And…well…part 3

Frank Lee on Amazon

~~~

Echo studied her hair in the rearview mirror of Hawke’s truck. He hadn’t done too badly cutting it, and it hadn’t taken her long to add a few finishing touches with the scissors. The change was simple, yet drastic enough she barely recognized herself. A sense of exhilaration played at the edges of her nerves. In a long sleeved blouse and oversized shades, Trey could pass her on the sidewalk and not have a clue who she was.

EchoBlack8            She closed her eyes behind the shades and leaned against the headrest. Hawke had parked alongside a row of rat palms and walked a block and a half to a drab, unassuming ranch house that looked like all the others in the neighborhood.

She took a deep breath and remembered the feeling of his hands. The way he’d caressed her skull that morning had put a slow storm inside her mind. The reality of how much she was relying on his help to disappear should have been at odds with the sense of impending freedom that curled around her like an aura. But it wasn’t.

It had been a long time since she’d thought trusting anyone, especially a man, was a good idea. In the beginning, her trust depended on a backpack full of cash, but when she discovered he’d given it back, everything rolled upside down. Whether he’d meant it that way or not, the gesture made it feel like he’d taken a willing step inside her personal conspiracy.

Trust was like an old pair of shoes that didn’t fit when they were new, but after you walked around inside them for a while they take on the shape of your feet. Echo had slipped them on without thinking and now she was getting ready to make the run of her life in them.

She wasn’t sure when she really fell over to trusting Hawke. It wasn’t any single thing she could name. There wasn’t any single moment. The way he’d cum had almost even frightened her. Something had come over him she’d never seen before. She remembered feeling the stark sensation his soul had shaken loose somehow and left his body to hover over them and watch. Everything else he was made of had poured molten down her throat.

She felt the shapeless pieces floating inside her.

His hands had slipped off the sides of her face to her shoulders and he guided her up to her feet. He’d started to wash her body, wetting her down with the nozzle and lathering her with his bare, soapy hands. His hands had been firm but careful, and she’d started to feel like a piece of sculpture being shaped an artisan’s hands.

He’d touched her without shame or apology, gliding slippery palms over her aching breasts, down the split between the spheres of her ass, between her smooth thighs, fingers brushing the awakening lips of her pussy. She’d bent forward, a long, deep sigh escaping her as her feet spread wider.

His left arm had curled around her body, holding her steady as she opened to him. Reaching more deeply between her legs, his fingers sank into the meat of her upper thighs. He scrubbed and massaged her, tucking her body tighter into his, leaning over until his face was against her neck. She felt his breath hitting her skin while his fingers slid through the swarming heat of her pussy, digging along her furrow and drawing a bead of her own moisture up over her bud.

He kept whispering “Echo” as he massaged her leaking slit. He put his lips against her damp neck and kept saying it as if he’d been forming complete sentences out of her name. He made it sound natural, as if had been her name all along.

His arm clasped more tightly around her, trapping her breasts under his tensed muscles while two fingers slid inside her, pushing and pulling as the motion of his lips against her neck changed from her whispered name to hungry kisses. Soon his fingers searched out the swelling of her clit. She turned her face in a needful reflex to kiss, but she could never turn far enough as he gripped her even more tightly, holding her until she could barely move except to grind against the thick finger pads mashing circles over her throbbing nub.

He never stopped, until her body shuddered in his hold, quivering against him while waves of intoxication undulated through her core. His cock was beginning to swell against her hip, but he never made a move except to hold her upright and swirl his fingers in constant motion over the breaking synapses in her clit.

This kiss against her neck turned back into a whisper of her name.

His cock was rippling with heat against her hip, but he never moved except to hold her tighter.

“Don’t you wanna fuck?” she asked, confused and a little irritated by his restraint.

“I don’t think I can help you very well if we fuck,” he said. “No one knows as well as I do what you’re breaking free of. I want to make sure you get where you really need to go.”

“The male of any species always protects the animal he’s fucking,” she said, her breath almost back to normal.

“Yeah,” Hawke agreed, “it’s just that it never seems to go that smoothly with human beings.”

She wanted to turn her face and be kissed, but she didn’t know if he was ready to feel her tears against his scar.

In five years, Trey had only made her cum once by accident. Even the dope hazed cluster fucks he supposedly put on for his friends were really all about him in the end. He was a vortex of psychotic self-absorption. His leering sycophants were no better, and it had always been up to her to look out for her own need to release. She took care of herself. She always had.

Later, when she went back to the trailer to change and found the money on her bunk, she had to sit down and let it all settle. She kept wanting to ask about it the whole ride into the city, but there didn’t seem much point in it.

It’s hard not to ask the questions you already have the answers to.

She thought back on the story Hawke had told her about her new name. Maybe Echo never really disappeared. Maybe it had only seemed that way because Narcissus didn’t have the vision to see her. Maybe she would tell it that way if the occasion ever arose.

She startled back into the moment when Hawke was suddenly jumping back in the truck. He tossed a slip of paper into her lap with numbers written on it and started the engine. He drove out of the neighborhood too fast for the short, residential blocks they were driving through.

“What’s this?”she asked, picking up the paper.

“Your second birth,” he said. “New social security number. That’s your ticket to everything.”

She silently thumbed through the sheaf of doctored cards and computer printouts.

“DW was with us all in prison,” Hawke went on. “Hacking charges. All that took him less than an hour. You’ll need to report stolen license and credit cards, and then you’ll get authentic ones, but you’ll be in all those systems. There’s a birth certificate for Echo James on record now in Cincinatti, and that’ll be enough to get you a legal passport.”

She nodded. “Echo James?” she said curiously as she read the name and number on the slip. “So that’s me, now, huh?”

Hawke kept driving faster. The muscles in his jaw were tensing, and Echo was still trying to decide how to ask the question when he went ahead and answered.

“Something’s up with The Monk. We’re going to have to step up the schedule.”

 

***

 

Hawke put his driving in check. Echo was nervous enough. She was rubbing her arm where the tattoos lay under her blouse. There was a cast of pensive determination on her face, and Hawke realized it was her way of looking worried. Two or three miles outside the main spoke of the village, Hawke pulled off the road onto sand half packed down by cars.

They were surrounded by an open valley spotted with scrub, and a few yards ahead of the truck stretched a huge, iron sculpture of a Chinese serpent dragon. There was a rusty, rough intricacy about it, with a massive head and a long row of arches stretching out behind as if its long body were slithering through the sand. It stretched half the length of a football field, and it was so bizarre and impressive a thing to find in such a place it almost erased the sudden news the worst part of Echo’s past was threatening to catch up with her before she’d even had a chance to escape it completely.

Hawke shut off the engine and mused over whether or not to tell her what DW had told him while setting up her new life, but it would have been redundant. She already knew. She was trying not to look at him as he sat drumming his fingers on the wheel. She put her hands in her lap and started doing something fretful with them.

“What is this?” she asked, allowing herself a brief distraction with the dragon.

“This local guy. Makes these things and puts them out here in the desert.”

She nodded as if it all made sense. He wondered if he should bother telling her it was a mistake to trust him more than he trusted himself, but he kept quiet. His eyes drifted to the filigree of ink on her hip where the cutoffs didn’t cover it all. He was aware of her watching his face as he studied the design. He reached across the seat and touched her decorated skin.

He suddenly realized he didn’t wonder what she’d be made of wrapped around a crisis anymore. It was what he’d been seeing in her ever since she’d arrived, but he knew she was still wondering as much about herself. Then he remembered that moment of grace in the way she’d crumpled in his arms through the shudders of her orgasm that morning. It was her body that collapsed, he who held her up, yet he was the one who broke inside.

“I can get ‘em changed,” she said, laying her fingers over his as they traced the lines and colors in her skin.

He shook his head. “When I was watching you yesterday from under the willow tree it was one of the first things I thought. You struck me as an impossible thing to hide. Like you were vibrating off the deep end. But since then…I’ve seen the way you look around and take it all in…like if you were decorating a room you’d put all the furniture inside it first before you started moving it around.”

She was looking away from him.   Out her window at the dragon’s tail.

“You’re like a raven now,” he kept going. “Yeah, you’re worried, and you should be, but you know there’s always a way through things.”

“Yeah,” she said out the window. “Long as you find it in time.”

“That’s the thing about ravens,” he told her. “They always seem to figure it out.”

The tattooed part of her skin felt warmer than the rest somehow. She pressed his fingers deeper into her flesh.

“They say ravens mate for life,” she said. “But I don’t know how they can know things like that. Not for sure.”

He was quiet a moment longer. “I don’t think you should do anything to change the tattoos,” he finally said. She started to say something but then didn’t. “Yeah yeah, I know. They’re like the flag of your whole life. And I’m supposed to tell you to change them. Wear clothes that cover them up. I’m supposed to teach you how to change everything, down to the way you talk and move. But I don’t want to. The more I know you the less I want to see you change into something else.”

She turned her face back into the cab and looked at him with embers in her eyes.

“Most people who come to me need changing to begin with…but you…you’re like this Maori warrior princess, all inked up to be more beautiful and fearsome.

“Thing about Trey…he’s no more or less than a rattlesnake. Step in his nest and he’ll strike, but get him too far out of his comfort zone then all he can do is hiss and writhe until something bigger or smarter puts him out of everyone’s misery.

“Just keep moving,” he said. “Trey will never make it as far as you will.” He stopped a moment and took a breath. “I don’t know what else to say. I can’t remember when I’ve said this much all to one person.”

She leaned across the cab of the truck and put her lips to his scar. They never pursed into a full kiss – just touched him – light and warm. His palm slid to the inside of her thigh, and a light rush of her breath blew across the signature Trey had left on his face. He thought about the way breath was nothing but air you pull down inside your body only to push it back out along with a little bit of whatever you’re made of. He closed his eyes and dug his fingers into the stingy meat of her thigh.

“I think I knew that,” she said, laying her head onto his hard shoulder. “It’s not really Trey I’m running this hard from. It’s me.”

They sat in silence a moment or two, just looking out at the big, rusty dragon head. The tips of his fingers slid under the frayed hem of her cutoffs, just at the edge of her panties underneath. It felt like vibrant heat was pouring off her skin.

“He probably knows The Monk sent you here by now,” he said. “The sooner you go the better.”

Her face turned into his shoulder. “We won’t have enough time, will we?”

All the possible things there wouldn’t be enough time for hung in the air – memories that would never get off the ground.

“No,” he said, “but you don’t have time for any unfriendly confrontations, either.”

“What about you? What if he comes looking for me?”

“Your business with Trey is finished. I can explain it to him in a way he’ll understand.”

Desert wind was blowing fine dust through the tall, rusty arches of the dragon’s body. Echo’s face moved against his shoulder while her hand came to rest on his thigh.

“Do you think people are the sum total of everything they do?”

“Almost never,” he said. “We’re supposed to believe actions speak louder than words, but it’s a person’s thoughts that trump it all. People do all kinds of things, but what’s inside doesn’t always align with whatever’s on the outside. Whatever somebody does…what they’re really made of can be a lot more or less than it looks like.”

“Even psychopaths and whores?”

“You mean like you and Trey?”

She nodded against his shoulder without lifting her face.

“Especially psychopaths and whores,” he said.

“Sure,” she replied with weak conviction. “Is that your party line for all the whores you help escape their own catastrophes?”

Hawke sighed and shifted his weight, bringing his hand up from her thigh and gripping a firm but careful handful of her hair. He guided her head toward the rearview mirror, leaning in close so both sets of eyes were reflecting back from the rectangle of glass.

“Everything I do is bullshit,” he said. “No one can ever teach you how to be someone else. No one can make you into anything you’re not already made of. But if you think someone like Trey treating you like a whore makes you a whore then you’re wrong.”

Her eyes were darting back and forth between his and her own in the mirror. “What if that’s all I am?”

He tightened his grip on her hair and leaned them both closer to the mirror. “Look at her,” he said, staring into the reflection of her eyes. “Can you look at her and believe that? Can you look in those eyes and say it out loud?”

An indefinable sense of longing pushed against Hawke’s chest from inside as he watched moisture and shadows wrestle back and forth in Echo’s eyes. A brief tremor passed through her body and she turned her head down and shook it. She turned away, and he got out of the truck to give her the moment to grieve alone.

He walked toward the massive, rusty dragon’s head, standing more than twice his height where it rose up out of the sand. Five arches stretched out behind it, with a massive, iron tail jutting up out of the sand on the other side of the road. Hawke suddenly remembered it was the year of the dragon, and he estimated Echo had probably been born in another dragon year.

Live or die, it looked like it was going to be her year after all.

He sat down in the shade under the big head and leaned back against the dragon’s wide throat. Nothing ever seemed urgent under the desert sun, never until it got low and the burn of day flipped over and turned to pure chill. The chill was hours away, but Echo’s time was already here.

DW’s message from The Monk hadn’t really come from The Monk. Too many questions about Echo and Hawke weren’t right. DW had agreed with Hawke, that Trey had likely caught up with him in the trailer where he lived and did his business in information and introductions. Echo would have found out about The Monk through Trey, and even she had to have known it would only be a matter of time before he knew which way she’d turned. It would have been better if it had taken him longer to find out, though.

Hawke was only slightly worried about The Monk. Even Trey wasn’t crazy enough to kill him – not when all his prison sons like Hawke and DW were paying attention – but what he was capable of doing to Echo given the chance wasn’t an option.

She had to go. Hawke would wait, and when Trey showed up looking for her, they’d finish the business that had begun in prison years before. He would bury Trey under the willow where he meditated. He’d sit on the grave of the only true enemy he’d ever had and breathe his way into moments of grace. It wouldn’t matter what color Echo dyed her hair.

Hawke watched her cry in the truck. She was a living thing about to break into blossom, and she was rubbing off on him. For the first time since he could remember, a curiosity about love had settled down inside the meat of himself, and all he could do about it now was mourn.

 

***

 

Echo watched him lean his head back against the dragon and close his eyes. She wiped her own with the backs of her hands and got out of the truck. When she got close, he looked up and reached for her hand, pulling her down to sit with him in the sand. She followed his hand down in a natural gesture, sinking onto the sand between his legs and leaning back against his body. He was wider and harder than she was. It felt like a familiar place to be.

Hawke’s chest moved against her body with his breath. His chin came to rest on the top of her head while his hands laced across her belly. She thought about the look on his face when he’d gotten back in the truck at DW’s. The urgency was clear in his eyes without having to say the first word. She’d known. Her stomach had rolled over with dread, knowing she would have to run before she was ready.

Sitting as they were, nothing seemed urgent in the moment. Hawke seemed to just flow around her, the way it had felt that morning behind his house after he’d washed her hair. It was disorienting to feel embraced through a harrowing time.

His chin moved and settled onto her shoulder, bringing the side of his face the scar was on next to hers. The sensation of strength flowing into her from the cradle of his body lit up a sense of the strength already inside her.

“It’s getting late,” she said, watching the shadows of the cholla cacti grow long. “You’re gonna tell me to leave tonight, aren’t you?”

“It’s better for you.”

“Maybe.” She raked her fingertips over the backs of his knuckles. “But there’s so much left to do. I’m still not sure how to become Echo James.”

“Then don’t. Let Echo become you.”

She sighed and pressed his hands against her belly. “Too bad you don’t teach people how to become themselves. That’s what I’d really like, but something always seems to get in the way. Like me, myself and I.”

His body swelled and deflated with a long, deep breath. Fingers unlaced and opened the button on her cutoffs, tracing the delicate edge of the panties underneath.

“There’s more of you in here than you think.”

“Didn’t you ever just want to reinvent yourself and disappear – do it for yourself like you do for other people?”

“I can’t get out of prison,” he said. “It wouldn’t matter.”

The ends of his fingers slid beneath the waistband of her panties and she wrapped her hands around each of his wrists.

“Did you know when you move you make me think of running water?”

“Don’t say it,” he told her. “Not out loud. Not now. In a few more hours you’ll be gone.”

“Gone.” A word half made of breath.

Hawke’s left hand made a hard crawl up the front of Echo’s body until he was gripping the base of her throat. The fingers of his right walked deeper into her panties. Walking and raking. Curling down over the curvature of her silken lips. She began to ache and flush.

“You’re already gone,” Hawke rasped against her ear. “You’re beyond the reach of men like Trey and me.”

“You wouldn’t say that if you’d ever seen…”

“So you say,” he cut her off.

A thick length of hard finger burrowed with soft insistence along the valley between her nether lips, laying into the rising core of heat. The finger curled into her yielding nest while the hand at her throat tightened its grip.

A barely perceptible tremor passed through his body. Echo felt surrounded by waves of anguish harbored too long inside him, gathering force to burst out in a sudden shower of burning ions. The gentle grind of the finger inside her was turning her core into a knot of impossible longing. Digging circles. Blood shifting gears in her veins. The hand around her throat pulled her back, pinning her tightly. She squirmed slightly – not in protest of his grip, but to feel it deepen against her skin.

“How many times have you turned new again today?” he asked.

She closed her eyes and arched against the dig of his finger. It felt as if her body heat was pouring into his hand while she thought back on the notion of her cells changing over every minute. His hand released her throat and gripped the open edge of the blouse she’d put on to hide her tattoos. He pulled, ripping it open as the buttons popped off one by one.

“I want you to tell me something,” he said, his hand grazing over the smooth swell of breast billowing up from the cup of her bra. “Think hard. In all your time with Trey…through all his little salon cluster fucks and sideshows…did you ever kiss him?”

His hand shifted to the other breast, slipping under the cup to grasp her warm flesh. His finger kept rolling over her billowing clit, and instead of making it hard to think straight, an unusual sense of clarity settled over her. The last five years came back to her in a flash of pristine images. For the hundreds of times she’d sucked Trey’s cock – or those of his cartoon hangers on – for the times she’d dragged her tongue over their acrid bodies – the times her lips had been smeared with spunk or somebody’s girlfriend’s pussy juice and Trey had kissed her like a terminal patient taking treatments without hope for a cure – she’d never once kissed back.

She started to laugh, but both of Hawke’s hands clutched harder and the snicker dissolved into a gasp.

“I thought so,” he said.

She reached up and touched the side of his face as she turned her head to him. He was grinning in his eyes but not on his mouth. She gave him a moment to kiss her, but he held back, his finger grinding agonizing circles around her clit while her nipple throbbed under the rolling pinch of his other hand. She angled her head and kissed him, pinning his broad lips with hers the way she’d been thinking about since watching him eat steak the night before.

It was as if his mouth had been waiting for her to realize taking and be taken were the same thing. She kissed him hard and his lips opened along with hers. Their tongues converged in swirls and his hand slipped out of her bra cup to the back of her head. She felt her breath flow from her body into his while he uttered a gasp that sounded like a backward moan.

Somewhere in the middle of it all, his finger slowed and the raw statement of the kiss became a somber dance of shared hunger. Hawke drew his hand from under her panties and backed away from her mouth while he smeared the honey from his finger across her lips. Echo barely had the moment to taste herself before he took her lips back with a voracious growl that rattled out of his throat into her mouth.

His cock was forming into a rigid bulge inside his pants that nudged Echo’s body as she sat tucked against his crotch. Her torso was twisted toward him as she leaned into the kiss, but she reluctantly eased away from his mouth and turned around to face him. Kneeling inside the span of sand between his legs, she quickly scanned the road as she pulled off her blouse and unhooked her bra.

“I thought I forgot what it’s like to kiss someone back,” she said.

“You kissed me first.” He was looking at her as if the door behind his eyes that had only been ajar had blown wide open.

“No,” she said. “You just didn’t use your mouth until now.”

 

***

 

She was squinting. On her knees in the sand but upright and tall for where she was. Hawke reached forward and slid the bra down her arms. She glanced again at the road and folded her arms under her breasts, her tight nipples peering at him from the ridge of her forearms.

He watched her eyes drift down to the straining bulge of his cock while he unbuttoned and unzipped his pants. He pushed them down his legs, letting his stiff shaft snap out and up against the taut flatness of his belly. There was a longing in her eyes that somehow reached beyond where she could see. There was a hunger in the shadows of her countenance.

He curled his fist around the fat girth of his cock and slowly dragged up and then down, her eyes following the gesture.

“I find myself not caring about things that used to matter. Must be running for your life does that to you,” she said.

She got to her feet and opened her cutoffs. They slid down her legs and she stepped out of them. She stepped toward Hawke and he pulled his legs together as she planted her feet on either side. From the angle of his seat against the base of the dragon’s throat, the shaven pout of her pussy stung him like the memory of every good thing he’d ever ruined and never had the chance to put right again.

He couldn’t bring himself to lift his eyes to her breasts. He knew she was kneading them with her hands now, tweezing her nipples to a puffy, rose-like crimson. He thought of the way they’d looked that morning when he washed her hair. He stroked his yearning cock and swallowed down the dryness in his throat.

“It’s not the running. It’s the thought you’ve probably wasted more time than you’ve still got coming.”

She lowered herself down on his legs, straddling him close to his waist. She put her hand over the hand stroking his cock and pressed his shaft against her mound. He pulled his hand away and let the feel of her hot skin on the underbelly of his cock sift into the flow of his blood. She fit inside the stream and flowed through him.

He reached for her breasts – smooth, pliant things that almost seemed separate from the rest of her until he rolled her nipples hard in his fingers and she let her breath catch the bottom half of a moan. She arched her hips and smeared the dampening furrow of her slit along the length of his cock, her fingers spanning down the spine side of his shaft.

“Remember what you said?” he asked. “About the male of any species…”

“…always protects the animal he’s fucking. Yeah. You said it never goes smoothly with humans.”

“Yeah…but I find myself not caring.” He ground his cock against her lacquered slit, her hands grinding and rolling his shaft in the nest of her petals. “I keep trying to think of how I can tell you you’re more than whatever Trey spent those years training you to see. More than agonizing lips and narcotic sinew and flesh. But the only way I can see through to saying it right is to bury myself so deep inside you the words don’t matter. Some things you can only say with your skin.”

“Then say it.” She pushed the oozing tip of his cock into the scalding gap of her maw. “Fucking say it.”

Hawke released his clawing grip on her breasts and reached for her shoulders, pulling her down as she corkscrewed her hips, enveloping his hunger swollen cock into the swirling darkness of her core. It was a hard position for thrusting, so they made do just rocking their hips in counterpoint. It wasn’t so much that he was fucking her, but stirring her from inside. The jagged rushes of breath in and out of her body began to sound like anguished sobbing. Her breasts quivered with her tiny heaves, leaving Hawke in a state of abject despair. She was running for a life he would never be part of.

He circled his arms around her body and held her so tightly against him she whimpered from the center of his desperate grip. He pressed the scarred side of his face against the flawed perfection of her breasts – not small enough, not big enough – nipples that couldn’t decide how pink to be.

He was holding her like he was the one who’d break into pieces if he ever let go. She laced her fingers through his hair, clutching his face tighter to her breasts as she sobbed and rolled her hips against his pulsing cock in voracious figure eights. Suddenly he felt the smooth mounds of her breasts go wet and realized the moisture was pouring out of his eyes. He uttered a strangled howl and shoved his body upward, not thrusting so much as lifting her up with his hips.

A red tailed hawk circling overhead answered him. A silent vulture circled another part of the sky ignoring them. They were too much alive to be worth a damn.

Hawke’s left arm held on tight enough for both of them as he pushed his right hand between their bodies and sought out the scarlet pearl at the apex of her slit. He mashed against the tiny, wet bundle of nerves with the pad of his thumb. Growls caught in his throat as he pressed and rolled and mashed her clit while she hugged herself against his disfigured face and shuddered. Her hips rocked harder but lost the flow of the rhythm they’d had before.

Hawke’s body kept trying to jerk and lunge but he could barely move between Echo’s writhing and the unyielding iron dragon behind him. Under the grinding circles of his thumb, it felt as if she were rippling like a tide of pollinated heat inside. Her lithe body jerked hard against him and she cried out sharply when he clamped her nipple in his teeth.

When the rocking spasms in her body subsided, she leaned back and held him by the shoulders. He pulled up a fistful of hair at the base of her skull with his left hand and drew her face in close. He kissed her in a synchronous blossoming of lips and rolling tongues. She raised herself higher on her knees, allowing him the freedom to move underneath her. Kicking his pants the rest of the way off, he pulled his feet up and guided her backward onto the sand.

Neither his tongue nor cock completely withdrew from her through the shifting movements. He was pinning her to the hot sand with his body – her hair still gripped in his fist – his broiling cock deeply embedded inside her while her smooth thighs formed a circle around his waist.

The long, hard kiss gradually transformed into a chain of smaller, softer ones. Hawke drew backward, bringing his cock out into the air until the blunt dome was poised inside the lacquered kiss of her sex lips. Dry, desert heat prickled against his ass and balls, and he waited, feeling the gentle grind of her pussy as she taunted him to hammer himself back home.

He leaned down and put his lips to the hollow at the base of her throat. She tasted slightly of salt and residual perfume. He pursed his lips halfway into a kiss, but let his tongue reach for her skin. His lips and tongue slid up her neck and over the curve of her jaw. When his lips were close to her ear, he began to glide his aching cock back down the hot, wet channel into her body.

“I’ll walk you to any border you want to go,” he whispered. “You won’t have to go that far alone.”

She touched the back of his head and rolled her hips while he drew backward and thrust again, harder this time.

“Why…would you…?”

He drew back and thrust hard. “I don’t know how not to.”

He began to rock his shaft in long, sweeping lunges through the slick heat of her living core. He tightened the grip of his fist in her hair without pulling, just holding her there against the sand. The slightest rocking motion of her hips felt like the roll of an incoming tide. He wasn’t thrusting so much but grinding and twisting the hard spine of cock deep inside her while he nibbled and lapped her damp, saline neck.

It would’ve been wrong to think she was coming to life underneath him – she was born alive and had never been anything less. She was looking at him with her head half turned away, with a delirious drive in the eyes blazing back at him. Her whimper-cries turned to gasps bottlenecked in her throat.

“I don’t…want to stop…don’t stop walking,” she half choked.

Hawke drove himself into her with grinding pumps. Wet slaps of his body onto the undulating pad of her flesh and bone. He kissed her with a long, deep, probing hunger. Then he let go of her hair and planted his fists knuckle deep in the sand on either side of her head. He rose up on straight arms, pivoting on his knees as he began to rock his stalk in and out of her body’s wet clutch. A bead of sweat rolled along his scar.

Echo’s hips started to undulate to the fluid lunging of Hawke’s straining body. The way she winced and her throat caught on paralyzed breath struck him in the center of his chest. Somehow, in the shroud of abject hunger enveloping him, threads of peace and clarity ran through the same fabric. It was the kind of feeling he caught just a few minutes at a time when he sat under his willow tree and followed the method The Monk had taught him back in prison.

Motion and sweat. Dying desert sun. Circling predators screeching in the sky. A woman out of nowhere cupping the last unbroken piece of his soul in the cradle of her damp thighs. She was flowing like a river flowing through itself.

He knew.

He needed to show her a snapshot of grace and survival in the hard hours before the great showdown between this life and the next. But she was rippling like a tropical storm inside and he was pounding his flesh through the eye. The tendons in her delicate neck tensed as she wailed in hunger and release – her voice piercing the silence of the vultures above. She balled her fists and beat against his arms and shoulders while her hips and pussy went spasmodic. Her gasping went staccato to the tense convulsions of her body.

Hawke arched his spine until the sun was hitting his wet face. He closed his eyes and felt the electric rush of cum crash through his cock into Echo and swore he was melting into her bloodstream.

She was still gripping his taut arms when he slowly lowered himself toward her. Leaning his weight onto his elbows, he buried his face in her neck. Her fingers dragged lightly across the back of his head.

Lying in the jagged shadow of the dragon’s head, Hawke couldn’t speak, but he knew he didn’t have to. When he kissed her throat, it wasn’t so much to love her as to pull the taste of her skin into his mouth.

 

***

 

They showered behind the house, but there was an urgency to move they hadn’t had to worry about that morning.

Hawke led Echo naked and dripping into the backdoor. The sky was turning colors she’d never seen before. Improbable cobalts and shades of scarlet she thought lava would look like.

In his bedroom, she fished through her pack for something fresh to wear. Blue jeans and a simple floral blouse with short sleeves. She didn’t worry about hiding her tattoos anymore. She was going to wear them as long as forever would last in her case.

Hawke pulled on jeans and a T shirt. He opened a panel in the floor of his closet and pulled out a black, nylon bag. He tossed it on the bed next to the bag of cash he’d given back to her. When he unzipped it she could see it was full of cash, but when he fished through it he pulled out a small bundle of passports bound with a rubber band. He flipped through them, pocketing one and stuffing the others back in the bag with the cash.

He scanned the room, looking like he was trying to decide something, but he finally turned toward her and paused. He seemed focused but calm.

“Is there anything left in the trailer you need?”

She looked at him and then the bag of cash she’d brought with her. Now it had the papers DW had forged in it, too. She shook her head. Hawked nodded, satisfied.

He stood and picked up both bags of cash while she shouldered a small duffel with a few changes of clothes for each of them. Everything they had was in one place.

“Let’s do it,” he said, and she followed him outside.

There was a row of Molotov cocktails standing on the hood of her BMW. She handed him the duffel, and he threw it along with the cash into the cab of his truck. She got a disposable lighter out of the car, and leaving the door open, started lighting the wicks in the bottles of gas he’d syphoned out of her tank. She was on the third one by the time she felt him come up against her side.

He stood in silence while she finished lighting the wicks. She wanted to ask him if he was sure he wanted to do this, but she already knew the answer. He grabbed the first bottle and whipped it through the open door of the trailer. The glass shattered and the fuel burst into flame.

He threw another one into the trailer, then five in through the open door of the house. She walked toward his truck while he heaved the last two through the open window of her car. Everything behind him was burning as he walked toward the truck.

Standing in front of her, he touched her face and met her eyes head on. “It won’t throw him off for long, but it ought to be long enough for us.”

She felt herself smile, and he put his arms around her and tucked her inside him. She silently noted the way he’d said us, then something popped somewhere in one of the fires. Gasoline and propane tanks would start exploding before long. She felt a deep, calm breath fill his powerful body and then seep back out. Then he kissed the side of her mouth, walked around to the other side of the truck and got in. He had the engine running before she pulled the door closed on her side.

He took it slowly down the slope back toward the desert road. She watched him keep checking the rearview mirror as the fires grew but faded in the distance behind them.

And…Part 2. Hope you continue to enjoy. Thank you for your time…always. Frank Lee on Amazon

 

