Literary FictionMysteryLoveStrange

Secretly Wishing for Rain

By Claude Lalumière
6,058 words · 23-minute reading time

My palm pressed between Tamara’s small breasts, I feel her heartbeat. The raindrops pounding on the skylight reflect the city lights, provide our only illumination. Tamara’s fingers are entwined in my chest hair; my perception of the rhythm of my heart is intensified by the warm, steady pressure of her hand.

This mutual pressing of hands against chests is our nightly ritual. Our faces almost touching, we silently stare at each other in the gloom. This is how it is for me (and how I believe it must also be for her): I abandon myself to the dim reflection of light in her eyes, the rhythms of our hearts, the softness of her skin, the pressure of her hand; I let go of all conscious thought or intent. We whisper meaningless absurdities to each other. One of us says: “There are fishes so beautiful that cinnamon nectar spouts from their eyeballs”; the other replies: “Your mouth is infinite space and contains all the marvels of gravity.” Most nights we explore each other’s flesh, revelling in each other’s smells and touches. Deliriously abandoned in each other’s embrace, we reach orgasm, remembering the loss that binds us. Some nights, as tonight, we simply fall asleep, snugly intertwined.

The cliché would be that I was jealous of Andrei’s mischievous charm, his tall-dark-and-handsome good looks, his quick wit, his svelte elegance, his easy way with women ... but no. His omnipotent charm defused the pissing-contest resentment that heterosexual pretty boys usually provoke in the rest of the straight male population. Everyone – men, women, straights, gays – was helpless before his androgynous beauty, his complicit grin, and his playful brashness. Perhaps I was even more helpless than most.

Andrei avoided being in the company of more than one person at a time. Whoever he was with enjoyed the full intensity of his meticulous attention. I never felt so alive as when I basked in his gaze.

Andrei may have been desired by many, but few had their lust satisfied. Men weren’t even a blip on his sexual radar. Most women also fell short of his unvoiced standards – the existence of which he would always deny. The women who could boast of the privilege of walking down the street arm in arm with Andrei were tall and slim with graceful long legs, hair down to at least their shoulder blades, subtle makeup, and cover-girl faces. And, most importantly, they had to be sharp dressers. Age was not an issue. I’d first met him when we were both nineteen, and during the seven years of our friendship, I’d seen him hook up with girls as young as thirteen and women as old as fifty-five. All that mattered was that they have the look. Actually, that wasn’t all. Andrei possessed a probing intelligence. He read voraciously, and he expected his assembly-line lovers to be able to discuss at length the minutiae of his favourite books. Invariably, he grew bored with his women, or contemptuous if they read one of the books in his pantheon and proceeded to display the depth of their incomprehension. Rarely would he declare to the injured party that their short-lived romance was over. Instead, at the end of an affair, he’d simply vanish for several weeks without a word. Even I – his closest friend – never found out where he vanished to.

Ten years ago, Tamara had been one of those women. The last of those women.

At nineteen, I moved to Montreal from Deep River, Ontario. I wanted to learn French, to live in a cosmopolitan environment. See foreign films on the big screen. Go to operas. Museums. Concerts. Art galleries. Listen to street musicians. Hear people converse in languages I couldn’t understand.

I never did learn French. I’m often embarrassed about that. Montreal isn’t nearly as French as most outsiders think, and it’s all too easy to live exclusively in its English-language demimonde.

I’d taken a year off after high school, intending to travel, but I never did. I never had enough money, and I languished resentfully in Deep River. I applied to McGill University for the following year, was accepted, chose philosophy as my major.

In early September, less than a week after classes started, I attended a midnight screening of Haynes’s Bestial Acts at the Rialto. I’d heard so much about that film, but, of course, it had never come to Deep River, even on video. There were only two of us in the theatre. The other cinephile was a stunningly handsome guy I guessed was about my age. He was already there when I walked in, his face buried in a book, despite the dim lighting. I sat two rows ahead of him.

After the credits stopped rolling, the lights went on, and I felt a tap on my shoulder. When I turned, the handsome guy – Andrei, I would soon learn – said, “I feel like walking. Let’s go.” I had no choice but to obey; I didn’t want to have a choice. So I followed him, already ensorcelled.

