“So, how’re things going at the magazine?”
Mark raised one brow and studied his sister’s body language as she passed the bowl of roasted potatoes to her husband, Darren. She assiduously avoided looking her brother in the eye as she asked the question, but there was a hint of a snarky smile – not quite a smirk – edging her lips.
“It’s going okay. Fact is, it’s doing pretty damned well considering.”
“Considering what?” This time she looked right at him as her husband clumsily took the bowl from her hands before it dropped into his lap.
“Magazines in general aren’t doing well, not much better than newspapers. There’s a lot of competition from the Web. The fact that it’s stumbling along and staying in the black is a pretty good sign. Were you hoping we were about to go under, Shelagh?”
“Mark, of course not, it’s just …”
“Print is finished,” Darren pronounced, then dabbed at his cheek missing a piece of potato that stubbornly clung to his chin. “Anything you want to know is on the Net, and most of it is free. Why pay a subscription to a magazine?”
“Uh-huh,” Mark nodded. “Free, uncategorized and mostly inaccurate. Not a lot of fact-checking goes on at most Web sites.”
Shelagh cast an admonitory glance at her husband for interrupting. Mark tried to hide his grin. He had always suspected that Shelagh had a domineering streak, ever since they were kids and Shelagh, a couple of years older than he, always insisted on playing the Indian to his captured cowboy. She loved tying up her brother.
Mark pictured Darren tied to their bed as Shelagh punished him. He had to feign a cough in order to disguise the laugh that yearned to burst from his throat. He quickly grabbed a glass of wine and tossed back a swallow.
“Mark,” Shelagh said. “You know that I think you should be teaching, here, at the university. It’ll just take a word from me to the chancellor and I’m sure …”
“Thanks, Sis, but not right now. Someday maybe. Right now I like what I do.”
“But, Mark, it takes up so much of your time. How can you enjoy a life?”
“I enjoy my life fine, Sis.”
“I understand you’re not seeing Stephanie anymore.”
Mark slid a finger under his collar. “Well, Stephanie’s a nice girl. We had a few dates.”
“She would be perfect for you, Mark; she almost has her PhD.”
“Jesus, Shelagh, I don’t really need to tap Mensa for a girlfriend. I like Stephanie, it’s just, all she wanted to talk about was medieval literature and department politics.”
“Oh, and what else would an educated woman talk about?”
“I don’t know. Hockey, public transportation, restaurants, dogs vs. cats … sex!”
Shelagh’s cheeks flushed. Darren grinned.
“Mark, I don’t mean to meddle in your life. It’s just … I worry about my little brother. You’re always alone.”
“Sis, I’m fine, and I’m not as alone as you think.”
“Ah-hah!” Darren nearly came out of his seat, his grin meeting fault lines in his cheeks that presaged the jowls that would arrive in another year or two. “Now this is getting interesting. Details, please.”
Darren’s face soured after Shelagh aimed another withering glance in his direction.
“Sorry,” he said. “I’ll be good.”
Mark had to cup a hand across his face to hide his grin.
Shelagh leaned toward Mark. Her face was drawn with concern. Unfounded concern, Mark thought.
“Well,” she said. “You’re seeing someone? And I’m not being nosey.”
“No, not much.”
Darren’s curiosity overwhelmed him. He tentatively asked, “Who is she?”
No glance from Shelagh this time.
Mark exhaled a long sigh. “Okay. I’m interested in a girl I met. We haven’t even had a first date yet. I’ve only run on to her at a couple of places and shared a coffee. I like her; she’s bright and she has a great sense of humor.”
“Is she someone I know?” Shelagh probed, her features becoming more intense, her eyes boring into him. “Is she at the university? She’s not a student, is she?”
“No to all of the above.”
“Then how did you meet her?” an emboldened Darren asked.
“She did some work for me.”
“At the magazine?” Shelagh pressed.
“No … at my apartment.”
“Hoo-boy!” Darren looked gleeful. “Now, this really is getting interesting. What, is she what they call ‘a professional’?”
