Appearances

a Short Story by Kellis

July, 2000

 

 

“What a set of knockers!”

Unconsciously he said it aloud in slang as dated as the rest of him.  For indeed they were a very nice set:  mature and full, sagging deeply and thrusting wide to either side of the woman’s chest as seen from straight-on, large dark nipples on rounded olive skin faintly underscored by blue veins.  She was standing back from the picture window, looking down and smiling fondly at something out of sight before her.  It was an attractive face framed in thick black hair down her back, with sparkling black eyes, pale full lips and a long but thin Grecian nose.

At risk to his back Neal bent closer to the eyepiece.  His daughter, knowing his interest in the stars, had given him an image inverter for his five-inch refractor.  He had protested, “Honey, you don’t need this to study the heavens,” to which she retorted, “Then you’ll have to look lower, won’t you?”  He hadn’t asked her what she expected him to study, but today he had finally attached the prisms to the telescope as a trial — and immediately made a fascinating discovery.  Astronomical telescopes, with their very narrow focal depth of field, could see through rain!

He lived in a massive development of retirement condominiums.  His apartment included a large master bedroom with sliding glass doors to the second floor balcony.  His telescope was set up there, easily transportable to the balcony on a clear night.  Today it was looking through his doors, across five hundred yards of green park and into the picture window of a room in a facing condo.  Moderate rain was falling and had been doing so most of the day.  Nevertheless the telescope revealed objects in that window clearly, whereas to the naked eye buildings across the park were hardly more than watery blurs.

The roof overhangs protected both sets of glass from the streaks that might otherwise have interfered, and the gray sky light lit the woman well.  She was doing something to an object below her, causing her shoulders and nipples to jiggle.  Neal watched in fascination.  Very nice tits!  His view included the entire window and part of the wet brick wall around it.  A more powerful eyepiece would enlarge the window to fill the image, but he immediately rejected the idea of pausing to change for fear of missing any part of this spectacle.

Then she whirled away from the window.  He had a glimpse of large breasts standing well out to her side because of centrifugal force, then she vanished into the dark room.  Perhaps she would come back, and if she did …  Feverishly he added a Barlowe lens tube ahead of the inverter to double the magnification.  Adjusting the focus for that, he saw that she remained absent.  But he had learned patience long ago.  He drew up a well-padded chair and lowered the tripod legs to bring the eyepiece to a comfortable height.  Taking his seat, he prepared to outwait her.

His patience was soon rewarded.  As she came into view reapproaching the window, he glimpsed, because of his building’s higher elevation, a dark mass of pubic hair.  Apparently she was entirely naked.  She bore a narrow brown bottle in her hand.

Now the window alone filled his view.  Standing before it with head bowed, she squeezed thick brown fluid from the bottle onto her left nipple, spreading it around the areola.  Some kind of cream?  Hospital-style disinfectant?  She lowered the bottle out of sight and bent forward, rising up again with … with a naked child in her arm — indeed a child and not an infant.  Neal had raised two and knew the difference well.  This one, clearly a boy, was probably three or four years old.  Her arm cradled the lad’s head, back and buttocks.  His legs dangled below the window sill.

“My god!” Neal murmured.  The boy’s lips had parted avidly to enclose the stained nipple.  His cheek collapsed with suction as his mouth worked upon the captured flesh.  The woman smiled slowly.  Presumably he knew not to bite.  His hand rose to caress the other nipple.

They held the pose longer than Neal expected.  The woman lost her smile.  Her own lips parted and her red tongue tip appeared.  Eventually the lad withdrew his face, nose and mouth well stained, and looked expectantly up at her.  She brought up the bottle and smeared herself again.  This time her fingers were so positioned that Neal was able to make out the label:  somebody’s Milk Chocolate Syrup.

Back to the breast went the small mouth.  Her right hand, having released the bottle, rose between the dangling legs and covered the tiny genitals.  Neal could see the fingers working gently.  He took a breath.  Was she masturbating the child?  Again he could only wait.

Once more the lad cleaned the soiled nipple and pulled away.  Her hand left his genitals, exposing a boyhood extended at least to three times its original stubby length and small blue glans now exposed.  With both hands on his torso, she moved him around in front of her to sit between her breasts while her hands supported his back.  Obviously cooperating, he raised small feet over her shoulders on either side of her head.  With a hand at his buttocks, she slid him up her chest until he sat against her face, or nearly so, as well as Neal could determine from the view behind.  The boy’s legs dangled down her back.  Now needing only one hand to secure him, she brought up the syrup bottle between them with the other.  Precisely where she applied the fluid was not visible, except that the position of her hand and the bottle’s angle suggested an objective either of her own mouth or the boy’s lower belly — or perhaps both.  Then the bottle departed again.  The lad leaned over her head, enwrapping it in his arms.  The woman’s free hand reappeared, forefinger upthrust, slowly disappearing between her neck and the boy’s buttocks.  Neal suspected it had entered the child’s anus.

The magnificent breasts were fully visible again.  The nipples and areola were clearly aroused, her left one peripherally stained.  Neal shook his head in disbelief.  This woman was almost certainly sucking the child’s dick while fingering his asshole.  Neal could no longer see her face, but apparently she took a measure of sexual pleasure from it herself, despite failure to attend to her own genitals.  Or was another lad eating her out below the window sill?

