If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the `Ode to a Grecian
Urn' is worth any number of old ladies.
- William Faulkner
As I believe Harlan Ellison, a writer I admired a great deal when I was in my teens, put it, "Writers take tours in other peoples' lives."
Writers also take tours in their own lives.
Broadly-speaking, all fiction is in some ways autobiographical. A writer cannot help but include his or her experiences, ideas and values in their fiction, no matter how far from literal truth the fiction itself may be.
"Lily" had two, related but different, origins. My sexual and romantic interest in a woman lay at the root of both.
"Lily" began as a foray into the world of pornography. I had thought the form might prove to be an easy way to make money, as well as providing some useful practice at my craft. Further, the aforementioned woman had an interest in erotic writing and I hoped to impress her with mine.
As things turned out, I discovered that writing porn is very nearly as boring to me as reading it; there are only so many euphemisms for a throbbing penis, a slippery vagina or
a young woman's firm, full breasts. After 3 or 4 pages I was forced to give up on my dreams of making a fortune as a pornographer.
Nevertheless, the attempt led to the idea for "Lily", for an "erotic story", with the emphasis on "story".
I am happy enough with the results and the aforementioned young woman said she liked it too, although it did not make her any more physically interested in me than she already had been - which is to say, not at all.
If, somehow, it is not already obvious to you, be warned that "Lily" does contain explicit sexual passages.
- 1 -
The voicemail was typical Sam – upbeat, insulting, and frustratingly free of detail. “Orson! God damn it, why aren't you ever in when I call?” Not that Sam had called him even once in at least a year. Then Sam's lusty laugh, followed by, “You lazy bastard – or are you getting lucky even as I speak?” Pause, then rapid-fire, “Listen, I need a favour. You remember Lily? Of course you do! Anyway, she's going to U of T this fall – yup, my baby's growing up – you'll hardly recognize her. Point is, she's getting into town on the 23 and her residence isn't going to be ready until the 30th – and it's too late to change the plane ticket. You'll put her up, won't you? I'll cover the costs, don't worry. Okay? Okay. Thanks.”
And that was all. Orson looked at the dead phone in his hand with bemusement. Sam, of course, didn't leave a return number; Sam didn't have a phone. Sam and Lily lived on an island somewhere off the coast of Vancouver, between the big city and the bigger island of the same name. Shaking his head, Orson cradled the phone. “Of course I remember Lily!” he muttered. “I only lived with you guys for 3 years!”
Lily had been 12 when she and Sam had taken off for the Western blue yonder, where – as Sam put it – Lilly could grow up watching whales instead of cockroaches, or seeing deer running wild through the woods, rather than raccoons rooting through rotting garbage in alleys. Orson had wondered if 12 was just about the age when a kid would most want to be in the city – what, he asked Sam, would Lilly do out in the middle of nowwhere? “She's going to want to hang out at the mall!” Orson had cried as they shared a last drunk before the big move. “She's going to want to chill or whatever it is kids these days call doing nothing!”
It was an argument they had had for 6 months, since Sam had first made serious noises about the move. Now they were leaving in two days and Orson's complaint was strictly rhetorical. They were going and that was that. To be fair, Lily seemed surprising enthusiastic. Kids being by nature conservative creatures, without experience enough to have gained time's perspective on things, Orson had been suprised she had voice almost no complaints about the move. And Lily was no outcast, but a popular girl, one of those rarities who manage to navigate from one clique to the other as though such divisions didn't exist at all. No, she didn't complain and had, in fact, been enthusiastic.
Now it was almost 6 years later, half a lifetime for Lily, another 6 years for Orson. Well. Lily was coming in the day after tomorrow. And of course, Sam – typically – had had neglected to the flight Lily would be on, or even the time she would be arriving.
“Fuck.” Orson laughed. Typical Sam: vague, late and entirely irresponsible. “Poor Lily,” he muttered, “will you come to my door an utter wreck, devastated by your wanton mother?” Probably not, he thought, and turned his attention to planing for the girl's arrival. Sam did, he was pretty sure, have his address – and clearly, she had his phone number. Even Sam would have remembered to make sure Lily had that. He called his office and told them that he wouldn't be able to make it in on Thursday – yes, a family emergency, no he could not change his plans, sorry.
- 2 -
By the time Thursday rolled around, he had received no further word. He awoke early and cleaned his apartment from top to bottom – a rite that was in any case long overdue – and occasionally cursed her callousness. What if he had been away, out of town? Was there a Plan “B” for Lily? He wanted to assume there was; but Sam, no matter she was one of his oldest and dearest friends, could be as scattered as a retarded hen, trusting to providence, it sometimes seemed, like some itenerant holy woman when it came to day-to-day pragmatism. A somewhat successful artist, Orson thought Sam had missed her calling as a mystic.
Still, if Lily was heading to U of T, Sam must have done something right.
The phone-call came just before 4:00 o'clock. The apartment was as sparkling as it ever got and a pot of chilly simmered on the stove. Yes, she was at the airport. No, she didn't want to wait for him to come for her; she'd take a cab. “Yes, Orson, I'm sure I can get a cab by myself – I have been to Vancouver you know!”
Chuckling, Orson hung up the phone. For a kid who'd spent the past 6 years on an island commune that – from Sam's occasional letters – sounded a lot like a hippy paradise; whose home had neither running water nor electricity, Lily sounded like she could more than take care of herself. Lily sounded like a girl who was ready to take on the world.
- 3 -
The girl who knocked on his door an hour and a half later, however, looked nothing like a world-conqueror. Shorter than he had expected at not much over 5 feet, she was a slender, willowy girl, long-hair flowing messily past her shoulders, small breasts barely-discernable beneath black t-shirt and an open, man's dress-shirt. A long, peasant-style shirt hung from her harrow hips, stopping just above her toe-baring Birkenstocks. Shouldering an enomous backpack along with two hand-bags, she looked more like a flower-child out of the 60s, Orson thought, than a child of the new millenium; a tiny earth-mother to-be, maybe, if only she could survive what the world was about to throw at her.
