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Chapter Two: First Date
Hey A, I’m running late. Feel free to order. Sorry sorry sorry. – S
It’s no problem. Thanks for letting me know.
My lateness was entirely self-inflicted. I’d been nervous all day, trying to work out how to navigate the minefield in which I now found myself, and so I’d been procrastinating until at last my fear of lateness overcame my fear of awkwardness and I got going.
Usually when I can’t figure things out for myself, I go to one of my friends for a sanity check. But Kate was off the grid that week, enjoying a wilderness holiday, and I didn’t feel like I could ask anybody else about this. “Hey, so, that girl I used to tutor, the astrophysicist? She’s grown up now and I sort of offered to pay her to be my mistress, and I’m trying to decide whether I meant it.”
I was still wrestling with it all when my taxi arrived at the restaurant. Anjali was waiting outside – I groaned, she must have been there at least fifteen minutes in the cold – and I wasn’t at all prepared for what she was wearing.
Did I mention she was a fashionista? She didn’t have much budget for wardrobe, of course, but she could sew just about anything and she had a cousin who could get her silks at cost. Her dress was eye-catching, a plum-coloured piece that fit her beautifully and drew my eyes to curves that I’d never noticed before. Her hair was up, neatly skewered by a long pin. All in all she looked fantastic, albeit rather underdressed for the evening chill.
“Hey Anjali!” I called. “So sorry I’m late.”
“Come on, let’s eat.” She held out her hand, and I wasn’t sure whether taking it was a good idea, but I took it. My fingers are kind of chunky; hers were slender. Cold, too, from the chill air, so I closed my hand around hers as we strode inside.
The food was excellent. I think the food was excellent? I don’t really remember. I just remember talking too much, the way I do when I’m nervous and trying to act normal, talking about pointless things just to sound like a normal person who can make perfectly normal small talk.
It was stupid, of course, because Anjali was literally the last person for whom I needed to pass as neurotypical. But it’s a defensive habit, and those are hard to switch off. Eventually, though, I paused to take a mouthful and Anjali took the opportunity to change the subject.
“Sarah, have you heard that the Swedish military is putting bar codes on their warships?
“What? No? Why would they do that?”
“It’s so when they get back to port, they can scan-de-navy-in.”
“Ugh. That was terrible.”
“I know plenty more.” And she regaled me with awful puns until I forgot to be nervous.
“I meant to say, Anjali, that’s a gorgeous dress. Did you make it?”
“Thank you, yes, I did! I made it two years ago, but I only wear it for very special occasions.” She talked with some enthusiasm about dressmaking, about box pleats and darts and so forth. I’d seen some of her projects on Instagram before, but I’d never heard her talk about how she made them; she had a fascinatingly mathematical approach to it all, treating patterning like an exercise in differential geometry.
As I finished the last mouthful of my main course, she reached out and touched the back of my hand with two fingers. “So, Miriam, now you’ve met me. Tell me, where am I sleeping tonight?”
I closed my eyes. I could think of so many reasons why this was unwise, exploitative, why I should thank Anjali for a lovely evening and pay for a taxi to take her safely home. And if I really felt benevolent, then I could simply offer to help her out with no expectation of quid pro quo.
But she hadn’t asked me. She’d asked Miriam.
What would Miriam do? I thought back to the woman I’d imagined when I created my profile.
Miriam, I thought, had some rough edges. She was a queer woman who’d succeeded in a straight man’s world. She’d made her way up the ladder by hard work, and taking every advantage she could get, and by not giving a damn what people thought about her. She might well show some kindness to a girl like Anjali. (Lily? I don’t know.) But with status comes privileges, and Miriam had fought too hard for her position to pass up those privileges for such a scruple. Miriam wanted; Miriam would take.
And what did I want?
I’m a complicated creature, and “what I want” is so often a tangled mess of what other people think I should want and what I’m afraid of and what I think I ought to want and what I really do want. But sometimes the music gives me a clue.
I love music and it’s always present in my life. Even if you switch off my sound system and take away my headphones, there’ll still be something playing in my head, chosen quite unconsciously to match whatever I’m thinking about at the time. Sometimes that choice tells me more about my own state of mind than anything I can get from interrogating myself. So I stopped trying to think it out, and listened instead to what was running through my mind.