Was she the mother?  Grandmother?  Nanny?  He could not recall hearing of such a thing before in a long police career.  Of course, small boys didn’t know how to complain and big boys wouldn’t.  He wondered just how widespread such a practice might be, given the extreme reluctance of anyone to mention it.  He knew it was against the law.  Modern versions of the child-abuse statutes recognize no one’s gender, whether perp, victim or observer.

Though he thought of all that, dialing 911 never occurred to him.

Abruptly the child threw himself backwards towards Neal.  His legs remained hooked over the woman’s shoulders but his head fell below the level of the window sill.  His genitals themselves were clean but the hairless skin around them was well stained.  Her mouth, also stained and spread in a wide grin, was open behind the small upthrust shaft that glistened no doubt with saliva.  She said something, then bent her head down.  Her long red tongue appeared, compressing the tiny scrotum, then stroking the shaft.  The lad’s torso squirmed.  His hands came up and pushed her face away.  She was obviously laughing.  The boy must have experienced orgasm, Neal thought, despite his extreme immaturity, for the organ to be so suddenly sensitive.

She lowered him entirely out of sight and turned away from the window.  Shortly she reappeared with cloths in her hand.  She must have passed a mirror because her own face was clean.  She worked below the window sill, breasts jiggling to the watcher’s pleasure, and turned away again with stained cloths.  When she returned, she merely stood quietly before the window, looking fondly down at what lay beneath it.

After a while she raised her face and looked out upon the park.  Again Neal was impressed by its attractiveness.  He realized that properly made up, this face could be beautiful.  Was she Mexican, Arabic, Amerindian?  She seemed to look into his eyes, but he was confident she could see nothing in the ongoing rain.

Her breasts rose in a deep breath and to his astonishment a tear rolled down her cheek.  He was just beginning to speculate on the cause when she grimaced, shoulder moving in a sideways stretch, and a dark wine drape slashed across his view.

To aid the lad’s nap?  Probably.  After a while he gave up on the blocked window, having noted a chipped brick that would help relocate it.  But he found no other window that contained anything interesting.  Almost all were curtained.

Her drape was still closed when darkness had fallen, likewise at Neal’s bedtime.

 

*  *  *  *

 

The following days were clear and warm with summer’s approach.  Neal checked the woman’s window three times a day, morning, afternoon and evening, and though he often found the drape open, especially to admit the morning sun, he saw the woman in the window only once more, now in a green peignoir, and counted it noteworthy that he could faintly discern her nipples through the sheer cloth.  On reflection he concluded that she had depended on the obscuring rain to protect her from observation and would not risk clear air.  Stubbornly the sky refused to cloud up again.

In the afternoon he liked to take a book into the park and sit on a bench under deep shade, hearing birdsong, insects and the squeals of playing children.  Normally when he was immersed in a fine drama, none of the background life bothered him.  But today it suddenly became more intrusive.  A bright blue rubber ball, twice the size of his fist, bounced to him and lodged between his ankle and the bench leg.

He looked up in surprise.  A wide-eyed boy, about four years of age, stood on the brick path ten yards away, watching him apprehensively, somewhat crouched, ready to run.  Neal smiled benignly, retrieved the ball and threw it toward the lad.  It bounced once between them and came within catching range, but the child’s hands rose too clumsily.  It sailed past.  He turned and ran after it.

He ran gracefully and stopped the bouncing ball by stepping ahead of it, a tactic that engaged Neal’s interest.  The man looked around.  In a park with nothing to serve as a backstop to bounce and return, a ball demands at least two players.  He didn’t notice the boy’s companion until the lad had smiled at Neal, turned around and hurled the toy further up the path, where a woman stepped to one side to intercept the poor throw.

She wore a dun skirt to her ankles and a white short-sleeved shirt with tails out but well filled with female flesh.  A purse hung on straps from her shoulder.  She intercepted the ball but dropped it.  White sneakers flashed under the skirt when she bent around to retrieve it.  She raised up, smiled at the boy and called out something unintelligible.  Then she pitched the ball gently to him underhanded.  He clapped his hands for it too late.  The toy sailed over his shoulder and rolled again toward Neal.

These people were the woman and child in the window!  Despite his electrifying recognition of her smile, he put out his foot and stopped the ball.  Laying his book on the bench, he got to his feet and carried the toy out onto the brick path, careful not to approach child or woman.  There he bounced it briskly toward the boy.

This time the child stopped it with his chest, clasping it in both hands before it could bounce away.  This counted as a catch.  The lad smiled hugely and Neal smiled back.  The boy said something over his shoulder to the woman, who answered him similarly.  Neal realized that they were not speaking English.

The lad may have asked permission to throw to the man.  In any case he did so, a bit wide, but Neal was able to catch the ball in an extended hand.  He returned it as the woman had done, an underhand loft, but more accurately.  Again the toy struck the boy’s chest.  This time he was too slow to retain it, but he chased it swiftly and caught it before it reached the bushes.

They played thus for several minutes, tossing the ball back and forth between man and boy, whose skill noticeably improved.  The woman came closer, standing off to the side of the path, encouraging the lad and applauding his successes.

When he had caught the ball cleanly twice in succession, the boy turned and said something at greater length to the woman, now almost within arms reach of him.

