The Butterfly House by Lara Nickles

Here’s the thing. The mosques’ calls to prayer never all start at exactly the same time. And I get it. What time is “just before dawn” anyhow? It’s subjective and I respect and accept that. Except, and as romantic as some may find it, the gently raucous call coming across a purple-veiled dawn, and over the clatter of ancient air conditioners, can I say, when your hotel is within a stone’s throw of six local mosques, it would be really, really nice if they could arrange to start all at the same time, get it over with, and let me, an unworthy infidel, roll over and get back to sleep.

If I sound cranky, it’s because on one particular Saturday morning when this occurred to me, I was. And very cranky because I had the worst hangover since Creation, since when Eve woke up naked on a balmy twenty-two degree Saturday morning in the Garden of Eden and found “Adam” tattooed on her butt.

I got up, went over to the sliding balcony door and slid it open just a few inches to let in some humid warmth – hotels in equatorial Asia are like freezer boxes. It was then I noticed in the dim room mirror my nighty was on inside out, and back to front. I threw it off. It was then I realised I remembered not a single thing about getting home to my hotel room last night – or was it this morning? Most likely morning. It was then – so it felt – that I had just been smacked straight in the middle of the forehead by something heavy and blunt, such was my headache. I took some pills and drank a bottle of water and staggered around in the dawn gloom like a marionette zombie until the pills kicked in. I went back to bed.

Somewhere around nine I was woken by my buzzing phone. While summonsing the will to lift my head, I lay on my back listening to the usual hotel morning bustle outside my room in the corridor – the rattle of trolleys, tap, tap, tap on doors, the polite but insistent singsong cries, ‘Housekeeping… Housekeeping…’ which tacitly admonish, ‘Hey! It’s late now. Get up lazy bones!’

No tapping at my room though. Even when senseless drunk I can still remember to put out the DND sign. I checked my phone. No drunken texts to ex-lovers. No drunken emails telling a sister, whom I love dearly, that I still think she’s a cow for stealing my boyfriend back in ‘93, then marrying him, then having his gorgeous babies. No wee-hours calls to my husband, ‘Hey. Kids asleep? Ask me what I’m wearing.’

The text from Caroline that buzzed my phone said, ‘pu 1pm get urslf some lunch first pack lite ill show you krakatoa’

Caroline never uses punctuation. Life’s too short apparently. Despite everything, I do remember last night agreeing to a little weekend road trip with Caro. Something about Krakatoa.

By 1 p.m. I was downstairs in the cool marble cave of the lobby complete with chandelier stalactites, sitting with a leg crossed, dangling a sandalled foot and listening to the babble of nations. And people-watching, voyeuring the tiny dramas played out at the hotel check-out (I didn’t use the damn mini-bar!) or at the concierge’s desk (Room fine? She was my sister!). I saw the blonde silhouette of Caro arrive stencilled on the blinding heat of day. The automatic doors threw themselves open with life-or-death urgency. Caro saw me getting up, and without coming in, waved for me to come on, hurry up. Caroline is never in anything less than a hurry, to do anything.

Outside, I found her standing beside a dark blue car-thing which looked like a box with square lifeless holes for windows and semi-circle cut-outs about three times bigger than necessary for the tiny wheels.

I said, ‘Where’s the Honda? Where’s Ibnu?’

‘I’ve given him the weekend off. I bought this for myself to drive. It’s a Kijang.’

‘I know what it is. But why?’

We pecked cheeks. She said, as if this explained everything, ‘Built right here in Jakarta. It’s a 1989 Kijang Super. And it’s all fixed up. I adore them. What do you think?’

‘Does the aircon work?’

‘Yes, of course it does. It’s brilliant.’

‘At least the windows are tinted. Did you sell your motorbike?’

‘No. Still got it.’

I’ve been out with Caro in the wee hours, me riding pillion and screaming my head off in terror/delight. She takes her bike out when drunk. She takes it out at one or two or three in the morning because that’s the only time the roads are clear and she can give it any beans. I know nothing about motorbikes, so I had no idea it was about the coolest bike you could own until my kids told me when I showed them a picture of me pretending to ride it. They said, ‘Hey Mum! That’s a Royal Enfield. A vintage one.’ Whyever that’s significant.

Approaching the Tangerang tolls, the five then ten-wide lanes of traffic jostled to a halt. And with the halt came the vendors. I had a guy tapping my window with a plastic water bottle. ‘Air minum,’ he announced through the glass, though he knew I knew and we all knew he was selling bottles of air minum, drinking water, and nothing else.

‘Berapa harga?’

‘Dua belas ribu.’

‘Delapan ribu.’


Having just argued over sixteen cents (but hey, I won), I nodded. As I started to crank the window down, the winder knob came off in my hand. I cracked the door and handed out the 10,000 rupiah note and the guy handed me a bottle of tepid water and was off. ‘Hey, Panas! Panas! Aku dingin!’ Then to Caro, ‘Asshole.’

‘You want it ice cold out here in the middle of a toll plaza in the blazing tropical sun? Well done snowflake.’

‘He said it was cold.’

‘No he didn’t. You assumed it was cold. Anyhow, you said “I am cold”. That’s why he was laughing. You should have said, “Aku mau dingin.”’

‘Silly me. What am I going to do with it now? I can’t drink hot water.’

‘Give it to me.’ Caro produced a piece of string with a noose at one end and a little metal hook of bent paper clip at the other. From a hole on the dash, she suspended my water bottle over the centre aircon vent and turned the fan up.

‘Genius,’ I said.

Beyond the tolls, the traffic got fast, stupidly fast considering as well we weren’t wearing seatbelts. It slowed as eventually we exited the environs of Jakarta and entered onto highway 3 across to the industrial and petrochemical coast of Merak and Cilegon. At the coast we continued on H3 south entering more what I would call rural western Java.

The traffic thinned and the highway diminished to a sometimes-divided, ill-kept blacktop with dirt and rubble and water-filled potholes either side. Near each of the many villages which the roadway squeezed through, motorbikes and pushbikes kept to the verge. The riders bobbed up and down through the potholes like merry-go-round jockeys. Goats grazed blithely on rubbish not even a metre from the roaring certain-death of the tarmac. And chickens. Well, skinny chickens everywhere doing whatever it is that chickens feel worthwhile doing with their short, tiny lives.

Somewhere along H3, Caro said cautiously to the windscreen, ‘I must say, I saw another side of you last night.’

‘I’ve been drunk before.’

‘No. This was something different.’

‘Who won?’

‘You don’t remember much at all, do you? I won. Sixteen – thirteen. And you knocked over most of your last one so that really shouldn’t count.’

‘Only thirteen. Pfft. I couldn’t have been trying. My record is seventeen.’

‘Before collapsing.’

‘The time you are referring to, I did not collapse, if you don’t mind,’ I giggled. ‘I merely relaxed to the floor. So tell me, what hadn’t you seen before? What drunken philosophy was I spouting off this time?’

‘Well, for one, you kissed me.’

Please God… ‘Where?’

‘On the lips.’

‘I meant, you know, where were we?’

‘In the bathrooms.’

‘Anyone around?’

‘Only the bathroom maid.’

‘I hope you resisted.’ I flinched, feeling myself blush now. I tilted up the aircon vent which fluffed out my hair and refreshed me. And with a sigh of resignation – resigned to the fact that Caro as usual was going to embarrass me all day with my behaviours of last night – I settled back into the surprisingly comfortable seat of the Kijang Super, pushed sunglasses up my nose, and closed my eyes.

‘(a),’ I said including the brackets, from behind my eyes. ‘I don’t believe you about the kissing. And (b) I say and do a lot of shit when I’m drunk and we both know that. Wake me up only if we’re about to die.’

We were on the Anyer road, and so dying was forever an imminent prospect, probably death by hitting a cement truck coming down the wrong side of the highway – a cement truck overtaking a lorry overtaking a bus overtaking a guy on a motorbike with a crate of chickens on his lap. Seriously. This is a very real scenario. ‘Cath Barnes Dies of Cement Truck.’

Now, let me just settle back and submit to the drone of the car and the hiss of the wind and a deliciously naughty little daydream.

But alas, Caro interrupted before I could get my fantasy knickers even halfway down. She said, ‘I was thinking…’

So was I. ‘Hm?’

‘I was thinking of creating a new region. Australasia. Covering ANZ, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and all the islands out to Fiji. Take some of the sales and admin pressure off Singapore.’

‘You mean, “you”.’

‘Its own autonomous regional manager. Based in Melbourne of course. Handy for someone?’




‘Oh, okay,’ she moaned in exasperated pain. ‘Not even worthy of a considered “no thanks”. Just a “nope” with a pop on the “puh”. I’m not even going to ask why not. Jesus.’

‘Because I would be reporting to you twenty-four/seven which is never going to happen. And anyway, we both know there’s something in it for you, and that something probably involves you giving me pain.’

‘You don’t like me, do you. Deep down.’

‘You know that’s not true.’ And then when I thought about it, ‘I don’t like anybody.’ Closer to the truth.

Further along we caught glimpses of sun twinkling on the otherwise featureless ocean. I knew where we were. I said, ‘Sunda Straits.’

‘Yes. You know it.’

‘I’ve been out here before. Well, to Merak at least.’

