barefoot 2

The grandfather clock chimed the last three bells of the hour: eleven o’clock, already, the clock face said. Eileen shut the door behind her as she looked around the cluttered entry hall, scrambling first to toss shoes into the closet, to pick up the last week’s mail and papers that had gathered on the table next to the door.

Rush rush, it was a distraction, this concern for neatness and order and first appearances and respectability, this date, this coffee, this expectation for something, what?, something. He was handsome, yes, this was true, thoughtful enough to look after her, attracted, it seemed, it was fucking obvious. Her cunt throbbed as she thought of his cock bulging beneath the running shorts, as she thought of this entry hall, his soothing hands now roughly holding her wrists up to the wall as he would growl into her ear. You like it like this, he would tell her, he would know. Eileen slipped her fingers beneath her panties, wet, of course, wetter. Dizziness overwhelmed her, she longed for this fuck-drunken want, a rare thing still, not rare to lust in general, to want sex, but precious to want so specifically, him, to imagine his hand now gliding over his thick cock perhaps, perhaps right now, perhaps his own thoughts of reaching round to unfasten her pants, to catch the string of her panties, to rip, push his fingers between her swollen lips. She pushed her fingers into her pussy, sighed, dashed up the stairs to lie down.

The bed was unmade, still, bad girl, the sheets turned back already. Eileen pushed off her shorts, and pulled her damp t-shirt over her head. Her bra was wet, and her nipples stuck to the fabric as she unfastened the back and peeled clothing off, exposing her skin to the cool room. Nipples hardened, and she touched them, thrilled still more with the flutter in her belly as she felt herself. Delicious to touch, to slow, to wait, to want, too much, she fell to the bed, back, eager for satisfaction, but more, the intensity of desire. A tease, she told herself, oh, just a little. Her panties fell from her hand to the ground, her legs fell apart, spread a little, a little wider, oh. Yes.

It was the clock downstairs that awakened Eileen, a half hour? a quarter? She wasn’t sure, rolled to see the alarm clock. One-thirty? Already? No, two-thirty! Two-thirty, slow clock, two-forty! She jumped, looked at her hair, still pulled from the pony tail, strands pulled loose, fix later. The red panties, bra, go ahead, if not now, then when? Pants. No, not those. Skirt. Yes, no. Sweater, shirt better, button to here, no, one more, on second thought, no, yes red shows through, too late now, too late, lipstick, leave now, go, he is waiting. Go now.

Tom stands on a corner, two fifty-eight. He stands, and watches, jeans, henley shirt. He stands and watches her wild hair loose now as she pulls the pony tail out and glances at her reflection in a car window. A mess, she is. A mess I’ll tell you, he will see her lack of order, her chaos, her respectability non-existent now, the lusty nap evident, isn’t it? she thinks, better to know now, she thinks, then doubts. Then he smiles.

barefoot

Eileen stopped at the end of the sidewalk, bent over and felt the bottom of her bare foot once more. It was liberating to run through the streets with naked feet, but she had gained a new awareness of litter and public drunkenness in the process of dodging the constant remnants of Dunkin’ Donuts packaging and broken liquor bottles.

“Damn,” Eileen said as she cringed. Blood trickled onto her hand as she pulled on the sliver of glass caught on the ball of her foot. She put her foot back onto the ground, and despite the cut, felt little pain. So she stood, rocked back and forth, then ran on in the cool morning, sun just risen in the early Sunday quiet, not a car, not a dog, not a sound but the birds and the wind, and Eileen’s own breath.

The leaves were vivid in the low light of the day, promising deep blue sky. Eileen had discovered this splendor, and the freedom of morning runs, in the summer. The first time without shoes felt strange, as though she had broken into a world no longer allowed to her as an adult. But as her feet and legs became stronger, she began to revel in the glory of air. Her running shorts became shorter; her tops revealed more and more of her skin to the sun.

Now it was fall, though, and the lack of cover was apparent in the breeze; stopping had left her shivering now in her sweat-soaked clothing. She ran on, warming slowly, the ache in her foot now returning. Eileen bent over once more. Her foot was still bleeding, now somewhat worse. She saw a spot behind her, and looked back to a trail of red dots on the sidewalk where she had just run.