She lifted her face toward Neal and said, “Ari is tiring.”

It took Neal a moment to realize that Ah-ree was the boy’s name.  He smiled at the woman.  “So am I.  But I’d forgotten how much fun it is to play catch.  I come here almost every nice afternoon, if he would like some more practice.”

Her face was momentarily blank, as if she were deciphering or perhaps translating his words, then she almost smiled.  “Thank you, sir.  May I …  May we ask your name?”

“Neal… Neal Standish.”

Smiling wider, she nodded slightly to Neal but spoke again to the child and took his hand.  Without another word both turned their backs and marched away down the path.

Neal opened his mouth to demand the woman’s name in return, thought better of it and watched the long skirt undulate around her hips as she walked away.

 

*  *  *  *

 

Two days later he looked up from his book to find Ari standing before him, the blue ball in his hand.  The woman stood on the path a few feet away.

“Want to play catch?” Neal asked the boy.

The woman answered for him.  “If you are willing.”

“With pleasure.”  He stood up, laying the book aside.

The boy and he tossed the ball back and forth while the woman sat watching on the bench he had quitted.  After a bit Neal commented, “He’s much better today.  You must have been practicing.”

He glanced at the woman, who was smiling.  “You have noticed!”  She said something to the boy that caused him to laugh with glee — cut off suddenly when he missed the throw Neal had just released.  She explained to Neal, “He wanted so much to impress you.”

“Well, he succeeded.”

But the lad, after retrieving the missed ball, hung his head and spoke in a low voice.  The woman translated.  “He is sure that he just lost your good opinion.”

“Not at all!”  Neal chuckled.  “Tell him that everyone misses sometimes — even me!”

She spoke to the boy, smiling, but frowned at Neal.  “‘Even me?’  Is that correct English?”

“Probably not.”  Neal grinned.  “But outside of Britain I don’t think anyone cares.  Your accent is almost British.  Is that where you learned?”

Her face lost its expression.  She looked away without answering.  Neal returned his attention to the arriving ball.  The boy was now throwing it directly from 20 feet away and catching almost every return.

After several minutes Neal said to the woman with a grin, “Now I’m the one getting tired.”  He maintained the grin even when he saw that she had picked up his book and was riffling through it, likely having lost his place.

She spoke to the boy, who answered her in an oddly sharp tone.  She spoke again at greater length, apparently beseeching the child, whose mouth twisted disgustedly but who nevertheless quit the path and came to her, bending over her knees and resting his head in her lap, now covered with a dark blue skirt of a cut similar to the last one.  He laid the ball in the seat beside her, then pushed that hand under the tail of her white shirt, reaching up to clasp her breast.  Neal wondered if she was aware that the little hand formed an obvious bulge under the cloth approximately at the nipple.

He inquired, “Mind if I sit with you?”

She actually smiled at him, “No, sir.”

As he sat, he asked, “Ari didn’t want to quit, did he?”

She smiled, lowering her eyes.  “No.  He wanted me to order you to continue playing.”

“Did he!”

“It may be the first thing he has ever done well without help.  He is very proud.”

He was hesitating to ask if the child had been sick, though that seemed the obvious next step, when she continued, “Mr. Standish, may I ask who you are?”

“Call me Neal, will you?  I finished my thirty years with the metropolitan police last fall.  I’ve been a retired police captain for six months.”

“A … police captain?”

“Retired.  I am no longer on active duty.  Huh!  I’m no longer on any kind of duty.”

“But you’re not an old man!”

“Thank you.  59 next month.”

She studied him.  “You do nothing?”

“I’m taking a couple of adult education courses.  I star-gaze on clear nights and do a lot of catch-up reading.  Yeah.  Nothing.”

“May I ask … are you familiar with Bhatar?”

After a moment he shook his head.  “I guess not.  I never heard of it.  What is it?”

But she only smiled.  She looked down at the head in her lap, which her hand had begun to caress.

He said, “May I ask you a question, then?  Are you Ari’s mother?”

“No.  I am his …  Perhaps the right word is ‘nanny.’”

“Will you tell me your name?”

“I …”  She took a breath and straightened her shoulders as if she had come to a decision.  “I am Mara.”

“That’s pretty.  Just Mara?”

Her black eyes were bright on his.  “It would not be wise for you to know our full names, Neal.”

Not wise for me or for you? he wondered.  He spread his hands.  “It was just a friendly question, Mara, like, how long have you lived here?”

She showed no reticence there.  “Five months of seven.”

“Then you have two more before … what?”

“We can return home.”

“I see.”  He raised his eyebrows.  “That is, no, I don’t, but you’re right, it’s none of my business.”  He sighed.  “I guess I’ve gotten a bit lonely, Mara.  I never meant to offend you.”

“We are not offended, Neal.  Doesn’t your wife care to read, too?”

He took a breath.  “She’s been gone a long time.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Thank you.”

“May I ask you another question, Neal?”

“Of course.”

She hesitated for several seconds.  Her olive face brightened in a blush.  Eyes on the head in her lap, she said in a low voice, “You see where Ari’s hand is resting, don’t you.”

“Ah, yes.”

“In this country, Neal, does that appear to be improper?”

“Improper?  I would have to say, yes.  He is the wrong age.”