We walked all over the city, and he brought me to secret places where its nighttime beauty was startlingly delicate. The water fountain in the concrete park next to the Ville-Marie Expressway. The roof of a Plateau apartment building – its access always left unlocked in violation of safety regulations. We snuck into a lush private courtyard covered in ancient-looking leafy vines; the windows reflected and rereflected the moonlight to create a subtly complex tapestry of light. All the while, we talked about Bestial Acts, trying to understand it all, to pierce the veil of its mysteries.

As dawn neared, he said, “You’ve never read the books it’s based on, have you?” There was disappointment in his voice.

I felt like this was a test. I looked him straight in the eye. “No. Before seeing the ‘adapted from’ credit on the screen tonight, I didn’t even know about it.”

His face changed, and he laughed. He’d decided to forgive my ignorance. He dug out a paperback from the inside of his jacket. “Here. Read this. Let’s have lunch on Sunday, and we can talk some more.”

The book’s spine was creased from countless rereadings, the corners furled and frayed. It was a small book called The Door to Lost Pages, and the film was named after the title of the first chapter. The back-cover blurb said that the author lived here in Montreal. Andrei saw my eyes grow wide; he told me, “No. I didn’t write that book. That’s not a pseudonym. I don’t even know the guy.”

So we had lunch that Sunday, and then became nearly inseparable. As for all those women of his – well, yes, I admired their beauty; but they were unattainable, too glamorous and self-confident for me to even fantasize about. Was I jealous of them? Of the love he spent on them? No; it was abundantly clear that I was permanent, that spending time with me took precedence over his dalliances. And they were only ephemeral mirrors into which he’d gaze to see his own beauty reflected.

As I do every morning, I wake up at six. The rain is still splattering on the skylight window. Although it’s summer and sunlight should be flooding the bedroom by now, under this thick blanket of dark clouds, it’s still as dark as midnight.

I turn around and spoon Tamara. My nose rests lightly against her shoulder; I breathe in her unwashed aromas. She is intoxicating. Her soft back is luxuriant against my chest. My semi-erect cock jerks lightly, probing the smoothness of her buttocks.

She moans, but she’s still hours from waking up. She rarely wakes before noon. Then, eventually, she heads out; without a word, without a goodbye kiss. Brunch with friends? Museums? The gym? Does she even have friends? I can only speculate. She always returns past eleven in the evening, and we go to bed together around midnight.

I get up. Normally, I would go jogging, but I’m too fed up with the rain.

Andrei never worked. But money never seemed to be a problem. I was curious, but I knew better than to inquire. Whatever he wanted to share, he would tell me.

Actually, it’s not fair to say that he never worked.

He wrote. He wrote for hours every day, the words pouring out of him with the relentless flow of a waterfall. He never tried to publish. He disdained the very idea of publication; nevertheless, he was supportive of my futile efforts at getting my own work into print.

He wrote poetry, fiction, philosophical ramblings, and other prose that segued from genre to genre. All of it was brilliant. Yes, I envied his way with women, but what inspired my jealousy was his prodigious literary talent. It often took me months to finish a short story, while he would write several of them a week, in addition to countless other pieces. And he worked on a number of long Proustian novels simultaneously, each of them accumulating wordage but never seeming to reach any kind of conclusion.

We’d spend sleepless nights poring over each other’s work with a harsh and unforgiving love. We questioned every word, every comma, every idea. We revised and reread and rearranged. He was unfailingly generous with his talent and editorial acumen. His input imbued my feeble scribblings with a depth of allusion and empathy I could never have achieved on my own.

If he was aware of my jealousy, he never showed any sign of it. He considered me his only friend and let no-one but me read his work. And so my jealousy was tempered by exclusivity. Although I urged him time and again to seek publication, I secretly thrilled like a teenage girl who, magically, knew that she – and no-one else – had the privilege of sucking the cock of her favourite rock star.

Tamara and I rarely talk, rarely spend any time together, save for the nighttime in bed. Our lives are separate, save for that nightly communion. We are strangers.

Occasionally, she walks in on me, whether I’m in my study or in the living room or taking a nap, and asks, “Read to me.”