“Darren!” Shelagh tossed a napkin at her husband who shrank back into his seat.
“But, honey, I just thought … who does work at one’s apartment?”
Shelagh’s head snapped from her husband back to her brother. “Well, Mark?”
“Well, yeah, I guess you could say she’s a professional.”
“Mark!” Shelagh’s eyes went wide, her mouth remained open.
“She’s a plumber.”
“Huh?” Shelagh’s indignation instantly dissolved into confusion. “Excuse me; did you say she was … a plumber?”
Darren began to titter. “Oh, I’m thinking about all the jokes I ever heard about plumber’s crack.”
Mark turned toward Darren. “I’ve seen Gracie’s crack … while she was working under my sink. You just have no idea, Darren. I couldn’t let her leave without asking to see her again.”
Shelagh’s voice was an even monotone. “You asked a woman out because you caught a glimpse of her ass crack?”
“But, Sis, it was such a beautiful crack, and her hips …” Mark exhaled an exaggerated sigh.
Darren continued to titter. “Gracie the plumber … sounds like a skit on SNL.”
“A plumber,” Shelagh said, and rested her chin in her hand. “Have you dated her often?”
“No, Sis, I told you. We haven’t had our first date yet. The fact is, she turned me down flat; told me she doesn’t date customers.”
“But, you said …”
“We had coffee. See, I ran into her at a reading.”
“Yes, at this little place, they have open mike readings. Friday is erotica night.”
“She writes porn?” Darren fidgeted in his seat like a five year old. “Oh, this just keeps getting better, a porn-writing lady plumber. I don’t think you could make this stuff up.”
“Darren, why don’t you clear the dishes?” It wasn’t a request from Shelagh.
Darren’s face twisted into a pout as he rose and gathered the plates.
“My God, Mark, she writes porn?”
“I never said that, Sis.”
“But, you said …”
“I don’t know if she writes anything. She was reading erotica. See, anyone can get up and read a passage or short story from a favorite piece of erotica. Gracie’s fond of a guy named Cervo; I am too. At least, I think it’s a guy. Anyway, when she got up and began to read, I realized it was the girl who fixed my sink. So afterward I asked if she’d join me for coffee. You’d like her, Shelagh, she’s smart and funny; she’s got a really quick mind.”
Shelagh shook her head. “Oh, Mark, I don’t know … a plumber?”
“Yeah, what’s the matter with a plumber?”
“Has she any college?”
“I don’t know. Jesus, Sis, Dad worked as a hod-carrier on construction all his life. Mom was a housekeeper for a half dozen hotels. They struggled to send us to college. Where do we get off being so haughty? Just because we have a degree or two?”
“That’s not what I mean.”
“That’s exactly what you mean. You know, Shelagh, you’ve been living on this campus too long. People get along perfectly well in the world outside little academic colonies like this.”
“So, you prefer anti-intellectual pop society?”
“Anti-intellectual? Gracie’s very bright. She reads … everything. She could probably give any of your stuffy PhD’s a run for their money. Not to mention kick their asses on Jeopardy.” He grinned.
Shelagh grinned too, though she tried to suppress it.
“Okay, I’m a snob.”
“Yes … yes I am.”
“Hey, Sis …”
“Do you make Darren wear panties?”
Shelagh’s hand flew to her mouth, then she coughed out a laugh. “Mark … for God’s sake!”
* * * * *
He hoped he would find her at Tolstoy’s; it was Friday night and the erotica readings were drawing larger crowds. Some read their own material, while others read passages from a favorite writer.
He’d just sat through a short, plump woman’s paean to S&M sex. The poem was cringe worthy; what saved it was the author’s spirited rendering. He believed she had made herself come on stage. In fact, she had to be helped off the dais. He joined in the standing ovation.
There was such a long line of people wanting to read, he began to despair as to whether Gracie, if she was there, would get a chance. Then he spotted the girl with the soft, rusty-brown curls that barely touched her shoulders. She wore a pair of hip-hugging jeans and a neon-pink t-shirt, on the back of which was printed: Calabash Plumbing Co. – Living the Pipe Dream.