“The wrong age?”

“No one would notice if he was a baby.  If he was a grown man everyone would notice but would consider it natural, at least.  But a boy of his age — what is he, four or five? — is not allowed to touch a breast, even in private.”

“Even his nanny’s breast?”

Neal grinned.  “Of course, what happens in private is private.”

“You are — were a policeman.  Could he be arrested?”

“Not him, you!  You could be charged with child abuse.”

“I could?  Will you arrest me, then?”  Her eyes were twinkling.

He smiled.  “No, Mara.  I won’t arrest you.”

“Thank you, Neal.”

“Then let me ask you:  do you enjoy his hand resting there?”

She grinned.  “Would that make the crime worse?”

“It might, to women on a jury.”

“Ah!  ‘To women!’  Yes, I understand that.  Women can be so envious!  But Neal, you should know in our home nothing that Ari and I may do together is improper.”

I have already seen that, he thought.  He said, “I’m glad you think so.”

“Anyone you might ask would think so, too.”

“Oh, I see.  You mean your home country.”

“Oh!  You thought I meant only our flat.”  She giggled, eyes dancing on his.  “Of course I meant that, too.”

His eyes widened.  Her laughing face was one of the loveliest that he could remember.  He took a breath.  “Mara, you are a very pretty woman.”

She sobered instantly.  Her eyes studied him in a different way.  They swept the length of his body, from his partly bald head, over his sport shirt and slacks to his dockside loafers, returning briefly to his crotch before rising to his face.

“I’m lonely, too, Neal,” she said very softly.

He gestured to the head in her lap.  “Should you be?”

She smiled fondly.  “Oh, he is very sweet.  But he cannot give …  As you have noted, he is yet a very small boy.”

Neal’s eyes brightened.  “Would you like to have supper with me?  I can cook a fine TV-dinner.”

“I can never leave Ari, Neal.”

“Well, then —”

“And he … does not care to share my attention.”

Neal cocked an eyebrow.  “Does his opinion matter so much?”

“Oh, yes!” she declared positively.  Her eyes twinkled.  “But he offers no opinion when asleep, and he sleeps soundly most of the night.”

His eyes locked with hers.  “I have to ask:  is that an invitation, Mara?”

Hers twinkled stronger.  “Our flat is number 107 in Building G across the park.  Will you come at nine o’clock?”

“Tonight?”

“Please.”

“I’ll be there, Mara.  Shall I bring champagne?”

Her eyes lit.  “Oh, yes!  I would truly love to taste it, to see if it tickles as the novels say.”  She said something to the boy, caught him under the armpits and raised him to his feet.  His hand fell out of her shirt.  He yawned widely.

“Nap time for Ari,” she said, extending Neal’s book to him.

His hand closed around hers.  Her skin was cool.  “Mara, I really look forward to tonight.”

She frowned.  “Please, Neal, not out here.  You can never tell who is watching.”

He released her and stood to observe their departure.  The boy walked beside her, supported by her arm across his back, his head lolling on her hip.  Neal wondered whom she feared would mind him clasping her hand but not the lad feeling her up.

 

*  *  *  *

 

He consulted his encyclopedia and had no luck with Batar or Botar, but recalling Bahrain and the explosive way she had pronounced the B, found that Bhatar was a similarly small Persian Gulf kingdom that had emerged independent of Turkey after World War I, now rich with oil from beneath its sand.  It was a clue to Mara and Ari’s origins and perhaps even their personal habits but suggested nothing about the reason for their rather peculiar existence across the park.  Of course, that was none of his business.  Yet.

He decided on Italian Spumante, sweeter and kinder to untutored palates than dry champagne, and found a cold bottle in his favorite supermarket.  He locked his car behind G-107 and knocked on her parking-lot door at 8:59.

She opened it a few inches, eyes wary.  They brightened when the interior light fell on his face.  “Neal!  Please come in.”

She stood aside and closed the door quickly behind him.  He had a glimpse of a typical condo kitchen to his right and a hall leading straight ahead to an ascending staircase.  The walls were bare of decoration.

“Good evening, Mara,” he said as he had planned.  “May I hold your hand now?”

She was wearing the translucent green peignoir and apparently nothing else.  Bare toes with neatly trimmed but undecorated nails peeked beneath its hem.  Nipples and pubes were faintly discernible under the cloth.

“In a moment,” she agreed, smiling.  “What have you brought me?”

He withdrew the bottle from its bag and passed it to her.  Her face lit like a child’s.  “Oh, you remembered!”

Holding the bottle to one side, she stepped against him, free arm snaking around his neck, and kissed him firmly on the mouth.  Briefly her spicy aroma filled his nostrils.  He was too surprised to bring his tongue into play, but he felt the pressure of her full breasts on both sides of his chest.

She whirled away from him into the kitchen.  He followed her as she set the bottle on a counter and took down two goblets from a high cabinet.  She looked at him uncertainly.  “These aren’t right.”

“You mean the goblets?”

“For champagne.”

“They’ll work.”

Her eyebrows drew together.  “But they aren’t right, I know.  Champagne glasses need hollow stems.  I have none, Neal.”

He grinned.  “Is that so important to you?  I assure you, your goblets will do just fine.”

“Are you certain?”

His grin widened.  “I prefer it in throats anyway.  Let me open the bottle.”