What she means is, “Read me something of Andrei’s.” And I always do. Sometimes I grab a book, sometimes an unpublished manuscript. Andrei left so much behind. She nestles into my lap and chest, and I enfold her as best I can, breathing in the heady blend of sweat, perfume, shampoo, and lotions, wishing for the weight of her body to leave permanent impressions in my flesh.

When I stop reading, we neck like teenagers, fondle each other tenderly, hungrily, with unfeigned clumsiness.

Before, she used to read voraciously. Now, all she desires of the world of literature is to hear me read Andrei’s words.

During most of my years-long friendship with Andrei, I never had a lover, never seriously pursued anyone. Andrei had awakened the writer in me, and that was all that mattered. I’d quit school. I supported myself with a string of meaningless jobs, and devoted all my spare energies to, inseparably, my writing and my friendship with Andrei.

I met Tamara one late afternoon coming home from work. I had noticed her further down the line at the bus stop: dark wavy hair to below her shoulders; complex features that managed to be both softly round and strongly aquiline; a large mouth; full lips; a brownish-olive tint to her skin; tall and svelte, yet with a pronounced curve at the waist. I thought: she’s Andrei’s type. Gorgeous. Glamorous.

The bus was crowded. She sat down next to me. My throat dried up. I was suddenly overwhelmed with desire for this woman. I knew that Andrei would have no problem initiating contact with this beautiful stranger, but I lacked his grace and confidence.

As the bus took off, each of us dug a book out of our bags.

We were reading the same book: Bestial Acts. Probably buoyed by the film’s cult celebrity, the author had written a sequel to The Door to Lost Pages, expanding on the events and characters emphasized in the film, but this new volume wasn’t very good.

We looked up at each other, and we both laughed. I don’t remember who started talking to whom, but we fell into an easy, friendly conversation and ended up eating veggie burgers and gourmet fries on St-Laurent, and then walked down to a cocktail bar in the Gay Village that played postmodern lounge music in a colourful high-kitsch decor.

We laughed easily with each other, and she frequently touched me, letting her hands linger just long enough for me to know she meant it.

It was nearly two in the morning when I walked her home. She gave me a firm hug; I felt her breasts press against my chest, and she surely felt my erection. She grinned as she disengaged, and, while holding both my hands, she kissed my cheek – the contact with her lips made me shiver.

I watched her climb the stairs to her second-storey apartment. I stood there for a couple of minutes after she closed the door behind her.

I don’t remember walking home, so lost was I in my reveries of seeing her again.

Next thing I knew, I was lying naked in bed, prudishly fighting the impulse to masturbate while replaying moments of my evening with Tamara.

And then I remembered that I had promised to meet Andrei that evening.

Ten years after Andrei’s death, I still have no other friends. I have no lovers but Tamara.

My days are always the same.

I wake up at six. I work until noon. Often that consists of editing Andrei’s large inventory of unpublished manuscripts. Sometimes, I work on my own writing.

I go out for lunch. There’s a wonderful pressed-sandwich shop on St-Denis. If it’s too crowded, I go for noodles. These days, there’s a noodle shop on almost every corner.

In the afternoon, I catch a matinee movie, then I go shopping – books, CDs, DVDs, clothes, food – hoping that something, anything, will bring me pleasure or elicit any kind of reaction. Nothing ever does.

I drop my purchases at home. I check for messages. Then I go out for dinner. Usually Indian. Sometimes Thai. Or something new I read about in the newspaper.

I come back home around eight in the evening, put on some music, make some tea. I read until I hear Tamara come home. Then I get ready for bed.

If the weather’s bad, I just stay in all day.

It’s the middle of the afternoon, and it’s still raining. It’s as dark as dusk. It’s been like this for five days straight, and it’s been having a languorous effect on me. I’ve noticed that Tamara, usually less sensitive than I to the weather and light, has been somewhat morose of late. I do not pry. We never pry into each other’s affairs or emotions.

But today I’m feeling a bit better. I’m just off the phone with my agent. She had good news for me. Dardick Press has made a six-figure offer for my new novel. Not that I really need the money, but they want the book. My book.

