I have posted bits of this in the past and as I have recently begun banging away at the keys on it again, thought I’d give the opening chapter an airing.
She stood in front of the fire, which popped and crackled behind the brass guard. It was a reassuring sound reminding her of winter days spent at her grandmother’s.
There was the merest hint of a smile on her lips as she contemplated her reflection in the large ornate mirror over the mantelpiece.
I wonder what granny would think of my behaviour, she mused dreamily, luxuriating in the feel of the rug beneath her feet.
As she closed her eyes and sighed she heard the chink of crystal.
Then he was behind her, nuzzling the nape of her neck. His hands held her bare shoulders, drawing her back towards him. He was warm; his bare, smooth chest pressed up against her bare back.
Gently, his hands moved towards the back of her neck. With the thumb of his right hand he massaged the small area at the top of her spine sending delicious shivers through her whole body, at the same time he undid the halter of her dress with his left.
Freed of its restraint, the dress dropped to the floor, the fabric hissing faintly as the halter slid through his fingers.
She opened her eyes. He was looking at their reflection in the mirror.
His head next to hers, his dark, hazel eyes narrowing as he smiled in appreciation. She could see the tiny crow’s feet.
‘You’re beautiful,’ he breathed into her right ear.
‘Mmm,’ she moaned.
Thrusting her hips forward slightly, she reached behind and began to undo his trouser belt, while he cupped her breasts and traced small circles on her areolae. Her nipples hardened as he brushed them with his fingers.
She felt him tense as she tugged his zipper, and was pleasantly surprised to discover he was not wearing underwear.
Oh my God, she thought, wrapping her long, manicured fingers around his penis. It jumped at her touch, almost of its own volition and she heard his breath catch in his throat.
Then his hand was on hers, gently forcing her to relinquish her grip.
‘Slowly’ he whispered. ‘Let’s not rush.’
‘Slowly,’ she purred in agreement, then reached behind him with both hands and grabbed his buttocks, pulling him into her once more.
His splayed fingers caressed her hips then slid delicately under the elastic of her panties. She was so wet she could feel her juice trickling down the inside of her thighs. Her legs almost buckled when his forefingers stroked her swollen labia.
To hell with slowly. She wanted him nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
The sound was like the hammer of a pistol being cocked.
She jerked upright, as if yanked by a careless puppeteer. The door to her office swung open and banged against the wall as a frigid blast of air hit her full in the face.
A small pile of printed pages blew off the desk.
‘Dammit!’ she cursed, seeing the long string of “W’s” across the screen and realising she’d fallen asleep at the computer again.
Groggily, she pushed herself away from the desk and got up to close the door. It must have been on the latch, so this time she ensured the Yale was down. The lock made a loud thunk as she closed the door, but she gave the handle a tug nonetheless, and then pushed the catch up into the lock position.
Another strong gust of wind blew across the porch, howling, as if in frustration at being denied access, while the leaves of a pair of large, potted delicious monsters, flailed and slapped the frosted glass panelling either side of the front door.
She shivered, rubbing her biceps vigorously, and then got down on her hands and knees to retrieve the dozen or so pages of her manuscript.
‘Enough for today,’ she mumbled to herself, loosely shuffling the pages into a pile next to her computer.
Click. Save. Click. Switch off computer? Yes.
The computer shut down and with it the incessant drone of the hard drive. The silence, or rather the lack of background noise, reminding her once again that it was time to buy a laptop.
If she’d had one, she would have been tucked up in a warm bed already, instead of torturing herself, night after night in her office.
Out in the passage, the grandfather clock pealed off three strikes, the sound resonating throughout the empty house.
Empty of other people.
However, eyes watched her. They watched everything.
‘Come on, you,’ she said to the dog sleeping under her desk.
Dark eyes opened followed by a mouth that yawned expansively.
The boxer climbed to its feet, stretched and shook itself.
‘Time for a quick visit before we turn in, all right, girl?’
The dog obediently trotted to the front door, which Amanda opened and it hurried outside.
Closing the door after it, she went to run a bath while the dog did its business, which always included a patrol of the garden.
By the time she returned, the dog was sitting on the porch, waiting patiently.
She opened the door and the dog trotted in, making a beeline for the bedroom.
Patsy always slept on the bed. It had become a habit since she was a puppy: a bad habit, her parents often reminded her.
In the absence of a man on the other side, the dog had taken it upon herself to occupy the extra space.
Of course, when she was small, it seemed cute. Now, although Patsy could still be considered a puppy, twelve months makes quite a difference in the size of a dog.
Well, she had been warned it would be a habit difficult, if not impossible, to break. But the dog would only remain on the bed until she returned from her bath. Then Patsy would jump off and go sleep on the old, battered couch in the corner of the room. What was odd, in a funny sort of way, was that every morning when she awoke, Patsy would be on the bed with her, having climbed on sometime during the night whilst she slept.
