We saw movies. That’s what we did. We saw movies and went to museums.
I met Elise when she briefly worked in my office. She was one of those girls who grew up rich, but Upper West Side rich, not Upper East Side rich. The difference was super-preppy private schools versus super-intellectual immersive savant schools. She went to the latter and left with a rich inner life and a love of art and music and books that most people had never heard of. That, and the inability to really connect with most anyone.
There were the phobias; elevators, undercooked meat, docks, public speaking, crowded spaces, dark alleys, Antarctica, gum. Her worst fear was that she would swallow a piece of chewing gum. She told me she thought about it constantly, though it didn’t stop her from constantly chewing the most sugary, garish pink stuff she could find.
Then there was the OCD and the ADD and the cocktail of pharmacology. She was not trapped within the rigors of counting things and washing hands, but there were little things, more than quirks but less than crippling. There were also the daddy issues because he was like God to her, and the mommy issues because her mother told her she was fat when she was 12. There was a lot going on in this girl’s head.
Oddly, for every phobia there were three fascinations. She loved to travel and had been around the world. She had dipped her feet in the Ganges, but would have nightmares about diner kitchens. She had been to Mecca and the Great Wall and Paris at midnight, but she couldn’t order pizza on the phone without writing out a script first.Ę There was clumsiness and the propensity to stare at people. Also the odd choice of clothing that ranged from “old man chic” to downright strange: combinations of thrift store, knitwear and crumpled couture acquired abroad.
We weren’t dating exactly. I think we were studying each other in hopes of writing papers at some later time. She was certainly aware that I had dalliances all over the city and occasionally interrogated me about the details. She never showed jealousy. Yet in some strange, fundamental way our relationship couldn’t be classified as friendship. There was a “date” quality to our outings, and at the end of the night sometimes we’d stop and kiss in front of her doorman.
She was so complex and unusual; I was endless amused and intrigued, devoting three or four days a month to following her from wing to wing of whatever museum she wanted to see. There was also the fact that I was nearly consumed with curiosity about what this creature would be like in bed. For all of her awkwardness, both social and physical, she had indisputable beauty under all of the cardigans and worry. For me that beauty was amplified by all the self-consciousness. Then there was the seemingly never sending curiosity with the minutia of the world. It was that curiosity that made me want her the most.
As intrigued and confused as I was with her, she seemed equally fascinated by me, my writing and my occasional brashness. She noted over lunch one Sunday that she thought I was all at once sexual and safe. I was alternately flattered by the first part and a bit insulted by the second.
As Elise and I brunched one afternoon, our conversation moving from the United Nations’ near powerlessness to the benefits and shortcomings of a panopticon, to her philosophical musings about her ant farm, to the ethics of cloning, to sex. We met on topics of literary theory, politics, art, but near the edges of our interest Venn diagram she leaned towards entomology whereas I preferred power dynamics.
As we finished and got up to leave we found ourselves alone in the corner of the restaurant and face to face. When I moved in to kiss her she froze a bit and her eyes went wide. I instinctively pulled back. Her eyebrows wrinkled with confusion.
That always seemed to happen; all the signals I am used to reading were always missing with her. She was mute to the language of seduction and blind to the politics of negotiation. I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to being forward, so this always left us both unsatisfied.
As we left the restaurant we discussed how we’d seen all the good movies out. We’d been to the Met and MoMA and the Guggenheim and even the Morgan Library and the Frick. We had been contemplating the botanical gardens, but it started to rain.
“What do we do?” she said with the intense seriousness most people reserve for emergencies.
I turned to her, with faux seriousness, taking hold of her shoulder and looking her in the eye.
“We have exhausted all other options, Elise. We’ll have to have sex.”
Her eyes opened wide and she bit her bottom lip.
“Oh, I see,” she said with a seriousness that I couldn’t tell was real or comical, since her normal seriousness looked comical on its own.
I laughed a little, but she didn’t.
“I suppose your apartment would be better, right? I mean, I have a roommate and she has two cats. Plus I only have a twin and you have a queen,” she said, ready to reel off a hundred more reasons.
My gut reaction was to be shocked, to ask if she was serious, to laugh, but I stifled all of that. I nodded somberly, then I turned around and hailed a cab.