To the outside world, I’m the author of a wildly successful thematic trilogy of Proustian ambitions; of an allegorical fantasy novel the Washington Post welcomed by trumpeting: “Finally, an English-language writer whose depths of empathy and imagination surpass Márquez”; of an immense thousand-page short-story collection praised for its cross-genre audacity, the precision and beauty of its language, and its parade of heartbreaking characters; of a poetry collection that stayed for more than a year on the bestseller lists; and of a blockbuster philosophical novel – adapted once as a film and once as a television mini-series.

Although all of these appeared under my byline, none of them are mine (well, I snuck two of my own short stories into the collection; I still feel guilty about that). I did edit the manuscripts into their final format – I was certainly familiar enough with much of the material from my years with Andrei – but they were his works, not mine.

Despite Andrei’s immense posthumous success under my byline, my own work has been consistently rejected by publishers: “Let’s not oversaturate the market,” “We’re not sure how to categorize this one,” a litany of insulting excuses ... Until today, that is.

I feel like celebrating, but I can’t think of anything appropriate. Take Tamara out for lunch? I fantasize further: maybe we could even go on vacation. Spend a few weeks in Venice. I’ve always wanted to see Venice. We can certainly afford it.

But we never travel. We never do anything together. We stay here, slaves to our habits and our grief.

Besides, I would never dare upset the fragile equilibrium of our tacit agreement with even anything as mundane as a lunch invitation.

Just then, Tamara walks into my study. She’s dishevelled, clearly having just woken. She’s wearing black panties and a white camisole that contrasts vividly with her skin. I’m still visited by images of our fantasy holiday; seeing her – so beautiful, so subtly out of my reach, the constant pain that haunts her imbuing her with an aura of delicate fragility that I find, despite myself, overwhelmingly arousing – I catch my breath in admiration.

She doesn’t notice, or she ignores me. Does it really matter which?

Nevertheless, for a second, I even half-convince myself – both fearing it and desiring it – that she’ll propose an outing or even converse with me. But no. The inevitable words, full of mournful loss and despairing love, come out of her mouth: “Read to me.” Not even waiting for a response, she heads toward the living room.

I rise from my desk, my hand resting for a moment on the third volume of Andrei’s Proustian trilogy, but then, emboldened by my agent’s good news, I mischievously and pridefully grab a copy of my novel manuscript instead. Tamara won’t know the difference.

I join Tamara on the couch, and she snuggles up to me. She smells delicious. I nibble on her bare shoulder, and she moans, grabbing my hand and rubbing it against her breasts. She nuzzles my neck and whispers, “Read.”

Momentarily, I feel guilty for deceiving her. But I start to read my novel, and I quickly get seduced by the allure of my own words, my own characters.

I’m only a few pages into the manuscript when Tamara suddenly gets up.

She mumbles, “I’m tired...” – heading back to the bedroom, not even glancing at me, shutting the door.

For the next five days – after I stood him up for Tamara – Andrei didn’t answer my calls. Was my friendship ultimately as meaningless to him as his dalliances with his glamorous girlfriends? Had I finally suffered his inevitable rejection?

Tamara called me, and we saw each other once. We went for a walk on Mount Royal. She held my hand. She sensed my dark mood and did not push.

Her goodbye hug conveyed less promise than her first; she asked me to call her soon. Translation: if you want me, show it.

I mumbled that I would, knowing that I’d made a mess of what should have been a great evening. I had been much too distracted by my anxiety about Andrei.

Finally, I showed up at his apartment without calling. He hated it when people did that.

When I got there, there was a girl with him. She was stunning: the kind of face that stared back at you from magazine covers; long, shapely legs; delicate toes; toenails painted bright orange peeking out from elegant high-heeled sandals. She was crying.

I ignored her. I didn’t say anything. I stood firm and did my best to stare Andrei down. I needed to prove to him that I aspired to be his equal.

He surprised me. He smiled at me, turned toward the girl, and said, “Get out. Can’t you see that my friend is here now?”

She opened her mouth to say something, but then closed it sharply, visibly trying to hold on to some degree of dignity.

She didn’t even glance at Andrei, but she shot me a disdainful sneer as she hurried past.

The rain never lets up. I stay in all day. Tamara never leaves the bedroom. I hear her use the adjoining bathroom a few times.

