Dedication

I watched her, there in that room filled with strangers, the dim light and smoke filled air adding to the already pervading atmosphere of indecency. And I saw only beauty. Her movements held my attention so that little else mattered. For how long I do not know, only that every set she danced that night, I watched with rapt interest. It was as though she were straight from a fairy tale, the beautiful princess dancing before the drunken guests in the banquet hall. And alas, I was only a face amongst the crowd.

When the evening became the morning, final calls were sounded, and I realized that only a few people remained in the place. It was then that the man sitting next to me, the one I hadn’t even noticed until then, leaned close to me and said in his inebriated drawl, “That one sure has a nice set doesn’t she.” I hadn’t noticed. Nothing about her nakedness had been so consuming to have taken my interest away from the mere presence that she emoted. The way she moved, her delicacy, and the experiences that resided behind her eyes.

By the time I finished my pondering, the lights had come on, and the bartender was pulling the drunken man’s face from the bowl of pretzels before him. The stage was empty, the janitor already beginning to sweep up the nightly mess. I had never been in an establishment like that before, and was not expecting my reaction to be so extreme. But it was not the environment, the alcohol, or any of the exotics that had enraptured me so. It had been her. That single dancer. Crystal they had said her name was.

The backstage door opened, and one by one the dancers emerged. She was one of the last. Her hair was pulled back, the makeup removed, and to me she looked even more beautiful than she had on the stage. I’m not the kind of guy to actually approach women, I just don’t have the nerves but for some reason I did it anyway. Perhaps it was the dream-like effect of the evening not yet having worn off, but I rose from my chair and walked over to them. “I liked the show.” What a thing to say. And the response indicated that it was exactly the thing she heard from every drunk pervert who had seen her dance.

She turned to me with that plastic smile on her face and said thanks, only to continue walking away. So I stood there, letting her do it. Until I said “I don’t mean the dancing. Just, the show. You. I won’t forget it.” And not knowing what else to do, not having any further words, I stood there.

The smile left her face, to be replaced with the first tinges of annoyance, and the tone of her voice was much less friendly than with the first words she had given me. “Look pal, I’ve heard a lot of lines much better than that one. If you’re looking for a one-nighter, look somewhere else, okay? I’ve had a long night.”

“I’m sorry. I’m not looking for that. I just wanted you to know… I didn’t mean to offend you. I shouldn’t have said anything.” And feeling very misunderstood, I turned away, muttering to myself, “What the hell were you thinking?”

The bartender looked at me as if he thought I was pathetic, the janitor kept on sweeping, and that voice which with only a few words had become etched upon my mind said, “Go on, I’ll be alright. I’ll catch a cab or something.”

“Be careful Trish. Call me tomorrow, okay?”

“Yeah, sure. ‘night.”

Quite sure that my welcome there had been stayed, I turned to leave, and met her eyes as she stood before me. “Um, excuse me, I’ll leave now.” The words sort of mumbled themselves from my mouth as I did my best to unobtrusively work my way around her.

“That’s okay. Really. I didn’t mean to snap at you like that.” It seemed that she was talking to me, and being quite sincere about it. It was something that just couldn’t be happening. “You were only being nice, I’m sure. It’s just that I get a lot of come-ons from drunks you know?” She was speaking to me, and all I could do was stare. “Look, I’m sorry. Apology accepted?”

Starting to nod dumbly, I suddenly realized how completely moronic I must seem to her, just standing there, eyes glued to her, saying nothing. So I did say something.  “No, I understand. I didn’t mean to come off like some jerk looking for a good time. I was just really impressed by you, that’s all. I know that sounds bad, but there’s really no other way to say it.”

“That’s okay, I…”

“No, It’s not okay. You don’t know what I’m saying. I don’t care that you weren’t wearing clothes, or how erotic you were. I was just impressed by you. Your presence. It sounds completely stupid, but I’ve never known anything like what I felt while I was watching you.”