Now it may seem, from all this data, that Elise might be a virgin, but as I learned in one of our earliest and most interesting conversations she was decidedly not. At 22 she had had no fewer than four lovers and had, at the age of nineteen, lived with a professor of hers who was fifteen years her senior for a little over sixteen months.
From what she told me the sex was awkward but occasionally interesting. Her desire seemed to come and go, like all of her obsessions. She hit on a patch where she was very curious about men and sex, met a variety of gentleman through Craigslist, found two of them to sleep with. Neither experience was negative, but neither were they exactly what she was looking for.
On a dating site she found a woman her age whom she was irresistibly drawn to. They went out a few times, became good friends, and although both were very passive, they did make love once with the aid of tequila and a Portishead concert. After that she decided she saw little difference in her attraction to men and women.
She gave my apartment the usual thorough examination she gave all new places. I wondered what strange protocols her mind adhered to in new situations. Was she checking for cobwebs or mapping the fastest way out?
She took a long time looking over my bookshelf. I always consider this a good sign.
She then took off her coat and sat down on my couch and sort of just stared at my television, which was turned off.
“You know, you sort of send out mixed signals,” I said, trying to sound casual as I searched my refrigerator for drinks.
“I have beer, wine, mango juice-”
“Vodka?” she said without an ounce of humor.
“I have that.”
“Vodka and mango juice. And ice,” she said.
She wore a long brown corduroy skirt and a blue t-shirt with some sort of Japanese octopus eating noodles with several pairs of chopsticks. Over that a brown and maroon cardigan that she knit herself. Peeking out from her black work boots were loose beige socks.
I found myself suddenly very curious about her underpants. What kind of bra and panties would a girl like this wear? What would be the state of her pubic hair?
I put the drink down in front of her and she gave me a crooked, wholesome smile, sitting on her hands, looking nervous.
“Coaster?” she asked with wide eyes.
I laughed so hard I nearly went down on one knee. There was just something ridiculous and amusing and cute about her. I wanted to fuck her.
“So, sex. That should be interesting,” I said taking a sip of my drink and sitting down next to her, but not right next to her. I was trying to stay conversational. Where was this going?
“Oh? I suppose it can be. Especially the first time with someone new,” she remarked and took a long drink.
There was an awkward silence, but since there was so much awkwardness already it was like a drop of water in the ocean.
“I know I give mixes messages. I pull away when I want to kiss. It’s like I don’t speak that language,” she admitted between quick sips of the cocktail.
“You don’t speak body language?”
She gave me the crooked smile again and shrugged.
“You should be the aggressor. I know you think I’m a little prude, but I assure you there isn’t much you could do to me that I don’t want you to do.”
I perked up at this notion and laughed. “I don’t know, I’m sure–”
She cut me off. “Jack. Sex is sex. I like sex. With all your spanking and rope and sex toys, it’s still all just sex. The worst you could do is try and hit me really hard and I probably wouldn’t mind that, even. In fact it’s been a long time since someone hit me. It sort of clears my mind.”
She finished the drink with a gulp.
“You’re not the first person who’s ever been to an orgy, you know. You just talk about it and write about it all the time. Most people keep that stuff private.”
There it was. A wide range of things that I did that made me feel edgy and different: just another curiosity for this seemly innocent girl.
I shifted closer to her and she folded her hands in her lap and looked down at them.
“That came out wrong. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with writing about it. A lot of people who do that kind of stuff just don’t. I like that you think about it. I think about things too much, too. Not really sex, though. That’s just something you do.”
I took her chin in my hand and pulled her to face me. I kissed her and got the same sort of tight lipped kiss I always got when ever I started kissing Elise. I pushed her back and kissed her full on. I kissed her until she gave in and kissed me back.
I didn’t know if I was supposed to shake her or hold her down or slap her, so I just kept kissing her. I moved in on her, slipping my arm around her waist, kissing across her jawbone and then down into the hidden tender skin of her neck.
It was only when I bit and sucked on her earlobe that the wall started melting. As we moved around on the couch her hair brushed my lips, the smell of shampoo and somewhere in the distance the smell of her sex, just for a moment.
I kissed her again, finding her thin lips more giving. I smoothed a hand over her back then dragged my nails across her cotton covered skin. I wanted more of her, I wanted to break her mask and show me the fragile raw thing I spoke to outside of her cage of reason and neuroses.