‘Lucky girl.’

‘Krakatoa’s out there somewhere. Isn’t it? Can you see it from here?’

‘I was going to tell you about that. No. But up at my shack, sure. With binoculars. And I have an old mariner’s telescope. I’ll show it to you.’

‘You sound fond of something.’

‘We’re both scientific, rational people. But have you ever found yourself attracted to something for no reason? Spiritually, I mean, when you properly examine it.’

‘Fuck. Is that you?’

‘Please don’t make fun of me. In a past life… I’m sure I was a sailor of the oceans. I think I died around here somewhere. I think I died at Krakatoa. The first time I saw the islands, through binoculars at the time, I got shivers. Real, goose bumpy shivers. I went out on a tourist boat and when we got out there, and being so close I could almost touch an island, I thought I was going to faint. On the breeze I could hear ancient canvas slapping against a mast.’


‘Please don’t do that. And in Singapore a while back I found an old map, a navigator’s map. I’ve got it framed. Again, I’ll show it to you when we get home. I find it really interesting. It speaks to me.’

So it’s not a shack she’s got, it’s a home. Or did she literally mean “home” as in that’s what it means to her now?

Hm. I’ve seen this before. Asia-fever. It can strike at any time. I’ve seen normal rational human beings become spiritually stateless. And when they go home to wherever they’ve come from they are irritable and restless. They don’t belong in England or America or Australia anymore, these places foreign to them and they are aloof. They have abandoned their former lives, adopted their new life in Asia with religious fervour. They have fallen in love with and think they belong to, and here, in Asia now. But they don’t. Asia never lets you in.

Either that or Caro was about to have a nervous breakdown. Always a possibility. She’s highly strung.

We slowed at a village and before I knew what was happening, we had swung left and were heading inland away from the coast, but first down through a busy market engulfing the road like a striped-canvas amoeba. Caro gently and politely, but expertly and assertively, pressed forward with the car, weaving in slow motion through the bustling vendors and oncoming motorbikes, with perhaps only inches to spare us from knocking over barrows and tables. The smoke of cooking fires rose everywhere and the car filled with delicious odours. I’d had only a cucumber salad and a cup of tea for brunch given the initial ferocity of my hangover. Now my stomach gave a growl. All around us crowed bold little roosters which pretty soon would end up sitting quietly on skewers as satay ayam over a charcoal grill.

The road cleared, started to climb and wind. Very soon we were in the cooler light and air of a jungle forest. After many dizzyingly sharp bends scraped into the mountainside, and with my ears popping, Caro pulled the car into a cut-out, beside us a steep drop into a lush green hell. Insects chattered. ‘Come on,’ she said, hopping out. I went around and met her at the rear of the Kijang where we stood a moment, hands on hips, stretching our legs. ‘Just down here,’ she said. We stopped at a large, white-painted rock stained by red earth.

‘It’s a rock.’

‘Now look down there,’ she said. Way, way down below us, just over beyond the smoke drifting up from the village we had come through, sat the hazy ocean.

‘Nice view.’

‘When Krakatoa went off for the last time, the big one, out there on the horizon forty-something kilometres away, people all along the coast of Java here were killed. The explosion was heard as far away as Australia. Some in the village down there – as it existed at the time – the day before knew what the early explosions and rumblings meant. They packed up their things and started running, up here, up this mountain, Bukit Hijau. But they didn’t climb high enough. No one did. The tidal wave that hit Merak was fifty metres tall as it crossed the shore. Down here at Anyer the boiling wash made it all the way up the mountain to where we’re standing right now. Can you imagine. That white rock marks the place. If you were caught below this level, you perished. Come on. Let’s go. I can see you’re riveted.’

Pulling into the drive of a secure, walled community of mountain residences, we halted at the black and white striped boom gate. It raised for us in advance and a portly middle-aged man stepped out of the guard booth. He was in tan uniform and wore a truncheon and a holstered handgun. He frowned at the car in mock horror, threw up his hands in surrender, then grinned with pleasure as he approached on Caro’s side. Through her window they had a friendly conversation, lots of smiling and waving of hands, all in Caro’s fluent Bahasa. Now and then she waved a hand at me, and I grinned back as if somehow involved in this conversation. Suddenly the tone became hushed and conspiratorial. Caro gestured for me to reach behind and get her bag. She took two notes from her purse – two one hundred thousand Rupiahs – folded them in half and crushed them into the hand of the guard who spirited them away into a pocket. Nothing to see here. That was about ten dollars all up, a lot of money for a tip. Mr. Bedah was loud and chatty once more and leaned down and in English said to me, ‘Have a wonderful evening won’t you Ms. Barnes!’

Caro moved the car off up along the winding drive.

‘What was that about?’ I said.

‘Oh just organising some entertainment.’

‘What entertainment?’

‘A folk band. A Gamelan folk band. For later.’

‘And the money? What was that about?’

Caro took a long while answering. ‘Actually, sometimes it’s best there are no entries in the visitor log.’

‘Why not? Caro?’

‘Because… because last night I learned something about you. Or at least something you wanted me to believe. So let’s see…’

‘Let’s see if I’m full of shit. Like what? I hate mysteries.’

‘Here we are,’ she said, ignoring me, pulling under a vine-covered pergola, the vine dangling cream-coloured trumpets. I think it’s called the dangling cream-coloured trumpet vine. Hanging from a lintel was a carved wooden sign, “Rumah Puku Puku.”

‘The Butterfly House,’ I offered.

As we alighted and stretched, Caro said, ‘Know what? I’m glad you refused my offer.’

‘So why?’

‘I’d hate to think you felt obliged to me.’

‘I wouldn’t anyhow. But how is that important?’

No answer. Walking in under a second pergola at the front doors to the residence, I said, ‘How come I never heard about your secret little shack until now?’

‘I wasn’t sure I wanted to show it to you until last night. Well, I’m still not, really. I can always send you home in a taxi.’

‘I’ll sleep in the car. Is this where you bring all the boyfriends no one ever sees?’

‘It might. Or it might simply be my refuge. Occam’s razor.’

‘If you’ve got a big fluffy cat which you stroke while muttering under your breath about world domination, I’m out of here.’

‘It’s not the world I want to dominate.’

In through the panelled front door, as typical here, at every opportunity, carved rare endangered timbers featured strongly.

‘How many rain forests died for this place?’

‘If it makes you feel any better it’s all reclaimed. And the concrete is low carbon.’

‘That’s what they tell you.’

Rooms to the left and right lay deep in mysterious Eastern shadow. Down a short flight of steps a display room, everywhere shelves for books, dead things, varnished timber cabinets of trinkets.

‘Christ,’ I said. ‘So what’s this? A cabinet of dicks?’

‘They’re Indonesian carved phalluses. Most are bone or horn. I’ve been collecting them for years. Find them in the oddest places.’

‘I bet,’ I chuckled.

‘Not in that way, idiot. They bring luck and fertility. Not that I want fertility. The sight of such a rampant erection is supposed to excite competitive performance in males as well as erotically stimulating the woman. Or these smaller ones… A woman can leave one under her man’s pillow to let him know she’s in the mood.’

‘Subtle. Do they work?’

‘Well, as dildoes, you mean? Yes. I’ve tried them all. Try this one for yourself…’ She pulled the cabinet open and selected one which was basically a white onyx shaft textured like bamboo, curving upward and terminating in a swollen toadstool-shaped bulb, while on top of the shaft just behind the bulb, kind of riding it, sat a polished-smooth gecko with bulging eyes. And a smile.

Parts down south puckered in self-defence. ‘No thanks.’

‘Well, you know where it is. I thought you might like them. You told me last night you love everything about cocks except what they’re attached to. How is Tom by the way?’


‘The boys?’


Having censored me with a pause, she said, ‘Anyhow, I really wanted to show you this.’

On the wall next to the cabinet of dicks hung a framed map of the world. This was the navigator’s map Caro mentioned earlier. I got the point of Caro’s wonder. This map, centred on the Indian ocean, measured around only twenty-four by eighteen inches and yet it sufficed to navigate a ship and crew halfway around the world and, presumably, back again. Caroline put a fingertip on the pencil line made by the navigator, starting at the left at The Netherlands, traced it down the west coast of Africa and around the cape. The line went north, called in at Mahajanga, then continued north-east. Out in the Indian ocean, Caro put her finger on a gap in the line and indicated to me some faint writing.

She said, ‘I think it says something like “wij laten alle hoop los.” If so it says, “Abandoned all hope.”’

‘A storm?’

‘Who knows. But whatever it was, they survived and made it up to Rangoon. And then down the coast of Siam, and around Sumatra. And look! Here! It sailed up through the Sunda Straits.’ Caro’s eyes were on fire. ‘It would have sailed up through right there, down there.’ She was stabbing a finger down toward the outside horizon. ‘If we’d been standing exactly here in September 1797, we would have seen her.’ She took a deep breath and sighed through her nose. ‘Come meet Siti.’

