Woman as a Foreign Language
Her hands are reaching under my dress, pulling it up along my thighs and up to my waist. Half eager and half reluctant I break this endless, too-short kiss, and kneel up, my legs straddling her waist, to pull the dress up and over my head.
“Darling,” she whispers, in my ear, as I emerge. Nothing else, just that, and I shudder all over just at the deep, gritty sound of her voice. Then I almost swoon at the soft touch of her lips on my skin as they move from my ear and down the side of my neck, waking tingling song-lines to my shoulder, a trail of tiny kisses and tinier bites that makes me sway, and bend in her wake. I am afloat in her arms, afloat in her voice. Her hands brush my naked breasts lightly, and my breath catches in my throat.
She pushes me away just a little and pulls her legs out from under me, until she can somehow wiggle out of her own dress. She is such a long, lanky creature; it is a long way for a dress to go.
Out of her dress she has a lily’s skin, etched with black lace. Limned in candlelight, she’s a luminous white-gold, starred with freckles all over. I want to touch her, and I hold back. She’s like a forbidden fruit, to be savored slowly. I will have her, all of her, bite by bite, but not yet, not yet. I just watch her.
Her black lace bra holds perfect, taut, pointed breasts. Her panties are black satin, with no lace, only the tiniest black bow at the top. They are smooth and narrow, and I am at a loss. I would have expected something of Julian to show at this point, but there’s only Julia in this room. Her stockings are the darkest smoke grey and trimmed with lace again. The lace draws an intricate tattoo on the whiteness of her skin, and I want to follow it with my fingers. But not yet.
Her stomach is perfectly flat, with not the slightest hint of a belly, not even when she sits. There are pale blue veins running under the white skin, like fine rivers. She is so thin that her ribs ripple under her skin when she moves, which makes me long to hold her, and, somehow, protect her. Tall as she is, I have never felt like that before. I had never realized how fragile she actually is.
When she leans down to unzip her right boot, I put a hand on her forearm.
“Please don’t,” I say.
“Uh?” she looks up with an expression half curious, half questioning.
“Please don’t take your boots off,” I whisper. Truth is, I cannot imagine Julia without heels, and I don’t want to, not yet, not now. In some strange way, they are part of her, of her identity, of her incredible magnetism.
She smiles, a spreading smile that melts into quiet laughter, but she complies, and turns to run a booted foot slowly along my thigh. I can hardly breathe as I put a hand on her calf, and caress the daim of her boots. The leather is heavenly soft, but through it I can feel her warmth and the hardness of her shin bone. My hand runs the length of her boot and reaches her stockinged knee. I run the tip of my fingers off the edge of the boot, very slowly. I discover another kind of softness, smoother, slicker than the suede, and even warmer. She is sitting with one leg folded under her and one foot in my lap, leaning backwards on her hands, with a small, slightly hesitant smile. I smile back at her, and gently I push her to lie on her back. As I kneel between her long, long legs, she closes her eyes with a shuddering sigh. I run both hands along her shins and then up, savoring the changing softness of suede and nylon, and then the slight roughness of the lacy band at the top of her stockings.
And there I stop. I don’t dare touching her naked flesh yet, yet, yet… I feel that my life will be forever split in two.
The time before I knew Julia’s skin, and the time after.
I linger in the moment, wishing almost that I could remain like this forever, balanced on the cusp of this piercingly delicious instant.
My palms and fingers are wrapped around the edge of her stockings, my thumbs stroke the inside of her thighs gently in tiny circles, and she lies quiet, perfectly still, but her chest rises high at every deep breath, and she’s mine now, mine, mine, mine for the taking.
It is like a deep breath before the plunge, and when I finally dive, I know she’ll swallow me like deep water, that I’ll drown myself in her.
My hands slowly run over the edge of her stockings (the edge of the world as I knew it) and onto the burning white velvet of her bare skin, up along her lean thighs, and ‘round her long hips and up again, past the sable satin of her panties, to her sides and her flat, hard stomach.
Every inch of her skin is smooth, silk smooth and warm, an inebriating white softness underpinned by fast, lean limbs, like a magnificent greyhound, like the wind-born Arab mares of Bedouin legend.
She’s elf, and angel, and woman, and the sylph of my dreams, but she’s real, she’s here with me, for me. I lean over and lay a slow, slow kiss on the hard of her hip, and one on her stomach and then one, the most tender, slowest kiss, at the cusp of her thigh, where the skin is softest and whitest, softer than the softest silk, cream-supple and hot, pulsing with her life’s blood. As my tongue slowly touches this most secret skin of hers, two tears are running down my cheeks. I keep perfectly quiet until the emotion washes over me. I don’t want her to be scared off by the intensity of my feelings.
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Julia hoisted her skinny butt to the top of the tall stool at the bar and made eye contact with Pilar, the beautiful Peruvian waitress, who smiled and promptly came over, polishing a cup as she went.
“The usual,” said Julia, and Pilar stared.
“You mean the usual-usual?” she asked. Julia was a regular, but in the evenings. Julia nodded. Sometimes the day just started like that.
Pilar fetched a tumbler, poured an inch of Lagavulin (sixteen years, no ice), and passed it over.
“Bad morning?” she asked.
“Beastly,” said Julia. She licked her lips so the blood-red lipstick would not stick to the glass and took a good-sized swig. The first sip of whisky traced a path of fire in her empty innards, which she relished in full, with her eyes closed.
“Well, that’ll clear your airways for the day ahead, all right,” said a thoroughly impressed male voice beside her.
Julia opened her eyes and turned to take in the unwelcome sight of a burly fellow, about fifty, in the rumpled suit of the travelling salesman on a two-day trip, bald as an egg on top, with a thin comb-over carefully spread over the shiny, spotted baldness. Perched high on her seat Julia had no choice but to stare in morbid fascination at the hairdo. Everything else was a blur.
The egg smirked, called for coffee, and gazed longingly into Pilar’s spectacular cleavage as she poured him a mug. Julia sniffed.
“Ar, I’d stick my face in there, all right,” muttered the egg, chuckling, and Julia nearly spit her single malt across the bar onto the mirrored wall in front of her. ‘Christ, me too,’ she thought, shooting the guy a sideways glance, ‘but jeez, man, be cool, can’t you?’
“And you?” asked the egg turning briskly towards Julia again and considering her choice of breakfast beverage. “You look like a lass who knows how to have fun! What’s your name, babe?”
“Julian,” said Julia, in her deepest, grittiest voice. “Darling,” she added, staring straight into his eyes with her most captivating smile.
Pity she was just a tenor. There are days when a rumbling basso profundo would be more satisfying, but even so, it was quite the treat to watch his eyebrows shoot up and his chin drop down. He blinked twice, stammered, then he collected his briefcase in one hand, his coffee in the other (he spilled half of it in his hurry) and scuttled to the farthest end of the bar.
“Well, that’s sorted,” said Julia cheerfully, and Pilar grinned and winked at her, wiping the coffee spill from the bar. The day was looking up already.
*Julia/n doesn’t always swill 16 yo Lagavulin for breakfast.*