with its high-pitched tone followed by a low-pitched blast. “That’s the signal. The storm has officially made land.”

Robert hung up the phone and started for the door. “Okay, guess I’ll go back to my car. Should have stayed there. If I had, I’d be dry now. Sorry I bothered you, Claudia.”

“Now wait! Let’s think about this.” She had mixed feelings about what to do. Should she insist he stay here or let him go back into the storm? He could be a murderer, for all she knew. But he’s so damn good looking, an exact replica of Robert, just younger. How can I turn him out in this storm? If he stays we’ll be confined to the basement for at least tonight, maybe longer. It was an appealing idea, if he wasn’t some deranged killer. The appealing idea won, and she said, “Look. We’re a few miles inland; we still have time before the worst hits us. You could probably make it back to your car without trouble, but then where would you be? You’d still be soaked to the bone, and this storm might last for days. I think you should stay here. I have food, and the basement is warm and dry.”

“I really don’t want to impose.”

“It’s okay. The basement’s small, but we’ll make it work. Actually, now that I think about it, having company sounds like a good idea. It can get pretty lonely waiting out a storm.” She watched ideas clicking through his mind, wondering if he thought she was coming on to him. Well, what if I am? I’m entitled to act on feelings.

“Okay, if you’re sure.”

“I’m sure.” Taking another of her terry cloth robes from the closet, she said, “Come on! Let’s get you out of those wet clothes.” She blushed at the imagery.

Just as they reached the basement, the lights flickered twice and went out. Claudia located a flashlight and went to the furnace room. The generator started without a whimper, and the lights came back.

“You should get out of those wet clothes. This robe is too small, but it’s all I have.”

He looked at it and smiled. “It’ll do fine. Thanks.”

“The bathroom is through that door.” She watched him walk away, undressing him with her eyes. God, he moves so much like Robert. The sexual tension she’d built up earlier still throbbed between her thighs. Remembering she was naked under the robe, she considered rushing upstairs to dress appropriately, but on second thought, both of them being naked under their robes appealed to her.

From the freezer, Claudia took enchiladas she’d prepared a few days earlier and put them in the microwave. Dinner would be easy, but sleeping arrangements would take some creativity. Sharing the bed with a stranger who looked so much like Robert, was tantalizing to consider, but she pushed it down. Gently chastising herself for the sexy thought, she opened a bottle of Malbec and set it on the counter by the glass rack.
Robert came out of the bathroom, carrying his clothes. The robe barely covered his body and the sleeves stopped just below his elbows. She had trouble holding back a smile.

He looked at her and said, “Yep, it’s a tad small, but at least it’s dry.”

“You can hang your wet clothes on the rack in the corner.”

She watched as he carefully hung his clothes―shirt, trousers, shorts, t-shirt, and socks. The knowledge that under the robe, this stranger was as naked as she, gave her a rush. Claudia imagined him without the skimpy robe, and her pussy moistened, reminding her that his knock had interrupted her self-pleasuring session. Her unresolved sexual tension fueled her thoughts, and she wanted to throw him on the bed and ravage him. She had to slow her erotic thoughts down, or she might do just that. “Robert, I opened some wine. Would you pour, while I make a salad?”

“Sure.” He walked over, picked up the bottle and read the label. “Rutherford Hill Malbec, a favorite of mine. How’d you know?”

It was her Robert’s favorite, as well, but she didn’t want to go into that. “Just intuition, I guess.”

He poured two glasses and passed one to Claudia. Clinking his glass with hers, he said, “Thank you. I could be freezing in my car right now, instead of having wine with a beautiful woman.”

Clinking back, she said, “It’s a win-win, as I see it. If I hadn’t insisted you stay, I’d be here all alone right now, instead of having dinner with a handsome stranger.” She suddenly had an overwhelming urge to touch him and before she could stop herself, she caressed his face. Maybe she just needed to confirm he was real―that it wasn’t her imagination and sexual tension working overtime. Or perhaps it was out of habit. She’d used the same gesture with her Robert many times. He would come home from the University and interrupt whatever she was doing by kissing her neck just below the ear. She’d turn, reach up and touch his face. She’d always loved the sexy feel of his day’s growth of stubble. With her hand on his face, she’d lean into him, waiting for his arms to envelop her, waiting for his kiss.

