“I really don’t need the drama. I’m happy with my life the way it is. After all, I was married for seventeen years and it was pure hell.”, she said, nonchalantly.
He laughed that deep resonating laughter which had become so familiar to her in the two years she had known him; his caressingly melodic voice she would recognize anywhere. He would sometimes speak to her in a heavy Irish brogue after discovering that Irish blood ran mutually through their veins. But mostly because he knew it drove her wild. “Come on now, Miss Selena Rochester”, He always pronounced each syllable of her name in an exaggeratedly drawn out fashion, “You gotta’ give the poor guy a break. What’s he asked you out about twelve times now?”
Selena stretched languidly, “O.K. now which way do you want me?” She drawled, pressing her hand to her breast, and musing at the way her heart wildly raced each time she walked into this room. Several times he’d felt compelled to pull out his medical instruments from the top drawer of the little table in the corner and use them to diagnose her vague complaints. He had always been very quick and diligent to check out all of her symptoms, even her ear that time she had an ear infection, no matter that wasn’t his field of expertise; manipulating her body into sinuous, flowing submission was his forte’ and he excelled at it.
“Your left side”, His massive hands deftly grasped her around the waist and positioned her just the way he desired. He then grasped her petite thigh in his massive hand and proceeded to rotate it inward, pulling her leg up into her chest. Seeing her futile attempt to pull her black suede skirt down modestly over her thigh, he quickly reached over to assist her, his hand covering hers in the process. “Sorry, occupational hazard,” His sheepish boyish grin was in deep contrast to his six foot four frame, and his beet red blush complimented the blatant mischievousness in his eyes and voice. He deftly twisted her small thigh firmly against his considerable chest and pulled it tightly against the weight of his body, his face precariously close to hers, until they both heard the snap; her body’s welcome release.
“Ow, that hurts. Don’t be so rough,” She moaned, “Are you trying to kill me or what?” His hands slowly lowered her leg back down onto the table. “Now my foot hurts. I think you pulled something.” She pouted, rubbing it. His fingers grasped her heel, gently massaging it through her sheer stockings. She closed her eyes, silently reveling in his display of gentleness, laughing to her self at his dogged determination to prove her wrong; the soft caresses so foreign to his usual forceful demeanor. After a minute or so of silence, she peered through her lashes to find him staring intently at her face, searching. “Over?”; She asked abruptly, playfully batting her eyes at him as she turned over onto her stomach, pulling her toes from his grasp and rubbing them into the smooth black leather.
He deliberately placed his large hand in the small of her back and thrust upward with his palm while firmly holding her upper back with his other hand. “So, if you aren’t gonna’ marry him then aren’t you gonna’ at least give ‘Ol Crow Boy some kind of break? I mean look at the poor guy. He’s spent a fortune on you.” ‘Crow Boy’ was the unfortunate nickname he had bestowed upon her recent overzealous admirer.
“Crow Boy?”; She asked, feigning exasperation. “Why, I am quite sure I don’t know what you mean, sir.” She purred in her best Scarlett O’Hara impression, then added, tauntingly. “Oh, yeah, he went out and bought me another one of ‘his’ movies; the one where ‘he’ plays a hockey player. I think he’s bought me seven. I should have never watched The Gladiator with him.” She quietly moaned as his hand moved up her back and pressed key points along her spine, magically releasing the pressure.
“Wow, you’re pretty tense today. Were you already like that or do I have that affect on you?” He laughed again, knowing fully well the affect that he had on her. He had come to know this woman well; she had become somewhat of an enigma to him, floating in and out of this room, carrying her ever changing moods, emotions and idiosyncisies. He had felt privileged, and sometimes overwhelmed, to have been chosen as one of the honored few to be a part of her theatrical life which could easily have surpassed those portrayed on the Silver Screen, of which they both shared a profound passion. She could have effortlessly been a leading lady, adaptable, mysterious, beautiful and full of emotional fire. He sometimes likened her to Bob Segar’s lyrics; “Like a horse grazing at the bit…”
Although they held countless dogged differences of opinion, which only served to fuel their passionate verbal sparring matches, they also shared a lot in common. He had held her in his arms as she wept helplessly, clinging to his solid strength the time she was going through a crisis with her oldest daughter. They had become confidants, especially concerning their children, of which they both coincidentally had four; three girls and one boy, all of the same birth order and ages, hers being a year or two older than his. They were both fiercely devoted to their children. They both loved movies and could name every star and repeat lines verbatim. They loved money, although she was careless with hers and he held on to his for dear life. They both loved intellectual stimulation and reveled in their cerebral sparring matches. They were both flirtatious, although they each chose to believe that their tantalizing overtures were exclusively limited to one another, and they were both correct in surmising that this room would hold more intense desire for each of them than they would ever know again in their lifetimes. They believed in dignity and respect and were of the old school when it came to upholding sacred vows. At times their passion had overcome this loyal preoccupation, although they had both been careful never to cross that transparent carnal line; however they so cherished the art of passionate conversation, and in this medium, they had both sinned brazenly. In their hearts and minds they had committed fornication flagrantly time and time again.