~~~

 

“Echo,” he said. “It’s time to get started.”

She had to blink a few times to get focused. Hawke was sitting on the bunk opposite hers in the trailer. He was leaning onto his elbows down on his knees, watching her face even though the cropped T she went to sleep in had ridden up over her left, candy tipped breast. She wasn’t even aware of it until he reached over and gingerly pulled the edge of the T shirt down to cover her nipple.EchoBlack8

She smiled and closed her eyes again. The sound of her new name made it feel like the morning of some mythical tomorrow. She caught a brief sense memory of the night before when he touched her palm with the tip of his finger.

“Come around behind the house when you’re ready,” he told her. “Don’t wear anything you’re afraid of getting messy.”

By the time she opened her eyes he was halfway to the door. As she watched him walk out, she wondered how a man his size could move without making any noise. He might have come off as bulky if it weren’t the fluid air about him. Even moving around his cramped kitchenette last night reminded her of the way he’d been moving through his Tai Chi exercise when she’d walked in.

She kicked the sheet off her legs and swung her feet to the floor, taking a moment to wonder what Hawke meant when he said messy. She pulled off the T shirt she’d slept in and got up to look for something else to wear. She slipped on fresh panties and finally found a man’s button down shirt hanging in the cramped little closet adjacent to the sleeping section.

In a pair of flat heeled sandals, she went out of the trailer and walked around to the back of the house. It wasn’t nine o’clock yet, but it was already eighty-five.

There was a makeshift, open air shower to the side of the rear entrance, with dark slate stones for a floor and a hand held nozzle attached to a hose. There was a dingy, white plastic patio chair set on the slate, and to the side was a matching plastic stand.

Echo turned her back to the house and looked over the valley below. She saw the long snake of road she’d driven up on yesterday. The sight of where she’d been didn’t seem to connect anywhere with the last twenty-four hours of her life. Then she spotted the big willow tree up the slope and realized that’s where Hawke had come from the afternoon before. A moment later he came out of the house with a large coffee mug in one hand and a plastic bag in the other.

“Didn’t know if you were a coffee drinker.”

“Oh yeah.” Her eyes lit up at the sight of the coffee. She took the mug and drank. It was black, but it had enough sugar.

She kept sipping and watched him take scissors and hair dye out of the bag and set it on the little plastic stand. He toed off his sandals and then pulled off his T shirt, standing in a pair of dark, drawstring pants as he gave her a couple of minutes with the coffee. The sight of the scissors made her nervous. She passed her free hand through her hair two or three last times, but found herself distracted by the small tattoo of some kind of symbol on the left side of his chest, a couple of inches above his heart. It looked like writing in some obscure alphabet.

“Ok,” he finally said. “Why don’t you take a seat.”

He nodded toward the plastic chair, and she blew a sigh of resignation as she set her cup down on the plastic table and sat. Hawke moved behind her and wrapped a towel around her shoulders, then guided her head back. He picked up the nozzle and started to wet down her hair. He poured shampoo in his hand and started massaging her scalp. His fingers felt as if they knew her skull. They were patient and firm. He handled her hair like something that mattered. She didn’t know whether or not to be surprised.