Tonight, Sweet Gwendoline, bahis firmaları do it well, and do it fine…
I opened my eyes again, and smiled at Anjali, and then I turned my hand over and caught her fingertips in mine. I was probably going to hell for this, but it wouldn’t be a cold hell.
“You’re sleeping in my bed tonight.”
It was a short taxi ride back to my place at Redmond Barry Towers. Anjali and I sat in silence. My bravado had faded, and there were some complicated and unfamiliar feelings to process. It wasn’t the first time I’d taken somebody home with bed in mind, but it had been a while, and this time was a very different dynamic. I didn’t have to be witty, didn’t have to impress, as long as I could pay; that felt liberating, but it also felt quite alien.
We stepped out of the taxi – last chance to send Anjali home, last chance gone with the slam of the door – and I took a deep breath. “Let’s get in out of the cold.”
I live on the twenty-second floor, and the lift isn’t as fast as it might be, so it takes a couple of minutes. Partway through the ride I slipped my arm around Anjali’s waist – I don’t know why, perhaps just to test whether it was allowed – and she looked a little surprised, but she didn’t pull away.
“Are you okay with this?” I said.
She smiled. “I’m fine.”
“Can I kiss you?” I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to kiss her at that moment, but I felt like I had to push at this unfamiliar situation, find out what the rules were.
“Yes, you may.”
I touched my lips against hers, and she nuzzled back; I opened my mouth and tasted her, still strawberry-sweet from the crêpes she’d had for dessert. She settled into the kiss, and I felt the tip of her tongue against my lips and I didn’t know whether I was into it –
Ding. “Twenty-second floor,” said the recorded voice.
“This is us.” My heart was thumping, and I couldn’t tell whether it was the I-want kind of excitement or the oh-god-this-is-a-gigantic-fuckup kind. “Last on the right.”
I turned my key and held the door open. “Welcome to my humble abode.”
Anjali walked in and looked around. “Oh, this is very nice! You have so much space!”
“Yeah, I was looking for something a bit smaller, but they built too many of these so I got a good deal on it.” Or rather, my agent did; I’m terrible at that sort of negotiation, and I detest the grind of house-hunting, so I’d hired an advocate and left it in his hands. “Want the tour?”
It’s a two-level apartment, designed for a small family. Most of the space is taken up by a single big kitchen-lounge-dining room, with a big glass window facing out onto the city, and the laundry tucked away behind the kitchen. Above the kitchen is a landing that leads to the bathroom, a child-sized bedroom that I’ve repurposed as a library, and the master bedroom, with a walk-in wardrobe and a queen-sized four-poster bed.
“And this, uh, this is where I sleep.”
“It looks nice.” She touched my hand, talking quietly. “What do we do now? I really don’t know how this is supposed to work.”
“What do you want?”
“I don’t know…I’m just a little bit tense still. Nervous.”
“What if I gave you a massage?”
“Oh, yes please. I never say no to a good massage. Wait up, I think I’ve got a bottle of skin lotion somewhere.”
I found a bottle of skin lotion, gave it to Anjali, and stripped down. Only to my underwear, though; I wasn’t quite ready for nakedness. As an afterthought I flipped my laptop open and started a relaxation mix playing, and then I lay face down on my bed, hands clasped under my forehead.
I felt her climb onto the bed, and then the silk of her dress slid over the backs of my thighs as she knelt astride me. “Close your eyes and relax, Sarah.”
She warmed the lotion in her hands and then started rubbing it into my back, shoulders, neck.
“Mmm, that feels nice. You can rub a bit harder if you like.” I always have knots in my muscles from spending too much time on the computer, and something in there was going twang every time she went over it. I flinched a couple of times, but she soon learned where the tight spots were and approached them with care.
I was enjoying the touch of her hands, and not just her hands. She’d settled back onto her haunches, and I could feel her weight and her warmth on my hips, rocking back and forth as she worked up and down my back. Pleasant, snug, if nothing definitively erotic.
She’d been working around my bra-strap, but now she tapped it with a finger. “Is it okay to take this off?”
“Let me get it, the catch is tricky.” I reached up behind me and unhooked it, giving her clear access to the whole of my back. Then, rather than place my hands back above my head where they had been, I let them rest by my hips – which is to say, against her knees. And as she continued to rub, working her fingertips and her knuckles into the tension points, I began to stroke her legs through that thin silk.
I heard-felt her kaçak iddaa sigh, but not a bad sigh, and she didn’t pull away. It was my way of saying: this is not just an innocent back-rub between friends, I have designs on you.
