Friday, September 30, 2005

Meet the Nubians

Summer brought some benefits for my sex parties, and some detriments.

Happily, Marcus and Meg, who can’t join us during the academic year, were able to attend.

Sadly, a good many regulars were scrambled to the far corners by vacations, school breaks and other commitments.

I might have taken this as a moment to put up a “gone fishing” sign and close up shop for a while.

But I was hesitant to do so. My biweekly bivouac of bisexuals has recently bypassed its second anniversary—we are now bi-annual.

You hate to bilk a bonny binge.

So instead, I took the summer as an opportunity to do some recruiting that would, I hoped, yield like minds and new faces for our ongoing gang.

I reached out to other orgy organizers—I am not the only person in New York City hosting sex parties, you know—to ask that their members be informed about our gatherings.

I dropped a line to Apollo the Sex God.

My parties found a niche by focusing on singles who are bisexual, or at least “bi friendly,” a term essentially meaning that what happens at the parties, stays at the parties.

Apollo’s niche has him organizing parties for black and Latin couples, with a smattering of single women and men. The parties, dubbed “Nubian,” were based in Brooklyn.

Apollo was glad to compare notes, but he wasn’t sure that his crew held many new recruits. He told me that while the women at his parties tended to be bisexual, the men were not.

At least so far as you know, I corrected.

That double standard is pretty typical for couples parties—the women are assumed to be bisexual, and the men must not be bisexual, no matter the reality.

Apollo mentioned that the Nubians were beginning to outgrow his place in Brooklyn, and asked about our accommodations.

I invited him over to take a look.

Apollo—his real name is Doug, “Apollo the Sex God” being his self-styled nom de baiser—is a handsome man in his mid-twenties. He has the build of a high school athlete and a natural smile that he long ago realized would melt knees if flashed at the just the right time.

“Nice place, Jefferson,” he smiled, touring the bedrooms.

“Thanks. For the parties, you know, I put out different bedding, and candles and all that, but you get the idea.”

“Yeah man, this is great, and a good neighborhood.”

“Yep. Close to the subway, and cabs fly by at all hours.”

“Yeah, that’s really great.”

We sat to talk turkey.

He explained that he hosts the parties with his girlfriend, Evangeline. “Evangeline” was not her real name, of course. Nor was she his real girlfriend. She was his playmate; his real girlfriend knew nothing about his recent forays into the “lifestyle,” as he said, because she lived down south.

I’m Southern, so I asked where she lived.

Turns out she lived in my hometown.

We laughed.

“It’s beautiful there, man,” he said. “I really hope to move down there soon, to be with my girl.”

“It’s a great place to be from,” I agreed.

Since we were practically neighbors, we decided to combine forces.

“Why don’t you try throwing your party here?” I invited. “See if it’s a fit.”

“That’s great, man, great,” he nodded. “We’ll do the next one here, if that’s cool.”

I penciled it in.

We shook hands.

A week or two passed. Apollo and I traded emails and phone calls in preparation.

I left the guest list to him. None of my regulars would be invited. I wanted to see what he could produce.

Besides, my gang didn’t fit his demographic.

Not that I did, for that matter.

Apollo and I were fine with that. As a solo white boy, I was prepared to co-host as a fly on the wall.

On the appointed night, Apollo and Evangeline showed up right on time, carrying boxes of supplies.

Evangeline and I kissed in greeting. She was outgoing and dressed to kill in a low black top and high skirt, her breasts pushed up into a womanly cleavage that offset her youthful face.

Apollo had told me she was twenty-two. I’d have bet a good deal younger.

At my behest, the pair made themselves at home.

Candles and incense were lit, refreshments were placed, condoms and lubes strategically arrayed. My stereo was rewired with new equipment and stocked with mix CDs.

“We’re low on ice,” I noted from the kitchen.

“On it,” Apollo replied, popping open his cell. “Yo, Miller, pick up some ice, all right?”

“Better get some bottled water, too—the small bottles.”

“Hey yo, Miller, get those little bottles of water.” Apollo added. “I dunno man, get a lot.”

The supplies arrived, hoisted by the two beefs appointed to security detail.

I liked the way they worked.

I took a bourbon to the terrace to relax as they made final preparations.

The guests began to arrive. I joined Apollo and Evangeline in making greetings. As Apollo had said, he knew his guests well. I was introduced as his friend and co-host. I shook hands and kissed cheeks.

I soon found myself seated with a dark woman sporting a red Mohawk.

She was built like a brick shithouse—and cool as an igloo.

She introduced herself as Consuela.

We chatted as she flipped though photography books on my coffee table. I learned that she was a photographer.

As it happens, I know a thing or two about photography.

We were soon wrapped in conversation.

The cool thawed considerably.

Evangeline is a firm believer in the use of party games to break the ice. She brought out the game Operation and invited everyone to gather around.

“I didn’t come here to play games,” Consuela muttered into her book.

“Games are for kids,” I agreed. “Shall we fuck and get things going?”

“You know,” she looked towards me. “That’s just what I was thinking.”

“Come, then,” I stood. “I know just the place.”

She followed me to my bedroom. We kissed by candlelight.

Her hands were as fast on me as mine were on her.

We paused and stripped with the calm practice of gymnasts, mentally moving ahead to our routines.

I lay back on the bed, stroking my cock.

She crouched over me and took it in her mouth.

She arched and flexed her back as she bobbed her head, producing the desired effect on me as well as the eyes gathering at the door.

I reached for a condom, staring at her.

A moment later, she was lowering her pussy onto me.

And I was in her.



“Say my name.”


“That’s right, baby.”

I drew her into a kiss.

I pushed up into her in long thrusts, providing an anchor for the undulations of her body. She glowed in the candlelight, clearly aware of how her movements affected gazing eyes.

The dial on my clock radio had been shifted to the far right side of the FM dial. Bumping rhythms covered those filtering in from the living room.

Consuela and I danced back and forth.

No one entered passed the door. Apollo’s rules: couples only in the bedrooms.

Consuela and I were the first couple.

Apollo brought in Evangeline. He stripped and sat in a chair, taking her petite body in his hands. She turned and twisted under his touch as he undressed her.

It was all about the show. We were putting on our best.

Evangeline looked over her shoulder and raised her ass as Apollo sat back. “C’mere, back up that ass,” he ordered. She gave herself to his reach, moaning as he took her to his cock.

I pushed up on Consuela’s shoulders, bringing my mouth up to her breasts.

I opened wide and swallowed a tit.

“Hmmm, yeah, that’s hitting it,” she sighed, undulating her hips rapidly on me.

“Give it,” I murmured through my mouthful of flesh, digging my fingers into her flanks.

Consuela moaned loud and long, giving me the orgasm I sought.

Evangeline answered in her own punctured breaths.

“Shit baby, I need to fuck that ass,” Apollo said, slapping flesh. “Get up.”

She raised herself from his shaft. He had a nice long curve, I noted.

“Lean on the bed, baby.” Evangeline bent over my leg, propped on one elbow as she looked back, offering her ass to Apollo.

“You gonna fuck me?” she teased.

“Shit yeah, you’re getting fucked,” he laughed.

He looked down as his cock vanished into her, then switched his hips into overdrive.

She collapsed over my leg, moaning.

I pulled back a bit to give her more space

Consuela misread my movement. “You leaving me?” she asked, pursing her lips.

“Not on your life,” I said. “Here, let me on top.”

“Yeah, let’s do that.” She raised herself from me, and I lifted myself to my knees.

I looked over my shoulder at the voyeurs at the door. “Here, turn this way,” I suggested, positioning her head towards the opposite wall, near Evangeline’s hips.

I held my cock as I lowered it between her labia.

“There we go,” I said, leaning into her.

“Yeah, that got it.”

“Good, ‘cause here I come.”

I fucked into her fast, aiming my cock up and back.

I nodded howdy to Apollo as we matched pace.

“Yeah man,” he laughed. He called to someone at the door. “Some shit, huh?”

“No shit,” came the reply.

Evangeline looked to the door then up at me.

I fell to kiss Consuela.

The four of us fucked a good show until Evangeline called for a break.

“Yeah, count me in,” Consuela said. “I need some water, bad.”

“Here, let’s go to the terrace and cool off,” I suggested, pulling out.

We sat back, catching a breath.

“Oh very nice!” someone said as we passed among the clothed bodies in the hall. “Very nice, very nice!”

I followed Consuela, watching voyeurs part way as eyes took her in.

A hand caught mine.

“Hey,” I smiled. “Welcome. I’m Jefferson.”

“Hey Jefferson,” a voice replied. She bit a lip as she raised hazel eyes to mine. “I’m Maria.”

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Hugs and Kisses

I had not heard from Anna since she dumped me—again—in early July.

She had made it clear in her final note to me. If I were unwilling to try a six-week period of monogamy with her, then we were unlikely to have much of a future together, so she was done.

I was unwilling to try this experiment. I was annoyed that she continued to disregard my current disinterest in monogamy—it’s no secret that it’s just not for me right now—and even more annoyed at the blackmail implicit in the experiment: love me, on my terms, or leave me.

I bid her well.

I wanted her in my life somehow, but I was relieved to take a break from our cyclical on again/off again relationship.

Weeks passed, with nothing passing between us.

Then, one day, an instant message.

Anna: Good morning.

Jefferson: Good morning.

Anna: How are you?

Jefferson: Well, and yourself?

Anna: Very good. The kids?

Jefferson: They are fine.

Nice, banal.

I didn’t initiate anything, just responded to her questions in a casual tone.

But I caught the whiff of an agenda.

The beginning of on again.

Anna: So I will be in your neighborhood tomorrow.

Jefferson: Oh?

Anna: Yes, I am being interviewed to volunteer at the medical center.

Jefferson: That’s noble of you. What will you be doing?

I pressed on with questions about her volunteer work.

I let it go that she would be near my place the next day; I didn’t extend an invitation to stop over.

Anna: I’ve been in rehearsals all month for a new performance. It’s a very physical piece—I’ve dropped a dress size from all the activity.

Jefferson: Gosh!

Anna: I guess that’s good though, as I appear on stage nearly nude.

Jefferson: I’m sure you will knock ‘em dead.

Anna: A naked girl on stage. What’s not to love?

Jefferson: Good point.