I probably place too much value on sex. I often see it as a way of figuring someone out. I remember trying to explain it to a friend once, how people learn all kinds of things from their parents and from their friends and from school and so on. People don’t really learn to have sex, though. I mean, you can watch porn and read erotica, but the nitty gritty of taking off your clothes in front of someone and touching your bits is telling because it is such an unrehearsed act.
Sometimes I think it is the only honest interaction people have left.
So when Elise pulled away from my kisses and then bent down to peel off her tan socks I sat back and marveled. This girl who hid under layers of clothes and quirky affectations was now putting as many of those things as she could aside.
Though nervous and hyperactive, there was an edge of something new in her face. Lust was starting to glaze over her eyes. She looked up at me through thick lashes and just one corner of her chapped lips curved into a different more seductive smile.
I knelt by the couch, in front of her, and helped pull the thick skirt off. She smelled like tea and flowers. Not sweet perfume flowers, but real ones. Grass and honeysuckle.
One of her knees was bruised purple and yellow.
Her legs were covered in fine soft hair. Light little dirty blonde hairs. There was something particular about that, it made me smile. It made me want her.
The elusive underwear were a bit ratty. Loose boyshorts style, beige silk with lace fringe. They seemed vintage, though I wondered how used underwear fit into her compulsions. I left them on.
Pulling at her shirt, I saw a matching top. Not really a bra, but more of a shift. Transparent, so the tips of her nipple showed through.
I pulled the top off, hungry for more skin. Her nipples were puffy, large and a soft coral pink. When I touched them she squirmed and pushed her breasts into my hands. The mere friction of my fingertips rubbing against the powder smooth skin of her nipples seemed to make her whole body melt. Her skin was fever hot and suddenly the parts of my brain that was studying her like a science project all started flipping over to baser thought processes.
“I have a herniated nipple-areola complex. It’s a form of Nummular Nipple Hypertrophy,” she explained, though only half the syllables made it into my brain. “It’s nothing bad, it just means my nipples are-”
I sucked one slowly and her words trailed off.
“I know what it means. You have puffy nipples,” I said between sucks.
She gasped a little and nodded. “Yeah.”
I toyed with them, watching her face, feeling her body squirm under my fingers. I pinched harder and her eyes rolled as she whimpered. I kept pinching as her face went through the transition from pleasure to uncomfortableness and then she let it linger in pain, longer than I expected.
“Okay!” she said pushing my away. Rubbing at her nipple, but smiling at me through glossy eyes.
She twisted and turned on the couch, suddenly on all fours, facing away from me. She arched her back, butt in the air as I pulled her shorts down, the last bits of her clothes. A little patch of light reddish brown hair, neat, shaved around the lips but a tuft at the top. As she pushed her bottom back her sex was so close to my face I couldn’t help but taste it. I moved forward, licking my lips and extending my tongue and then she gasped.
“No! I… I don’t like that, I mean, I don’t want that.” she said, apologizing with her eyes.
I smiled at her. “It’s fine. It’s more than fine. Whatever you’re comfortable with.”
She got shy for a moment, her eyes cast down; she bit her lip.
“I’m sorry. You can do almost anything, that just makes me feel weird. Also you should ask first.”
“You’re right. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that without asking you. Are fingers okay?”
She gave me an embarrassed smile, looking over her shoulder at me. I leaned over her body and kissed her,
“Yes. Fingers are very good. Just don’t lick them first. It’s wet enough, I promise.”
You never get used to how different women feel. The tightness, the curve of them, the delicate topography.
She was wet with a thick slickness that made me think I could slip three or four fingers in. She pushed back on my hand, Her hands on the back of the couch, her back arched, her head to the side looking over her shoulder at me.
Her face changed completely as my fingers explored the neat folds of her sex, hovering around her clit, her eyes closed and her mouth slightly opened, her bottom lip quivering.
When my fingers pressed in again she let out an animal groan and looked back at me with wild eyes. I knelt there, trying to find the right pressure, the right rhythm, shocked at how she bucked her ass against my fingers, grinding into me and giving herself completely to this simple act.
My other hand groped for her ass. Her butt, like her thighs and even arms and legs, seemed padded with a soft layer of baby fat. It was cool to the touch, she grunted when I spanked it once and then took a greedy hand full of it, squeezing and kneading as my fingers worked inside of her.
