Erotic romance was how I started. This is definitely a slow burn. An actual story for once, but it is a departure from what I have posted to my blog so far so may take some adjusting.
Many years after the fact, I learnt he had finely orchestrated our first meeting. Sat beside one another at a dull talk on moral responsibility, he put his hand on my thigh. I slapped it away. He was thoughtful, and when the room grew rowdy once more he placed the hand higher upon my thigh. This time, when I made to swat the hand away again, he caught my fingers in his and held them fast, delicately stroking the palm.
Afterwards the speaker announced that they would be serving us tea and fruitcake in the ante room. I broke free of his grasp, and had been speaking with Lydia’s sister, when he approached me at the samovar and said,
“I do hope you didn’t think me forward.”
Always that impertinent grin about his mouth. His blonde-toned hair oiled but waved towards his brow. Eleven months and two inches between us.
“I do think you forward.”
“Oh dear, that wasn’t my intention.”
He stroked his hand along the length of my index finger, I looked about us and tempered my voice.
“You manhandled me.”
“Your hand was placed upon my thigh where it had no place being. How could I possibly misunderstand that?”
His large, child-like blue eyes registered my scandalous words with some amusement.
“I was gripped, gripped by Professor Bradley’s rousing speech, of course. Had your thigh been that of the good professor himself, or even my dear, departed mother, my reaction would have been much the same.”
His speech was firm and measured. He looked me in the eye carefully. It could almost have been true.
“I can see you don’t believe me. Perhaps I could take you to dinner and explain in a more detailed fashion?”
“If I refuse, would you persist in harassing me?”
“Perhaps. Perhaps not.” He shrugged, turning to the samovar himself for his own refreshment.
He was infuriating.
I went to dinner.
We ate beef in red wine, dauphinoise with garlic and cream, and mille feuille for dessert. This last was heavy with custard that foamed on my tongue and caught in the whiskers of his moustache. He gave a fair account of himself and plied me with two bottles of something expensive.
“You’re the councillor’s daughter, aren’t you?”
“His niece.” I corrected.
“Of course. Jennifer. And kept under his watchful eye.”
“My parents are still in England. Someone has to preside over my honour.”
He leant back in his chair as the garçon lit his cigar.
“Is he doing a fair job?”
“Do you think me virtuous?”
“I wouldn’t like to judge. But if you insist,” He looked me up and down to where my waist became hidden by the tablecloth. “Quite virtuous.”
“I know you as well. Your father built the wing I lodge in. Fairfax. That makes you Robert.”
He tipped his head “Quite the little sleuth.”
“And quite the reputation, you have.”
I was teasing, ought not to have spoken in such terms but I wanted him to see me as an equal and not simply the sum of my provincial, feminine parts. I inhaled the curling smoke from his cigar.
“Despoiling unknowing female first years. And second years. And even the knowing ones.”
He said nothing.
“And the stories one hears about your dalliances with the female staff-”
“You know a lie can travel around the world and back before the truth has got out of bed?”
“I see, so you’re a picture of piety and restraint?”
“In a way. Am I forgiven for these imagined grievances?”
“I suppose so. In a most Christian way.”
“Hurrah. Now we’re friends, and I can escort you back to your room with a heart free from sin.”
He rose and took my arm.
I shouldn’t have kissed him.
A week later we sat some rows apart at a debate on the place of women in Industry. Lunch after, and after that a walk through the park to the lake where the ducks are. We sat in the arbour with our heads close together, whispering like stupid children.
He knew a great deal about botany – flowers, trees, poisonous herbs. These he pointed out to me; or picked and brought close so I could inhale their perfume. If the path was quite deserted he would kiss my cheek, blushingly. This would happen each week – once he escorted me to a dinner held in honour of his father; he purchased a frock for me and it fitted almost perfectly – quite how he knew my size I never discovered. We rode in a carriage with darkened windows. He wore leather gloves and held my hand all the way there, and all the way back.
After six weeks I was invited to his private quarters to ‘utilise his own library’. This really meant for us to kiss and touch one another pressed hard against texts on animal husbandry and anthropology, as the room grew misty with heat and I first felt his teeth sharp upon my lip.
