A Blogovella by Ezzie Dryar (Anne Martin)

Posts tagged “love

Oil Slick


I can often be found sitting on this wall, a half a block up the street from my apartment. It’s the perfect height for me, so I just lean on it, and soon I’m sitting. I like to watch people walk by, to say hello, to gossip. There are those that say that if something’s going down on my street, I’m the one to ask. I see it all: Mrs Jones running out of her house with a bloody lip and skulking back a half hour later, Janine Harper with her two boyfriends, and what they get to up in her bedroom. She couldn’t have hung that mirror in more useful position. It helps that I’m a little far-sighted. She knows I can see them, and I sometimes wonder if she is performing just for me, or maybe she’s just gloating. She’s got two and I have none. I wouldn’t want either of them anyway.

Dan Jenkin’s Buick has a bad oil leak. He always parks it in front of my perch overnight, and I can see its rainbow stream of black gold oozing towards the curb in the morning. I love the aroma of a warm engine and the reflection of fresh motor oil and water in the warm sunshine. He must fill it up almost every day.

Twice I have been questioned by the police about soliciting, but they have never caught me at it, probably because that’s not what I’m doing. It has been years since my last … Sorry, but saying four-letter words makes me blush. Dan and I stopped when we got caught by his wife, Cindy. He was my first, back in High School, and occasionally we got together when I got sick of abstinence, and he got sick of Cindy. It was a purely physical arrangement, bourne of mutual need. Cindy was prone to use the withholding of sex as a weapon to get back at him, and he decided early on that using me was better than taking the matter into his own hands. Aside from releasing my pent up energy, Dan was never my true love. I just never really liked Cindy. After Dan popped my cherry, she moved in for the kill, and bingo … offspring, and a teen marriage. Dan and I never could have married, but I would have appreciated a second go before anyone else claimed him. Cindy’s a barracuda, and I don’t envy him.

Many wonder if I’m just a layabout, sitting on the wall all day long, but I’ve taken to sleeping in the evening and working from home after midnight. Nobody realizes that I’m a famous author. Everyone has read James T. Lincoln’s vampire novels. Nobody knows that he is me. My publisher hired a 40-something model for the book-jackets. I love writing at night, letting my fantasies run free. The reviewers get on my case about the amount of sex in my books, but that’s what brings the readers back time after time. Granted, every time has to be different and it has developed itself as a form of lycanthropy, a supernatural disease that even my main character has succumbed to – Det. Elmira P. Wrozniak, a specialist in paranormal crime by day and Meera, Queen of the succubusses at night. It’s the perfect cover and it helps her get rid of the competition. My readers think I’ve sold out, as Elmira’s sex gets more and more kinky. I don’t care, since my last novel sold the most ever. The diehards still prefer Elmira when she was still fully human, so I’ve started a new series just for them. Riccardo Malipiero, paranormal investigator and vampire killer. The first book was almost as big a seller as Fire in the Undergrowth, the first Elmira book.

Writing does strange things to me. It’s almost like having sex myself, especially when I’m in the midst of writing a juicy sex scene for Elmira. That’s why I can’t go to sleep in the morning. After a night of vampires and werewolves, I need the sunlight to reaffirm my humanity and cool the fire in my loins. If my neighbors knew how much I was worth, I would never get any peace. My visitors just think that I’m a big Lincoln fan, but nobody has even noticed that none of the other books in my library are vampire books. Not a single one! I prefer real literature, the classics, modern fiction. I’d read Jane Austen long before I read … what’e her name … I can’t remember. Her followers don’t like my books – the say Elmira is a slut – but what makes her any different from whatshername’s heroine?

If anyone is a slut, it’s me in real life, watching every handsome fella that walks by and orchestrating a fantasy that they star in. The good ones make it into my books, the rest keep me a deep breath away from an orgasm. I confess that I have come that close, sitting anonymously innocent in the sun, but the fella is usually long gone anyway.

There’s Mrs Jones back, right on cue, and Janine is busy pumping boyfriend no 2 dry. She waves discreetly, thinking that I envy her, but I’m sitting in an oil slick of my own making with Mr Bearded-Blond-Runner wrapped between my legs, his clothes in tatters on the sidewalk, and I’m about to scream in ecstasy. He’ll probably make his second sweaty loop around the block in about 10 minutes. Maybe I’ll stop him when he passes, burying my tongue in his mouth and perhaps more. He’s hot for me, I know, I can see it in his eyes. No, not today, the real thing is never as good as the fantasy.

If people only knew what I was really thinking…

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30. fidgit


angel-beauty-black-1435435

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

I've been bad, very bad, and not naughty, as I was prone to being, long ago, well, a couple of years, when I was a writer (one perhaps never stops being a writer, even when one stops writing), but not writing is bad, and if I had any inspiration, that would have awoken me from my doldrums, in the humdrum, bass drum rimshot existence of relocating to a non-foreign, foreign country, to my old country from the old country, forcing myself to look back – look back like I don't allow myself to do when I'm writing one of my streams, wading through my dreams, hoping to find something to stir the deep inner recesses of my obsessions, today writing a thirty sentence story in only a single verbal gush so rabid that at some point you may lose the will to live in your search for a full-stop or a period as we Americans call it, although I hesitate even to allow you a comma or a dash while you dive head first into the mush that I call my consciousness but you might rather think of as unconsciousness or perhaps you are already heading to lalalandwherenospaceslive and where my brain has become a slippery goo that – well, yes, you might not call it a brain – some would agree with you, but not the organization who has calculated my IQ, which is microscopic, in its inversion, while my self is in revision, or perhaps reversion to my old sensual ways – yes, you thought I might never get there – but if you are delving into my consciousness, you are likely to slip into my sub-conscious (if you aren't unconscious already) where that stuff lives, where my soul breathes fire and water simultaneously in the simulacrum of similarity of the sensual to the sexual that lives only an atom's width from the surface of my identity, my being, and my soul, which is probably not all that far from my being or my beginning, or my benign personality, which on a good day has trouble stringing a lucid sentence together.


