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Radiance
© 2003 by Tulsa Brown



"But, Lise, you promised you'd go to the Christmas party with me."

"Darrel, that was before we broke up," I said.

"I told everyone a month ago you'd be coming."

"You should have found another date."

"I haven't been well." Darrel sniffled. "Besides, you know I miss you." His voice tugged on me, a dog pawing my leg under the table.

I sighed. "I'll see if I can find a dress."

Darrel Groening was lank-haired and lean, forever on the verge of a cold. I'd met him the previous spring and within fifteen minutes I'd known he wasn't the right species, never mind the right person. Yet I'd limped through a whole excruciating summer with him, and taken two more months to break it off. That was because I'd been born in Trent, Minnesota, where women had five more commandments than everyone else.

1. Never accept a compliment 2. Never refuse a gracious invitation. 3. Never pay full price. 4. Never complain. 5. Never break your word.

They weren't written down anywhere, but growing up I'd heard them more often than the other ten. When I'd moved to New York at the age of twenty-five, I didn't have to pack them—they were already under my skin.

Despite his precarious health, Darrel was pretty sharp. He not only figured out the extra commandments, he learned to play them like a video game. Extending number 2 into number 5 was a particular skill of his. And sex? Well, he was lucky there was number 4.

The inevitable party came too soon. I found myself in the corporate ballroom of a Manhattan office building one night in mid-December, against my will and entirely with my consent. Darrel put on a brave front for a man with terminal sinus congestion, and he wheeled me around the room on his arm, showing me off like a new watch. I was alarmed to discover how much people already knew about me, but even more irritated by his introduction.

"This is my girlfriend, Lise. It rhymes with 'please.'"

I smiled through gritted teeth.

"My, she is a little thing," big, beautiful people boomed at me. The term in Trent, Minnesota is 'slight,' as in 'slight women shouldn't wear loud colors,' and 'slight women should never look too happy—it makes all the other women miserable.'

There was no danger of that. I was lost in the swirl of glamorous strangers, wearing a simple satin dress in pastel blue with dyed-to-match sandals, a direct consequence of commandment number 3. Surrounded by chic cocktail black, I felt like an escaped bridesmaid. I downed two glasses of wine and wondered how I could feign illness without igniting Darrel's competitive streak.

"Ooh, boy, watch out for this one," he whispered abruptly in my ear. "Major corporate bitch at three o'clock."

Even from halfway across the room, I decided Maybird Howe was the most extraordinary-looking woman I'd ever seen. A tall, generously proportioned African-American, she broke enough rules of propriety to make the women of Trent howl. Full breasts swelled dangerously over her low cut gown, and her bare arms were nearly as large as my thighs—and certainly more curvaceous. She walked toward us in a slow, swaying undulation, her gold and red beaded dress shimmering. She looked like Mardi Gras at night, a rave of color against her dark, abundant flesh.

I was mesmerized at first, too intimidated to speak. Maybird seemed to float on a smooth cloud of confidence, and even her small talk sparkled with wit. When she looked at me, I felt I was standing in a sunbeam. Where did a woman come from, I wondered, to have this kind of radiance? Darrel ducked away shortly after the introductions, supposedly to get me another drink. Maybird showed no sign of leaving, although I was sure I was boring her to blindness. I struggled to find the voice I knew I used to have.

"Is Maybird really your name?" I asked finally.

She arched an eyebrow and tilted her head. "Is that limp noodle really your fiancée?"

"No! Oh, God, no." Is that what he'd been telling people? I fluttered and flapped like an alarmed bird, desperate that she know the truth. A slow smile lit up her round, calm face.

"I'm glad. His office is only on the fifteenth floor, you know. A splendid creature like you should be dating well above the twentieth."

The words made me hum with warm, unexpected pleasure, but she'd nailed me directly on number 1. I backed away from the compliment so fast I could have knocked someone over.

Maybird watched me, still smiling, yet there was a new intensity to her liquid, lioness eyes.

"Come up to my office. I want my view to enjoy you," she said.

Her view to enjoy me? Was I drunk or was she teasing me? Yet I did want to go with her, more than I'd wanted anything in a long time.

"Well, maybe for a few minutes," I said.