Then he rinsed her hair and guided her head back upright. He picked up the scissors and started cutting around the base of her neck. Her locks fell away in long, wet strands. The air hit her neck and shoulders in a way she hadn’t felt in a long time. She almost forgot to worry about whether or not he knew what he was doing.

After he finished cutting, he rinsed her hair again and patted off the excess water with a towel. He walked in front of her and took a jar of Vaseline out of the bag and started to thumb-smear a bead all along her hairline. He was focused on what he was doing and didn’t seem to notice how she watched him. She let her eyes dart toward the dye, curious to see what color she was going to be.

“Never had dark hair before,” she said. Some kinds of time just needed killing.

“The color of a person’s hair is one of the most noticeable things about them. You’ll be a lot harder to recognize now.”

He was rubbing the jelly all around her neck.

“Yeah, ok. Just never changed my hair before.”

“Why would you?” he shrugged.

He pulled a pair of rubber gloves over his hands and positioned himself behind her again. The sun touched her throat as her head leaned back into his hands. When he started smearing the black dye into her hair, a short snicker escaped her throat.

“Afraid I’m ruining your head?” he asked.

“Not really. I can do pretty well fixing the cut as long as you don’t hack it up too badly. I was just thinking how my fate is literally in your hands.”

“Not really,” he noted quietly.

She kept going as if she hadn’t heard him. “Then again, I’ve spent half my life letting someone else read the map. I guess that’s how I ended up in Hell. Now I’m here trusting a man I haven’t known twenty-four hours to navigate me through the trickiest part of the road.”

“I just provide a service,” he said. “It’s not about trust. It’s just business.”

A brief silence fell while he combed the dye evenly through her severely shortened locks.

“So this is what happens. Live or die turns into a stranger’s business. Maybe I’m just getting what I deserve.”

She felt the careful drag of the comb punctuate his brewing thoughts.

“It’s always like that. For everybody,” he said. “Live or die is out of your hands, and it’s out of mine. But you took your own map back or you wouldn’t be sitting here, so that’s something. Just follow your instructions and you’ll be fine. No one will ever find you. Hell is where you’d be if Trey ever catches up with you, but we’ll make sure that won’t happen.”

She sat upright and turned to look at him at the sound of the name.

“You know him?” She had to squint to see anything.

Hawke nodded.

“How?”

“Prison.”

She hadn’t known Trey was ever in prison, but it made sense. The fact Hawke had actually known him then was still too surreal to process. He set the comb down and picked up the plastic shower cap. She kept her eyes on him the whole time he stepped back around in front of the chair and pulled the cap over her head, tucking her hair up underneath. Then he peeled the stained gloves off his hands and tossed them aside.

He took the little plastic stand and tipped everything off it, setting it in front of her and sitting down so their knees were almost touching.

“Trey, The Monk and me were all there at the same time,” he said.

His eyes were cast on her lap, where the split in the lower half of the shirt parted to reveal her panties, but she felt his gaze was somewhere else, his eyes averted downward in a gesture of deference. She felt the same sensation she had the day before when the car had spun out of control.

“I know you’re wondering if we were friends,” he went on. “This is his signature I wear on my face.”

She touched his face and ran her fingers along the long curve of scar tissue. She didn’t expect him to sit still for it, but he did. Silently. She felt his hand settle on her bare thigh at the same time.

She thought of the long scar running down the inside of Trey’s leg and realized Hawke was the one who put it there. Now she knew why The Monk had sent her to Hawke when she’d asked him for help.

“It’s not like you think,” she said. “You think people turn away because it makes you ugly. It’s just extreme. Extremes make most people nervous. It’s not that they don’t want to see where you are – they’re afraid to see where you’ve been.”

She put her other hand on the other side of his face and he lifted the shirttail, exposing more of the ink on her hip.

“The tattoos are going to take time to change,” he said. She could tell he was still taking in what she’d said in the back of his mind. “Or else you’re always going to have to be very careful about ever letting them be seen.”

He hooked his finger under the edge of her panties and pulled them aside to reveal more of the image. He traced the lines with the tips of his fingers. No one had ever touched or studied them the same way. He did everything with her hands on his face. She didn’t want to let go for some reason.

“Three days ago I fucked two guys on Trey’s living room floor. They were friends of his. That’s all I knew about them, even though they had me in the middle, one of them up my pussy while the other went up my ass at the same time. It was for Trey and a bunch of his other friends. It was always for Trey’s friends. Fucking gutter trash that made him feel like the grand impresario. Just another one of his little parlor shows he liked to put on for his freak buds. He’s like a dog telling jokes to its fleas. But I fucked ‘em both like I meant it. It’s just something I always knew how to do. Fuck, I mean.

“They were drinking absinthe and sitting there like a bunch of opera critics, except the arias all ended with cumshots. They had lots of laughs and plenty to say. Critics rating the soprano’s performance. Open debate on the way I was grinding those fucks on the rug. Even the color my slit turned soaking wet and pounded hard for the boys.

“Trey even asked us to stop in the middle of everything and move ‘cuz they wanted a better look at my asshole. It’s something he’d do, make sure we all knew he had the best view of me getting plugged in, always reminding me he was there. But I think he just likes watching better than fucking. Fucking’s too much work.

“But then he told the one in my ass to spank me. So he did. I tried not to flinch, but it took me by surprise. He laughed and just smacked me harder. However hard he smacked me they just kept telling him to smack me harder. He hit like a fucking girl but they all loved it. He finally got so excited he pulled out and started spanking his cock.

“The others were laughing and telling him to squirt on my ass, but he just whacked himself so hard he started shooting everywhere and he ended up squirting half his cum on his buddy’s balls. His buddy freaked out, like he was too big a stud for that shit, but his cock started twitching and he shot off like a firecracker. He waited until he was done before he just shoved me off onto the rug and got up and started pushing his buddy around for getting spunk on his balls.

“Everybody was laughing, except the guy with cum on his nuts. He was puffing up and telling everybody to fuck off, but he kept rubbing his balls the whole time, like he couldn’t get enough of feeling his own cum spattered nuts.

“I don’t even remember if Trey bothered telling me their names. Thing is – I know I wouldn’t have been listening if he had. What’s the fucking difference if it was Bill or Bob?

“Anyway, later on, you think one of those motherfuckers would look me in the eye without that what a nasty little fuckwhore you are gleam in their eye? You’ve probably never seen it. It’s like someone’s looking at you but not seeing you. Even Trey, like always. He’d get this fucked up glaze in his eye like he wouldn’t dare touch me in front of his friends. But it never failed. He never wanted me to clean up. Just wait for him. He liked me used up and messy.

“So,” she finally paused, “a little score on your face isn’t what makes you ugly. Even if the devil himself put it there.”

When Hawke finally looked up at her face, there was the same guarded silence in his eyes that had been there every time he’d looked at her long enough. Nothing had changed. She waited to see the clouds of derision pass through them, but they never came.

His hand slid off her thigh and he lifted her arm with both hands, holding it up and studying the illustration just as he’d studied her hip. Exaggerated red tail hawk descending on thorny roses.

“We’d have to go some to find an artist who could do a passable job of altering these,” he mused. “We’ll work around it. There’s always a way.”

“Ok.” She nodded.

He set her hand down on her thigh and came upright, facing her without flinching.

“Some days are sunny and sweet,” he said. “Others you just get caught in the shitstorm. It’s just whatever the day blows over you. Doesn’t hurt to have a good umbrella, though.”

She reached to touch his naked upper body before he had a chance to keep going. “You’re here now because you finally realized how much stronger you are than all of them,” he said as her palm moved across his chest. “It’s like that guy who got his friend’s cum on his balls. He’s walking around feeling like he’s got a stain on him now. Even if he’s aching for more. But I think you know the only stains are the ones we put on ourselves.”

He had a way of smiling with his eyes without having to use the rest of his face. She could feel her cells changing over – driving her toward that next minute of newness – while her own smile hit her face. He smirked, looking at her as if the shower cap made her look silly.

“You know, Echo,” he said, brushing his knuckles across her cheek. “I think you’re gonna look beautiful with dark hair.”

 

***

 

Hawke watched Echo kill time through the rear window of the house. In about twenty minutes, she could take off the cap and rinse her new hair. After he’d gone inside, she took off the overshirt and sunned herself in the chair. Nothing but scant, white panties and tattoo ink. She almost looked relaxed. Her breasts sat on her crossed forearms like rose tipped delicacies that sent a feeling of restlessness coursing through his veins.

He tried to reconcile the image of her sitting there now with the one she’d revealed out of her life with Trey. A feeling of responsibility nudged at the edges of his consciousness. He didn’t know if he’d feel the same way without his own history with Trey. He wanted to believe he would, but he wasn’t convinced.

There would have been a kind of elegance in the things she’d done for Trey and his friends. It was ingrained in her. A stirring of sensation swirled in his cock as he began to think of her with unmentionable shades of pride and jealousy.

Soon, the cap would come off her head and she’d look different. He’d teach her how to be someone else, while the same essence that made her what she was would always remain inside. She’d learn how to disguise a basket of gold as coal. They were about to create a woman who would never really exist.

She was going to be a magnificent ghost.

He turned from the window and went to the sofa where the backpack full of cash was lying where he’d tossed it the night before. He picked it up and quietly carried it out of the house across to the trailer. He went inside and left it on the bunk she’d slept in.

The clothes she’d been wearing the day before were strewn across the other bunk. There wasn’t much to them. A scant pair of shorts, Tshirt and panties. Something about it felt sad, as if there was somehow less of her to help disappear from the life she was fleeing. But the truth was that she would be easy to notice wherever she went, and he knew Trey well enough to know he would never give her up easily.

He picked up the T and held it to his face. When he inhaled he felt like his head filled with something that had been part of her. He felt light headed and put the shirt back down. He looked at the scant, rumpled panties lying next to it. Knowing how bad an idea it was, he picked them up and held them to his face. The rush of her scent forced his pulse to spike.

It felt like his entire consciousness was filling with something raw and primal. She became a stark reality that drove his blood. His cock swarmed with sensation while images of the animal she became on Trey’s living room carpet jolted his brain. Depraved lust elevated to gestures of grace and power. The animal she became was inside him now.

He closed his eyes and sat on her bunk, pressing her panties to his face with both hands. There were faint traces of body soap filtering through the patina of her sweat and honey. As always, his body was still and centered, but inside his bones began to rattle.

He took one more lingering breath and put the panties back where they’d been. He wanted to inhale her again, but he needed to keep his head clear. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d met anyone who’d spent as much time alone as he did. She was the entire list.

He floated silently out of the trailer and walked around the house to the back. The shower cap was lying on the slate around the shower nozzle, along with long, discarded strands of blonde hair that didn’t seem to belong to her now. She was spraying herself down, head back as she fingered out the strands of hair.

The spray glistened, ringing her dark head in a halo of sparks. The water and her body seemed like parts of the same continuum. Her skin had a buttery quality, and she moved around inside it as if she were connected to something unseen but there in the air surrounding her.

When she cut the spray and palmed the water off her face, Hawke’s senses brought the pungency of her essence back to life in his head the moment their eyes met. She seemed perfectly at ease with her nakedness as he stepped toward her and picked up the face cloth he’d brought out earlier. He held her by the back of her head and wiped the remaining Vaseline off her face.

“You look like a gypsy woman now,” he said.

“Guess I’ll be living like one. On the road and all.”

“For a while.”

He dropped the cloth and picked up the conditioner from the dye kit. She bowed her head and let him massage the conditioner through her hair. The scent of the conditioner blended with the sense memory of everything he’d inhaled through the panties in the trailer. His fingers worked her skull with firm patience, and he felt her hands come to rest on either side of his bare torso.

“Hawke…”

He couldn’t answer. It would’ve been better if they could have done all the talking they needed with their hands.

“…I get scared,” she went on. “Like it comes and goes. It’s not all the time.”

“Being scared isn’t always bad.”

Her hands made small passes over his skin. “I think I’m more scared of fucking up than anything else.”

“That’s good, except most of the time we don’t know we’re fucking up until much later. Seeing you reminded me of that.”

He took his hands out of her hair and took hold of the nozzle. She was still touching his sides, her palms tracing slow, familiar circles. Water dripped off the tips of her breasts. Her nipples were thick now, and her shaven pussy was never completely out of his peripheral vision.

“How?” she asked.

“Years ago,” he told her calmly, “I had the chance to kill Trey. There was a riot, and no one would’ve ever known. But I didn’t want to have to live with that. Even a sociopath like that. But now, seeing you…a glimpse of everything he’s done ever since…maybe it’s just as bad having to look you in the eye and know I could’ve spared you everything you ended up going through.”

He squeezed the nozzle and started rinsing the conditioner out of her hair, using his free hand to finger-comb the strands back.

“Now I know why you scarred each other up so bad,” she said, tugging the knot on his drawstrings. “You’re the complete opposite of each other.”

The pants fell around his ankles, and keeping her left hand on his hip, she caressed his cock and balls with the other. The blood pouring through his body turned into something vaporous while his shaft inflated in the stroke of her hand. He quit finger-combing her hair and held the spray just above her head a few seconds more. Then he cut it off suddenly and let it drop and dangle off the hose against the side of the house.

He reached for her face with both hands, but she was already sinking down to her knees. She warmed the head of his cock with her breath as she massaged his growing shaft. Her left hand moved under his balls, cupping and rubbing them as he swelled in her stroking fist.

“There’s another thing,” she said, letting her tongue flash across his cock head. “If you’d killed him back then, we wouldn’t be here like this now. So maybe everything went the way it was supposed to.”

She leaned in and took the dome of his cock into her mouth. Hawke held the sides of her face and watched her cheeks move as her tongue rolled around the ridge of his head.

The moment the slick heat of her mouth enveloped his flesh, everything was suddenly magnified: every touch, gesture and furtive glance. He would never be able to see her objectively now.

He could feel the heated ooze of his precum seeping onto her searching tongue. He fingered dark strands of hair back from her forehead and ears. He almost didn’t recognize her. Even the ink on her body seemed different. She wasn’t the same woman who’d driven up the day before.

“So this is the way it was supposed to go?” he uttered between the quiet rush of each breath.

She slipped her moist lips further onto his considerable shaft and lifted her eyes toward his face. The exotic color of her irises darkened as her look defied him to say otherwise. She looked at his face with neither sultriness nor innocence. Nothing but the unvarnished truth flashed in the wet jade of her eyes.

Hawke knew the only thing about being faced with the naked truth was there was nothing to do but believe it.

He traced the ring of her lips with the pad of his thumb, feeling the restless motion of her tongue inside her mouth. Her eyes averted as she moved her head, sliding her lips back and forth along his cock while she fondled his churning balls in the palm of one hand.

She wasn’t used to the new length of her hair as it kept slipping loose from behind her ears and dangling in her face. Hawke laced his fingers into her damp locks and pushed them back. He didn’t want to look away from her face. He wanted to see her eyes again but she wouldn’t look up.

His cock felt like pure, throbbing heat as she fucked him with her tautly pursed lips. The wet ring of her mouth slipped along his burning flesh with steady patience. Unhurried determination. She was focused, but on herself as much as him. She was there to take as much as she was willing to give.

Blood gushed through his body with fresh force, while the hand under his balls slid further. She clawed up a fistful of his ass cheek in her left, pulling him open while the middle finger of her right pressed lightly against his rim.

Hawke’s fingers curled into fists, grasping Echo’s short, dark hair as his deepening breath transformed into a tide flow of snarling. She was pulling air into her lungs almost as desperately as Hawke, uttering sudden gasps around his cock while the tip of her finger ground harder against his tight hole.

When her finger made a careful surge up inside him, the grip of his fists tightened on her hair. He wanted to tell her everything sweeping through his mind, but he was lost, falling through the warm, dark space of her touch and wet heat.

Her fingers clawed harder into the tight muscle of his ass, while the finger inside him began to rock in and out to the second knuckle.

Hawke breathed in staccato grunts while air rushed in and out through Echo’s nose, her mouth remaining in constantly building motion along his pulsing shaft.

Suddenly, he released his grasp on her hair and beat his fists against the side of the house as his cum burst like a sudden storm in her mouth. She quickly yanked her finger from his ass, sending a wave of gushing sensations through his body.

He could feel the muscles in her mouth move as she drank down the rushing flow of his cum. They became a single river of sensation, two tributaries flowing together as her desire to run and live merged with the marrow of his bones.

After everything went dark and light, he remembered to look back down and discovered her still holding his cock in her mouth with closed eyes. Her tongue rolled in lazy circles as he brought his hands back to her face. Her skin felt soft as orchid petals, but his heart had only begun to learn just how durable this Echo could be.

For a brief time, I’d like to make my novella, Echo’s Run, freely available here. Due to its length, it’s going to be posted in three parts. This was a story that resonated with me in the writing perhaps more than any other, and I hope it may speak to just a few more people as it’s posted in its entirety here. The second and final parts will both appear before the week is out. Thanks, as always, for taking whatever time you have to spend with what I write.