“Gracie,” Matt whispered, just as Valeria, the barmaid bent over to serve him his drink. Her ample bosom blocked his view of the dais and he futilely tried to look around her.
“What is matter with you?” she protested. “Here Valeria gives you nice look at her beautiful boobs and you try to look someplace else. You, yes you, guy, you really know how to hurt a girl.”
“Huh? Oh, sorry, no offense, Val. It’s just …”
Valeria turned to look at the dais. “Oh, okay, so you got thing for skinny girl with slinky hips. Very pretty, but where are her breasts? Don’t you like nice big ones to play with?”
Valeria had been teasing him since his first visit to Tolstoy’s, and he enjoyed teasing her back, but this night he pleaded with her. “C’mon, you crazy Russian. I want to hear this.”
“Hmm, I think someone is in love. Poor Valeria must find another boyfriend tonight. Hope you are happy with skinny girl with flat chest. Someone else will be playing with my little bear cubs.”
Valeria hugged her breasts, winked and moved on.
“Hi, everybody,” Gracie said from the dais. “I’d like to read a story called “Chinchilla Lace” by Cervo. She held the ch of the first syllable of the author’s name a split second. Monica Bellucci couldn’t have made it sound any sexier, he thought.
She had an amazing reader’s voice as she gave each word just the right inflection to adorn the prose. By the time she had finished, the crowd was utterly silent, rapt. He stood and began to clap; the other patrons rose from their seats and Tolstoy’s came alive with applause.
As she stepped down several people gathered about her. He left his table and tried to make it toward her, but was blocked by other patrons. Finally the crowd settled down for the next reader. It would be a tough act to follow, he thought.
He had lost sight of her. “Damn!” he blurted under his breath.
Then someone was calling, “Gracie … hey, Gracie.”
“Shit! She’s here with someone.”
Then he spotted Karloff, the bar’s manager. He was motioning for someone to join him at the door of the ladies room. Mark made his way toward the same rendezvous point and was just steps away when Gracie rushed up to Karloff.
“Gracie … can you help? Something backed up in ladies room; damned stupid girls, probably flushing tampons down toilet, choking it. Here, smell …”
Karloff opened the door and winced. Gracie poked her head in, grinned and said, “Yup, smells like money!”
“You can get unstuck, yes?”
“Not tonight, Karloff, but Perry and I can come by first thing tomorrow. The girls and the guys might have to share the men’s room tonight.”
Karloff nodded and placed a chair at the door. He redirected a couple of girls to the men’s room where a line quickly formed, and girls and guys alternated.
“Please, ladies,” Karloff warned, “Don’t try to pee in urinals; make mess.”
Gracie was laughing; Mark thought her voice was music. He tapped her on the shoulder. She turned, her mouth made a perfect O.
“Smells like money?”
She grinned. “Hi. Yeah, it’s a plumber’s expression, and it’s very true.”
“At $140 an hour, I guess it is.”
“In fact, my boss thought a good company slogan might be: Your shit is our bread and butter.”
“No. He was serious, but then he found out a rooter company already had it.”
Mark laughed. “Hey, I enjoyed your reading.”
“You want a drink or something?”
“I have to get home; I’m working my once-a-month Saturday shift tomorrow, so I have to get up early.”
“Oh. Well, can I take you home?”
“You can walk me. I don’t live too far.”
They slipped out of Tolstoy’s even as a cab-load of people entered.
“It’s going to be an interesting night with guys and girls sharing one restroom,” Gracie said.
“Well, it is erotica night; maybe someone will be inspired.”
He walked closer to her. He ached to take her hand, or put his arm around her waist.
“We’re just walking now, right?” she said.
“Huh? What do you mean?”
She shrugged. “I like you, Mark. But, I just like to take things real slow. A lot of guys, well, they get impatient, but it’s important to me that you give me a lot of space, then maybe …”
“We’ll see. Here’s my place.”
He couldn’t believe they had walked four blocks so quickly. He wanted to kiss her. Should he do it; would she get mad? Maybe he should ask.