“Hello, are you all right?” a fellow runner stood now at Eileen’s feet, his short black hair slick, sweat beading on his forehead, even today. She had not heard him approach, and fell back when he spoke.

“Yes, yes,” she said, standing quickly and brushing sand from the back of her shorts, then standing bashfully with her hands in front of her. In her surprise, she had not initially noticed his powerful legs, the strong shoulders beneath the white t-shirt. “It’s just a small cut,” Eileen explained. “I can walk home.”

“Are you sure?” the stranger asked. “I live very close if you need a bandage.”

Eileen was wary of men out in the early morning–most around these streets were red-eyed, reeking of cologne and smoke and late-night trouble. There were sometimes a few dog walkers and fellow joggers, an occasional professional walking with quick determination, if Eileen was late in returning from her own morning run. This stranger looked familiar, she thought, although she could not place where she had seen him.

“Really,” the man continued, “I live right there.” And he pointed to a brick walk-up a little farther down the street. “Come on, you should cover that cut.” He motioned to her, and she began to walk with him. “I’m Tom,” he said, as he held out his hand to support her for the few steps to his home.

“Why don’t you sit here?” Tom offered, and Eileen sat on a lower stair. “I’ll be right back.”

Tom returned several minutes later with a pan of water, a towel, and a small bag.

“What’s all this?” Eileen looked at Tom as he kneeled below her, and placed her injured foot into the soapy water. “I didn’t expect a full pedicure.”

“Just cleaning your wound,” Tom smiled as he sat cross-legged on the ground below. The water was warm, and smelled faintly of pine. Tom’s wet t-shirt clung to his chest, and Eileen’s heart raced as his hands slipped into the water and onto her foot.

“I don’t think you are bleeding anymore,” Tom smiled, as he pulled her foot out of the water and looked at it. He let her foot fall back into the warm water.

It was warm, so soothing to relax like this in the cool air. Eileen leaned back, and the cold cement of the stair surprised her, as goosebumps popped up along her arm. Her nipples hardened, and she tensed as she realized how strange this was, Tom taut and handsome sitting beside the pan of water on his porch. He smiled again, and Eileen thought to pull her foot out, aware of her legs spread open.

“All better?” Tom asked, dipping his hands into the water and rubbing Eileen’s foot roughly. His hand kneeded her feet, massaging her toes, her arch. Eileen felt that familiar knot  in her belly as his fingers pushed into the sensitive spots at the base of her toes. She suppressed a moan, then realized that she was red, that his shorts were bulging, too, as he looked up at her. He let go of her foot, and reached for the towel, then pulled her foot from the water and wrapped it.

“Yes, I think it’s better,” Tom answered himself, and stood, then bent to pick up the pan. He turned and emptied the water into the gutter. Eileen watched him, and pushed her legs together, now aware of her wet panties, her senses on fire now as he brushed beside her to take the pan into the house. “I have to find a band-aid now,” Tom said as he walked quickly up the stairs.

The door slammed shut behind him, and Eileen heard his footsteps on the stairs inside, a stop. Finally, he opened the door again, and came with a box.

“They are all tiny, I am afraid,” Tom apologized as he sat on the stair beside her. “Will this work?”

Eileen took the small band-aid from him, “Do you have anything bigger?” she asked him. “You have already been so kind,” she said quickly, then embarrassed by her comment as she saw his shorts tighten again.

“Do you need a ride?” he asked.

“I am not too far from here,” Eileen stammered, then wishing she had said yes, wishing suddenly to be alone with him. She imagined reaching across the stick shift to his muscular legs, her hands reaching beneath the shorts. She imagined running her hand gently along the length of his thick shaft, his sigh, his rough beard against her face, because he would have to pull over, she knew, his kisses running from her face to her shoulders to

“Or a coffee?” Tom interrupted her thought.

“Okay, sure.” Eileen stood, now feeling cold, and naked. “But maybe in a while? I should get something warm to wear.”

“How about this afternoon?” Tom answered, now grinning. “Meet me here at 3:00?”

Eileen stood straight now, too. “Sure,” she said. “3:00 is perfect.”

find

The cold floor startled Todd as he climbed out of Sylvie’s bed late in the night. Despite his exhaustion, his body finally giving in to sleep, Todd was still awakened as he was every night, by the same dream, the same thought.