Finally, at midnight, I open the bedroom door. I get undressed and slip into bed.

Tamara is feigning sleep. I know her body language and the rhythms of her breathing too intimately to be fooled.

We do not press hands against each other’s chests tonight. We do not whisper absurdities to each other. We do not touch. We do not have sex.

We’ve never skipped our ritual before; in sickness and in health.

A despairing loneliness chews on my innards, chasing sleep away.

Tamara gets up in the middle of the night. I hear her bustle in the kitchen. When she’s done eating, she climbs back into bed, carefully not touching me, and falls asleep immediately.

I stay awake until dawn.

I realize that the rain has finally stopped, the clouds finally gone. Sunlight hits Tamara’s bare shoulder. I yearn to kiss it, to taste her. But I dare not.

I didn’t know whether or not to believe Andrei, but I didn’t question him, didn’t push my luck. I was too relieved, thrilled, exhilarated that our friendship was still intact. He claimed not to care that I had stood him up. He hadn’t been in touch because he’d spent the last few days with the woman he’d just thrown out of his apartment. He had known it would only last a few days.

Suddenly, it seemed so egocentric to think that Andrei would have been affected by my absence the other night. I chastised myself for my arrogance and self-importance.

Nevertheless, I told him all about Tamara. Was it him or me who suggested that we all three get together for a meal? I did, I think – but was it only because he wanted me to?

I called her from his apartment; we would meet there on the weekend, and he would cook for both of us. Already, my mouth watered. Andrei was a fabulous cook.

We spent the rest of the night as usual: we pored over his latest writings until sun-up.

I am running. The morning sun spurs me on. I am exhausted from my sleepless night. My muscles are complaining because of the days of inactivity I imposed on them during the recent rains.

But I run, nevertheless. I don’t even notice where. I just run and sweat.

I come back home. I look at the clock. It’s nine fifteen. I’ve been out running for three hours. I walk through the bedroom to get to the shower although I don’t have to. I could use one of the other bathrooms. But I want to gaze at Tamara.

She’s not in bed.

I call out her name, look through every room.

She’s not here. She’s never awake this early.

I go out again.

I run.

I run until the pain and exhaustion is all that I can feel. I just run; and sweat – so much that it’s impossible to distinguish the tears from the sweat.

I knew, of course, that whatever spark I ignited in Tamara’s imagination would be dimmed by the greater conflagration that Andrei would provoke. I was not wrong.

They were beautiful together, but I also knew that Andrei would soon tire of her.

Pathetically, I fantasized about consoling her after Andrei inevitably broke her heart. Fearfully, I never spoke to Tamara – about my feelings; about Andrei, who discarded lovers like flakes of dead skin. Boldly, I imagined telling Andrei he had no right to use Tamara like a disposable mirror, when I could love her more truly than he ever would. Stupidly, I confronted Andrei in such a way.

It would be inaccurate to say that we had a fight. I said my piece, and he just laughed at me. I got angrier, and he just laughed harder.

“You’re my friend,” he said, between guffaws. “But go home now. When you get over your anger, come back, and we’ll work on one of your stories.” He was still laughing.

I left his apartment, melodramatically slamming the door, feeling self-conscious for doing so, but unable to express myself any other way in the face of Andrei’s dismissal.

There are messages from my agent. Details to work out. Contracts to sign.

So what? It’s not like I need the money.

Am I betraying Andrei’s legacy by publishing my own work under my name? Should I use a pseudonym? Or maybe scrap the whole idea. I’ll never be the writer he was.

I lie on the couch all day. The phone rings. Again. And again. I let it ring. Tamara wouldn’t call, and there’s no-one else I want to talk to, even if, as I fear might now happen because of my transgression, we never see each other again.

When Tamara wakes me by caressing my cheek, I realize that I had fallen asleep.

Andrei’s relationship with Tamara lasted a full year, months longer than any of his previous affairs. I had barely seen either of them since I’d stormed out of Andrei’s apartment like a bad actor. After a few weeks, I visited Andrei twice, but my resentment was too overpowering, and the encounters were forced and awkward. I was physically unable to be around Tamara without feeling nauseous. So I stopped calling them, and I never heard from either of them. Occasionally, I’d spot them downtown, but I always managed to creep away unseen.