“What do you expect, ‘Cappy?’ I really don’t know how your wife puts up with you, whatever sign she is; the poor woman. How can anyone possibly live with you? And they say Pisces is supposed to be compatible with Capricorn!” She scoffed and dramatically rolled her large green eyes. She was very intrigued by astrology and had long teased him of being a stiff and uptight earth sign, a tactic she used repeatedly and adeptly to rouse his temper and drag him out from behind that protective wall. She had known intuitively from the first day she had walked into this room that underneath that conservative exterior there beat a heart of deep sensitivity and unlimited desire. Yet, being a strong-willed man, he had fought her every step of the way as she deftly uncovered his secrets. Using the cunning wiles of a woman, she had stroked what she perceived to be a rather enormous ego, and had been rewarded by striking the mother load: a heart of pure gold. He was also very articulate and adept in drawing her out emotionally from the shell with which she sometimes surrounded herself, often to her exasperation. He knew all of her buttons and which ones to push and he pushed them with a deliberate, arrogant smoothness.
“What do you mean? What’s wrong with Capricorn?” He had inquired, flashing his perfect white teeth, shoulders hunched up and arms extended innocently, as she flipped back over onto her back, to stare up at the striking contrast of rough stubble covering the smooth texture of his face. She was fully aware that he had let it grow because she had purposely expressed how much she liked it when he had not shaved. She had confided that she was turned on by a man who looked as if he’d just come down from the mountains, rugged and coarse. And, it took every ounce of her self control not to reach out and run her fingers over his rough face. But, now she had clearly struck a nerve and she damn sure knew how to play on it.
“Well, for one thing, you’re a stubborn goat and a male chauvinist pig. You think you are more intelligent than a woman just because you’re a man. And as for Capricorn,” She paused for affect, “you are also supposed to be rather stiff, not very passionate.” Let’s see where that one lands, she had smiled sweetly, emphasizing the last word.
“Hey, now who the hell said that?” He countered defensively, “And, I suppose Pisces is? I do know that to say they are emotional is a huge understatement. Now, lie back down, I forgot to do something.” She easily complied and laid on her back as he placed the ball of his hand in the center of her rib cage, pressing it down with his other hand, “Breathe in…now let it go” He repeated the movement several times, his large hand placed in the lower curve between her breasts just touching the soft curves from beneath her sheer blouse, pushing in heavily and dragging his hand down to her naval, his touch making it impossible for her to concentrate on ‘letting it go.’ She had smiled, trying to control her composure, noting the visible affect the encounter had on him. “You are out of control”; Strike! he said, the emotion in his voice undeniable. He was quite literally bursting with his ability to manipulate her body, while at the same time pushing his own to the limit, a feat which no red blooded man should be made to endure.
“Passionate is the word.” She had struck back, swinging herself up abruptly, “See this is exactly what I’m talking about. You try too hard to…overcompensate and you are so arrogant. There’s an undercurrent in every thing you say. It’s always there.”
They both knew to what extent innuendos and implications filled their conversations. They both were also just as acutely aware of what was not being spoken. It was palpable and all encompassing. It was a tangled briar patch of fragrant roses from which they could not extract themselves, a fragile wall that somehow, against the fury of a raging storm, refused to topple.
“Settle down now woman you wear me out.” He exhaled raggedly, the electricity inside the small room sparking off of every corner, “Every time.” He sure could have used a cigarette, if indeed he had smoked.
“Good”; she purred like a cat that had just cornered her prey; satisfied with the knowledge that she called the shots in this sparring match. Though she had to admit that he was the only worthy opponent she had ever known. “You forgot to do my neck.” She rolled her neck from side to side, grimacing petulantly.
“You are aware that the only reason he is watching every movie Russell Crowe has ever made with you is because he knows how much you love the guy and thus is using this to his advantage in order to woo you into his boudoir, aren’t you? But, I’m sure you know that, being the sophisticated intelligent woman that you are.” He replied sarcastically and with barely concealed contempt, then paused for the affect and the imminent back handed serve. He gently brushed her long blonde hair up over his broad forearms arms and then placed each of his strong hands on either side of her slender neck, grasping firmly. “Why are you still wearing that ring if you told him you didn’t want to marry him? I thought you were giving it back to him. You just said you’d never marry him, did you change your mind… again?” His deep voice was determinedly light and airy although the undertone of resentment was clear.
She grabbed his hands to cease their movement; this feeling of flesh touching flesh always struck them both anew no matter how many ephemeral times it had occurred between them. For thirty minutes twice a week, she came to him. They exchanged a lingering touch, breathless verbal intercourse, and a forbidden innocence that upheld a code of integrity but left them emotionally desolate inside, continually craving so much more. “Wait a minute.” She sighed, “I’m not ready.” She stared unveiled up in to his green eyes, his face inches from her own. He gazed back into her green eyes, poised, smooth as silk. “Take your time. Just let me know when you’re ready”; he drawled in that tantalizing charming Irish brogue.
She composed poetry about unrequited love of which he had insisted that she allow him to read. He asked for copies of all of her poems and kept those copies locked inside a drawer of his office desk. She called off her so-called engagement and, due to personal circumstances, moved upstate a few months before his hasty divorce became final. Sometimes late at night, they each take out the collection of poems and the bittersweet words carry them back to that tiny little room; their own unparalleled utopia. A world which still lives inside them both, where they marvel at how they have somehow managed to deceive the hands of time and the proprieties of a consecrated tradition. And, in essence, share an entire lifetime together; double dealers, the both of them.
Sharon Lynn Van Meter