26. Blonde again


adult attractive beanie beautiful

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sometimes I sit in an empty room with the heat turned up. It helps me relax my aging joints in the dead of winter. I can't stay long, as the light sweat that my body generates means my bum sticks to the varnished floor. I would have brought a mat to sit on, but that ruins the purity of the room, featureless, save for an uncurtained window that overlooks fields to the north.

I leave the light off, so I can gaze out the window anonymously at the silvery moonlight on the frosty grass. If the moon is full, there is sometimes enough light to read my cards. Mostly, I just sit there and be me. Tonight, it is dark, so I left my cards in the bedroom.

Sitting alone in this room, I leave the frozen outside world out there, listening in the silence for the soft beat of my heart. There it is, nice and slow, the pace of an athlete. Leaving my eyes open, I imagine a glow around me, red tonight, for the fire that is ready to burst from me, the fire of passion, or lust, perhaps.

I became a blonde again today, because they have more fun, and I want a part of it. I've been sitting alone on my own too much lately, as it's been too cold to go out, even on my morning runs. Ordinarily, the cold doesn't stop me, but lately it has been wet, too, and as much as I would like to, I can't run on ice. Now we have three inches of snow on the ground. Poop!

Rather … poof! I'm a blonde. Now all the men desire me, and that's what the red glow is for. It's me filling my room with desire until I reach critical mass. I'm calling to them – to you, and you are coming. I can feel it in my centre, molten. I have enough for everyone. Come to me now, and we will share. The walls aren't a barrier tonight, only to keep the cold out. It's Bermuda inside, and I'm here waiting in the centre of my triangle. The room may look square, but I have become the Bermuda Triangle, summoning those I desire, and those who secretly desire me – more, now that I am a blonde again, the spider in her web wanting, waiting.

You are here. You float through my web like a soft breeze, and you are caught, caught in my triangle, my web, my aura. Yes, you are here, and I feel your desire, your need. I'm a blonde-bombshell ready to explode for you because my need is greater, and I must devour you, so you may be reborn, fulfilled. The walls glow like lava now, and I dare not go near the window, lest the neighbours see my naked body. I will stand in the centre for you, still visible, but they will have to work for it, earn it.

I breathe you in, cool, but I will warm you – yes, you are warmed within my womb, your desire entwined in mine, the fuse burning, searching for the powder keg. You are the sweat between my breasts, dripping down, down, towards my red fire, and in it you come to life with white-hot energy, burning off impurities. We are one, liquid gold beyond price, too hot to touch, a puddle searing my varnished floor, and you are freed, spotless, as I wait for the next, for I am blonde, desirous to all and insatiable.

My fuse still burns.


24. Virtually naked


red chair by fre_natae

I'm free. Take me now. One and one, one on one, you on me, to make three.

Today was one of those days. I'm only virtually naked right now because I couldn't be bothered to take my clothes off. My internet body floats on the sun naked, waiting for fulfillment. That's your cue. Come to me, with me.

I've had something eating at me all day, and I don't know what it is. There's no monkey on my back or nicotine craving. This distraction has been crawling up my legs since I awoke this morning after a dreamless night.

There, I've taken my shoes off, one of the most liberating things I can imagine, almost as satisfying as taking my bra off. My distraction didn't allow me to put one on today, so I'll miss that pleasure. I had no meetings scheduled, so I didn't really need to dress at all. It's a good thing I did, or the postman would have gotten a free show. Well, I did dress for my run, but that all comes off before I shower – that's when I start my day over. Sometimes I dream in the shower; it's more than a daydream. I lose track of everything. I can be there unmoving while the water pours over me for more than a half hour. I'm back in the womb again, naked, wet and warm. Soapy, yes, I like that, too. After 7 miles on the road, I have to wash my hair everyday, something gentle with conditioner. It's getting long now. I'll need to get it cut soon.

I've had dreams on my mind lately, as you might have noticed. I'm riding a dream right now, a dream that someone else had, and that I've claimed as my own. A little bit of my womb-like shower has been creeping up my legs – maybe I didn't wash the soap off thoroughly, maybe it's the thousand tongues of fantasy, my stolen dream waiting to please me. I so need to be pleased.

The invisible dream that I'm having has possessed me, invisible because there are no visions, not even images, yet I'm in it, naked as always, and the object of someone's desire. Maybe it is the dream that desires me, calling me back to my bed where it can ravage me.

Excuse me while I get more comfortable …

I had to take my jeans off. There, the bare skin of my legs, surprisingly soft for the amount I punish them. I can't see what has given my legs so much attention today. They look normal, yet I feel that dream, as though I was sitting in chocolate pudding. (It has to be chocolate.) And it softly vibrates, pulsating from the waist down and thoroughly distracting from the waist up.

I'm dreaming again, an imageless dream, a black photograph, but something stirs in the darkness, pleasing to this moonchild, this waterbaby. My darkness is clear and light, as bright to me as day, and it calls to me.

The darkness plays with my spirit, a sensual game, that's it! That's my distraction, my dream, being taken, being loved by the night, my day, my moon, swimming in the pool of my life. My dreams are obsessed with sex and the darkness has been trying to include me, to please me, to love me, to make three.