 

Echo’s Run I

 

The machine streaked across the desert, screaming through bleak vistas of scorched earth where nothing lives without a little outside help. Joshua trees and desultory vultures. Fossils buried under the salt floor of ancient seas. She was hammering the gas, white knuckling the wheel until the screaming of the engine drowned out the screaming in her mind. She was riding inside a shot bullet, all done and hurtling toward any bull’s-eye she could hit. There was a world of shame in the rearview mirror and a vortex of impossible questions ahead in the blinding beyond.EchoBlack8

Lean muscle danced under the blue ink hieroglyph down her arm, taut sinews singing as she pushed the tiny flash of metal past RPMs she didn’t bother counting. Everything played games just below the surface of her skin: angels and devils flirting with delicious catastrophes, the appetite for better dreams swimming against the rush of her blood. When she caught a flash of her eyes in the mirror, the shadows she knew had been living behind them were gone. She didn’t know where, but it didn’t matter anymore.

The whole idea of gone took on a strange new meaning. It was where she was now – where she was headed – and the sudden revelation of freedom made her cells prickle with something soft and electric. She’d never been more alone, yet she couldn’t help thinking maybe this was what being in love must be like.

She almost felt herself turning beautiful again, the way she was before the dark ages of manifold appetites and penthouse excuses unplugged her sparkle. Even under the ink and scars it felt like her skin was changing into something better than it used to be.

A new name, a couple more borders and she was home free.

Then something moved in the middle of the lane ahead, and by the time she realized it was only a scrubby headed turkey vulture gnawing up roadkill she’d already hit the brakes too hard. The car fishtailed and she pulled the wheel too sharp into the skid. But even as the car veered onto the rocky desert sand a strange sense of calm came over her. Whatever happened now could never go as wrong as everything before it.

She took her hands off the wheel and pressed them up into the ceiling, closing her eyes while she felt the vehicle bounce and spin. She took one bounce hard enough to make her wonder why the car didn’t roll, but she felt separate from it all, pressing her hands even harder into the ceiling, pinning herself down against the seat. She was steady under all the layers of chaos. There was nothing to do but wait for the car to lose momentum and finally crunch up against a tree on the passenger’s side.

She sat a moment, waiting to be sure the car had really stopped. She pulled her hands back down to her lap and opened her eyes, realizing the engine hadn’t even stalled. She shut it off and got out. The car was layered in grit and heavily scuffed. The dust trail behind her still drifted on slow moving air. The right front headlight was smashed, but the tires were all okay…and so was she.

She walked over to the road and looked off in the direction she’d come from. The vulture was already back where it had been before the skid, finishing off what was left of its meal. She laughed a moment or two, then looked around at the vast expanse of beautiful nothingness. She wondered if it was wrong not to feel disoriented, but as the desert heat licked at the pores of her skin she felt calm. Her heart felt strong and steady, like a secret fist.

Every moment was nothing more or less than whatever was happening inside it. She was alive and perfectly self-contained, even if she wasn’t supposed to be.

The long, black thread of road shuddered with heat ripples in both directions. She pulled her cropped T shirt over her head, then toed off her sandals and unzipped her cutoffs, pushing them off along with her panties. She stood naked in the center of the road and touched her breasts. Her body felt weightless, but there was a heaviness to her breasts that felt comforting. Hot desert air swarmed through the space between her sinuous thighs. Shaven slick as Teflon, her pussy felt touched.

She looked up and then down the road again. More of nothing piled on top of nothing. Freedom was letting the sun kiss her body like a secret lover in the middle of a road no one needed anymore. She closed her eyes and pinched her nipples. The heat felt like ions raining on her skin.

She opened her eyes and started walking toward the vulture, the heat of the pavement nearly burning the soles of her feet, but she was too consumed with being alive to care. She stopped and stood fifteen feet from the vulture. It just kept digging and eating.

“You don’t want me, so I guess that’s a good thing,” she said.

The vulture ignored her. It made her think of those twisted old widows she saw once in Mexico. She turned and walked back toward her strewn clothes. She owned the last remaining secrets of the world now, and the notion was almost enough to make her wet.

She stopped in the middle of the road, her feet planted on either side of the ghost of a center line. The desert air merged with her skin. She touched her palms to the insides of her thighs and followed the line of empty road with her eyes until it thinned into whatever was going to happen next. She pushed against the meat of her own body until her blood stopped. The pressure against her muscles pried against the petals of her pussy.

Air hotter than her skin licked at her half splayed lips. Open desolation lay out in every direction. Her hands slowly closed in on her pussy, thumb crossing over her mound while her fingers dragged along her folds. Sense and moisture. Right hand finger dug and parted her flesh. She flushed slick and pushed her finger inside.

She owned everything and possessed nothing. She stirred herself slightly, feeling her blood rush and then slowly dragged her finger back out. She set her feet further apart on the pavement and rolled the clustered pads of her fingers along the slippery crease of her sex. Something caught inside her she couldn’t stop. Something she didn’t want or try to stop.

She threw back her head and closed her eyes. Highway and desert spun around her in the darkness, and the caught thing inside her locked up in her muscle and sinew. Her fingers slicked up inside her, pump strokes of her own, haphazard design until the scarlet pearl riding the apex of her core pulsed in waves that shivered through the stone clench of her body.

She couldn’t stop the caught thing inside. She couldn’t stop anything, couldn’t stop being alive until the waves became a vortex and she opened her eyes to see the open world around her. The only real living thing for miles in every direction – naked and taking flight – she felt like a secret too thrilling to even tell herself. Her body clenched around the explosion of heat in her cells. She buckled from the middle and lightly stamped a bare foot on the tar as the waves of sensation rose up through her body and disseminated in the air.

She was twenty-six and knew how to move in and out between beats of the earth’s heart, but it was the first time there was ever a vulture over her shoulder that wasn’t there to eat her alive.

Her finger moved and stirred inside. There was a difference between touching and feeling, but she had yet to learn what it was. She slowly drew her finger out of herself. She stuck it in her mouth and sucked. She was free enough for now.

She gathered up what little there was of her clothes and put them back on, then went back to the car and started it up. It took a couple of minutes to work it back onto the pavement. She idled a moment on the shoulder and took another look at the hand drawn map on the passenger’s seat. She knew every line and scrawl by heart now. The X on the map wasn’t much farther. A man she’d never met before would be expecting her, and so was the person he was waiting to help her become.

 

**

 

Hawke was sitting Lotus style under the old willow behind the house and trailer. His back was to the trunk, his eyes focused on the blurred lace of the tree’s canopy against the sky beyond, but he wasn’t seeing it now. It was only the point where he always started. After focusing on the leaves for several minutes, his thoughts would begin to blur and merge until his mind became as clear as water. It never lasted more than a few minutes, but the feeling of being in tune with himself would be with him for hours.

Prison zen that had stuck with him.

Breath went in and out of him like a circle, but when the car pulled in he was nearing the end of his usual peak. He’d been expecting her, but he didn’t move when he heard the tires crunch up to the front of the house. The engine shut down and the door opened and shut as he sat a moment more. He took one more, long, slow breath and floated to his feet, but he stayed where he was in the cool shade under the willow, hidden behind the dangling skirts of its branches.

She was driving a 3 series BMW that had seen better days than today. She walked a circle around it, cautiously checking out the house and the trailer that faced it on an angle, keeping her distance. She scanned the area, her gaze sweeping across the hillside where the tree was, but she didn’t see Hawke hidden behind the skirt of branches and leaves.

She was out in the open too much. She moved too much like a bird and not enough like a cat. People were earth bound creatures. She was going to need a lot of schooling.

Her legs had a long, sapling-like quality about them in cut-offs too small to let her be anonymous. The tattoo on her upper thigh probably reached up across her hip. It matched the ink on her arm; same motif and style. Probably the same artist, Hawke assumed. Her breasts weren’t overly large, but they were slightly out of tune with the hard willowy look of her body. At least her long, blonde hair could be cut and dyed.

The tits and ink were going to be a problem, though.

She called his name a couple of times, once toward the house and once toward the trailer. She finally went to the front door of the house and banged her small fist on it a few times.

Hawke waited. If she was bringing anyone else along to the party, knowingly or otherwise, now was the time to find out. He waited long enough to let her start thinking he wasn’t there. She banged on the door of the house again and then stalked across the gravel drive and banged on the trailer door. She started to look worried and paced around the car some more.

Her body started to fill with tension, but she finally seemed to deflate and went to sit in the small square of shade under the awning over the door.

Hawke watched her sit another ten minutes or so. She was understandably tense, but she knew how to wait. That much would always be in her favor. When The Monk had called to set up the meet, he’d given Hawke the impression she was just another party favor running from her own bad choices, but there was a weight about the blonde that wasn’t on her resume – self-aware without being self-absorbed. He could feel it from there under the tree. She was rumpled and dusty, a woman not above allowing herself to get smudged.

Instinct prickled the follicles at the base of his neck. He passed a couple of minutes considering whether or not to wait long enough for her to get fed up and leave. She didn’t read like the type who would need his help, but he finally stepped out from under the tree and started down the hill. As he drew closer and got a better look at her car, he caught a good idea of the kind of time she’d had getting there. She didn’t notice him until his shadow cut across her bare legs and she looked up squinting.

“You know who I am?” she asked.

He nodded. “Only what The Monk said.”

“So, then…you knew I was coming?”

“Let’s go inside.”

She stood up and looked a little awkward as she waited for him to open the door. The house wasn’t much bigger than the trailer, with a small kitchen and dining area on the left and a living room on the right. Hawke went to the refrigerator and pulled out two bottles of water. She was still standing by the door when he turned around. He set one of the bottles on the table and leaned back against the counter, uncapping the bottle he kept for himself.

She didn’t seem to know what to do next. She was watching him for a sign, but all he did was angle the water bottle to his mouth and drink. She moved to the table and sat, opening the bottle he’d set there and drank.

He watched her throat move as she drained half the bottle. Something shifted inside him. Delicacies always sneak out from the corners you don’t expect. A feeling came over him that call from The Monk would have been a good one to miss. Whoever was looking for her was probably committed to finding her. It’s what Hawke would do if he lost something like her. Once upon a time, anyway, in the days before he’d lost himself.

But he was used to losing things, and he was better at it than most people. She put the bottle back on the table and looked at him expectantly.

He watched her wait. She had the kind of beauty that was intense but not angry. Even now. Her eyes were serious but without fear. Maybe that was even a good thing.

“Did The Monk tell you anything about what to expect?” he finally asked.

“He just said I should do what you tell me or I’m probably fucked.”

Hawke nodded thoughtfully. “You’re down to your ninth life or you wouldn’t be here. I’ll help you change the most recognizable things about you. Few more days and you’ll be somebody else.” He paused a couple of beats and she nodded, the attentive pupil. “Are you careless or stupid?”

She shook her head no. There was no exaggeration to the gesture but no hesitation, either. Hawke reached in his pants pocket and pulled out a key, then slid it across the table in front of her.

“You’ll stay in the trailer while you’re here. There’s not much in there, but at least the basics. Clean sheets, lights and hot water. There’s no food so you’ll have to come back here if you get hungry.”

She didn’t say anything, but as soon as he said the word he realized she’d probably gone most of the day without food. Her eyes were pale jade, but there was something darker about them –a shade that had nothing to do with color – like someone else was sitting inside the raw shell of woman sitting at his table.

“You’ll be comfortable enough in there for a couple of days. Go settle in. Shower’s working if you want. I’ll see about putting something together to eat.”

She looked disoriented for a few seconds when he mentioned eating, but she caught herself and nodded. She got up to go and then paused with her hand on the door.

“Do the people you help like you’re helping me ever say thanks?” she asked without looking at him.

“No.”

“Not ever?”

“No.”

He watched her study the door knob a moment longer. She fingered strands of stray blonde behind her ear. The relationship between her jaw and cheekbone were like few things he’d seen.

“Do they ever tell you their names?”

“Absolutely not.”

She nodded – unsurprised by his reply – and walked out. Hawke opened the refrigerator and started taking inventory.

 

**

 

The trailer was cramped but everything was crisp and tidy as an old motel room. Fresh sheets were folded and stacked on one of the bunks. The lights turned on and water ran in the kitchenette. The moment alone made it all feel more comfortable somehow. She tested the shower and water ran there, too. She left it running and peeled off her top and shorts.

She stepped inside the tiny stall under a weak spray just warm enough to pretend it was hot. Dust and fatigue ran off her skin and pooled around the drain. She thought about the scar running down the side of Hawke’s face from his brow to the edge of his jaw. She’d wanted to ask him about it. He was handsome all around it, but he kept turning his face the other way when he caught her looking.

It wasn’t the kind of scar a boy gets falling off a swing.

She thought about scars as she slid a fresh bar of soap across her wet skin. Hers were all on the inside, and until recently, she’d thought they were self-inflicted.

Suds ran down the ink on her body. Right arm, left hip. The images were crisp but the colors were dull when you looked at them too long. It was the quality of her skin that made them vibrant. Blood red flowers and mythical war birds. She was a story with a beginning and end but no middle.

She realized the ink on her body was as much a burden to her now as Hawke’s scar was to him. For all the promises The Monk had made about what Hawke could do, she knew he could never turn her skin upside down. She hadn’t missed the way he’d quietly studied her. He’d kept the annoyance off his face, but it had passed through his eyes like the shadow of a pendulum.

The Monk had told her she would need a miracle to slip away from Trey, but Hawke had looked at her like she’d squandered all the currency she had to buy one. She realized the truth of her survival rested somewhere in between.

She leaned back against the cramped enclosure and closed her eyes as the dull jets of tepid spray pelted her breasts. She reached up and clutched each one hard, squeezing and kneading her pliant mounds until her nipples ached. She pinched her growing nipples and thought back to when the car had spun out around that vulture in the desert.

Her knees started to bend as her right hand dropped down her body. Her skin felt wet and slick as her fingers formed a half cup over her bald pussy.   She felt warm, pliant and alive. A thousand oily liars had told her she was beautiful, but the words had only ricocheted off the shell around the burning lamp down in the window of her soul. Everything they said – the way they’d all looked at and touched her – never connected with the lost animal inside.

The web of her fingers pressed into herself. In the moment she closed her eyes and felt only the spray against her body and the pressure of her hand between her thighs, she felt herself turning beautiful the way she had just before the car spun out of control. But it was a different kind of beauty the parlor freaks had all told her she had. They’d all looked at her like something they were about to wound. Hawke had looked at her like something wounded that needed fixing.

At least if you look at something like it needs fixing, you have to harbor the belief it can be fixed.

Her middle finger settled into the furrow between her flushing sex lips, and the animal inside called out to say it had never been lost at all. She pressed her weight against the side of the stall and let her thighs drift open.

Her finger moved. Her pussy swarmed wet heat around it.

She didn’t need Hawke to fix her. If he could help her reinvent her identity, she’d be just fine fixing herself. Still, as her pussy flushed hot sap around her deepening finger she wondered what it would be like to be touched by a man like him, who’d caught a glimpse of the hidden animal. One look at his scar and eyes was enough to see he knew something about healing from a deep wound.

He would have hands like any other man. A million hands all made of fingers and thumbs, but the man is always revealed in the shifting weight of his touch. Every set of fingertips forge their own relationship with the surface of a woman’s skin.

Her finger curled up inside and she felt like something new and unbroken. The slick cavern felt like the flesh of another creature, but the shiver of sensation seeping through her cells brought her back home to herself.

“I can be beautiful,” she aloud as she slid her finger deeper. She pushed another inside along with it, feeling sweet tension sing through her sinews and muscle.

She flashed back on her life with Trey and his coterie of parlor freaks. Five years summed up in a fleeting hallucination of memory. “I’m not the kind of beautiful you think you made me…I’m something else…I’m the kind of beautiful your wretched eyes will never see.”

She ground her heels against the enclosure floor and pushed her fingers back and forth, slip-sliding through the center of her body. She remembered hearing somewhere how all the cells in a human body die off and regenerate every minute or two. It was like becoming someone new every minute.

Every minute of her life was just about to begin.

 

**

 

Hawke stood outside the trailer, debating whether or not he should knock. When he heard the way she was talking to herself he decided not to. She’d smell the steaks and come across the gravel when she was ready. The wretched eyes she was talking about weren’t his, but he knew the kind of eyes she meant.

“Eyes I dare not meet in dreams.”

He knew his eyes weren’t wretched, even though people rarely met them head on. It was the scar that made them turn away. The only wretched thing about his eyes was how the light inside them kept flickering on and off.

She’d looked at his scar without turning away. It was his eyes she turned away from.

Times like this, when everything held still for the sun to go down, he felt the intricate motion of it all. Sun, moon, sky – jagged horizon. He listened to her through the trailer wall and studied her face in his mind. He had a strong feeling she wasn’t going to resist having to reinvent herself from the ground up. It was as if she’d started well before she got there.