Downstairs, the rooms were still colder. Todd buttoned his shirt as he shuffled methodically to the basement to start a fire, pausing by the kitchen to see a light blinking. 3:58. He had managed nearly four straight hours of sleep, and felt a vague sickness as the strangeness of rest swept over him. Coffee would end the night, and he could leave then within the hour.

Todd opened the back door, bracing himself. Cool, but not even close to the snowy weeks before. Spring-like. The chattering birds seemed to assure him. The pipes would not freeze, not in this sort of morning.

Todd went into his study, searched in a small vase on the bookshelf for the key to the desk drawer. The drawer contained little, really, but the map was there, inside a small book filled with verses he had written. Few people had seen these words, not out of Todd’s lack of confidence, but more out of his desire to keep some part of himself for himself, far from the pressures of those who claimed to know him best. Sylvie knew nothing of the poems, but Todd thought at times that perhaps she would not be surprised. Others would judge him harshly for the softness he expressed, and he had no desire for the crowds to see this part of him.

Sylvie. She came back into Todd’s thoughts once more, her fingertips now more real in their absence. He felt her everywhere, loss defining her more than she could have possibly defined herself in all the days she wandered through his space. He could so easily give into this, linger here in the comfort of missing that love. But now was the time to remember earlier times, other matters left unfinished.

Todd poured his travel cup full of coffee and turned off the machine. He grabbed the heavy backpack hanging on the hooks by the back door, and put the book inside as he stepped out into the new morning, the moon still bright, out down the dark roads. Police cars sat in the pull-outs along the ponds and fields, waiting for a lone speeder, perhaps, or just waiting for day.

long blonde hair

Sylvie idly stirred the foam into her coffee with the small spoon that the bartender had placed on the saucer. She looked into her bag for the notebook, the one she usually took out when a thought crossed her mind, or when she was agitated sitting alone without a plan for the day. A swath of yellow hair swung down suddenly in front of her, and nearly hit across her face. Its owner, a tall woman with white patent boots and a tan, had wedged herself in between the chairs, and leaned over the bar with a ten in her hand.

“I just want the usual, Fred” she said.

She straightened, and her hair followed, this time closer, strands falling on Sylvie. It was fresh, still damp underneath, soft. The woman looked at Sylvie.

“Hot and ready to go, Linda,” the bartender said, turning back to hand the woman a saucer and cup and a tall glass.

“Why thank you, Fred!” Linda winked at him as she reached across for her coffee. She looked again at Sylvie, up and down, then smiled at her. “Nice jacket,” she said. “Are you cold?”

“Fred, it is freezing in here! Don’t you see that customers are bundled up?” Linda turned back to Sylvie.

“No,” Sylvie stumbled, feeling suddenly flushed at the unexpected attention, “well, yes. I was just outside, and haven’t warmed up yet.” Sylvie smiled back, glad to talk at last to another woman. “I love your boots!”

“Oh, thanks! They are a little small for me, though. It’s early and my feet are already throbbing in them.” Linda eased back onto a stool and crossed her leg to rub her right foot. “What size are you? We should trade!”

“These boots? They don’t quite match your outfit.” Sylvie looked at Linda’s tan, bare legs in the short white skirt. Her clothing, if a little off-season, was still perfect.  The lace of a scarlet red bra peeked through the latticed design that closed the deep V-neck of a navy t-shirt. Linda leaned over, her skirt riding a little higher up her thighs as she re-crossed her legs to rub the left foot. Sylvie could see the top of Linda’s round breasts, firm beneath her crepey bronze skin–years of sun, no doubt, Sylvie thought. Linda leaned back again and stretched her arms in back, the t-shirt now stretched across her chest. Nipples. Sylvie loosened her jacket.

“It seems to be a little warmer here now.” And Sylvie stood to remove her coat, bending to fold it carefully across another bar stool.

“Hot, even.” Linda sipped from her coffee, then put the cup down on the saucer. “Would you join me?” she asked. “How about a table near the window?” She picked up her drinks and headed toward some plush seats away from the bar. Sylvie followed.

Sylvie noticed the dainty way that Linda walked–sore feet maybe, or an affectation. The square heel of her boots dragged at times across the floor, and Sylvie followed gently, then walked in front to pull out a chair as Linda approached. “Is this all right?”

