He f**ked me in earnest, then. He f**ked me like he meant it, roughly, hitting the right places as if it was what he did to get himself off. My br**sts bounced with the motion. My cunt was a pulsing strip of flesh under him, a swath of need. Then, like a rush from a firehose, I came, ass and pu**y clenching over and over as I screamed and released it all. He kept going, hovering over me, thrusting, and the release continued to the point where pleasure met pain, and I came again, pushing my hips into him as he opened his mouth and grunted hard, then moaned. He slowed, rotating again, then dropped on me with a heaving chest and hot breaths on my neck.
He reached behind with his left hand and untied my right wrist and knee. They separated with a cramp. Sitting up, he untied the other side. I rubbed my wrists.
“So?” he asked.
“So, a needle pulling thread. You’ve ruined me.”
He brushed the hair off my face, and I did what I’d been wanting to do. I put my arms and legs around him.
I awoke slowly to a few sensations: the light of the sun cutting past my eyelids, my sore pu**y, and Jonathan’s fingertips stroking my hand as it rested on his chest. When I opened my eyes, he was looking at me.
I grumbled and shifted closer to him.
“Are you working today?” he asked.
“Lunch shift.” I spread my hand out on his chest, pushing it forward, brushing the hairs between my fingers. “Then I have to go to Frontage and see if we can work something out. I don’t want to gig there without Gabby, but I don’t want to be stupid.”
He pulled me on top of him. “There’s nothing stupid about you.”
I kissed him, and that kiss got deeper and more urgent. My sore snatch twitched when I felt him harden. He ran his hands all over me, then over my arms which he guided to the headboard, until I was stretched over him.
“Oh, Jonathan. I’m so sore.”
“Is that a no?”
“Just be gentle.”
He guided himself into me, and it hurt, but with the most delicious pain. I used the headboard to leverage myself, and Jonathan guided my hips and then rotated his finger on my clit until I gave him a sweet orgasm that felt more like a long breeze than a tornado.
With his face beneath me, falling apart under his own pleasure, I knew something for sure, and I whispered it to myself as he came. I love you, I love you, I love you.
My clothes had been washed again and were waiting for me when I got out of the shower. Living on a hill in a crap neighborhood my whole life, I’d never had industrial-strength water pressure, and it seemed a good water heater was pretty important if you wanted a nice skin-scalding shower. I got into my clothes, and feeling so refreshed, I almost skipped down the stairs, where I saw Ally Mira sweeping the corners.
“Hi,” I said.
“Good morning.” Her English was accented, but didn’t seem too bad.
“Did you wash my clothes?”
“Mister Drazen left them for me. I get up early and do it.”
“Thank you. It’s very kind of you.”
“You’re welcome. I have tea for you in the sitting room.”
She leaned her broom against the wall and motioned for me to follow her. We went downstairs, into the living room and through an arch I hadn’t noticed before, past a short foyer, and into an enclosed porch on the side of the house overlooking a flower garden. A silver tea tray sat on the low table. I could hear Jonathan talking on the phone in another room I couldn’t identify. Ally Mira indicated the couch.
I sat down. “Thanks.” I picked up the teapot to let her know I’d do the pouring.
She nodded, smiled, and slipped out. I realized Jonathan’s voice was coming through the wood sliding doors on the side of the room. The sound of the morning birds was deafening, and though it was a lovely white noise to distract me from Jonathan’s phone call, his voice cut through. He did not seem happy. I tried to tell myself I wasn’t eavesdropping, but when I heard her name, I stopped pretending I wasn’t listening and made an effort to shut out the sound of the bird’s chirping.
“Jess,” he said, “this is you being afraid of being alone.” Pause. “No, you don’t. That’s right. I’m telling you how you feel.”
There was a longer pause, during which I sipped my tea and hoped the conversation ended soon, but Jonathan’s voice got stronger.
“Don’t you dare.” Pause. “Jessica, let me be clear. If you do anything like that, I will destroy you. I. Will. Destroy. You.”
That voice. It was the sawdust and leather voice, the voice that got me to unquestioningly spread my legs or bend at the waist. I’d never heard him use it outside of a sexual context. His voice got too low to hear after that, then the doors slid open.
He walked in looking as if a blanket of sadness had been thrown over him and tied at the neck. “You’re up,” he said.
“There’s tea left if you want some.”
He stepped forward until he was standing over me. “How much of that did you hear?”
“I know who it was but not what it was about.”
He paused, then kneeled in front of me between the couch and the table. I put my hand to his cheek and leaned forward. His eyes shone a troubled green, and his mouth set itself in a line.
“Jonathan, what’s wrong?”
“I won’t let anyone come between us. I want you to know that.”
“She won’t if you don’t let her.”
“If she says anything to you, you need to come to me with it right away. Do you understand?”
“What happened, Jonathan?”
“Just say you’ll call me.”
“I don’t understand.” I held his face in my hands, stroking his cheeks with my thumbs.
“Wherever I am in the world, before you think you know anything, you make sure you call me. Say you will.” He wasn’t using his domineering voice, but the voice of a man who needed, desperately to be soothed.
He rubbed his palms along the tops of my thighs and up around my waist. He laid his head on my lap and said nothing as I stroked his hair and hummed a melody that reminded me of the cadences of his voice.
We sat like that, me on the couch, humming, and him on his knees before me, long after my tea became cold and the morning birds silenced themselves for the day.