Afternoons of a Woman of Leisure (9781101623565) (3 page)

Chapter Six

Joanna's car pulls up to the red beach house, and stops. All during the previous night she has been haunted, tormented by the memory of Robert's thigh pinning her to the mattress, his hands imprisoning her, the cruel edge in his voice. Still, she is not quite certain why she is here. Not to repeat what happened yesterday, Joanna thinks, firmly cautioning herself. If he touches her the same way today, she will simply leave and, this time, not return.

Joanna walks up to the front door. To her surprise, it is slightly open, swinging into the hallway. “Hello?” she calls, but there is no answer. Cautiously, she pushes at the door and it swings into darkness. The shades, she thinks. All of the shades must be pulled. “Hello?” she calls again, taking a step inside.

Suddenly, she is yanked and grabbed, a gloved hand clamped tightly over her mouth. Joanna struggles instinctively, twisting back against the body behind her, but it grips her hard and an unfamiliar voice calls her “Bitch” and tells her to stop, immediately, or he will beat the shit out of her.

Joanna stops, breathing hard. Even through her terror, a part of her is smiling, glad that he knows, glad that he wants her this way. She is pressed against the wall, facing it. Hands tie a blindfold around her head. “Don't move,” he tells her, starting to feel her, roughly but slowly, descending her sides as if he were searching for a weapon. The gloved hands pause at her heaving breasts, taking in the outline of the bra beneath her shirt, then move down Joanna's stomach to the top of her skirt. A hand lifts it from beneath and carefully feels between her legs, testing the dampness that already fills Joanna's underpants. She feels the skirt fall again.

“You're coming with me,” the voice says. “Don't try to scream, or I'll hurt you. Understand?”

Shaking, Joanna nods. “Please . . .” she starts to say but he seizes her mouth again.

“Don't bother,” he says. “I'm going to do what I want with you.” He holds her hands together behind her back and pushes her a few steps forward, then turns her. “Up,” he says. Joanna climbs. At the top of the staircase he pushes her sharply to the left. She feels a door open in front of her, then close behind. He turns her roughly around and presses her back, against a wall. A gloved hand glides over her neck and Joanna gasps.

Suddenly her wrist is seized, lifted to shoulder height and swiftly fastened to the wall. Then the other wrist. She pulls against the fastenings and feels leather chafing her skin. His breath is on her face and she senses his closeness. Then a fumble at the small of her back, the sound of a zipper, slowly coming undone. Joanna's skirt slips to her feet. “Let's see what you look like,” he says quietly.

“No,” Joanna whimpers, and he laughs.

“Oh, but I think yes.”

Fingers unfasten the buttons of her shirt and she feels it come apart, exposing her bra, her belly, the upper edge of her underpants. Slowly, he moves the fabric aside and up, folding it behind her shoulders. A hand glides over her breastbone and slides up to casually cup her cheek. “I'm going to fuck you so hard,” the voice confides, and Joanna moans.

He grabs her head and kisses her deeply, filling her mouth, roughly sucking her tongue. “So hard,” he says again. Joanna pulls at her straps.

A hand creeps between her legs, fingering the damp fabric. She twists from it but it follows, slowly gathering the cotton. “You're wet,” the voice tells her, as if this is something she needs to be told. “By the time I'm finished with you, you'll be dripping, won't you?”

“No,” Joanna pleads, but his answer is the sound of tearing lace, his gloved hands ripping at the bra. She hears his sigh as it comes apart and he pushes it aside, over her shoulders. The hands take frantic possession of her breasts, rubbing and pressing them, then pinching the nipples between leather fingers.

“I'm going to suck your tits,” he informs her, then does, slowly, between his teeth. Joanna writhes, wild on the edge of pain. “You love it, you little cunt,” he whispers, reaching behind her back to slide his hands firmly over her ass. She feels his cock, pressing through denim at her pubic bone where he thrusts, briefly, showing her his own stiffness and heat.

Then he sinks to his knees and smells her loudly, rubbing his nose between her sticky thighs. A mouth bites at her underwear and she feels the glide of his teeth taking it, pulling it slightly away and then letting it snap back. “Oh, please,” Joanna moans. She hears the crackle of leather, then his gloves, falling to the floor. Warm fingers trace the upper line of her underwear, lifting it, then slowly, very slowly, inching it down, as if he were removing gauze from a wound. His warm breath plays in her pubic hair. Joanna presses her thighs together but he merely reaches between them, pulling the soaked cotton away until it falls at her feet.

For a moment, he is silent, his face at her crotch. Joanna breathes hard, openmouthed. The heat in her cunt is maddening, tormenting. He blows, sending a sweet vibration through the hairs, then softly begins to lift them away with one finger, parting them over the crack, nudging them aside then lightly tracing the swollen lips. “Spread your legs,” the voice says harshly. Then, when she doesn't move, “Do it, bitch, or I'll do it for you.”