“Oh, yes, perfect.” Linda crossed her legs again, then uncrossed them and tucked her feet up on the soft chair. “Well, you heard. I’m Linda. What’s your name?”

“Sylvie.”

“Oh–French, right? Are you visiting?”

“Oh.. no, well I’m not French. And not visiting, not really,” Sylvie squirmed, surprised by her reaction to Linda’s invitation, her charm. “I am just.. just trying to figure a few things out right now.”

“Oh, was he terrible to you?” Linda nodded, leaning to hear Sylvie’s response.

The lace showed through Linda’s blouse again, and Sylvie watched, imagined where the tan lines might end–if they end. She felt the seam of her jeans rubbing between her legs, her panties moistening as Linda spoke in her candid, soft way.

“No,” Sylvie answered. “Well, it’s complicated.”

“Oh,” Linda placed her hand on Sylvie’s. “It always is. Tell me more.”

Sylvie had told no one of her frustrations with Todd. For months now she had wished for his embrace, for his response even, and for months she remained disappointed. She told Linda about him. She told Linda about their open relationship, but about Todd’s lack of response within it. She told Linda how she had discovered the hotel, about Jean-Paul. She told Linda that she had come back in hopes of finding him–she did not expect to say that, and was surprised to hear the words coming from her mouth.

Sylvie felt faint with the exertions of the past days, her emotions so close to the edge, and exhaustion setting in now that she had told someone. A friend. “I think I should go to my room for a while,” Sylvie heard herself say, even as she had returned here wishing more than anything to go out and walk until she could no longer think.  She had wanted to walk, to forget these men, to turn her back on the voluptuous life they offered, the desire, the pain.

“Oh, my,” Linda said. “You are pale! You should lie down immediately.”

And this was it. Linda put another ten on Sylvie’s saucer, and offered a hand for Sylvie. Sylvie grasped it, and rose, almost hypnotically, as she walked from the bar to the elevator.

“Sylvie?” a man called out. A bartender. Sylvie blushed as she recognized the  bartender who had seen her in such compromising circumstances just one day earlier.

Sylvie pretended not to hear him as Linda wrapped an arm around her waist.

“Oh wait!” Linda turned back. “Do you know Rob? He is calling you! Let me get him…”

“Rob?” Sylvie asked. “Oh, no, I need…”

Sylvie wanted to disappear, and Linda seemed suddenly strong to her, reassuring as a best friend. Sylvie sank a little against her, Linda’s long blonde hair once again in her face, so lovely.

“I need to go now,” Sylvie answered, and she stepped into the empty elevator.

new

Sylvie, in her boat-neck sailor stripe blouse, pale polished suit, heels, pushed the sunglasses down from the top of her head when the elevator stopped at the fifth floor. A woman in a t-shirt and leggings got on, and the elevator went the rest of the way down.

It was quiet for the hour, just before 7:30 on a hectic morning. With traffic, Sylvie thought, she should have plenty of time to drive to her office out of the city. And she would be driving out of the traffic. And then, and then? Oh, just making it through today was the first step.

Sylvie walked past the lobby, not bothering to check out. She had left the key in the room, as she planned to avoid the same faces she had seen the day before. But now she recognized no one. Trays rolled past from the restaurant–the cling of glasses, the bustling kitchen voices , the scent of coffee elevating Sylvie’s mood, the hum of purpose she had chosen.

The morning was cool, damp in the garage as she started her car and eased out onto the empty streets. So strange, it seemed, as she turned toward the expressway, switching on the radio.

“It’s a beautiful Saturday morning.”

Sylvie pulled off to the side of the road, checking her calendar. Yes, yes, it really was the weekend already. Jean-Paul had said he was leaving Friday evening. And the city was still empty so early. In a flash, Sylvie turned the car back to the hotel, yes, she could keep her room tonight, and tomorrow. The city, and the morning, were hers. She picked up her suitcase, and headed upstairs to change.

Jeans, the boatneck, boots, the white raincoat pulled tight. Yes, this was it, she thought, as she happily rode back down and sat in the bar for coffee, the news. It felt so luxurious, the sun, coffee, a new lens, and time.

together alone

Sylvie was tossing in her bed, the bed to be precise, in room #804 of our famous hotel.