If I thought I’d said the wrong thing before, I suddenly wished even more that I’d kept my mouth shut. But she just stared at me. That was the worst of it. Anger I could take, or disgust, but not the silence that ensued. The only escape I could think of was to just go, quickly. “I’d better leave. Sorry for the trouble.” And with that I began to walk away. What notion could I possibly have conceived in my head to justify going on a tangent like that to a total and complete stranger? Did I think she would have some change of heart about me? Did I think that magically she would find some interest in me, or that she would want to…

“Wait. Um, would you like to go somewhere and talk? I mean, no-one’s ever really said anything quite like that to me before and I just kind of want to hear more, or find out what you’re thinking, you know?” I froze. Mostly out of disbelief that she could be talking to me. But who else could she mean? And it sank in. So I turned around. Once again my eyes met hers, and I lost myself, completely absorbed by what I saw within.

“You have no idea how much I ‘d like that.” Then something inside me, some impulse, caused me to reach out my hand to her. She paused, only briefly, before taking it, moving closer to me, all the while looking into my eyes.

“Take me home with you.”

That was how the weekend began. She came to my place that night, and just sort of stayed. The dawn became day, and when the sun began to stream through the window, lighting the room with light other than that of the living room lamp, we were still talking.

We talked about everything. Our lives, opinions not normally discussed publicly, everything that meant something to us. I could understand why I had been so smitten by those eyes. They spoke like mine, but differently enough to keep me endlessly intrigued. I wanted to cry. I wanted to shout for joy. To say yes, yes, you understand what no one else does. You fill my emptiness. But I didn’t.

Most people feel that there is a certain rate at which things happen, before the chemistry between people can be recognized for what it is, and I didn’t want to scare her away by saying anything too soon. So I went with something a bit more practical. “How about some breakfast?”

“Really? Wow, that’d be great!” Her face lit up with the smile I’d seen so many times now, and undoubtedly exposing the lie of the plastic one the night before.

“Omelet sound okay?”

“Wonderful. I’m starving.”

So I made breakfast. Freshly squeezed orange juice, fruit with yogurt, omelets, and toast. She told me how it’d been so long since anyone had made her breakfast. And we ate, conversing all the while. She would eat while I talked, and then it would go the other way. Finally, though I never wanted the conversation to end, practicality overcame, and I had to mention sleep. “What time do you have to get to work tonight? I mean, I’m
wondering how you’re going to do with so little sleep.”

“Oh. I hadn’t even thought about it, but I guess you’re right. I should probably go home so I can shower and maybe catch a couple of hours.” She began clearing her plate, and I realized that it was all about to end. I couldn’t let it happen just like that.

“I didn’t mean it to sound that abrupt. I really… really don’t want you to leave. I can’t think of anything I want less right now actually. It’ll just seem so empty without you here.”

Plate lifted just off the table, she stopped, and slowly set it back down. Her gaze was cast down, seeming to stare at something on the plate, before she raised her head to look at me. “I don’t want to leave either.” She reached out and set her hand on my shoulder, moved around behind me, and encircled me with her arms. It was the first contact we’d had since she took my hand the night before. And it was indescribable. The feel of her touch. Her warm breath on my ear. Every part of me, every nerve, was suddenly alive. I moved my hand to her arm, where I could feel the softness of her skin beneath my fingers. Her lips, slightly moist, brushed my cheek, then paused, barely open, and mouthed something almost inaudible.

It was everything that I had ever, or could ever desire. And I was afraid. “Are you sure? I don’t want you to so anything you might regret.” I said the words almost as much for me as for her.

Her hands gently took hold of my head, turning it to face her as she moved to my side. “I’ve never been more sure of anything than of the feelings I have now. You told me earlier that I didn’t understand how you felt. Well I do. And I couldn’t bear for it to end now either.”

That was all it took. I held her, one hand stroking her hair, the other gently caressing her face, tracing the features into my mind so that I might never forget them. Our lips met, lightly at first, just touching, then more  deeply as the wall barring our emotions was broken down. I searched with my mouth, kissing her chin, neck, ear, and again finding my way back to her lips and the passion within.

I pulled away, and tormented by the resulting look of question in her eyes, led her by the hand towards the bedroom. “Not here. It isn’t right” She smiled in return, and nodded, blithely following.

Reaching the bedroom, we stood for some indeterminate amount of time, gazing into each other’s eyes. Nothing needing to be said, for I could read every thought through the expressions on her face, and knew she was doing the same. My hands caressed her slowly, moving from her shoulders, down her arms, clutching her waist, and finally, pulling her closer to me. It was then that every emotion previously built up inside, trying
to be expressed through our eyes found their way out through that kiss. Her lips, warm and soft spoke of countless desires and needs. Experiences painful and pleasant. Emptiness and longing. At last feeling comfortable, and able to trust again. For me it was the same. Feelings that could never be expressed with words, that no language had ever been made for.