Sleep is calling me, to come out to play, so I must go. I'm in the mood, and I think my nightdress will remain lonely on its hook tonight.

Dream, take me. I'm free.


23. lowercase


NUDITY by junges idiotisches herz

it's raining tonight and i'm feeling decidedly lowercase and period-free, not punctuation-free, but maybe i'll be there by the time i'm finished with this, a very slow stream, slow motion, slow time, maybe even super slo-mo, i'm on a roll, but it's almost uphill, like that place in canada where cars defy gravity, i'm defying gravity myself, it would have me in bed now, in bed alone (again), but i’m up decanting my thoughts for you, my loyal followers, my lovers, yes, you are my lovers and it is my job to seduce you with my words, to keep you reading long enough to grasp my point, or even until I find one, caressing my keyboard, tapping softly, lightly, lovingly, perhaps whispering into your ear – i want you – yes, that's it, but i don't even have to say it, i'd just blow gently, enough to give you goosebumps, do your nipples firm when you get goosebumps, mine do, and they are, just thinking about it, and thinking about you, maybe i'd breath on the back of your neck, warm and inviting, because that is what seduction is, inviting you into my world, into my life, into me, if you're lucky, into my clothes,

i got caught in the rain watching my friend's team lose a cricket match, now that's a boring game, i don't know what he sees in it, but as long as i see him, that's enough for me, especially seeing him drenched in his cricket whites, and i would say he reminds me of you, but it's you that reminds me of him, someone who i wish was close to me now, taking advantage of my unbuttoned nightdress, i was feeling too lowercase to bother, i'd have him drooling, perhaps panting, and i'd let out a sigh, just so, ahhhh, and he'd know that i wanted him, i need to feel wanted, do you want me, i'd like you to, do you feel me, my smooth runner's thighs and firm tummy, oh, and you finally noticed, no panties, i just got too into writing that i never got around to putting them on, it's cold and wet outside, but inside it's hot, and as i write it's getting a little of the other too because that’s what writing does to me a natural aphrodisiac and i've lost the ability to use commas because it's gotten to me i should really be sitting on a towel but i can still find my apostrophes well maybe i cant they are gone now like my inhibitions and you better whatch aut or i mite forget how to selpl and taht mgith gt hrd 2 reed cuz im getting 2 in2 it in2 you luver the surrogate object of my desire im sighing again just 4 u and i kan reely spell butt my body is has other things on its mind if a mans brain is in his penis where is a womans in her heart no mines a little lower than that and it is thinking of you, you with me, you on me, you in me – oh, the punctuation is back, because i'm on mine, lowercase, waiting for you to get uppercase


12. Epilogue


Arlen and I spent the night naked, first in his room, then mine, where we slept on sticky sheets. We showered together in the morning before I gave him his tour of the old castle. I was pregnant and happy. I wasn’t sure then, but Hamish’s arrival nine months later confirmed it.

Although Amelia regarded me suspiciously, they made love in Arlen’s bed on the same sheets we had soiled the previous night. I liked her a little, but there was a little rivalry there. Although we kept in touch, we were never the friends we could have been.

Sandra and Nipples met us in Glasgow for my concert, but Nips came back to my castle with me the next night and never left. Arlen finally slept with her the night I premièred her violin sonata on the same concert as Charlie’s trumpet piece.

Josh was conceived the night I premièred Arlen’s piano concerto. By then, Sandra had already moved in with Aoife and was also pregnant, and Charlie had also slept with him. Together Arlen gave Nipples and me six children, three boys and three girls, who lived together in Dunrig as full brothers and sisters. It was a lively household, with several children joining us in our bed, usually naked, as clothing was always optional in the castle during the off-season.

After Arlen died, only Hamish understood why Nipples found me a husband to share with her.


5. Enter The Harem


My virginity is still intact. Nipples and I didn’t actually do anything, not even after we hopped into my bed together at six.

“I was worried about sleeping alone in a haunted house,” she whispered, her head cradled between my breasts.

“We’ll talk about it later,” I reassured her, “after we’ve slept a little.”

We didn’t speak about it right away. Honestly, I didn’t know how I felt about it. It was nice, but I wanted more than she could give me. I supposed both of us would have preferred male company, not that I had ever experienced it before. I’ve never even had a real boyfriend. Judging from her Facebook page, she’d had several.

The weather was rotten outside, a mixture of rain and snow, so I showed her around the castle, the modern parts, as well as the indoor sections of the ruin. As I had a recital to play in a month, I spent a couple of hours practising before dinner, while she composed.

Facebook: Sandra Claussen wants to be your friend.

It came in just as I was finished practising. Had Arlen really told her about me, or was she just friending me because I had posted on Arlen’s wall? I felt more loyal to Nipples, but I decided to accept anyway. I needed to learn more about Arlen.

Sandra Claussen: Are you free to chat?

I had a nasty habit of forgetting to keep myself invisible while I was online.

Eirica Johnstone: For a little while. Must cook dinner soon. Guests imminent.

Well, one guest.

Sandra Claussen: Arlen suggested I make contact with you. He says you 
are an up and coming pianist. A sure thing.
Eirica Johnstone: Well, here I am. What can I do for you?
Sandra Claussen: Can we meet sometime to talk? Are you ever near Leeds 
or York?
Eirica Johnstone: You may have to come up here, or to Glasgow. I have 
a recital coming up and don't have much spare time.
Sandra Claussen: How about after New Years? I could come up for a 
weekend. Would really like to meet you.

I wasn’t sure how long Nipples was staying, but I needed to be back on campus the second week of January.