Riding the elevator up to the thirty-seventh floor, I was engulfed by Maybird's presence, the dizzying scent of her perfume, chrysanthemums or another lush, heavy flower. I found myself gazing at her gown, wondering what her generous hip would feel like if I ran my hand over it, the soft press of flesh under the sleek, nubbly surface of the beadwork. I was shocked that I wasn't shocked.

She had magnetic key cards for everything—the elevator, the closed hallway, her own office. Leading me through this last door, she switched on two wall sconces, but the rich oak paneling and leather furniture were already softly illuminated. All of Manhattan was lighting up this room.

"Oh," I breathed. The window was the length of one wall, a magnificent, glittering panorama. It drew me over without a thought and I stood, hands on the waist-high sill, steadying myself against the thrilling rush of vertigo.

"Now do you see why you should date above the twentieth floor?" Maybird asked. "Beauty deserves beauty."

I turned with a self-conscious laugh, prepared to argue, but the nervous noise died in my throat. She was very close now, and I was silenced by the sienna landscape in front of me, the near-nakedness of her bare arms and plunging cleavage. Maybird leaned her generous ass against the edge of the desk, beadwork rubbing the wood in an exciting crystalline growl.

She smiled. "Take your shoes off, little miss, if they hurt your feet." The name nipped me, a tiny bite in a secret place. Yet, she was right—I was sliding forward in my cheap sandals, toes cramping. I stepped out of them with relief, dropping three inches in front of her.

"And your stockings."

"Pardon?"

"When you stand on my desk, I don't want you to slip."

Had I heard right? I was bewildered. I glanced out the plate glass window again, at the vast spread of buildings glowing in the December night. I could see right into the lighted offices across the street, the abandoned desks and filing cabinets clearly defined in the hard fluorescence. And if I could see them...

Maybird moved in closer and stroked my hair, easing it off my neck. She left her warm hand on my bare shoulder, and the heat permeated through my whole body.

"They've all gone home. And if someone did see, do you think they'd recognize you tomorrow on the sidewalk? You're safe, you're free." Her smile was superior, glimmering with seasons of experience. "I want my view to enjoy you, little miss."

That name again. My sex lips were thickening between my thighs. I felt a long way from Trent, emboldened by two glasses of wine and the touch of this strong, exciting woman. How old was she? Thirty-five, forty? All I knew was that her voice held me in thrall. I wanted to fall into it, like a river, and be carried away. I turned discreetly and reached under my skirt to slide the pantyhose off. For a brazen second I thought of slipping out of my panties, too, but...no.

My bare legs whispered in surprise against each other. Maybird held out her hand for the soft wad of my stockings, which she tossed into the wastepaper basket. I stared after them, stung by a parting shot of conscience. They'd cost fifteen dollars.

"Up you go."

I stepped onto the leather chair, then up to the gleaming wooden desk top, straightening slowly, lightheaded with the sudden height and strange perspective. It didn't seem like the same room anymore. I was facing the office's back wall as Maybird's voice drifted out to me.

"Turn around to the window. Tell me what you see."

I swivelled with tiny, cautious steps, bare feet sticking to the polished surface. Then I laughed, exhilarated.

"Oh, my God, it's beautiful! It's like the Milky Way." From this new angle, the hard edge of the sill vanished from my field of vision. All I could see were endless lights, a galaxy glittering on and on. If I stared forward, there was no office and no window, and my perception of depth dissolved. I was simply floating in the lights, as one of them. It was magical, and strangely... familiar. For an instant I was a child again, lying under the vast prairie night sky, believing I was one of the stars.

"Yes, the Milky Way," Maybird murmured. Then, "Take your dress off. Let it fall to your feet."

My clit swelled at the unthinkable wickedness. To bare my body in front of a full length window, simply for another's woman's pleasure, so that she could...what?

Enjoy the view.

"Now, little miss."

The demand in her voice was thrilling. My heart fluttered as I reached behind and grasped the tab, the zipper teeth parting in a purr of acquiescence. My pussy was slick, the engorged lips pressing against the taut crotch of my cotton panties. I wondered what color I'd chosen this morning, and if it would suit her.

A rustle told me Maybird was still waiting. I shrugged off the tiny straps and let the fabric fall into a tumble of blue satin around my ankles.