Beneath the blindfold, Joanna is suddenly aware of her own tears. Gasping, she starts to inch her feet apart and his palms press her thighs impatiently. “Wider,” he hisses. She tries to comply but he doesn't wait. Pushing her back against the wall, the hands spread her, stretching her cunt, opening her in front of his eyes. “Nice,” the voice comments. “Aren't you nice. You'd like me to lick you, wouldn't you?”

“No.” Joanna is sobbing, the blindfold drenched, her throat thick. “Please don't do that.”

But he has already begun, first with the tip of his tongue, flicking softly at the base of her cunt, around the hole. Then the tongue flattens, gently coating the slick inner lips. Joanna becomes conscious of her own hips, tilting slightly against him. He laughs softly, then his mouth opens wide, swallowing her whole. She hears her own cry, deep and foreign as he sucks her, moving his face back and forth. Joanna pushes, rocking herself, feeling the pressure build and build. She knows it is about to happen, finally, his strong mouth pulling it out of her. “Please,” she moans, and dimly, far away, a finger slowly enters her. Her muscles grab at it.

Suddenly, the mouth releases her and blows warmly, making her throb. “You want to come in my face,” he comments quietly. The finger inside her is still. “But you can't. I'm going to fuck you first. You'll come when I'm ready.”

He slips quickly out of her. Joanna hears the crackle of his zipper, the sound of denim folding, then the snap of elastic. He leans against her and reaches behind to lightly stroke her buttocks, touching the anus with curious fingers. Then, without warning, she is lifted from beneath, pressed back against the wall and finally, slowly, allowed to drop onto him. Now, for the first time, she is aware of his own sounds, a low moan at her ear. The cock seems to expand inside her, thickening and lengthening. She senses its curve. His hands clutch at her ass and he begins to move, rocking at first and then harder with long, beautiful thrusts. Joanna rubs against him, tightening her thighs at his hips, opening to each thrust. A mouth finds her breast, and sucks it, taking the nipple between teeth and licking it roughly. She starts to scream and he pounds still harder, quickening, then suddenly he is telling her now, come now, and she does, the love in his voice exploding through her cunt and thighs and breasts, shooting through her bloodstream like fire, and he fills her mouth with his tongue and bursts deep inside her, howling like something wild.

Chapter Seven

“Hush,” Robert croons, touching her face. Joanna cries freely, her sobs choked and loud. “Hush,” he says again. Softly, he eases her down and she moans as he slips out of her. He lifts away the blindfold and she stares blankly at the dim room, then he reaches up to unstrap her wrists from the wall.

Without hesitation Joanna moves to hug him, clasping his shoulders and crying against his neck. His arms slide around her back and he holds her, his hands warm on her skin and comforting. “It's okay,” he tells her, leaning against her. “It's okay to cry.

“Yes,” Joanna says thickly, her hands in Robert's white hair. A minute later, she looks him in the eye and says, “That never happened to me before.”

“I should hope not!” He laughs, kissing her.

“No,” Joanna says. “I mean, I never came before.”

He draws back slightly and studies her, his mouth serious. “Well, well, well,” says Robert thoughtfully.

He takes her hand and leads her from the small, dark room and out into the hall to his bedroom. “Let's lie down for a bit,” he says, settling her on the mattress then untwisting a blanket and folding it over them. Joanna settles her head on his white chest. Robert's cock rests wetly against her knee. She feels peaceful and sated, glad that she has finally begun to understand her own desires, and she wonders how he knew.

“Are you married?” he asks her suddenly, fingering the wedding and engagement rings on her finger.

“Yes,” Joanna says. “Are you?”

“No,” says Robert. “Are you happily married?”

“I don't know,” Joanna says truthfully. “I've never really thought much about it. I guess I must be, or else I'd leave him.”

“Not necessarily.” He laughs. “My parents were unhappily married for years, and they stayed married for far too long.”

“Can I ask you something?” Joanna says, shifting onto her elbow and looking at him. “Why is your hair white? You look so young. How old are you, anyway?”

“Thirty,” he says. “Actually, it's sort of private.” But then, seeing her disappointment, he shrugs. “I saw something, when I was fifteen. It scared the shit out of me. I turned white overnight, and I've been that way since. Do you mind it?”

She shakes her head. “It's beautiful. I think it's beautiful.”

Robert smiles, his hands behind his head. “You're beautiful,” he says. “And Christ, are you sexy.” Then he grows serious again. “Unfortunately, I have to leave tomorrow.”

Joanna does not try to hide her disappointment. “Where are you going?”