Eirica Johnstone: How about in Glasgow on the 15/16? I don't have a 
spare room, though.
Sandra Claussen: Any chance I could come the week before? Arlen says 
you have a spare room at your home. Can't stay long. Term starts on 
the 11th. May I come there?
Eirica Johnstone: Is it urgent? If not, how about Feb?

I didn’t want them to overlap.

Sandra Claussen: Jan is better for me. Viva in Feb. Would like advice on 
portfolio. 
Eirica Johnstone: Can't Arlen advise you?
Sandra Claussen: We have a difference of opinion. You could mediate. 
Performability issues.
Eirica Johnstone: I have a guest, and I don't know when she is leaving. 
Possibly that weekend, if not before. I don't know yet.
Sandra Claussen: Would you let me know? I'd really like to meet. Arlen 
says I would like you, and that you would be good for me.
Eirica Johnstone: In what way?

That was disturbing.

Sandra Claussen: He says you have a level head and are not afraid to 
speak your mind.
Eirica Johnstone: OK, well, I'll let you know. Must see to dinner now.

I never expected to hear from her. I don’t know why I said she could come. While I had a few moments, I took a quick look at other emails, namely a couple from Arlen. I’d left him high and dry:

Arlen Stewart: Eirica, I'm a little uncomfortable about telling you my 
fantasies. Maybe some other time. A
Arlen Stewart: Eirica, Are you there? Why the sudden silence? Not 
tomorrow, maybe Tuesday.
Eirica Johnstone: 
Dear Arlen,
I'm sorry, I was interrupted by Nipples last night and we were 
up late with, you know, girl talk. I'll try for Tuesday night, 
but Nipples has been struggling with insomnia. We have ghosts here, 
and she is nervous about them. Will email if I can. If you will 
tell me one of your fantasies, I'll tell you one of mine. Deal? I 
know, you want to know what makes me tick. I'll think about that, too.
Love,
 Eirica

I took a quick look at Sandra’s Facebook page. Personally, I think Nipples’ opinion that she’s a lesbian doesn’t quite tell the whole picture. In the photos, Sandra was certainly free with her body, posting photos of herself that even I wouldn’t dare, although that doesn’t say much. Certainly, she shows off more than Nipples. I noticed also that Aoife Stewart was among her friends, and featured in some of her photos. Like Nipples, I suspected more than just an ordinary friendship. This was the first picture I’d seen of Aoife, and now I understood Arlen’s fascination with Sinead. They looked remarkably alike, as if Sinead was her younger, prettier sister.

Sandra’s website was much slicker than Nipples’, and she had won many more awards. I listened to a few of her clips, and resolved to help Nipples tart hers up, at least to Sandra’s standard, if not better. That was something I could do for her.

“What you doing?” Nipples asked, interrupting me.

“I think we need to whip your website into shape.”

“What do you mean?”

“I just had a look at Sandra’s. She’s obviously spent a lot of money on it. It’s rather slick.”

“Aoife set it up for her. She’s a web designer.”

“Well, I think you need to give her some competition. I can help.”

“You can set up web pages?”

“It’s amazing what you can teach yourself, kicking about alone in an old castle.”

“I’m up for it, if you are?”

“We’ve got a few weeks to get a good start on it. By the way, I just got a message from Sandra. She wants to come meet me. She seems to be in a hurry about it, too, something about her portfolio. Apparently, she has a disagreement with Arlen about it.”

“I think she’s heard that I’m up here. When doesn’t she want to come?”

“On the ninth, staying overnight. When were you planning on leaving?”

“The ninth. I have a tutorial on the eleventh, so I’ll need to give myself a day to prepare.”

“So you will probably overlap. Do you want her to see you, or not?”

“I want her to know that I’ve spent the better part of three weeks here, and she only gets two days. Maybe we could pretend we are lovers or something. Make her jealous.”

“We’ll see about that. You may tire of me in three weeks. Hey, I was just about to upload my pictures from last night, shall we trade?”

“Sure, let me get my laptop.”

Minutes later, I’d loaded up her photos on my computer. “Hey, you really have a good eye,” she said looking at mine. “I wonder if you could take some better pictures of me for my website. This is an ideal location.”

“Well, if you’ll take some of me, too. Most of what I have are arm’s length self-portraits. I could dig out my father’s tripod, and take some of us together as well. It’s in one of the attics, so it may take some time to find.”

“That’s great! Let’s take some tomorrow.”

After dinner, we sat down and worked on her website up in my bedroom by the fire until she fell asleep on my shoulder. Arlen wasn’t there, so I thought I’d catch up on my Facebook. I uploaded a few of the pictures that Nipples took outside, then noticed that Sandra was online.

Eirica Johnstone: Hey Sandra, do you have a moment.
Sandra Clausen: Hi, how are you?
Eirica Johnstone: I'm fine. 9th is OK if you want to come. You'll 
probably overlap briefly with my other guest, but that is fine.
Sandra Clausen: That's great. I'll need directions closer to the 
time. Should I bring anything? Some music, obviously. Anything else?
Eirica Johnstone: Nothing I can think of ...

At that moment, I noticed that Amelia was also online.

Tell me about yourself, aside from what's on your website. What 
do you think of Arlen?
Sandra Clausen: Give me a few minutes and I'll send you an email.
Amelia Solent: Mind if I bother you for a minute?

My heart raced. Not only was I being contacted by a famous composer, but she was one of Arlen’s old flames.

Eirica Johnstone: Yes. Nice to meet you.

Then I replied to Sandra that I’d wait for her email.