It was a bad choice, Sylvie had thought as she walked into the familiar lobby, relieved though to find unfamiliar faces at the desk, an older bartender at the bar, and Jean-Paul not loitering in the lobby. Sylvie took her sunglasses off–it was night, after all. She set her suitcase on the ground as she waited for the elevator. L. Yes, here. No one stepped off. She stepped on, up, down the hall, to her room.

Her exhaustion gave way to crisp sheets, the Mozart playing low beneath dimmed lights, the Andes mint on the night stand. It was all so predictable, but so comforting. Sylvie undressed, and let the cool cotton envelop her. She slept.

——————-

Todd slept, as well, fitfully, as he was not sleeping in his own bed, as he had become accustomed, but in Sylvie’s bed. It was too soft, too warm, and to top it all off, an obstacle course through various toys that she used, quite evidently, when Todd was absent.

It was late when Todd awoke again, nearly 11pm. The wood fire was surely out by now, but lingering fatigue was the winner in the argument, and he stayed in bed, disrupted at last by the small rubbery item that had rolled out of the bag beneath the pillow. Todd thought to tend the fire, but grabbed the toy, the tapered soft tip vaguely familiar, vaguely arousing as he wrapped his fist around, remembered it, perhaps, remembered it opening him up one night, one rare night so long ago now it seemed…

The lube was prominently displayed on the neighboring nightstand–his, when he’d have it. Todd reached for it, popped the cap up and squirted a small drop into his finger. On his side, he could reach back, finger his tiny dirty hole. He felt himself blush, he thought, so enticing the sensation, so exquisite the memory of Sylvie’s fingers filling his ass as his cock filled her mouth. Yes, yes, a climax that seemed never to come, then never to end. He coated the toy with lube, and drew with it gently beneath his balls.

———————–

Oh, Todd! Sylvie was dreaming. Her sleep mingled with the day’s unfulfilled desire. Exhaustion only exacerbated by the slumber that had overtaken her, but as if only to tease her. Sylvie lay restless in the bed, her legs now loose and open, her hand absentmindedly finding its way between them.

She was wet–no, moist. He was not there, and she was sleepy, only a little tempted, perhaps to touch, perhaps more to relieve the tension as she so often did, finger on clit, round and round. Yes, so lovely, these daily masturbations. But now she needed, she wanted more.

The cord of the Hitachi dangled from her bag, and she yanked the massager out by it. She followed the length of the lamp cord to find an outlet quickly. Sylvie lay on her belly, and pushed against the wall to move the bed back far enough, pulled out the lights  and fit the plug of the Hitachi into the wall. She turned over and opened her legs, the large mechanical white head near as she pulled the covers around her, as she lay back against the multitude of pillows, some propped beneath her legs as well. So long, Sylvie thought, since she had surrendered to the unmistakable hum of the machine. She pressed the button to the lower setting, still strong, and placed it above her clit, tensing from it, then pressing into the power, near the precipice, higher, her breath light in this world, a warmth still overcoming, her skin on alert, and still, still unfilled, oh, that gripping desire. She reached into her bag, but the other toys were not in it. She was wet, testy now so close to relief. Sylvie turned the vibrator to high, her body shrinking, shaking, shrieking, yes, at last, at last, as she collapsed into the pillows, the comfort of the strange bed surrounding her, welcoming her, even in her tears, her loneliness, her freedom, her dreams.

————————-

Todd raised his knee, rolling onto his erection as he found more lube and relaxed, letting his fingers, the dildo, enter him, burning first, then relinquishing resistance, in, the tightness now his cock stiffer, the memory of Sylvie standing behind him, strapped onto the toy, penetrating, pushing gently in as she pressed the small of his back with her small hands, her power radiant as he told her to fuck him, fuck him hard. He rolled now onto his knees, reaching back to push the dildo in, then out, damn, yes, his balls filling, near. But no, not quite. That distant night so long ago, Todd had reached back for Sylvie, reached back to feel her excitement, her delight, she said, as she watched her new cock slide in and out of him, his gasps, and at last his request. Take it off, he wanted, yes, and she had left the dildo deep in his ass as she turned him over.–Todd turned over now, too.– Sylvie had climbed on top of his swollen cock, her juices warm, tightly taking him in, fucking him… his hand now in that place, lubed, her pillow near as he smelled her hair, her perfume, but not her warmth, faster. She had swallowed him sometimes, his cock holding back as it pushed against her throat, the vibrator then beneath his balls then irresistible, ecstasy, as his come shot into her mouth, into her cunt, into her, skin, gone. Todd looked beneath the pillow, but the vibrator was not in its usual place. He arched his back, the dildo tight against the bed, deeper, mmm, as he ran his hand faster, yes, more lube, faster, at the top, his hand coated now, relief, sleep, sadly invading.