“Orson?” Lily smiled uncertainly and Orson realized he'd been staring at her, as at some surprising phantom, a ghost of Christmas uncertain. “Are you going to let me in?
Orson started, then laughed. “Christ, Lily! Of course, of course! Come in, come in!” He started to offer to take her bags, but she was already moving forward and he got out of her way. She dropped her handbacks – they sounded heavy when they hit the floor – then shrugged off her pack. She set it against the wall between kitchen and bathroom and thoughtfully closed the apartment door. Then, for a moment, the girl, the man and the luggage shared the crowded vestibule of his one-bedroom apartment.
Lily tilted her head, and watched him, as if to say, “Well?”
“Well!” said Orson. “Forgive me, Lily, but: Jesus! You've grown so much!” And, awkwardly, he opened his arms and stepped towards her. “Welcome to my humble home. To your home, for as long as you need it.” And he took her in a bear hug to do his Russian grandfather proud – or would have, had their embrace not reminded him she was now a woman; holding her, his body reacted as a man's will in the presence of a beautiful woman.
Blood flowed south, filling Orson's cock. He felt it stiffen against his leg then begin to rise towards his youg guest. Hastilly he let her go and pulled away from her.
The apartment was twice as wide as it was deep. The door opened onto the bathroom, ideosyncratically raised two steps higher than the rest of the unit. To the left was his bedroom; sharing a wall with the bathroom was a small, open-concept kitchen, separated from the living-room by a counter. At the far end of the living-room was a sunroom, of which Orson had fashioned an office.
Orson bent to lift her backpack – it was heavy! - and turned towards his bedroom. “Come on,” he said, “let's get you settled.” Lily hefted her other bags and followed him. He set her pack between the doors to his wall-length closet and turned aroud. Lily dropped her other bags near the first. “You'll sleep here,” he said.
Lily was looking around the room. “I'd forgotten how many books you had,” she said. “And look! You've still got your bear!” She approached the wall of dull plastic milk crates and miscelaneous planks that sagged beneath the weight of his library and stood tip-toed to reach for the ancient, grey teddy-bear that that surveyed the room from the top shelf. She jumped a little and the bear tumbled into her arms. “Hello, Papa Bear! Do you remember me?” Lily bent to kiss the old toy on the nose.
Orson, his desire subsiding in the face of Lily's childlike pleasure in the old, stuffed animal, found himself giving voice to Papa Bear for the first time in years. “Of course I remember you, Lily,” Orson growled. “It's good to see you again.”
“It's good to see you!” Lily laughed and she kissed the bear again, then turned to Orson and looked at him seriously. “Where will you sleep?” she asked him. “I don't want to take your bed away from you.”
“Don't worry about it, Lily. You're an honoured guest and my couch is remarkably comfortable. Besides, I keep odd hours – this way, I won't have to worry about waking you up when I want to use my office.” He gestured towards the door. “Come on, let me give you the grand tour.”
- 4 -
He showed her the apartment, gave her a set of keys, turned on the heat under the chilly, started a pot of rice, and determined that, yes, a beer would be lovely, thank you. He asked Lily to choose some music if she liked and was gratified to hear Bob Marley wailing softly from the speakers. Finished, for the moment, with his kitchen duties, he settled into his lazy-boy, facing the couch in which Lily was curled up, her bare feet tucked beneath her.
“I hope you don't mind if I smoke,” said Orson.
Lily shook her head. “I'm used to it. Sam does it all the time.”
“But you don't?” Lily shook her head. “Good,” said Orson, “It's -”
“I know! I know! It's bad for you!” she interrupted, laughing. “Even on Esmerelda we know that!”
He asked about her life on the island. Her schooling had been informal clearly deep enough. Those in the community who knew things, taught them. And Sam had risen to her responsibilities, ensuring that Lily, at least, had been exposed to the sciences as well as music and art and English. “I never learned another language, though,” she mused. “I've always regretted that.”
She had decided not to specialize in her first year, choosing instead to sample the available courses, balancing English Literature with science courses. “I think I will go into physics, though,” she said.
Lily nodded. “Theoretical physics. Cosmology. Cosmology fascinates me. Did you know that the stars and galaxies and planets and dust – everything we can actually see out there, it's only about 10% of the universe?” Orson did know; he had a layman's interest in space and cosmology, but he just nodded and let her enthusiasm run free. She told him about dark matter and dark energy; about how it now seemed that the expansion of the universe was speeding up instead of slowing down; and how no one knew why. “It's very exciting,” she said, and Orson was struck again by the incongruity of his last memory of Lily as a pre-adolescent girl, waving from the passenger seat of the old wreck Sam had assured him would have no trouble crossing the country to the West coast, compared to the reality of the beautiful, pixieish young woman who had made herself at home on his couch.
“It's funny,” Orson said, out of some perverse need to show off, to prove to her that he knew something about her chosen field, “I remember reading Stephen Hawking – it must be twenty years ago now, or close to it – predicting that all the cosmological problems would be solved in no more than 10 or 20 years, that the famous 'theory of everything' was right around the corner.”
Lily didn't smile at all, but said very seriously, “That's why I want to study it. Instead of knowing just about everything, it turns out we're just starting to find out how much we don't know – which is almost everything. It's very exciting,” she said again.
- 5 -
Orson set food on the oval, faux-wood table set against the long wall in the living-room and he took pleasure in Lily's enthusiasm for his cooking. “Sam's a vegetarian,” she told him, so she didn't ofen get the chance to eat meat.
The food seemed to provide them both with renewed energy. Orson brought out more beer and settled onto the couch. Lily wandered them living room, examing the paintings and photos that adorned the walls. “Who's that?” she asked, pointing to a quartet of black-and-white photos of a young, Oriental woman, three of them nudes, though modestly so.
“My ex-girlfriend,” Orson replied. “She gave them to me when she went home to China for a visit. So I wouldn't forget her, she told me.” Orson laughed. “As if I was going to – I was madly in love with her then.”