Anna: The timing is good, as I will look great in a bikini on vacation in a couple of weeks.

Jefferson: Yes, that is good timing.

Anna hurled steak after steak—enough red meat to choke a lion—but I wasn’t biting.

In time, she got back to her job, and I returned to what I was doing.

The next morning, I received another instant message.

Anna: Good morning.

Jefferson: Good morning.

Anna: How are you?

Jefferson: Well, and yourself?

Anna: Very good. The kids?

Jefferson: Good. They are with their mother.

Anna: So a little private time for Dad. I will be in your neighborhood this afternoon. Mind if I stop by?

Jefferson: I’ve got a deadline, but maybe for a little bit. What time?

Anna: Around one?

Jefferson: Okay. I’ll put on some lunch.

Anna: That would be nice. See you then.

She signed out.

I shaved and showered, then got dressed.

I returned to my work.

A little after one, Anna arrived. She did look a little thinner, her hair a little longer.

We kissed hello at the door—a very continental buss, nothing overheated—and she removed her shoes.

I offered her a glass of water. She accepted.

I brought two chill glasses to the sofa.

We talked. I asked her about her decision to be a volunteer. She spoke about her rehearsals, and her upcoming vacation.

She noted with disapproval that I had a book of nude photographs on my coffee table.

“Don’t you have the kids later? You should put that away.”

“Oh, thanks, I will.”

I remained seated.

“So,” she asked. “Meeting any interesting women, Mister Polyamory?”

“I meet all kinds of interesting people.”

“You know, I’ve been reading about polyamory. Did you know that full disclosure is a big part of it?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, if you were truly polyamorous, you would be very open about who you are seeing.”

“Perhaps I am not truly polyamorous. At any rate, I think that tenet would apply to those with whom one shared a polyamorous relationship, not necessarily to those outside of it. I don’t think anyone is required to detail his sex life.”

She frowned. “You are just as circumspect as ever.”

“And you are just as nosey.”

“Huh.” She sat back. “Aren’t you going to ask me if I am seeing anyone?”

“Is there anything you would like to tell me?” I sipped my cold water.

“Well, I’ve been to a couple of cuddle parties, and those were fun.”

“I don’t know what that is.”

“Oh really? And I thought you were Mister Sex. Well, really I take that back, because a cuddle party isn’t about sex. People meet to cuddle—you know, to hug and caress.”

“That sounds like a sweet way to meet people.”

“I’m just there to cuddle. I don’t want to meet people.”

“Ah. And this is all clothed, I assume?”

“Yes, all clothed. The rules are really clear about that.”

“I’m sure they must be. Like, what are the rules?”

“Well, first, the most important rule is that you have to ask permission before you touch. Like this.” She sat up on her knees. “May I hug you?”

“You may.” I opened my arms.

With deliberate care, Anna slowly moved her body to drape over mine, wrapping an arm around my waist.

“See how it works?” she asked.

“I see.”

“Feels nice, right?”

“It does.”

“Now, may I put my hand on your face?”

“You may.”

She did, moving her face close to mine.

I instinctively leaned in to kiss.

“No!” she pulled back. “You forgot to ask permission!”

“Terribly sorry,” I replied. I was losing interest in this game.

She smiled. “Is there anything you want to ask me?”

“Yes. I wanted to know if there was anything you cared to ask me.”

She closed her eyes and pondered. “No, I don’t think so.”

“Very good.”

She stayed in my arms as we talked. She looked away for a moment, then back to me.

“You know, I have reevaluated my earlier statement.”


“Yes, and now, I do have a question. May I kiss you?”

“Yes, you may.”

She closed her eyes and gently touched her lips to mine.

I received her kiss, parting my lips slightly.

She could feel me growing hard against her ribs. Her kiss became more passionate.

Then her kiss ended.

She looked into my eyes. “Thank you.”

“Thank you,” I said. “And you’re welcome. Now, are you hungry for lunch?”

“No, I’m not hungry.” She sat up. “In fact, I think I should be going.”

“If you like. Want something for the road?”

“What do you have in mind?”

“A sandwich or something? Maybe a bottle of water?”

“Um, sure. Water would be nice.”

“Easily done.” I stood and retrieved a bottle. I remained standing as I gave it to her.

“Thanks.” She took the bottle, then stood and passed me without touching. She walked to her shoes, slipping them on. “Okay. Thanks again for having me.”

“It was a pleasure.”

I opened the door.

She walked quickly out.

I closed and locked the door.

I ate lunch.

A few weeks later, I received a postcard from Anna. She was enjoying her vacation.

“See you soon,” it concluded. “Hugs and kisses, Anna.”

Monday, September 26, 2005

Mitzi Misbehaves

It was a stupid fight, the same fight we so often have.

Mitzi gets jealous.

I sympathize, I listen, but my tolerance is not high.

I had gone downtown to spend an evening at Mitzi’s, not long after Madeline’s visit.

I really like it at Mitzi’s place; it’s a grown-up prewar apartment, but being there feels a lot like visiting the cool dorm room in college. Mitzi tells great stories and plays rocking tunes. Her pooch sits in my lap and licks my fingers. She keeps a bottle of bourbon for me.

And Mitzi kisses so sweet.

We had drinks and relaxed on her couch, chatting and watching Jon Stewart and Letterman.

It got late. We got drunk.

We fought.

I did not want to fight. I decided to go home.

She calmed down and convinced me to stay. She told me I could sleep on the couch if was too annoyed to sleep with her.

I lay down on the couch, fully dressed, shoes on my feet, and closed my eyes.

I was furious and felt trapped.

I went to sleep mad.

I awoke the next morning to Mitzi’s eyes, gazing at me.

“I am so sorry about last night . . .” she began.

“Forget about it,” I said. “I understand. It’s what we do. It’s over.”

I was no longer angry.

I would put it aside until the next time we had the same fight.

“Will you come to bed now?” she asked.

“Yes.” I rubbed the hangover from my eyes and stood. I followed her to the bed.

I undressed and kissed her.

We fell asleep.

When we awoke, we kissed and made love.

That morning would change our relationship.

Because that morning, Mitzi got religion.

Listen to her testify.

That was a rock bottom kinda fight.

I was mad as hell. You were tired. I was in hysterics, not letting you leave my apartment.

You finally headed to my couch, the same couch whose comfort we had discussed mere hours earlier. You now adjusted the pillows and plopped down fully clothed with shoes on and fell asleep.

I was scared you were going to get up and run the minute I walked away. I went to bed sleeping with my head at the bottom of the bed.

Early in the morning we spoke, and you came back to bed with me. We slept a little while, and then made out.

I went for my Rock Chick.

I got on my tummy and rode it as you pulled at my nipples.

There was very little kissing.

My hips continued to thrust with the Rock Chick inside me stiff and curling up towards my g-spot, the large muffled silicone vibe teasing my clit.

Your naked hand found my ass.

You grabbed tight, looking at me with quiet severity.

You unlatched your palm from my skin, and then brought it down in one hard fat clap.

You began to smack my ass.

I rubbed hard.

One of your hands was on my ass, the other grabbing a fist full of my hair, pulling me close and immobilizing me while you punished me.

I cried. Your face grew fierce as you reddened me.

The smacking abruptly stopped, and the hand holding my hair—and my will—pushed me to your cock.

You shoved it down my throat.

Both of your hands were on my head now, pulling my hair, pressing me down as you thrust your cock deeper down my throat.

I gagged, drooling. You were relentless, barely let me up for air.

When you did, it was just as abrupt as the last switch. You directed me to get on my back.

Kneeling on my bed, you found the condom drawer. Your cock rushed inside me as you fucked me hard, smothering my body.

You pulled back.

Your eyes were steely.

And though you had never done it before, I knew what was coming.

Your hand was raised and flew down, delivering a swift smack across my face.

You thrust harder.

I was ecstatic.

Your hand to my face again, and my ecstasy drew tears.

Both of your hands found my face, smushing it in your palms.

You released me, and the crying felt so good.

You brought your mouth to the warm, wet, tear-strewn cheeks you'd been tanning. You more than kissed my face; you tried to eat it.

When my cheeks were sufficiently healed, you raised yourself and set to fucking me—hard.

You looked at the clock; it was just about ten.

"You see what time it is?" you asked in sips of breath as you continued to pound me. "I'm gonna fuck you until ten thirty, and then I am going to pick up and leave."

I think at this point I realized I had no words left to speak.

You fucked me hard for then next thirty minutes, taking time to stand at the side of my bed, to pound me from that vantage point.

I looked at the clock a few times. You were also keenly aware of the time.

Around ten twenty five, you lowered yourself down on me, and kissed me sweetly. We stayed there a while, your cock still inside me.

"Now, behave, or I will come back here and beat you again!" You kissed me and lifted up.

The clock read ten thirty eight.

You sat on your knees, pulling back slowly withdrawing your dick from me, torturing me until you pulled it all the way out.

I sat up in protest.

"No, look at the clock. I already gave you more time. I’m leaving.”

I had no words.

I lay in my bed as you put on your clothes.

When dressed, you took my pink lace panties from the floor and looked up. You devilishly pocketed my knickers.

You walked to my door and unlocked it.

"No!" was the reflex that popped out of my mouth.

You just looked and smiled, and then walked out, closing the door behind you.

How sad I was, Kreskin, when I found my panties left behind on the floor of my living room.

That morning, Mitzi found religion.

Now, when the devil takes hold, I beat the hell out of her.

Friday, September 23, 2005


A while back, I decided I wanted a summer boyfriend. I auditioned a few candidates, and while they looked great and the sex was fine, they were unable to supply something essential.

A second date.

About that same time, I got in touch with Marcus and made him pull out his calendar. We coordinated schedules for ourselves, our exes, our children, and our vacations—if this sounds simple, it was not—and found that we had many days we could spend together.

And so it was that my best friend Marcus emerged as my summer boyfriend.

Every week or two, he drove up to New York to spend a few days with me.

Marcus proved to be the perfect boyfriend. He praised my home cooking and picked up the tab when we went out. He enjoyed the music I played and spun his own great tunes. He held me when we slept and kissed me when we woke.

The sex was as good as it gets, despite his unyielding quest to plug my ass with his cock or whatever else may be at hand.

The sex was also never lacking in variety, for when Marcus is around, the skies open and Lord have mercy, its raining men.