She let out a muted gasp that almost sounded like crying. He knew how badly she needed to be alive. Even the first time he’d spotted her earlier, from the hillside under the willow, he could tell she was a ravenous organism hell bent on staying alive.

He suddenly felt an odd sensation of missing someone – someone he’d never met before – and the odd futility he probably never would. Most people would never set foot in the same room with the one person who’d end up changing their lives. Believing in fate didn’t necessarily mean believing it did you any favors.

He didn’t want to care about the kind of beauty she was talking about to herself in the shower. If he started to think about the vibrant synergy between herself and the way she moved – the way she would ask a question and then knit her brow to consider the reply – or even the way her jaw curled in and down toward the delicacy of her throat – he’d lose his objectivity, and he’d never be able to do the job she was paying for.

He didn’t want to stand there and listen to her drive herself through the center of a thousand firing synapses. He turned and walked back across the gravel to the house.

There was a worn carpet in the living area where he practiced his Tai Chi form until he smelled her shampoo and knew she’d come in. She was standing just inside the door watching him.

“Smells good,” she said from the doorway.

Her hair was still wet. She was wearing black leggings and a cropped, white T shirt that make her ink and nipples stand out like an awkward greeting. A black and blue nylon backpack dangled from her right hand.

“Steak and beet greens,” he said, floating out of his form to stand and face her. “There’s plenty of greens if you don’t eat meat.”

“It’s ok,” she nodded. “Meat’s good.”

She was looking at his scar without flinching. He didn’t turn his head this time. Unspoken thoughts hung in the still air. Hawke studied her face while she studied his scar. There was a quality in the stretch of her skin over her tendons and bones that didn’t seem to match the husk of her voice when he’d listened to her talking to herself about being beautiful.

He caught himself wondering what the hollow of skin at the base of her throat would taste like when he realized just how valuable a piece of candy she had to be to Trey. He tried not to speculate how much The Monk might have told her about the jagged history they all shared.

“Let’s sit down,” he said, moving toward the Formica table that was half blocking the entrance to the kitchenette.

“Here,” she said, holding the backpack up to him as he passed. “Might as well just give you this now.”

He took the pack without looking at it and flung it sideways onto the worn sofa in the living area.

“Aren’t you going to count it?” she asked.

“Any reason I should?” he countered as he stepped into the kitchenette and set the steaks and a bowl of cooked greens on the table. There were already plates and tin dinnerware he set about arranging into crude place settings on opposite sides.

She sat down on one side and he stabbed one of the steaks with a fork and put it on her plate. He put the other on his own plate and started cutting. He almost expected her to say something more about the pack full of cash, but mercifully, she didn’t. She cut a piece off her steak and chewed hungrily. She ate as if she needed the food more than the freedom she’d come to buy.

Hawke ate slowly, watching her tear into her steak with predatory zeal. He suddenly got up and got two bottles of water out of the refrigerator, setting one in front of her. She paused and opened the bottle. The drink broke her rhythm and she went back to her steak more calmly.

“What’s my new name going to be?” she asked suddenly. It sounded like something she’d been wondering about but hadn’t been planning to ask. There was a curiosity in her tone that almost sounded naïve.

Hawke paused over the question. “I don’t know. Why?”

“It’s hard not to be curious. Besides, I can tell you don’t want to know my name, but you still need something to call me.”

“You can choose one,” he said. “It’s not like it’s all planned out ahead. Is there a name you always wished you had?”

She stopped eating and looked at him. Straight at his eyes this time. She looked even more surprised than he felt. The right corner of her mouth curled into half a smile, making her cheekbone dance.

“Why don’t you pick one?”

Hawke felt as close to confused as he’d been in a long time. The idea of having a name to call her made his wrists sweat. It wouldn’t change the delicate desperation of her features, but he’d never be able to look at her exactly the same way again.

“You can have any name you want now,” he started to explain.

She reached across the table and touched his hand. “Sure,” she said, “but how many people choose their own name. Most of the time your parents give you a name they like for some reason, or maybe something that reflects what they hope you turn into. Friends give you nicknames that say something about how they see you. Whatever. It just doesn’t seem natural to pick your own name.”

Hawke felt a smile fighting to break out on his face. He fought back, but he could feel it filter through his eyes. She was looking at his eyes again. There was a glitter in hers that entered him in a way that reminded him of breathing. Her eyes were green with random flecks of amber. He looked at her face and thought about names. She watched him think and he turned his hand underneath hers, touching her palm with the tip of his finger.

“Echo,” he finally said.

“That’s not even a name,” she said, although her eyes flickered with curiosity.

“It’s a very old name,” Hawke told her. “Echo was a beautiful nymph who used to tell stories to an immortal queen so her husband could sneak out and play.”

She uttered a half laugh. “Some claim to fame.”

“Well, that’s not Echo’s whole story. Do you know about Narcissus?”

“Sure. The guy who fell in love with himself.”

“Right. But Echo was in love with Narcissus. Can you imagine being in love with a man who loves himself more than anyone else?”

She suddenly seemed shrouded in worry, but she was tracking Hawke’s face. It hadn’t been such a difficult chord to strike. A man who loved her might be flattened over losing her, but he’d have to let her go. A man who loved himself enough to believe he could own something like her would pursue her all the way to Hell.

“One day she followed Narcissus into the woods,” Hawke went on. “All she wanted to do was hold him, talk to him, but she was afraid to reveal herself. She was a fretful creature without much in the way of self-worth. Narcissus sensed he wasn’t alone and called out, not knowing who was there, but Echo choked and all she could do was repeat everything he said. She couldn’t make herself approach him. Narcissus freaked and started to run, but when he saw his reflection in a pool of water, he became so entranced by his own beauty he was paralyzed. Echo wandered through the woods calling out to a man doomed to admire his own reflection so much me would never see beyond it. She kept calling and calling, trying to get him to see her, but she finally faded away into nothing but the echo of her own voice.”

“It’s a beautiful name,” she finally said. “But Echo doesn’t come out all that well in the end.” For a moment, her green eyes looked like they were about to spill.

Hawke broke into a full smile.

“If you ask me, Narcissus was the real loser. He would never love anyone but himself. There was no one to love him back but his own reflection. Can you just imagine how alive Echo must have felt? How her heart must have been swollen with love? And in the end she turned into a song.”

She blinked hard against the moisture in her eyes, but her mouth joined Hawke’s in that smile.

“Where’d you hear all that?” she asked.

“It was in a book I read in prison.”

She didn’t look surprised, but she nodded in silent approval. Hawke squeezed her hand.

“Eat up,” he said, going back to his steak. “You need a good meal and a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we go to work making you disappear.”

~~~

Frank Lee on Amazon

Jimmy was flat on his back with his head under the front end of the Fairmont. He was trying to loosen a rusty bolt at an odd angle.

Fuck.”

As soon as he spat the word he spotted a small pair of lime green sneakers in front of the car. Lime green sneakers, white socks and the sapling-like shins of a child. A ratty looking teddy bear was hanging down beside the shins.

He put down the ratchet and blew a sigh. He didn’t like cussing that way around kids. It seemed contrary to the most basic and unwritten rules of living. Grown-ups had done plenty of cussing around him when he was a kid. It hadn’t harmed him, except maybe for growing up to be the kind of person to cuss a vapor trail of bile when the mood struck. tumblr_lcq9pueqnn1qdmq2xo1_400

He slid out from under the car and squinted against the sunlight.

“Sorry, Jess,” he told the smiley, towheaded wisp. “I shouldn’t be using words like that.”

Jessica giggled heartily for a long time. Jim sat against the front bumper and watched her face break open with glee. Covered with sweat, fingers black with engine grease, the sound felt like something perfectly clean – something pure – like jewels raining over leather.

“It’s okay,” she said. “Mommy’s boyfriend says that all the time.”

Jim frowned. It didn’t make it okay. He’d never seen men coming or going from the townhouse unit the girl lived in with her mother across the parking lot. But she wasn’t a woman who would’ve been a long time alone.

The girl’s mother probably wasn’t twenty-five. She was darker haired than her child, with a kind of severe prettiness. She looked angry and in a hurry all the time. She’d never so much as given Jim a sidelong glance as she stalked back and forth from her car in tight miniskirts that showed off thighs and an ass that were just this side of thick. Breasts that would just fill a man’s hands.

He didn’t know her name, but he didn’t have to. The woman had to have survived her share of car crashes. It was hard to imagine anything as sweet and guileless as Jess keeping her sparkle in the midst of whatever it all amounted to.

Jessica always came to visit Jim whenever they were both outside their apartments at the same time. He’d come to look forward to her visits. She had this ethereal sense of wonder about her that made him feel good about being alive. He’d never wanted kids. Still didn’t. But if he did, it might not be so bad if the kid were like her.

He realized he’d never shown another person – a child – anything like how to tie a pair of lime green sneakers.

He wasn’t built for it anyway.

Two of Jessica’s friends were playing on top of the big, grey transformer box near the corner of the building. It had big red stickers on it that said “Danger: High Voltage”. The kids didn’t care that electricity for twenty-five apartments was constantly humming through that box.

“We’re having a birthday party,” Jessica said happily. “We’re gonna have cake and ice cream. And a sleepover party. You can come if you want to.”

Jim laughed out loud. He would have been an odd guest at a party like that. He almost asked Jessica if he could have a sleepover party with her mother instead.

Jessica was looking at him with a smile that could turn vinegar to sugar. In a few more years, she’d probably learn to look at the world through a haze of amorphous anger. Then he felt a brief wish that her mother had been like Jessica when she was young. At least there would be some part of her life that was free of anguish, and once in while, maybe she could reach backward and touch it.

“Is today your birthday?”

“Mmhmm,” the girl replied with a pronounced nod.

“And how old are you today?”

“Six.” She said the word with a little ring in her voice, as if reaching the venerable age of six was a rare and astonishing experience. Jim supposed it probably was after all.

“Well I hope you have a great party,” he told her.

“You can come, if you want to,” she said again.

“We’ll see,” he lied.

A little later, Jim went to the hardware store to buy some WD 40 to loosen those bolts. Driving through town, he started to feel bad about lying to the kid. Not bad enough to actually go to a six year old birthday party, but he thought he should at least buy her a present.

He stopped at a shop that sold toys and children’s books. It was full of brightly colored things, posters of cartoon animals, all happy and smiling. His clothes were grimy, and his hands were still stained with grease. He smelled like gasoline and rusty steel. Everything in the store was maniacally bright and cheerful. He couldn’t wait to get out of there and almost forgot why he’d gone in the first place.

He bought a book called The Polar Express. He didn’t know anything about the story, but the artwork resonated with him. It was hard to imagine pictures on the walls of Jessica’s house, and he thought maybe her imagination could use somewhere to go.

Late in the afternoon, he finished working on his car. He went inside to shower and change. Then he wrapped Jessica’s book in paper with little Santa Clauses and candy canes on it. It was all he had.

When he knocked on the door to Jessica’s apartment, one of the ladies who lived in the same block of apartments let him in. There were two mothers along with their daughters at the party. Jessica’s mother wasn’t there, and Jim didn’t ask about her. He just gave the girl her present. She got up from the game she was playing on the floor with the two other girls to come over and thank him. She even hugged him, and then went back to her game.

The mothers of the other girls were also neighbors of Jim’s, and he knew them both. He knew their husbands. At least enough to say hello, but not much more. He wanted to leave, but one of the mothers asked if he could stay with Jessica until her mother came home.

“We just can’t stay any longer,” the woman told him. “We’ve got to get back to our families. I’ll call Jessie’s mom and let her know you’re here.”

Jim wanted to invent a reason he couldn’t stay, but the two women were so anxious to leave they weren’t going to give him enough time to think of a good one. The woman who’d spoken was already dialing the number on her cell phone. She rolled her eyes when she was put through to voice mail.

Both of the mothers hustled their daughters out of the apartment like the place was on fire. Jim was committed, and he didn’t have a clue for how long. He looked around the small kitchen and living room. There were no pictures on the walls as he’d thought. No books, not even cookbooks, except for the one he’d given Jessica.

The girl was still sitting on the floor, playing and talking as if the other two were still there.

Half the cake had been cut and eaten. It was a store-bought cake, but it still looked pretty good. There were dishes covered with chocolate crumbs and traces of vanilla ice cream. He picked up the dishes and put them in the sink.

Jessica got up and stood in the kitchen doorway.

“Wanna have some cake and ice cream?”

“Didn’t you have some already?”

“Yup. Sure.”

“Are you supposed to have more? I wouldn’t want you to get sick.”

“Yeah, but it’s my birthday.”

“Special dispensation, huh?”

She tilted her head and looked at him curiously, as if pretending she understood what he said. Then she giggled just like she had when he said fuck under his car that afternoon.

He finally found a pair of clean dishes and cut two more pieces of cake. He made hers a small one. He found the ice cream, too. Then they sat at the small kitchen table and ate.

Jim felt like he should say something, but he didn’t know what. Making conversation with a six year old wasn’t something he did very much. Fortunately, the kid was still a long way from learning how to feel awkward over gaps in a conversation.

“How about if we read your book?” he suggested after they ate up their cake.

Jessica’s face suddenly grew bright. “Yeah!”

They went to the living room and sat on the worn little couch so Jim could read and Jessica could follow the pictures. She was more interested in the pictures than the story, but she was quiet while he read, as if the sound of his voice were a good thing.

When he got to the end of the book, Jessica smiled and asked him to read it again. He read through it two more times. It was dark outside, and Jessica’s eyes were beginning to droop with sleepiness. Jim got up so she could stretch out on the couch and sleep.

It was a warm night, so he opened the apartment door and put one of the kitchen chairs just outside. He sat and waited. Long enough to start feeling angry. He wondered if Jessica’s mother had even heard the message their neighbor had left.

After a while, he got up and went inside. Jess was still sleeping soundly on the couch. The anger subsided, but he still felt profoundly off center.

A couple of hours passed, and Jim was still sitting in front of the apartment door when her car squealed into the development parking lot. He lifted his hand to shade his eyes from the headlights as the car stopped a few feet in front of him. The lights shut off, and he was momentarily blind.

She slammed her car door like she wanted to ruin it, then leaned against it and exhaled long and slow. She was unsteady on her feet, and wearing a dress so tight it seemed it couldn’t keep pace with the tired movements of her body. There were long, dark streaks of mascara running down her cheeks. She looked down at the ground and avoided looking at him. He put the chair back inside and looked around to see if there was a box of Kleenex. All he could find was toilet paper. He pulled a small wad off the roll and brought it out.

She took the toilet paper without looking at him and wiped at her eyes. It just made the smudges worse. He started to ask if she was okay, but she just held up her hand.

Up close, he realized she was something more than pretty. Even with the smudges on her face, she had the kind of beauty that turned the lives of some women into a lamentable mess. He was relieved she wouldn’t look at him. He didn’t think he could look back.

“Jessica’s fine,” he said. “We had some cake. Ice cream. Read a story. She’s sleeping on the couch.”

He waited longer than necessary for an answer, but she only nodded her head. He said goodnight and walked across the lot to his apartment.

His kitchen was insidiously bright, and he realized there were no pictures on his walls, either. He decided he would go out the next day and buy some posters. Maybe a few. Something with some nature. Something with some art.

There was a soft knock at the door.

She almost looked at his face now, but never actually made eye contact. Her face was clean but her eyes still looked damp. She looked younger than before. She started to say something, but her body shivered once and she started crying. She managed a strangled thank you.

“It’s okay,” he said. “She’s a wonderful kid.”

She cried harder then. Leaned against him and shook with violent sobs. He felt stiff and awkward, but he finally put his arms around her and touched her hair while she cried. She smelled of whiskey, perfume and a little bit of sweat.

Standing in the doorway of his apartment, hugging a woman whose name he didn’t know, he wanted to think of something useful to say. He could have told her that everything would look better in the morning, but he knew she wouldn’t believe him, and he wasn’t too sure he believed it himself. All he could think to say was, “Shhh. Shhh.

He held onto her for a long time. Long after the sobbing subsided and she was just breathing against him. Breathing inside the circle of his arms, her breasts pressing and releasing on his body.

“Bad night,” he said. Question as much as statement.

“You could say.”

She was talking into his neck. He was talking into her hair. Her breasts pressed in harder, without the help of her breathing now.

“You okay?”

“Getting better.”

“Good. Um. I don’t seem to want to let go.”

“S’okay. I don’t seem to want you to.”

“Maybe it doesn’t matter if you love someone,” he said. “Maybe if you just love the moments you spend, it’s enough.”

He didn’t know where it came from. Just something that drifted through his mind unbidden. His left hand fingered into her hair and held her head from behind. Her face burrowed into his neck, breath pulsing at his skin. His right hand drifted over the full curve of her ass. Her dress was thin and tight enough it was almost like touching her skin.

She arched against him, slightly, as if a barely perceptible wave had rolled up and down the length of her body once and disappeared. Her lips touched his neck but didn’t kiss. Breath. Touching his neck through an open mouth. A wider swath. Damp heat over his skin.

He moved his hand. Fingertips brushed across the hem of her dress, lifting it that scant couple of inches he needed to touch the under curve of her ass. Bare skin on the pads of his fingers. An illusion of flawlessness. His cock started growing, and another tiny wave passed through her body.

He wanted to say her name but didn’t know what it was, and he didn’t want to ask her now. He didn’t imagine she knew his, either, but then, a name was about the least you could ever know of anyone.

She was facing into the open doorway while he was facing out. He wanted to guide her inside, but the moment was crystalline and in precarious danger of shattering. The Fairmont was parked in front of them. Her car was where she’d pulled in before, parked in front of her door which was hanging open wide as his.

The open area between the buildings was quiet. Deserted. It felt later than it was. He lifted her dress higher, exposing the springy roundness of her ass, discovering the thong nestled between her cheeks as he clamped his hand onto one sphere.

“Maybe this is….” His voice trailed off into a total lack of conviction. “I’m sorry,” he started.

“Don’t.” Her lips pronounced the word against his neck.

At first, he thought she was telling him to stop. She probably should have, but her body was moving against his cock again. His grip tightened on her ass – soft hard pliant flesh – and he angled his head in to kiss her throat. He wanted her mouth more, but he was unsure. One person’s mouth on top of another’s – tongues dancing like lovers within lovers – was like setting foot in another country.

Tension ebbed from her body as he tasted the salt skin. Her thigh slid between his, pressing upward toward the vicious confinement of his ripening cock. She swallowed against his lips, and the movement of her throat made him harder and grip her ass more tightly. He felt in touch with the coursing flow of all the blood and nerves feeding her dreams.

Later, maybe he’d ask her if she had any dreams. He didn’t think so. But for now, everything depended on becoming one.

He moved to taste her mouth. Cigarettes, whiskey and fruit. His hand was still clutching the back of her head, laced into the roots of her long hair. Her lips formed a wide circle against his and with the first movement of their tongues, the act of kissing gave way to a kind of devouring.

She was trying to rub at his cock with her thigh while her hands balled into fists, clawing up hunks of his T shirt. The hand behind her head moved, searching down over the contours of her body until he found the top edge of her thong. Her hips arched back, giving him room to feel, but keeping her leg between his. He cupped his hand over the tautly stretched thong. It wasn’t as wide as the full shape of her pussy. His fingers encountered smooth skin everywhere they touched.

He cupped and pressed. She sighed into his open mouth while one of her hands released his shirt and moved to grope at the blunt shape of aroused cock in his pants. He fingered into her thong and grazed the flushed lips underneath.

“I’m sorry…didn’t mean to…” Wet velvet swallowed the tip of his finger.

“I know…I know….” The whisper rode her breath across his tongue.

Her thigh moved free of his legs as his finger nudged deeper, exploring the very mouth of her core and then retracting toward the hot bud of her clit. She gripped and rubbed at his cock. Agile and desperately clumsy all at once. Her other hand moved between them. She was reaching for his belt and zipper, but he was already moving down, kissing the trail of her pulsing artery to the tangy damp of her chest, his hands moving up to pull the top of her low cut dress over the swell of her braless breasts.

Both his hands scooped and squeezed at her buoyant mounds, his mouth searching for her nipples – hot and erect – kiss, lap and suck. She had his belt undone, groped again for his cock, but he was already moving lower.

His knees bent until he was on the floor. He sat himself on the step in the doorway. His feet stuck outside while she held onto the sides of the doorframe, planting her feet in each corner. He fingered her thong aside and ran his tongue over her slit and mound.

She made a sound like an animal awakening.

Body syrup oozed and seeped from her slit as he kissed her pussy like another mouth. She hunkered and bent her knees, rocking and grinding against his mouth. Thick, lacquered lips arched into his face. His hands were moving over the satin of her thighs, one finding its way back to her ass while the other sent a finger up inside her sheath. Then he trapped her clit under his mouth.

“Yes fuck do it yes fuck….”

The words dripped from her voice the way honey was dripping from her pussy. She held onto the frame and fucked his face. Rode his finger.

Phony sitcom laughter filtered through the walls of someone’s apartment. The walls of her sheath contracted in ripples around the steady pump of his finger while he sucked and lapped voraciously at her clit.

Moments later, she was hunkering even lower, settling on top of him. The dress was in bunches around her waist and under her breasts. Her face was still shining, but without the mascara streaks now. Hunkered in the doorway with her quivering breasts and bared pussy facing him, her naturally ripe curves seemed exaggerated. The quality of her body radiated an air of constant motion.

She kept her eyes on his face while she opened his pants and pushed them past his hips. Then she was looking back and forth between his face and cock while she took his shaft and balls in her hands. Caressing. Stroking his hard, throbbing length. Precum seeping onto her hand as she smeared it over his skin.

I’m here , he thought, trying to read her eyes. Gauging the distance between her mind and the glisten. I’m right here.

She moved back, lower across his legs, her exposed ass jutting out the door as she leaned over and held his cock to her mouth. She licked his shaft, tongue rolling over the head while she held him tight at the base. She was looking at his face when her eyelids hooded over and she slid her mouth down his shaft as far as her hand.

Jim melted against the cool floor while the roiling, wet heat of her mouth pulled at all his senses through his cock. He reached down and touched her hair while her head moved up and down.

“Did you ever just…look…at someone…and say…maybe there’s someone…living inside her…I could fall in love with?”

He had no idea whether he’d whispered or spoken. Maybe he’d only thought it. He would’ve hoped so if his mind had been his own just then. But a moment after he’d said it, she was moving back up to straddle his hips. Watching his face with that glistening distance in her melting chocolate eyes, she splayed her pussy with one hand and gripped his cock with the other.

The glisten flickered and smoldered as she lowered herself down, swallowing him up with her body. Bracing herself with her hands inside the doorframe, she began rising and falling on his cock, stroking him with the whole weight of her body. Her breasts quivered with her motion. He needed them in his hands. Needed the stiff points of her russet nipples in his mouth.

He started thrusting at her hovering body. Contrary motion and the hot slap-scrape of hard shaft and the slippery glove of her pussy. The raw warmth of her ass rocking down on his balls over and over.

She let herself fall forward, breaking her own fall with her hands on the floor on either side of his head. Hips rocking and grinding as he thrust himself harder, deeper, voraciously into the lathered clasp of her hole. He reached for her and pulled her the rest of the way down. Her breasts billowed against his body and their mouths lunged into each other for the kissing staggered by the movement of their bodies.

“Yeah…yeah…I said that…I said that.”

He was beyond knowing what she was talking about. He must have said something sometime. It could’ve been anything, yet nothing mattered now but taking flight.

Her pussy was rippling inside, the way it had when he fucked her with his finger. He wrapped his arms around her body and held her so tight she couldn’t move from the waist up.

She whimpered and fought to breathe against his mouth while he slammed his erupting cock deeply into her pussy. Until he felt the dripping warmth of their mixture inside her. The movements ebbed. Slowed. She laid her face against his chest and they both breathed. Her pussy held onto his cock for a long time.

“What did you mean,” he finally asked. It didn’t seem they’d be moving out of the doorframe anytime soon.

“That thing you said before,” she told him. “About a person living inside a person and maybe…ya know…maybe.”

He remembered.

“But that’s dangerous shit to talk about,” she added.

“Maybe it’s more dangerous not to.”

“In your world. But not in mine.”

“Okay. Sure. If you say.”

They lay silent a while. Eventually, Jim moved to sit upright. She stayed on his lap. Straddling. Facing him. Looking and not looking at his eyes.

“I was thinking of going out and buying some posters tomorrow,” he said absently. “Just…something to put up on the wall. Nature. Art. Whatever. Maybe you wanna come. Bring Jess or whatever.”

“Okay. Whatever.”

They’d all be out together. Shopping for pictures. Almost like a real family. Jimmy wondered if they’d like looking at the same kinds of things. It promised to be a strange day, but a good one. And sooner or later, he’d find the right moment to ask her name.