I had registered the shadow of a figure down in the lowest pavilion. When we got there, Caro introduced me to Siti, a most beautiful middle-aged woman. She wore tan shirt and pants with a maid’s pinafore. She greeted and welcomed me in both English and Indonesian. We shook hands. She had laid out ready tea, ice cold water in dripping glasses, and a platter of fruit complete with hand-carved rare endangered turtle-shell forks for the varieties of melon. Siti waved a hand, gesturing please, sit and refresh. Caro, not sitting but helping herself to some duku, said, ‘Siti and her husband own this residence and kindly lease it to me. Isn’t it wonderful? It’s their retirement business, can I say it like that?’

Siti smiled and nodded, embarrassed to have her wealth referred to. ‘We love Caroline.’ She gave Caro a sidelong hug. ‘We are afraid every day she might tell us she’s leaving. And we will lose a good friend.’

‘You know I’m never leaving,’ admonished Caro. ‘You will be burying me here on this mountain.’

Where may you rest in peace overseeing your beloved straits and Krakatoa.

Siti smiled at me enigmatically. ‘It’s nice Caroline has a friend.’

With Siti sublimed into a puff of shadow, Caro showed me my room, in particular my bed, a huge white expanse of sheet with a dozen crisp white cushions all over it, and a huge meringue of bridal veil which I understood before Caro explained it was actually the mosquito net. But of course my erotic mind was not focused on mosquitoes. I saw a man, a brown-skinned man (am I allowed to say that?) on his back in the centre of the sheet, misty behind the veil of net. He grinned at me insolently, hand gliding up and down the oiled vertical shaft of his cock. I love sexy insolence. I love images of oiled cocks. The image was so vivid I said, ‘Fuck.’

‘What’s up?’ said Caro.

‘Is that the ensuite? Looks beautiful.’

Caro took me into the pink marble-tiled room. She indicated the vast shower cubicle. ‘There are also jets you can turn on,’ she said, pointing out little nozzles placed randomly up and down three walls. ‘There’s the tap down there. Be prepared though. Turn that thing on and there’s no escape. You may never want to come out. But just remember,’ she cautioned. ‘I can hear if the taps are running.’

‘Yours the same?’

‘I do yoga in mine.’

‘Fuck,’ again. Goosebumps now.

* * *

Unpacked and back down in the lounge in a reclining chair way to comfortable to resist, conversation cut adrift… Did I doze off?

Perhaps I did. One moment Caro is at the windows, motionless in silhouette, staring out at the horizon and fragile fisher-craft in the offing, hands clasped behind her back like an admiral. And the next? Had I asked her something? I don’t remember what, if I had. It must have been unimportant. Anyhow, I got no answer and she just stood there at the window. Then in the next moment, so it seemed, she was gone.

Pushing from my chair upright, stretching, I wondered where she’d disappeared to. It was 4 p.m. or thereabouts I guessed, too lazy to look at my phone. I went up a level of stairs and could hear kitchen noises off to my left. Up another level of stairs, I found Caro standing in the doorway of her bedroom, leaned back against the jamb, ankles crossed, phone in two hands. She tapped at it with her thumbs. She was naked except for a pair of white briefs. If she’d heard me, there was no sign.

‘Nice tits,’ I said.

Without looking up, she said, ‘I’m having a nap. You can do whatever you like. Go for a walk around the grounds or something. They’re beautiful. Might inspire you. There’s a pool, tennis court, outdoor gym. I’ll see you downstairs in the dining room at six. Dress as you like. There’s a bunch of sarongs in the chest over there. Help yourself. It’s very informal here.’

Now she looked up, pushed sinuously from a lean to upright. Her body rippled with the lithe effort. Her breasts trembled then resumed their taut laissez-faire. Each nipple carried a halo of dark hairs. After the tiny shock of noticing this, it seemed only natural. It met and mated with the subdued sensuality of Puku Puku. As I would discover later, everywhere else on her body Caro was immaculately hairless and that too seemed natural here. And me? Well, not so immaculate. There came a tingle. I wished I was alone in this house. I love being alone in sexy places. I could find a quiet, private corner, something that always arouses me.

‘See you at six.’

* * *

Watching the golden orb of sun set on the straits. Caro said, ‘Take a look. Should be just about right now.’

I pushed my plate away, empty for other than half a dozen satay skewers and some chili sweet potato that was just a wee bit too chili. At the cinema-like windows there were two tripods, one with an old brass telescope on it, the other modern binoculars.

At the binoculars I could see the islands of Krakatoa as misty outlines floating on the evening’s western glow. ‘Nice.’

As I lingered, watching, the sun dipped and gentle twilight began. With Krakatoa gone, I tilted the binoculars to the residence just down the hill.

‘Jeez, Caro. You can see right into their house down there.’

‘I know.’

Not that it interested me particularly that they had some very nice timber-framed furniture and what looked like a huge slab of teak for a dining-table, I was about to look away when I saw a movement, a leg. Someone with their back to the windows was in an easy chair reading a paper within a halo of pale light. They had uncrossed a leg.

‘Oh, there’s someone in there. A bald guy.’

‘That’s Marco.’

‘Who is he?’

‘No idea what he does for a living, if that’s what you mean. All I know is he travels a lot. But you should see his wife. His legit wife. Thirty-something. Tall. Blonde. Slender. A most beautiful Polish woman called Elena. And she travels too, I think mostly goes bling shopping keeping away from Marco. And what everyone in the whole world knows but Elena officially doesn’t know is that Marco’s got three other so-called “wives”. One in Manila, one in Pusan South Korea, and another in Bangkok. He had a fourth, up in Chang Rai. Their apartment was in the woman’s name of course and he came home one day recently and his key wouldn’t open the door. The woman was gone. She’d sold his car and all their stuff and the apartment and cleared off.’

‘Love you short time.’

‘Marco is philosophical. Anyhow, when they’re home together, Elena and Marco, they don’t seem to mind what they get up to down there with the blinds wide open. Let’s just say I know for a fact that Elena earns her keep. So keep watching if that’s your thing.’

‘I have a lot of “things”. Oral?’

‘Oh, of course.’


‘He seems to like bending her over that dining table and taking her from behind. Very roughly. So, hm, yes. I’d say.’

‘Then she goes bling shopping on guilt money.’

Noises, cleaning-up noises, behind. It was Siti with a tray taking care of the plates and glasses and napkins. She laid a fresh table for dessert, refilled our wine glasses from a crystal decanter. Peaceful and competent, going about her business as if simply in the business of being invisible. I wondered if she’d heard the comment about anal sex. Most likely she had, but if so, nothing in that disturbed her serenity.

In a short while, Siti returned in civvies, exchanged a few words of instruction with Caroline. She said to me, ‘Caroline has suggested breakfast tomorrow will be at nine. Not too early. I will bring Nasi Uduk. It’s a traditional Betawi dish. The main component of Nasi Uduk is a white rice cooked in coconut milk and herbs such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, lemongrass and bay leaves. Not too heavy. It is very, very good for a hangover.’

A polite Indonesian woman would never smirk, but I’m sure Siti smirked. She wished us both a good evening and went away up the flights of stairs, and with the distant, echoey clunk of the front door, she went out.

We were alone.

There was that tingle again.

‘Last night…’

‘Oh please. No more about last night. I don’t remember anything.’

‘Well, I’ll tell you anyway. You said you were romantically attracted to men but erotically attracted to women.’

‘You should have asked me what I meant at the time.’

‘I did. And it was as though you’d forgotten already you’d said it. You looked at me puzzled.’

‘So there you go. I’m looking at you puzzled now. That’s the answer to your question, if that was a question. Just let me get expensively drunk in peace. Got any Van Morrison to go with all these candles and the incense?’

‘And you told me you believed in the spirit. You told me you believed in happiness. You told me you believed in love.’ She hesitated. With a shudder of cold dread, I knew what was coming. ‘You told me you loved me.’

‘Is that when I kissed you?’

‘No. I started to cry and went to the bathroom and you followed. That’s when you kissed me.’

‘Why were you crying?’

‘Because you are a liar.’

Caro drained her wine glass, poured another and left a drip as red as blood on the glass-topped table. She leaned over and with outstretched tongue licked it up and drew her tongue slowly back in through pursed lips. The entire gesture seemed so oddly… what? Menstrual?

She said, ‘Ever had an affair?’

‘You mean, behind my husband’s back?’

‘Really? Is there any other kind?’ she said sceptically.

‘There is. There’s the “blind-eye” affair, a bit like Marco and Elena I think.’

‘Okay, I’ll give you that. But anyhow. Can we keep it simple please? Have you ever had an affair? A regular one?’

‘No. I am the most loyal, dedicated, eat-at-home wife-slash-partner-slash-soul-mate you could ever wish for. Unless he looks like George Clooney then all bets are off. Which he did. So yes.’

‘Was that a yes or a no? I can never tell with you.’

‘It was a yes.’

‘A full-on, passionate, hide-your-dirty-knickers-from-your-husband love affair?’

‘Umm. Yes. But it lasted only until the night he told me he loved me.’

‘Okay. And, until then? Hot and passionate you’re saying?’

‘Could’ve melted lead.’


‘Only that it had to end so soon. You?’

‘I’ve never had anyone long enough to actually cheat on, sad though that may sound. But back to you. As a student of the human condition, I’m curious about these things. What did it feel like, I wonder? You know, the very first time you were about to make love to this guy – to let this other man put his dick in you – knowing that Tom was – was what? Was where? Back at home minding the kids? Or did you perform the act in your marital bed. I’m interested. Please tell me in essence it was super sexy.’