Every month, I co-host a male sex party with my pal Jimmy. Jimmy takes care of the guest list; I supply the place and schmooze the newbies.

Marcus loves these parties, and these parties love Marcus. He’s bisexual, and he enjoys sex with women, but I tell you what: you put that boy in a gay orgy, and he is a fish taking to water.

The sun was still setting as guests arrived, filling the apartment with a warm glow. As each man arrived, he spent a few moments with Jimmy, who checked them off his list and directed them to remove their clothes.

The men shook the day off their naked flesh, settling readily into cruising mode.

Brandon was among the fist to arrive. He had picked me from the crowd at the previous party, and we had been joined by Marcus for a threesome that was, for me, the highlight of that night.

But on this night, Brandon seemed a bit withdrawn, disinterested in socializing. He kept his wallflower eyes to the bookcases, hands folded behind his nude buttocks as he perused titles.

I made my hellos and left him to his browsing.

Marcus arrived as the party got underway. He kissed me and was quickly undressed, joining the men who swallowed one another in a glance.

I remained in the living room, still dressed and acting as social director. I was preparing to join the festivities when a new fellow came into room, fresh from Jimmy’s processing and just out of his clothes.

He sat awkwardly on the couch, seemingly unsure what he was supposed to do.

I sat next to him and introduced myself.

His smooth body was pale, with short black hair and deep brown eyes visible through narrow glasses. I couldn’t help but note a slight resemblance to Shelby.

But that may have been my own wishful thinking. I had not seen her in weeks. Now I searched for her in him.

It had been so long, I was looking for that girl everywhere.

Even in this boy, with his discreet nose ring and tattoos in a few different languages—all meant “truth,” he would later explain.

“How are you? I’m Jefferson. This is my place.”

“Nice to meet you,” He bobbed his head in lieu of shaking hands. “I’m Verdad.”

“Verdad? That’s a great name.”

“Thanks, I like it. Yours too.”

“Oh, thanks. I was named for my grandfather.”

“Oh, cool. I picked mine.”

“Really? What’s your birth name?”

“Uh . . . well, it’s nothing. I’m embarrassed to say.” He crossed his arms across his belly.

“Oh, it’s fine,” I lightly touched his thigh, then removed my hand. “You don’t have to say.”

“It’s nothing, just a very lame name.”

“You only make me more curious, but it’s your name.”

Two more men strolled by, smiling to me as they made their way to the bedrooms.

I smiled back.

“You’ve been to a group party before, Verdad?”

“Not really.”

“Is that a ‘not really’ yes, or a ‘not really’ no?”


“Well, welcome. It’s a pretty relaxed group of men—there’s no pressure, and everyone is friendly. But if you have any questions or anything, just let me know.”

“Okay, thanks.” He looked at me. “You’re very nice.”

“Thanks, Verdad. I just want everyone to be comfortable and have a good time.”

“Thanks.” He smiled at me.


A moment lulled.

“So Verdad, do you consider yourself gay, or bi, or what?”

“Oh, I’m bi,” he asserted. “But I’m a virgin. With girls, I mean.”

“Ah, okay. I’m bi too—though not a virgin anymore.” He laughed. “How old are you, Verdad?”

“Twenty.” He brightened. “My birthday was on Gay Pride Day!”

“Oh, happy birthday! Did you go to the parade?” From the back room, I could hear the sounds of sex drowning out the noise of small-screen pornography.

“Yeah,” he sat up. “It was so great, so many hot guys.”

“Yeah, right? It’s great fun. I was there, too.” In fact, the parade had been my most recent date with Shelby. “So have you been with many guys?”

“Not really.”

“Like, ‘not really,’ meaning . . .”

“Well, one. Like, six months ago.”

“I see.”

That was it. I had my project for the evening.

If Verdad was leaping from his first sexual experience to his first orgy, I supposed it fell to me to act as his Sherpa.

“So, Verdad. You want to make out?”

He nodded and looked up into my eyes.


“Great. Let’s go back the bedroom.”

I stood and took his hand. He rose and followed me.

I ducked a head into one room and found the bed covered with an interlocking stack of men.

I lead Verdad to the next room.

Here, the men stood, touching one another and watching as Brandon fucked a bottom. The futon was uninhabited.

“Lay down here,” I instructed. “Let me get out of these clothes.” He reclined on his elbows, pulling his shoulders up to his neck. He glanced around the room then back to me.

My eyes never left him.

I pulled my shirt over my head, and dropped my shorts.

Nude, I smiled at him.

I stepped to the bed, then crawled over his body in feline strides.

My face met his.

Our noses nearly touched.

“Kiss me, Verdad.”

His lips parted. He closed his eyes.

How sweet, I thought.

I took his mouth in mine.

The innocence of his kiss shot through me, arousing me with a jolt. I put one hand gently on his cheek. His tongue darted between my lips, exploring.

I gave back a little more than he gave. He replied in kind, drawing his breath heavily through is nostrils.

His elbows collapsed and he fell back.

I lowered my body onto his, from belly to chest to shoulders to face, and took his eyes.

I gave him a kiss to remember.

Our cocks were hard against one another. I pulsed gently into him.

His hands woke up, finally, and were raised to touch my sides and back.

“That’s very nice, baby,” I murmured into his mouth, holding him closer.

His heart quickened, like he was unaware one could speak while kissing, and the realization had surprised him.

“Thanks . . .” he ventured, as I kissed him back to silence.

His legs spread as I pressed into him.

“Verdad, when you had sex six months ago, did you get fucked?”


“Well, Verdad, I would like to fuck you now.”

“Okay.” His reply was very matter of fact, as if I had offered a cheese platter.

I leaned over his body to fetch a condom and lube.

“Talk to me as I enter you,” I said, unrolling the condom on my shaft. “Let me know how it feels.”


I lubed him, parting his legs. My thumb massaged his anus, pressing slowly in.


“Okay.” He looked a little nervous, but focused on my eyes.

I greased my cock.

I pushed his legs back and up, my thumb firm in place.

The head of my cock replaced my thumb. Verdad looked down to watch.

“Eyes up, baby,” I said. “Look at me.”

His eyes met mine.

I entered him.

Slow. Slight.

His mouth opened, but he was silent.


He nodded quickly.



“Uh huh . . .” He drew a deep breath.

I leaned forward, holding my body over his.




“I’m entirely in you. Kiss me.”

He gave me his mouth.

I fucked him gently.

A crowd had formed to watch.

I looked up and saw the muscular fellow with the baseball cap—the top whose name I have never learned—as he looked on, jerking, a tinge of envy in his eyes.

Marcus was nearby, between sessions with men.

“Marcus, sit, sit.”

“How’s it going, Jefferson?” he smiled, sitting. “Who’s your friend?”

“Verdad, this is Marcus.” I sat back, keeping my cock deep in place. The boy craned his neck to look back.

“Nice to meet you, Marcus.”

“Likewise. So you are getting fucked, huh?”

“Yeah . . .”

“Feel good?”

“It does . . .”

“Yeah, that Jefferson is a good fuck.”

“He’s fucked you?”

“On many occasions.”

“Oh, cool.”

“Hey Marcus,” I interjected. “Not to interrupt, but we are fucking here. Do me a favor—would you please put your cock in his mouth? Verdad’s never had a threesome.”

“You would like that, Verdad?” Marcus rose to his knees.


“All right, well, here you go, sweetheart.” Marcus lowered his stiffening cock whole into the boy’s mouth.

The man in the baseball cap strained for a better view.

I fucked Verdad a little harder, a little faster.

He moaned into Marcus’s cock.

Marcus fucked his mouth for a while, then noticed a tall blonde fellow watching him. They exchanged smiles.

“You two are very sweet,” he said, leaning forward to kiss me. “But I am going to get my own piece of ass.” He pulled his cock away and slapped Verdad’s cheek playfully.

Verdad registered shock, then recovered. “Oh, well, nice to meet you.”


“He seems nice,” Verdad said, after Marcus had left.

“I love him dearly. Now kiss me.”

As we kissed, as we fucked, I held his temples firmly in my hands. He seemed so willing to give himself over to me.

I slipped a hand around his neck.

He drew back, instinctively, and then relaxed.

I squeezed, slightly.

He smiled a little, and surrendered.

He got a nice fucking for that.

We took a break, and I went into the bathroom to wash up. When I opened the door afterwards, he was there, waiting.

“What do you want to do now?” he asked.

“You are one sweet puppy,” I said, taking his hand. “C’mon, let’s look around.”

We watched the men go at it. I wrap an arm around him; we traded whispers about the unfolding scene.

“There’s Marcus,” he pointed.

“That’s right, baby.” Marcus was looming over the blonde, whose legs were bent back. “Let’s move for a better view.”

We crossed the room, I settled into a nearby chair, and pulled Verdad into my lap. I rested my arms across his belly.

“Hello, lovebirds,” Marcus said, looking up. He looked back at the blonde. “Now, first I have to get this testicle into you . . .”

“Oh look, baby,” I said. “Marcus is going to fuck that guy with his balls.”

“Really?” Verdad leaned forward.

“Yep, get a gander.”

A few other men gathered as well.

Marcus folded one testicle into the blonde, then another.

“Now, be still while I get my dick in you . . .”

“Wow,” said Verdad. His hard cock flopped onto my forearm. “He’s really doing it!”

Marcus achieved his objective, and began to fuck furiously.

I stroked Verdad as we watched.

I nibbled on his forearm.

“You are going to make me cum,” he whined. He looked up at the men now watching him.

“Damn straight. Give me what I want.”

He leaned back, suddenly heavy as he involuntarily pushed against my face.

I was unable to see him as his cock pulsed and wet my hand.

Marcus pulled back, sweating. “Okay, that’s how you do it.”

“That’s incredible,” another man said. He was black, very handsome and well built. “But I don’t think that man is finished being fucked.”

“Climb on, cowboy,” the blonde replied. “I was just thinking the same thing.”

“Should I get you off now?” Verdad whispered to me.

“Oh, don’t worry, that’s fine.”

“Are you sure? It doesn’t seem fair—you got me off, I should get you off.”

“You are too sweet, child. Okay, you can suck my cock. Take one of those pillows for your knees—the rug’s a bitch.”

Verdad took the pillow as instructed, and crouched between my thighs. He took my cock.

