He had awakened earlier than usual. His body naturally dawning with the sun - agile, eager and alive. He relished these rare mornings when the physical roused his consciousness from the umbral ooze of dreams rather than the abrupt blare of alarms. On days like this, his pulse was in tune with the tectonic shifts of the Earth as she lulled herself round her tethered course. This was how man was meant to rise – primitive and naked.
He let the remnants of a subconscious nocturnal escapade linger giving the morning an erotic tone like a far-off drum beat that can be felt more than heard. He willed himself up into the bathroom as the rigor and rigidity of the morning began to fade and he released all the nights toxins in a steady stream of dark amber urine. He mourned that men no longer piss on trees to mark their place in the world and leave their scent.
He began to consider how to make her his territory, to claim her as his and his alone.
He couldn’t contain his smile as a thought crossed his mind and he dove down the stairs to find his phone. He wondered if she would have hers turned off when she answered in her sleep, “hello?” “Meet me at Odessa for brunch at 10,” he waited for her response. “It’s 5 fucking am on a Sunday –“ and he hung up on her laughing to himself. He would have to wait a few hours to make the reservation.
Very pleased with himself, he began to make coffee. He would go for a run, get some things done and still have plenty of time to get ready. He was buzzing with anticipation when he reached for the coffee cup. It was in his hand before he even realised.
The moment and the incongruity caught him so off guard he had to steady himself. For a moment he didn’t know what had happened. He looked at the cabinet that was still open. What had made him reach up there? Habit? No. He hadn’t touched that cabinet since she left. Instinct? Maybe…but an instinct towards what? Feeling the cup in his hand for the first time in what was it…more than a year?...he realised it was joy.
He had tapped into a joy he hadn’t felt since she left, and in that moment he had instinctively, habitually reached for her cup like he used to do every Sunday morning when they lived together. It was like the groove beneath the scratch of album that had been played so well and so often the needle played the song rather than catching on the scratch as it had done for the past 15 months – and the notes that hadn’t been heard since the damage was done were equally welcome and haunting. The song remains the same.
He felt layers of time simultaneously, and he knew that if he wanted to go forward, he had to go back and let go. He looked at the cabinet door like Pandora’s Box with the remnants of pieces she had inadvertently left behind in her haste to run from him.
He picked up the earring that had fallen behind the mirror in their bedroom. He had held that earring for hours on end for months hoping that she had taken the other. He had prayed that she could feel him touching the one he was holding if she held hers at the exact same time. Like a quantum wish across what seemed like infinite space to him if only their timing was perfect. He sighed at the childishness of what he had done and dropped the earring into the garbage. If there was any hope in that connection, it was long over now.
He continued to make his coffee and to drink it out of her cup. It tasted sweeter and more robust in her earthen pottery anyway. He wondered if this development had anything to do with his current aspirations, and he bristled at the thought that he might be making the same mistakes. He would never really know why she left or what, if anything, he had done to deserve such cruelty. It fed his appetite for punishment, and he realised he was starving.
She was late, and he was delighted to have ample reason for discipline. She apologised, but in the same breath, she was completely annoyed that he had called to wake her at 5am on a Sunday. “Who does that?!” she demanded. The way he said, “I do,” made it clear to her she shouldn’t go one step further with the subject or her tone.
A waiter came and took them upstairs to the a small over flow dining room with only a few tables. The waiter told them the specials, and they ordered a bottle of expensive champagne. After they ordered, and the champagne was served, the waiter left, and they had the room to themselves. It was still early so the place wasn’t packed to the rafters, but it would get busier soon. In the meantime, they had the room to themselves.
“You know, I have yet to see you naked,” he said smiling at her in a way that made her twitch.
“No, you haven’t,” she waivered a bit.
“I’d like to see you naked now,” he said so matter of factly she almost laughed champagne through her nose.
“I won’t ask again,” he was resolute.
She was completely dumbfounded. He couldn’t possibly be suggesting that she undress in this very public place, but when she looked for him to admit he was joking, it was very clear by his demeanour that he was not.
He enjoyed watching her squirm, and he could almost see her heart pounding in her chest.
As she looked at him and his almost imperceptible smugness, she realised that he would never expect her to undress here and that it was a trap of sorts. If she refused, he could punish her, but what if she didn’t refuse? She decided to call his bluff.
She was dressed rather plainly but she had a couple of layers, and if she played it up, he might get embarrassed before she got too far and tell her to stop. She started with her shoes, which were lace up trainers. She began to take off her socks but stopped herself. Being barefoot in a restaurant just didn’t seem right. She looked straight at him before taking off her sweater, revealing an almost see-through white tank chamise over a sapphire blue bra.
She waited. He didn’t move. The door opened, and their waiter brought their order. He topped up their champagne glasses, asked if there would be anything else and left. He looked at her, “I’m waiting.”
