I sat at a table of this dimly lit bar, unable to cross my legs properly because the skirt I chose was as tight as it was short. I was seeing him and I knew it was always wise to opt for easy access around him. I pulled out my compact from my purse, quickly reapplied my lipstick—MAC’s Matte in Sin—and puckered my lips. I grabbed my travel size Flowerbomb, dabbed a little more on my neck, and reminded myself to re-apply on my thighs the next time I visited the restroom.
Always leave a trail of perfume where a man’s mouth will follow.
Anxiously sipping my merlot, I kept watch on the door.
He had texted me saying he wanted to see me. I asked where he’d be going out to that night, told him I was bound to be up and out late, too.
“Now. I want to see you now,” read his next text.
I wouldn’t have found it strange, but we usually only ever made arrangements for weeknights, unless we were drunk texting each other late night on weekends. We didn’t go out together much, unless it was part of a sex game or scene we were acting out, but I’d know if that were the case. He would have notified me, provided me with some direction, possibly even made a few requests.
He dictated everything when it came to the bedroom, always ensuring I wasn’t doing anything I wasn’t comfortable with. He took the lead, he set the rules, and I trusted him enough to follow. There was only ever rapture in it for me, after all.
After meeting by chance and having made it a habit of waking up in his bed one or two times a week, he had given up on asking me to dinner. I wasn’t looking for romance back then, though he was perfect on paper, and I would later end up learning he was actually wonderful. It had nothing to do with him, but everything to do with me and where I was in the world.
So, as it goes with these things, we entered into a kind of unspoken ongoing arrangement. We understood each other as far as was necessary. He knew how to send my nails digging into his back to draw blood. I never found myself faking an orgasm with him, only drunk and paralyzed from the gratification. I knew every single move, suck, and tease that got him high off of me, and just how hard he’d cum with each.
We never got serious, but we had fun. He was the kind of guy who would run into me on a Saturday night and take me into the bar bathroom to fuck me. Once, he left me tied up to his bed on a Wednesday night while he stepped out for a few errands. I had never been angrier, and I had never been wetter. He was also the kind of guy who would put a glass of iced water on the bedside for me after sex and before sleep. I remember him cleaning me up gingerly and tenderly each time after sex, either in the shower with his body wash using his hands or with a damp towel as I laid spent in his bed. I hated it only due to the fact that I secretly loved it. I didn’t want to like it. It was something that made everything feel a little more intimate.
I tried to remind myself he was sweet where it counted, as I sat there on an early Saturday evening, a little frustrated I was earlier than him, half-annoyed and half-intrigued at his urgency. I wondered if he was going to tell me he had met somebody, that it had been fun, but this is where it stopped, or maybe that the pictures he had of me had gotten into the wrong hands.
I bit my lip wondering if this could just be foreplay for one of our little sexcapades.
In he strolled. Broad shoulders, crisp shirt tucked in, a leather belt I wanted to feel coming down on me, gray slacks sitting on his hips. Those strong, big, rough hands adjusting his gold watch that glinted in unison with the ring from his alma mater. I imagined those hands on me, I imagined one hand curled around my throat, while the other caressed the inside of my thigh, searching, teasing…
As he got closer, cologne invaded all my senses with bergamot, cedar, lavender, and spicy notes. The physical effect it had on my body was immediate.
There were mornings I would leave his place and get home, my skin and hair smelling like him, the chemicals of his cologne embedded into my pores. It was a divine masculine yet soft scent. I’d roll around my sheets, spreading the aroma onto my own pillow, wait a few hours to shower because I loved being enveloped in it. On mornings it was a designated no-wash-hair day, I’d carry it in my curls all day. I didn’t revel in it because I had any sort of emotional or sentimental attachment to him, it was because it oozed pure lust, pure masculinity, sex, something raw. It was because it reminded me of where my body had been and what it had been doing the night before. Truthfully, it was mostly because it made me feel less alone. I struggled with the thought that maybe he did the same.
Watching him sit down in front of me, I made a mental note to finally ask him the name and designer of his elixir.