We became companions almost instantaneously, after. Not lovers, nor even betrothed, but I was introduced as ‘Miss Williams, my companion’ at social occasions. As a Fairfax, his rooms were set apart. A bedroom and a sitting room with books and deep-seated chairs. And beyond these, a wash room with his own bath and lavatory. Once he bid me enter and answered the door with only a towel wrapped about his waist. I averted my eyes but noted his body was wiry, almost skinny, the muscles were taut but not overdeveloped. Not a sportsman. The chest speckled with fine hair. He watched me watch him, smirking, before finally telling me I would ‘have to wait for kisses’ until he was more suitably attired and led me to the chaise before disappearing to finish dressing. In these weeks we kept ourselves within the walls of his sitting room, never the bedroom.
The other girls in my rooms wondered aloud to one another, where I was to be found on these evenings, whispering under the sheets in bed as though I couldn’t hear them. If confronted I merely said that I was being chaperoned to the park for fresh air, or to dinner in an unfamiliar part of the town.
It was only whilst dressing for the dinner for Miles Fairfax – the dress getting many admiring and jealous glances – I let slip the name and Camomile pounced upon it with some immediacy.
“And how did you come upon an invitation? I don’t know anyone else in the college who received such a prestigious award.”
I bit my lip and could not think of an answer. Camomile stepped toward me until her hand could reach out and stroke the sleeve of my frock.
“We had heard you’d been seen walking with Robert Fairfax, but none of us could believe you’d associate yourself with a scoundrel.”
I looked into her eyes, swallowing and silent until I heard the forgiving noise of the carriage halting outside in the courtyard.
“I must be going, I wouldn’t wish to keep the coachman waiting.”
Took my cape from the wardrobe and left without further words.
In the carriage I was shaking and Robert put his arm about me.
“I think we have been found out.” I murmured, eventually.
He was thoughtful for a moment or two, then took my hand and responded.
“No matter.” And for the time being, nothing more was discussed on the subject.
If anything, he became more brazen in his affections after this admission; though still only behind locked doors. He rather thrived on scandal, which will become more evident in a short while.
Still, our evenings together were rather sedate, to a degree. Often he would sit on the sofa with my head in his lap and read to me from his extensive library – Freud, Descartes, papers published by Madame Curie. Like a stage mesmerist his voice was warm and seductive as the words sank into my body. We rarely discussed these things afterwards, like a child’s bedtime fairytale does not inspire sleepy debate. He wished for the words to imprint themselves upon me, for me to divine my meaning from them instead of parroting his.
This went on for a little over a month, summer was bleeding into a damp and dreary autumn. Then, one Monday after dinner, he led me to his lap as usual and took a slim, blank-bound volume from the table.
“Are you sitting comfortably?” He enquired, brushing the hair from my forehead.
“Then I shall begin. Today there will be a reading from a special book.” He cleared his throat. “My secret life.”
Have you heard of it? The text is banned throughout the world. Robert’s copy came from a shadowy dealer in St Aubrey, he told me. It is shocking, marvellous, sickening in parts. The tale of a young gentleman’s odyssey in sensuality. He cavorts with whores and deflowers young girls and all manner of gross acts that made me sicken and amorous by turn. As he intoned the words over my head, I felt myself grow hot, as though my skin were on fire. Robert’s fingers trailed down to my neck and stroked beneath my jaw. They were icy.
He read on and on and with my head so close to him I could feel the stirring of his britches beneath my cheek, and at the close of the second chapter, he crooked his thumb to keep the page.
“Such a vulgar little tale, isn’t it?”
I made no reply, as though I heard the words but was at a loss to their meaning. Hypnotised, enchanted.
“On your front, please.” His voice was low, almost a whisper.
Awkward in a dinner gown, but not entirely impossible, I turned onto my stomach, my chin now rested on his thigh, watching the material at his groin bulge. Absent-mindedly he unbuttoned the flies a little and set his free hand inside.