‘If that’s what you want to hear, it was sexy. Very, very sexy. As he put me down onto the bed and kissed me and slipped his body over mine and I felt his cock for the first time nudging at my pussy, a cock that wasn’t Tom’s, my legs just melted open. The rest, the fuck, is just a blur. It’s not the fucking part that I remember.’

Yes it is. OMG it is.

Caro leaned forward at the table onto her elbows and made a gentle sway as she does when composing her thoughts. She wore a sarong, same as me, mine borrowed from the cedar chest just outside my bedroom door. Arms and shoulders bare, this accentuated the tall length of Caro’s sinewy neck. She had freckles on her shoulders. Bleached blonde hair with a severe jet-black dead-straight part to the side, softened by the fringe collapsed like a woman at her sweaty labours. Yes, it’s my secret that beautiful yet unattainable women arouse me. It’s my secret that I have masturbated to the cover of a Vogue magazine.

Caro was silent and as motionless as a hostage with a gun to his head. With the wine glass at her lips, she half-whispered, ‘That. That what you just described, is what I’ve been looking for all my life. And as I have long suspected, it may be that the only way to get that, as you describe it, would be to cheat.’

Caro was motionless and quiet once more. She continued without explanation, ‘I am condemned to seek that gratification in other ways.’

Sure, I may have hammed it up a bit. Or quite a bit. And so I felt rather guilty because Caro’s eyes had become distant and hot, lit with fire again. What was she imagining?

In reality, out of the affair and comparing the Anthony of the affair to my husband Tom, I had realised at the time just how attentive and patient husband Tom really was with my needs. And yet I found the experience sexy as hell when just the once, as it happened, I got to make love to the two men separately but in the one same afternoon, within hours of one another. To my husband, just hours after fucking my lover, ‘God I love you Darling.’ And meaning it. Fucking one man while the pussy-memory of another is still fresh, my God, it’s a thing. Trust me.

‘Caro? Are you in there?’


‘I have a question for you.’


‘Does Siti think I’m your girlfriend?’


‘What she said earlier, about me being your friend. The way she said it. Does she think I’m your romantic friend?’

‘She’ll find out tomorrow cleaning up that we slept in separate beds.’

‘That can be ambiguous.’ A sip of wine. ‘Is it just me or is this getting a bit weird? Do you think?’

‘It gets weirder,’ said Caro, jumping up, responding to some unheard signal. ‘Fasten your seat belt.’

She padded on bare feet up a couple of stairs to where she hesitated abruptly and turned at the waist. ‘Or pull the rip cord?’

‘Seat belt.’

Two steps at a time she scampered up into the night-time shadows of the upper house. I heard the front door, voices, the bump of something heavy hitting the floor. Click.

The music sounding of bells, without losing a single element of beat, and which began simple and melodic, descended into a gently hypnotic chaos. I heard birds, bells, wires singing in the wind, the ocean, Sirens, bottles in slow motion smashing onto rocks, great boats creaking over rogue swells.

And lovers. Oh yes, lovers.

Reclined into a soft, deep sofa I had to remind myself that my wine glass was balanced precariously on my tummy, held down with just a single fingertip on the base, something I do usually just to annoy my husband. It could do with a top-up, but the decanter was way over there on the low table and I was way over here on the sofa, and I figured that if I simply willed the glass to be refilled, it would be refilled. I frowned my frowniest frown at the decanter but alas, like children, dogs and husbands, it refused to obey me.

Caroline appeared in the upper room and padded down the stairs on bare toes with a small plate in each hand.

I said, ‘You know, when you said earlier, “Gamelan folk band”, my brain was pretty much thinking, “male stripper”.’

She set down a plate for me, on the plate a cube of rice curd stained a neon orange by god knows what. Caro’s was Chernobyl green.

‘It’s a folk band.’

Caro refreshed my wine for me. See? Patience is the virtue of the lazy.

Who mentioned Anthony? I did. Who mentioned sex? I did. And now I can’t think about anything else. ‘They’re very attractive,’ I said. ‘For gong players.’

‘They’re kettles. Metallophones if you want to be correct. The tall player is Bejo. The other Beny.’

‘You know them?’

‘Oh yes. Reasonably well.’

‘The girl on the drum?’

‘Mutiara. It means “pearl”. She’s thrumming the kendhang.’

‘Strippers would have been nice.’

Caro can sigh with her eyelids.

A warm, golden-sunned, late autumn day. 11 a.m. Self-control, self-respect in tatters. Desperate, call Anthony. ‘Hey. It’s me.’ He says don’t call on this phone. Not fucking ever. I tell him, ‘I had to. I need you. I need your cock.’ I can’t think about anything else. Twenty minutes to Anthony’s house. Twenty minutes for a fuck. Twenty minutes back to the office. I can do it. Thank God I wore a skirt today. Driving, at a light, panties down and off. Spritz of Joop on my pubes. Anthony’s house and he grunts a surly, ‘Hi.’ I tackle him to the floor just inside, throw my legs wide open. See? No panties. Pull him onto me. He slips his cock inside and in less than no time he’s come and I haven’t come but that’s okay and he won’t go down on me because he’s come inside and that’s okay too so a hot kiss at the door. I eat his beautiful face. Tear myself away. In the car, fuck, skirt, soaking wet. Dash home into an accusing silence. A frantic shower. Anthony’s come on my fingers. I play with it, taste it, suck my fingers. He hasn’t ever come in my mouth but I think it’s time. Then my ass. Fresh skirt. When I went out this morning I was in business-black. When I come home tonight it will be in business-grey. Will Tom notice? Huh? If he does, I could lose everything. Oh my God. Fingers trembling, heart pounding. This is what I want. This is what I need. Back to the office, horny in the car just thinking about how bad I can be. But hey, this is it, as ever. Isn’t it? The thirteen-year-old climbing out a bedroom window at midnight to go smoke. The truant. The runaway.

Caro, half-reclined and relaxed into the sofa over there on the other side of the low table, has raised an arm directly vertical. She makes a flamingo’s head of her hand, surveys the room with it, periscope-like. Electric lights are out now. Just candles, a myriad of them, upstairs with the gong players, just candles downstairs with two slightly intoxicated women lost in their private reveries. And yes incense, dupa, burning, fuming from a domed, brass holder over on the bookshelf. Tentacles of scent and alcohol loosening the barnacles of inhibition. But is it just the incense and the booze, or is it something else? Is it the music, the humid mood, the wine, the arousal, the delicious lethargy in the limbs, that has become narcotic? Caro has made a flamingo of her hand, so I make one too. And our flamingos from across the low glass table duck and weave and dance to the erotic song-line of the gongs.

When I open a slitted eye, I’m not sure at first what I’m seeing, who I’m seeing. But it’s Bejo, the taller one, come to visit us, swaying his ageless body, the music making the sound of fat tropical raindrops now. On his head, batik blangkon, around his waist a batik-plaid sarong in yellows and browns. And he wears a waistcoat, bare chested beneath, of shimmering embroidered golden thread. His skin in the candlelight is dark, smooth, golden-sheened. He backs up to Caro. She slips her hands around, caresses the skin of his tight belly, brings her hands up and captures his manly breasts and tiny nipples. I’m sure his sarong begins to tent at the front. Does it? In this light and the camouflage of the design it’s hard to tell.

With a push on his back Caro sends him over to me. I sit up ready with a stupidly girlish giggle, eager for the touch. He backs up, buttocks pressed against my breasts. Slip my hands around his waist. Down a little. God yes, there inside the sarong his cock is bone-hard like one of Caro’s carved phalluses, straining up under the fabric tight around his waist. I find his cock’s shaft through the fabric, squeeze it, stroke it, masturbate him. Too eager? I’m ready to stroke him all the way. I clamp my thighs against the sensation of something slender and hard slipping into me. A phantom fuck. He chuckles out something to the others still upstairs. Damn. I’d forgotten about them, back off from jerking his cock trying to look innocent, respectable. Wondering, what does sweet little Mutiara think of a grown woman like me playing with the cock of her boyfriend? Just another desperate gweilo perhaps.

‘What did he say?’ I queried of Caroline.

‘He said you’re a sexy lady. Beautiful lady. You’ve got him hard so quickly.’

Tell him he got me wet so quickly, like a… like a me on a hot date.

I push Bejo away to dance for us, swaying sinuously and thrusting his hips now, sure of his audience and more boldly parading the bulge of his erection. Caro’s eyes are fixed on me, narrow and hot, and she makes the shape of the flamingo again with her hand. She makes an obscene gesture with it and I shiver with both arousal and embarrassment.



‘Bullshit. Really?’


‘So let’s be sure. This is about last night.’ Caro nods. ‘In the bathrooms.’ Caro nods. ‘You’re saying I did that to you.’

‘Yes you did. You didn’t just kiss me. You pushed your tongue down my throat, then your fingers – in a bunch like this…’ She demonstrated. ‘Up my cunt. Well, mostly.’

‘I’m sorry.’

‘Huh. Funny thing to say. You certainly weren’t at the time. You were really quite assertive – no, aggressive even – and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. But you know, maybe you will be sorry yet. The night’s still young.’ She smiled softly, ‘Seat belt or rip cord?’

