All right, dear readers, consider yourself warned. I am sharing another short-short today. (Aren't you glad that most of my short stories are far too long for the blog?) I hope you like it. You know that I live for your approval. I do. Absolutely.
She is fourteen. It is sweltering, humid, the sheets stick to her thighs like cotton candy residue.
She sits up, sprinkles baby powder on her skin. Wraps arms as slim as asparagus stalks around legs soft as a lily stamens. Feels the moistness in her private place, the place no one has touched but she. She lifts one foot, watches her toenails, painted petal pink, scrape his smooth brown chest. He grasps her ankles, slides her toward him. Gently.
It is the first time.
No! I’m not ready, this isn’t the time, this isn’t the place, this isn’t the way . . .
You’re ready. See? You’re wet.
So? This isn’t the way. I want it to be special. I want candles, moonlight, damn it, clean sheets, at least . . .
You had champagne. And there’s a moon out there. Somewhere.
Ouch. That was it? That’s what all the fuss was about? Jeez. She looks at the pile of laundry on the floor in the corner, shirts, jeans, t-shirts, undershorts turning yellow and gray. Shit.
She is nineteen.
He paints her toenails. Each tiny coral stroke so gently, so perfectly — no smudges, no smears, no flaws. The Michelangelo of pedicures. Her white foot, his brown, capable hand.
I want to pleasure you.
You don’t expect me to reciprocate?
Not unless you want to.
I will feel awkward.
I don’t want you to.
Why then? Are you really so unselfish?
No. I want to see how your face looks in ecstasy.
You’re rather sure of your prowess.
I had a long affair with an older woman when I was young. She taught me everything there is to know about how to please a woman.
If you’re sure.
She awakens, sated, to his kiss. Sees the sun peeping through the window behind his shoulder. Feels his hand guiding her head downward. Firmly.
No strings. Remember?
Stroke after stroke of candy-apple red. Perfect. Precise. He holds one foot, admires his handiwork, patiently blows, breath after breath — wphoo, wphoo, wphoo — on each toe. Kisses the sole of each foot, once, twice, twenty times. Slides her to him with his big brown hands.
It is glorious.
She watches him watch her. He is the one. Sleek. Muscular. As golden as a wedding band. A god she has erected an altar to venerate. She has waited for, yearned for the perfect moment to lay herself upon it. Tonight is not the night. She is too drunk. She has told him so. He has agreed to honor her wishes.
May I spend the night, he asks, just to hold you close? He has done so before. OK, she says.
She sleeps in a white cotton camisole and white briefs tied with a pink satin ribbon. Not alluring.
She wakes sometime later. He is inside her. He has stormed the castle wall. Uninvited.
You feel like heaven, he says. We are perfect together.
It is true. Why couldn’t he have waited? Been patient. Delayed quick gratification. He’s ruined everything.
She is angry.
Would you like a pearl necklace?
She shoves him off. Tells him coldly he must go.
She will not return his calls. She will not answer his knocks. He has burned his own altar.
She is 31.
He brings her cherry pie, a photo op for Bon Appetit. It is still warm from the oven. The crust is as flaky as her Mee-Maw’s. Mmmm. Real butter. The filling is exquisite, tart and sweet. She takes one bite, two, the juice streaming down her skin. He leans over her, licks. She places the saucer on her bedside table. Curves inside him.
It is the first time.
Would you bake me a cherry pie?
You’d make a better one.
But what if I were tired and longing for a freshly baked cherry pie, brimming with juices?
I’d run to the supermarket and buy a Mrs. Smith’s.
For better. Or worse.
If I asked you to paint my toenails, would you?
Are you insane? No.
What if I said it’s hard for me to reach my toes?
What if I said it would arouse me?
So much for laying with me in a field of stone.
She is 42.
He rises, pulls on his jeans, his shirt, his boots. Holds out his big brown hand. I will make you cherry pie. I will paint your nails. I will keep you satisfied. Take my hand. Walk beside me.