This was the closest we had ever been. There had been kisses, of course, and these he excelled at. And in moments of passion, he had pulled me to him, pressing his fingers into my buttocks, or breasts. But otherwise gentlemanly, he had not propositioned me in that manner, though as each day ended, I wanted him to a fraction more.
At night when my dorm mates were gossiping and yawning and slumbering, I was preparing myself beneath the covers, raising my nightgown and laying still until they slept deeply and I could make a proper exploration of the areas of my body that he had set smarting and aching. Between my legs was slippery, almost oily and as I touched, my fingers became coated and I began to twitch as if stung by some pleasurable insect. My breasts also, felt heavier than I had ever known, and stiff to the touch, though the room was not cold at all. Curiouser and curiouser.
I felt bewitched by him, never questioning his actions, the stories he told me and his order for me to prostrate myself against his knee, my unguarded tongue inches from his own delicate flesh, edging closer to taste. Yet I still knew my own mind, what I would and would not do. Fate had drawn us together where our desires were so uniform one couldn’t spot the join.
I watched him manipulate himself beneath the buttons.
“I am going to ask you a question. Have you ever been fucked?”
I flushed, of course.
“You know I have not.”
“I know no such thing. All I can know for certain is that I have not fucked you, yet. Though that will change.”
“A man is not fucked, my darling. He fucks, when he so wishes. Pull up your skirts.”
“I beg your pardon?”
His words were lazier now, as though my response were a foregone conclusion.
“Perhaps I should like to fuck you now.”
“And perhaps I should slap you.” And yet I grew damp and sore between my legs with want.
“And will you?”
He was fine-featured, pale-skinned where I was rosy. I had often thought him handsomest across the bridge of his nose where there was a fine spray of freckles that made him almost pretty. The red marks of my palm would ruin his face. I reached behind me and bunched the material up over my backside, watching the fabric at his groin flex.
“There’s a good girl. Now on your knees.”
I sighed. “Really, Robert?”
With no hesitation he freed his hand and smacked it hard against my buttocks, having no such qualms about the reddening of my flesh. Then three more in quick succession.
“On. Your. Knees.”
With some difficulty and my eyes smarting, I clambered to my knees, Robert using this opportunity to further disengage himself from his trousers whereupon the material bulged more and seemed to sway from the pressure under it. I closed my eyes.
“And now what to do?” He wondered aloud. I knew better than to attempt an answer, felt movement before me and something warm brushed my lips.
“You should open your eyes.”
“I am afraid to.”
“Fear is a construct. It’s all in your head and does not exist if you really think about it.”
“That is all well and good but you cannot make me open my eyes.”
“Oh can’t I? Then I suppose you’ll never see the glorious treat that’s in store for you.”
I felt my cheeks prick, remembering those pages. Very gingerly, I stuck out my tongue.
“I think, my sweet, that you would be better served with your hand.”
He took my wrist and guided it before my face and curled my fingers around an object.
“You really ought to open your eyes.”
Whilst improper to discuss achievements of an intimate nature in any part of society, many of the girls on campus – freed from constant familial chaperoning and restraint – grew wild, and with that wildness came boastfulness. Camomile in particular was a fountain of stories and advice that was not always requested. She had been engaged a year before she undertook her degree in French Literature, to a businessman friend of her father’s.
“He’s rather old – closer to fifty than forty – but widowed twice before so quite knowledgeable on most things in the bedroom.” she said one evening close to the start of term. We were dressing for a concert in the music room and the dormitory was thick with the scent of soaps and powders and perfumes as girls trotted to and from the bath rooms in their towels and dressing gowns. Camomile was rubbing scented cream into her hands to make them supple, and the other girls, all more meek and quiet than she, were in rapturous attention as she spoke.
“We had been alone together once before, after a dinner at my parents’ house. As soon as he door was fast, he came to me and kissed me and nearly knocked me over. ‘I wish to marry you’ he said, as cool as you like. ‘I can give you all things you wish for and such other things you can only dream of.’ which is quite an offer, I can tell you.”
She took another jar from her case and split the front of her gown further to rub it into her legs.