~~~~

As always, much thanks for your time to read. Please take a moment to stop by my Amazon page if you can. Frank Lee on Amazon.

Here’s hoping you’ll enjoy the opening sequence of Profane Grace, now available on Amazon from excessica publishing.

~~~~

“I’m being punished,” she said stoically.

Profane Grace coverShe was sitting on a white, leather sofa – spine straight, head held high – with an air of wounded dignity and a faint hint of long-enduring annoyance in her eyes.

Dorn raised a questioning brow.

“Inappropriate dress for a business function,” she explained.

He nodded. Understanding. Faint smile.

“I see,” he said. “I thought it was a party for Dwyer.”

Her blonde hair was pulled back into a tight twist. It would probably reach halfway down her spine. Her makeup was moderate but skillful, creating a calculated air of austere sensuality.

“You do have a way of standing out,” Dorn said, with a judicious lack of commitment. “Even in exile.”

In the position she was sitting, her tight, black dress rode her hips heroically close to the apex of her crossed thighs. Her legs were long, fiercely toned and slender – anything but austere, in sheer black hose that gave her skin a dusky quality. Black boots came just above her knees, fitting tightly around her calves, with spikes that elongated her legs enough to force her to angle her shins to the side.

The dress was too elegant and tailored for typical club attire, but it was far too revealing to blend with the lavish surroundings at a retirement party for a prominent attorney. It was her legs that stopped Dorn in the doorway to the quiet salon and then held him there too long. It was the submissive disobedience in her softly chiseled face that drew him inside to ask why she was sitting by herself.

It didn’t take long to surmise she was the host’s trophy. Dorn had never met either of them, though he knew the name. He was only there because Dwyer Gemstone, the honoree, had been his lawyer for the past twelve years.

At the moment, she appeared none too happy about being anyone’s trophy, and Dorn passed on the opportunity to estimate how deep it ran.

“I’m a little out of uniform myself,” he said, referring to his lack of a tie. He was wearing a black suit – Italian cashmere – with a burgundy jersey. And sandals. She glanced at his feet and he couldn’t decide if the roll of her glacier-blue eyes was boredom or mild derision.

Off in the main room, a piano was tinkling with offensive mediocrity while the murmur of people pretending to enjoy themselves threatened to drown it out.

“Aren’t you afraid you’ll miss meeting someone important if you’re hiding out here with the errant bitch of the manor?” the trophy asked.

Dorn stopped and regarded her. Carson’s wife. She looked off toward the bookshelves along the wall while he spent a few moments appraising her. It struck him she was used to it.

“Most often, the truly important ones aren’t in the middle of everything,” he suggested, “but off sitting quietly to the side.”

She almost looked back at him, and she waited a few too many beats before turning her head to focus on a spot somewhere three feet behind him.

“And then there are those whose moments for being important run on a schedule.” Her eyes never so much as flickered in Dorn’s direction as she spoke.

He looked at her thighs again. The sight of them made him hungry. She made him think of an aristocratic biker wench. “Some people are hopelessly misinformed.”

She still wouldn’t look at him, but she made a pretense of straightening her spine. As if it could have been straighter. Her entire appearance struck him as a statement of protest, and the notion was almost enough to lift his pulse. He was close to wanting to paint her, but erotic glamour wasn’t his thing. The critics would say he’d taken a dive for the tawdry, but as the image of her sheathed thighs dug a pair of long, sleek holes in his memory, he felt a flash of pity for the walking zombies who never saw the sublime all around them.

It didn’t last long, though.

“You’re that guy,” she said blandly. “That painter guy with all the lawsuits.”

“Yeah, I’m that guy.”

Her hand moved onto her thigh, resting near the edge of her boot. He wanted to ask her first name, but he hesitated.

“Ilsa,” she said, anyway.

“Ok…Ilsa.”

He was supposed to say his name now, but he knew she already knew what it was, that she knew more about him than his merely being “that painter guy”.

“They all talk about you, you know,” she said. “All your lawyers.”

“They should. I’m the reason those gangly motherfuckers can afford wives like you.”

She started to laugh, but caught herself in time. Dorn was becoming all but obsessed with her thighs, but he would’ve given his index finger to see her face break open the way it had threatened. That’s when he knew. She was important.

“You don’t like lawyers much, do you? For someone who depends on them so much,” she said.

“I like Dwyer just fine. I’m going to miss him. But the rest…lawyers are like toxic dump sites. The farther away they are from the general population, the less harm they seem to do.”

“Hmm.”

“Hmm.”

Her foot began to sway ever so slightly, causing a faint flexing of the muscles in her thigh. Dorn forgot what they were talking about and stepped closer, just shy of breaking the barrier to her bubble of personal space.

“I don’t like being punished,” he said.

“Neither do I,” she said. “But then we wouldn’t be having this brilliant conversation now, would we?”

This time she did smile. Part-way, at least. It was the first time she’d looked openly at his face, but he was focused on her thighs.

“A minute ago I thought about painting you,” he said. He paced a slow crescent around the sofa, looking at her from each successive angle.

“So that’s why you’ve been looking at me like something hanging in the window of a butcher shop,” she said, sounding bored.

“No,” he shook his head. “I’ve already decided I could never paint anything as obscene as you. The establishment would accuse me of profanity. I’m only staring at you because it’s the kind of selfish pleasure I’ll enjoy long after I leave the room.”

She looked away, hiding her face. He patiently circled behind the couch and leaned uncomfortably close.

“Something tells me being an errant bitch is among your good qualities,” he stage-whispered, giving her a dose of warm breath against her slender neck.

By the time he circled back around the couch she’d uncrossed her legs. The hem of her dress was riding her hips without a prayer of coming close to doing its job. He stood back far enough to see between her thighs. There were no panties concealing the bald pussy under her hose. She was looking at his face now. Defiant satisfaction glittered in her eyes as he gazed at her thinly veiled slit like he had the right. Heat swarmed through his cock.

“Nature was especially generous in your case,” he pointed out. “You have an idyllic shape.”

“Is that the famous painter talking? Making an aesthetic appraisal?”

“No,” Dorn leered openly. “Just a man who thinks you have a perfect cunt.”

Ilsa bristled. For a moment, Dorn thought her face was going to turn red. It was as if the color in her cheeks changed its mind three or four times. She kept her thighs open wide and placed her hand over her mound.

“That’s a filthy word,” she said icily.

“Yeah,” he smiled. “Really filthy.”

“Fucking nasty,” she nearly spat. “And you, yourself, are an arrogant fuck.”

“All true. But it doesn’t change a thing. Your fuckhole is sublime.” He gripped his cock through his trousers and gave himself an offhand squeeze. It was as much for her benefit as his, but his shaft was beginning to swell.

“You’re a pig.” The hand over her pussy balled into a fist, except for her long, middle finger, which snaked downward, tapping against the snug sheath of nylon across her slit.

“You have no idea what kind of pig lives inside me,” he said, patiently closing the gap between them. “But I’ve been thinking about introducing you since the moment I stepped in here.

He knelt down on the carpet between her boots, leaning forward to push his face toward her pussy. Her finger began to grind circles against the nylon while Dorn inhaled deeply, several times.

“Jesus, your fucking perfume slays me,” he muttered, growling low in his throat.

“What do you think of the errant bitch now?” She pushed her finger toward his mouth but he caught her wrist and gripped her hard enough to hold back her blood.

“Who the fuck taught you to use words like that about yourself?”

“But…you said…”

“Forget what I said. Do not refer to yourself that way in my presence. That’s true filth.” He let go of her wrist. Between her rising smell and her body heat, his cock was pulsing and rising fast. He stood up, the early stage of his erection already showing through the front of his trousers. She noticed the bulge with interest, but no surprise.

“Cross your legs like before,” he went on. “You look like a fucking slut wide open like that.”

She braced her palms at her sides on the couch and crossed her legs as instructed. “Better?” She looked up, her eyes convincing him she sincerely craved his approval.

“No. Just different,” he smiled. “Now you look like the prim little blue-blooded tramp who was quietly sitting here taking her undeserved punishment when I first walked in.”

“I don’t like being punished,” she said.

He touched her face and considered whether or not to believe her. After a moment, he pulled his hand away from her cheek and unzipped his trousers.

“Touch me before I fucking die.”

“Yes.”

She reached inside his pants with one hand, worming her way until she had his growing cock in her grasp. She pulled his meat into the open air and fondled him, studying the steady swell of his flesh. He liked the way her palm felt a little clammy with sweat. There was grace in her fingers as she tugged and stroked him. It was a profane grace, but the vacuous glaze passing over her eyes cast a shroud of angelic fire all around them.

Dorn was keenly aware of the wide open doorway behind him. Ilsa never so much as glanced at it. Her eyes were trained upward on his face, only looking down to study his cock as it began to drip sap all over her fingers.

“Everyone tells you how beautiful you are,” he assumed aloud.

She avoided his face, gazing instead at the prodigious knob jutting through the grip of her stroking fist. Dorn’s breath grew laced with guttural moans.

“Most,” she conceded. “A lot of people just don’t know how to talk to a woman like me.”

“I know,” he grunted. “I’m one of them.”

For the first time since he entered the room, Ilsa laughed, but there was no humor in it.

“It’s not that fucking complicated,” she said.

“Do you know there’s as much anger as perfection in your face? …fffuck!”

Her face was beginning to show the strain of the hard acceleration of her jerking hand. Dorn briefly imagined the sound her ass would make if he smacked it with an open palm.

“I’m afraid half the time,” she hissed.

“What are you afraid of?” he asked, almost wishing she weren’t stroking his cock. But the gliding caress of her slender hand was exquisite, and if they’d been doing anything else, they’d never be having the same conversation.

“Being wrong.”

“Tell me,” he sighed. “Keep stroking…and tell me.”

“Being the wrong thing. A whore instead of a lawyer’s wife. Saying the kinds of things that make everyone look at me like something they can’t scrape off the bottom of their shoe. Being beautiful, but never being the most beautiful one in the room to anyone.”

Dorn’s cock was ripe. Hard. Throbbing. Ilsa’s hand was twisting over his shaft, lacquering his tautly stretched skin with precum. “Are you afraid now?”

He was dying to fuck her mouth. She shook her head and closed her eyes a moment. When she opened them again, she opened her hand and spat in her palm, despite the profusion of ooze leaking from his tip.

“What do you think?” she sneered.

“Yeah. Me too.”

Ilsa braced herself with one hand on the sofa as she pounded Dorn’s cock. His shaft was slathered in precum and saliva – her hand like a tight mouth. His body started to lift while his spirit sank to her feet.

“What the fuck have you got to be afraid of?” Her voice had a brittle, glassy tone. She grimaced with the strain of her effort.

“Nothing…”

He put his hand on her neck and stared at her face.

“…is so fucking terrifying…”

She started to groan as hard as he was.

“…as sublimely inspiring beauty…”

The statement descended into a strangled growl of release as his cock rained thick spatters of cum across Ilsa’s Teflon thighs. She stroked and wrenched his rock-hard shaft until there was nothing left but a slow, oozing drab lacquering her knuckles.

When Dorn’s sight returned, she was looking up at his face, her eyes silently begging the question – had she been nothing more than a wicked secret, or had they shared something there wasn’t a name for yet?

She had a thin streak of cum across her cheek. The rest lay in conspicuous dollops along her finely clad thigh. His hand moved off her neck and fingered the spatter from her cheek. When he put the finger against her lips, she opened her mouth and sucked it like a cock.

She released him and he put himself back in his trousers, neatly zipping them up. He touched her face once more and wondered how much of the tender admiration he felt for her was showing on his own. Finally, steeling himself with a deep breath, he reached into his jacket pocket and laid a card on the empty cushion beside her.

“I want you to pose for me,” he announced softly. It wasn’t a question. “Be there by eleven tomorrow.”

He turned to go.

“I have lunch with a group of friends tomorrow,” she told his back.

“Cancel,” he said, without turning. Then he was out the door and gone.

Ilsa sat a long time after the artist left the room. The cum still felt warm, no longer from the heat of Dorn’s body, but from hers. She palmed the card off the cushion and got up. Instead of turning down the hallway toward the party, she quietly walked upstairs to her bedroom to change.