‘Seat belt.’

‘I can always find something to keep you up here in Asia another week. You could call Tom tomorrow. Give him my apologies. Go home when the swelling subsides.’ She chuckled wistfully.

I shivered, pussy hot and moist, in my senses swollen with a desire different to a desire for Tom, different to a desire for Anthony. This – if I examine it honestly – is how I feel watching porn. It’s like nothing else.

Caro composed herself, unflushed her cheeks. Though sat with eyes closed, I could tell she was listening, following the players in the room. Bejo stripped off his sarong, naked now except for the golden jacket. He sat cross-legged on the floor on some cushions, belligerently erect penis curving up from his groin. I thought with a delicious kind of horror that Caro was going to sit on it. And yes she went and backed up to him, but dropped instead onto a cushion just in front between his thighs. She reclined and snuggled back against his chest. Mutiara came down, to watch perhaps, plonked herself onto her bottom on the top step but then seemed fascinated by her fingernails. The bored courtesan, she didn’t care who knew it. Beny came too but all the way down the stairs, floated around our space and without a sound blew out most of the candles. We descended deeper into a twilight. The air grew thick with scented mist. It was now I noticed that beneath her waistcoat jacket, Mutiara’s torso was naked. She sat with her knees up, sarong draped modestly over between otherwise wide-open legs.

Bejo’s disembodied hands came from behind and around Caro, through between her arms and torso, and with fingertips he made sensual designs on her tummy. He scooped her breasts which were still trapped beneath the sarong, yet, it seemed, with the flutter of Bejo’s fingers her breasts floated. Almost on its own, the front of her sarong spilled open like a huge surgical wound. In Bejo’s hands I saw geese fleeing into a sunset. There were those breasts again, the smooth un-erect nipples with their halo of fine hairs. Bejo teased them, both nipples at the same time, running a fingertip around and around each teasing the hairs as though amused by them. He said something to the others. It might have been, ‘These orang are really hairy.’

It was Mutiara who disturbed my transfixion. Bringing the wine over, clumsily clanging the rim of the crystal decanter on the rim of my wine glass making a gonging sound that ululated. As she leaned over, her golden jacket spilled open. Little breasts. Little nipples. ‘They’re beautiful,’ I heard myself say. Mutiara hesitated, bent over for me like in a polite bow indulging my whim. I brushed her upside-down breasts, the upside-down nipples, with the backs of my fingers. She whispered, oddly business-like, ‘Anything you want.’ Then with a tiny sigh, that was enough now. She drifted away. I could pursue or not.

Caro groaned and shivered, reclined in her bath of pleasure. It was Bejo as he slipped a hand down the front into her panties. Mutiara came to attention, watching. Caro spread her thighs wide, reached behind, raked Bejo’s cheek with fingernails. On a hot poker of pleasure, she wrenched back her neck and sobbed. As Bejo’s fingers worked inside her panties, Caro trembled and moaned. She spasmed just the once, shaking her breasts, sending a stab of sympathetic pleasure through my own loins. There’s absolutely no mistaking it when a woman has been touched in just the right way. And as Caro panted softly, I tingled, and even Mutiara, watching placidly, slipped some fingers under the side of her sarong. She and I both watched open-mouthed. Beny, just near me, held his cock loosely in his fingers, gave it a quick tug, then as though on behalf of us all, he squirted cum onto the hardwood floor.

Maybe, just maybe, Beny’s ejaculation was off script. With undisguised annoyance, and a dark-eyed growl at Beny, Mutiara threw herself down onto her knees and with a bunch of napkins from the table began mopping up the cum. Now, back on script perhaps, she walked on her knees over to Beny, threw her long black hair back over a shoulder, and pushed her mouth down over his still-erect, still-twitching cock. This was for me, this show, but with Mutiara still put-out and frowning, it wasn’t erotic. I had to stifle a laugh. Beny looked so sorry.

But ah, I see now. Mutiara is Boss-lady, Mamasan, Madam. Bejo and Beny had better perform for these Westerners, not shoot off all over the floor at the slightest provocation!

With near hysterical alarm, my phone buzzed on the glass tabletop. Lit up. Tom, at home, no doubt sitting up in bed with a war novel, taking a moment to wish me a very good night. Lots of X-es. A hug. ‘Reach down, Darling,’ I might have replied. ‘Take hold of your manly thing and give it a loving squeeze just for me. I’ll kiss the swelling out of it when I get home. I promise. Now, go away. I’m busy.’

Everyone, absolutely everyone, was staring at my phone. Then at me.

Caro, returned to her own side of the table, in a slump on the sofa now. She said dryly, ‘Going to send one back?’

‘Fuck off.’

She sat with a knee crossed, sarong slipped down seductively, torso naked to the swell of hips, the candlelight showing off the gorgeously glowing curves of her body. Tingle. Mutiara resumed her high position of surveillance and control on the top step, swiped at her phone. Beny’s cock had reduced to half-mast. Bejo stood rampant but seemingly at a loss. It was Mutiara who gave him direction. She barked an order and instantly he swished over to me, swayed his hips not-quite seductively to imagined music, swinging his erection back and forth almost in my face. Spent, Beny had become a shadow somewhere.

My eyes on Caro across the low glass table, I took Bejo by the hips, spun him round facing her. Bejo shuffled on his feet, spreading his thighs under the command of my fingers. I bit his ass cheek, kissed it, draped my lips across its firm velvety texture. Though small, though lean, Bejo was of warrior stock, built of muscle and sinew that threatened explosive power and endurance. Mutiara looked up, nodded some kind of personal consent, and went back to her phone, probably a version of Tetris where you try to catch cucumbers in the holes of donuts. I slipped a hand through under then up between Bejo’s thighs, slipped the hand palm-upward slowly along the underside of his cock all the way until my fingertips fluttered around the perfect helmet of the tip. The knob was slightly wet, slightly slippery, the shaft of his cock oddly cool to the touch. I stroked the underside of his knob with the points of fingernails and felt reflex tremors pulsating in his shaft. I gripped the shaft firmly and pulled down against the spring steel of its stiffness. Bejo gasped a tiny gasp. I released him and his cock sprang upright, vibrated back to attention. I can remember when Tom’s cock used to get this hard, this spring-like. Well, way back then when my mind, my body, and my soul – or just a single hot whisper – were enough to turn him on in an instant.

It’s hard to explain what I was feeling. But here it was, a penis, a cock, hard and quite long and ready to take and penetrate, and yet entirely unthreatening, entirely under my control. This wasn’t me and Bejo. It was me and a cock and it was all mine. And then came an erotic thought that left me with shivery breath. It was the thought of me sliding, feeding this erect penis into Caro’s wet vagina. I could use it to make her come. No! I could use it to make her beg to come.

This surprised me, this new little thought-demon. I hadn’t had thoughts like this before – or not acknowledged them at least – maybe because I’d never been here before, not like this, like tonight here in the butterfly house. A man I don’t know at all, with his cock in my hand and I can do absolutely anything I please with it. And over there a gorgeous woman who is wetting herself to fuck me in some manner. I know it, she knows it, we all know it. She wants to fuck me. And over here, me, a new me emerging that at any other time would have been frightening. But not tonight. I was on fire between the legs. Seize the moment. After all, it’s only sex and so let’s find out what am I capable of. Tom’s never answered that question. Anthony never asked it. Maybe Caro…

Had I been stroking Bejo? I guess I had. He made a soft little sigh and his cock began lurching. He thrust his cock back and forth through my fingers, fucking my hand. The poor thing, he was so, so ready to come. Caro sat up watching intently, then slumped back into the sofa, pushed a hand down into her panties. Wow. I withdrew my hand, plucked at Bejo’s tight, wrinkled balls with fingernails, teasing him. He made a cry of real anguish, thrust at the air with his hips, stabbing his cock uselessly trying to make himself come. A long drizzle of precum, but nothing more.

Beautiful Bejo let me play my game. He clasped his hands behind his back, acquiesced, no intention of overriding me and spoiling things by jerking off. He breathed deep and slow, deep and slow as though meditating, and when his cock had ceased its twitching, I slipped my hand through underneath and resumed stroking his now wet, lubricated glans and shaft.

Bejo stood patiently, watching my hand begin anew sliding, gliding up and down his cock. I kissed him again on the butt cheek, licked his back, a sheen of perspiration erupting down the bumpy, waspy curve of spine. The electric punkah directly overhead washed our sins in a waterfall of air. He jerked his hips just once, gave me a little warning grunt, just once. Quickly I lifted my hand away and we all watched his cock twitching around in the air, waving blindly like leech on a leaf seeking blood. But perhaps we were over the edge this time. Bejo let out a cry. Mutiara waved a hand urgently and barked an order at Beny who appeared out of nowhere, knelt, sunk his mouth over Bejo’s cock. Instantly Bejo groaned a desperately relieved groan as his cock pulsated with ejaculation deep into Beny’s mouth.

Holy fuck. Well, that was worth the long drive.

* * *

Taking advantage of this little intermission, Caro stood, naked to the waist still, clutched the sarong so it didn’t fall to her ankles. ‘Come up to my room in about ten minutes,’ she said flatly, without the slightest emotion like I was being invited to inspect a broken chair leg. ‘There’s someone I’d like you to meet.’