“F-finger fuck me, harder and grab my ass, please,” each command was also a desperate plea. The dirtiness of the words sounding foreign on her tongue. Even in this intimate sexual moment have voice seemed over formal and a amusingly awkward.
I pushed and pulled my fingers in and out of her, following the motion of her hips as she moved against me. I slapped her ass every time my fingers drove in and then grabbed it hard.
Her eyes opened, but were glazed, unfocused. She turned away from me, head down and ass higher in the air. I wiled my fingers in and out quickly but steadily. Her body reacted to the constant rhythmic sensations.
I pushed my fingers deeper, bending them hard with each thrust, feeling her g-spot primed and swollen. My fingers slid along the same trajectory over and over. She reacted perfectly, pushing her body back against me, then grabbing my other hand and hitting herself on the ass with it again, reminding me to keep spanking her. I smiled and couldn’t help letting out a little laugh.
When I started twisting my fingers inside of her on each trust, trying to find the angle that would bring her to the next level she let out a high pitched whine that made me stop.
“No! Don’t stop. Keep twisting like that. Wow, I think- I think, you’re gunna make me come,” she whispered, more than a hint of surprise.
When she started to come, she suddenly got nervous. I had to hold her there as my fingers kept going, my wrist and fingers starting to burn from the exertion. Just when I thought my hand would give out she shivered against me, thighs tightening so hard they nearly crushed my hand.
She tuned and pulled me up onto the coach with her gasping for breath, her face bright red, she smiled and let giggles bubble out of her. She pushed me back and laid on top of me, both of us sighing.
“Condoms?” she asked, head up and eyes scanning the room.
I twisted under her and looked over at my dresser. She untangled herself from my limbs and when she stepped off the couch her knees gave way for a moment. Then she walked slowly over, looking back at me before opening the drawer.
“Go ahead, I like how much being nosy satisfies you.”
She gave me another crooked smile and pulled open the drawer. I walked from the couch over to my bedroom and sat on the bed watching her.
Her face shone with an acutely childlike curiosity. She pulled out a black lacquered box and opened it to find a thick metal curve laying on red satin.
“It’s a sex toy,” I explained.
“How- I mean- how do you clean it?”
Of course this would be her first question.
“I boil it in one part bleach to four parts water. I clean them between uses, unless I am using them on the same person, then I just use soap and water.”
She raised an eyebrow.
“What about the case?”
“I only put it in the case after it has been boiled. In between I keep it in a ziplock bag. All my toys can be sterilized.”
She considered this. Wheels seemed to be turning on her head. She seemed to decide my precautions were acceptable and so she picked up the heavy stainless steel toy and marveled at its weight.
“Interesting, but not tonight,” she said more to herself than to me.
When she was done she perused various other objects, but soon grew bored and snatched up the box of condoms, turning to give me her sort of geeky, sheltered version of a come hither stare, which was adorable more than seductive but worked just the same.
She entered into sex the way she entered into all things. She let herself be consumed. She gave all of her massive focus to it. She lost herself in the current fascination. We could have easily been at MoMA with her taking my hand and pulling me over to an exhibit she had to explain to me.
She came back and handed me the box, then laid on my bed, spreading her legs far apart. As I turned to her, taking in all of her nakedness, she caressed her breasts, the nipples still puffy, but the tips hardening into points.
“Sorry about the licking thing. It’s just,” she considered, “one of my things.”
I was at the bed, looking down at her as she pinched her nipples and winced, looking up at me, biting her lip, making a show of it all.
“It’s fine. I like lots of things, I don’t mind at all if you have things you don’t like to do. It was just a little confusing. I’m trying to figure out your- particulars, because you seem to like kissing a lot.”
“That’s just different. The mouth has a million germs. My pussy- I’m just really particular about what touches my pussy.”
She absently moved her hand down her body and let her fingers slip across her sex. I pulled away a little and watched. She swallowed and sort of half smiled.
“It takes a lot to make me come.” Her voice was low, almost sad. “I was surprised when you did it.”
“Tell me what you want me to do now.”
She rubbed little circles around her clit, her eyes briefly closing.
“Just stick your,” she thought of what word to use, “um, dick, in. But just a little. Just the tip, in and out, slowly.”
“Cock,” I corrected. She eyed me, with big adorable brown eyes.
