I was on my hands and knees at Jonathan’s front door, my palms inside the house, my knees still on the porch. The smell of sage and dry, morning fog surrounded me. The air was cold enough harden my ni**les, even though the sun baked my bare back. I wanted to touch my br**sts, but I wouldn’t because I’d been told not to move my hands from the floor. I obeyed, though I didn’t know why. My pu**y was wet. I felt the weight of my arousal hanging between my legs like the clapper on a bell, heavy and swinging.
I wanted Jonathan, but he’d gone somewhere, leaving me here like this. I wanted to press my legs together to squeeze my aching clit, but I’d been told to keep my knees spread.
A voice called my name. Darren. Then Gabby. God, no. They couldn’t be here until Jonathan finished.
Then, I felt his dick pressed up against me and hands on my hips. I didn’t have a second to gasp before he was inside me, pounding mercilessly. Hands gripped my ass, pressing hard enough to bruise, and the pain was a counterpoint to the pleasure, making it sweeter, wetter, hotter. I moved with him, slamming onto his cock. He pulled my hips up and pressed down the arch of my back, stroking my clit with his shaft. I was this close to exploding in a burst of moans and cries when I saw a mirror in the house that hadn’t been there before, and Jonathan wasn’t f**king me, but Gabby. She was moaning, and the bedsprings were squeaking.
I woke up, sweating. In the room next to mine, the bedsprings squeaked, and Gabby let the neighborhood know Theo was f**king the life out of her. God bless them.
I was not in a clear emotional state. Two days before, Jonathan had left me with a promise of fidelity and a swollen nodule between my legs that I pledged not to touch. A day later, his ex-wife had shown up at my job, apparently to tell me he f**ked her so hard the night before that he fractured a bone.
Yet, despite the fact that he may well have been a stinking liar, I kept my promise to save my orgasm for him. And I would, until I dumped him, at which time I was going to run into the nearest bathroom and relieve myself.
Theo finished with a Scottish-accented grunt. Thank God. I wasn’t sure if they were making me uncomfortable or horny. Seeing them in the kitchen for morning tea was going to be awkward.
I went into my bathroom to shower and dress. Afterward, I walked out the back door so I wouldn’t have to say good morning to anyone.
I felt constantly on the verge of an assault on something or someone. I got angry at the chair leg I stubbed my toe against. Traffic went from the cost of living in Los Angeles to a singular attack by a spiteful God. Mostly, I was angry at myself. I knew I wasn’t capable of having a serious relationship because I got too involved and lost myself in the other person’s needs. Nor was I capable of a casual encounter because I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone I was screwing being with another woman in the same space of time. My only alternative was celibacy, a perfectly viable option, but I’d broken a perfectly good sexless streak to be with Jonathan. So I was stuck. Our relationship was too serious to forget and move on, and too casual to get upset over him f**king his ex-wife. I was a fool. A damned fool.
I got in the car and realized I hadn’t put on any makeup. I looked in the rearview. Did I need any? I was only going to see my ex, Kevin. If I went in without makeup, it would be a sign that I wasn’t trying to impress him, that I didn’t want him back. I just wanted to talk, and I didn’t need lipstick for my mouth and ears to operate. I didn’t need mascara to see if I’d been crazy to leave him.
Kevin used to have a place downtown, but when the market for crap industrial spaces exploded, his rent tripled, so he’d split for the strip of land between Dodger Stadium and the LA River called Frogtown. I’d helped him move there four months before I left. The building had changed drastically in the interim. The broken brick façade had gone from a soot-encrusted dark red to a multicolored mural, corner to corner, of a huge young girl peeking into the front door as if it were the entrance to her doll house. The side of the building had been painted to look like the wall was see-through, with depicted trees and buildings that matched the real landscape of the LA River, like a Road Runner cartoon where the bird painted a single-point perspective road on a brick wall.
Those were not Kevin’s work. The girl looking at the door was definitely Jack’s style. The trompe l’oeil thing on the side looked like Geraldine Stark, one of his contemporaries. She was a quite prolific whore in the art scene, and I found myself wondering if Kevin had f**ked her at some point.
I rang the bell. I waited. I rang again. Waited. Just like him to beg to see me then get so involved in something else he couldn’t answer the door. God, men were such f**kups. Every damn one of them.
The door finally opened, and I stood straighter so he wouldn’t see me arched with annoyance.
“Monica,” he said. “You came.”
“I said I would.”
He grinned his most gorgeous grin, straight-ish teeth a crescent of white in the pink dust of a set of lips that God himself must have used as a template for the perfections of the human face. I remembered kissing them. I remembered them running over the insides of my thigh, brushing against my pu**y, bookends for his flicking tongue.
“Come in,” he said, stepping to the side.
“Thank you.” I grasped the strap on my shoulder bag for something to hang onto as I caught his scent of malt and chocolate. Jonathan left me with a throbbing ache of desire unquenched because he thought it made me think of him, but he couldn’t have had any idea how dangerous that was. A different person would have been f**king anything that moved.
The hall was narrow, and I had to brush by him to enter. He closed the door behind me with a metallic thunk. I passed doorways on either side of the hall. At the end, the hall opened into a warehouse space a forty-foot ceiling a cement floor he’d had poured himself. Waist-high tables stood all over the room in what looked like a random pattern but wasn’t. They were set up in an emulation of Kevin’s process. Each table was inaccessible without passing a necessary step before it, so the visual story of whatever he was working on could be told from the start every time. The pattern would never make sense to an outsider, but in his mind, it brought his installations together.
“Can I get you something? Tea?” He seemed tiny in the huge space. His white T-shirt looked insignificant and plain. “I put in a kitchen.”
“Wow,” I said. “Can I see?”
He led me to the far end of the huge space, weaving past the tables down a path he’d left for that purpose. The kitchen had glass block windows to the outside and a wall covered in magazine pictures of food stuck on with silk straight pins. The cabinetry was white, the surfaces embellished here and there with perfectly placed stickers or an odd tile in an incongruous color that a person with anything less than exquisite taste would have screwed up.