‘Don’t tell me. It gets weirder.’

‘Relative, but yes.’

With Caro gone, I poured another glass of wine and gulped it down. Checked my socials. Bejo and Mutiara watched me expectantly, expecting what? In due course I stood, ignoring the mystery of Caro’s words – I hate mysteries – and composed myself to an unsteady version of dignified sobriety. I headed upstairs.

Where there had been only the caress of candles before, now a light burned a lonely yellow in Caro’s bedroom. I stepped quietly to the door, peeked around the jamb into a trapezoid of yellow light. I went in just a step.

Caro, spinning around, said, ‘You’re a touch early. But what do you think?’

She stood facing me at the foot of her bed, behind her the mosquito netting split open making a grotto of perversion, black silk sheets and sex toys waiting for… for us? She wore thigh-high shiny plastic boots with heels. Silky shiny elbow-length gloves. Bodice of black, breasts bursting out over the shelves that sufficed for cups. A studded leather collar with silver ring. And a harness in black leather with chrome studs and buckles. Lipstick and hair black, all this grotesquely erotic blackness painted onto the canvas of Caro’s pale body, the only splash of colour the bright red phallus leaping out from her groin.

In two hands, held across her parted thighs, a black riding crop.

‘So, who’s this?’

‘Filouine. Mistress Filouine.’

‘Really? And who or what is a Filouine when she’s at home?’

‘She’s a… It means she’s a rogue, a bit of a villain, or a mischievous woman or person. A libertine…’

When I said nothing, she continued, feeling she needed to explain, ‘Well, really, it’s a secret thing between me and another person. And after last night… after certain things happened between us, you and me, I thought I wanted to share it. I actually thought maybe you were… perhaps… just maybe you were like us.’


Another pause.

Finally, in exasperation she snapped, ‘Oh well done. Well fucking done, Cathy. That’s twice today. I offer you the dream job and all I get is a cold hard “nope”. I offer you dream sex and all I get is blank condemnation. I’m really throwing myself out to you, you know. This is not easy.’ She started petulantly pinching off a glove.

‘Hey, whoa. Back up the truck. I didn’t turn down your job.’

‘Yes you did! You fucking well did!’

Okay, maybe I did, but hey, that was way back over the fence and stile of at least a bottle of some very nice red plonk. I probably wasn’t even paying attention. ‘Well okay,’ I said quietly, eyes fixed on Caro. ‘I haven’t said no to the… to the whatever it is you had in mind.’ A single tear streaked down Caro’s cheek, carrying with it a stain like black blood. I never imagined this woman was so fragile. Interesting, but sheesh. This was not the Caroline we saw every day ruling the company’s Asia. ‘You took me by surprise, that’s all.’

‘You took me by surprise last night, but I didn’t react the way you did just now.’ She sniffed a very unladylike sniff. ‘I didn’t reject you. You said it yourself, let’s see if you’re full of shit.’

‘And? The answer is?’

Caro said nothing. Her lips trembled open once, twice, but she said nothing. I just realised, scrutinising her in this light, that she has the dusting of a fine blonde moustache. Hairy nipples. Hairy lip. Quite sexy really. Never noticed it before. Maybe she’s older than she looks. And says.

‘Give me that,’ I said.

She threw me the riding crop like a tainted thing. I fingered its braided shaft. The handle was frayed, the whippy thing at the end well used and frayed. At the top near the handle, the shaft still bore the gold-leaf imprint of a scorpion.

I tested the crop on the palm of my hand, then a whack on my thigh. Fuck. ‘You and your friend. You do this for fun?’ Caro nodded solemnly. I whacked my other thigh but this time with a more calibrated strike. Still hurt though. I reached around and struck my ass-cheek, then once more a little harder. Hm, now that was interesting.

‘What else you got back there?’

Caroline shrugged, but I could see plainly two shiny butt plugs, a long double-ended dildo, some vibrators. And some other sexy paraphernalia in a bunch.

‘Hold that thought,’ I said, turning. ‘Bathroom.’

‘Couldn’t you have gone before you came up?’

‘I’m a woman of sudden urges.’ Like several urges I’m getting right now which I could not have explained, even to myself.

Downstairs, Mutiara and the boys in a huddle around her phone, ignored me. Gig over apparently. I grabbed my phone, jumped up the stairs into shadows and took a few snaps of Mutiara and Bejo and Beny who were still mostly naked. Up to the bedroom level, I followed the shadows of the wall around to the darkness of my own bedroom doorway. There was Caroline in her room opposite across the octagonal space, in profile scrutinising herself in her dresser mirror. Zoom, close-up, snap-snap. Caro, her toys, her bright red plastic cock. Now, I really need a pee.

‘There you are. I thought you’d got lost. Or changed your mind. No?’

‘Seat belt.’

Ha! The riding crop was tucked up under my arm. I slashed the air between me and Caro with it. If there’d been flesh in the way, it would have copped a mighty welt. I felt a delicious sensation of power. I pointed a thumb back over my shoulder. ‘The entertainment?’

‘I’ve texted Mutiara. Thanked them all for a lovely evening. They’ll be off shortly.’ And on cue, from right behind us came the noises of the kettles and other items being packed up. ‘Were they entertaining enough for you? For merely gong players?’

‘I’ve fallen in love with gong players.’

Caro – something I’ve never seen her do before – picked up a packet from the dresser table, pulled out a fragrant Gudang Garam, lit it with a war-era lighter. She showed me the lighter. ‘Still works. It’s Japanese,’ she said exhaling a deep puff of smoke, sweet smelling smoke that wasn’t entirely unpleasant. I went to Caro, close, slipped fingers around her cock. I love this – a secret “thing” of mine – being so close to a woman that I can smell her. I mean, really smell her. Her perfume, her body, her hair. What she’s thinking. Her mood. Her breath. Her cycle.

Caro’s eyes were slitted and hot. She wanted me to kiss her? I was so close, all I had to do was lift a little on my toes and we would be standing mouth to mouth. She licked her lips with a tentative little lick. Lips parted around the softest sigh. She wanted – needed – my kiss so badly. My own lips burned. My belly fluttered at the prospect, my first lesbian kiss. Not counting last night of course, if that ever happened. And it’s so true, we had been here before, across a boardroom table, even as adversaries, secretly, desperately desiring one another.

Yes, Caro, I am erotically attracted to women.

I took the cigarette from between her fingers. ‘Tsk. Tsk. You know how I feel about smoking, Ms. Filouine.’ And with my eyes fixed on hers, I stubbed the cigarette onto her penis and held it there, slowly mashing. Caro’s eyelids fluttered. She winced, sighed, made a tiny little moan. The plastic penis now wearing a blackened eye, quivered in my fingers. Small beads of perspiration broke out on Caro’s top lip. I brushed the ash off the cock, threw the broken cigarette onto the dresser.

‘You like that, don’t you?’

Caro nodded.

More noises from in the house behind. Caro didn’t seem to mind the door being wide open, being seen all dressed up.

A step back, giving us space, I ran the tip of the riding crop around and around the red cock. Is it possible…? I’m sure that thing grew straighter, more upright, thicker and angrier. I love angry cocks. I love the way a cock trembles when it is so angry it needs to come – right now!

‘Show me your tits.’ She did, lifting out one then the other. I brushed the nipples with the crop. ‘Who sucks these for you? Your special friend?’


‘Male or female?’

‘Male. But with me she’s Marilyn.’

‘Oh. I see. And that turns you on?’

Caro insisted, ‘We understand one another.’

‘How cosy. He plays Mummy and you play Daddy. Like a sexy game of Twister.’

‘It varies, but yes. We understand one another.’

The riding crop again, stroking the underside of Caroline’s red penis. She swallowed hard. I gave the cock a strong whack. Caro flinched, her fake black hair fluttering in the momentary breeze. Another soft moan. She felt real pain. I felt real pleasure.

‘And Mummy, on her knees on the bed, likes to be held face down while Daddy with his big red cock ploughs her from behind.’

‘You seem to know all about it.’

I held the cock and pulled it gently, masturbating it. ‘Is this clean, by the way?’

‘All the toys are brand new. I don’t reuse. Not with…’

‘Not with the dirty games Mistress Filouine likes to play, fucking poor Marilyn to Betoota and back, up the arse.’

‘I’ve never heard Marilyn complain.’

‘Oh? Is that the game? Really? Knowing you I expect you would have discovered all the things that poor Marilyn doesn’t like, then made her do them. That’s how you normally operate, isn’t it? And so, I wonder, what is it that you yourself wouldn’t like, Ms Filouine?’ No answer. ‘I guess I’ll have to find out for myself. We’ve got all night.’

I dropped to my knees, pulled Caro’s cock down, pushed my mouth over and down its entire length. Caro clasped my head pulling it in and out while at the same time thrusting with her hips, fucking my mouth. Caro began to moan so insistently I thought she was about to come. She pushed me away, panting heavily.

Searching up under between her legs, I found the aperture in the harness and pushed. Two fingers. My God it was like breeching the skin of an over-ripe melon, pushing through the hard outer skin to discover inside the wet squishy mess of warm pulp. Except unlike the pulp of a dead melon, this one sucked hungrily at the intrusion.

