Would like to know the name of this artist…seems like fun…
She was always first into bed; her shoes kicked off with an easy flick, her sundress and underwear gracefully removed, then tossed carelessly onto the floor, her eyes barely leaving me all the while.
By then I would have removed shoes socks and belt, and no more. Pants, shirt, tie, all remained.
I asked her if she would mind if I did not dress formally on all our dates.
‘Of course I would not mind,’ she said. ‘I just wouldn’t have sex with you. But you can still buy me dinner.’
2 weeks into my trip to Europe, Carla calls me, her voice shaking.
C: I really need to take this thing off.
Me: Why? It was partly your idea, remember. No backing out now.
C: It’s driving me crazy. I keep hallucinating. Today I felt like I was practically naked in the supermarket.
Me: You are wearing your body suits under there, right?
C: Yeah but it felt like that was all I was wearing and everyone in the aisle knew it. I bought some vegetables, and then I walked home, and forgot I had driven to the store. I had to go back later. It was so embarrassing.
Me: Hah! Poor sweetie. Be careful what you wish for. I’ll be home in a week…
C: Seriously, just one? Or not even that. I just need to feel something inside me for five minutes. Then I’ll put it back on.
M: Nope. I’m not telling you where they spare key is. You gotta have something much better than that.
At the time of this story, I was working designing graphics and layouts for a large publishing company that specialises in travel and adventure books, and also has an imprint of pseudo-factual kids’ books about Pirates and Zombies and Mummies and so on.
You know when people talk about their career and they say “I know it sounds glamorous, but…”? And then they play it down and tell you about all the bad things about it? You end up thinking, “you actually want us to think it’s glamorous, don’t you,” or, “actually I never thought it sounded glamorous in the first place.”
Well, illustration actually is really glamorous. Even if you didn’t think it was. It is.
To start with, the books we do are pretty cool. The thing I’d been working on that week was a series of maps illustrating Scott’s exploration of the Antarctic, and the main editor Mr Peterson said I could totally go for it with the whales’ tails and other cartouches, which I still love to do. I even did a squid with a beady eye, which made him laugh.
In between working up drafts of those, Mike the Ox would come and show me his layouts for the Werewolf volume we were doing, which had a series of very neat drawings showing exactly how the man’s body got ripped apart by the inevitable full moon transformation. I’d told him they needed to be more colorful and flamboyant and less like something out of an anatomy textbook, and he’d made a rumbling noise, and wandered off back into the fields to eat grass, um, back to his desk to keep working.
I made a mental note to replay the little rumbling noise a few times in my head, when I got home.
I kinda like Mike in that way, you see. I haven’t slept with him. But I do like him.
After that encounter with the Ox, I went into see my boss, Mr. Peterson, the old Fox.
Mr. Peterson is about fifty five, but very well preserved and quite attractive. He is a talented artist too, but he barely gets to do much of it. He’s too busy looking after the business. I admire that, and I’m grateful. I’m not sure that I’d want to be in his position, though.
‘Ah, Joanna’, he always says, in an avuncular tone. ‘What’s happening?’
I walk into his office and instead of sitting opposite him, I sit down sideways to him with my legs crossed, and drink a glass of water.
His gaze is not drawn to my thighs.
‘Mr Peterson, this isn’t about my work. It’s about Mike’s,’ I said, shuffling forward on the chair a little further. My work attire is pretty respectable up top, but down below, the skirt is short indeed . How is he not looking at me?
‘Ah, indeed. Tell me?’ He sounds intrigued.
I lean forward. ‘Well, John, I just wanted to say that his work has really been great lately. He’s reliable and he’s creative and he’s hardworking. Best on my team, for sure. So…’
‘Yes?’ Mr. Peterson raises his eyebrows and seems almost amused. I have managed to take him by surprise, at least. It’s just not with my legs.
‘So, I’d like to support his application for a promotion to senior illustrator. I know he’s been working on one. And we used to have two here. We get on very well, I’m sure it won’t be a problem if we are both on the same level.’
‘I agree, that is a good idea,’ said my boss. ‘But, I’m afraid that Michael has not made any such application to me. If he does, it will be favorably received. But it may be the case that whatever he has been working on, it isn’t that. Now, is that all?’
I left his office.
Is that all?
No one ever says that to me!
Mr. Peterson and I have been playing this game ever since I started working here a few years ago. I’m pretty sure he wants me. And sooner or later, he’s going to slip up. An invitation to work on something with him, alone. A gaping stare at my chest. A moment of hesitation as I raise my arms before I get something from a shelf.
And then I will know.
This is my ex-girlfriend Caprice, settling in for a bath. Last time, I told you about how she basically got me to invite her to move in, by letting me take candid pictures of her on a train. I hope that gave you some idea of what she was like.
After she moved in, the games continued. She kept working as a temp and made a little money, although she spent most of it on herself. She hated her job, and moaned about it constantly. She said her main passion was to be a masseuse and she was going to train to be one, some day. But I had a few massages from her and they were ordinary. She just pinched my shoulder muscles for a while, to no real purpose. It seemed to me that she had no passion for it at all. She always seemed to like getting them, though. Went to some place in the city once a month or so.
In fact I don’t think Caprice ever really had much passion for most things – especially me. No matter what I did, I never really got very far with her. She liked being able to say she was going out with a successful sound engineer, and she loved my apartment, but I never made her smile (on purpose), and in bed, I doubt that gave her a single real orgasm in the whole two years I was with her. She was so good at faking things, it was impossible to tell.
On this particular occasion I came in when she was having a bath – her second of the day, in fact – and I found her masturbating. She quickly covered herself, as though her pussy was something I wasn’t supposed to see, even though we’d had sex the night before.
‘What do want?’ she asked.
‘I just wanted to see what you were doing,’ I replied.
‘You saw what I was doing. Happy?’
‘Caprice…maybe I could stay. Maybe I could just watch, to see what you do.’
I said this because I wanted to see what she was like, masturbating. Maybe if I watched her give herself an orgasm, I would know what it looked like. That’s how desperate I was.
‘So you’re just going to stand there?’ she said.
‘Okay,’ she said. (I realised later that that this was what she did most of the time, anyway.)
So she ignored me and got down to it. She pulled out a glass dildo that I did not know that she owned, and moved it in and out of herself, very slowly, with her eyes closed. I was surprised by how gentle the motions were. She hardly seemed to be moving at all, but her body started to stiffen and sway in time with some rhythm she was keeping in her head.
After about five minutes of this she lifted a leg and came in from a slightly different angle, and she started making a soft, sighing noise that I had never heard before. Her eyes were still closed, and I suspected she was fantasizing about something, probably not me.
I had no erection as I watched this. In fact I was dismayed by how little it looked like what we did together, and how little I seemed to know about my girlfriend.
After a few minutes with her leg up, she went quiet and held her breath, and I think that was when she actually came, her face calm with concentration.
But then she opened her eyes just for a moment and looked at me, and then I saw her give a faint smile as she looked away. She still had the dildo inside her, and she moved it in and out a few times, and made a sound, a little gasp, exactly the noise that she makes when she comes with me.
I’m pretty sure it was fake.
Who fakes an orgasm while masturbating? Especially if they have just had one? I can never be sure that this is what Caprice actually did that day, but my instinct is pretty strong. It just fits with everything else about her.
Afterwards I asked her what she had been fantasizing about.
‘Nothing,’ she said. I knew she was lying.
I wish she hadn’t been so sexy, honestly. I wish that cold, manipulative people were all ugly, and warm-hearted generous girls were gorgeous. Then, I’d never have gone out with her. And I’d never gotten into that total mess when her sister Tiffany came to stay.