Amelia Solent: Arlen Stewart spoke very highly of you. Can I 
make a request?
Eirica Johnstone: Sure.
Amelia Solent: Don't hurt him. Many have.
Eirica Johnstone: Many?
Amelia Solent: You know what I'm talking about. Women. Students. 
He gets too involved and can't let go.
Eirica Johnstone: I'll try not to, but I'm not one of his students.
Amelia Solent: That makes you even more dangerous to him. I'm not 
trying to be mean, but I've seen it all, and he usually comes running 
to me when it all ends.
Eirica Johnstone: He said he didn't stray.
Amelia Solent: That doesn't mean he doesn't get involved. It's sweet, 
but it also leaves him a wreck afterwards.
Eirica Johnstone: But aren't you one of them/us, too?
Amelia Solent: I'm different.
Eirica Johnstone: How? Aoife must hate you for a reason.
Amelia Solent: She hates all of us.
Eirica Johnstone: Not Sandra Claussen, apparently.
Amelia Solent: She's different, too, I guess, but in a different way.

Eirica Johnstone: How?

Amelia Solent: It's neither of our business. You'll find out soon 
enough. Has she contacted you yet?
Eirica Johnstone: Yes. I was just chatting with her a moment ago.

Nipples stirred, but turned away from the screen.

Amelia Solent: She checks everyone out. That's her way. Don't be 
surprised if she gets physical.
Eirica Johnstone: Physical?
Amelia Solent: She may come on to you. Probably will. That's why 
we all hate her.
Eirica Johnstone: Why does she do it?

That partially explained Nipples attitude towards her.

Amelia Solent: It's a control thing. She's trying to break the bonds 
between Arlen and his other women.
Eirica Johnstone: How many of us are there?
Amelia Solent: About 20. Sandra's gotten to about half of us. Some 
are untraceable, and some are too far away. She got to me when I was 
invited out to a concert there. I felt so dirty afterwards.

Gasp!

Eirica Johnstone: You mean you gave in?
Amelia Solent: She took me by complete surprise, and I was having 
problems with my husband at the time. He didn't want me to come. 
(He doesn't like Arlen.)
Eirica Johnstone: What happened?
Amelia Solent: We went to the Slug & Lettuce after the concert. 
Arlen had assigned her to take care of me. We got plastered, and 
I awoke in her flat, naked, with her on top of me.
Eirica Johnstone: What did she do to you?
Amelia Solent: We had done something … sexual, but I don't remember 
what. One thing just led to another. She was very nice to me, though. 
I think that's the trick. She makes it hard to hate her afterwards, 
and then she reminds you of it for months.
Eirica Johnstone: I thought you said everyone hated her.
Amelia Solent: It's a weird kind of hate. I hate myself for it 
more than I hate her. Perhaps, it's fear.

Sandra’s email came in.

Eirica Johnstone: I'll be careful. She's coming up here in 3 weeks.
Amelia Solent: Will Nipples still be there?

How could she have known? Of course, she was friends with her, and all Nipples friends would know by now. “Yes. They’ll overlap briefly.”

Amelia Solent: I feel sorry for Nips, she took it the hardest. 
They had an affair for several months. Now she's even more confused 
than she was before.
Eirica Johnstone: Nipples is a lesbian?
Amelia Solent: I really couldn't say. Before Sandra, maybe, now? 
I don't think so. You would know better than I. I haven't slept 
with her.
Eirica Johnstone: How did you know?
Amelia Solent: She told me this morning.
Eirica Johnstone: Nothing happened.
Amelia Solent: You surprise her, but she admires you, just like 
she admires Arlen. You can trust her, but don't believe everything 
she says. She's a little blind in some ways. She thinks you're 
beautiful.
Eirica Johnstone: Really?!
Amelia Solent: That's what she told me. Let her down gently, will you?
Eirica Johnstone: I like her, too, but I'm not … like that. I think 
we'll stay friends for a long time, though.
Amelia Solent: Must go. Hubby is calling. Be careful. If you hurt 
Arlen, I will hurt you. I mean it. I can do that.
Eirica Johnstone: I'll be careful.

That was intense. Nipples stirred again, rubbed her eyes and sat up.

“Time for bed?” I asked.

“Goodnight,” she yawned, kissed me on the cheek and left.

That left me alone to read Sandra’s message and to plant a seed. First, the seed. I sent the picture of Nipples in her nightdress to Arlen. I needed to see how he reacted before I sent something more racy, and maybe eventually one of me.

Sandra Clausen:
Dear Eirica,
By now you have read my bio on my website, so I assume you want 
a more personal story. I lived a fairly normal childhood, going 
to a girls school in Harrow, while studying music at the Purcell 
School with Alan Sickert. I've wanted to write music since as early 
as I remember, studying piano with my mother and then cello from 
the age of six. I've won a lot of awards, but I'm sure you don't 
want me to list them all – you've read them on my website, of course.
I write mostly for large forces, orchestra as well as chorus. I'm 
deeply moved by good vocal music, and with my instrumental roots, 
I'm hoping to write opera and theatre music. I don't know if you 
are aware, but Arlen's wife Aoife is a wonderful poet and writer 
(although unpublished), and I am hoping to collaborate with her 
some day. I admire her poetry especially. If you want to read her 
work go to her beautiful website (she earns her living in web design) 
at aoifeocallaghan.org. Arlen has been pushing me to write some smaller 
works for piano or cello, and that is why he directed me to you.
On the personal side, I am a vegetarian and into Celtic mythology. 
I'm also a witch, a real one. I hope that doesn't scare you. I'm a 
white witch, and that means that none of my spells are cast with 
malice. I have a familiar, too, a cat named Giuseppe. (He was a 
Trappist monk in a past life.) I will bring my tarot cards along, 
if you don't mind, but I'll leave Giuseppe at home. (He hates being 
away from familiar places.) Looking at your Facebook page and website, 
I can see you aren't a Bible-basher, but do tell me if you would rather 
I didn't bring them. The 9th is a full moon, which is good for divination 
and casting spells. Maybe I can show you what I do.
I believe that we meet various people in life for a purpose. I met 
Arlen four years ago, you just met him, as you've just met Nicole. 
You may have already had contact with Amelia Solent, who seems to 
shadow me, pretending to be Arlen's protector. I don't know what 
she holds against me, but do take what she says with a pinch of salt. 
Nicole and I are rivals within the department, so some animosity 
between us can be expected. She resents the acclaim I receive, despite 
being a year behind her in my studies. I have tried to be as nice to 
her as I can.
I would be happy to answer any of your questions. And do tell me more 
about yourself.
Blessed be,
Sandra