~~~~

As always, your time is very much appreciated. The complete story is available here.

One of the more inventive and inquisitive erotica authors I know, Emmanuelle deMaupassant, has been doing some incredibly interesting research into her curiosity to see what, if any, common threads exist among male authors of the genre. Naturally, this would lead to a curiosity to explore whether or not the differences we perceive between male and female voices are real or imagined, and Ms. deMaupassant has collected a series of excerpts from erotic works by an unidentified combination of male and female writers. She’s invited readers to see if they can guess each author’s gender solely based on the tone of their writing. When she asked if I’d contribute an excerpt to the experiment, the idea was more than I could resist, and the resulting comments have been surprising, to say the least.

Despite being someone who’s always believed that men and women are more alike than we generally like to admit, I was convinced in advance it would be easy work to separate the boys from the girls. I’m just really freakin’ smart that way, of course. Or so I thought. But as I read through the selections, I was completely at a loss to even venture a guess. I would have been taking blind shots. The only excerpt I was sure of was my own.

It’s a fascinating experiment, and the comments posted by more intrepid readers than I are as fascinating as the excerpts themselves. In the end, I found myself more inclined to connect with the selections that struck me as being good writing, regardless of the author’s gender. What I’m most curious to see are the names of the writers who connected with me so I can read more of their work.

Sometime in the near future, deMaupassant is planning to publish the results of an extensive survey of male writers’ thoughts and experiences, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what she’s found.

The Male/Female Hand

“Mina. Come in here, please.”

Although he was in the next room, his tone was soft and low, as if he’d been standing beside her. He’d called her to the living room with the same words numerous times by now, and she was almost always apprehensive. So often, it seemed she’d done something wrong and he’d recite instructions with soft patience while she stood before his easy chair in whatever state of dress she happened to be in. Lately, he’d taken to calling on her late at night, like now, as she was wearing the sleeveless, cotton T shirt she’d taken to sleep in from his dresser drawer, and speaking to her in that calm, gravely voice that was comforting and unnerving all at once.

But tonight, she was quite certain she’d done nothing to need correcting. At least not outside the secret confines of her bed…in the dark of the latest hours of the night…hiding herself away from the world under soft, billowy sheets in what had been his guest room before he gave it over to her.

The blousy shirt scraped softly across her thickening nipples as she downed the last of her water. Braless underneath, the sheer weight of her breasts felt like a rebellion against her too slender body. At times like this, they would betray her at the sound of his call, flushing with heated blood as she thought of standing before him, his eyes carelessly roaming while he spoke of things that mattered to him. As if she mattered.

tumblr_lu8jzgJ8101r5cq2so1_500Sometimes tears would form in her eyes and she would blink them away before presenting herself. Clearly, he already knew what a flawed, unfinished thing she was, but he didn’t need to know where the tender spots were. It was bad enough the sound of his call left her with this odd sensation inside of crumpling and blossoming all at once while a sweetly tortuous ache fired deep in the pit of her soul.

“Coming, Mister,” she finally called back, setting her empty glass on the counter.

But she didn’t go right away. She stood a moment longer in the dark kitchen with pale shafts of moonlight streaming in the window and wavering across her body. The tile floor was cool on her bare feet, a relief from the brushfire gathering just below the surface of her skin.

She lifted the bottom of his shirt and slipped the other hand underneath, letting her fingers graze the soft-rough bumps of her nipples. The pressure of her hand felt good, urging her to rub harder, until she indulged brief, agonizing twists of her stiffening nubs.

“Mina?”

She nearly jumped out of her skin, and almost expected to find him suddenly standing in the room, discovering her in the act of tweezing her own nipples. But no. He was still in the dimly lit living room, relaxing in his favorite chair.

“Coming, Mister.”

Her voice sounded thin and birdlike. She reluctantly pulled her hand out from under the shirt and turned to go. As she entered the living room, she was thankful for the dim lighting as the shirt was wide open around her neck and arms, while underneath she was wearing a very plain pair of white, cotton panties.

He was mostly in shadow as he sat calmly, wearing the clinging boxer briefs and T-shirt he usually wore in the late hours before turning in himself.

“Yes, Mister?” she said as she stopped in front of his chair. “Did you want something?”

“Just you, Mina. I’d like very much to look at you a moment or two.”

“But Mister, you see me all the time,” she replied. She lowered her head. Even in the shadows, there was something different and more intent about his gaze.

“Just seeing you and looking at you are different things. I want to…notice you.”

Mina stood looking at the floor. She saw his bare feet against the carpet. His bare shins. Time stretched beyond itself as she felt his eyes touch her, running over the exposed portions of her slim legs. She was painfully aware of the vicious jut of her oversized breasts and the conspicuous dents of her nipples. The lips of her smooth shaven pussy began to thicken and ache as much as her nipples. If it went on this way, she was mortified to think he would catch the scent of her arousal.

Then he told her to take off her shift and she looked back up.

“But, Mister…I’m…I…don’t look right…”

He blew a slow breath. “Mina, how long have you been living in my house now?”

“I guess about three months.”

He nodded, knit his brow and pinched his bottom lip with his thumb and index finger. She waited, not knowing which direction he was going to turn.

“In that time, have you ever felt unwanted or unwelcome?”

The hand he’d been pinching his lip with lowered onto his upper thigh, conspicuously close to the bulge in his briefs.

“No.”

“Do you feel like this is your home now?”

“I dunno.”

“Okay. Fair enough. These things take time. I guess you’ve been through a lot in your twenty years.”

“Guess so, Mister.”

“Does our situation here strike you as being at all…unique?”

“Very much.”

“Me too. But I like that.”

“Me too, all told.”

She was beginning to fear he’d given up on the idea of getting her to expose herself. The soothing patience of his languid baritone made her nipples feel like they were about to burst into flame. She wanted him to see. Everything. She wanted to be scrutinized in a way she’d never wanted before, but she would never bring herself to say so. She would never peel off that shirt without being told.

She had to be wanted as much as she wanted. 

Even now, as he gazed at the suggestion of her unruly shape under the billowy garment, a kind of transformation was brewing in her cells. She was turning into some new kind of creature, yet she still felt small and unfinished under his stare.

His hand moved onto the cotton-wrapped bulge between his thighs, cupping, absent-minded fondling. She wondered if his desire to see her was as great as hers to see him.

“Don’t you think there’s a reason you came here instead of going to your mother’s?” he posed. “Three blocks away and she still doesn’t know you’re back. What would she think about you moving in with a man you only met once…coming out of her bedroom in the middle of the night?”

Mina flashed back on the night. She’d been sitting on the living room sofa, the television on without sound, when he came down the stairs. She knew there’d been another man up there with them in her mother’s room. He seemed calm for someone walking out of a party that was still going on. His face had registered surprise when he spotted her, and they stared at each other a long moment in the light of the TV. He’d walked in and taken a seat on the other end of the sofa without a word.

They’d talked. She could smell her mother all over him.

“Guess she’d just assume a lot of stuff that isn’t true. Like always.”

“I suppose anyone would. Still kind of wondering that myself.”

“Like I wonder why you took me in? I mean, at first I figured you probably wanted to fuck me, but you would’ve tried before now.”

“You’re a virgin, Mina. That’s…delicate.”

Her body went stiff and her face burned with shame. “How…could you know?”

“I wasn’t completely sure. Until now.”

She couldn’t remember when the virginity she’d clung to so hard had begun to feel like a burdensome curse. She’d resisted with all her might becoming the promiscuous cliché her mother was, yet she’d had all manner of objects and toys inside her pussy. The fingers and tongue of that girl out west during her brief time muling heroin across the Mexican border. Anything and everything to fan the rage in her cells but a man’s cock.

She waited for the tremors in her soul to subside.

“Mister? Do you think it’s true that girls become their mothers?”

Deep, patient breath. “I think the realities of being alive can’t be passed off with bumper sticker slogans.”

A few shreds of peace filtered through her spirit while the burn in her nipples and clit flared.

“Mister…I only have my panties underneath.”

A low, raspy sigh rose out of his throat. “Good. Show me.”

She grabbed the bottom of the shirt and lifted it over her head. His eyes were on the throbbing nipples tipping the unruly globes of her breasts. She wanted to please him…to know he admired her the way he admired women like her mother, but it seemed impossible he could ever think she was that kind of beautiful.

Her eyes fell to the floor as she let the bunched up shift fall out of her hand.

“You’re a beautiful girl, Mina. More than you realize.”

“Thank you.” She said it so softly she was pretty sure he hadn’t heard her.

“It’s a dangerous game to start comparing ourselves with other people,” he said. “There’s always someone bigger, better, faster, stronger…whatever. But you should know this…you’re much more beautiful than your mother ever was on her best day. She just…tries too hard.”

He couldn’t be serious, but she wanted to believe he was. Now her breath was becoming strained.

“Take off your panties,” he urged softly.

She was painfully aware of his gaze rolling over the treacherous geography of her breasts, but the thought of him seeing the shaven pout of her pussy was terrifying in a way that made her lips feel thick and sodden.

“Go ahead. Show me.”

As much as she wanted to plead with him not to make her reveal the pussy she couldn’t imagine anyone thinking beautiful, she wanted just as much to peel them off and demolish him. She wanted to eradicate whatever dim memories of her mother were left in his mind and blot them out with ripe, vivid images of herself. She wasn’t her mother. She never would be.

She was nothing but herself – a tiny thing floating in the shapeless muck of a broken world.

With trembling hands, she took hold of the waistband of her simple panties and started to push them down. Once she got them to her ankles and straightened back up to step out of them, her heart was pounding.

He heaved a long, raspy sigh. “Mina…geezus….”

She felt the smile break across her face despite the jittery feeling in her body. She liked knowing he was pleased…that she herself could be…pleasing. She didn’t know if she was beautiful, but she realized it was possible to feel that way even if you weren’t, and that it was a feeling she could never describe to another soul.

She ventured a look between his solid thighs as his hand squeezed the full bulge in the crotch of his boxer briefs.

She’d never seen a man touch himself like that right in front of her. The notion he was doing it for her – because of her – made her skin prickle with electricity. Tingling fingers of heat nagging her smooth pussy were quickly growing impossible to ignore. He was looking at her. At her. Was her pussy the object of beauty and desire he claimed? Did he need it? Would he take it? Make her give it to him?

“Turn around,” he finally said. “I want to see all of you.”

Mina bit her lower lip and slowly turned around, feeling his gleaming eyes on her as she moved. She felt beyond naked – laid bare in her skin and spirit – while he openly rubbed his cock and looked over every inch of her lithe body. By the time she turned full circle to face him again, his cock had grown bigger, and the thick, round knob was poking out the leg of his boxer briefs.

His eyes moved slowly up her body to her face as he calmly pulled the leg of his briefs high on his leg, setting the length of his hard shaft free. He wrapped his hand around the shank and started stroking it up and down.

Mina gazed, fascinated. She was barely able to speak, and couldn’t take her eyes off his rigid cock. Watching him move his hand up and down the thick pole had her pulsing with excitement. She wondered how he could seem so cool and calm touching his hardness as she watched him.

She realized she’d spent most of her time feeling like a prisoner inside herself, confined by the fear of her own desire, as if her existence had always been a secret from the emotional commerce of the world.

But now, as nervous as she was – even intimidated – she started to feel vindicated – that the instinct she’d felt about him the one time they’d met a year and a half before had been right – that he was the one she could trust to set her free.

No. Not that. That he was the one she could trust to guide her through the maze as she set herself free.

“Have you ever watched a man jerk off before?” he asked in a soothing tone. He might have been asking whether she preferred orange juice or water with breakfast.

“Yes, Mister. I mean…” she sighed and tried not to think about the sound of her reply. “Yes.”

He smiled, continuing to stroke his tall, rigid cock while he brought his other hand to his briefs and pulled them out further to reveal full, smoothly shaved balls.

“How often?”

“Just the once.”

He nodded, as if he seemed to understand something. She knew he understood things she didn’t fully comprehend, but since she’d taken up residence in his house, he’d said very little beyond what was necessary. Until now.

“Did you do anything other than watch? Taste him? Touch him, at least?”

She shook her head.

“Were you tempted? Too nervous to act on your instincts?”

She shook her head again. “I just…I dunno…I guess it wasn’t the time or place.”

“Tell me about it. If you’d like.”

She’d never imagined just talking could make her slit ache and flush with syrup, but the lilting feel of calm in his voice was making every part of her body burn. There was so much she wanted to tell him, but she was still afraid of her own thoughts and feelings. She was afraid of triggering the wrong kind of change in the way he looked at her.

He sat forward and pulled off his T-shirt, his imposing erection jutting out from his boxer briefs the whole time. Mina kept watching the way it bobbed and swayed. His thick, round dome was wet with ooze, seemingly as wet as her hungering pussy.

“It was just this guy I did some work for out west,” she finally said. “He gave me some money. Wanted to just sit and watch me and my friend I had out there. This girl I…my roommate, I guess.”

He gave another of those silent, understanding nods. “Come closer. Take off my shorts.”

Mina’s heart nearly jumped out of her heaving chest. It seemed like it took forever to move, but somehow, she realized her bare feet were taking steps closer to his chair. For a moment, she wasn’t sure what to do, but he reached for her hands and placed them on the waistband of his underwear.

She was acutely aware of how close her hands were to his cock. She didn’t know if she should think it enormous, but it seemed that way. Compared to Renny’s, back out west, it might as well be. She couldn’t take her eyes off it as she pulled down on his shorts. He lifted his ass off the chair so she could yank them lower, but it took some effort to get them over the hard pole between his legs.

