The queue stretched out the door of the bookshop. I had gotten here as early as I could, but saw that quite a few others had the same idea. My stomach lurched at the thought of just being another face in the crowd, made invisible by weight of numbers. My solipsism had weaved so many scenarios for us, and this, the closest to actual reality, appeared to have unravelled before it could come to fruition.
I took ten minutes to get inside, moving myself closer to the front of the room. A small table was dominated by a stack of fresh hardbacks, a jug of chilled water and a glass. Federico, the owner walked through and grinned in disbelief at the numbers.
‘If you all buy something, I might make rent this month.’
A peal of nervous laughter snaked through the air. The ghost of online purchases made several people grip their copies a little tighter than normal but Federico grinned, flushed with delight at the amount of people in his bookstore. I glanced around, not seeing anyone I knew and enjoyed the slight cessation of my nerves.
Federico cleared his throat.
‘So, without further ado, allow me to introduce -‘
He said his name and my heart pounded in my chest.
He walked out from the back of the shop, his caramel eyes twinkling with nervous excitement. He wore a crisp white shirt, blue jeans and a black leather belt. His skin was tan, and his beard was thick and trimmed, dusted with silver around the chin and cheeks. I watched his mouth, his lips and went into myself with the force of the connection.
Max glanced over the sea of people, smiling as he put his hands together.
‘Hi, well with these things, you know what you want to hear from me better than I do knowing what you want.’
His eyes met mine and he smiled, mouthed ‘hi’ and carried on speaking.
My breath grew short in my lungs as our eyes met. The reaction was immediate, fierce and visceral as my thighs clenched against the hot pressure in my pelvis. He kept glancing in my direction, smiling as he spoke. He offered to read a chapter from his work in progress and everyone applauded as he sat down to read.
His voice was melodic, with an interesting grain to it which drew people in. His accent made the inevitable erotic overtones sophisticated and beguiling, and by the end of the reading, I could see my own feelings mirrored in the expressions of the audience. They were women, and when Federico broke the spell by asking if anyone had questions, some of them shifted in their chairs, resentful of being woken from the moment of connection he offered.
The question-and-answer session alternated between technical questions about his approach and details about the books he had written. He was polite, earthy and pragmatic about his approach but he spoke about it with such passion he grew effusive and intense with it at points. By the time it came to the actual signing, my hands were shaking. To be a few feet away and not able to talk to him after all this time was intoxicating and infuriating.
I joined the queue, having brought a copy of his last book. I got to the front, he looked up, flexing his right hand to ease the cramp of repetitive signing.
‘Hi.’ I said.
He smiled and set his pen down.
‘Hey, you. It’s great to see you.’
My face flushed and I fought the awkwardness that rushed into me, the warring emotions that his presence evoked in me. Body fought mind, thought and feeling wrestled within me and I passed him the book to sign.
He wrote something in the front, then signed it with a flourish and handed it back. His index finger brushed down the length of my thumb and I shuddered with excitement. I moved away and he held my gaze, evoking a twisting anticipation and nerve that made my eyes damp with a depth of feeling that robbed me of my calm. I left the bookstore, finding the mass of people too sensual and in depth to bear for a moment longer. The afternoon was bright and warm, I lifted my chin to the sky and breathed in deep, willing myself to calm down.
I opened the book. He gave me his room number and the pseudonym he had checked in under.
Spare key at the desk. Let yourself in if you come.
The signing continued until four p.m. I went to my car and sat behind the wheel, debating the urge to see this through. If this was one opportunity, then I would run with it and see where it went. I looked at myself in the mirrors, recognising the woman who looked back at me, even though I had not seen her in a while.
I started the car.
My voice shook when I asked for the key to the suite. The receptionist rewarded my courage by not looking up from the computer as she slid the card across the desk. I took it and walked to the elevator. The concierge asked me what floor and I told him. The elevator ride took an eternity viewed through the filter of my warring emotions. Each floor promised an exit, but I was rooted to the spot until I arrived at his floor. The doors opened and I stepped out, trusting that my legs would carry me the rest of the way.
I let myself in. It was a large suite, with a double four poster bed, a dining table, a mini bar and a desk set by the window. The carpet was thick beneath my feet and I glanced around, surprised by the opulence on display.
I heard the door open and turned. He stood in the doorway, a grin of unabashed pleasure and surprise splitting his face in two.
‘I didn’t expect you would come.’
His voice was soft, tinges of vulnerability set alongside the rough, deep brush strokes of his voice.
My mouth was robbed of moisture and I smiled as I turned around. I wondered how I looked to him, in person. My self consciousness could be cruel and here it had a grand opportunity to stick its claws deep into my soul.
He stepped towards me.
‘Fuck, you are gorgeous.’
I flushed and looked away.
He shook his head and ran his tongue over his lips. He reached out his right hand and rested it against my cheek. The brush of his fingertips sent an electric charge through me. I squeezed my eyes shut and gave a choked sob. He lifted his hand away and I opened my eyes.
‘I’ve not been able to think straight since I saw you today. I don’t know how I made it through the rest of the signing.’
His voice had softened and sweetened with vulnerability. I reached up and touched the collar of his shirt, running it between my thumb and forefinger as I gazed into his eyes and nodded.
‘Nothing happens here unless you want it to.’
His voice had thickened. I glanced at him, the broad shoulders and deep chest beneath the tailored shirt and he rested his hand over mine. His palm was rough and warm against the back of my hand.
An eternity passed before he leaned forward, his lips open and I glanced at them, soft and full before I shut my eyes and let every thought go in pursuit of the feelings his words and voice had awoken.
They had never gone to sleep.