“Right, sorry. Cock. Stick the tip o your cock in me,”
I knelt between her legs, watching her fingers move over the pinkness of her pussy. She closed her eyes and I took a condom out of the box she brought me. I ripped the blue packet, pulled the thing out and dropped the foil on the floor. I slipped it on carefully, my eyes on her fingers the whole time.
I watched the covered head of my penis push against the slick pinkness and then bit my lip as the head slip in. I watched her fingers move faster. I moved until I felt the head of my cock pop completely in and then I pulled back. She was tight enough that there was a moment of excruciatingly wonderful pressure.
I started a rhythm like that, popping the head in and out as she fingered herself fast and faster. I watched at that face which was always either serene or worried contort cutely with the pleasure and the frustration of wanting to come.
“It’s… close. Like, when I come, you should do it hard. Really hard and deep,” each word came out between labored breaths.
This was the very core of what I loved about sex. There was that zone when you are so into the other person’s pleasure that you ride it like a wave. My eyes were on her wet fingers, then her swollen nipples, then her tightly closed eyed and bitten lips.
I felt her orgasm building and I forced myself to keep going; I wanted to plow into her, but I kept the pace. I felt her tightening, her legs pressed hard against mine as I kept up the slow pace that was driving me insane.
“Now, please. Fuck me now,” she whispered, then a long whining moan escaped her lips.
I bent her legs up, bending her in half. Her back on the bed., but her ass raised up, her knees touching her chest. I held her like this with one arm, the other hand moving to her hip. I dug my fingers into the meat of her thick ass, pulling her into a deep thrust.
The long drawn out teasing fuck made her wetter than I could have imagined. She tried to writhe under me, but I pinned her. She mewed and shuddered and then broke the silence of the room with a loud moan.
Our eyes met for a moment as her hands balled into fists and she fought me pinning her down. She tensed under me, but I held her fast. She smiled and arched her back. I smiled back and then felt her shift in some subtle way under me. I was suddenly hitting some new spot inside of her and she let out a long, loud, almost frightening moan. Then words poured out of her. The nonsense “fuck me, more, harder, coming again” string of lovely dirtiness from this serious and innocent girl.
I kept fucking, my muscles starting to burn. I felt my orgasm rushing as I did, then suddenly she let out a squeak and I felt her gush, wet against my thighs, wet against my legs and I kept going. My grip on her wrists the only thing keeping me from falling on top of her. I kept going until my fingers tingled and the world went numb for a second except for the explosion inside.
I heard myself yell, a gruff horse “fuck” as my muscles contracted and I tried to keep my legs from buckling.
Then I was letting her go, getting tangled in her limbs, laying on the bed beside her. She buried herself in the hollow of my chest, shocking me with her seeming comfort with my sweaty hairy body. She seemed to want to burrow into my warmth though, so I wrapped her up in my arms and kissed her forehead until we were so relaxed we were almost asleep.
“I’ve had never had an orgasm from only penetration before.”
I nodded and smiled. Things like that made me happier than they ought to.
“And I’ve only squirted twice before and it took a lot of work and a big bendy toy and a Hitachi.”
I tried to hold it in, but I couldn’t. I started to laugh. There was just something about the seriousness of how she stated these things.
“Well, good. I’m glad you enjoyed it,” I said, shifting from her.
She watched me. “You like doing that. You think it means you understand my body better than I do.”
I turned, letting her slip off me and then moving on top of her, pausing there for a moment looking down at her and then standing, picking up my boxers and slipping them on.
“Maybe,” I considered, “it is a nice bit of control.”
“Maybe there are things you just need two people to do. It isn’t inherently you, it is just another person.”
I shrugged. “But you did say it never happened before.”
She sat up, looking at the wet spot still on the bed and giving me a apologetic wince.
“I did say that. Why are you getting dressed? Are we done?”
I laughed again. “Are we not done?”
She considered this. “No, we are not done. We should have snacks and then you should try and do it again, to see if it was a fluke. This time with towels.”
She popped up, completely unselfconscious about her nudity. She skipped over to my kitchen and opened my refrigerator.
I stood watching the light reflect off her wet thighs and I sighed deeply. I felt good, but suddenly old. I was an old man who was about to do his best to keep up with a younger woman who took all things with an almost disturbing intensity.
I twisted my sore neck and laid back on the cool sheets and sighed. There were worse problems to have than trying to keep up.