“‘In throats!’” she repeated.  Her eyebrows rose and eyes sparkled above a giggle.  She took up the bottle and studied the wired cap.  “Do you know how?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Holding it aside, he removed the cap forcefully, producing a typical pop.  White foam spurted out and splashed on the tile floor.  Her eyes widened.  Hand to mouth, she said something unintelligible to Neal.

“What?”

She blushed.  “The white gush …”

“Go on?”

Her face sobered.  “You know what it resembles.”

“Do I?”  He poured a finger into her goblet and handed it to her.  “Will you try it?”

She tasted it carefully.  Her eyebrows rose, she smiled and drained the goblet.  Suddenly she sneezed.  “Ooo!  It does tickle!”

Laughing, he filled her glass, then his own, which he raised toward her.  “Here’s to a very friendly evening.”

She tilted her head.  “I must touch my glass to yours, yes?”  Without waiting for his answer, she clinked the glasses together.

He was smiling.  “And you must say, ‘To a very friendly evening’ — that is, if you expect to have one.”

“Oh, yes, Neal.  I do, I do.  To a very friendly evening!”

He took a swallow of his drink.  Again she turned her goblet up and drained it, her long throat convulsing with many swallows.  “That is so good!” she declared, somewhat breathlessly, eyes alight.  But when she saw his glass, her face fell.  “Oh!  I should not have drunk it all.”

He ducked his head.  “Let me catch up.”  He drained his own glass.  “Is Ari asleep?”

“Yes, for the last half hour.”  Her eyes twinkled.  “And he is a very sound sleeper.  Bring your glass and come with me.”

With bottle and goblet in hand she swept out of the room and down the hall.  Neal followed her up the staircase, which she mounted with vigorous ease, bare feet twinkling under the robe.  He had thought from the sag of her breasts and wrinkles at the corners of her eyes that she must be 40 at least.  If so she had yet to suffer any loss of stamina.  Unlike her, he was breathing harder at the top of stairs.

Three closed doors appeared in the short second floor hall.  She opened the nearest and led him into a rather stark bedroom equipped with a headboardless double bed, dresser, chest of drawers, two bedside tables with lamps but no telephone, two straight chairs, and drapes across one wall, but no decoration anywhere.

She pointed to a second door.  “That is the bathroom.”

She set bottle and goblet atop the chest of drawers and suddenly spun around.  She stepped against him and threw her arms around his neck.  “Neal, can you have any idea what this means to me?”

He set his goblet beside hers and slipped his arms around her back.  She was half a head the shorter.  Her dark eyes sparkled into his in the light of both bedside lamps across the room.

“You said you were lonely.  Do you see no one but the boy?”

“My brother comes about once a week.”

“Your brother!”

She smiled.  “I don’t expect him until Saturday.  I am a woman who likes men, Neal, but American men don’t seem to like me.”

“If the child is always beside you, that might be the reason.”

She nodded.  “I had suspected as much.”  She shivered slightly.  “But at last one has come to me.”

Her eyes drifted closed and her mouth turned up to enclose his lips.  His tongue accepted the invitation.  She pressed her soft body tightly against him as their tongues caressed each other.  Her nostrils flared as her breathing rate increased.

“Oh, Neal!” she breathed, her mouth tickling his.  She stepped back a pace.  Her hands slipped around to the front of his neck and undid his top shirt button.  He took over from her and was soon naked, his clothing thrown over a chair, concealing the snub-nosed .357 that had been inside his waistband.  If she noted the revolver, she gave no sign.  Instead, eyes on his groin, she declared after an intake of breath, “Neal, you are truly a man!”

He untied the sash of her peignoir.  In a twinkling the wispy garment was thrown atop the same chair.  She was as he remembered her:  smooth olive skin, large splayed breasts and lush pubes.  “And you are a lot of woman!” he retorted, lifting the breast that the lad had suckled.

“Do I please you, Neal?”

“Very much, Mara.”

“Then let me turn back the bed covers.”

When she had thrown back the upper layers, she took his hand, sat on the bed with feet to the floor and drew him close before her, looking up earnestly into his face.  “Neal, I don’t know the American customs in this.”  She smiled.  “The flics I’ve seen always go dark about now.”  Her smile vanished.  “But if I return home pregnant, they will execute me.”

His eyebrows rose.  “You mean that, don’t you?  Well, don’t worry.  I brought —”

“Will you let me taste?” she interrupted.

He stared at her incredulously.

She smiled at his wide eyes.  Her hand came up and gently cupped his testicles.  “Then it will be better for both of us, don’t you think?”

He took a breath and asked quietly, “Among your people does the woman begin with a strange man by sucking him?”

“I don’t know.  Among my people a woman never accepts a strange man.  To suck is not the way in America?”

“Sometimes, especially in the back seat of a car.  Mara, I’m not a kid.  You can trust me not to come in you.”

She hesitated.  Her free hand crept around his hip.  “Still I’d like to do it.”

Her black eyes were steady on his.  He answered by pressing forward with his hips.

Her lips parted around the head, forcing back the partly retracted foreskin.  He felt her tongue.  The bedside lamp, shining between them, lit that side of her face and the remaining half of his organ brightly.  Her cheeks collapsed as he had imagined them doing for the boy.  The hand at his testicles tightened as the other left his hip to grasp the shaft.  She backed away slightly, letting most of the foreskin emerge.  She pumped him gently but swiftly while her tongue rasped beneath the penile eye.