Amanda smiled affectionately at the dog. ‘My house, my rules. Hey girl?’
Patsy looked at her as only a boxer dog can; cocking its head to one side at the sound of her mistress’ voice. Her dark, expressive eyes conveying more intelligence than their breed is normally credited with.
Amanda stroked the dog’s head then went to bathe.
It had been four years since her husband’s disappearance.
For the first two years she had lived on a cocktail of drugs ranging from anti-depressants to marijuana. Nothing had helped, other than render her numb to almost semi-comatose.
It would take time, they said. “They” always say such things. Meaningless platitudes. Mere words to fill the awkward silences that become part and parcel of conversations with friends and strangers alike; when the inevitable question, “How are you feeling?” always came up.
Or worse, if the person did not know her, “What does your husband do?” for some reason assuming she was married.
They all said things like this. Well, all except Samantha.
Samantha thought this sort of emotional trauma could be cured by sex. In fact, “go and get laid” seemed her stock answer to almost every known human condition, even if she sometimes substituted “laid” with “fucked” when speaking to someone she was not particularly fond of.
“Trust me on this, you’ve been alone for far too long. It’s time to put it behind you and start your life again. And the first step is to get you laid, my girl. Nothing like a few screaming, sweaty orgasms to set you right.”
And Samantha would espouse such pearls of wisdom with such straight-face aplomb that Amanda could not help but laugh.
“I’m not talking about love, you understand? What you and Roger had was special; unique, even. Especially if you look at what’s happening with people these days. But your body can’t function properly if you hole yourself up like this. Just because your mind is off wandering someplace doesn’t mean the rest of you can be ignored, you know? Find a man. Hire one if you have to. You need something healthy inside you besides fruit and vegetables. And I don’t mean the sliced, diced and cooked versions, either!”
Samantha was Amanda’s literary agent by profession, her Rock of Gibraltar and friend by choice.
It was Samantha who nurtured Amanda’s fledgling writing career, although her intentions had seemed far from honourable that first night they met…
Amanda stood at the buffet table ogling the kaleidoscope of colourful foods on display in the fruit and salad bar.
‘I love fresh fruit and vegetables, too,’ said a husky voice by her shoulder.
Amanda turned, and smiled politely. ‘Oh, yes. Very healthy,’ she replied.
‘Healthy…and sexy. Don’t you think so?’ Samantha added, with a mischievous smile.
‘Um, well, I suppose,’ Amanda’s smile faltering under the brazen stare. It felt as though the woman was undressing her with her eyes. A disconcerting feeling she had occasionally been subject to from men. Never had she experienced it from another woman.
‘Like the tango,’ the woman continued. It was not a question.
‘Excuse me?’ Amanda replied.
‘Very erotic,’ Samantha said.
‘Oh, ‘is it?’ replied Amanda, not knowing what else to say.
Samantha reached for a strawberry without taking hers eyes off Amanda and placed it delicately into her mouth. As she bit down on the fruit, juice trickled out between her lips and ran down her chin. Samantha wiped the juice delicately with her perfectly manicured right forefinger then sucked it in the most overtly sexual fashion Amanda had ever witnessed.
Amanda stood transfixed. Those eyes!
‘I once danced the tango to Piazolla in a Buenos Aires nightclub for two hours. One of the most erotic experiences of my life,’ Samantha said. ‘I came more times than I can remember. I could show you if you like?’
‘Pardon, me?’ Amanda said her voice hardly more than a whisper.
‘I asked if you would like to tango.’
‘Oh…er, no thank you…er…my husband. He’s…’ Amanda blinked, moving her head slightly to the side. ‘I must…my husband,’ she repeated.
Samantha’s eyes followed the direction of Amanda’s glance.
‘Ah, you’re married?’
‘Yes…of course,’ Amanda replied as if this statement automatically guaranteed her some sort of protection from tangos, Piazolla-whoever that was-and multiple orgasms in Buenos Aires night clubs.
Samantha offered Amanda her hand.
‘I’m Samantha,’ she said, the smile more radiant than before, and the absence of a surname suggesting that everyone would automatically know who she was.
‘Oh, er, Amanda. Amanda Greyling,’ Amanda said shaking the hand.
‘Another time, then, Amanda Greyling?’
Amanda said ‘yes’ automatically without realising what she may be agreeing to.
Samantha’s smile remained yet she arched an eyebrow. ‘I shall look forward to it.’
Amanda turned away, almost in a stupor and looked around the room for her husband.
Behind her she heard a wistful sigh. Then a different female voice said,
‘That is the cutest thing I have ever seen. That ass was made for my tongue.’
Copyright©Douglas Pearce 2011