“Up north,” he says simply. “There's an artist's colony where I spend my summers. I always do interesting work there, though sometimes”—he smiles—“not quite what I plan to do before I go.”

“Oh,” Joanna says.

Later, he makes love to her again. Tenderly, like the day before, but this time with passion, and Joanna responds. She slides down the mattress to lick his open thighs, gently rubbing his scrotum then filling her mouth with his cock, feeling its beautiful curve. He moans and pulls at her legs, parting them over his head and plunging his tongue inside her until she comes in a wave, sucking him in rhythm to her own contractions. When she has finished, she turns and lowers herself on his cock, one hand massaging his scrotum, the other reaching up to brush and pull the white hairs around his nipples. Robert bucks under her, the muscles of his stomach tight, his head whipping from side to side on the pillow. His climax is a thick eruption inside her and she groans at its heat, its power, his face contorted and flushed.

“I want to give you something,” he tells her afterwards, when she has dressed to go. He walks, naked, into another room and brings back a small white paperback which he puts directly into her bag. “Something to read,” Robert says. “I think you will enjoy it.”

“What is it?” Joanna asks, but he only smiles, silent. “Does this mean I won't see you again?” she says.

“Oh, I think our paths may cross,” Robert tells her.

“Based on what?” says Joanna, a little hurt.

“On fate,” he says. “I'm a great believer in fate. Fate,” he whispers, solemnly but with a sly grin, “and destiny.”

Chapter Eight

The book is
The Story of O.
All the following day, Joanna reads, entranced. She loves the lushness of the writing, the sweet intensity of O's longing both for love and punishment. And slowly, as she reads, that shadowy landscape of Joanna's own desire begins to fill with possibilities, scenarios, commands. She would not like to be really hurt, she thinks, not branded or pierced with irons. She is not sure she would like to be whipped, either, but she loves the idea of the whip, its stiffness, the whistled flight it would make through the air, descending, its crack against her flesh. But not hurting, she tells herself. Not really hurting. What she wants is the taking of her own body, the probing of it, the possession of it by someone who makes her surrender. She wants, temporarily but completely, to belong to someone, to be without choice. O's problem, Joanna decides, is that she is in love with the man who forces and controls her and, accordingly, she is compromised, her will lost in servitude. If only, Joanna thinks, there could be a more balanced exchange, almost a business transaction! A way to be taken and used and then, when it is over, left alone to walk out the door.

As she reads, Joanna frequently sets the book aside and goes to her bedroom to masturbate, blissfully, always to a shattering climax. She wonders at her own former ineptitude, her inability to imagine these things for herself. As she comes, she thinks of Robert, pinning her spread-eagled against the wall, calling her “cunt” and “bitch,” telling her how much she is going to like it, how hard he is going to fuck her. Joanna moans with happiness.

When she finishes the book, late that afternoon, Joanna returns to her bedroom again, rubbing it between hands that smell lingeringly of her own cunt. She is about to hide the book in her bedside table when it occurs to her to check the name of the author again, so that she can ask at her bookstore for other works by the same person. When she turns to the title page, however, Joanna sees something she hadn't noticed before: a telephone number, written with a ball-point pen. Its area code identifies it as a downtown exchange. Joanna stares at the number for a long time before reaching into her bag. Within her own mind, she is sure, but still she feels compelled to check, to convince herself of what she already knows. Mired in the chaos of her bag, she finally finds the small white business card and pulls it out, holding it next to the book. It is the same number.

The afternoon has grown dark. Joanna knows that Curtis will be home any minute. She sits silently in the shadowy room, thinking about the small but prosperous business run by Curtis' first wife in the city. Now, she imagines, she understands about the beautiful black woman, the intimacy of the conference she observed in the restaurant. “O,” Joanna thinks, rolling the single letter over her tongue. The simplicity of that is beautiful to her. “O.”

Before she can stop herself, Joanna lifts the telephone and dials the number, gripping the receiver tightly in her hand. She breathes heavily, prepared to hang up, her body tense. After a pause, Joanna hears a whir of soft clicks, a hum, and then the purr of ringing. Once, twice, three times, and finally another click, loud and decisive.

On tape, a woman's voice says, “This is the correct number for ‘O.' You've reached an answering machine. The only rule by which we operate is, ‘All persuasions; no brutality.' Think about that carefully. If it applies to you and to your needs, you may leave a name and telephone number after the tone. Otherwise, there will always be someone here to answer at this number on weekday mornings between nine and eleven. Thank you for calling.”

The tone sounds, long and low. Softly, Joanna hangs up the telephone.

Other books

0525427368 by Sebastian Barry
The Accidental Siren by Jake Vander Ark
Running Towards Love by Adams, Marisa
I Did Tell, I Did by Harte, Cassie