Then one day I found a handwritten invitation in my mailbox. I recognized Andrei’s precise, feminine script. There were no details, save for a time and the name and address of a restaurant. I dreaded some sort of wedding announcement. Or that he’d finally shooed Tamara out of his life like all the others before her. I didn’t know which of the two I feared more.

Of course, I went. I was lonely, bored, and miserable, and I missed my friend.

I’d never heard of the restaurant, so I was unprepared. I’d dressed casually, and this turned out to be an intimidatingly swanky establishment. I was sure they weren’t going to let me in. True to my expectations, the maître d’ sneered at me when I stepped through the door, but when I said Andrei’s name, he repeated it almost reverentially and instructed a waiter to escort me to Andrei’s table.

Andrei’s table turned out to be a private room, lushly decorated with museum-quality reproductions and fresh flowers. I recognized Debussy’s String Quartet – a favourite of Andrei’s – playing at just the right volume. The table was set for two; there was an empty chair waiting for me. Tamara sat in the other chair.

Tamara asked, “What are you doing here? I mean – Where’s Andrei?”

I shrugged. “Andrei sent me an invitation. I didn’t know you’d be here.”

“But it’s our anniversary. Where–?”

I knew, then, that Andrei had left her. And indeed he had, but that wasn’t the whole truth. That came later.

Before either of us could say anything more, the waiter brought in the hors d’oeuvres.

Tamara said, “But we haven’t ordered anything.”

We learned that Andrei had arranged our evening’s menu in advance. We ate in silence, but not even that tense awkwardness could mask the heavenly taste of the food.

We finally spoke to each other when it came time to argue over who would get the cheque, but we were informed that Andrei had already paid for everything, and that not even a gratuity would be accepted from either of us.

Befuddled, we walked out together. We glanced at each other, and we both laughed at ourselves. Still chuckling, Tamara took my arm, and we walked together through downtown, all the while talking like dear old friends. We didn’t utter a word about Andrei.

When we parted, she gave me a chaste kiss on the cheek, but there was genuine warmth in her smile. Silently, I cursed Andrei for what I believed he was doing to her.

The next day, I received a couriered letter, requesting my presence at the law office of Laurent Tavernier the following Monday at nine in the morning. Not a little alarmed, I called to know what this was all about. The attorney’s secretary told me: “We can say nothing of this matter until the appointed time.”

Tamara called me every day. She was worried about Andrei’s disappearance. More than once, she cried over the phone. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t bring myself to tell her that I thought Andrei had deserted her. I grunted noncommittal responses and sidestepped any suggestion that we should meet. I refused to follow Andrei’s transparent script, no matter how much it matched my own desires.

The following Monday, I was startled to see Tamara sitting in the attorney’s waiting room. A few minutes later, we were both ushered into Tavernier’s office, wondering to each other what Andrei had planned for us this time.

This is what we learned: Andrei was dead, had poisoned himself on the day he’d set us up to meet at the restaurant; Andrei was wealthy, worth millions of dollars, all of which was now ours ... in a joint account, no strings attached. Tavernier needed our signatures to make this official.

In addition, Andrei bequeathed all of his writings to me, with instructions that I seek to publish them under my own name only and that, with his blessing, I should edit his works as I saw fit.

There was a letter addressed to both of us; the attorney read it. It was terse.

I had nothing more to write, it said.

But that wasn’t true. In death, Andrei was writing the script of my and Tamara’s lives, and we followed every stage direction like fawning understudies.

I almost speak, but Tamara shushes me. I can’t decipher her expression.

She’s sitting on the floor, next to the couch. She looks away from me and into her lap. I hear the rustle of paper.

I look down and see that she’s holding my manuscript. My novel.

She starts to read. I cry.

I cry because I see her mouth form the words that I’ve written, because I hear the tenderness in her voice when she speaks my words.

She reads a few chapters. She takes her time. She forms the words carefully, imbues their articulation with a slow sensuality.

Finally, she pauses. She looks at me, and she’s crying, too.

She says, “I like it.”