I sat back to relax and enjoy the show.

He did nice work.

Jimmy popped his head in the room, and then dropped his shoulders in mock exasperation. He came to my chair. “I should’ve known, look for Jefferson, you’ll find him getting blown.”

“How’s it going, Jimmy?”

“Very well, everyone seems to be playing nicely.”

Verdad looked up. “Do you need to talk? Should I stop?”

“No baby,” I said, resting a hand on his head. “You suck that cock while we talk.”

Jimmy and I compared notes on the night. He said the party had dwindled to us—Marcus and the two fellows on the bed, Verdad and me at the chair—so he was cutting out.

“Okay, let me lock up after you,” I said. “Verdad honey, I need my dick for a minute.”

He pulled away from me, and sat back on his knees. “Okay. Should I wait here?”

“No, you go to the other room. I want you to myself for a while.”

“Okay.” He stood and left.

Jimmy shook his head. “You sure train ‘em fast.”

I smiled. “It’s just his nature.”

I kissed Jimmy good night and locked the door. I picked up two bottled waters.

Marcus was fucking his two fellows.

Verdad was alone in a room, sitting on the carpet, waiting.

“Here you go, baby. Now let me think.” I unscrewed a bottle cap and took a drink. “Do I want you to suck me off, or do I want to fuck you?”

“If you want to fuck me, maybe I should go to the bathroom and get ready?”

“Yes, you do that, while I decide.”

I touched his arm as he passed.

Now that he was preparing to be fucked, I decided he would suck me.

I reclined on a bed, knees apart.

“Hey,” Verdad waved as he returned to the room. “So what would you like?”

“How about you suck my cock?”


He dropped to his knees and, looking up at me, set to it.

What the boy lacked in experience, he made up for with determination.

Marcus appeared in the door.

“You gonna come, Jefferson?”

“Yes, in just a moment . . .”

“No, I mean, you gonna come? We’re going out for dinner.”

“Oh, well, yes . . . just a minute.”

I focused on Verdad’s mouth.

His tongue.

“Okay baby, I’m cumming.” He pulled back and I shot into the air.

Verdad smiled.

“Nice work,” Marcus said. “Now c’mon, we’re starving.”

As we walked the streets, I realized that in all the months I have hosted his party, I have never once socialized afterwards with the men I fucked.

That’s the influence of Marcus.

I took Verdad’s hand in mine, enjoying a warm public display as we listened to Marcus banter with the other fellows.

I finally learned their names. The blonde was Henry. The black guy was Carl.

We ate a burger joint café. The city was still at this hour.

The conversation was sharp and quick. Henry, a former callboy, traded war stories with Marcus. Henry’s tales often involved size queens attracted to his ten-inch dick.

Carl reminded the boys to keep their voices low; there were other diners. We turned the conversation to him; he was off to Paris for school soon.

Look at me, I thought, out past midnight with smart good-looking gay men. Some life.

We all traded contact information as we parted ways. Carl walked north, heading uptown.

I didn’t know it yet, but meeting Carl would later prove most fortuitous.

The rest of us walked south.

At the subway station, I kissed Verdad goodbye.

“Can I see you again?” he asked.

“I’d like that. I had a great time.”

“Cool. Well, thanks.”

“Good night, baby. Have a good trip home.”

A few blocks further, and Henry peeled off.

“Marcus, you can call me anytime,” he kissed my friend. “I had the best time.”

“Me too,” Marcus smiled.

Henry extended his hand. “And you, sir, are a fine, fine host.”

I took his hand. “My great pleasure.”

Henry smiled, and waved as he crossed the street. “Good night, boys!”

Marcus retrieved two small cigars and lit them. I took one.

“Jefferson’s got a boyfriend . . .,” he teased, blowing smoke.

“Yeah, well, five dollars says he flakes a second date.”

“I’m too smart to take that bet. That’s what you get for robbing cradles.”

“Perhaps. But how about you and Henry? I saw sparks there.”

“Sweetie, I have no time for that,” he said, slipping an arm around my waist. “Besides, I already have a boyfriend in New York.”

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Three Minus One Equals Three

A few days after Madeline left, I found her online just as I was about to start dinner for the kids.

Jefferson: What’s for dinner, sweetheart?

Madeline: Pain. Side order of heartache.

Jefferson: And I am only frying chicken. What’s your recipe?

Madeline: Marcus is my sous chef.

Jefferson: Come again?

Madeline: He’s breaking up with me.

Jefferson: He’s

Madeline: Via instant messenger.

Jefferson: No way, he’s never online.

Madeline: He is now.

Jefferson: Well, I know when to get out of the kitchen. Good luck, baby. I’m thinking of you.

Madeline: Thanks. Is it too early for bourbon?

Jefferson: Is it ever?

So it was that our boyfriend broke up with our girlfriend.

Or did he?

As it happened, Marcus was with me soon after. I asked him why he broke up with Madeline.

Was it because she came to see me, and he was not there?

“No, no, I get that,” he said. “You two needed that time together, especially after my visits with her. That was really okay with me.”

“Really? You’re sure? You weren’t jealous?”

“No,” Marcus said, cutting a cigar. “Okay, yes, of course, I would have loved to see her. But I understand. And that’s not what this is about.”

“So what? Tell me.”

Marcus passed me the cigar. I put it in my mouth, and he lit it.

“I am just not interested in having her as a girlfriend.”

He took another cigar for himself.

“Marcus, you adore her.”

“I know, I know, I do . . . but the ‘girlfriend’ thing is different.”

“Baby doll, you pushed the girlfriend thing. I mean, you introduced her to your kids and family as your ‘girlfriend.’ So why quit that?”

“You have to understand, Jefferson.“ He lit his cigar. “I felt that way about her. I had to tell my family.”

“And you no longer feel that way?”

“I do, of course I do.”

“I don’t get it, Marcus. You say it’s not about jealousy, and you say you have feelings for her, but . . .”

“Look, what I said was, it’s not about you and her. I mean, it’s a factor. You have feelings for her too, and obviously I don’t want to stand in the way of that. But we all seem to be dealing with that, and so it’s not the central factor.”

“Yes, but . . .”

“And I said, I have very strong feelings for her. That doesn’t change.” He took a drag on his cigar.

He voice was rising. He was agitated.

I sipped my bourbon.

We let a moment pass.

“It’s just,” he said, lowering his cigar. “It’s like this—I can not have a girlfriend I can’t touch. I can’t have a girlfriend who is just a voice on the phone, or an email, or whatever. I need someone I can feel.” He took a drag on his cigar. “That’s a girlfriend.”

I understood this.

Marcus lives very much in the moment. In this moment of his life, he lives in a rural area with his children. He is a sex worker in a nearby city, and he is booked solid.

He has children. He is never lacking for love.

He has sex. He is never lacking for touch.

What he needs, what he misses, is a lover.

What he needs a girlfriend.

And then he met Madeline.

She shares his reality as a parent, she matches his sense of adventure in sex, and she cares for him and his best friend, yours truly, the boyfriend they share.

Yet she is so damned far away.

She can’t live so far away and fulfill his everyday needs for a girlfriend.

And so he broke up with her.

“I understand that,” I said, putting down my glass. “It makes a lot of sense to me, actually. But let me ask you something. You still have feelings for Madeline.”

“Yes,” he puffed smoke towards the street. “Of course, you know that.”

“And would you see her again?”


“And if you saw her, would you have sex, and be caring, and all that?”

“Yes.” He took another drag on his cigar. “Of course.”

Everything was the same.

He just didn’t want to surrender the label of “girlfriend” to one so far away.

Soon after, I instant messaged Madeline. She huffed about Marcus.

Madeline: He is dumping me over semantics.

Maybe so, Madeline.

But if I hear heard him right, you still have two boyfriends.

Madeline sorted through the aftermath.

Meanwhile, Marcus never stopped calling her every day.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Marrying Kind

I have never had to piss so badly.

I woke on top of the covers.

Madeline was next to me, masturbating.

“Good morning,” I kissed her. “You take care of business. I have to pee like a motherfuck.”

“I’ve had to go for hours,” she sighed. “But I wasn’t sure what’s up with Bernard.”

Right: my father in law in the next room.

I mean, my ex father in law.

It was just after nine.

“I’ll see if the coast is clear,” I said, getting up. I pulled on pajama bottoms and t-shirt, and opened the bedroom door.

Bernard’s bed was made. No sign of him in the apartment.


He was already out, presumably for the day. We would have the place to ourselves until she left.

I went into the bathroom, raised the toilet seat and began to pee. Midway though an unending stream, I realized I should have let Madeline go first.

Nothing to do about it now.

Finished, I lowered the seat and washed my hands. At least some manners remained intact.

“He’s gone,” I reported, pulling off my shirt as I returned to the bedroom.

“Oh good, I was sure I’d bust.” Madeline jumped up and pushed past me to the bathroom.

I undressed and got back into bed.

“I’m sorry I didn’t let you go first,” I apologized when she returned. “I guess I woke up thoughtless.”

“It’s okay,” she said, sinking into the pillows. “I woke up with thoughts to spare.”

Madeline’s eyes were full.

After five days, our remaining hours together were now dwindling to the single digits. Later that afternoon, she would take her bags to the airport and return home to her children and her life.

Leaving behind the part of her life that thrives in my bedroom.

We kissed, and I was in her.

Our eyes were intent on one another, and my mind went back to my original hopes for these days together. I had wanted simplicity and ease, to build on the stream of online conversations and the extraordinary time we shared in April.

As we made love, I knew she was thinking that it would be the last time for a very long time.

I knew that our connection made her sadder about our imminent separation.

I pressed close, to squeeze that sorrow deep. She wouldn’t want me to take it away; she wants to feel it, as part of her love.

I kissed her to tears.

I slapped her cheeks numb.

For the remaining hours, I would take care of her.

We made love and afterwards, she showered. I gave her coffee.

I took her out and fed her.

We walked and spoke of the things we have in common, and reflected on the things that keep us apart.

We came home.

With the evening drawing near, she packed her bags and checked her tickets, as I contemplated the packaging of her souvenir.

On the walk home from the park after the concert the night before, we had passed a pile of junk left for pick up in the morning. Instinctively, I paused to give a once over to the refuse, to see if there was anything worth salvaging.