With my eyes closed so that I might see her better, I let myself look into the window opened before me, the vulnerability she had unlocked after so long. And saw myself in the mirror. My eyes shut tighter, sealing off tears that pressed against closed lids. I let my mouth move from hers to the smooth skin of her neck, kissing it gently at first, then with more intensity, clutching her tighter. Her hands grew tense, clawing at my back, pulling me, drawing me, as she backed towards the bed.

Reaching out a hand behind her, I lowered us onto the blankets, the other still holding her waist tightly. Her head arched back, and hands grabbed my head, pulling it to her chest, releasing me only to undo the buttons of her blouse. One by one they fell open, revealing a bit more of her pale skin each time. I pulled off my own shirt, and she drew me close once again, pressing her skin to mine. Warmth beneath me, needing me, wanting me.

I don’t remember any of the undressing after that, it just happened, lost in the experience. Though I do remember how she felt against me, her body, its toned musculature. Slowly I kissed her chest, the skin soft around her breasts, then becoming more taut as I traveled down to her abdomen. Her legs wrapped around me tightly, clutching, insuring that I was hers. Finally pulling me up, she looked into my eyes, saying
everything without so much as a whisper. Her legs tightened around me once again, slowly pulling me toward her, into her, and we became as one, moving together, slowly at first, then faster as inhibitions were lost. Limbs entwined, sweat ran down our bodies, mingling, as kisses were exchanged, gentle and ferocious. Her nails dug into me as her back arched in orgasm, a small moan escaping her lips, and I felt myself climax as well,
burying my head against her neck, consummating, in the final surrender to all our emotions.

And there we lay, for some time afterwards, hands joined, touching, feeling, and never looking away from each other. It was a dream, too fantastic to be real. One that neither of us wanted to end. Finally she rolled over and picked up the phone, dialing a number. After a few seconds of pause, the silence was broken at last.

“Rosie? Yeah, this is Trish. Look, um, I don’t know, but I really think I might be coming down with something. I just got up feeling awful today.” She rolled over and gave me a wink while, I suppose, whoever was on the opposite end of the line gave their spiel back to her. “I know, I’m really sorry, but I don’t think there’s any way I’m gonna make it if I go up tonight.” Her hand began tracing patterns on my skin. “Yeah, I promise I’ll make
it up. Thanks.” That smile that spoke volumes flashed again. “I will. Bye.” Reaching behind her she hung up the phone, looking up at the ceiling with a mock ‘I wonder what we can do now’ look on her face, which was of course ruined by the smile immediately following. “It looks like you’re mine for the day. What do you have to say to that?”

I smiled in return, “Just today?”, and wrapped my arms around her, holding her close.

“I can’t believe this happened…is happening.”

“You don’t regret it do you?”

She pulled back, looking me in the eyes. “You know the answer to that.”

I had to look away. “I know. It’s just that nothing like this has ever happened to me before. Ever. I mean, it’s like something that people dream about having happen all of their lives, before they settle for something else. It’s just hard to believe that I could be so lucky.” My eyes began to get wet, and I met her gaze again.

“I can’t believe it either. I’d begun to think I’d never trust anyone again, never love again, and then you came out of nowhere. I can’t explain it, but I trust you utterly and completely. I feel safe around you. I’ve told you so much that no one else knows about me.” Then, as tears began to form in her eyes as well, I lost the last of my composure, crying freely.

“Trish, I know we only met last night, and I know it seems odd, but I think I love you. That’s the only way I can explain these feelings I have. I mean, I’ve always believed that those word should never be said unless they were really meant, but I mean it with all of my heart. I love you.”

A choked sob forced it’s way from the depths of her chest and tears streamed down her cheeks, “No one has ever loved me in this way before, especially with what I do. They lust after me, or say they want me, but never has anyone loved me. I just don’t know what to think of it all, what to believe, what to do.”

And so I held her face in my hands, wiping the tears away, only to have them followed by more, and told her “Don’t think, know. Believe that it’s the truth, for I will never lie to you. And maybe not today, or anytime soon, but please let me know if you think you could ever love me like this in return.”