“She's very pretty,” Lily observed. “And looks very young.”
Orson smiled, feeling a little embarassed. “She was. She is. She turned 23 this summer.”
Lily nodded. “Do you always go for younger women?”
“No,” Orson said, “not always. I've gone both ways,” though the truth was, his recent relationships had all been with women at least a decade his junior.
“When did you break up with her?”
“Almost a year ago now – well, she broke up with me.” He paused; the memory still hurt, despite his best efforts to put Seesee behind him. “I actually thought I'd spend the rest of my life with her.”
Lily turned to him, watching him thoughtfully. “I'm surprised you keep them up.”
Orson shrugged. “They're good shots,” he said. “And I am over her,” he added, telling himself it was close enough to the truth as not to matter. “It took a while, but – thank god – broken hearts do eventually heal.”
Lily said nothing, but joined him on the couch, once again curling her feet beneath her. Orson had watched her progress, unable not to admire her strong, slender legs, half-visible through her cotton skirt, or the play of the muscles of her buttocks as she turned to sit down.
He turned away and reached for his beer when she looked at him.
“Are you seeing anyone now?” she asked softly.
He took a sip, then looked at her again. She was watching him with a strange intensity, like a cat stalking its prey, her pale green eyes locked on him, her mouth set in a frown that told revealed nothing at all of her thoughts. Orson shrugged. “Nope. I'm depressingly single,” he said with what he hoped was a light, even self-deprecating, tone.
“I'm suprised,” Lily said slowly, still watching him, candle-light sparkling off her deep-set eyes. “You're handsome, you're smart, you're funny ...” She looked away suddenly, as if she felt she had said too much. She drank from her own bottle, set it back on the low table before them, and added, still looking down, “You're very talented, too. I check out your website regularly, whenever I get access to a computer – you're a really good writer.”
“Hey,” said Orson, “thank you!” He grinned, then suddenly realized he was looking not into her eyes, but instead watching her body, at the way her breasts shifted beneath her t-shirt as she moved, at the small bumbs in the cotton where her nipples pushed out against the material. He looked up at her face and saw that she had seen the shift in his attention. She quickly looked away.
Embarassed, he said, “It's nice to know somebody's reading it.” He laughed in self-mockery. After an early success with a novel that had sold a few thousand copies, he had stopped writing almost entirely for several years, and had been unable to find a publisher – not that he had tried very hard – for much of the work he had done in the three or four years since he had recovered his muse. His website was at once largely a vanity project, though he liked to think of it as an experiment in self-publishing. He had retrieved the rights to his first novel and had produced a book of short stories; both were available through one of the print-on-demand services. He had sold only a few hundred copies of each book so far – far less than enough to live on. “But I'm afraid that doesn't seem to have brought a surfeit of fascinating – or fascinated – women my way.”
“I don't see why not,” Lily said, looking at him again, but this time her eyes did not stay still, instead darting up, down, and back again.
Orson had no response to that. “What about you?” Orson said at last. “Have you left a broken heart or two back in B.C.?”
Lily looked down at her lap, shook her head. “No,” she said. “No. To tell you the truth, Orson -” She looked up again, her eyes locking on his. “To tell you the truth, I've never had a boyfriend.”
“Now it's my turn to be surprised,” Orson replied, trying for a lightness he didn't feel. “You're beautiful, you're obviously smart as hell and I'm pretty sure already that you're more than a good person as well.”
“Thanks,” said Lily. She looked down again, a small smile playing her face, as if she was trying it on to see how it felt. She looked back at him. “Do you really think I'm beautiful?”
“Yes,” said Orson, quietly and staring into her blue eyes, “I do.” Almost despite himself – I've changed this girl's diapers! - he raised his arm and reached across, laid his palm against Lily's cheek, his thumb just brushing the corner of her lip. He felt his penis stiffen against his leg, his heart beat faster; just as he was about to withdraw his hand, Lily covered it with hers and pressed it harder againt her cheek.
“Your hand feels good,” she said and, closing her eyes, she leaned towards him. Orson lifted his other left arm and wrapped it about her shoulders. Lily snuggled against him, curling up in such a way as to suggest she wanted physical closeness, but not more than that. With a lot of effort, Orson stayed still. He had not had the pleasure of a woman's touch since he and Seesee had come together in a drunken mistake some weeks after they had broken up. He liked Lily, and felt as if he had always known her – which thought, he reflected, contained an element of truth. More, she was beautiful and physically just his type. But ...
But, he had slept with Sam – with Lily's mother - a couple of times; but, he was a whole two decades older than Lily; but, her body language clearly invited no more touching than they had so far already engaged in; but, it seemed she was falling asleep in his arms. She now looked even younger than her 18 years and his lust for her felt not just questionable, but positively wrong.
- 6 -
Lily's breathing grew deeper, more regular. Her eyes were closed, her lips just barely parted. She slumped against him in unconscious ease. After a few minutes waiting to see if she would awaken, he decided she was done for the night. Moving as gently as he could, he slipped his right arm beneath her knees and rearranged the other so as to slip beneath hear arms.
He turned, planted his feet square on the floor and stood, lifting Lily from the couch as he did so. She was very light – did she weigh even a hundred pounds? – which added to his sense that she was the little girl he had known, not the young woman she had become.
Stepping lightly, he carried her to his room and laid her down on his bed. She stirred, but did not awaken, as he drew a sheet over her. He stood over her, watching, for a few moments, feelings of protectiveness doing battle with his animal desire to crawl into bed with her, to take her in his arms, to slip his hands beneath her clothes, to press his lips against hers.
He shook his head and turned, left the room and closed the door as quietly as he could.
He went into his office and turned on the computer, checked his email and didn't reply to either of the two real letters that had arrived. Instead, he fired up a generic version of Asteroids, crumbled some hash into his bong, then blew up space-junk until the futility and tedium of the exercise, as it usually fairly soon did, caused him to close the game, turn off the computer and spread out the sheets he had earlier taken from his room on the couch. He undressed and lay down and allowed himself an elaborate fantasy about a woman as different from Lily as he could imagine, until coming allowed him to drift into fitful sleep.
