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What Would Aristippus Think

By Raziel Moore
Invisible Lines (Novella)

by Ann Regentin © 2007

Memory: Guardian of Air - A bard sits beside a northern sea, playing his harp for himself alone. Words pour from him, from the depths of knowledge, of lore, and of poetry. He is the guardian of words... he remembers... he names... he tells the stories so they will never be forgotten.

What are your stories? What are the epic songs that tell of your adventures, triumphs, and sorrows? Express yourself in words now... tell your tale, even if only to yourself alone...
Tarot Art © Lunaea Weatherstone 


A harp string is stroked, really, not plucked, rolled over fingers and thumb, singing at the point of release.  Every string has to be tuned just right, or even a perfect touch will result in dissonance.

It would be so easy to forget if he didn't have to play, but unfortunately it's how he makes his living.  If he's not playing, he's teaching, not so much teaching people how to stroke the harp, but teaching them to figure out how.  He can teach someone how to hold one's hands and move one's arms, but the feel of that moment when finger and string connect cannot be taught.  Eventually, a few, a sadly very few, will find it and never let go.  It's addictive, like heroin and cocaine rolled into one, so absorbing that it's easy to forget about the rest of life.

Solitary music can be deeply satisfying.  Otherwise, practicing would be unendurable.  It's best, though, when there's an audience, especially a good audience.  Music is far more than a melodious series of pleasant noises.  It's a form of communication, something he figured out when he was five.  Even then, it was like having a seventh sense, something beyond mere hearing or even the psychic.  He began with the piano, learning the structures of music before he took up the harp and began to learn the art.

Like him, she began with the piano, but she found her niche in flutes and her practice room was full of them, wood, metal, ceramic, glass, even one she made herself out of PVC pipe.  She could play them all, but the one she favored was a keyed flute made of African Blackwood, a kind of midway point between folk flutes and concert flutes.  Its gentle, woody sound was a good match for his Celtic harp, and they used to play together, writing arrangements of old ballads to make the best use of their instruments and abilities.

Playing with her was as profound and intimate as sex, an interweaving of parts that happened on an intuitive level as much as a mechanical one, and also like sex, it took practice before they got good at it. 

The first few times they tried, there were a lot of missed notes and missed beats, and a lot of laughter to take the edge off them, but after a while they knew exactly what to do and what to expect from each other.  The first time they went on stage together, he had to hide a schoolboy grin during the first round of applause, and when he caught her eye, he saw an answering twinkle that her smooth, composed mouth couldn't conceal.  It just didn't get any better.

The problem was that he couldn't stop the harp from speaking, and it kept crying for her flute. He had to feel in order to play, and the only thing he could feel was the dull, shapeless misery lodged in his chest, part memory and part wishful thinking.

Even now, he wasn't sure if he'd been asking too much.  He was demanding, he knew that, and he didn't always know when he was being unreasonable, so even when he tried to let go of a thing, there was something inside him that cried out for redress.  In music, it drove him to find that blend of heart and skill that made people willing to pay to hear him, but it tended to wreak havoc in his personal life. 

Unfortunately, he could not shut it off at will.  He was like this or he wasn't, and if he wasn't, he couldn't play.  Middle ground had eluded him all his life, and probably always would.

It certainly continued to elude him now, when the sight of the harp made him sick with loss, then sick with dread at the thought of being reminded of that loss.  He wanted to put it down for good, become a bookkeeper or a stockbroker, but he was too far along this road now. 

There were expectations, commitments, not to mention the problem of inertia.  It had been so long since he'd had a regular job that he wasn't sure he remembered how.

She was also difficult, and didn't seem to know it.  She had almost no temper at all, which should have made things easy, but it made them harder because he couldn't tell how strongly she felt about a thing until it was too late.  He was always guessing, and he didn't have the patience for that.  It was a source of chronic discord in their day-to-day life that they could never seem to resolve.

Every morning, he went through the rituals of waking like a drone: shower, shave, dress, a cup of coffee, and then he faced down the harp, with its smooth shoulder to remind him of her head when she settled in his arms with her back to him, her body molding itself against his chest.  He fiddled with strings, tuning them with meticulous attention until he could procrastinate no longer.

The harp shared an advantage with other stringed instruments in that it allowed the musician to play more than one note at a time, like kissing her neck while rolling a nipple under his thumb, inhaling the soft scent of her perfume.  When he held her like this, he had free rein over the parts of her body he liked best and an irrational, wonderful sense that she was helpless.  Certainly, she was limited in what she could reach.  She couldn't even kiss him without craning her neck, which she did from time to time, running her hands back and forth over his thighs.  Sometimes she would catch one of his hands, kissing his palm and sucking his fingers until he went back to his exploration of her belly and breasts, his lips moving from neck to shoulder and back again.

Another delight to this position was that it put his erection into direct contact with her rear end.  She had a lovely ass, and his dick was passionately fond of it.  The sight of it in a pair of snug jeans or a sleek ball gown was enough to derail his attention, and it took considerable self-control to think about anything except grabbing that that nice, round butt and nuzzling it with his cock.  Sitting like this, he could do so with impunity, grinding himself against that plushy curve.

She was as responsive to his touch as his harp, moaning low in her throat when he played with her breasts, her chest a sound box amplifying the soft vibration of her vocal cords.  Her tone lifted, became more anxious, when his hand drifted down to her pussy, his middle finger dividing the swollen lips.  This was a difficult position for a finger-fuck, but perfect for finding her clit because it was the easiest thing to reach and, for a harpist, the easiest thing to handle.  He simply rolled it, as if it were a string.

Her sounds became less sensual and more primal as he worked, her touch on his legs more absent.  He pinned her against his body, his other hand on her breast pinching the nipple between finger and thumb, his sense of mastery increasing his own excitement.  He liked it when she came because it meant she was truly enjoying it, not just humoring him but he liked to make her come because it made him feel strong.  He could do this to her.  He was the one who brought her to this extremity, and the one who cradled her in his arms as she held her breath, froze, then gasped and trembled, completely helpless. 

Grateful, too.  She would do anything he wanted after she came.

What he wanted was easy.  He nudged her upward and held his cock in the general direction of where he wanted it to go, letting her do the fine-tuning as she settled back onto his lap, filling her cunt with him.  He leaned back as she leaned forward, both of them searching for depth as he rocked his hips.  He liked this view of her, liked to run his hands up and down the hourglass curve of her waist and hips, soak in the sight of this beautiful woman he was fucking until he could fuck her no more, accelerando to a thunderous, blissful crescendo, then diminuendo into silence as they relaxed into each other.

She was gone.  Although his head knew it was better that way, he could not separate his heart and his harp, and he wasn't sure if his sound had more strength and depth for it or if he was merely being pathetic. 

It made him reluctant to perform, because he didn't want anyone to know how weak he really was, how much he was still hurting, but the need to play overrode both grief and humiliation because it was older than both.  He had learned to play the harp long before he learned to love.

He knew that his harp was enough, that he was enough, but there were songs he couldn't play now because they were incomplete without her African Blackwood flute.

© 2007 Ann Regentin. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Bio: Who is Ann Regentin? Read her bio on the Erotica Readers & Writers Association website.

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