When his eyes regain their focus, he looks terribly embarrassed. He bunches up on the bed like a wet spider, hugging his ankles. I rummage under the bed for some tissues. I gently push his legs downward and wipe clean the tip of his cock.
“What’s your name?” I knew his name. I just wanted him to tell me.
“Daniel.” He said and stopped being famous. Just Daniel the quaking lump of pink skin.
“Daniel.” I say still stroking between his legs with the tissue. “There you are, all cleaned up.”
“Will you still get your money?” Daniel said.
I leant in between his legs and kissed him. I felt him in my mouth this time, soft, nervous, trying to kiss everything better. I was a little shocked at how much I liked the kiss, but decided to go on with it.
He’d relaxed a little when I let him go. He had the relief of a small child who had found himself unexpectedly not in trouble. I wanted to say, “For goodness sake, I’m a whore you really don’t have to impress me.” But what came out was, “You could try touching me a little, if you like.”
He rolled over onto his side and I lay next to him, gently coaxing his soft fingers over my skin. He touched me like I was precious, like I was wonderful, like I’d break easily. I felt as if I’d been punched in the nose.
“Do you like that?” He asked.
What does it matter what I like?
“Mmm.” I said.
I do like it sometimes. Or at least, sometimes they get a physical reaction out of me. I prefer it when they don’t, when I can stand completely calm and aloof from the whole experience. But I’m long since past panicking when something stirs. I’ve put it down to a hazard of the job, mechanics; if I’m rubbed there sometimes there’ll be sensations. They’re self contained, as simple as being tired or hungry. There’s no soul involved, no warmth in my chest. I forget them once they’re gone. I collect my paper envelope and who cares what I felt.
The boy’s fingers don’t arouse me. It’s a gentle exploratory pawing which wouldn’t impress a teenage girl. But he keeps it up, thumb caressing my skin here, there, over my shoulders and down my sides. I find myself sighing very deeply. He laughs at the response. His fingers run over the plasters on my left bicep.
“Wile Coyote?” He asks.
“I got bored with ordinary plasters.”
Thankfully, he doesn’t ask what’s underneath. He looks dreamily at the flesh beneath his fingers, savouring it, enjoying the sensation of trailing his finger along it, powdery, marble, warm. He seems so unhurried, so fascinated.
I have been adored like this before. He’s not the only one who’s had me who’s had an imagination too. It’s very time consuming labour, like making ships in bottles. You have to hold still and wait for the moment to be just right before moving in. It’s exhausting acting like you’re feeling relaxed.
He moves in towards me and starts kissing gently along the flesh his hands have covered. He pushes the hair off my shoulders, nibbles at them, kisses at my wrist up to my elbow. I lie back and pretend he’s not there, but he touches my hair and my eyes open. His eyes are soft brown puddles of concern.
“I’m not hurting you?”
“Of course not,” I reply. How can kisses hurt?
Suddenly, I realise I want this tenderness. I want to pull this innocent boy close and show him where to kiss me. I want to care. It feels like slipping into warm water. I want to be held and I want to like it. It feels like peace.
I sit up.
“Are you alright?”
“Yes, of course I’m alright.” I breathed deeply, then lay back on the pillows. But every time I shut my eyes the deep-water feeling was ready to engulf me.
I watched the single bulb while he kissed me. It felt like an alien take-over. I didn’t want the warmth that seemed to spread from under his lips. I didn’t want my heart to quicken as he worked over my body. It felt like sorcery, it felt like a terrible loss of control. It felt like a betrayal on behalf of my senses. It felt quite dramatically, like nothing would be right again.
I’d grown used to grief; it was proof I still loved. It was a shadow that walked beside me on calm evenings in the park, walking thorough the scent of cherry blossom, sharing it with the knowledge I would want to share it with him. It had stopped hurting me; it had become over the years an old friend. The boy’s kisses inched across my chest and I felt the blossom wither and all the blissful evenings gradually become spoilt.
The light bulb guttered and went out. He looked up from my chest and gave a little cry.
“It’s alright Daniel,” I say. “The lights often blow back here, the sound system overloads the circuits.”
I liked saying his name. It seemed the one thing in the world the joy hadn’t been sucked out of.
He made an indistinct noise of comprehension.
“You’re not scared of the dark are you?”
I wasn’t sure I believed him.
It was only a few minutes later when I realised he’d said, “You shine.”
900 more words and still Mae/Dan remains unconsumated. Boo.