- 7 -
Morning came to Orson in the person of Lily, closing the bathroom door. Orson sat up, made sure his robe was properly preserving his modesty, then rubbed his eyes. His apartment was morning-bright, last night's uncleared meal and other clutter starkly ugly.
Orson cleared the table, noting the irony of the fact he was leaving the couch in as much disarray as the table had been.
Lily emerged from the bathroom as he was putting on a pot of coffee. Her long hair was damp and hung limpl down her back. She wore only a long white t-shirt and Orson once again found it almost impossible not to stare. The shirt too was damp, her nipples showing as small protuberances at the centre of each small, firm breast.
“Good morning,” they said as one, causing both of them to laugh.
“I hope I didn't wake you up,” Lily said as she stepped into the small kitchen. She smelled of spiced soap. Her skin nearly gleamed in the sunlight. “Did you carry me to bed last night?” she asked. Orson nodded and Lily laughed softly. “Thank you.” She shook her head. “I can't remember the last time I passed out like that. Last thing I remember is we were on the couch, talking about your ex-girlfriend, I think.”
“And your lack of one,” said Orson, turning away from her. “I'm making coffee. You want some?”
“Oh yes, please. That would be lovely.” She said nothing more, but Orson sensed she wanted to. He turned back to her. “I haven't really said, 'Thank you,' have I?”
“There's no need, Lily,” said Orson.
“Maybe not,” she replied, “but I want you to know I really appreciate your putting me up like this.”
“Okay,” said Orson, “you're more than welcome. I can already say quite honestly that it's my pleasure. I really enjoyed getting to know you again last night. You've become a remarkable young woman.”
To Orson's surprise, Lily blushed. Staring at the floor, she almost muttered, “The worst part of moving to B.C. was saying goodbye to you – you were like an uncle and a friend and ... well, you meant a lot to me when I was a kid.”
“You meant a lot to me, too, Lily. Watching you grow up was one of the great pleasures of my life.” Suddenly Orson, too, felt embarased. As cover, he laughed, then said, “What would you like for breakfast?”
“Why don't you let me make something? You're already doing so much for me -”
“Knock it off, kiddo. This is all part of the nature of friendship and community – you ought to know all about that, growing up on a commune.”
Lily smiled and looked at him again. “All right,” she said meekly. “But is there anything I can at least give you a hand with?”
There wasn't. Orson set about making an omelet and Lily excused herself to get dressed. They chatted idly over the food, shared a cup of coffee and then Orson took his own shower. His shift started at noon and he had to leave soon. Lily told him she was going to check out U of T and maybe wander the city a little, get a sense of it as an adult and not a little girl.
As he was leaving, Lily stopped him at the door, leaned awkwardly across his bicycle and gave him a hug. “I know you don't want to hear this,” she said into his ear, “but thanks!” And she kissed his cheek, then hugged him again. He held her as close as the crossbar allowed and allowed his hands to briefly roam her back before letting go of her.
- 8 -
Orson's workday passed in a blur; every free moment, he thought only of Lily and realized he had developed a dangerous crush on his old friend's daughter. Closing his eyes, he could smell her clean breath, hear her throaty voice, feel her small, firm body.
Ridiculous. It was ridiculous. But no matter how often he told himself so, his mind would bring Lily back into focus. Her toothy smiled beguiled him; her cynical but somehow joyous laughter made him smile; her strong, slender body frankly aroused him.
He answered calls in a half-daze, robotically walking customers through their internet settings, correcting their typos and – despite his lack of focus – practiced habit allowed him to perform at least competently until, at last, his shift was finally over.
He stopped at a local market on his way home, picked up vegetables for a salad then, almost dreading his return – did he want her to be there or not? Both, he finally decided, as he straddled his bicycle for the last of his ride home.
He wheeled his bike into his building, stopped to check the mail, then made his way down the long, carpetted hall to his apartment. He drew a deep breath at the door, then inserted the key and pushed open his door.
The kitchen was spotless, the dishrack emptied; the aroma of exotic spices wafted through the air – Lily had left something simmering on the stove. Three candles flickered on the living-room table. Bob Marley once again played softly in the dim light.
“Anybody home?” he called a he leaned his bike against the wall.
Behind him, his bedroom door opened. “Hi Orson,” Lily said softly from the doorway.
Orson turned. “Hi, Li -” His eyes widened. “Jesus ...” he whispered.
Framed by the doorway, Lily stood still before him, the bedroom light flowing around her. Gone was the young hippy of yesterday, replaced by a woman almost pornographically desirable. Her legs were bare, modesty preserved by a short, tight black skirt that was little more than a scrap; her belly was bare, skin smooth and tight, a hint of abdominal muscles visible below; above, she sported a white, light-weight, low-cut spaghetti-string tank-top; her small breasts were clearly outlined against the cotton, her nipples erect and straining against the material.
“I hope you don't mind,” she said, watching him closely. Her voice was carefully casual, but Orson heard a tension in her it that suggested Lily was feeling anything but. “I thought I'd make dinner.” She padded slowly by him, then turned into the kitchen.
Orson swallowed an enourmous lump to regain his voice. “It smells great,” he said. “Thank you,” he added, and realized he was still staring at her, admiring her as openly as he would a lover. Her bare arms were strong, her shoulders wide and capable-looking. Her back curved in towards her hips, centering her body like a blossoming flower.
Lily turned from the stove. “Would you like some wine?” She looked at him and Orson forced his gaze to her face. Her pale green eyes stared back at him, her expression neutral, unreadable. His body, aroused and hungry, told him she had dressed like that for him, that she looked at him with the desire he felt for her; his mind questioned his lust – she's so young, I'm so old, we hardly know each other ...
He took a breath and looked away from her. “Some wine would be just what the doctor ordered.”
Lily smiled, nodded and turned to the counter. “You sit down, Orson. I'll bring it to you.”