Phew! Dare I believe there wasn’t a subtext there? A tarot reading wouldn’t be a bad thing, and the ghosts will torment her if she tries to do anything nasty. They’ve always protected their kin. Reading between the lines of Amelia’s correspondence, Sandra won’t do anything worse than try to seduce me, luring me to want to do what she wants me to do. I can handle a grope, I guess, if that is what is needed to get me closer to Arlen.

Eirica Johnstone: 
Dear Sandra,
Yes, I've been in contact with Amelia, but I actually met her several 
years ago in Paris. She doesn't remember that, though. She had written 
a competition piece, and I had a half hour with her tutoring me on it.
It doesn't matter to me that you are a witch. I've lived my entire 
life in an ancient castle with more ghosts than you can count ...

Out of the corner of my eye, I spied Nipples slipping in through the servants’ entrance again. “I left my nightdress in here last night,” she said, sniffling.

“You’re afraid to sleep alone?” I asked, sensing the real reason for her visit.

She stared down at her hands. “Yes.”

“OK, but I just want to finish this email … you don’t mind if I sleep nude, do you? I didn’t exactly ask last night. I wasn’t expecting company.”

“It doesn’t matter to me. You do what you like.”

“OK, just hop in bed, and I’ll join you in ten minutes.”

“Do you mind if I just lie on the sofa until you are done?”

“Sure. Go ahead.”

As I turned my attention back to the email, I watched Nipples undress, and then slip on her nightdress. Her movements were supple and catlike, something I found aesthetically pleasing. She was a kind soul in a waif-like body … with big nipples. Facing towards me as she took her blouse off and then her bra, she allowed me a good view of those nipples. They were as if she were permanently aroused, with large purple aureoles. What would they be like if she really were aroused?

Her milk-chocolate skin was shiny and smooth with little body hair, while her hair hung to her shoulders in loose small curls, and I suspected that one of her parents was white. Lying on the sofa, she watched me with a pleasant, but apprehensive smile. What was she thinking?

I had to finish off my email:

... They keep me company at night when I am alone here, which is 
almost every night that I stay in the castle. I look forward to 
the days when children will play here again. In the meantime, I 
spend as much of my time as I can at uni. As I am just finishing 
my D. Phil., I have little contact with the other students, so 
there isn't much in the way of rivalry. I don't play the same 
repertoire as the others anyway.
As you undoubtedly know, I love new music and hope to spend my 
career performing it at every opportunity. I'm also the Chief of 
my branch of the Johnstone clan, so I have inevitable duties from 
time to time. We're outcast, so we don't have much to do with the 
main clan itself. There was a feud several centuries ago, the reason 
for many of the ghosts here. My offspring will inherit my title as 
well as the castle, but that's far in the future.
As far as religion goes, organized religion doesn't begin to explain 
our world, not with my experience of the supernatural, at least. We 
can discuss if you want, but it is something I live with every day.
I'm not sure what else you want me to say. I like Arlen because 
he's so shy, but has so much boiling under the surface. And I 
really enjoy his music. I'm looking forward to playing his piano 
pieces next month, and if he can swing an orchestra for his piano 
concerto, that too.
I'll see you in a few weeks.
Love,
Eirica

Was that soupy enough? I closed my laptop and looked at Nipples, who still watched me, wide awake. “This is a lovely fire,” she said, “so warm and comfy.”

“I always have one in here during the winter. I often have trouble sleeping without the dancing light and the soft crackle of the embers.” I stood and pulled my jumper off, stripping down as she watched.

“Sandra and I used to be lovers,” she said bluntly, as I sat on the end of the bed, waiting for her.

“I know. How did you know I was writing an email to her?”

“You mouth the words when you type, and I just guessed who might want to know that kind of information about you.”

“I hope you aren’t upset. I’m just playing her at her own game. I think she wants to know why Arlen is so obsessed with me. I suspect you do to. Amelia just wants me to back off.”

“Amelia just wants him for herself,” she hissed more vehemently than she intended. “She’s never been able to let go of him. They correspond at least weekly, daily if she is upset about something. More often in the last couple of years, since Sandra has been around. She doesn’t trust her?”

“You don’t either.”

“Not any more,” she shrugged. “I loved her once, but she tried to wedge herself between Arlen and me.”

“What is there between Arlen and you?” I asked bluntly. No sense in beating around the bush.

“I think we’re kind of soul mates. He lusts after me. I like to think we were lovers in a past life.”

“But not this one?”

“It can’t happen. I’m not really sure about what I want in a relationship. Sandra showed me what I didn’t want. Sandra will pretend to be a dyke as long as it suits her. Eventually, she’ll want a man to give her children, someone with enough power to help her career. Besides, I’m not sure I want to date someone who is older than my father. I want to fall head-over-heels in love. It doesn’t matter who that is.”