I am an inveterate scavenger. Dumpster diving is a habit that dies hard.

I saw that two paintings were neatly set to one side.

One was just awful. It deserved its fate as landfill.

But the other had a kind of charm.

Someone who signed his name “Ari” had painted a wedding scene in a naive style very much indebted to Chagall. A couple embraced under a Chuppah before a happy group; overhead, three faces loomed in the clouds.

Ari had used a label maker to add the title to the frame, in white letters on green tape: “The Patriarchs Blessing a Wedding.”

I crouched to look more closely at the painting. “Isn’t tomorrow your wedding anniversary?” I asked.

“Fuck, yes,” Madeline replied, a little drunk. “My last day in New York is indeed my wedding anniversary.”

“I think I have found the perfect gift, a wedding portrait here in the city trash.”

“You are too, too thoughtful,” she grinned.

A wedding painting rescued for her wedding anniversary, the first since her husband had ruined their marriage—an anniversary she would spend with me.

Madeline and I often commiserate on our marriages and divorces, about how fucked up it all is.

If her husband had not cheated, she’d still be married. If my wife had not dumped me to win a fight, I’d still be married.

For better or worse, for richer for poorer, we had each put our fates in the hands of Type-A control freaks. And for all that we endured for that decision, we would have stuck it out.

I guess we are the marrying kind.

Being married sure beat that the hell out of us.

For if even the marrying kind play by the rules and get shafted, then screw the whole enterprise.

I can’t speak for her, but I know I will never again give someone else the power to destroy my future, and that of my children.

I can fix my life, and I can have love and joy, and all that, but I’ll be damned if I will ever again risk losing it all if an impulsive wife decides that I am public enemy number one because—who knows why?—I work too much. I work too little. My shit stinks. Whatever.

Still, as all desire for matrimony hits the gutter with good riddance, I think of the kids.

Madeline and I also talk about the daily life of parenting, and how difficult it can be to go it alone.

I am absolutely confident that being single is right for me now, and that I am doing a brilliant job as a parent.

But on those mornings when there is no one else to get up and make breakfast . . .

When all three children need haircuts and new shoes, and the bank account is groaning . . .

On those days when a child is sick, and someone has to be the nurse . . .

On those nights when the kids are asleep, and I’m alone in bed, hugging a pillow . . .

At those times, I am reminded that raising children is hard work, and a job much better shared.

At those times, I can imagine myself saying to someone—even Madeline, or Marcus, or both, or God knows who—that we have kids to grow and the clock is ticking. We are still young and the next decade is crucial. Let’s move to a big farmhouse, raise the babies and then worry about being happy.

Just one of those thoughts.

When your future is wiped clean, it is disconcerting to realize that suddenly, anything at all is possible.

And sobering to recall that whatever that future holds, it comes with children who are now—and will remain, for years and years—the absolute and immediate priority.

Madeline and I found a painting of a wedding.

I gave it to her for her now defunct anniversary, a day she will have to reclaim for her calendar as one just like any other.

We brought it home.

Now, I had to get this new acquisition packed for her trip home.

I cut cardboard to size and made a box for the frame. I wrapped this in bubble wrap, creating a secure package, though one that would be awkward to carry.

I rummaged through a catch-all drawer and found a handle. In order to affix it to the package, I needed some line.

My tool box yielded twine—not enough—and thread. I tried the thread, but it broke.


“What’s the matter, sugar?”

“Agh, I just need some rope to tie up this package. Just a few feet will do, but I don’t have anything.”

Madeline laughed.


“Jefferson . . . you need rope?

Oh my dog.

Of course I have rope.

I went to my cabinet and found the rope I had used to hang Madeline from my closet door a few nights before.

I wrapped it around the painting. I attached the handle.


The perfect, poignant end to her perfect, poignant trip.

Until fate sent an awkward coda our way.

As we sat holding one another, preparing for the inevitable, there was a key at the door.

We jumped apart.

My father in law, Bernard, was back.

I mean, my ex father in law.

Our last twenty minutes of goodbyes would be spent in introductions.

Madeline was charming. She had heard so much about Bernard.

Bernard, himself a charmer, replied that he had heard nothing about Madeline—and if he had heard a great deal of Madeline, as we had sex the previous night, he was too much the gentleman to say so.

Pleasantries were exchanged. It was determined that he had visited her hometown in the early sixties. Was it still as lovely?

Yes, she thought it was.

Did she think the college basketball team was improving?

Yes, there is a lot of heart there, she agreed.

I commented on the time, and offered to walk Madeline to a taxi.

Bernard and Madeline said their goodbyes.

I picked up a bag and a painting. Madeline wheeled a bag behind her.

I closed the door behind us, smiling to her, sad about her departure, annoyed with the interruption.

The elevator was slow. Our eyes were kissing.

We flagged a cab.

The bags and the painting were nestled in the trunk.

“This is harder than last time,” she said, tearing.

“I know.”

“It’s just that . . . oh,” she cleared a tear. “Oh, we’ll talk.”

“Look for me tonight.”

“I love you.”

“I know. I love you.”

The cab pulled away.

I watched, then turned and went upstairs.

“Lovely person,” Bernard said.


“An old friend?”

“A new one.”


We watched the news.

He wanted to kill some time before dinner.

He was going out with his daughter, my ex wife.

I’m sure that Madeline’s ears were burning as her plane rose about the clouds.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Two Voices, Overheard

One of these days it will soon be all over, cut and dry
And I won't have this urge to go all bottled up inside
One of these days I'll look back—and I'll say I left in time
Cause somewhere for me I know there's peace of mind.

“It really is Emmylou!” Madeline exclaimed.

“Wow. Wow!” I nodded. “Let’s follow the voice.”

We had clean forgot that there was a concert in the park that night.

While planning for Madeline’s trip, we found that Emmylou Harris and Elvis Costello would be playing Summerstage in Central Park on her last night in the city.

We were excited until we noticed the ticket prices—seventy five a pop, with a sold out crowd certain—and decided that even so promising a concert as this was not going to separate us from one hundred and fifty dollars.

As we drew closer, I wondered if that had been a wise decision.

The pairing of Elvis and Emmylou was quirky and irresistible.

At first blush, they appear so different. When I was a kid, Emmylou was the voice on my parents’ radio (I am from her red-dirt hometown, where she is revered), whereas Elvis came only from my turntable and eight-track player.

Radio wanted nothing to do with the songwriter who bit the hand that feeds, but after my friends and I saw his spastic performance on “Saturday Night Live,” we were buying albums and passing around cassettes.

Elvis and Emmylou made sense together, now. Their voices were two sides of the same coin in the seventies, as both have an appreciation of popular song that is at once instinctual and learned, with shared roots in country and blues.

It seems obvious in retrospect. Hell, George Jones knew it back then; he performed with each of them.

I pressed closer, peering through the trees, past the bleachers. Emmylou was fifty yards away, alone on stage with her guitar, singing.

“We are staying here,” I said.

“We’re not going anywhere,” Madeline replied.

We spread our blanket on an incline under trees and sat, just listening and watching the leaves turn orange in the setting sun.

In time, Elvis joined Emmylou onstage.

They bantered before trying harmonies on a few songs.

Emmylou can harmonize with anyone. Her voice floated up and above, sure and steady.

Elvis stammered, faltered.

His voice seemed cockney and unfocused by contrast to hers.

He would pursue a line then lose the harmony. Each time, he apologized. Emmylou would continue, quietly assuring him in asides that it was all right, keep going, you’ll get it.

They struggled through her songs with Gram Parsons. They were good together in “Love Hurts.” They were awkward in a traditional ballad.

The sound check concluded without fanfare.

“Fuck,” Madeline said. “That was amazing, the way they worked on that ballad.”

“Think they got it?”

“I don’t know . . .”

“Think we should stay to find out?”

“Oh yes, we have to know.”

The concert would begin in two hours, time enough to take care of dinner. But we were exactly where we needed to be, and loathe to give up our spot.

I proposed that Madeline stay with the blanket, while I foraged for food.

I kissed her goodbye, leaving her with her book and water.

I walked home quickly, mentally raiding my refrigerator for picnic options.

When I arrived, the door was unlocked.

The lamp was on. There were two bags on the floor by the bar. I heard “The NewsHour” playing in the back.

“Hello?” I called.

“Jefferson!” a voice called back.

It was Bernard, my father in law.

I mean, my ex father in law—I’m still getting used to that.

Bernard and I are close. I’ve known him for nearly half my life. When he is in New York, he stays with me.

Just after Madeline had purchased her tickets for the trip to see me, Bernard wrote an email to say that he would be in the city for a few days. The first day of his trip overlapped with the last of Madeline’s.

I never, never want my family life to mix with my dating life.

It’s a good guideline for my life now. It helps me to protect my kids from dealing with a shifting roster of daddy’s girlfriends. Their lives should be stable, not troubled by concerns that total strangers are being considered as possible stepmothers.

This rule also protects my privacy. I do not want to have my kids, my parents, my ex, or her parents—or anyone else, for that matter—involved in conjecture about my romantic life.

Madeline knows this.

She did not want me to be in a bind over this schedule conflict.

We talked over the various options.

She could cut her trip short, and eat the cost of changing the reservations.

We could rent a hotel room for the night, leaving the apartment to Bernard.

Viviane offered her place; we were welcome to crash with her.

It was up to me, Madeline said. I was the one troubled by the conflict. She didn’t care one way or the other if Bernard was in the apartment, but she did not want me to be uncomfortable.

I thought about it, long and hard. I did not want to complicate my life, or those of my loved ones. I just wanted this time with Madeline, as easy and simple as possible, and I wanted to sleep in my own bed.

I thanked Viviane for the offer.

I told Madeline to leave things be.

I told Bernard I would have a guest when he was in town.

“Hey Bernard!” I followed the sound of the television. I smiled at the sight of him. He stood and we embraced.

“You’ve lost weight—it’s not cancer, is it?” I teased. “How’s the foot?”

“Eh, much better, thanks, thanks. Let’s just say I’m walking and leave it at that.”

“Hey, so long as you are walking, you ain’t pushing up daisies.”

“This is the much better option.”

“How was the flight?”

“Exhausting, exhausting. I’m jetlagged—its six hours earlier at home, you know. I’m turning in soon.”