Warmth, stroking, slow and rhythmic. Her for me, and me for her, and eventually my hands worked under the dress to touch her more directly. Did she sigh again as my fingers found her stockinged knees, calves, thighs? Did she rub a little harder when stroking with my fingertips became scraping with my fingernails? Perhaps, perhaps.
For a moment I thought to myself that I ought to be careful with Anjali’s stockings. But then the devil on my shoulder said, wouldn’t it be more fun to wreck them? And so I clawed my fingers and raked ladders down her thighs.
She said “oh,” small and soft in her throat.
“Don’t stop rubbing, that feels so good.”
I thought about things to do with her. To her? So many possibilities. But first, I thought, I would tease her, tantalise her until she begged me. I ran my hands over her thighs, seeking out the tender spots that made her wriggle, snagging her stockings again and pulling ladders into gaping holes.
She was leaning forwards now. I didn’t know whether it was so she could put more of her weight into the massage, or to offer more of herself to my hands, and I didn’t really care. I slipped a fingertip inside the top of one stocking, tugged it just enough to get her attention.
I didn’t want the massage to stop. But I’m not infinitely flexible, and there were limits to what I could do face-down with my hands behind my back.
“Stay there. Don’t move.” I twisted under her, rolled until I was on my back looking up at her. I thought she flushed a little – it would be the first time she’d seen me topless – and then she looked curious. She’d noticed the tattoo on my ribs, just below my left breast.
“What is this? It looks like a pentagram. Or a bit like a mandala.”
“I suppose it sort of is. It’s also a minimal-order three-geodetic regular digraph of degree two.” A geometric design in blue and red arrows, chasing one another forever like Ouroboros’ brood.
She stretched out her hand, hesitated. “You can touch it,” I assured her, and she did, two fingertips following the inked pattern.
“I know some of those words,” she said, “but I haven’t done any graph theory since high school. Remind me?”
“Every vertex has two arrows going in – one red, one blue – and two arrows going out. And if you pick any starting point, and take two different paths of length three or less, following the arrows, they won’t meet up again. Every choice has different consequences. And it’s the smallest graph of that kind that can exist.”
When Anjali’s thinking hard, her tongue sticks out just a little bit. It always makes me smile. I felt her fingers moving on me as she tested the truth of what I’d said, touching at one spot and then trying different paths.
“Twenty vertices. Huh. Not fifteen?”
“No. I wondered about that too. But, no, not fifteen, not sixteen, not even nineteen. Twenty is the smallest.”
“It’s beautiful.” Her fingers continued to circle, stirring my skin to wakefulness. “Is there a story to it?”
“There is, but not just now. I’ll tell you another time.” I circled her slight wrist with my fingers, and pulled her hand up so her palm was flat against my breast, and I placed my right hand firmly on her knee.
“Anjali, I want you to be my mistress.” She nodded, slowly, and my shoulder-angel stirred feebly. “Is that what you want?”
“I’m…” She paused. “I’m not sure. I’ve never been anyone’s mistress before! But I think I’m ready to find out.”
“Well, then.” I squeezed her fingers to my breast – you just keep those there – and reached back behind me, pushed against the bed so I was sitting up between her knees, face to face. I kissed her, hard and aggressive, my hand coming up and around to grip the back of her neck and hold her close enough to smudge her glasses. This time I had no doubts about what I wanted. Possession.
I could feel her melting in my grasp, yielding, still palming my breast but unsure what to do with it. My tongue flickered between her lips, forceful, greedy. She didn’t taste of strawberries any more, just herself, and that was quite good enough. I wanted to devour her.
Ich bin doch nur ein wildes Tier, as the song goes.
“Come on, cutie, stand up for a moment.” We disentangled and rose to our feet; I stood behind her, both of us facing the floor-length mirror on my wardrobe.
“This is a beautiful dress,” I said, stroking her shoulder, “and you’re not going to need it any more tonight. Please take it off.”
The zip was at the back, and I could have helped her – ordinarily I would have – but it’s a vulnerable awkward moment reaching backwards to take off something like that, and I wanted to savour her vulnerability. So I placed my hands on her hips and watched as she fumbled for the zip. As it opened I stroked the back of her neck kaçak bahis and then ran my finger down her spine, following the zipper.