“Thanks for the walk home, goodnight.”
He was about to say goodnight when she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
“Bye.” She hurried up the steps of the brownstone.
He stood and touched the spot where her lips barely caressed his cheek. Still, he could feel a residual tingle.
He sighed and looked for a cab.
* * * * *
It was enough to keep him tossing and turning all night. The spot where she kissed him still tingled. He imagined doing so much more with her, starting with some deep kisses. He imagined his hands roaming over her body. A picture opened in his mind of Gracie working under his sink, her back to him, and her tee hiked up over her hips giving him an ample view of pale, perfect skin. And her crack … of course … her plumber’s crack. What he would give to slip his finger into that valley between the rounds of her derriere.
He took himself in hand and began to stroke imagining her naked, under a shower and he on his knees kissing the slight pooch of her belly, caressing her hips, nibbling his way down to her pussy. His cock erupted, and streams of jism spurted over his hand and onto his stomach.
“Shit!” he rasped and grabbed a t-shirt to wipe himself. But, it was enough to let him relax and fall into slumber.
He slept like a hibernating bear until the phone rang, jangling along his spine and waking him up with a start. He grabbed the receiver and tried to clear the haze from his eyes as he strained to see the clock at his bedside. It was 11 a.m. He hadn’t slept this late in a while, but it was a Saturday after all.
“Mark, its Shelagh.”
“Yeah, hi … what’s up?”
“Can you come over tonight? We’re having a very important social gathering.”
“Man, why don’t you just have a party?”
“Stop being silly. Everyone who is anyone from the university is going to be there.”
“Sounds like a wake … a rather boring wake.”
“Mark! Arthur Tanninger is going to be here.”
“That asshole? I hope it’s his wake.”
“Mark, really, he’s probably going to receive the Nobel for literature this year.”
“He’s a hell of a writer, but the man himself is an obnoxious shithead … he really could use a beating.”
“I was thinking you could come by and maybe do a write-up for your magazine, interview him.”
“I don’t know … I’d probably end up giving him a beating.”
“Jesus, Mark! Sometimes you just … just …”
He was enjoying his sister’s exasperation. “Look, I’ll tell you what. I’ll come by if I can bring a guest.”
“Well, certainly. Who?”
“Maybe I’ll ask Gracie.”
“Oh … the … plumber. Really, Mark, do you think she’d be comfortable with so many …”
“Inflated egos about?”
“I just wouldn’t want the poor girl to be embarrassed should …”
“Oh, very well, if you think it’ll be all right. Yes, bring her. Who knows, maybe the toilet will back up.”
“Gosh, Sis, the toilet won’t be as full of shit as some of your guests.”
“I would slap you if you were here.”
“Sorry, I guess you’ll just have to slap Darren until I get there. Oh, when did you say this soiree of yours is?”
“Tonight, beginning at 8.”
“Tonight? That’s kind of short notice.”
“Lovely, Mark, I’ll be expecting you. Bye.”
He heard the phone click. “Damn.”
No time for a shower. He pulled on his jeans and t-shirt, then realized it was the one he’d wiped his cum on the evening before.
“Aw, shit!” He decided to take a quick rinse anyway.
* * * * *
He took a cab to Tolstoy’s just in time to see Perry, Gracie’s partner, get into the company van. A moment later Gracie emerged from the club and headed to the van lugging a satchel of tools.
She turned. “Jeesh, Mark. What are you doing here so early?”
“I was hoping I’d catch you here.”
“I’m surprised the job took us so long. The pipes in there are ancient; we even found an old pistol and some clay pipes jamming up one section.”
“Wow … no kidding?”
“Yeah, so, what’s up?”
“My sister … you know, the professor?”
“Well, she’s having a … well, I hate to call one of these things a party, but there’ll be a lot of literary types there. I just thought maybe you’d like to come. She’s doing it to kiss Arthur Tanninger’s ass, really.”
“Oh my God, I just finished his book last week. Oh, Mark, I’d love to go. When?”