Ma pauvre.” I swallowed and adopted a nonchalant attitude. “We’ll be quiet when we come in. You remember I have a guest tonight?”

“Yes, right. What do you want to do about the sleeping arrangements? You want to give him the room? I can take the couch.”

I looked aside—casually, I hoped.

“Well, she will stay with me, in my room.”

“Ah,” he smiled. “Of course, that’s fine. I will be asleep, this we know.”

He followed me to the kitchen and we chatted as I put together a picnic.

I chopped a roast chicken, cut watermelon into wedges, and gathered crackers. I mixed a pitcher of gin and tonics.

I babbled to keep the conversation in my hands, to avoid questions.

“Some friends and I are seeing Emmylou Harris and Elvis Costello in the park,” I offered, alluding to fictional picnickers that may be implicated in some future white lie. “Or rather, we are listening, as we are set up just outside the concert.”

“Emmylou Harris? She is still working, huh?”

“New album last year, in fact. All songs she wrote.” I packed a corkscrew, two plastic cups, and a bottle of wine Viviane had given us.

“I met her, years ago. Lovely woman.”

“Have you seen her lately? She’s stunning.”

He chuckled. “Some of us age better than others.”

“As long as we are aging, right? Sure beats the alternative.” I tucked some napkins into the bag.

“So long as there are alternatives,” he nodded. “Frankly, eh, I’m not so sure how many remain.”

“Well, Bernard, you just keep that foot in the grave, you hear?”

My picnic was packed.

“Okay, mister, I am out of here. Get some sleep and I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Have fun,” he waved. “Another hour meditating on the impending collapse of civilization as we know it, and I’m done. Iraq . . . another car bombing. It’s not pretty.”

“It’s fucked, as predicted. Sleep well!”

I hit the elevator button and paced, annoyed.

Why can’t it just be easy? God damn it.

I talked myself back into a high as I walked to the park.

The plan was brilliant.

Our blanket was now surrounded by dozens of others. A long line of ticket holders snaked down a sidewalk.

Madeline sipped a cup of wine that had been proffered by an adjacent group.

That’s what happens when you leave a pretty lady unattended, I thought.

“Look at those suckers, “ I nodded toward the line, dropping my bag to the ground. “So much money for bench seats . . .”

“And we have a lovely picnic,” Madeline smiled.

I unpacked, explaining that Bernard was already at the apartment.

“You’re okay with that?” she asked, opening the watermelon.

“I’m fine. Whatever.” I pulled out the thermos of gin and tonics. “Shake, shake. Pass the cups.”

We talked as we nibbled.

The gin and tonics gone, I opened the wine.

The concert began.

The decks of two thirty-year careers were shuffled, and shuffled again with the music they admired.

Emmylou performed alone.

Elvis performed with the Imposters.

They came together.

They shared Larry Campbell, longtime accompanist of Bob Dylan, who switched from mandolin to pedal steel to electric. Punk to country and back again, they took us from song to song, genre to genre.

We were sweating, just listening.

Emmylou was transcendent. Elvis took the lead, exuding the bon homie of a bandleader at the Copacobana.

They pushed over two and half hours before they hit that troublesome traditional tune.

Elvis took it over, pressing out the soul, seeking out the edges.

Emmylou chased him down, tossing the heartache back and forth.

Two voices reached, intertwined, and found salvation.

The sky echoed, awed.

And then the voices brought us home.

Love hurts, they reminded us.

What’s so funny ‘bout peace love and understanding? they asked.

As the final chords kicked back from the trees, picnics were disassembled. Concertgoers trudged down a path behind us.

Madeline and I looked up at the leaves, lit now by street lamps.

We were quiet.

“They nailed it,” she finally said.

“I’m just floored,” I said, flat on my back.

“Over here,” a park worker shouted to the crowd. “Towards Seventy-Second Street, Strawberry Fields. Fireworks this way.”


The sky exploded.

If fate were designing a romantic last night for us, this was too much, utterly gratuitous.

We kissed to fireworks, ears numb, minds alive, the skyline clear and electric beyond the trees.

“I love you,” I said.

“I know,” she smiled, eyes welling. “I love you.”

I packed the remains of the picnic as Madeline collected our things.

We held hands as we walked home.

“Shh,” I reminded her as I opened the door. “Meet me in our room.”

I dropped the bags in my kitchen and washed my hands. I poured two bourbons.

Madeline was in the bathroom. She soon joined me, undressing next to the bed.

“I’m just not sure about sex,” I winced. “You know, with the old man in the next room.”

“You do what makes you comfortable,” she said.

We talked.

We kissed.

We made love, keenly aware that our time together was ending.

Our bodies joined, our voices mingled as we talked.

Other ears asleep, so close.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


The last full day of Madeline’s visit began as had the others, with sex and conversation. A tad earlier than I would have preferred, but that’s what I get for bedding a farm girl with a libido that answers to the cock’s crow.

I remind myself that I can sleep when I’m dead—or at least tomorrow, when Madeline is gone.

Before she goes home, I am determined that we spend a day out in the city, so that her memories will include sites other than the ceiling of my bedroom.

“Let’s go to a museum,” I suggest as we lay in bed, staring up. “And then read in the park.”

“That sounds really lovely.”

“Don’t it, though? Well, what do you think? The Met? The Guggenheim? MoMA?”

“That’s really your decision, isn’t it?”

Of course it was—it’s my city. I thought about the exhibitions I wanted to see, and the collections Madeline has yet to see.

I thought about the crowds. I thought about trudging through those vast galleries, past all those people and visual stimuli, checking off masterpiece after masterpiece, drugged as we were on sex and companionship.

What a buzz kill.

I didn’t want to ruin our intimacy by taking Madeline to a museum.

I wanted to build on it by taking her to a painting.

One single painting.

“Let’s go to the Frick,” I said. “Ever heard of it?”

She shook her head.

I smiled. “Good.”

Madeline was going to meet the Comtesse d’Haussonville.

We walked through the park to the Frick, toting a bag stuffed with a blanket, our books and bottles of water. It was a warm afternoon, and the park was filled with families, runners and sun worshippers.

This was about our speed, languid and taking life as it came.

That mellow idyll was tempered when we were face to face with the Frick’s grand doors.

Installed in the former mansion of Henry Clay Frick, the collection is a jewel box of erudite connoisseurship, each artwork judiciously chosen and placed in juxtaposition to others.

The perfection of the place is meant to inspire awe, to make you feel underdressed for a fine occasion. Indeed, we were underdressed—not so long ago, visitors were required to conform to a dress code of slacks for gentlemen, skirts for ladies. To this day, children are not allowed, lest they disrupt the decorum.

I took secret delight in walking among such elegance in my shorts and sandals. I hoped that my desecration kept that bastard Henry Clay Frick rolling in his worm-eaten grave, and roiling in anger from his special place in hell.

See, before I met Mister Frick on the hallowed ground of his home—this carefully constructed monument to the privileges of wealth and taste—I met him in the writing of anarchist Emma Goldman, Frick’s sworn enemy and early molder of my young mind.

Her enmity was born in May 1892, when Frick—an anti-labor coke magnate—crushed the effort of steelworkers to unionize in Homestead, Pennsylvania. He ordered his men to shoot the workers, killing many and their families.

It was an outrage, turning public opinion on Frick, and galvanizing radicals.

Goldman’s beloved, Alexander Berkman, was moved to assassinate Frick in retribution; the attempt failed, and Berkman was jailed, further infuriating Goldman.

Even now, I regret the corrupt soul of Frick’s collection, purchased as it was with blood money mopped from the brutality of that riot.

Well, at least my inner unrepentant lefty sees it that way.

Faced with the collection’s quality and beauty, my inner esthete claps his gloved hands in absolute glee.

My inner radical and my inner aesthete—those two old queens are always finding something to argue about.

I followed Madeline’s path through the collection, knowing it would eventually lead to the Comtesse.

We passed slowly passed the Bouchers, the Holbein in the living hall.

She was stopped in her tracks by the sugary colors of Fragonard’s Progress of Love, a series of large paintings installed on the walls of a high-ceilinged sitting room.

We held hands as we moved around the space, following the progress as one lover seeks another, they meet and are adorned by laurels—only to be separated once more, resorting to letters to express their sentiments.

“So perfect, sweet and sad,” she said, holding my arm.

“Purty, ain’t it?” I kissed her hand. “C’mon.”

In a corridor, we found the Comtesse waiting.

I don’t know much about the Comtesse, but I know her well.

What I mean to say is, I know only the barest details about the woman portrayed, much of it self-evident in the painting. Take a look, and you can see that she was an elegant young woman, confident and assured as she gazes at the viewer.

I know her well in the sense that this is a masterpiece by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. The artist was drawn to the subject, I gather, by her beauty but also by her independence of mind—she was a brilliant conversationalist and socialite who had produced books well regarded in mid-nineteenth century France.

Ingres might have posed the Comtesse in any number of ways, but he chose to depict the young intellectual in her boudoir, informally, as though she were preparing to go out to a function, or just returning from one.

Rather than present her as she presumably presented herself—as a sophisticate in the social arena—Ingres brought us into her intimate world, where she remains observant and alert.

Beautifully rendered, is also something of a psychological portrait of real woman, in a real space and time, whose presence continues to connect to modern viewers; more so, really, than do her own writings.

“Perfect, right?” I asked.

“Really, it’s incredible. She’s just . . . right there,” Madeline agreed.

“And yet when you look at it for a time, you recognize all the ways Ingres has manipulated reality to fit the composition,” I said. “I mean, if she were to turn and face you, her left arm would reach to her knees!”

I was drawn here, actually, by the experience of another artist looking at this same painting, in this same collection, over half a century ago.

Then a struggling young painter, Willem de Kooning stood here contemplating the use of line and form, the way Ingres composed a picture so that your eyes are drawn across its planes.

But I suppose he was also drawn to this as a portrait of a confident woman.

In time, de Kooning would be renowned for his own depictions of women.

Stylistically very different, right? Of course they are—a little over a century had passed between the creation of each painting, which is a whole lot of water over the dam of art history.

And yet, there are similarities.

De Kooning’s Woman is not a portrait so much as the representation of an archetype. She doesn’t represent an actual woman; she is derived from art history, pop culture, figure drawing and, okay, maybe a smidgen of the artist’s mother, wife and lovers.