“And I said yes because I’m not stupid. The next week we sat beside one another at dinner and so close he was able to stick his hand beneath my skirts and tickle me, quite delightedly between my thighs. I very nearly wetted.” Here some of the girls giggled, and she looked at them with pity. “We were left alone once more and he said he wished to put his head up there. So I said ‘if you so wish, sir – but please note I do not wish to have my chastity dissolved fully until we are wed’ – and do you know? There are a great many things besides it that you can do.”
“It?” Piped up a girl who was on a scholarship – knowledgeable but not worldly. Camomile nodded.
“Yes. ‘It’. Have you never read a medical text book, any of you?” Each girl shook her head, including myself. Those that had, were not prepared to admit it so early in an acquaintance.
“I shall have to educate you. Perhaps another time. In any case, he put his head beneath my skirts and licked me there until I felt I truly had wetted myself, and only later did he tell me this was to be expected, and the feeling did not preclude the act. And though we are not to be married til the summer, I have given up my chastity after all. At a picnic I attended, he took me for a long walk down a winding path by the lake and spoke so honestly, so romantically to me that I parted my legs before he had finished. And by gosh it hurt – his is huge and I quite believe this is what saw off his first two wives – but in time it became wonderful and when it happens to you-”
Here there was a knock at the door, and we learnt we were due to be late for our outing if we didn’t hasten.
From then on, she was our oracle, all-knowing. A fact she knew all too well. I had an unshakeable notion she was jealous of my relationship with Robert, but she’d never admit to such a thing. Soon after this occasion, she brought out her medical text book and showed us the rudimentary workings of male bodies – she had little interest in her own or those of other women – and finished the lesson with a simple ‘they like it in the mouth’ and an eye roll.
It was this I recalled as I felt the warmth in my hand. Him, his body lightly pulsing in my fist.
“Are you quite all right? You have been still for some time.” Rather sweetly he was trying hard to hide his impatience.
I moved my thumb, almost imperceptibly, feeling how soft the skin was.
“Ah, I see you are testing me. You little tease.”
“I don’t know what to do.” I said, simply.
“I’m sure that’s not true.”
“I’m quite sure it is.”
With his hand still loosely gripped about my own, he began to slide it up and down the flesh.
“I shall have to educate you. Please open your eyes.” I did so, confronted with a monstrous appendage before me. It bore no resemblance to the diagram from the book, I thought for a moment I may have some horrible shock before me, but no. This was it, the centre of all maleness and power and a giver of life and pleasure.
“It’s so big.”
He shrugged. “You say that because you are uneducated in these things – once you have had another you’ll soon see I am not an exceptional example of manhood. Though you are still sweet to say it.”
“Camomile-” There was a sharp intake of breath above my head.
“The airs and graces of an exiled princess and the demeanour of a fishwife.”
“You don’t care for her, then?”
“I room with her, don’t have much choice in the matter.”
“A true diplomat’s answer if ever there was one.” He flinched as I moved, then went on.
“Her betrothed is at loggerheads with my father at present. I have been a witness to many interminable lunches where she sat with her hands in his lap.”
“And you wouldn’t have me do likewise?”
“Your obedience behind closed doors is what I desire. Engaging in these acts in public areas is nothing short of vulgar – and neither one of us is that.”
“I cannot help feeling I am a little vulgar, as I lie here with my backside exposed and my underthings sodden and your…”
I could not think of the word, though I knew it, and faltered as I tried to retrieve the correct one from my head.
“Prick?” He suggested.
“Is that quite correct?”
“It is a word I like, and if it suits you I should like you to use it.”
“Very well – to have your prick so very…tantalisingly close to my lips. It does rather make me feel wanton.”
“Sodden?” It was as if he had heard no other words but this one, and stood up rather abruptly, and pushed my underthings down my legs, reaching between them to feel me, where I was wet, and he was gleeful.
“Oh it had quite the effect on you, didn’t it? My dirty little story. It made your cunny drool.” He laughed again, and pushed me forwards, seemingly forgetting his own wants so that I was almost fully over the arm of the chaise, his prick stiff against my abdomen and he could see me in far greater detail. “And look, it flinches when I call it by it’s naughty name. How should it react if I kissed it, do you think?”