“Tonight. Look I know it’s really short notice …”
“I don’t care. Look, we have an emergency call at some luxury high rise they just put up a few months ago – figures. But I should be finished up in time. Can you pick me up at my place? When should I be ready?”
“Shelagh says 8 o’clock, but we could get there around 9 if need be.”
“I should make it. Oh, Mark, thanks so much for inviting me. Are any other writers going to be there?”
“Yeah, a bunch. Very, very serious writers … you know, stiffs.”
“You don’t mean that,” she said and tapped his chin with her fingers. “Okay, come get me tonight.”
She hopped into the van as Perry peeled away.
* * * * *
Mark was a bundle of nervous energy for the rest of the day, impatient for it to wind down and for evening to come. Who would have thought Shelagh would be the agent to bring him and Gracie together for their first date? It was perfect. Gracie read everything; she had told him her apartment was so full of books she couldn’t see her furniture.
The clock ticked so slowly, but at last he was stepping out onto the street and looking to hail a cab.
He arrived at her doorstep and entered the foyer. His finger slid down a list of tenant names until he found hers and pressed the button, then waited. Nothing, no answer.
He pressed the button again and held it a few seconds. He waited. No response.
“Shit, don’t tell me she isn’t home yet.”
He started to press the button again when a tinny disembodied voice answered.
“Gracie? It’s Mark.”
“Yeah … look, something’s come up … I don’t think I can go to your sister’s.”
“There was an accident.”
“Jesus, are you okay?”
“Yeah … but …”
“Well … we don’t have to go. Can you let me see you, though?”
“I don’t think …”
“I just want to make sure you’re all right … please?”
There was a buzz and he heard the door unlatch. He climbed the stairs to the third floor and stood outside her door. He knocked and listened. After several seconds it opened just enough to allow Gracie to peer out at him with one eye.
He started to speak, then the aroma assailed him. He coughed.
“Gee, Gracie, you smell like … a million bucks.”
“God, I’m sorry, Mark. I know. I smell like shit.”
“Well, can I come in?”
“I don’t think you want to.”
“Yes I do. Please, let me in.”
She swung the door open and the odor wafted about him. He tried to stop his nose from wrinkling, but to no avail. Gracie just shrugged.
She looked like she had just stepped out of the shower.
“What happened?” he asked.
“Fucking bastards,” she snarled. “They should all go to jail. People could have been killed … Perry and I could have been killed.”
“What are you talking about? What the hell happened?”
We were called to a building by another contractor. It’s one of those luxury high rises built by whatshisname, you know, the guy who’s always on TV, the billionaire developer asshole.”
“Seems every toilet and sink backed up in the place all at once – fifteen floors. I mean, people were really pissed because they couldn’t piss, you know? So the lobby is full of a bunch of plastic-surgery cases carrying their Chihuahuas and shiatsus and bitching and moaning. Anyway, Dave, the contractor – he’s a good guy; we worked for him before – he asks us to go into the sub-basement and check out this tank. It’s a holding tank so all the wastewater in the building gets held up a bit before it’s flushed into the sewers. It helps keep the city’s sewerage from being overloaded.”
“Yeah, I get you. But what happened?”
“It’s in a kind of concrete trench, okay? You can get under it. See that’s where we were, underneath it, giving it a look-over. Then we saw the split in one of the seams. Jesus, just one look and we could tell someone did a shoddy job, cut some corners they never should have cut. I looked at Perry, Perry looked at me, and we started to hightail it outta there. That’s when it happened.”
“The seam gave way; we nearly drowned in shit!”
“Nothing holy about it. Perry managed to pull us both out, but we had to take a hazmat shower on the spot and get all kinds of shots, like for hepatitis and stuff. The whole building’s been evacuated.”
“Jesus, Gracie, thank God you’re both all right.”
“Yeah, but smell my hair. It’ll be months before that stink comes out. I can’t go anywhere tonight.”
“Oh, well … smells like money.”
“That’s not funny.”
“I’m sorry, I know. I’m just trying to cheer you up.”