She sat before him, bent slightly forward, long black hair fallen over her shoulders and delicately brushing his thighs as her head bobbed back and forth.  This ultimate spectacle of submission, her nostrils flaring for breath, her full lips conforming perfectly to his shape, was as compelling as the compression of her palate and the chafing of her tongue.  His fists clenched as his tension rose to climax.

She wanted to taste, she had said.  He grunted involuntarily and acceded to her wish.  At the first spurt her suction ceased.  Tongue and palate were withdrawn from the head but her lips remained closed behind it while her hand continued to pump.  Despite his tension he was able to see her throat convulse as it had when she swallowed the wine.  As the flow ceased she applied pressure again to the head, gently, bearably and briefly, then released him and backed away smiling.

“Wath it good, Neal?” she lisped.

Catching his breath, he declared, “It was incredible, Mara!”

Her eyes sparkled.  “Ath good — excuse me, my tongue is tired.  Good as the American girls?”

“World class, Mara.”

“World?  Ah, I see.  Thank you, sir.  May I say that I enjoyed it, too?”

“Really!”

“I enjoy a full-sized … man.”  She hitched herself up completely onto the bed, twisting around to lay her head on a pillow.  She smiled invitingly, knees raised and separated.  “Especially in another part.”

Her spicy odor had strengthened.  Taking a deep breath of it, he leaned over her and put his hand between her legs, middle finger lying within the wet labia and compressing the swollen clitoris against he flesh of his palm.  She sighed and rolled her hips forward to increase the pressure.

“I’m very glad you’re not Egyptian, Mara.”

She raised an eyebrow.  “So am I, though perhaps for another reason.”

“I understand they cut this thrilling lump out of Egyptian women, those who subscribe to your religion.”

“Ah, I see.  The Egyptians say it makes a woman more submissive.”

“That may be.  Personally, I prefer eagerness.”

“Do you!”  She chuckled, then became serious.  “But it’s not actually a religious issue, Neal.  Will you come to bed?”

He grinned at her.  “That’s the hazard in sucking a man first.  After that he had almost rather talk.”  He chuckled at her suddenly forlorn expression.  “Almost, I said.”  He got onto the bed and knelt between her legs.  “Now it’s my turn to taste.”

Her eyes widened perhaps more than his had done.  “You don’t mean to use your tongue!”

“Why not?”

“Because a woman is so … so fetid!  Isn’t that the right word?”

“Maybe.”  He grinned.  “Do you want to stop and look it up?”

He chuckled when she only glared in disbelief.  “Women are just different,” he explained, “and I happen to love that.  Mara, is it possible you’ve never enjoyed this before?”

“Only with another woman.”

He shrugged one shoulder.  “I don’t know that I can do it as well as another woman, but may I try?”

Eyes glittering, she said, “I’ll answer that as you did.”  She rotated her hips backward, raising the vulva.  He chuckled and sank between her legs, applying his tongue at first below and to either side of the sensitive lump, then above it, finally assaulting it directly only when her hips began to roll and her thighs had clasped his ears.  Dimly he could hear her whimpering in time with his furious strokes.

When she became rigid, he returned his attention to the padded crest above the swollen tip, decreasing his strokes gradually until her legs fell away from him.  He rose above her, wiping his face with the thrown-aside sheet.  She was staring at him above clenched teeth.  Her nipples wobbled with her fast breathing.  “Please, Neal!” she begged.  “Please!”

“With pleasure, my dear.”

She gasped at his penetration.  Her arms and legs immediately enclosed his shoulders and hips.  She began to groan after his first few strokes, body alternately stiffening and arching to meet his thrusts.  Soon she was emitting contralto cries that he recognized as speech, though not in a language known to him.  He let his chest down upon hers and sought her panting lips with his tongue.  She sucked it into her mouth, stifling the speech but not the cries, now expressed through flaring nostrils.

Her face and chest, as much as he could see, was beet red and already shiny with perspiration.  He could not recall ever knowing a woman more passionate than this one.  Clearly nothing could be more stimulating to a man than his woman’s continual orgasms.  His own passion began to rise again.

With the crisis imminent he removed himself to writhe atop her belly.  Her eyes flew open.  Her hands darted between them, milking him, as he groaned out his small second emission.

He rolled off her and fell heavily to his back beside her.  Her hand retained its grip.  Breathing heavily, she turned herself upon him, breast and leg, and her head fell upon his shoulder.  Feverishly she kissed his chin and cheek.  “Oh, Neal!  Oh, so good, Neal!”

His hand slipped around her and patted her wet buttock cheek.  “God, yes, Mara!  The best!”

But they lay basking in the delight of satiety only briefly.  Another male voice suddenly sounded in the room, guttural and foreign but recognizably dripping with sarcasm.  The woman stiffened with shock, then turned toward it.  Neal shook his head as a fighter who has taken a blow and raised on an elbow.