My heart thudded but my lips were silent, still.
“A more beautiful sight, there never was. Pink and white and red and brown. And the taste – divine.” he used his thumb to enter me; then removed it and stuck it in his mouth. I wondered if he wished me to respond – but how? I could not imagine what one should say in such a situation. My silence evidently surprised him, for he remarked,
“I must say, you’re very compliant; why is that? Most girls require coaxing, a game of cat and mouse that goes on for an interminably long time before capitulating.”
I gave this a moment or two’s thought, which was not easy with his steady breathing distracting on my skin.
“Why should I deny myself satisfaction behind closed doors?”
“Such a modern outlook. And why indeed. Though it does make one curious about your previous exploits behind said doors.”
I bit my tongue and said nothing. He moved his fingers inwards again, tickling.
“I never was one for games, even as a child.”
“I like games. This is a game.”
“Oh yes. Should I wish to, I could bind your ankles with a length of rope. Then your pretty wrists. Then I would have my way with you.”
“What if I was to cry out?”
“That’s all part of the fun.” He straightened up “But not for today. On your back now, please.”
“Is this quite necessary?”
His slap against my buttocks was sharp and unpleasant.
“Please save your insolence for the lecturers. ”
I was wearing a heavy winter walking skirt and a blouse – we’d taken leave of an early lecture and made better use of our afternoon. He unbuttoned the blouse first and after that my corset. In my chemise he admired my flesh and pinched it in his fingers.
“Am I truly the first man to ever see you in such a position?”
“Am I the first woman to see you presenting yourself in such a fashion?” I retorted, nodding to his erection still springing proudly from him. He looked down before returning it with some difficulty to his trousers.
“That is not what we are discussing.”
“No other man has wished to see me so exposed. Though yours are not the first lips of my acquaintance, your tongue may lay claim to my defilement.”
“I’m sure that isn’t true. And yet still you seem quite unmoved, unconcerned by my actions.”
“I have made my bed, now there is nothing else but for me to lie in it.”
“You will lie in my bed. But not this afternoon. I think you should go home and rest.”
I opened my mouth to protest, but knew this was only his way of exerting final control over me. He had seen my fire rise briefly before him – and he was stirred, but needed time to consider how he would approach this in the days and months that followed.
“Perhaps you ought to dress me again before I do so? It was only minutes ago you unbuttoned my garments to ogle me, so it would certainly be the least you could do.”
I could see the smile pulling eagerly at the corners of his mouth, and he took a moment to regain his stern composure before he bent and kissed me, then turned and sank his teeth into the lobe of my ear.
“Yet again, for your insolence, my sweet.” he set to restoring my ladylike appearance, after laying additional kisses on the swell of each breast in turn. As he worked he remarked “Perhaps we ought to seek out a teacher of deportment and manners for you, if you continue to disobey the simplest of requests.”
“And how would you explain to such a lady that your requests thus far have been for me to pull down my drawers, lie prostrate at your feet and apply my tongue to your cock?”
“I don’t recall asking you to lie at my feet, merely on my chaise. And where does a young lady learn such a word?” My body now hidden, he took my hand and helped me to my feet. “There, you look quite demure once more, though rather red about the face.”
“I think my body may be on fire.” I replied, brushing out my skirts to flatten the creases. He caught hold of my chin and tipped my face to his.
“Where did you learn that word?”
I do not know quite what came over me at that moment, what it was in those words that made my spine feel as though a stream of icy water had been poured down it by a celestial hand. Or perhaps it was catching his gaze and holding it for such a long time that I felt his face would be forever marked on my memory, his blue eyes and his pretty, girlish features. I placed my fingers over his own and this time it was I who leaned towards him and pressed my lips to his, which were dry with surprise. When I drew back, he swallowed.
“It will do you some good to think on that while we are apart. You are quite right, I am overcome with fatigue and must go back to my dormitory for a lie down. I shall see you when you call for me once more. Good day, Robert.”