“Mark, I really wanted to go with you tonight. When will I ever have another opportunity to meet so many authors?”
“Don’t give up. Maybe we can do something.”
“No, I’ve been shampooing for hours. The smell just gets worse.”
“I think I can help. You’re going to have to trust me. Let me look around your kitchen and bathroom first.”
She watched as he inspected her household cleaners and then fumbled about her medicine cabinet.
“I’m going to have to go out and pick up a few things. Where’s your nearest drug store and grocery.”
“Both of them are two blocks down and take a right.”
“Great. Be right back.”
He returned in twenty minutes with three bulging plastic grocery bags. Gracie sat forlornly on her overstuffed sofa and watched him arrange an array of items on her kitchen counter.
“What’s all this stuff?” she asked.
“Well, I got some heavy duty detergent, peroxide, baking soda, granulated charcoal. You have a blender, right? Does it work?”
“Yeah, but I hardly ever use it.”
“No problem. Now listen, I need you to go into the bathroom. We’re going to clean your hair again with the formula.”
“Yeah, it’s what we used to use on the dogs when they got skunked.”
“Well … yeah, I guess.”
“Okay, now you head for the bathroom. I’ll be there in a minute after I’ve blended some of this stuff. It may take a few applications.”
Gracie did as she was told and shivered when she heard the whir of the blender. It stopped and then it whirred again, then again, then again. Finally Mark entered her bathroom with a large pitcher.
“Where’d you get that?” she asked. “I didn’t even know I had it.”
“Underneath your sink. Good thing, it’s big. Now, stand up and lean over the sink. Keep your eyes shut tight. This stuff will make them sting like crazy if you don’t.”
“Okay … I’m ready.”
Mark poured the mixture over her head and worked it through her hair with his fingers. She trembled.
“Sorry, I should have warmed it up a bit. I’m going to have to do this about four more times.”
“It’s okay. If you think it’ll work.”
After the last application he said, “Okay, now I need you to get into the shower while I juice up the lemons.”
“Yeah, about six pounds of them. The girl at the store thought I was nuts.”
“But … in the shower?”
“Yeah … look, Gracie, I’m going to have to get in there with you if this is going to work.”
“Oh, geeze, but Mark …”
“Can’t do it any other way.”
“But …. but … I can’t … I mean … Mark, I can’t let you see me naked.”
“Um … well, it isn’t like I’m trying to …”
“I know you’re not … It’s just … I’m really super shy. Oh hell, I’m fucking pathologically shy. I’ve even gone to a therapist because of it. Ever since I was a little girl, I can’t bear to have someone see me naked.”
“But, Gracie, are you telling me …?”
“Yes, that is … yeah, some guys have seen me naked, but I couldn’t … you know, enjoy it. I really haven’t had many boyfriends on account of it. I’m sorry. You’d think someone who was as fond of erotica as I am wouldn’t have such a freaky hang-up, but I do and …”
“Shhh, I need to puree those lemons. We can do this, Gracie. Just trust me. Now, get in the shower and rinse that stuff off. Keep your eyes shut tight; I’ll help you in and then you can toss your robe off.”
He helped her step into the tub. “Okay,” he said. “I’m going back to the kitchen now.”
As he walked back to the kitchen he heard the rustle of the shower curtain being drawn and then the rush of water.
It took him twenty minutes to puree all the lemons, rinds and all. He rinsed out the pitcher and used some large pots to carry the remainder of the juiced citrus. He brought them back to the bathroom.
“Okay, if you want, maybe you could just keep your eyes closed. If you don’t see me … well, maybe it won’t bother you that I can see you.”
“Okay.” Her voice was barely a squeak.
Her form was opaque through the frosted shower curtain.
“Okay, Gracie, I need you to step away from the water now, just a step.”
She did as she was told and he drew back the curtain. She reacted to the noise by drawing her arms over her small breasts. She began to shiver, but he knew it wasn’t because she was feeling a chill.
“Oh my God,” she said, her voice a raspy whisper.