A swarthy man with a heavy black mustache stood beside the bed.  Neal’s experienced eye saw him as Semitic, age 30-35, 5’8”, 170 pounds but small-waisted, dressed in casual clothing recently cleaned and pressed.  He said something contemptuously to the woman, speaking fiercely but restraining himself well below a shout, then leaned forward and slapped her face stingingly.  She had also risen partly on an elbow.  The blow knocked her back into Neal.

“That does it,” the latter proclaimed, levering himself out from under the flailing woman.

The stranger backed away as Neal got off the bed, but caught him with a left hook to the right ear before he could rise to his feet.  Neal crashed to the floor, colorful stars dimming his vision, but recovering in time to clutch the wingtip-shod foot aimed for his ribs.  Its toe struck painfully in his side but he twisted the foot and attached leg viciously.  The man fell over him, crashing into the wall.

Neal didn’t wait to see how his opponent might recover.  He scuttled to the chair holding the discarded clothing, found his pistol and whirled about.  The other was already on his feet, leaning toward Neal.  At sight of the weapon, he suddenly straightened up, eyes glaring.  He said something with a vicious ring, directed toward the woman, who was sitting up again with hand to her face.

Rising to his feet and leveling the revolver at the man’s head, Neal snarled, “You son of a bitch, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”  Still panting from the vigorous sex and feeling a belated surge of adrenaline course through his veins, he was not quite ready to acknowledge the ridiculous picture he must present with his fast-fading erection exposed, but he took comfort from the unfailing potency of the tool now in his hand.

The man replied unintelligibly.

“Speak English, damn you!  Mara, go call 911.”

The woman’s eyes were huge.  She sat up cross-legged in the bed, apparently unconcerned with her nudity, hand still covering the cheek.  “There is no telephone, Neal.  And he doesn’t speak English.”

“No telephone?”  Neal shook his head.  “All right.  Tell him to lean back against the wall and put his hands on top of his head.”

She spoke with about the right number of syllables.  The other snapped a disdainful reply.

Neal put his other hand out to brace the pistol, lining up the sights with the man’s face, and audibly cocked the hammer.  “Do it, you son of a bitch,” he commanded harshly, “or I’ll blow out the back of your head.”

The woman made a slightly longer speech.  Grudgingly the stranger stepped back and clasped his hands atop his head.

“That’s better.  Tell him I’m a policeman, Mara, and ask him why he thinks he has the right to sneak in here and slap your face.”

She spoke briefly to the stranger but addressed most of her words to Neal, in English.  “I already know what he’s doing and why he thinks he has the right to sneak in here and slap my face.  Neal, he’s my brother.”

“Your what?”

“My younger brother.  His name is Kafi.”

“And you think your brother may slap your face?”

“I have no husband.  I am under his protection.”

Neal shook his head.  “You are a grown woman.  No one has the right to slap you.  Tell Kafi that’s illegal here.  It’s called ‘Assault on a Female.’  He can go to jail for it, also for assaulting a policeman.”

She translated.  The man replied in a tone of contempt.  She said, minus the contempt, “He thought you were only a defiler of his sister and is sorry for striking a policeman.  He asks how much the Borinoi are paying you.”

Neal grunted.  “I’m currently living on the city’s pension, waiting until next year when the government will let me draw from my savings without penalty.  Does ‘Borinoi’ mean the government in your language?”

She spoke with the man at length.  Neal put on his briefs while they talked, deciding to leave off the T-shirt so as not to cover his eyes.  She seemed to be pleading with her brother but meeting adamantine refusal.  She said to Neal, “I have asked him to let me tell you what all this means, but he says that you are an enemy agent who already knows.  If not, telling you risks that you will sell us out.”

“Well, I don’t already know.”  Neal shook his head.  “And I don’t need to know.  Tell him to get into the bed.”

“Into the bed?”

“Yes, where it will be harder for him to interfere as I get dressed.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Tell him.”

She spoke in their guttural language as Neal again steadied the revolver on the man’s face.  The mustache-shaded mouth twisted in disgust, but Kafi crawled past the woman to the far side of the bed.

Neal moved the chair near the door and laid his weapon carefully atop the chest of drawers.  Donning his shirt, he asked, “Mara, what will happen to you when I leave?  Will he hurt you?”

“I’ll ask him.”

Again they spoke at length.  She said to Neal, “I have explained that I invited you here only because I needed a kind man.  And you have been kind to Ari.  Both the boy and I like you.”

“What does he say to that?”

“He calls me a slut.  But I think he understands.  He knows my nature.  I have had three husbands, Neal.  They are all dead.”

“But will he hurt you?”

“I don’t think so.”  She spoke to the man again, then listened to his response.  Her head came up.  “He has cooled down.  He says that I must work out my own damnation.  He is concerned only for Ari’s safety.”

“Is Ari his son?”

“No.  He asks you to prove that you are an American policeman.”

“In a moment.”  Neal quickly finished dressing.  Then he took the police identification from his wallet and passed it to the woman, who showed it to Kafi as she explained its content.

“He believes American policemen have badges.”

Neal nodded, recovering the identification card.  “I did until I retired last year.”

She translated that, then said to Neal, “I ask you again, what are you going to do?”

“If you will be safe with him, nothing.”

“You won’t … how do you say it?  Charge?  You won’t charge Kafi with a crime?”

Neal shrugged.  “No.  You wouldn’t sign a complaint anyway, would you?”

“You won’t write a report?”