Not knowing what to say, cheeks wet, she looked at me with an expression of fear. The fear one has when everything they have known is changed before them, and the helplessness of acceptance that can only go along with it. I recognized that only because I was feeling the very same. Even so, her answer took away my stomach, stopped my heart, and removed all coherent thought from my mind. “That’s just it, see. I think I love you too.”

And there was nothing that I could do except hold her tighter than I’ve ever held anyone in my life. With heaving sobs I buried my head into her stomach, muttering over and over “You’re amazing.” And with gentle shushes, and frequent sobs of her own, she comforted me, until I composed myself, and held her in return.

Sleep came, finally, and exhausted we welcomed it with open arms. After which we continued our discussions from the night before. All the while holding each other. We got up after a few hours to eat, this time it was her making the food. After finishing the meal she stood, stretching in a way that made my mind recall very clearly what lay hidden beneath the t-shirt of mine she had so inconspicuously acquired, and said “I’m going to
shower. Like to come with?” I gave a smug smile in return.

“Well, I don’t know. There are some things that need time you know.”

She gave me a playful shove, and then kissed me deeply, only to pull away just as I began to get into it. “Like there’s anything here you haven’t seen already.” To emphasize, she slipped her way out of the t-shirt, and I no longer even noticed it as it dropped to the ground. “If you know what I mean.” And with that she turned and danced her way to the bathroom.

I heard the water come on after a moment, made my way to the bedroom, laid down on the bed and closed my eyes.

It is late when I wake, or at least nighttime, for there is no light. I shut my eyes again, picturing the angelic creature in my mind. I retrace every curve, every line of her body, her face, her hair. More perfect than anything I’ve ever seen before. I feel the emotions welling up again, and strain myself to hold them back, knowing they will be harder to control this time once given in to. But it is a futile effort, and tears begin to slide their way down my face. A miserable cry escapes my lips in the form of an unintelligible “I love you.” And it is for a while that I continue, until finally, gathering the strength, I take a deep, shuddering breath, and roll over to face the endless darkness… where anything can be imagined.

 


 

Chuck wipes down the counter of the bar with his rag, and looks up at one of the last remaining customers as the guy says something to him. “What’s that, pal?”

The customer reaches into his wallet, pulling out a twenty, and lays it on the counter. In not much more than a murmur he says, “Make sure the lady gets this, will you?”

“There’s quite a few ladies that work here pal, or ah, do you mean the one you couldn’t take your eyes off of all night?”

“Yeah, she’s the one. She was incredible.” And with that he rises and walks slowly out of the club.

“You’re right there, pal. That girl’s got one hell of a body Chuck sets the bill aside, and moves from the counter to the disarray of glasses behind it. The door of the dressing room swings open, and the dancers walk through, tired, relieved that the evening is finally over.

Chuck looks up from the bar. “Hey, Christa. You got a fan tonight.” He cracks a smile at her.

“What are you goin’ off on now, chuck?” She breaks away from another of the dancers and heads toward the grinning bartender with a wry look of her own.

“You musta seen him, I mean he was only staring at you all night.”

“Oh man, that guy? What was up with him anyway.”

“Can’t really say, but hey, he left you a Jackson.”

“What the hell for? I didn’t even give him a table dance.”

Chuck holds up his hands, “Hey, you don’t want it…”

“No, I’ll take it. At least he didn’t try and give me his Johnson, right?” She laughs aloud, snatching the bill from the counter, and skips off toward another of the women who has broken off from the group, waiting.

Shaking his head, Chuck goes back to his work. “You got a sick sense of humor girl.”

The janitor looks up from sweeping, and rests his hand on the broom handle. “That man had it bad.”

Christa gives him a sideways glance while walking, “What’s that?”

“Loneliness. You know, most guys come here for kicks or somethin’ right? He was lookin’ for somethin’ else.”

“Hey, I don’t even want to know what the guys here are lookin’ for. That’s what they got one nine-hundred numbers for.” Christa reaches the waiting dancer, and planting a firm kiss on the woman’s mouth says, “I am ready to get the hell outta here. What do you say?”

Running her hand through Christa’s hair, the woman answers, “I hear you. Besides, I’m in one of those kinky moods tonight.”

Christa smiles and laughs. “Ooh. I love it when you talk dirty.” And arm in arm they walk through the doors, into the night.

 

For Korin

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