But in moving to the archetypical, de Kooning steered to representing strength and power, assurance and fecundity.

This was on my mind, looking at Ingres that afternoon.

I am no match for such painters, but I can put myself in de Kooning’s shoes as he pondered the Comtesse and asked: how does one do this?

De Kooning was after breakthrough in modernism.

Me, I am just writing a blog.

Even so, I relate to the struggle of portraitists and figure painters. Because here, in this blog, I am turning real people into representations of real people. I do so in words, not paint, but in my mind at least, it is a related creative dilemma.

How much of Madeline, for example, do I need to observe and put into language, to give you a sense of who she is? To what degree is my portrait of Madeline consistent with the actual subject, and to what degree is this written Madeline a creation of my own imagination and abilities?

Madeline writes her own blog; how do I conjure her words and thoughts in a way that complements her own writing—when, in some respects, we are different authors working with some of the same characters?

For even as I write Madeline, Madeline writes Jefferson.

And here, in words, we become something other that what we are in flesh and blood.

Emma Goldman’s portrait of Frick is real, but not complete. The hagiographic bust of Frick outside his mansion is real, but not complete. The two depictions of the same man could not be more different.

Those depictions were created for ideological purposes, to decry or to praise the man who once lived in this mansion.

Madeline and I, writing each other and ourselves, for ourselves and for others, take a stab at the truth, to getting the facts right, knowing full well how subjective and flawed such an undertaking will ultimately be.

“Madeline, did you ever think . . .” I turned, but she was gone.

I found her in the next gallery, gazing at Vermeer’s Girl Interrupted at Her Music.

Such a romantic, drawn to a scene of domestic courtship. I didn’t interrupt her.

Instead, I looked at Madeline looking at art.

I realized that if I were to commission her portrait from any artist I can name, my first choice would be the late Jack Kirby.

It’s all in the cheekbones, I thought.

Madeline walks the earth as evidence that Kirby was visionary. Someday, somewhere, someone would have a face like the ones he drew.

For a couple of hours, we trailed past the art, then sat in the garden to take in the air conditioning.

In time, we were ready for the park. I collected our books and blanket from coat check, and we stepped outside.

The sun was lowering towards the Central Park West skyline as we crossed into the park.

A few steps along a path, we were stopped by a familiar voice.

“Oh my dog,” Madeline said, her eyes widening.

“Fuck,” I said. “Emmylou Harris.”

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Cinema Jefferson

Scene: A cacophonous Dim Sum restaurant, Chinatown. Sunday lunch rush.

The décor is red and gold, with large carved dragons flanking a central banquet area. Hostesses with walkie-talkies wave patrons to large round tables they will share with strangers. Carts rattle between the tables, guided by women offering dishes and descriptions in Cantonese.

A man (JEFFERSON) sits between two women (MADELINE, VIVIANE). Viviane and Jefferson crane to peer at a passing cart. Madeline stares at a man, sitting opposite, as he sips soup.

Under the table, she holds Jefferson’s hand.

“I don’t see it yet,” Jefferson frets at the cart. “The shrimp balls wrapped in bacon—have you seen them?”

“No, not yet,” Viviane says, turning to the woman behind the cart. “Har gow?”

“Har gow,” the woman replies, removing the bamboo top from a dish and tossing it on the table.

“Shrimp dumpling, it’s a start,” Viviane says, offering the dish.

“Anything and everything with shrimp—keep it coming.” Jefferson reaches for chopsticks. “I am so fucking hungry.”

“All that hungry fucking,” Viviane nods.

“Baby, you want a dumpling?” Jefferson says, turning. “Madeline?”


“Do you want a dumpling?”

“Oh, uh . . . yeah.”

Jefferson holds the dish, waiting.

“Baby, do you want to take the dumpling, or shall I serve it?”

“Oh, sorry.” Madeline’s eyes flutter as she reaches for chopsticks.

“Baby, you done been fucked stupid, ain’t you?”

“Guh huh,” she replies, her teeth tearing the har gow.

It was a romantic night out.

A walk along the Hudson as the sun set, orange light shimmering on the river. A cool breeze brought in the first scents of night.

Dinner at the boat basin, simple and filling.

The conversation, light and easy.

Viviane, Madeline and Jefferson, out on their second date.

The first had been the night before, when the trio met over several hours of drinks and sex.

Now, the courtship extended to dinner and a movie.

As they walk to the theater, Jefferson finds himself between the two women. Madeline’s hand reaches for his; instinctively, he takes it.

Their hands drop at some point, casually.

Reaching a curb, he takes Viviane’s elbow. For a block or so, they walk arm in arm.

At the theater, Jefferson sits in the middle.

Viviane had picked the film, Louis Malle’s Au Revoir, Les Enfants, with an enthusiastic nod from Madeline.

The film takes place in a rural Catholic boarding school in the closing months of World War II. The boys come to realize that the priests are hiding Jews among their classmates, disguising them behind Christian surnames.

The Jewish boys do their best to go undetected, sitting out Communion, tucking Sabbath candles under their pillows.

The actors are children.

It doesn’t end well for all.

There are moments when Viviane reaches for Jefferson’s hand. He takes it.

There are moments when Madeline’s eyes leak. He wipes her tears.

And he ponders—it’s one thing to navigate carnal desires during a sexual threesome.

It’s another thing again to navigate affections during a tearjerker.

We are three friends, he thinks. But I am also the date of each, having brought them together.

The thought leaves Jefferson feeling a bit reserved.

Dishes are passed back and forth between the three diners.

Jefferson gazes over cart after cart, inquiring about shrimp wrapped in bacon. No sign of it.

“If my dream dim sum does show, I’m going to be too full, at the rate I’m eating,” he complains. “Y'all want more pork balls?”

“Shumai,” Viviane says.

“Shumai?” Jefferson offers.

“This shit is the shit,” Madeline says, holding a morsel in her chopsticks.

It is late on the first of two nights the three friends will spend having sex.

Madeline has cum, again, watching Jefferson fuck Viviane.

He is rough, biting her breasts and shoulders, pumping relentlessly as he pins her to the edge of the bed.

It excites him to see Viviane submit to his force.

It excites him to hear her pants and sighs, to hear the bed shudder beneath them.

It excites him to know Madeline watching, aroused.

Later, Viviane dresses to head home.

Madeline kisses her goodbye in bed.

Jefferson pulls on clothes to see her to the door.

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay over?” Jefferson asks, automatically.

“No, I need to wake up at my place tomorrow,” Viviane demurs. She pauses. “But you would be okay with that? With Madeline here?”

Jefferson hesitates. Maybe he should have checked with Madeline before making that offer. “Sure, why not?”

“Hmm, well, maybe tomorrow.” She kisses him. “Thanks—and shit, you’ve never fucked me like that before.”

He smiles and kisses her. “My pleasure.”

He locks the door after her, and turns out the lights.

He undresses and gets into bed with Madeline.

He thought about what Viviane had said. “Never fucked me like that before.”

Was that a good thing? he thinks, curling up.

Hell, I guess I fucked her the way Madeline likes it.

“’Dim sum’—it means ‘a little bit of heart,’ right?”

Jefferson finally has his shrimp wrapped in bacon, each one a tidy bite-sized heart attack. He dips them in mayonnaise—all the better to grease the arteries.

“Actually, it’s closer to ‘something that touches the heart,’” Viviane corrects.

“That’s fucking gorgeous,” Madeline nods, chewing.

Not long after Madeline returns home from New York, Jefferson is laying nude in Viviane’s bed.

“You know,” she says. “I really enjoyed seeing you with Madeline. You looked happy. You both did.”

“I guess so, huh?” He remembers what Madeline had originally said about the prospect of meeting Marcus in April: I want to know him because you love him. I want to see that kind of love.

Perhaps that desire also enters into Viviane’s relationship with Madeline.

“Thanks for that,” he adds. “So that threesome was your best ever?”

She laughs. “You know it was my only threesome.”

“Thus far, yes.” He props himself on an elbow to kiss her.

The bill arrives. The three were stuffed. The total was twenty-six dollars and change.

“Highway robbery,” Madeline notes.

“Some nerve,” Jefferson agrees.

“You’re crazy,” Viviane rolls her eyes. “Three adults stuffed to the gills, for under thirty dollars—in Manhattan? That’s great.”

“Extraordinary bargain,” Madeline notes.

“Some deal,” Jefferson agrees.

Viviane pads the tip. “C’mon kids,” she says. “Let’s go shopping for sex toys.”

Madeline leans on Jefferson’s shoulder.

“And then,” she whispers. “I’m taking you home.”

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Cinema Madeline

Camera close up on the face of a woman (MADELINE), eyes closed, turned to her left as she reclines on a pillow.

Her face is flushed and shines; her bobbed hair clings to her face with sweat.

Her grey eyes flutter open. She turns to her right.

Cut to her perspective.

Madeline watches the couple next to her as they fuck. The man (JEFFERSON) moves gently into the woman (VIVIANE), caressing her face with his hand. Her mouth is open, her eyes closed.

Madeline props herself on an elbow. Her other hands travels down her hip. She absentmindedly moistens a finger in her pussy, freshly wet from fucking Jefferson for most of the past hour.

She retrieves the finger, her tongue pulling it into her mouth.

Look at him kiss Viviane, she thinks. And the way his body moves.

He’s like another man when he is with her.

She notices he is very quiet. Did he speak when he fucked her? She can’t recall.

It is late on the first of two nights the three friends will spend having sex.

Madeline has stepped out of the bedroom.

Jefferson and Viviane begin to kiss.

He is on her. She pulls him close.

He pulls back, looking down at her. He opens the drawer of a nightstand, and pulls out a condom.

Slowly, gently, he is in her. She gasps.

He fucks her with a repetitive thrust of his hips. Undulating, superficial, light.

She grasps the flesh of his ass, pulling.

He does not alter his motion. He thinks of ripples.

Her body begs for waves. She craves tsunamis.

Jefferson looks up to see Madeline leaning in the doorway, watching. Her hand is between her legs, another cupping a breast.

He smiles at her, unsure if she can see his smile in the candlelight. He looks down at Viviane, poised for more than he has offered.

He will give it to her.

Jefferson leans forward to take a breast in his mouth. He sucks until he finds the mark. He bites.