Now, she caught herself leaning toward this stranger as though expecting him to take her in his arms. His eyes met hers, and she saw a flicker of desire in his gaze, but before she embarrassed herself further, she said, “If you’ll put the salad on the table, I’ll dish out the enchiladas.”

Conversation at dinner was scant. There was an awkwardness, a sense that they had almost crossed a line that should remain uncrossed.

While the storm raged above, they cleared the table and cleaned the kitchen area in silence. She washed; he rinsed. Now and then as he reached for a dish, the simple touch of his hand sent thrills rippling through her body. She wanted to truly touch him, not just with hands, but with lips. These and other thoughts of how she would like this night to proceed raced through her mind. She wondered if he had similar thoughts.

They moved to the couch to finish the wine. When the bottle was empty, Robert took the glasses to the sink, rinsed, dried, and placed them back in the rack. Returning to the couch, he broke a long silence. “Claudia, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this.”

“I’m glad you stayed; there’s comfort in having someone here during a storm. I’m embarrassed, though; I’m still in this robe. I got soaked earlier preparing for the storm. When you knocked, I’d just come in and tossed my wet clothes in the dryer. I really should go upstairs and put on some clothes. It’s rude entertaining a dinner guest in the nude.”

“Hey, you’re beautiful like that. I wouldn’t want it any other way.” He paused and looked directly into her eyes. “If you were dressed, I’d be the only one naked. You wouldn’t want your guest uncomfortable, would you?”

She smiled. “I hadn’t thought of it that way, but it kind of makes sense. Okay, you’ve convinced me; I’ll stay naked, too.”

In her youth, wine had taken the blame for behavior it didn’t deserve, but her next move was inspired solely by the prurient urge to run her lips over this stranger’s body to see if his skin smelled and tasted the same as her Robert’s. She knew it was a foolish, even dangerous thing to do, but she couldn’t help herself. With more than a little trepidation and the intent of bringing them back to that earlier uncrossed line, she asked, “There’s only one bed, you know; do we stay naked there, too?”

Without hesitation, he met her challenge and crossed the line. Taking her hand, he brought it to his face, turned it over, and kissed her palm. She melted inside as this stranger who was no stranger, did what her husband had done a hundred times. He looked directly into her eyes and asked, “Claudia, are you inviting me to your bed?”

Saying nothing, she stood and did what she’d done so many times with her husband. She undid her robe, let it fall to the floor, took his hand and led him to the bed. Sliding under the covers, she moved to the other side, making space for him.

He removed his own robe, folded it and placed it on a chair. The sight of his body without the robe caused her pulse to race and her nipples to grow painfully erect.
When he joined her in bed, he leaned on an elbow and studied her face, something else her Robert had done. He always said the eyes are the most erotic part of a woman. “To become aroused, I only have to look at your face and gaze into your eyes.”

As he stared into hers, she watched his lust rise, his hunger grow. He took her mouth first, a tender yet sensual kiss. When his tongue moistened her lips, a swoon flooded her being. Oh Robert, it’s so good to have you back. I’ve missed you; I’ve missed this.

Pulling back, he touched her face with fingertips, caressing eyes, ears, chin, then suddenly he threw the covers back, giving himself total access to her body.

As his gaze roamed her body, Claudia’s eyes toured his with its beautiful aroused penis, which she ached to touch.

He kissed her again. This time his tongue probed deeper. She opened and matched his ardor, her heart racing. Oh, my! He tastes good. This is where I belong, where I was meant to be.

Robert broke the kiss and moved his mouth lower, capturing an erect nipple between his teeth, causing the muscles between her legs to throb and push new moisture onto her already soaked thighs. At the same time, one of his hands explored its way down to massage her freshly shaven mound. Moving her thighs apart, she gave him full access; his fingers wasted no time claiming her. Raising his head from her breast, he brought his drenched hand to his face, first tasting her, then spreading the moisture over her breasts, making the air heavy with her scent.

As his lips once again found hers, he returned his hand to her pussy and inserted two fingers into her vagina. With his palm pressing her clit, he began a steady in-and-out motion with his fingers.