“Lily, you don't have to -”
“Orson. Sit!” Laughing, he shrugged and dropped off his napsack near his bike, then made his way to the couch. “You're putting me up for a week,” Lily said from the kitchen. “I don't think there's anything wrong with showing you my appreciation. I'm a very good cook, you know.”
“Okay, boss.” Orson lit a cigarette and settled onto the couch.
Lily came 'round the counter that separated kitchen from living-room, a stemmed glass in one hand, a plain tumbler in the other, both brimming with purple liquid. “I could only find one wine glass,” she said, and handed to him. She stood only a pace or two away, her hips level with his eyes.
Orson took a sip. “Are you going dancing or something?” at once hoping and fearing the answer was “No”.
“No,” Lily said. She set her tumbler beside his glass, then placed her hands on her hips and cocked her head, a ghost smile plying her mouth. “Why?” asked.
He gestured towards her, miscalculating so that the back of his hand brushed against her thigh. “Sorry.” He pulled it back quickly. “Just the way you're dressed,” he added. “You must know you're dressed to kill.”
Lily shook her head. “No. I'd hoped we could spend more time getting re-aquainted. I was so tired last night.” She laughed, sounding relaxed for the first time since he'd been home. “I still can't believe you carried me to bed last night!”
“Well,” said Orson, relieved to have something – anything! - to say that didn't have to do with Lily's radical change of style, “I didn't see any sense in waking you up.”
But Lily circled back to the subject. She glanced down, smoothed the front of her skirt with her hands, left them there, her palms resting against her bare legs. Smiling shyly, she looked up at him. “I don't think I'd dare wear this outfit outside,” she said. “I found it in Kensington Market,” she added. “Together, they were only ten bucks. What do you think?” She grinned and spun slowly around. “Do I look hot?”
“Christ,” said Orson. “Do you look hot?” He hesitated a moment. “Since you asked, you look absolutely stunning. 'Dressed to kill' was not a criticism.”
Completing her rotation, Lily faced him again. Blushing a little, she smiled and looked him in the eye. Very quietly, she said, “I was hoping you'd like it.”
“How could I not?” Orson replied, crossing one leg over the other. He was fully erect, his cock struggling against the confines of his clothing. What does she want? “You're a remarkably beautiful woman,” he said quietly, “whatever you're wearing.” He leaned forward and reached for her hand. “Are you going to sit down or just stand there for me to admire you?”
She smiled again. “I'll sit.” And let him tug her towards the couch, then turned to sit, much closer to him than space required. Slowly, she drew her legs beneath her, carefully making sure what little skirt she had covered the space at which intersected her strong, slender legs.
Orson looked away, picked up his cigarette and dragged deeply, then butted it, half-smoked in the ash-tray.
Lily reached for her tumbler – her top opened wide, offering an almost full view of her breasts – raised it towards him. He raised his own and glass kissed glass. “To Orson, my mother's old friend,” she said, “and to Orson, my new friend.”
They drank together. “New friend?” Orson asked. “We've known each other for ... 18 years now.”
“It's different,” said Lily. “I'm not a little girl anymore.”
“You certainly aren't that,” Orson said. He set his glass down and turned to her. She returned his gaze, but she blinked – he thought – nervously. Nervous himself, he reached out a slightly trembling hand and laid his fingers against her cheek. Lily held his gaze. Orson thought she might also be holding her breath. Gently, he feathered his fingertips along Lily's cheek, let his thumb brush lightly against her moist, slightly parted lips. Lily reached for his hand, pressed it against her. She opened her mouth wider and took his thumb between her lips, lightly kissed the digit.
She leaned back. Orson's hand fell away from her face. He withdrew it, let it lie against his own thigh. “I think you're very attractive too, Orson,” Lily said, very quietly. “Did you know I had a crush on you when I still lived in Toronto?”
- 9 -
“No,” Orson said, genuinely surprised. “I had no idea.”
“I did,” said Lily. “I thought you were really cute, and you were always so nice to me. Respectful. You talked to me like a grown-up. And you listened to me, as if what I had to say was worth hearing.” She patted his hand, then reached for her glass again. “Most adults treat kids like idiots.”
“I never talk down to kids,” said Orson. “I remember too well how much I hated it when I was one.” He drained his wine and returned the glass to the coffee-table. “But you were an exceptional girl,” he said. “Wise beyond your years, you sometimes seemed.”
Orson smiled. “And now, I suspect you're an exceptional woman.” He hesitated a moment, then added, “I'm still surprised you haven't left some broken-hearted boy behind in B.C.”
Lily shook her head. “It's not really so surprising. There are only about 50 people living on the island. Maybe a dozen kids, only a few of them my age.” She chewed at her upper lip and looked down at her lap. “It's not just that I've never had a boyfriend,” she said quietly. “I've never even had sex. I'm a virgin.”
- 10 -
Orson fumbled for his cigarettes, and lit one, the ritual giving him time to gather his thoughts. Lily still stared at her lap, as though the response for which she awaited would serve as permission for her to raise her head again.
With a careless tone he did not feel at all, he said, “That's pretty unusual in this day and age.”
“I know. Especially on Esmerelda.” Lily did look up now. She smiled nervously. “Mom was always calling me a prude, telling me I should get laid, instead of spending all my time with my physics texts.”
“You and Sam talked about that?”
“You know my mother!” Lily said, all of a sudden seemingly at ease. “Sex is her favourite topic of conversation.”
Orson laughed. “One of them, anyway.” One of his dearest friends, Sam had nevertheless been – not to put too fine a word on it – a slut. Once, even before Lily was born, she had told Orson she'd fucked over 200 men. Orson had been at once appalled, impressed and envious. Still, he never again slept with her; fear of AIDS and other diseases saw to that. And yet, so far as he knew, Sam had remained healthy, dodging disease like Wonder Woman bouncing bullets off her magic bracelets.
“She kept pointing to my friends, saying, 'Why not him?' or him, or him – and sometimes her.” Lily smiled again. “Even on Esmerelda, my mom was the weird one.”