When he was finally naked, her pussy felt like it was on fire. She stood gazing at his throbbing dick, feeling her puffy nipples tighten into hard knots while her slit ached and flushed.

“Touch me, Mina,” he said softly. “Explore me.”

She leaned over and laid her hands on his ripely engorged cock. He felt amazingly hard and silky. And so hot. At first, she just ran her fingers all over his shaft and fully laden ballsac. He sighed and she wrapped both her hands around his shaft, stroking him up and down the way he’d been doing just moments ago. Finally, she lowered herself onto the floor between his feet.

He groaned with pleasure and sighed deeply. Even more precum came dripping out of his knob and ran down his shank as she rubbed it. She was aware of him watching her, and as he began stroking the side of her face, it felt as if their bodies were having a conversation.

She spent a long time rubbing and stroking him, making him groan while his flesh grew harder than she imagined a cock could become.

He suddenly reached for her wrists and stilled her hands. Then he stood up from his chair and guided her back to her feet.

His cock pressed into her body as he leaned over and kissed her. She wasn’t sure what to do or think at first, but her tongue automatically swirled into his mouth, licking back at his as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Only Lianna had ever kissed her quite this way, but she had the face and lips of a girl. This was different. This was him. This was everything she needed to know.

She was afraid her pussy was going to start gushing like the bathtub faucet. Then he stopped.

“It’s time,” he said. “Come with me.”

He took her by the hand and led her up the stairs. She followed on trembling legs. When he brought her to his room and sat her down on the bed, she felt relieved to be able to sit again.

He sat beside her, his stiff cock jutting upward as he put his arm around her.

“I feel nervous,” she told him.

“I know. So do I. Even though neither of us really has reason to. When you think about it, what’s the worst that could happen? You won’t fall in love with me? I won’t fall in love with you? And we end up just giving each other something…else.”

“You make it all sound like no big deal.” She felt intensely aware of their mutual nakedness. Of the heat emanating from his hard, upstanding cock. Of the throbbing waves of heat fanning out through her body from the core of her seeping pussy.

“Only as much as being alive is no big deal.”

Then he guided her backward onto the bed and snugged himself beside her. Leaning over her, he looked at her face with a smile that reached his eyes but not his mouth. He started stroking her hair and cheek with the back of his hand.

“Someone should love you,” he told her. “And you should love them back. You should know the catastrophe of wanting someone more than you want to breathe. When you need something…someone…that much…that’s when you know beyond a doubt you’re alive.”

He started kissing her sweetly over her face and lips. Kisses too gentle to match what he’d just said, while at the same time he rubbed his scorching cock against the smoothness of her body. Fire broke across her skin. His large hand ran over her shoulder and across the upper swells of her breasts. He rubbed and pinched at the puffiness of her rigid nipples, and the feeling seemed to shoot straight to the aching slit between her thighs.

“Mister…oh god, Mister,” she moaned breathlessly.

Then he was kissing all over her neck and throat, planting his hungry kisses lower and lower until he was kissing her unruly breasts, his lips gradually closing in on the thick puff of one nipple. He trapped the nub in his mouth and sucked, swirling his tongue around it while his hand moved down over her hip and between her legs. He massaged the insides of her smooth thighs, making her whimper and rock her hips as she wished he would put her out of her misery and touch her pussy.

Patiently kneading his fingers into the flesh of her upper thighs, he went back and forth between each of her nipples…kissing, licking, sucking hungrily at each one in turn.

“Mina, why don’t you ever call me by my name?” he asked, pulling up for a momentary breath. When she didn’t reply, he slipped his hand over her wet slit and went back to the nipple he was sucking with a low growl.

“Oh my god, Mister, god…”

She reached for his cock while his fingers explored her slit. She gripped his shaft tightly, without thinking, and when he started to rub the hard button at the top of her slit the entire frame of her body went tense. His fingers were so much bigger than hers or Lianna’s, the girl out west. When he pressed the pad of his thumb against her clit and slipped the tip of one finger just inside her she thought her skin was exploding. He kept massaging her that way while kissing his way lower and lower on her body. God how she loved feel of those kisses on her body. Soon, his mouth was right over her mound, and when he pulled his thumb away from her clit he replaced it with his tongue.

She could barely breathe, and when he pushed his finger a little deeper into her hole, flicking his tongue over her throbbing bud at the same time, she exploded with feeling.

Soon he was licking all around her slit as he pushed her legs high and wide. He moved his finger in and out of her pussy, but sometimes he pulled it out and massaged the tight rosette of her asshole. She kept hoping he’d push his finger inside, but every time he started rubbing or sucking on her clit she couldn’t think of anything else.

He rose upright on his knees and moved into the space between her open legs. He gripped his cock and rubbed it on her slit, and the waves of heat started all over again. Her excitement spiked when he ground the palm of his hand against his thick cockhead and mashed it tightly against her spread slit, rubbing it over and over her clit. He moaned and closed his eyes.

Several moments later, he knee walked up her body. His heavy, warm balls dragged over her skin. She was trapped under him now, and his rigid dick was bobbing and bouncing closer and closer to her face.

Then he stopped moving, and he was astride her bare chest. His smooth balls were touching the mounds of her breasts while his cock swung impudently in her face. He wrapped his hand around it and started stroking his shaft.

Her pink, wet tongue reached out and slid across the round tip of his cock. She tasted his skin and oozing sap all at once. She ran her tongue over the deep ridge of his dome, and before long, found her lips parting by instinct as she took the end of his cock inside her mouth. She closed her lips around his shank and rolled her tongue underneath as she sucked.

He moaned heatedly and reached behind with one hand to massage her oozing slit with his fingers. At the same time, his cock started to move in and out of her mouth. They were short strokes, his dome sliding back and forth across the length of her tongue.

His fingers were bringing her back to that same, intense feeling all over again, but the way his tangy dick was slipping and sliding in and out of her mouth was magnifying everything. He slipped one of his fingers inside her pussy, and started moving it around inside her, like he was stirring a hot cup of tea. Her pussy began to rock with spasms.

At the same time, he started to grunt and howl while thick, tangy froth came spurting out of his cock in gushing jets. It was tangy, and she loved the feeling of his cock letting go in her mouth. Mina swallowed what she could and let the rest dribble over her lips as his body tensed and he spent the last of himself with a series of breathless gasps.

After, he reared back and lowered his body onto hers. He scooped her into his arms and hugged her harder than anyone ever had before. Then he kissed her like she couldn’t imagine anyone kissing…so hungry and needy, almost like he couldn’t live another minute without kissing her cummy mouth.

They hugged and rolled on the bed kissing for a long time. Knowing he could taste himself in her mouth made Mina feel dirty and beautiful, and for a while, she lost track of the difference.

He rolled onto his back, and pulled her on top. He stroked her face with his fingers and gave her that smile again – the one that reached his eyes but not his mouth. She thought he might be about to say something, but he just studied her face while her breasts pillowed down on his chest. He looked happy, but she wondered what manner of things were tossing and turning in his mind.

She was sorely tempted to ask him about the time he’d been with her mother. She almost wanted to ask if he’d ever gone back to see her again, but she was pretty sure the answer was no. The very thought of the woman cast a pall over her mood so she pushed it out of her mind.

She was surprised when he rolled over and got up. He took her hand and led her into the bathroom where he started running warm water into the tub. His dick was already getting big again by the time he sat on the edge of the tub and held her in front of him. He ran his hand firmly over her heavy breasts, rubbing his fingers over the tight knots of her nipples.

Her pulse raced as he pulled her in close, hugging and kissing her again, fondling her smooth body while the tub gradually filled. She reached between their bodies and took hold of his cock with both of her hands. He sighed and caressed the cheeks of her ass, but before she knew what was happening, he swung his feet around and set them down in the tub.

She stepped over the side and got in. She barely realized she was rubbing her slit as she gazed at his rigid cock standing tall again between his legs until he started stroking his shaft and told her how much he loved watching her touch her pussy.

He stood up and kissed her while he angled his hard cock between her smooth thighs and nestled his shaft against her slit. She squeezed her legs around the hot shank and moaned into his mouth.

After a while he broke off the kiss and started massaging her ass, guiding her hips back and forth to rock her wet pussy against the length of his pole. He dipped his finger into the precum oozing from the tip of his cock and rubbed it over her tight rosebud. His finger was gentle, yet there was a boldness about the way he touched her. She supposed if he could touch her asshole easy as kissing her mouth, then he’d touch anything and everything she had.

Maybe he deserved everything she had. Maybe. And maybe she’d decided long before she realized it that it was he she’d give it all over to. Maybe even that night they’d sat talking about a movie on TV without sound, as if she’d been the one he was there to see, as if the whole night had been meant for them to put words in those silent actors’ mouths and make each other laugh. For a brief time, it felt normal to exchange secrets with a stranger. When he finally said goodnight and got up to leave, he’d paused and just stood looking at her in the bluish light of the TV. She remembered wondering if he was thinking about kissing her then, even though he never tried. He’d just told her how nice it had been to meet her, then turned and walked out of the house.

It seemed you could only calculate so much in theory. The rest you had to walk down the stairs and let in the door.

“Are you gonna fuck me, Mister?”

“Yeah, but not like you think.”

His finger then pressed into the rim of her ass. With his cock rubbing against her pussy at the same time, she thought she might crumple from the feelings coursing through her body. His finger slipped deeper, and all she could think about was feeling it go all the way inside.

“I’m just going to fuck your ass. I’ll lay my cum deep into your body. Will that be okay with you?”

She moaned and felt her knees go rubbery as his finger slipped deeper.

“Oh…uh…yeah Mister. I’m pretty sure…I think,” she moaned.

“If it gets to be too much at any time,” he told her, “you just say so, and we can go back to the bedroom and just rest a while. We’ll just hug and kiss until we fall asleep. Okay?”

“Okay.”

He spent a long time kissing her and letting his large finger glide in and out of her chute. Finally, he handed her a bottle of body oil and told her to spread as much as she could over his cock and balls with both hands.

“How come you need it on your balls?”

“I don’t. I just need to feel your hands on me.”

She nodded and looked down before the smile crossed her lips. The top of his shaft already had traces of wet from the way she’d been rubbing her pussy on him, but she rubbed more oil over his cock and balls than he’d ever need to fuck her ass. His cock swelled to granite hardness as she fondled and oiled his flesh. His breath gave up sighs and moans that made her pulse race and the inner core of her pussy quiver. She wanted him in her pussy, badly, but she supposed he must have had his reasons for taking her in the ass first. Maybe the heat-engorged cock in her hands was all the reason he had.

“Guess you like my hands on you, huh?”

“More than you can possibly imagine,” he said, taking her face between his hands. Then he kissed her hard and deep, as if he were trying to scoop the breath out of her body with tongue, but he drew back again all too soon. “Kneel down in the water and grab the side of the tub.”

Mina felt her body tremble as she did what he said. “Are you gonna fuck me in the ass now, Mister?”

“Yes, Mina. I am. Okay?”

“Okay,” she said, gripping the side of the tub until her knuckles went alabaster. She was achingly aware of the weight of her breasts swinging lightly beneath her

He slid down into the water behind her, and gripped her left cheek, pulling her open from one side. He started to rub the slippery head of his cock over her bud, but then light cock spanks rained across her cheeks and half splayed crack. He massaged her pussy with the head for a while, reaching forward and under her to grasp and fondle her dangling breasts.

The longer he waited to plunge, the less she cared which of her holes he took. She just wanted him inside her. The dome of his cock came back to touch her rim again, and she started thinking of how he’d asked her about calling him by his name. She supposed she would, sooner or later. It was just something she wasn’t used to. It wasn’t how she’d come to know him, but where you begin and where you end up are usually two different places.

Then he pressed his knob against her shithole and burrowed just inside the ring, until the head of his cock was plugging her. She felt a vague burning sensation, and Mina thought her eyes were about to water. But the press of his swollen flesh opening her, stretching her, poised at the point of filling her with the rigid heat of another body, triggered another kind of fire in her mind. It was the fire of a knowledge shared between her mind and flesh. It was the pure heat of total connection.

“Okay, Mina?”

She tightened her grip. She was ready to believe she could claw score marks into the porcelain. The pumping of her heart throbbed in her swaying breasts while she stalled her reply. His cock nudged deeper. How many fractions of another inch? He felt thicker than he looked. He started dripping something all across her back, hips and ass cheeks. It felt like the oil she’d rubbed over his cock and balls. His hands slipped and slid over her body, smearing slick lather, reaching under again to grip her breasts.

“Yes, Mister. Okay.”

Okay. The sound of the one-size-fits-all word ricocheted in her skull in a patter of white noise. Okay okay okay okay…”okay okay, yes, Mister…okay…”

“More…” his voice was choked with breath that sounded as shallow as her own… “cock?”

“More…please…cock.”

His hands slipped away from her corpulent breasts to her slender hips as he pushed more of his thick shaft into Mina’s clenching channel. The burning sensation flared but then seemed to dull and radiate outward through her entire body. With a long, slow, steady grind forward, he was gradually buried in her ass all the way to his balls. He held still for a while, his balls snugged against her pussy, giving her body a chance to adjust to the fullness of his cock. Her head was swimming.

He leaned forward and slipped his hand back under her body, his fingers rubbing over the tight buds of her hard nipples. Slippery tweezes.

“If you need to ask me to stop, now would be the best time,” he told her. Chest rubbing her back. Lips moving in a slow flutter at the shell of her ear. “In a few more minutes, I can’t promise much in the way of self-control.”

She responded with a slow roll of her ass. “Fuck. Me.”

Mina could’ve sworn the planet changed direction when his cock started to slide backward in her channel. The slick friction of his shaft in her chute made her eyes water. He pulled back until just the blunt tip was plugging her starbud. Then he started to push back inside. He did it again, and again, until he was sliding his hard on in and out of her asshole in a careful but steady rhythm.

Mina’s pulse spiked by degrees until her blood was jacking madly. Ripples of warm bathwater began licking at her pussy as his body churned in and out of her.

“Mina,” he groaned, “I’ll keep holding you, but steady yourself with one hand on the tub and put the other down on your pussy. Feel yourself. Grind your fingers over that slit just as much as you want. When you want to, push a couple of your fingers inside. Feel everything all at once.”

She did as he said, and when she pushed two of her fingers into her pussy and felt around inside herself, she was struck how easily she could feel the hard shape of his cock through the thin membrane separating her asshole and pussy. She was mesmerized by the feeling of his cock’s motion against her fingers.

He started to grunt and huff when Mina’s pussy-embedded fingers touched his cock. The pace of his thrusts came faster and stronger, and he was gasping so deeply she didn’t think he could speak.

With her ass and pussy both feeling full, her body started to rock and shudder with delicious sensation. Her head spun. Time and space morphed into a blanket of humid air around their bodies. She was almost frightened by the overlap of successive orgasms that all seemed to blend into one, massive constant feeling of release. It was as if the inside of her body were melting around the shape of his driving cock.

The whole length of her channel rippled and clenched while he groaned and continued to fuck her faster. Harder. Was he as desperate for this as she?

Yes, fuck yes, he had to be. How else could…. 

Then he howled against the back of her skull and shoved his body into hers with a series of forceful lunges. His imposing cock was pulsing spastically and hot cream was steaming deep into her chute.

She thought she might’ve shrieked out loud, but she wasn’t sure. All she was really aware of were the hot shudders ripping through her body and the hard volley of needful cock thrusts in her ass, as if he were using her body to milk his ravenous cock until he was spent.

Still implanted in her ass, he pulled her backward and upright, holding her body to his while he sat back in the tub. She came upright inside his arm, and leaned back against his chest. He kissed the side of her face while his hands caressed the front of her wet, naked body.

He heaved a deep breath that made her rise and fall with the movement of his body. She sighed and felt something strange.

She wasn’t sure what happiness was supposed to feel like, but there was a sense of safety in the air that seemed to sift down into her through her pores.

His hands felt large, even against the overflowing weight of her breasts as he caressed them. He kissed her neck and sighed again. Lighter this time.

“Mina,” he said. “After tonight, I’m going to start calling you other things.”

“Like what, Mister?”

“Like…I dunno…baby. Honey. Sweetheart. Things like that. Just didn’t want to take you by surprise.”

“I…um…guess that’d be okay. You call anybody else those things? Wouldn’t seem to mean the same thing if you did.”

“No, Mina. No one else. It’s kind of like steps further down a road we didn’t know we were on until now.”

She knew the road he was talking about. It felt strange to have such a conversation with his cock still in her ass, but there was something about it she liked. Something that made perfect sense. It probably wouldn’t be long before he fucked her pussy now. A few hours. Days, maybe. But when it happened, she would finally call him by name. His real one. And sooner or later, everything she had would become his.

~~~~

*As always, thank you most kindly for taking your time to read my stuff. If you enjoyed this story, you might also enjoy my novella, Siren, available on Amazon via excessica publishing.