“Me?” I asked, nervous that I was leading her on.

She hesitated. “I could never give you the children you want, and besides, behind that uninhibited exterior hides a raging heterosexual. If I were to give myself fully to you, it would be with the knowledge that I only loved part of you. OK, maybe I love you, but I have my feet planted firmly on the ground.” She paused and then asked, “What is there between you and Arlen?”

It was my turn to hesitate. Did I trust her enough to tell the truth, or even a variation of it? The truth might send her packing. The truth might hurt Arlen, but like Sandra, I needed to teach him to want me enough to give me a child or two, without leaving his wife. “I’m still playing it by ear,” I answered. “I don’t want to get in the way of his marriage, but I like him a lot. It’s a physical thing, as well as intellectual. I admire the way he thinks, but I have this intense desire to get inside him, to be part of him.”

“I’ve never heard it put that way,” she remarked. “Most want him inside of them?”

“Even you?”

“At one time, I did. Sandra does, Amelia does … I think she has, actually.”

“Really?”

“Take a look at the pictures of her two boys. The younger one looks like her, but the older one … you make your own judgement.”

That put a twist on things. “He said he never strayed.”

“I think it might have been before his marriage. She was already dating her husband, but I think something happened. She became pregnant just as she finished her degree. I don’t think he has strayed since, but I could be wrong. He knows what it could do to his career.”

If that were true, could I trust Arlen? Thinking about it a moment, I realized it didn’t matter. Unprotected sex with a man who slept around didn’t thrill me, but I would deal with the fallout afterwards. “What about his marriage?”

“I think he worries about that, too, but you know what I think about Aoife and Sandra. If he did stray, it would just make them even. I think getting out of that marriage would be good for him anyway. She controls him too much.”

“Sandra says Aoife is a great poet, and she wants to write an opera with her.”

“So? It doesn’t mean they aren’t sleeping together.”

“Maybe.” I looked at the clock: 2 am. I spun around, chose a side of the bed, and flipped off the light. Nipples walked over and lay on the other side, facing me. She was still wide awake. “What’s wrong?” I asked.

“Nothing,” she smiled, looking me straight in the eyes. “I just like looking at you. Do you mind?”

I wouldn’t look away … five seconds … ten … thirty. She smiled wider. A ghost passed the foot of the bed, but I dared not look. If I was in a nightdress, I would say that Nipples undressed me with her eyes, but they bore deeper, way down to my sex. Touching her would have broken the spell.

Another ghost floated behind her. Mum had told me that when they had sex, the room was full of ghosts. Intimacy drew them close; sex drew them closer. Nips didn’t need to touch me, as my body submitted to her gaze. Did she feel as I did? Could she feel my breath, hear my heart racing? What was she doing to me? A minute … two … ten. I flushed as a bead of sweat dripped across my chest. More ghosts … female. I felt one let her hair brush my back. Could Nips not see them?

The breath of a spirit circled her head, glowing eerily in the half light of the fire. A male ghost cupped my breasts in his hands, squeezing lightly. Nips would see the indentations of his fingers if she chose to. He caressed my hips, my thighs.

A door in the hallway squeaked shut, distracting Nips, and unleashing my molten ecstasy.

“What was that?” she gasped, but I was too far gone. I couldn’t catch my breath. “Are you OK?”

“Rather,” I whispered in my best Oxbridge tongue. I couldn’t fake Scots now. “What did you just do?”

“Are you all right? Do you have a fever?”

“I’m fine,” I said, rolling onto my back. “Better than fine.”

“What was that noise?” she asked.

“Just a ghost closing a door.”

She shuddered.

“The room was just full of them. Couldn’t you see them?”

“I was just lying here thinking of you, looking at you.”

“You should be careful how you look at me. You attracted the ghosts, and they joined in.”

“Joined in what?” she asked, frowning.

“You didn’t feel it?”

“Feel what?”

“I just had an orgasm.”

“Hmm. I didn’t,” she replied, sounding disappointed.

“You gave it to me, with a little help from one of the ghosts. He was doing what you were thinking.”

“How do you know what I was thinking?”

“I don’t, but the ghosts did. There was one circling around your head, a woman behind me, and a man touching me. There was another near then end of the bed.”

“Are they still here?” she asked, looking around.

“I can’t see any, but you don’t see them if you are looking. They are here … watching. Ghosts are great voyeurs. My mother said this room was full of them when I was conceived. The women of our clan are sensitive. We can feel them, sometimes even hear them. They like it when I wander the castle with no clothes on, so they can touch me. They won’t touch my clothes. I’m one of their kind, a Johnstone.”

“What’s it like to see ghosts?” she asked.

“They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some, I can see in their full form, although translucent. Some are just a shimmering, like the one that floated around you. The one by the end of the bed was a shadow in a dark room. The one behind me was just a brush of her hair, but I couldn’t see the last one at all, the one that groped me.”

“Groped you?”

“There are many here, but I recognized the touch of his hands. I’ve felt them before, while replaying a fantasy in my head. He’ll come to you if you invite him.”

“How do I invite him?” she asked. I wasn’t sure she believed me.

“Firstly, you have to be friendly. If you want to feel his touch, you’ll have to strip down. If you are under the covers, you might feel the press of him against you, but you won’t feel his skin, nor will you feel him inside you.”

“Should I do that now?”

“If you want him now, yes, but you will attract others, so you mustn’t be afraid. That’s when a pleasant encounter can become a nightmare. You may sense others, and you may hear things, a distant scream, a door closing or opening, a shadow or a shimmer. They are just ghosts, but they are my family. They must become your friends.”