“I'll bet.” Orson closed his eyes, remembering Sam, a tiny woman with the energy of a giant; enthusiastic, generous, nihilistic; talented, undisciplined, self-indulgent. Sam laughed with a stacato like a machine-gun, swore like a hooker and fucked like a bunny on Viagara. Everyone had been worried when she'd announced she was pregant and, worse, that she was going to keep the child. Orson shook his head and opened his eyes. Lily's green orbs were locked upon him; he knew that, somehow, Sam had reined herself in enough not to have ruined her kid – far from it, in fact. “Sam's quite a woman,” said Orson. He drew a breath. “Well?” he asked, “why not him, or him, or her?”
Lily looked away from him, reached for her wine, drained it. “I don't know,” she said, “not really. I guess ... I just didn't want to. And I didn't want everyone to know about it. You know?”
Orson nodded. “No secrets in a village, eh?”
Lily shook her head. “No sir-ee-Bob.” Orson blew smoke and once more butted the cigarette long before it was finished.
He said, “You must have done some experimenting?”
Lily shook her head. “I kissed Marcos Aguilar a couple of times, not long after we moved there. But that was it.”
She stared at him. Her lower lip trembled, just a little. Her whole body seemed tense, as if she was ready to leap from her seat on the couch and run away at the first sign of trouble.
He stretched out his left arm and lightly draped it across her shoulder, used just a hint of pressure to ask if she wanted the touch. She leaned in and fell into the crook of his arm. “There must have been times you wanted to,” he said quietly.
Lily nodded, then shook, her head. “A lot,” she whispered. And added, “I don't want to start university still being a virgin. I want to concentrate on school, not spend all my time thinking about sex.” Once more chewing her lip, she turned and looked at him; her breath whispered against his mouth, a cool, sweet breeze, promising spring.
- 11 -
“What was it like,” Orson said at length, “when you kissed Marcos?”
“What was it like?”
“How did you kiss him?” He leaned closer. “Was it like this?” And gently he pressed his lips to hers, four warm, damp surfaces coming together, almost chastely. He pulled away, just a little, and raised his hand, laid it flat on her cheek. “Or more like this?” and kissed her again, parting his lips and dabbing at hers with his tongue, then pulled away again.
Lily laughed softly and snuggled closer. “More like the second,” she breathed. “But Marcos wasn't so gentle.”
“He was your age?”
Lily nodded. “More or less.”
“It was probably his first time, too. Or close to it.” He kissed her again and this time she opened her mouth to his; he ran his tongue along her upper lip, then her bottom. Gently, he stroked her cheek, while running his left hand up and down along her bare arm. Lilly snaked her right arm behind him and let her hand rest on his hip; with her left she reached for him slipped that hand beneath his shirt. Her palm was cool and dry against his side.
“Did Marcos kiss you like this?” Orson asked, his lips brushing hers as he spoke. He closed on her again, this time slipping his tongue inside her mouth, running it along the underside of her lip, feathering the roof of her mouth.
Lily giggled and pulled away. “No,” she said. “More like this,” and she kissed him hard, thrusting her tongue deep into his mouth, while grinding her lips hard against his, as if she were trying to pulverize them.
It was Orson's turn to pull away. “No wonder you didn't want to try again,” he said and Lily chuckled with him. Orson leaned in and kissed her again, taking her lip between his teeth and gently tugging at it, while his right hand slid down to her neck, nails lightly dragging against her skin.
He pulled his left hand up along her arm to her shoulder, slipped beneath the strap of her tank-top, drew it part-way down her arm.
As if by unstated agreement, they drew apart, watching one another's eyes from mere inches away. Orson stayed that hand that had moved from her neck aroud and down to the top of her breastbone, just below her delicate Adam's apple.
“All you did was kiss him?” he asked quietly.
Lily nodded. Her heart was beating fast; he could feel it through the bone, a staccato pulse into the palm of his hand.
“He didn't touch you like this?” Lily shook her head. “Or like this?” Slowly, he drew his palm down the centre of her chest, coming to rest again in the hollow between her breasts. Her heart beat fast through her ribs.
“No,” Lily whispered and Orson kissed her again, forcing himself keep his hand still, no matter how much it wanted – he wanted – to slide sideways, to engulf the small breast that rose like glacier-smoothed hill from her chest. Lily covered his hand with hers.
“You're shaking,” he whispered.
“Am I?” Even her voice was tentative – Orson heard fear, desire, self-doubt, lust in that pair of syllables.
“You haven't committed to anything,” he said, and bussed her lips. “No matter what, you can say, 'Stop!',” he said. “No matter what. No matter when.”
He pulled away from her, stared into her wide eyes. “Okay?”
She nodded, lips pursed tightly, a little girl's expression and once again he felt conflicted; the erotic charge of the taboo battling the paralizing fear of sin. “Okay?” he asked her again.
And again, she nodded. Then said, “Okay.” And added, “Thank you ...” in less than a whisper.
He kissed her again, keeping his hands still, concentrating on her lips, on her tongue; tasting her spit, breathing her wind, slowly matching her rhyth. They stayed like that a long time, only their mouths in motion.
At last, they drew apart, once more in unstated concert.
Lily leaned back in his arm; Orson squeezed her shoulder, his right hand still centred on her breast-bone.
“Oh,” said Lily. “Oh my.”
“Better than Marcos?”
Lily giggled. “Much better than Marcos!”
Orson smiled, feeling ridiculously pleased. “Show me what else you and Marcos did,” he said.
She shook her head. “That's pretty much it. We kissed.”
“Just kissed? You didn't hold each other?”
“Well, I guess so. We were hugging each other ...”
“But you didn't let him touch you like this?” Lily shook her head. “Or like this?” He moved his hand against her chest, circling the centre, the circle becoming an oval, its apogee reaching first to the base of her breast, each orbit coming closer to the summit.
“So no one has ever touched you here?” he asked, as his finger-tips brushed against the side of her nipple, now become a shocking, swelling protuberance that strained against her cotton top.