Her mind raced. No matter where she went from here, she was going to be in a compromising potion top or bottoms. The question was which would be less embarrassing for her when their waiter came back, and how far would he let her go before stopping them both from getting arrested?
Her eyes flashed, and he caught the flare up. She stood up and pulled the chamise over her head laying it on the back of her chair. The blue of her bra made her skin that much paler. She was confident, but her breasts heaved as she tried to catch her breath. She was either on edge or on fire, he really didn’t care which. He looked at her as if to say, ‘get on with it.’
“I’m going to eat before my eggs get cold. If you’re not naked before I’ve finished, don’t bother,” and he began to eat.
She smiled ironically at his ability to up the ante as she had done, and she began to wonder if this was going to end with her naked in handcuffs – of the police variety. She was loath to back down, but she had to either take off her pants or her bra. It was the Sophie’s choice of disrobing. She wondered if she didn’t hear anyone on the stairs if she could strip quickly and then get dressed again before anyone come up. He had almost finished his eggs.
She reached her thumbs along the inside of her jeans, unbuttoned and unzipped them and pulled them off by the legs, revealing a matching sapphire blue thong.
“I like that you wear thongs. Turn around. I want to see you from behind.”
She turned and with her back to him, she unclasped her bra and let it slide forward. With her breasts almost exposed, a wave of pure adrenaline coursed through her and she became aroused in a way she had never experienced before. Whatever happened now, being shy about would be ridiculous. She turned her head over her shoulder to look back at him and she winked. He loved her guile, and her playfulness. ‘She will go far,’ he thought to himself.
His smile spurred her on and she took her bra off completely and threw it him. It landed across his face.
She turned provocatively around and let him see her ample breasts. She could see that not only was he pleased by what he saw, he was also impressed by her moxy. She looked directly at him to see if she should continue, and he didn’t flinch.
“I’m almost done,” he said as he skewered a sausage with his fork.
She was so high on adrenaline, she couldn’t stop herself. She bent over and removed her thong and her socks dropping them like stripper on her chair. She hesitated for a split second before regaining eye contact with him – and in that moment nothing and no one could shame or embarrass her. She might as well have been Cleopatra or Helen of Troy.
She heard the stairs creek as someone came up them outside the door and in a moment of sheer panic, she resolved not to humiliate herself by moving or trying to grab her clothes. It would have been pointless, and it would make her look and feel like a fool. She waited, but the door didn’t open.
He marvelled that she didn’t scamper like a frightened little animal, and he was almost disappointed by her seeming confidence in the face of being caught in such a compromising position. The others had pathetically tried to hide behind chairs. One even ducked under the table once. But She just stood there, unabashed, almost brazen.
Since she had upped the ante, so too would he. “You can come in, Raul,” he commanded, and as the door opened she went pale.
Raul entered thinking that he would see some frantic creature diving for cover. He had not expected to see such a statuesque figure standing proudly unclothed in the middle of the room. He closed the door behind him and walked as calmly as he could to their table.
“Raul, since you’re serving food, I assume your hands are clean?”
“Yes, of course, sir.”
“Good. Then would you mind sweetening my dessert for me? There’s jam on the table.”
She watched in disbelief as Raul picked up the jam pot and walked over to her. Her knees almost buckled as Raul dipped his fingers into the jam and spread some delicately on her nipples. He looked back for approval. “I’ll be eating all of her,” was the answer. And Raul took more of the confection and brazed her sex with the sticky sweetness. She couldn’t contain the convulsion of pleasure that ripped through her at Raul’s touch.
“Is she as tender and rich as she looks, Raul?”
Raul licked his fingers, ‘Hmmmm…very.”
“Thank you, Raul, that will be all.” And Raul left.
He looked at her with more satisfaction than he could have wanted, “Don’t move. I want to enjoy this.” After a few minutes of admiring her. He stood up and came to her. “You are exquisite. No one will disturb us now. I want you to enjoy this. You’ve earned it.”
He took her left breast in his hand and pulled it to his mouth, almost causing her to lose her balance, and he sucked the sweetness and bit her taut nipple harshly until she cried out. He did the same with the right. With some of the jam still on his tongue, he kissed her deeply, until she began to melt and tremble in his grasp. He set her back on her feet to balance her and then dropped to his knees. He looked up at her, and brought his mouth to her sticky, sweet, sex, licking and sucking the candy flavour until he could taste only her as she convulsed in waves of pleasure.
When she couldn’t take anymore, and he felt like she would swoon, he pulled her down to sit on his lap. He laughed as he brushed her hair out of her eyes, “I certainly hope Raul remembered to turn off the CCTV in this room this time.” Her eyes widened like saucers and they both burst in laughter.