"Ahh." Her sigh was a croon of appreciation, a caress along my naked back. The sound spoke to my nipples, which finished hardening in the open air, aching to be touched. A tiny corner of my mind was aghast, unable to believe I was truly standing here, exposed to the night city. Yet the rest of me wasn't thinking at all. I was simply part of the sky, a wet and throbbing star, beautiful, powerful, ravenous.

The swish of her gown pulled me back to earth. I didn't dare look down as her breath swept over the back of my legs, but when she opened her mouth in a luscious kiss on my calf, a hot V of pleasure shot up through my womb. I swayed.

"I might fall," I whispered.

"All right, sit down."

I lowered myself to the desktop, letting her pull my dress away so it wouldn't be crushed. She shook out the wrinkles and crossed the room to drape it carefully over a chair. I sat on the desk with my legs dangling, a child who'd been perched on the counter to stay out of the way. I desperately wanted to touch myself and didn't dare.

Maybird sauntered back to me, her holiday gown swinging with its own luxurious weight, her brown eyes gleaming in a tease. A laughing lioness. As she drew up against the desk, I spread my knees wide to encompass her ample hips, and reached up to embrace her. She caught my wrists and firmly returned my hands to my sides, palms flat on the desk.

"I have a ruler in my drawer," she said pleasantly. "Don't make me get it out."

My clit throbbed at the startling thought.

Maybird kissed me, a sweet sucking of astonishing power. I felt as if she was drawing my sex up into her mouth. She cupped my breasts, rolling my hard nipples into tight points. I spread my legs painfully as I tried to inch closer to her curving belly, a vain hope of rubbing my pussy against her beaded dress. I moaned with mindless want, a hungry little animal.

At last she stroked me between the legs with her thumb, a stripe of pleasure that made me gasp.

"My, those panties are nice and wet, little miss."

"Oh, yes...oh, please." I tried not to whimper.

"Lie down on my desk."

I stretched out on the spacious wooden surface, and it was as hard and uncomfortable as I feared—for half a minute. After that I forgot about it completely. Maybird unzipped her own gown and eased her huge, soft breasts from their confinement, bending over to gather me into an earthy embrace. I suckled on one and stroked the other, nursing eagerly on the plump, heavy flesh. She stripped my panties off and pushed my knees to my chest, my pussy a wet crescent that she opened, stroked and teased.

Finally she plunged two fingers deep into my cunt, her thumb still lodged against my erect clit. For a fleeting second I thought of how it must look through her window, the pale shock of my slender schoolgirl's body curled up in her dark arms, nursing on her like a child, getting fucked by her strong hand. But I was beyond caring. I wasn't of this earth, my planet was pleasure, rocking, sucking, moaning.

Coming. My inner muscles clutched, spasms of bliss shaking me in pulsing white waves. I ground and twisted against her hand, thrusting my orgasm over one crest, then another, riding it greedily, joy bursting in my tits and toes. And all the while I was enveloped by the softest pillow in the world.

It was so strange to get dressed again. The concept of clothes and a life outside this room seemed alien to me. I glanced in the wastebasket at my stockings, and it was hard to remember what they were for, never mind that I'd sighed over their loss.

I noticed Maybird watching me, her eyes occasionally glancing at the desktop, the place where I'd shed myself and become one of the stars. I was

haunted by the mystery. What had she seen in me, or heard in my voice? How had she known what the view would do to me? What she would do to me?

"Where are you from?" I asked.

Maybird's face was as calm and luminous as polished oak, but there was a glimmer in her eyes. "Oh, nowhere, really. Just a small city in the mid-west."

I felt a clutch. "Not...Trent."

The game was up and she smiled broadly. "No, I'm from Arthur, Minnesota. But it's very close, hardly a day's run -"

"For a lame dog," I finished the colloquialism for her, stunned. The revelation opened up inside me. No wonder Maybird had my number. She had them all, 1 through 5—the damning extra commandments we'd both grown up with. And yet here she was in front of me, sensual, self-assured, beaming beauty and quiet power. Radiance. It gave me a shot of hope that bubbled out in a laugh.

"You know, I don't think I'm going to say goodbye to my 'fiancée' on the way out," I said.

"No, I don't think you are." Maybird extended her hand and I took it, and we stepped into the polished hallway, two celestial bodies glowing in a new night.


© 2003 Tulsa Brown. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.


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