“No, Mara.  I’ll just go away.  And I’ll never forget you.”

Her eyes widened.  “But I don’t want you to ‘just go away!’  Did you find me so useless?”

“Huh?”  He shook his head.  “Don’t be silly.  You’re a wonderful person, Mara, and a great lover!”

“Well, then.”  She smiled for the first time and lowered her hand from the bright red cheek.  “I shall tell him I mean to go away with you if he doesn’t let me tell you about us.”

“Is that wise, Mara?”

“I don’t care.”  Before he could argue further, she turned partly around in the bed and spoke sharply to her brother.  The man’s eyes widened.  He raised his hand — but lowered it when Neal raised the revolver.  She continued to talk and slowly the man sagged in visible acceptance.  She turned back in triumph.

“Will you refill my glass, Neal?”

He did as she asked.  She raised it to him and declared with sparkling eyes, “To freedom!”

He nodded with a grin.  “A worthy toast.”

“Sit down, please, Neal.”

He exchanged stares with the doleful man on the bed.  “Will he behave?”

“Yes.  He has already admitted that if you worked for the Borinoi you would have killed Ari when I first let you in.”

Neal shoved the gun into the waistband under his shirt and pulled the chair closer.  “Let’s start with that.  What’s the Borinoi?”

“The largest tribe in Bhatar.  They want to make their pretender king when King Bhassi dies.  But their man is only Bhassi’s son in law.”

“This has something to do with Ari?”

“Everything.  Ari is the only surviving direct grandson of King Bhassi, and thus the crown prince and the natural heir to the throne.”

“And you and Kafi?”

“We are the children of the king’s youngest sister.”

“So all of you are in this country to protect Ari from the Borinoi?”

“Exactly — until the next Festival of the King.  Bhassi has agreed to abdicate in Ari’s favor then if the lad is still alive.  It is two months from now.”

“And what makes this so important to everyone is oil, am I right?”

She nodded.  “800 million barrels of proven reserve.”

“I see.  Then tell your brother to be glad I’m here.”

She smiled slightly.  “What reason shall I give him?”

“Isn’t it obvious?  I’ll help him protect you — and the boy.”

The interchange between brother and sister became briefly heated.  She told Neal, “He objects to the appearance.  He says that you will … have sex with me several times a day and end by disgracing the whole nation of Bhatar.”

Neal smiled slightly.  “I don’t know about disgracing the nation.”

She laughed.  “But you don’t deny the first part, do you!”

He shook his head.  “Looking at you, Mara, even now, when sex is the farthest thing from anyone’s mind …  It’s enough to give a corpse a hard-on.”

She translated that and the brother nodded grudgingly.  Suddenly his face changed.  Again brother and sister exchanged hot words.

“What is it?” Neal asked.

She blushed.  “He suggests …”

“What?”

She took a deep breath and raised her chin.  “It appears most improper for me to tell you.”

“Well, I don’t want to step on any —”

“But I will tell you, appearances be hanged.  He wants me to marry you.”

Her blush deepened so that both sides of her face were briefly the same color, but her eyes stared unabashedly at his.

“He wants you to do what?”

Kafi spoke again.  Finally her eyes fell as she translated.  “He says my dowry would be five million dollars.”

“That’s a lot of appearance,” Neal admitted in awe.

“My last husband received eight million, but I am older now.”

“Mara, do you want to marry me?”

Her eyes flashed up at him, then fell again.  “It is a question for you and my brother.  He is now the head of my family.”

“Mara, in this country it’s a question for you and me, and no one else.  Let’s do this right.  Will you marry me?”

She stared at him and slowly smiled.  “That’s what they say in the books.”

“And what do you answer?”

Her eyes were huge.  Her lips had parted to reply when he felt a draft.  Turning around, he discovered a small boy standing naked at the door with a stuffed animal in his arms.  The child looked sleepily from one adult to the other.  With a cry unintelligible to Neal the woman charged past him, scooped the lad up into her breasts and swept him out of the room.

Neal turned back to Kafi.  The man got out of the bed and came to Neal, who stood up.

Kafi extended his hand.  “She’ll marry you,” he said calmly.

Neal took the hand.  “You do speak English, then!”

“Of course.  It was useful to let Mara believe otherwise.  She’s a person who needs distractions.  She would come along as the prince’s companion only if she thought I needed her also as our translator.  But she isn’t stupid.  If she ever stops to think about it, she’ll realize that no one could live independently in America, as I do, without speaking English.  Listen, I’m sorry about slugging you.  Mara has played the chaste wife so long that I thought you must be a rapist.”

Neal waived a hand deprecatingly.

Kafi continued, “I didn’t really believe her when she denied that, you see.  I slapped her for claiming to have seduced you.  Though she expected it — and it would truly be deserved in my country, it isn’t here.  I have already apologized.”  He took a breath.  “I would consider it a real favor, old man, if you’d marry her straight away and take over the close-in guard duties.  I need to get back to the old country early on.”

Neal took a breath.  “We don’t really have to marry, Kafi.”

“Yes, you do.”

“Appearances?”

The man nodded.  “And one other reason.  I know something about American law.  I’d like to make sure you can’t testify against her when you find out the kind of service she owes our little prince.”

 

 

END

Copyright © July, 2000, Kellis

kellis@dhp.com

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