“You kept me waiting.” I rolled my eyes, a little exasperated.
“Wet for me already?” he teased, his icy blue eyes twinkling with promise.
Trying to suppress my smile, I bit my lip and rolled my eyes again.
“You’ll forgive me soon enough. I was only getting a few surprises ready for you.”
It was enough to warm me up and send my foot running up his leg. Part of me just wanted to watch him struggle with a hard-on.
“Go into the bathroom and take your panties off. I’m going to pay for your drink. Meet me out front,” he demanded.
We were walking the street hand in hand, to where, I had no idea. As we stopped to wait for the MetroRail to pass through, he looked down at me and flatly whispered, “Give them to me.” I reached into my purse and there went my black lace panties into his hand. There they went up to his nose in the middle of a busy block downtown. And there they went into his pocket.
We reached Prohibition Theatre and I wondered how long he’d been planning this, briefly struggling with the thought that if he hadn’t gotten these tickets last minute, he was either originally taking someone else or expecting I’d drop whatever plans I’d had for him. I tried to push back both thoughts as we walked inside. Fuck it, I was here, I looked fabulous, and from where we were seated, I would never be able to afford to come here on my own.
We had our own personal bartender and server, seated at the mezzanine, looking down on the lower level and the stage. It was a mix between modern swanky and 1920s ritzy style. My stomach was growling, but I was more interested in the burlesque girls we’d be seeing than whatever we were going to order for dinner. I was dazzled and a little giddy.
He ordered us oysters and picked a drink for each of us off the cocktail menu and politely asked our server to keep us topped off with the water.
“I was thinking the other night,” he began, “while that beautiful mane of yours was fanned out on my thighs, how much I enjoy watching you suck my cock, how much more I enjoy watching you swallow, and how sexy you must look devouring a meal.”
We’d gorged on pizza and Thai so many times on his couch, but I couldn’t remember us actually every sitting down for a proper meal.
“So, this is what tonight is all about? You felt an urgent need to watch me eat?”
“No. That’s not it. Eating is just one of the many things I want to watch you do tonight. Lose the the tone and the attitude. I don’t want to hear sarcasm in your voice.”
So, it began. We were embarking on a little game after all.
Instinctively and quickly stepping into the role I knew he wanted me to play, I whispered, almost purred, “Whatever you’d like, Sir.”
I felt myself growing warmer and wetter at the apex of my thighs, thinking about him controlling me, owning me for the night. How in turn, I would be the one driving him mad, the one possessing him, how he only got the power because I allowed him.
I could feel the blood rushing behind my ears, the anticipation building at my core and in my throat, as I wondered what limits our desires would drive us to push that night. I was as excited as I was terrified, the fear almost turning me on as much as anything else. It was never vanilla with us. Most people were bound by the walls of their own conventionality, chained to their everyday conformist adherence. But not us, at least not when we were together.
Losing his wolfish grin, softness descending into his eyes, he grabbed my hand and murmured, “You remember you don’t ever have to do anything you’re uncomfortable with, right? Tell me if at any point tonight you are. I’m always happy to just take you into my bed with me.”
Our drinks were set in front of us just after he slipped a pill I recognized into my hand. I wasn’t a stranger to Molly, and it wouldn’t be our first walk around the block together. The last (and only) time I had gone down the rabbit hole with him, and it was as pure of a hit as I had ever had. I wanted to feel that way again. I wanted to feel that way again with him next to me. I wanted to feel that way again with his hands on me. Everything brighter, warmer, sharper, more vibrant, more intensified.
“Only if you’re up for it tonight,” he reassured me.
“Bottoms up,” I cheered, taking a sip of my aromatic cocktail.
We made it through our starters, halfway through dinner and through our third drinks, before he put a hand on me again.