“Unnh,” Viviane moans. Then: “Okay, okay, okay.”

He relents, pulling his mouth away.

For only a moment.

He lunges to the other breast. He licks flesh. Tasting the spot he seeks, he bites.

Until: “Okay, okay, okay. Shit.”

He pulls back, pulling out as he stands beside the bed.

He reaches forward, taking Viviane’s hips in his hands.

He pulls her toward him, to the edge of the bed.

He pushes back her legs.

He grasps his cock, roughly, as though it belonged to someone else.

He looks down at Viviane’s face, then down to her cunt.

He pushes in.

She exhales, hard, through her nostrils, abruptly inhaling in reaction.

He is standing on the floor, his cock pushing down into her.

She can have her tsunamis.

Jefferson fucks her hard and fast.

When she is pushed back on the bed, he takes her hips and pulls her back to get her fucking.

Madeline watches, masturbating, cumming.

Madeline sits up on the bed, and leans forward. Her fingers vigorously massage her scalp, pulling the hair away from her face. She exhales, blowing up to catch a few errant strands.

She fingers Jefferson’s spine for a moment, then rises, leaving her friends to their sex.

She walks unsteadily to the kitchen, opens the refrigerator, and takes a slug of orange juice straight from the carton.

Her eyes catch sight of the clock.

Damn, she thinks. We didn’t sleep at all.

She lets the cold air of the open refrigerator dry her body, using the door as a fan.

Refreshed by the juice, she pours a tall glass of water, drinking as she walks back to the bedroom.

Her eyes are back to the couple on the bed. Her eyes roam down Jefferson’s legs to his feet.

Last night, in an inspired moment, Madeline had straddled his big toe, fucking it as he fucked Viviane.

Does it still taste like me, she wonders, taking his toes into her mouth.

Madeline opens her hips, giving Viviane more room.

“Does this feel okay?” Viviane asks.

“Yes, honey, that is just right . . .” she says, her voice calm and assuring.

“Good.” Viviane nods, pressing her fingers into Madeline’s cunt.

Jefferson watches, touching and kissing Madeline’s torso.

He nods as he feels her body tense. “Yes, baby,” he whispers. He wet a finger in his mouth. He touches her clit.

Viviane looks up, instinctively prepared to surrender her position.

“No, you are fine,” he says. “Let me join you.”

He moves, crouching behind Viviane, wrapping an arm around her body and pressing close.

His other arm extends alongside Viviane’s, his hand joining hers at Madeline’s body.

Viviane’s two fingers massage inside her friend’s body, as her other hand massages a thigh.

Jefferson’s thumb pushes and swirls Madeline’s clit, flicking it gently.

Madeline’s thigh flinches in Viviane’s palm.

Jefferson’s fingers begin to join Viviane’s inside her body.

Her mind was slipping away. She could make out words, barely audible.

“Yes, like that . . . now, rest your palm in mine . . . good. See that space in your palm? Put your thumb there . . .”

“What are you doing to me?” Madeline moans. “How much? How many?”

“Um . . . “ Jefferson replies. “Let me count . . .”

“Shit!” Viviane answers. “Nine!”

“Well, ten actually,” he corrects. “Counting Viviane’s other thumb. Eleven if you count my thumb in your ass.” He pauses a moment. “Okay, twelve.”

Madeline had stopped listening.

Her hips are in charge now, pushing up and forward.

“Okay, get ready,” Jefferson warns, adjusting his body to brace Viviane. “Stay with her, now.”

He pushes his arm gently; Viviane moves in concert.

Madeline wails, her body twisting.

“Jesus . . .” Viviane marvels, as a torrent streams between her fingers, collecting in her palm.

Madeline stretches as her body convulses.

“Give it, baby,” Jefferson encourages, his voice raspy.

“You are so beautiful now,” Viviane says.

Madeline moans, gone now.

“I’m not sure she can hear us,” Jefferson whispers in Viviane’s ear.

“She knows we are here,” Viviane whispers back.

Having had her fill of Jefferson’s foot twitching in her mouth, Madeleine settles into a chair by the window.

Sunlight filters through the blinds, covering the bed with the stripes of shadows. She watches the naked flesh of her friends, wrapped around one another.

She sips her water, breathing, listening to her breath, listening to their breath, mentally playing with the overlapping rhythms of inhaling, exhaling, gasping.

She measures her breathing, thinking of control.

Her eyes drift to the rope dangling over the door.

“Okay, now I want to tie up Maddie.”

It is late on the second of two nights the three friends will spend having sex.

Viviane is feeling antsy, concerned that time is short and they have neglected opportunities for bondage.

“I’d like that,” Madeline agrees. “But this time, I’d like to be standing.”

“Standing, huh?” Jefferson asked, looking around the room. “Fine by me, but where . . . oh wait.”

Jefferson opens a cabinet, collecting a length of rope. He measures it across the length of his outstretched arms—good, he thinks, three yards ought to do.

He opens the closet, and pushes aside shirts and jackets to expose the metal bar. He lashes the rope to the bar.

“I can’t stand in your closet, darling,” Madeline says. “The bar is too low.”

“You won’t be in my closet, dear.” Jefferson raises the rope over the closet door, closing it in place. “You will hang from the door jam.”

“Aren’t you clever?” she kisses him.

“I am, indeed.”

“Okay kids, but I get to tie her up,” Viviane says, stepping forward.

Jefferson stands aside.

Viviane directs Madeline to stand facing the door.

Madeline complies, raising her hands over her head, her wrists one over the other.

Viviane stands on her toes, securing the crossed wrists.

Jefferson watches, growing hard.

“Now, relax your knees,” Viviane says. Madeline goes limp.

The rope holds.

Dropping down had pushed out Madeline’s ass, making it an irresistible target.

Viviane does not resist. Her palm falls hard on firm flesh.

“Unh!” Madeline sighs.

Another spank follows. Another.

Red prints begin to form on Madeline’s flesh.

Viviane is near to pacing.

“I want the riding crop!” she demands. “Where is it?”

“It’s in the closet, sweetheart,” Jefferson says.

“Oh shit.”

Madeline’s slumped form blocks the door.

“Here, we can get it,” Madeline offers. “Let me help.” She stands up on her toes and steps back. “Can you open the door now?”

“Li’l bit,” Jefferson says, opening the door a crack and reaching. He crouches, tongue on his lips as he visualizes the closet interior.

“Got it!”

“Good, now let me see that,” Viviane says, reaching for the crop. “And close the closet door!”

“Yes, mistress,” Jefferson laughs, moving aside.

“I mean, please.”

“Yes, mistress.”

Madeline returns to position. She receives a succession of steady whacks.

Welts begin to show.

Jefferson watches, amused, aroused.

The crop continues to find its mark.

Madeline moans and squirms in pleasure, her face pressed against the louvered door.

Viviane stands back, surveying her work with satisfaction.

She turns to Jefferson. She catches his eye and looks at his erection.

“So,” Viviane asks, feeling her oats. “You going to fuck her with that thing?”

Jefferson put down his bourbon. “If you can watch where you swing that crop,” he says. “I’d very much like to fuck her ass.”

“Oh, I think I’d like that,” Madeline says.

“I’d like to see that,” Viviane agrees.

Jefferson was already unwrapping a condom. He nods to a bottle of lube. “Get her prepped, if you would be so kind,” he says.

Viviane tosses the crop onto a chair and takes the bottle. She generously lubes Madeline’s hole and cheeks.

“Over here too, if you don’t mind,” Jefferson says. Viviane strokes his cock with lube.

He thanks her.

He takes Madeline’s hip in one hand, his cock in another. He directs the head to her hole.

“Now honey, I’m going to give it to you nice and slow at first,” he says, entering her. “But after that beating you took, I do intend to fuck you like my prison bitch. That all right?”

“Yes, just fuck me, please, you god damned tease.”

“That mouth of yours is going to get you in trouble,” he shoots back, thrusting forward.

His hands push down on her hips as he kicks her feet to the side. She spreads her legs until her ass was the optimal height to take her fucking.

He warms her up, nice and slow, as promised.

Viviane holds Madeline in an embrace, kissing her, fondling her breasts.

In time, Jefferson slaps haunches.

He kicks in.

He gives it. Fierce.

She takes it, pushing back for more, letting forth a guttural moan.

“Good girl,” he commends. He slaps her ass, firm. Short slaps followed, then again, firm.

He grabs the flesh of her ass. Using fists full of her skin as handles, he pulls her back to his volleys.

She now gets fucked on his command.

“Viviane!” he barks.

“Yes?” she says, from her place at Madeline’s face.

“Get your crop. Get it now.”

Madeline watches as Viviane and Jefferson continue. Did we fuck this long, she wonders. It’s been, what, over half an hour.

Fuck, she realizes. That’s like an hour and a half for him, nonstop.

Their faces are red and beaded with sweat.

Viviane looks at her and smiles. Madeline leans her head to one side, smiling back.

Viviane beckons. Madeline stands and comes forward to kiss her.

Viviane returns her kiss, her hand reaching up Madeline thigh.

Madeline stands, lowering her cunt onto Viviane’s fingers.

Finding his lover so close, Jefferson reaches an arm around her shoulder, pulling her mouth to his.

Looking up, Viviane sees the kiss. Her hand feels the tremble of Madeline’s body. Her own pussy is filled by Jefferson.

A completed circuit.

She grunts, cumming loudly.

Madeline pushes down onto Viviane’s hand, pulling away from Jefferson’s mouth.

Her hand rests on his shoulder, keeping the circuit alive.

He pushes shallow and quick at Viviane.

Madeline gasps in orgasm, grasping Viviane’s forearm in support.

“Okay, fuck,” Jefferson says, breaking his silence. “I’m cumming.”

They had fucked until five-thirty in the morning before collapsing.

He’s held out for so long since waking.

Finally, he lets loose in Viviane’s body.

He cums and trembles until he can no longer take her touch.

Madeline falls back into a chair.

Jefferson collapses beside Viviane.

Viviane’s limbs go numb.

They pant, filling their lungs, finally.

Madeline looks at Jefferson. He smiles.

The three feel the morning settling upon them.

Their bodies return to room temperature.

Their pulses are reset to clock ticks.

“So, kids,” Viviane says. “Dim sum?”