Our lips danced over one another. Each contact was a flame igniting and an electric current charging through me, each pore of my skin opened to him, to all that his words had promised. When his hunger reached his hands, I whimpered and reached to guide them where I needed them the most. His fingers danced and pressed against me and we lost ourselves in the raw, beautiful moment of our first kiss.
He pulled back and grinned.
‘Are you hungry?’
I frowned and he laughed.
He went over to the refrigerator and pulled out a silver tray wrapped in cling film which he tore open with lustful gusto. I caught the smell: fresh strawberries and the dark, rich tang of cocoa. He took my hand and pulled me to the bed. He turned and picked up a strawberry between his fingers and slipped it between my lips. I closed my eyes against the fresh, clean sweetness and the following dark, rich burst of cocoa and cream on my tongue. I kissed him and he groaned with pleasure as he put an arm around my waist.
‘I will feed you, baby girl.’
You had heard him say it again and again but to hear it, in the air then dancing against the tiny bones of your ear, into your brain and body takes you to a place of divine decadence.
We fed one another, peeling away our clothes as we progressed from playful feeding to smearing streaks of it over one another. We laughed at our audacity, and played things gentle at first, as much to assuage my nerves as to allow us to expand the afternoon into the play I had imagined in the fevered moments where my hands would act in his stead, trying to bridge the distance with the sweet fire of orgasms given up to him.
He ran a slice over my nipple and popped it in his mouth as he suckled me. My hand went to the back of his head as I pushed my hips up against him. I told him how sweet he was, and he looked up at me, circling his fruit-covered tongue against my nipple, feeding me with his beautiful, brown eyes as I fed him.
He did not rush to undress me. He savoured each unveiling as a treasure in its own right, or used it to enhance the stolen, assertive play of it all. When his fingers slipped underneath the waistband of my panties, and his fingers parted me before sliding forward, a raw, wild power charged through me like wild horses. Beneath his fingers, I clung to him as he massaged me, alternating his mouth between my nipples and breasts, making my chest wet and sticky. He covered me in his filth, took possession of me and made me his.
‘Please, Daddy, can I come?’
He moved his lips away from my nipple and shook his head. I groaned and pushed against his hand. His touch made me bold with need.
He murmured no through a mouthful of my breast and continued to stroke around my clit. Each contact made the throbbing grow in intensity. I fought against it, but his touch was insistent and expert until despite my clenching denials, my orgasm burst within me, sharp and urgent. I clung to him, eyes closed to everything but the power of his touch.
He withdrew his fingers and suckled them in his mouth.
‘You taste so good, baby girl.’
I blushed and looked away but he reached up and brushed his fingers through my hair before he leaned forward and kissed me. I reached to his waist and unbuttoned his jeans, then pushed them down and moved him onto his back. I reached into his underwear and pulled his uncut cock free. I rolled the foreskin between my fingers before I bent at the waist and took him into my mouth. He reached out and took a handful of my hair. The wanton urgency of it made me take him deeper and he gasped as I drew him in and out of my mouth. The velvet hardness of his cock against my lips fed my hunger for him and when he took a firmer grip on my hair, I swirled my tongue around the head and was rewarded with a burst of sweet pre-cum. I gulped it down and looked at him, my eyes wide with the joy of how he moved from giving to receiving without a loss of his power. A crude primacy made me bring my hand and stroke the tight, soft skin of his scrotum, how his testicles were full and the noises he made as I massaged him.
He growled that he would come and I nodded, too lost in the ritual of having him in my mouth, under my power and when he pushed his hips upward and grabbed my hair tight, I took in every drop of his vital, masculine self, suspended in the sweet thick fluid of his come. I swallowed him down and lifted my chin so as not to spill a drop.
He pulled me down to him and wrestled me onto my back. He reared back, his cock still half hard as he bit his lip and looked at me.
‘Oh baby girl, you are something.’
He undressed and came forwards. He kissed me on the lips then covered me with them, exploring me with his lips and tongue until he brought his hands under the backs of my knees and pulled me down the bed. A trail of beautiful, burning kisses tickled my navel before he gazed into my eyes and smiled at me.
‘My pussy is so beautiful.’
He lowered his mouth. He used his tongue and lips together, testing and rejecting particular combinations of pressure and texture based on my response to him. I stroked his head and closed my eyes, let his mouth fill me with a pleasure that was both transcendent and physical.
Afterwards, when we had exhausted ourselves, he cradled me in his arms and pressed his lips to the top of my head.
‘What was that for, Daddy?’
I felt his smile opening against my scalp.
His voice had darkened. I had nowhere else I wanted to be, but the world was calling us both.
‘I don’t know when or if I will see you again.’
The thought lashed across my heart and I struggled to remain lost in the gooey, creamy bliss of his presence.
‘Well, it’s funny you should say that.’
I lifted my head and looked at him.
‘Don’t make jokes like that, Daddy. It’s not funny.’
He narrowed his eyes and shook his head.
‘I wouldn’t joke about something like that. I can’t confirm anything yet but it’s part of why I’m here on this leg of the tour.’
He would not reveal anymore. Instead he took me into the shower with him, we washed and touched one another, hungry for one another beyond the recuperative limits of our bodies. He dressed and walked me out to the car. We did not exchange details because we had never been out of one another’s lives.
I would message him, saying and not saying what I had taken from the night together and then one morning, he sent me an email with a link to a local news site.
It was a press release that the university would appoint a famous writer to teach a course there in the new term. The photo was from his press kit, a head shot that showed his delicious smile and the sculptured line of his jaw. A moment perhaps when he was alluding to happiness rather than feeling it.
I knew though that the smile was for me.
I ran my tongue over my lips and tasted strawberries