He undressed and stepped in front of her. He had to bend his hips back so his hard-on wouldn’t poke her thighs. She was perfection with a shawl of pale freckles adorning her shoulders and two dark beauty marks on one breast; her other breast was a flawless dollop of cream, and each was tipped with a pink nipple.
“Um …” he said. “Okay, I’m going to pour this into your hair and down your body, Gracie.”
“Oh, God, you can see me, you can see me.”
“Well, yeah. Gracie … you are so beautiful. The only way we’re going to do this is … well, to make it as erotic as possible.”
She didn’t answer, her legs were rubbery and her mouth opened into a perfect O. He could have kissed her, but he had to hold the pitcher over her head.
“I mixed this with some warm water, but just a little. I need it to be mostly at full strength.”
She nodded and bit her lip. He began to pour. The clean, tangy aroma of fresh lemon filled the room as it infused the vapor from the hot water still spraying from the shower.
He emptied the pitcher slowly and replenished it from the other pots. Gracie accepted the showers of lemon juice but each cascade made her shiver more.
“That’s it,” Mark said. He stepped toward her to gently guide her back under the shower when his cock grazed her thigh below her hip. She gasped.
“Uh … Gracie? I couldn’t help it. It’s seeing you like this … It’s making me …”
Then he slid his arms around her bare shoulders and pulled her toward him.
“Oh-mi-god, oh-mi-god, oh-mi-god,” Gracie chanted. Then Mark’s lips were on her neck and her shoulders and his hands caressed her cheeks. Her arms twined about him beneath his shoulder blades and she squeezed herself against him. His cock was captured against her belly.
Now he kissed his way to her breasts, lingering just long enough to swirl his tongue around each nipple, making then hard as pebbles. He fell to his knees and kissed her belly, tarrying there until he heard her breath come in feathery pants that alternated with each kiss. Her fingers twirled in his hair.
His nose brushed the reddish patch above her sex. Then he let his tongue slip between her cleft. For the first time since she had stepped into the shower, her eyes flew open. But the charges radiating from her clit left her yearning for completion. She wanted his cock inside her.
“Mark, please …”
It was all she needed to say to communicate her need. He lifted her and she hiked herself onto his hips. He swayed and tottered a bit as he reached for his cock and pushed its head between her swelling lips. She slid down onto him and he began to thrust. She rode each one, riding posts until they fell into a gently accelerating rhythm.
The water, the vapor, Mark’s grunts and her own wails; the exhilarating aroma of lemon and its tingly effect on her skin were all combining to put her into a place where she lost all sense of her own will. Her orgasm reverberated up her belly, then Mark cried out, his cock pumped inside her.
He gently let her down and she stood on wobbly legs.
“I’m sorry … I’m not using anything.”
“Oh … oh shit,” he said, but he said it nonchalantly, almost offhandedly, as he savored the perfectly satisfying moment. “Okay, there’s a student clinic on the campus. They’ve got plenty of Plan B.”
* * * * *
Shelagh flung open the door. There were no preliminary greetings.
“You’re late; I’ve been trying to call you,” she said as she took their jackets. Then she stopped and sniffed the air.
“Um, Gracie, right?”
Gracie held out her hand. “Hi, Shelagh, nice to meet you.”
Shelagh sniffed her again. “My dear, what is that scent you’re wearing … It’s captivating.”
“Um, lemon …”
Shelagh took another deep breath. “I don’t know it; is it new?”
“Shelagh,” Mark said. “Can we get through the door?”
“Oh, yes, of course, sorry. Please, mingle.”
As Mark stepped past her Shelagh touched his shoulder. “Mark, she’s so … pretty. Radiant.”
“Um, yeah … she is.”
As Gracie stepped into the living room it occurred to Mark that she was indeed radiant. Gracie had worn a short black leather skirt and a deep burgundy sleeveless top. Her skin shone, seeming to capture all the light in the room. The buzz of conversation turned to a murmur, and then became silence as guests took note of her.