I stood, showed Caro my fingers, between them a stringing membrane of her arousal. ‘Well, something about this floats your boat, doesn’t it?’ She wanted it. I drizzled the girl-cum onto her tongue. I savoured the rest of the sweet liquid myself. Caro’s arousal now was pungent.

She said, ‘Am I supposed not to enjoy this?’

She brushed fake black hair out of her face. She didn’t resist as I grabbed a handful of that hair and pulled it off her head. Revealed, there was her beautifully stark blonde hair making an entirely new fiction of the dressed-up woman, a woman no longer Ms Filouine, yet nowhere near re-emergent as Caroline. I wasn’t sure who or which I preferred.

I pointed down at the floor with a finger wiggling rudely and directly in front of her nose. Caro hesitated, then slowly she knelt. Her face at the level of my as yet still saronged pussy, I reached behind and untied the sarong, swished it away. Just my panties now, black and unfantastic, designed for comfort on a Saturday evening at home. I hopped out of them. Not that I let on, I felt oddly self-conscious at being this kind of domestically naked. I may have been about to put my hair up and step into a shower. Caro, with her arms at her sides like a kneeling tin soldier, watched cross-eyed, and sighed as I fluffed out my pubes right in front of her. Goodness, were those eyes of hers hungrily expecting me to pull myself open? To hump her face?

But no, Caro my darling, you don’t get Pussy quite so easily. Anthony did. A bit too easily. But not you.

I tapped her plastic cock with the whip, gave it a hard smack. ‘Take it off.’ She did, threw it aside. ‘Now. On the floor.’

Her eyes again, looking up at me, this time hot with an incongruous mélange of arousal and barely constrained fury. A sigh hissed in her nostrils. No one in the real world – no one in their right mind – dares speak to Caroline Chapman quite like this. The bright flash of fury faded to a cinder, then Caro deformed into limp compliance. Knowing exactly what I wanted – what we both wanted – she folded like a poisoned spider, then stretched out on the floor face down in supplication. She stretched her arms out either side making a semi-nude obverse Vitruvian woman at my feet. Prompted by the tip of the riding crop, she spread her legs wide out behind her, a little wider. I ran the tip of the crop up between her thighs and over her inverted pussy, gave it a sting with the tip. She twitched and squirmed and cooed a little murmuring coo. Her ass lifted and pussy shivered. Wanting more.

Caro, prone in a pool of her own lasciviousness, gurgles quietly. Her pussy hunts the air for pleasure. But then her ass cheeks kind of pucker as – I suddenly realise what she’s doing – she grinds her pussy into the hard timber floor. I sting her ass cheeks. ‘Stop that!’ Her cunt quivers. I sting her cunt. Caro fingers the floor as though it were flesh. Her cunt blooms a guilty red. ‘Actually, babe, keep going. You look ridiculous.’ A sting on her ass cheek for encouragement. ‘Come for me baby. Mistress Cathy wants to watch you come.’

Haha! Who? Really? I can’t take myself that seriously.

Caro slithered in place on the parquetry floor at the foot of her bed, going nowhere like a snake with a rock on its tail. Kind of sexy, I played with my lips while Caro began moaning softly, finally letting out an orgasmic cry. Her ass cheeks still bore the stigmata of where the leather straps of the dildo harness had been pulled tight, tight ready to fuck a violent fuck. And too some blushing little flowers where the riding crop had struck. Quite pretty really.

I watched and let Caro ride out the last post-orgasmic gyrations. ‘Roll over,’ I said quietly. She did, rolled over onto her back. ‘Put your tongue out.’ She did. ‘Right out. Make it pointy. Leave it there. Good girl.’

I squat, tickle Caro’s nose with my pubes, drape my sex lips over her tongue, indulge myself a little tickle of the point of her hard pointy tongue right on the tip of my hard pulsating clit. Caro shudders and curls up into a tight ball, fingering herself openly. Lapping at my pussy, questing for pleasure she moans in frustration. I bite my hand, ordering myself, ‘Don’t come! Don’t come!’ Caro, unaware of the turmoil already in my cunt, sucks my clit and lips deep into her mouth and assaults them with all the goofy vigour of a teenager. I rip myself away as she comes stabbing herself with bunched fingers.


As she climbs to her knees, then feet, she muses, ‘Fuck. You are good value.’

‘I haven’t finished with you yet.’

‘Give me a minute.’

Shutting me out, she closets herself away in the ensuite bathroom. A toilet flushes, taps hiss. Boots – I’m assuming boots – hit the floor. Silence. More tap noises. Silence. The door glides open and she steps out.

Neither have I spent the last few minutes idle. ‘Oh. I see,’ she says. ‘You’ve made a decision, have you? Lucky Ms Filouine. Red suits you by the way. It matches your eyes.’

Caro is naked now save for the black leather collar and its shiny chrome ring. From the ring hangs a gold and braided leather pendant, perhaps just eight inches long, in the style of a dog’s leash. The handle of the leash rests between her breasts. ‘Oh, this thing,’ she says with a chuckle, fingering the leash. ‘Only special friends get to see this. Symbolic, really. Nothing more. Just like that cock you’re wearing. Or is that…’ She covers her pussy with a hand. ‘Is that promising to be more than just symbolic?’

‘What were you going to do to me with it?’

‘What I’m hoping you’re going to do to me, very shortly. Should I call you Anthony while you’re wearing that thing?’

‘How the fuck would you know anything about an Anthony?’

‘But Darling, you made me call you Anthony last night as you slipped your hand up my pussy.’ Caro came to me, slung her arms lightly over my shoulders.

Lifting on her toes, she stepped over and trapped the red cock between her thighs and began a slow, deliberate fucking motion with her hips. ‘You told me – with your tongue in my ear by the way – all about what Anthony was going to do to me. You really had me in a pervertedly sexy swoon. Then – I couldn’t believe it – you simply vanished. Literally. You just left me standing there abandoned with a girl hard-on you wouldn’t believe.’ Caro leaned backward at the waist, pulling on my shoulders with fingertips. I took her weight, counter-balanced, stabbed at her with the plastic penis. Caro made a tiny gasp.

I think I shrugged. I said, ‘I’ve told you already I don’t remember anything about last night.’

‘And yet here we are, exactly as last night you prophesied.’

Caro’s eyes followed mine down between us to the riding crop held across my tummy in tight fists. Hot in my hands, I itched for something to do with it.

Caro leaned back yet further, dangerously like a child too confident on a swing. Her head fell away revealing – offering – the full length of a pale neck. The sinewy lines led up to the arch of a chin, to a wet mouth out of reach begging for a kiss. And the same lines of her neck led down to the pert dolphin’s noses of her breasts capped with now tightly erect nipples dusted bright crimson. And with the like motion of a child on a swing, she enjoyed the hardness of my cock pretend-fucking her, rubbing forward and back, pressed hard up under her pussy.

I grabbed the dog’s leash. Pulled her upright. ‘That feels good, does it?’

She nodded. ‘You know it does.’ Caro hooked me to her, pressed her lips hard into mine, broke the kiss. ‘Fuck me,’ she whispered. ‘Bend me over and really fuck me.’


‘Last night, Anthony promised he would make me feel like a woman. A little old-fashioned these days, I know. But…’

‘He said the same thing to me.’


‘I showed him how to be a man.’

I dipped at the knees, pressed my hips forward, thrust sharply upward. Caro melted on a long shuddering moan. She grabbed my face, pushed her tongue into my mouth, licked my face with hot panting breath, a woman inciting her lover to be the lover she needs. As she licked my mouth my pussy trembled, waves of pleasure foaming on the shore of climax. Don’t come! Don’t come!

With fingertips, I pushed Caro onto the bed. She clambered backward. I stood at the end of the bed contemplating her, stroking my cock slowly, examining a new kind of arousal. Anthony had done this, stroked his cock in contemplation while I clambered backward onto a bed and threw my legs wide open, spread my pussy. ‘See how dirty I can be? Huh?’ I made his cock drool.

Caro reached under her bottom, hooked fingers into her pussy, pulled it open. She reddened ever so slightly, eyes bright like a blushing but brave, determined bride. But it wasn’t a blush. Not at all. She was hot with arousal. The ring finger of her left hand found her puckered rosebud and twitched itself inside. ‘There,’ her eyes were saying, wresting back control of our sexy game of power.

And ha! I’d never known just how demanding – threatening even – that pose could be. No, no, no – not submissive. Not at all. There it was. Fuck me. Make me come, satisfy me, all if you can of course. And don’t you dare disappoint me.

So how? How to satisfy a Caroline? She’s probably been fucked by the best of the best all up and down through her little Eastern empire. She plays her sexy little games with a Marilyn. How does she, Marilyn, I wonder, satisfy her lover with no more artillery than pretend tits and a useless prick? I climbed onto the bed between Caro’s legs, pulled her upright by the tiny leash. I showed her the riding crop, stroked it back and forth across between her breasts. I tapped her hard nipples, flicked them up and down. ‘Put your hands on your head.’ She made a soft noise, complied with my request. The pose lifted her naked breasts, made them vulnerable, offered them to my whims. The left breast alone, I gave it my attention with the whip, circling, lifting, prodding, stroking the nipple with the harsh ancient leather.

