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Afterglowing
by Valentine Bonnaire © 2004



The two women lay tranquilly on the wide sandy beach.  They basked in the sun like the tiny lizards that slept aboard the rocks just inches from them.  Cerise moved first; lazily rolling onto her back, then headed towards her beach chair.  Miranda followed.

"Isn't it gorgeous?"

"Mmm, hmm...beautiful."

"Want to go in?"

"No, let's wait a little longer, shall we?" said Cerise.  Her eyes were closed against the brilliance of the burning yellow sun.  She parted her thighs slightly just to feel the heat between her legs, as if it were a man warming her there with his hot breath.  A large and elegant straw hat framed her delicate face.  It was simply too hot to move, too hot to speak even.  They were about to start the kind of conversation women have distractedly on beaches, when they talk about the men in their lives.  Cerise could sense this.  Miranda had been so unhappy lately and it was all because of Jeff.  He never listened to her.  It was as if they spoke two entirely different languages, really.

"I don't love him Cerise, not in the way that I want to love someone, you know?"

"Mmm, hmm."

"He doesn't get inside of me, really inside.  I'll be talking about my love for the harpsichord and he just fiddles on the computer for hours doing those animations.  It's like he never listens to me.  I'm so sick of it.  I don't even want the marriage.  I think it was over six months into it, except I stayed."

"I know what you mean, exactly."

"I can't stand to sleep with him."

"Oh."

Cerise parted her legs even further so that the sun could kiss his way up her thighs in long slow heated licks.  She draped her arms languidly over her head and gazed out past the millions of sparkling diamonds dancing on the sea to the far horizon, watching dolphins.  Briefly she contemplated putting on some more oil, except that the heat made even the idea of moving seem too difficult.  One of her feet traced slow circles in the sand, pushing all the little dried bits of seaweed and tiny pieces of wood around and around absentmindedly.

"I'm sorry that it hasn't worked with him, Miranda," she said. "I thought you were happy.  Christmas looked so perfect...the dinner, the..."

"It wasn't.  It was already over, Cerise."

"Ahhh..."

"Have you ever had a man really know you Cerise? I mean really know you down into your bones?

"Once."

"Did you ever tell me about him?"

"I don't think so, he was a secret."

"What was he like?"

"I always think of two things when I think of him: largesse and noblesse oblige.  He had character, in a way that a lot of men don't."

"Did you love him?"

"Yes, more than anything in the world."

"Why?"

"He made me feel safe."

"What do you mean?"

"I don't know, really.  It's just that we knew each other very deeply.  I knew that he was never going to hurt me, and he always listened.  We talked all the time.  It's funny but he had the most tortured past and yet he was so kind it was extraordinary.  It's crazy Miranda, but I just craved him.  I craved the crinkles around his eyes when he smiled.  I craved his hands on me.  I don't know if I ever wanted anything so much in my whole life, as I wanted him."

"I can't believe you never told me about him, Cerise."

"He was sacred."

"Why didn't you leave André?"

"I couldn't, and it never would have worked.  He was 20 years older than me.  His friends were very jealous of us.  I liked that.  We always laughed about it, secretly, because they were such horrible gossips.  Men are worse than women that way.  Sandyland is such a small town to begin with."

"Who was he?"

"A poet, except that he had no idea that he was, and that was what was so charming about him.  I think I was the first person to recognize his talent that way.  He was the first man I ever masturbated for."

"You have got to be kidding.  You did that in front of him?"

"Umm, hmm."

"Unbelievable."

"Not really.  He just made me feel very sexual, and very free.  He was different from any man I had ever been with.  He never tried to control me and he never lied to me.  I just felt very open with him.  It was the first time in my life, really."

"What happened?"

"I was always trying to shock him by being wild, or what I thought was wild, anyway, and so this one day I told him I wanted him to watch.  Isn't that crazy? He was sitting in a chair by the bed and I just stretched out on it and began to touch myself.  He was smoking a cigar."

"You didn't."

"Yes I did."

"Oh god, I can't even imagine..."

"I took off my panties and tossed them at him, and then I tossed my bra at him too.  He put it on his head and we both started laughing like mad.  He was stroking his cock too, but he couldn't stand it, you know, the pressure of just sitting there like that together and watching.  I think it drove him wild and he dove on me."

"Oh god."

"It's funny, isn't it?"

"Yeah."

"We used to spend hours in bed together.  He knew every nuance.  I guess some men are just like that.  He wasn't handsome like the others.  He had soul and such largesse of spirit.  I'll never know another one like him.  He didn't have a selfish bone in his body."

"Maybe that's what's wrong with Jeff," Miranda sighed loudly.

"All he does is think about himself in bed."

"I know what you mean."

"I always fake it."

"That's terrible."

The women slid themselves out of their beach chairs in unison.  Cerise rubbed herself against the sand to make a nice soft hollow.  She opened her thighs to the sun's warmth and let her mind drift to the times in that room and his sandpapery hands, and the slow and easy way that he had opened her as if she had been some kind of locked thing.  She tried to imagine the feel of him now in the sun's caress. Hardly any noble men exist anymore, she thought. I was lucky to have known such a prince among them in this lifetime.

"Cerise, do you think chivalry is dead?"

"Not really."

Cerise closed her eyes tightly to hold back a sea of tears.  If she concentrated long enough and hard enough she could almost bring back his scent, almost bring back the feel of his palms tracing all along her.  She let her mind float back to the rooms where they made love to each other for hours and hours, talking and laughing and finally cooking and then tumbling back into each other's arms and talking about books or the sea.

The crinkles that formed around his eyes would live on, forever in her memory now, because he had died.  Or had he?

_______
© 2004 Valentine Bonnaire. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Bio:  Valentine Bonnaire's work has appeared at The Erotica Readers and Writers Association, Clean Sheets, and Slow Trains Literary Journal under various noms de plume. She is a contributing editor at Clean Sheets magazine, and this year hopes to write "that novel." Visit Valentine at www.velvetbabe.com


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