Claudia’s sexual tension had been building all night. With no more than half a dozen thrusts, her lust rose to the level she was on when he’d knocked on the door. This time when his tongue entered her mouth, she went over the edge, shuddering through an orgasm that continued as long as his tongue worked in her mouth and his fingers moved. Finally, he released her, and she collapsed into a mass of quivering flesh.

When she revived, Robert was lying beside her, stroking her face. She opened her eyes and kissed him then gave a long, slow lick across his mouth. Sitting up, she urged him on to his back. Leaning over him, she kissed one of his nipples while pinching the other between finger and thumb; she moved back and forth, teasing with her tongue until both nipples were wet and slick, then teased them with fingertips until he trembled. Kissing across his stomach, she thrilled at the familiar scent of his slightly moist skin. For a moment, she teased his navel with her tongue.

Standing tall and proud, his cock seemed to beg for attention, its purple head leaking a clear liquid. Claudia wrapped one hand around the base and cupped his tight ball sack with the other. Taking just the first two inches into her mouth, she gave a long suck and felt a viscous fluid coat her tongue. With her index finger, she stroked the underside of his cock, milking even more into her mouth. For a moment, she enjoyed the erotic thrill of tasting his juices, then, opening her lips, she let them ooze down over his cock and balls.

The hand on the glans circled and squeezed, while the other stroked the slippery shaft. Now and then, she took the head into her mouth and teased his sweet spot with her tongue.

His thrusts and groans indicated a need for a faster pace, but she refused to let him go over. She wanted to take him to the edge a few times first, wanted his first orgasm to be a big one. She had always loved this control, this power of deciding when her lover would orgasm. Each time she sensed he was about to come, she removed her hands for a moment. Each time she stopped, he groaned louder and thrust harder, attempting to come without assistance. When he reached for his cock, she slapped his hand away.

After the fourth denial, she established a slow, firm pace. His gasps became guttural, and his cock grew more rigid. Sensing his imminent orgasm, she replaced her top hand with her mouth. Immediately, spurt after spurt of hot salty/sweet fluid filled every corner of her mouth. Robert’s creamy sperm overflowed and ran over her hand to mingle with his black pubic hairs. When his body went limp, she moved up his body and applied soft, soothing kisses to his nipples. Each touch brought a twitch from his body. An overwhelming urge took her, and she covered his mouth with her own, sharing his taste with him.

As the sounds of the storm raged above, they continued their lovemaking until long past midnight. Her Robert had always been a marathon lover, and that night was no exception. Finally, sated and exhausted, they turned out the lights and slept.

* * * *

When the all-clear sounded, Claudia stretched out her hand and found only cool sheets where Robert should be. Concerned, she sat up and listened. The only sounds were those of the all-clear siren and the muffled sound of the generator motor in the furnace room. She knew it was still dark because no light came through the two small windows. She swung over to the edge of the bed and clicked on the lamp. The light revealed an empty basement. The bathroom, too, was dark and vacant. Anxious, she called quietly, “Robert! Where are you, Robert?” There was no answer, of course; he wasn’t there; he was gone. Her Robert was gone again.

But it had been so real. I couldn’t have imagined all that, could I? She leaned down and smelled the sheets where he had slept. It was faint, but either her nose or her imagination detected the scent she loved so much.

Sighing, she retrieved her robe from the floor where she’d dropped it the night before and scrutinized the basement. There was the empty clothes-drying rack and the empty chair where Robert had placed his robe. The bed showed no signs of sexual orgy; it appeared to have slept only one person.

Climbing the stairs, she reasoned aloud, “He was so neat and thoughtful. Upon dressing in his dry clothes, he would’ve returned his robe to the hall closet, out of courtesy.” Then, in the same breath, she continued, “Oh, for God’s sake, Claudia, don’t be ridiculous. Regardless of how real last night felt, it was just your fertile imagination at work.”

Nevertheless, as she entered the kitchen, she half expected to see him at the counter preparing coffee. But no, the house was empty. Claudia knew it was empty even without checking the other rooms. It felt empty; the emptiest it had felt in months. It was then she remembered the front door. It couldn’t be locked from outside without a key.

When she tried it, the lock was solidly set. As she turned away from the door, her eyes were drawn to the telephone table and the damp spot on the rug about the size of a wet floppy hat.

Copyright 2017, Madison Langston. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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