My skirt had inevitably ridden up. From where we sat, if anyone stopped looking at the stage to look back, they’d be able to see what his hands were doing underneath the table. He had scooted his chair to sit next and not across from me. He placed his hand on my kneecap, slowly moving up to my inner thigh and tracing his fingers. I spread my legs only a fraction and he slid his hand up a couple of inches higher, gently caressing my soft skin with his fingertips as he moved closer and closer to my clit. I relaxed into my chair, my head on his shoulder, while he massaged me in circles and I grinded into his hand. I grabbed his hand to direct his fingers inside of me, I wanted to feel them against my walls, in and out, hard. He stopped any kind of movement completely.
Looking at me, he commanded, “You don’t call the shots here. Tell me, ask for what you want with words, and maybe I’ll let you have it.”
“I want you to finger fuck me, please,” I breathed.
I could feel the effects of the drug slowly taking a hold of me, vines wrapping themselves delicately around my torso and every limb of my body like a serpentine. I wondered if he was feeling it too. Was his hand between my legs a calculated move? Did he know I was starting to feel complete bliss in each and every one of my senses? Was he feeling it too?
Slowly and very deliberately, he slid a finger inside me, followed by another. He worked in a slow and steady rhythm, tantalizing me. He began to pick up his pace, pushing harder into me. “Is this what you want,” he grinned into my ear.
He didn’t stop until I came in his hand, my legs tingling, my whole body vibrating. He rubbed the same fingers that had just been inside me over my lips, put each one into his mouth and sucked. He then moved back to sitting across from me.
Throughout the rest of the show, I ached for nothing more than to feel him inside me, but we were young and so was the night. Sex never started in bed with us, neither did foreplay, and it was just beginning.
I remember that night so vividly. It’s one of the memories I sometimes replay over in my head. It lives as a journal entry I sometimes go back to when the big empty is flowing in and out. I felt so alive that night.
This is what I will always remember: A club mix of Ellie Goulding’s rendition of High For This. A throbbing pulse through my body. The city lights. A crowd of dancing bodies, somehow us feeling like the only two in the room. Flowers blooming where we touched. Wind sweeping the hair from my face. My hand in his hand. Electricity down my spine. A cab. A playlist of songs on repeat. Candles flickering. The scent of fabric softener in his sheets. The cologne on his skin. Losing control. Our animal nature taking over. His calloused fingers roughly digging into my flesh. Him moving inside me, how good it felt, how much it hurt. The look in his eyes, something primal about it. The familiar crashing of waves through my body as I tightened around him. That time not thinking, “That was good,” but thinking “I could fall in love with him.”
His body felt like a furnace wrapped around me all through the night. It always did, the same way he always wrapped himself around me in his sleep, never letting go. If I moved, he moved with me. If I escaped his embrace, his arm or leg found itself around me again. Always. I laid there awake as he breathed in and out, peacefully asleep next to me, remembering the couple of times he told me he wished I would just stay. Had that admission carried a deeper meaning? Was I just then realizing what he had meant by that?
In this moment, I, too, wanted to just stay.
I wanted to blame it on the sex. I wanted to blame it on the drug. But part of me knew I had just unlocked a thought and a feeling I wouldn’t soon shut.
I relished his warmth all throughout that night. I wanted to remember how safe it felt. How less alone it made me feel. How wanted. With my face in his chest, I savored his scent. I didn’t want to forget.
Because when the lines between sex and love get blurred, there’s only one thing to do—you leave.
I feigned sleep when he got dressed in the morning. I could feel him there standing in his bedroom and staring at me. He dropped something on the bed and a few seconds later I heard his front door shut. He’d left me a note: “Gone to get breakfast. Look to your left. If you wake up, don’t leave, I’ll be back soon.” There was a glass of iced water on the nightstand next to me. I didn’t want to leave, but I knew if I stayed, I’d never want to go.
I never answered his messages or his calls.
A year later, a stranger walked past me in a cafe. Bergamot, cedar, lavender, and spicy notes. I couldn’t help but call out to him and ask him what cologne he was wearing.
La Nuit De L’Homme by Yves Saint Laurent.
Anytime I find myself at any department store I look through the fragrance counters to see if they carry it. I spritz some in the air. Each time I wonder if I made a mistake.