A trio of gray-haired gentlemen – Mark recognized them as university friends of Darren and Shelagh – stood to greet her. Within moments she was surrounded by a solicitous throng of academics and authors. They guided her to the couch, all making compliments, especially about her scent. Mark began to chuckle to himself. She looked right at home.
One old gent who was an authority on Melville nodded in rapt attention as Gracie expounded on the theory that Moby Dick was an allegory about male rape.
“The white whale,” she said. “It’s a phallus torpedoing through the ocean. It took Ahab’s leg, but I wonder if his leg stood for another more intimate body part. No wonder Ahab was so intent on revenge. Or, perhaps that’s just too far out.”
“No, not at all, my dear. A fresh theory is always welcome. Put in light of Melville’s worship of Hawthorne, which of course was unreciprocated …”
“Exactly!” Gracie agreed.
Shelagh took her brother aside. “Oh, Mark, she’s a delight. Such a lively mind, and so pretty. You must get her to tell me what scent she’s wearing … It’s so … stimulating.”
“And,” Darren leered, “she can tell an elbow from a joint, right?” He winked, an exaggerated gesture.
Shelagh’s expression was stone serious as she turned on her husband.
“Really, Darren, you shouldn’t be allowed to stay up with the grown-ups. Go to bed.”
“Darren forced a chuckle. “Huh?”
“Now … run along.”
“Honey … you really don’t mean …”
“Oh, I certainly do. Someone needs to learn how to behave in proper company. Now, go straight to bed. I have something for you in the closet. It’s in the pink shopping bag. Get dressed for bed and wait for me.”
“Shelagh … but, sweetheart, you’re not serious … are you?” The last words emerged as a whimper.
“Don’t make me take you myself.”
“Aw, Jesus. For crying out loud …”
“Not another word.”
Darren’s face was as red as any fire truck. He slunk away.
Mark watched the scene, a blend of horror and amusement in his expression.
Shelagh winked. “I’m just trying … something new. You gave me the idea, after all.”
“I gave …?”
“Come now, there’s Arthur Tanninger.” She pointed to a tall, balding gent standing alone at the edge of the mantel. His expression was sour as he watched the circle of Gracie’s admirers increase.
“Really,” he said, his voice a booming deep baritone. “Moby Dick? Homo erotica? Please.”
“Mr. Tanninger?” Gracie responded without a hint of guile. “I just finished your new novel … it was wonderful.”
He hurrumphed dismissively, but otherwise didn’t acknowledge her. The gentlemen surrounding Gracie however, returned disapproving glares toward Tanninger.
Then Gracie said in a whisper as clear as the tinkle of crystal, “What an asshole.”
The guests exploded with laughter. The great author stamped a foot and made straight for the door, passing Mark and Shelagh without even offering a “good evening.” When the door slammed another round of laughter erupted.
“Oh, dear,” Shelagh said.
Gracie was the belle of the evening as the distinguished gentlemen pressed in, exulting in her scent, admiring her glowing skin, enjoying her conversation. She had reduced them to a throng of admiring school boys.
Shelagh said goodnight to her last guest, who reluctantly also bid good night to Gracie.
“It was a wonderful evening,” Shelagh said, “considering the guest of honor left in a huff.”
“Sorry,” Gracie said.
“Oh, he’s so full of himself, even if he is a genius.”
Shelagh hugged Gracie. “So nice to meet you, hon. Let’s get together for a girls’ lunch.”
“I’d love it.”
“Well, I hope you don’t mind if I say goodnight too. Darren’s been waiting and I’ve been making myself crazy thinking of what I have planned for him.”
“My brother … such a devilish mind.”
“What? What did I …?”
“Can’t talk. Good night … love you.” She kissed Mark and Gracie, a peck on their cheeks.
Gracie and Mark showed themselves out.
* * * * *
Back at her apartment, Gracie trembled as Mark slowly undressed her. His nose nudged her hair, her breasts, then pushed against her pussy.
“Hmmm,” he said, “Smells like …”
She didn’t let him finish, but took hold of his hair and guided his face into her sex. She felt so naked … she felt … so beautiful.
© 2010 Robert Buckley. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.