“No,” Lily whispered, then she shuddered as Orson took her nipple between his fingers and gently tugged it. “Never ...” she gasped, as Orson closed his palm over her breast, and lightly pushed his fingers into her flesh. Lily clutched him tightly against her and pressed her mouth against his, now taking the initiative and pushing her tongue past his lips. Her opened and closed his hand against her breast in a parody of the rhythm of intercourse.
He took the back of her head in his left hand and pushed her backwards with his right, stretching her out on the couch, keeping his mouth pressed against hers all the while. Slowly, he lowered his body atop hers, his legs splayed so that his knees rested on either side of her hips. He leaned in, so that his swollen cock pressed past the hem of her tiny skirt against her mound hidden below it. She gasped again and thrust her hips up against him.
Orson pulled his hand from behind her head. He drew his fingers lightly along her cheek, down the side of her neck. He moved his right hand from her breast as his left came level with it, then pulled both further down her body, 'till they came to the hem of her top. He slipped both hands beneath it, thrilling to the feel of her warm flesh against his finger-tips.
He began to slowly move his hands up her body, pulling her tank-top along with his wrists. “Did Marcos ever -”
“Enough Marcos!” Lily shouted, laughing. She grabbed his hands, pulled them quickly upward, bringing them to rest on her breasts, so that both warmed his palms, her swollen nipples hot and hard against his soft under-flesh.
“All right,” Orson laughed, “no more Marcos.” He took hold of her top and forced it further up. Lily raised her arms over her head and he slipped it up off of her, then sat up and took a moment to watch her hr naked torso, as she looked up at him with an expression at once a little frightened and very impatient. She reached for him, tore his shirt from his waist-band, slid her hands against his belly, raking his flesh with her nails.
He let her draw him down, kissed her forehead, the bridge of her nose, then turned, pressed his lips first against her left eye, then her right. Soon his lips were once again closed upon hers, while his hands roamed up and down her naked sides. Lily dragged her nails to his back, then slid her hands beneath his pants, digging into the flesh of his buttocks. Orson groaned and pressed against her, his erect cock pressing against her maidenhead.
He pulled himself from her lips, sat up, still straddling her. He stroked her body, circling his palms from her firm, gently curving belly, along her ribs, briefly stopping to massage her firm breasts, riding high upon her chest. Her head was thrown back, her white throat exposed. He suddenly bent to it and closed his mouth on her vulnerable flesh, testing it with his teeth.
Lily moaned and clutched him harder.
Orson raised his mouth from her throat and took her face between his hands. “Are you still sure about this?” he whispered.
Wordlessly, she nodded. His kissed her, then raised himself again, ran his hands lightly down the sides of her body, let them come to a rest against her hips. He bent and pressed his lips agaist her belly, tongued her navel; muscles spasmed at his touch.
He licked up along the centre of her belly, slowly dragged it higher, until his mouth came to rest in the valley between her breasts. He encircled them in his hands, then leaned to the left, ran his tongue around her nipple, gently blowing against it, but not otherwise touching it. He repeated the process with the right, revelling in the increasing pressure she used to kneed his ass, the desperation with which she pushed her pelvis against his. Orson took great pleasure in teasing, and, knowing this was Lily's first time, he wanted her to learn something at least, of how much more there was to sex than simple intercourse. But he was teasing himself as well, and knew he would soon have no choice but but satisfy both their desires.
He raised his head and look up towards her face. “Are you sure about this, Lily?” he asked softly.
Lily nodded, breathing hard. “I'm sure,” said Lily. “I want you to fuck me, Orson Petyuk.”
- 12 -
He bent down again, took her left nipple between his lips, pressed down on them with his teeth, pulled upward. Lily groaned and took his head in her heads, pressed him hard against her.
And they kissed and touched each other for some time in the growing darkness. But finally, there was just not enough room for them both on the couch. His mouth lying damp near hers, he whispered, “This is no good,” and rolled off the couch. Lily reached for him, as if fearing he was leaving her. He turned towards her and said, “Come here,” as he slipped his hands beneath her, cradling her beneath her knees and under her back. He lifted her off the couch. She wrapped her arms about his shoulders and he bent to kiss her, then turned and carefully made his way through the dim apartment to his bedroom, where once again he laid her gently on his bed.
But this time she was awake and watching him. He raised the forefinger of his right hand – Wait – and returned to the living-room for a candle. Lily was lying where he had left her, legs slightly spread, her tiny skirt barely covering her womanhood. Orson stood above her near the bed, taking in the topography of her body. She was very nearly the Platonic ideal of his desire, personification of womanhood in first flower: strong and slender, skin smooth and soft, bright eyes shining with open intelligence and humour, despite an expression that expressed both lust and fear.
“I'm going to fuck you, Lily,” Orson said quietly. Slowly, he unzipped his pants, worked them down his legs. His cock, nearly sprang from its prison, thrusting horizontally forward from his groin, like a surreal diving board, more than seven inches long, fat and round.
“Oh my,” Lily said softly.
Orson slipped his feet from his pants, left to lie where they fell. He approached the bed and knelt by Lily's side. He reached across her and took hold of her left hand, drew it to him. “I'm going to fuck you,” he said again, and pressed her hand against his cock. “Touch it,” he said and, slowly, she opened her hand, then closed it around his shaft. Gently, he pulled at her hand, so that it slowly slid up and down his penis. With his free hand he touched Lily's hair, stroked the side of her face, worked around to the back of her head, the pulled against her, wordlessly asking her to sit up.
Slowly, she did, coming erect with her face only inches from the cock she held in her now still hand. Gently, Orson laid his hand on hers, and slowly pulled her hand away, baring his cock to her. He pulled her towards it. “Touch it,” he whispered, and pushed himself forward so that the head of his cock brushed her lips. “Taste it.”
Her lips trembling a little, Lily opened her mouth and started to move to take it inside her. She closed her lips around the bulbous tip of his cock; he felt her tongue flick against it. After a moment or two, Orson pulled himself back; his penis slipped from between her lips and he bent to kiss her mouth.