“Are they tortured?”

“Some are, they died a hideous death or of loneliness. The one who dances around you lost a love in childbirth.”

“How do you know?”

“I just do. If you open yourself completely to him, you will learn more about him. It may be that he will think you are his love come back for him, or maybe a little of her soul will find her way into you. Perhaps it was the touch of her hair I felt on my back. There may be others drawn to you by the colour of your skin. There have been black servants in this household. Maybe one of them will come to you instead. I can’t be sure.”

“How do I know he won’t be violent?” she asked.

“The others will keep him in line. They will defer to my authority. They remain here under my sufferance.”

“You could banish them?”

“Yes, but they keep me company. You are safe here as long as I breathe.”

She sat up. “OK, I’m ready,” she sighed, pulling her nightdress off over her head. “You said I had to be friendly. How do I do that?”

“Just don’t start if you hear or see things. Keep your eyes open so you can see them if they want you to. Don’t be afraid. Go with the flow. Now lie back and tell me about your fantasy, just until you sense them. You are sharing a secret pleasure with them, and they will come.”

“Does it need to be someone in particular?”

“Not necessarily, but have a good image in your mind.”

“Would you mind if it was Arlen?”

“Whatever turns you on.” I did mind, but I thought maybe it might give me more insight into her feelings about him.

“OK, here goes,” she whispered, laying back. “When I first started studying with Arlen, he used to stare at my breasts. I’m not even sure he knew he was doing it, and for a while it bothered me, although I became accustomed to it. Men have stared at my nipples since puberty. One day I had a particularly frustrating lesson. He was berating me for how little work I had prepared. I’d had a tough week and just couldn’t produce anything. I came in a nervous wreck, and it wasn’t long before I was reduced to tears. I don’t blame him; I was fragile and just crumbled. Putting a hand on my shoulder, he said, ‘I’m just pushing you because sometimes one needs a little shove.’ I was wearing a halter that day, and I caught him glance into my cleavage. I think he saw more than he expected. Perhaps it was that he realized he had a hand on my bare skin. I can’t be sure, but he turned beet red and backed away. Maybe it was my reaction to his touch. It was before my relationship with Sandra and completely unexpected. He tried to hide it, but I know he had an erection, and that made me even more excited. That’s when I put my hand on his arm. I don’t know what I intended. It was late in the afternoon, and we had lost track of time. Aoife was away on a course, and the building was more or less empty. No one would have known.”

Nipples stopped for a moment. I sensed a shimmer in the corner, but then she continued.

“He stopped as if he didn’t know what to do, so I had to show him. Lifting my hand from his arm, I touched his thigh, sliding it up and down his leg, closer and closer, until I found his zipper. He sat paralysed, waiting for what I would do next. I unhooked the clasp and pulled the zip down slowly. Still frozen, I began to unbutton his shirt from the bottom up. Opening it, I caressed his nipples, then leaned over an tasted them. Only then did I feel his hands underneath my halter, search for my breasts, my nipples …”

She gasped. A ghost had touched her. One shimmered around her head caressing her neck. Nips eyes were open, but she wasn’t seeing the room.

“I … he … pulled my halter over my head and licked circles around my nipples. I don’t know …” another gasp, “… I don’t know how we made to the floor, but I’d removed his shirt, and found myself kneading his bare buttocks … ohhhh … my panties … ughnnn … skirt … we kissed … his hands … I stroked his … I held him tight … legs locked around him … he …”

Nipples could go no further, as her ghosts took her into orbit. The room shimmered with an assortment of shades, twinkles, and as she approached her climax I heard a scream (perhaps of ecstasy) come from the ruin. She opened herself completely to him, as he kneaded her breasts, throbbed between her thighs, culminating in a long high-pitched squeal of pleasure from the deepest reaches of her soul, and a wet orgasm, leaving a small puddle on my duvet.

After a minute, she sighed. Turning to me, I saw a tear dribble down her cheek. “I’m not sure I want to do that again,” she sobbed.

“It’s too late,” I said. “Once you open yourself to them, you can’t go back. They will be curious about you. What happened?”

“I was a servant girl, perhaps a slave, born in Africa, somewhere near the east coast. My master loved me, but he knew that I could never be anything more to him that just a servant. I was 14 years old when I died in childbirth. My son lived and went to work in Kingston.”

“Did the girl possess you as the spirit pleasured you? Was he her Master?”

“I don’t know, but it didn’t matter. My son was a white boy with Johnstone blood.”

“I don’t understand the significance,” I said.

“That white boy was an ancestor on my mother’s side. My mother’s name was Irma Johnson. We’re related.”

“Sister!” I declared, putting my arms around her. It didn’t change anything. “What did you find unpleasant?”

“I learned too much about myself, and about them. They prodded and poked me, and found my Johnstone blood. They wanted to know too much, and I couldn’t stop them while my Master distracted me. I’m scared.”

“You’re kin. They won’t hurt you. They were just curious, rediscovering an unknown line. They are still all around us watching. Have a look.”

Nipples turned and gazed around the room. She found a shimmer in the corner, a shadow by the fire, a light breeze near the window. If she would have looked in a mirror, she would have found a twinkle dancing around her head. I knew there were more, but they didn’t betray visible manifestations. The woman with the long hair was behind me, as she often is.

It took me a short time to calm her down enough to fall asleep, again nestled between my breasts. I was in the line of her Master, a man who probably raped her ancestor in the name of love. I should have cried in shame, but I knew there were many men like that in my lineage.