Then she shrugged out of the sleeves and pushed the dress down over her hips to lie pooled around her ankles on the floor, and stood there in just those owl-spectacles and her underwear, and her stockings.
“Oh, I have made a mess of you. I’ll just have to buy you a new pair.”
“You’d better. That was my last good set.”
I stepped in close, lifted her hair, kissed the back of her neck, and whispered “Worth it.” Then I ran my fingers down behind her ear, down her throat to her collarbone, and with a fingertip on each side I took hold of the straps of her bra and peeled them off her shoulders.
I slid my hands inside the now-loosened cups, and she exhaled slowly. Her breasts fit perfectly in my hands, her nipples firming as I squeezed them between my fingers.
“Who’d have thought, when I first came to tutor you, that it’d end up like this?” I popped the clasp on her bra, let it fall to be forgotten on the floor.
“Not me,” she murmured. “And absolutely, positively, not my parents.”
“And thank god for that.” I pulled her around to face me, kissed her again. “Come on, you.” I pushed her back onto the bed, climbed back alongside her.
We took our glasses off and made out for a bit, kissing and caressing one another. I nibbled at her throat, kissed my way down to her chest, stroking her breasts lightly with the palm of my hand before I started to use my mouth. A flick of the tongue, a slow lick around the aureole, a nip, and then I sucked her breast into my mouth as my hands squeezed her butt.
“Oh, Sarah, oh.” She was stroking my hair now, and she arched her back as my fingers floated down over her belly, through the first traces of hair, to the edge of her panties. Further down, feeling the tension in her body, and her knees came up as my hand slipped between them. She was warm, and when I began to stroke the inside of her thighs she squirmed. “Ah! Please, I’m ticklish.”
So I slowed, letting her get used to my hand gradually, fingers working through the thin fabric, feeling the shape of her beneath: the soft cushioning of curls, and moving down… gradually she relaxed, and I worked my fingers under the gusset.
“Oh, Sarah…” She was pushing back against my hand just a little, and I took that as encouragement to explore further, working my way towards heat and moisture, unfurling her and stroking her softness until all friction was gone.
I’d let go of her breast now and was lying with half my body over hers, my feet rubbing against hers, my fingers still teasing her. Circle, down, in, out, circle, up, circle…
“Oh, oh.” She craned to meet my lips for another kiss, and I devoured her again. She didn’t notice as I reached under the pillow for the bullet vibe I’d left there days earlier, not when I switched it into my other hand. But when I twisted the end and it began buzzing, then she noticed.
“I’m not s- ooh.”
I’d started gently, holding it tightly so that the vibrations were transmitted to her through my own fingers, still stroking her and opening her and dallying at her entrance, and then slowly I brought it into more direct contact with the sensitive little button my fingers had so recently been teasing. I pinched Anjali’s nipple gently at the same time I pressed just a little harder against her clit, and she squirmed under me.
“Always wondered… what those were like…” She sounded a little breathless.
“A vibe? You’ve never had one?” I was working the pressure in a steady rhythm now, pressing against her hard to send a buzz through her pelvis, easing off, repeat, repeat, repeat.
She shook her head.
“Oh, my poor dear. I will buy you one.” Then I gave her a languid kiss, all the better to feel her breathing coming faster now, rough. She was rocking her hips in time with my hand, hips squeezing me, and I could feel her tension building, sharpening, approaching a point…
I stopped. Drew my hand back, switched off the vibe, and she gasped in frustration.
“Please, I was so close…”
I resumed stroking, just enough to sustain her arousal without pushing it over the edge. “Do you want to come?”
“Oh, please, Sarah.”
“Are you sure?” I tweaked her clit ever so lightly, and she groaned. Every time she tried to press herself against my hand, I’d ease off again.
“Please, just let me…”
“Let you what, Anjali?”
“Let me…” She closed her eyes, screwed up her face. “Please, I need to orgasm.” It was very much like her to use the dictionary word.
“Say you’re mine, my kept woman. Say you’re mine to enjoy however I like.”
“Oh, Sarah, I’m your woman, however you like…”
“Very well then.” And I flicked the vibe back on, full power, and worked on her, fingering her, buzzing her, until she gasped, arched, gasp-gasp-squeaked, and I plunged my tongue into her mouth as she came. And then I kept on stimulating her, sending her into spasms, until she was nearly sobbing and I decided to let her come down, and then I wrapped my arms around her and held her as her breathing subsided.
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