Much as he enjoyed the feel of her mouth around him, of her warm spit on his throbbing cock, he knew that fellatio is almost always an acquired taste; and tonight, the demands of Lily's pleasure far out-weighed his own. He took her in his arms and laid her back on the bed, letting his penis rub against her chest, bump against her belly, until it encoutered the skirt that still encircled her waist. He ground himself against her and could feel dampness between her legs, through her underwear.
“Do you still want to feel my cock inside you?” he whispered near her mouth.
“Yes ...” she replied, but he could tell she was scared.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes,” she said again, more firmly.
He kissed her again, then sat up astride her, pushed himself down along her body. Laid his hands on her skirt and slowly slid it down her legs, then tossed it to the floor behind him. Slowly, he drew his nails up along her legs; he heard her moan as he bent towards her pelvis and pulled her panties down, sliding them off her, leaving them to keep her skirt company.
He leaned over her and lowered his face between her legs. She smelled vaguelly musty, like an athlete after a work-out; clean, but with the animal aroma usually disguised by dryer-freshed clothes, by perfume, by civilization.
Her curling hairs brushed against his lips as he pressed his mouth against her mound. Lily moved beneath him and Orson took her hips in his hands, not so much to keep her still as to help him centre himself upon her. He opened his mouth and traced the line between the lips of her vagina, let it linger against the knob of her clit. She shuddered again, and he pushed his tongue between her lips. Her hands were suddenly in his hair, not pulling him down, but just holding him, curling his hair around her fingers, digging her nails into his scalp.
Her juices were salty, reminding him vaguelly of blood, and soon they flowed freely, as Orson explored her cunt, while his hands found her ass and dug into flesh, as if anchoring themselves against a coming storm.
Lily's breath began to come in ragged gasps; her hands released his head and slid, scratching him hard, down his back, then up again; she began to buck against him, his mouth sometimes cracking hard against her pubic bone. But he did not relent, he kept his tongue in motion until she suddenly cried out and he knew she had come.
He raised his head and laid it against her belly, which shuddered as she caught her breath. “Oh,” she gasped. “Oh my ...” Her hands found his head again, stroked his hair, fluttered against his cheeks. “Orson ...”
“Kiss me ...”
And so, he drew himself along her body, and kissed her, letting his throbbing cock find its way between her legs, press against her cunt. He was careful to make sure only his shaft near her pussy as they lay in one another's arms, sharing spit and Lily's own nether juices.
But soon, he could stand no more teasing. He tore himself from Lily's mouth, cupped her cheeks in his palms. “I want you, Lily!” he whispered. “I want to be inside you!” He kissed her hard, then sat up atop her, reached for a basket on the low table near his bed, rummaged in it for a moment, then came away with a condom, struggled to tear it open.
He lifted himself for a moment, so that his penis slipped from between her legs, coming to rest on her belly. He extracted the rubber from its plastic sheath and laid it between Lily's breasts. “Will you do the honours?” he asked her quietly. Lily nodded and lifted the condom, while Orson lifted his cock, as though introducing it to her all over again.
With some difficulty, and some help, Lily managed to unroll the comdom, smoothing it out along the shaft of Orson's cock. He eased her back onto the bed and lowered his hand between his legs, maneuvering his penis towards her cunt, gently running its head along the crack between her pussy lips, gently pressing inwards.
“Remember,” he hissed, “you can stop this at any time.”
“I won't stop you,” she said, still breathing hard. “I want to feel you inside me, I want to feel your cock fucking me!”
He kissed her hard, his hands holding her head as he pressed deeper and deeper into her, until at last he was inside, her juices flowing freely and together they began to find – to create – a rhythm, the mechanics of love at once unique to the two of them and also universal to the human animal. Slowly at first, only gradually picking up speed, his cock pushed deep then pulled almost out of her, over and over again, as both man and woman began to sweat, their breaths coming in gasps.
Suddenly she jerked beneath him, and screamed, and her nails came near to drawing blood and almost immediately after, he felt his come explode from his cock, an orgasm of an intensity he hadn't felt in years. Gasping, he lay against her, his mouth open against her throat.
And presently, he reached down and carefully pulled his penis from inside her, holding tight to the condom, relieved to feel that it was full, not broken, nothing planted. He tossed it aside, let it fall carelessly to the floor, then rolled off of Lily and took her in his arms. He kissed her mouth gently and she whispered, “Thank you.”
“No,” he said, “thank you.”
Egotistically, he wanted to ask her how it was, but he stiffled the questions. She held him tight and that was enough.
- 13 -
For the next 5 nights, they shared his bed and spent a lot of time together outside of it as well. Orson knew he was infatuated with Lily; no, he knew he was very close to falling in love with Lily. She was funny, she was both quick-witted and able to think deeply.
He began to fantasize that she would not move into the residence that awaited her, but instead, would move in with him. He imagined following her career through school, seeing her graduate and finding work at a laboratory somewhere, or maybe for NASA. He thought about giving up his life in Toronto to follow her wherever her specialized skills ended up taking her.
But he kept these thoughts to himself, reminding himself that two decades stood between them; that he had twice fucked her mother; that she had so much to experience before she was ready to settle down with one man.
And when the 30th arrived, and Lily packed her bags and readied herself for the cab he insisted she take, he walked her to the street and found himself giving her the sort of hug appropriate to an old friend's daughter.
“Thank you for everything, Orson,” she said, holding him close. “And I mean: everything!” And she kissed his cheek and he knew it was over, that she was going to be concentrating on school – at least, until some young physicist stole her heart and made it his own.
“Don't be a stranger, Lilly,” he said, hating himself for the cliche.
She laughed and pecked his cheek again, the stepped away from him, once more clad as a child of the 60s, casual flower braving the city's concrete paths and valleys.
“I'll call you once I'm settled in, Orson,” she said as she ducked to enter the cab. “I'll let you take me out for dinner, okay?” She grinned at him and he stepped forward to close the door.
“You can count on it,” Orson said, then slammed the door home.