home alone 2

“Well, that is that,” Todd thought as he pulled into the empty driveway.

Corners of newspaper advertisements stuck out of the mailbox. He didn’t bother to remove them. As he climbed from the car, he saw a scarf lying in the driveway. Her perfume. Maybe it was there before.

Todd fished again in his pocket for the house key, fiddled with the door–those old locks had to be just right. The house smelled mildly of mold and grass, that farmhouse scent of emptiness, as if the earth would swallow the whole of civilization quickly without a wood fire in the stove.

It was cold here now. Todd went to the basement and opened the door to the stove. Cold ashes filled the bottom, and he carefully scooped them out into the bin. The only good kindling was gone, and the wood itself wasn’t the best this time around–still too green, or maybe just too wet from sitting outside too long in the fallen leaves. He moved the driest log from the pile into the stove: a log with a lot of bark, rolls of newspaper beneath and beside. He struck the match. The paper burned, and the fire quickly went out. He rolled up a few more pages and lit them again.

As the bark began to burn, Todd thought of Sylvie’s hungry face as she lay in Jean-Paul’s hotel bed that afternoon. She reminded Todd more of a baby bird in the nest then than of the fun-loving libertine he had expected when he knocked on the door of #504. Sylvie’s lust these days seemed laced with expectation, her love–or was it disappointment?–confusing any desire he had to fuck her brains out the way he dreamed to when she was away from him.

The bark burned a little before the fire went out again. Todd tore up a cardboard box and lit more rolls of paper between the log, the fire flaming as he fanned it, the stove nearly hot enough to close. This was not a day he could leave the fire untended, and he spaced a few of the logs near the stove to dry out a little more.

Sylvie was gone.

He looked up the stairs and realized that the living room lights were still out, the kitchen cold and silent.

The log at last began to smoke. Todd was now covered in the scent of it himself, in the clothes and exhaustion of the day. He remembered the sound of Sylvie’s heels clicking on the floor, the door shutting, and her footsteps quick down the fifth floor corridor, the elevator door opening, ringing, closing.

The bartender had excused himself then, offering the panties first to Jean-Paul, then handing them to Todd before rushing back to the relative safety downstairs.

Todd had stayed there at the window then, Jean-Paul looking out then with him, both silent. They watched the street below, the right turn indicator of a convertible flashing, flashing, then gone.

It was Jean-Paul who had extended his hand when the silence became unbearable.

“She’ll come back,” Jean-Paul suggested, not fully privy to what had just happened. Jean-Paul meant well, though the hopefulness of his words only suggested to Todd that the opposite was more likely.

The French guy seemed likable enough, Todd had thought, the–yes–jealousy evaporating as Jean-Paul welcomed him into the room. It was friendly. It was hot. Sylvie had hoped to lure Todd there–he was sure this encounter was a test to him of some sort.

And he had pushed her away, pushed away his own fantasy, or at least that manifestation of it.

Todd closed the stove and walked up the steps from the cellar. He turned on the living room lights, and sat for a moment before running back down to check–yes, the fire was burning. He threw on two more logs, and went up the stairs, then to the shower.

He peered into the bedroom: the covers were neat. Yes, she had been here. The closet door was shut, everything strangely tidy.

Most of Sylvie’s toiletries were gone. Her towel was still mildly damp. Todd turned the water to hot and undressed as steam filled the room. He stepped into the tub, let the water run down his face, smoke and sweat mixed, blurred as his vision, his fatigue now overwhelming. Todd washed quickly and dried, then. Oh, the last night, the last days, sleep, sleep. He walked into the bedroom. He folded down the covers of Sylvie’s bed and climbed in. Within moments, Todd was asleep.