Caro trembled. ‘Do it,’ she whispered.

Not one, but two. I smacked across the side of her left breast. Counted to three. A third hard smack with the riding crop, this one across the side of her right breast. Caro’s eyes fluttered and she sucked air. Yes, that one, the third one – that was a scorpion’s sting that struck right across the nipple and felt delicious even to me. Caro drifted a hand down and fingered her clit, I’m guessing while the sting was still fresh.

‘I must say,’ said Caro with chilling matter-of-factness. ‘I’m feeling rather under-dressed.’

The crimson fog of red wine and erotic music and the imagery of a beautiful young man kneeling and sucking the cum out of another beautiful young man, had a little dissipated only to be replaced by the crimson heat of a prickling need to come. I didn’t quite at first take Caro’s meaning. Her words dropped out of the space between us and hovered in the air. I examined them. She fell back onto her elbows, drew her legs up, heels up pressed to her bottom. She dropped her thighs wide open.

My fingers all on their own had understood Caro’s request. I watched, just a bystander, as they, my fingers, picked up one of the shiny metal butt-plugs and weighed it. I showed it to Caro and tilted my head thus kind of asking tacitly, ‘This?’ And not so tacitly her wide, hungry eyes said, ‘Yes. That. Get busy.’

It was big. Caro’s experienced anus sucked it in, swallowed it whole, locked it in place. If her cunt had a tongue, it would have been hanging out. A tear of glistening cream. Caro pulsating with need, ass working like the mouth of a toothless hag sucking the sweetness from a peach pit.

And me? Every cell of my body throbbing. I scooped a breast, pulled Caro to me, latched her onto the nipple. She rolled and pinched the nipple with her teeth, sucked half my boob into her mouth which unexpectedly sent me hurtling toward orgasm – which was not what I wanted right now. I growled, suppressed the spasms with all my strength. I blew a sigh.

Caro grabbed me tight by the throat, shook me. ‘You won’t let me, will you. You won’t let me do anything for you. Not even be your slut. Not properly.’

‘I’ll tell you when I think you’re my slut.’

With two hands and a shove I sent her slamming down backward onto the bed. She sucked a breath. On my knees I climbed up between her thighs, pushed them open, presented the tip of my red cock to her gaping hole. I fell onto her, filled her with red plastic cock.

Caro – little sobs of pleasure. I raised up on my hands, stared down at her, at her face. A crumpled plaster bust, it was like frozen mid-orgasmic cry, chin raised and thrust forward. And like that, slightly desperate, slightly broken, can I say she looked even more exquisite. There is real beauty in a face distorted by carnal abandon.

And here and now, that beauty demanded more. There is a moment, which Anthony seemed to understand, when a woman just wants to be fucked.

And so I fucked her. And I pressed with my groin, pushed on my toes, ground my cock deeper into her. With a long moan of shuddering pleasure, she dissolved into the black silky bed sheet. I realised then of course the simple mechanics of this. The plastic balls of my plastic cock were banging firmly against the handle of the shiny metal butt plug, delivering illicit pleasure with my thrusts.

I felt jealous of that pleasure. I lifted slowly, pushed up onto my knees, pulled back. The red cock slid slowly out of Caro. She moaned a complaint and lifted her head as the cock flipped out and vibrated tautly upright. Her eyes flashed furious and demanded, ‘What the fuck are you doing?’

On all fours I went up beside Caroline, lowered my head onto my crossed arms, dipped my spine to thrust out my bottom and pussy wantonly. I spread my knees, pussy still concealed by the harness, but gaping deliciously. It used to do that for Anthony, all on its own, especially while he ate me for hours and hours and hours, way beyond where I was ready to explode.

Caro divined my moves. She flipped up onto her knees surrendering to my new game, fumbled at the harness straps. She threw the harness and cock aside, ran eager hands all over my bottom, whimpering now ever so softly to herself. Apparently my ass – or was it my pussy? – was so, so beautiful.

‘No. I’ve changed my mind. I want to watch you.’ I flipped onto my back, pulled my knees up and open, dropped them wide. Caroline dived in to lick but just in time I got my hand clamped over my pussy. Her eyes again, this time with an exasperated, ‘Fuck! Now what?’

I let her think about it. Something in me just needed it to be Caro’s idea. I needed her to do this voluntarily, to expose her for what she’s capable of and to reveal the dark desires I’d long suspected of her. Sometimes, across the boardroom table, I’d sit not listening but watching. Wondering. Where have you been, Caroline Chapman? What have you done? What have those long fingers of yours touched? What would you sacrifice to have me naked across your lap? We both know that’s what you want.

Well, here I am. Here are the goods. What price will you pay?

She said, ‘You’re going to fight me all the way, aren’t you?’ I lifted the hand away from my pussy. ‘That’s better,’ she said in her sternest director’s voice. And then, Filouine the mistress resurfaces, ‘I don’t want a repeat of last night.’

The last time someone did this for me, I had his cock in my mouth. This was the second last time we made love. The next time, the sentimental idiot told me he loved me. I thought he was stronger than that. Turns out he wasn’t. Anyhow, the second last time… we were kind of sixty-nining, more or less but no not really side by side, with Anthony raised onto an elbow so he could get his face down between my legs (I wasn’t helping by rolling around so much), and I was more or less on my back but with my head lifted so I could push all the way down his cock shaft and feel my lips on his hairy balls, something else I like to do. And then, the lovely man, he spread my ass cheeks and tongued my asshole.

I made myself comfortable, cushions wedged under my head so I could watch Caroline. She was on her knees between my legs, eyes fixed on my pussy, breathing heavily but softly. ‘Okay, okay, okay… Darling…’

She was on her knees and elbows now, her bare and gorgeous ass thrust out behind and making gyrations and a fucking motion, fucking the air it seems, or in her mind the face of a fantasy lover. She came closer to my pussy. I could feel her breath on my sex lips. She kissed my pussy, right over but not quite onto my clit. The tease. A kiss, then kisses right on the inside of my ass cheek, close, close, but not on my anus. Tease. And finally, oh my god, the tip of her tongue right on the pebbles of my asshole.

‘Give me a little something,’ Caro the addict whispered, her stiff tongue licking, flicking up and down with torturous gentleness. I could see her trembling, feel her trembling.

Beside me on the bed, the riding crop. Caro seemed not aware that had I picked it up, was stroking it through my fingers. And yet… and yet she wiggled her ass just that little more enticingly.

Give me a little something.


Okay. A sting. Not a great one but I’m sure it was a sting none-the-less, over as far as I could reach with the flippy-flappy tip of the riding crop, one on each cheek.

‘Eat it properly, slut.’

I stung her again, harder this time. The scorpion’s sting. She winced and moaned delightfully. Her tongue, just the tip, penetrated ever so slightly and lit up my clit. I smacked her with the crop. She moaned, pushed her tongue deeper.

With her tongue right in there doing unspeakably sexy things, I reached down, scissored my wet clit through my fingers, and pushed those fingers down and around and into to my weeping pussy. That was all it took, whoosh, and Caro, the beautifully sensitive woman, understood and tongued me through my eruptions, Caro too now writhing on the bed in sympathetic convulsions.

* * *

At the cinema-like windows, returned to the empty scene of the foreplay, I stood with my back to the darkened house. How did we get here? Where will we go?

Behind, noises. Rustling. Feet padding softly. Caro. She hesitated and halted a few metres behind. In a diminutive voice she ventured, ‘Oh there you are. When you weren’t in your room, I thought…’

‘Well you thought wrong.’

Silence. She said, ‘Anything interesting out there?’

‘Shapes. Shapes in the dark.’ Trees like giant hot air balloons that neither rise nor fall. Dragons. Butterflies whose black-on-black wings fill the sky. An ex-lover, on his knees, begging for answers.

Caro, closer. ‘We’re in cloud you know. Right now. There’s nothing to see.’

‘I make up my own things to see.’

‘I’ve never met anyone quite like you.’

Dangerously close to affection, Caro. And yet…

The first kiss, light on my shoulder, though entirely expected sent an electric shock through me. Not that I let on, but I felt my body respond in all the ways it likes to, that I may allow myself to enjoy, getting ready for romantic sex. On a whim almost, I snuggled back against her – she was naked and reassuringly warm – and I was rewarded with more kisses on my shoulders. One on my neck. A little bite on my ear lobe. All of this, in the aftermath of a tsunami of pervertedly erotic sex, felt dear and sensual. It was like discovering the beauty of a tiny glistening jewel forgotten in the darkness of a drawer. It was lost in the buzz in my head, and in the sexual frenzy of what seemed just a few short minutes ago. Caro had promised to show me Krakatoa. She didn’t disappoint. But now I wanted…

I spun in her arms, held her by the waist, stared into her eyes. I brushed her lips with mine. Momentarily she looked terrified of something. I said, ‘On Tuesday morning at our monthly meeting when you’re ripping into me about something, as usual, across the table and in front of everyone, as usual, I would like you to pause and reflect, for just one moment, on where your tongue’s been this weekend.’

Caro sighed. ‘Am I that bad?’

I pinched her. Hard. Grabbed the little leash. ‘Come on. let’s go.’

Copyright © 2021, Lara Nickles ([email protected]). All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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