When I come back from my morning run, Tamara is still asleep. Her feet are sticking out from under the sheets. This is one of my favourite sights: tenderly domestic and deliciously sensual. I fantasize about straying from our scripted lives, about indulging in spontaneous intimacies outside the confines of our rituals, and...

Fuck Andrei.

I look at Tamara’s sleeping body and let the sight of her overwhelm me.

I stoop down and kiss her toes. I slip my tongue between them, slide it around each one. I nibble on them.

She moans, still asleep, and throws off the sheets.

The sun hits her skin, from her nipples to just below her luxuriant pubes. The prospect of transgression makes my blood rush, but I rein in my impatience and move with slow but focused intensity.

Cupping her heels, I raise her legs in the air. Below, I catch a glimpse of her moist vulva, framed by her butt cheeks and by the backs of her thighs. I bend down and breathe on her wetness. She gasps, still asleep.

I smell her and close my eyes. Her pubes tickle my nose, and I can’t help laughing.

That wakes her up.

I fear her reaction to this unscheduled intimacy, but she opens her arms in invitation.

I let go of her legs and fold myself into her sleepy embrace.

“You’re sweaty,” she mumbles. I’m still wearing my jogging clothes. “I love your smell.” Have we broken free? Can we write our own lives? Together. Finally, truly, together.

She disentangles herself and sits up. She hugs me, drowsily rubbing her face against my chest.

She pulls off my T-shirt, and she runs her tongue from my belly button to my armpit.

She squeezes my stiff cock through my shorts, and we both laugh.

She smiles coyly, letting go of me, then runs her hand in circles around my crotch, never quite touching it. She gently bites my nipples.

She moves as if to squeeze me again, but then she pulls away and slips behind me.

She hugs me from behind, bites my shoulders hard enough to hurt, sinuously licks my nape. I feel her breasts squish against my back, and I get even harder. Her hands start to slip into my shorts, brushing against my pubes, but, again, she pulls away, laughing.

I grab for her. I lock her wrists in my hands and push her down on the bed. I bite her nipples – alternating from one to the other – and she gasps and squirms. I pull her up and place her fingers on the elastic waist of my shorts. She pulls down my shorts, takes my dripping cock into her mouth.

She delicately scratches my chest while her mouth goes up and down the length of my penis. I could come right now.

But I pull out of her mouth. I stick my thigh between her legs and rub her moistness against my skin while I play with her breasts.

After a while, I turn her around and push her down on the bed. I run my wet, hard cock on her skin, from her butt crack, along her spine, to the side of her neck. Her tongue slips out and licks me.

Leaving my cock next to her mouth, I reach down and grab her ass. I fondle it, kiss it, bite into it. I dip a finger into her moist cleft, and I tease her anus. She squirms and coos. I plunge deep into her asshole with my wet finger, and she screams in pleasure. I wriggle my finger inside her, slide in and out tenderly. I look at her writhe with delight, and my heart swells up.

Eventually, she pulls her butt away and flips over.

She again takes my cock into her mouth. She pushes her crotch up against my mouth, and I slip my tongue inside her vagina. I pull back slightly and gently kiss her labia. I tease her by running my tongue on either side of her clit, never quite touching it.

Meanwhile, her mouth slides up and down my cock; her fingers play with my balls.

Then, she lets my cock slip out of her mouth, and works on me with her hands.

I can barely keep from bursting. I struggle to hold on just a little longer.

I cover her vagina with my mouth and work on her clit with my tongue. Her breathing changes, and I can tell she’s going to come soon.

In a sudden, almost violent, move, I pull away. She whimpers.

I grab her feet and run my teeth against her soles. Her whimpers turn to moans. I spread her legs, my tongue licking her inner thighs. Her moans become sharp cries. I kiss her belly. My hands find her breasts, my fingers squeeze her nipples. My lips find her mouth. My cock finds the wet opening between her legs.

I plunge deep into her; and she screams, comes, and then whispers the syllables I desperately want to hear, the inevitable name: “Andrei...”

And then I come inside of her, and the jism spurts out of me in neverending waves. In my mind’s eye, I see the beautiful face of my dead friend.

This story originally appeared in Fishnet.


Author: Claude Lalumière

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