By Lisabet Sarai
(Based on a dream)
It has been growing for the past three months, silent but deadly, like some tumor eating away at my soul. Lila noticed, I'm sure, when I came back from my trip, that I was quieter, more inward-focused than ever. I guess she chalked the changes up to the fact that I'd been visiting my mother. In any case, she didn't ask, much to my relief.
I fell back into her arms with a feverish desperation she probably found gratifying. “Seems like you missed me, baby,” she'd tease, gazing up from her favorite spot between my thighs, her café au lait cheeks smeared with pussy juice. She wiggled the fingers buried in my cunt and I spasmed into yet another furious climax, forgetting, for a few seconds at least, my betrayal.
With uncharacteristic roughness I flipped her onto her back, burrowed into her bush, gnawed on her clit, until she thrashed and screamed and begged me for a bit of mercy. I drank deeply of the wine that poured from her tender flesh and sought oblivion in her helpless fluttering around my fist.
Not since our first wild days together had we come together in such frenzied passion. Our fiery couplings left us both drained and sore. In the aftermath of these conflagrations, as we lay tangled in the soaked sheets, still interpenetrated, I'd rake my fingers through her tangled curls and think about how much I loved her, how desperately I needed her. The words I knew she wanted to hear stuck in my throat, though, like some half-chewed chunk of meat I could neither swallow nor disgorge.
Our bodies spoke, in the most direct of languages, but as the weeks wore on, it became harder and harder for me to say anything at all to my lovely Lila. At dinner, she'd try to draw me into conversation, chattering about the Murakami novel she was reading, or the new Almodovar film down at the Lido, or the latest office scandal at the ad agency where she worked. Even my monosyllabic replies took enormous effort. All I could do was gather her into my arms, fondle her ripe ass, suck her earlobe into my mouth until she shuddered with desire, and finally, drag her off to bed.
She wants me. She pants as I twist a plump nipple through her teeshirt. Her skin is moist and warm under my wandering fingers. If I can just worm my hand into the front of her jeans, I know I'll find her wet and ready. Right now, I need that more than ever, the wordless certainty of her surrender. But tonight, she pushes me away.
“No, Gretchen. We've got to talk.” She sits back down in front of her dirty plate and swallows the last of her wine. “You've got to tell me what's bothering you.”
I sink to my knees beside her chair and try to unzip her fly. “Tomorrow. I'll tell you tomorrow, baby. Let's go to bed.”
She slaps my hand. “Stop it!” Then she clasps my fingers in her own and raises them to her lips. “Trust me, Gretch. Talk to me. What's wrong?”
She raises me to my feet, then propels me into the chair next to her. I don't resist. I'm too busy trying to breathe. Guilt is smothering me.
“It's nothing, baby. Let it go.” I don't want to tell her. I can't tell her. She'd never forgive me.
“Damn it, don't lie. Something happened on your trip west, and it's driving you crazy. You've been like a zombie ever since you got back.”
“Come on. Zombies don't fuck the way we do.” I try to chuckle, to turn it all into a joke. My voice cracks with the strain.
She shakes her head, making her curls bounce. “Did your mom start in again, about you being eternally damned? A daughter of Satan? You should know better than to listen to her...”
“No, no – it's not her...” I want to sink through the floor. I consider the possibility of dragging myself from her grip and storming out the apartment. A half-dozen beers at Sandy's Pub might dull some of this pain... But the look on her face, focused concern and real distress, keeps me pinned in place.
“What, then? I know you're a very private person, Gretch, but if you can't share this with me – I'm your lover, for Christ's sake! You'll feel better afterward. You know what they say about burden shared...”
A glimmer of hope. Was she right? But then, she hasn't heard the story yet...
“I – I can't...”
“You can. Take a deep breath and begin. Pretend I'm not even here. I promise I won't say a word.”
I extricate my hands from hers and swallow the lump in my throat. She's so earnest, so beautiful, so terribly in love with me. I'm about to shatter her.
“It – it happened on the way back. Somewhere on I-80 – Kansas, Nebraska, one of those places. I was planning to stop in Kansas City for the night. About sunset. I needed a bathroom. The rest area seemed empty. Didn't bother me, not at the time...”
I stop. It's coming back, coming up like vomit. I can't fight it anymore, and I think it will choke me.
Lila keeps her promise and stays silent, but her eyes beam encouragement.
“He – he was hiding in one of the stalls. Waiting.” I stop again, trying to swallow the panic and the self-disgust.
“Oh, my god...” she whispers, pure pity in her eyes.
“He let me pee, then dragged me out of the stall and pressed me up against the sink. Young guy, skinny, with hair like straw and blond stubble. But he was strong, stronger than me, and he had a knife...”
“Oh, Gretchen, darling...” Her arms are around me, but I can't feel them now. I'm back there, in that grubby rest area toilet, the cold tip of his blade nudging the underside of my jaw. 'Take down your pants, dyke,' he'd ordered and what could I do but obey, with his steel teasing my skin? 'That's a good girl. Wouldn't want to have to cut a pretty gal like you...'
I shivered. The blade slid down along my throat to my carotid. He smelled like sweat and diesel. 'Gonna give it to you good,' he'd crooned as he rubbed his slippery knob over my bare ass. A bit of a drawl, but compelling, too, oozing with self-confidence. 'I'm gonna show you what you've been missing, dyke. Gonna fuck you till you scream and beg for more.'
I remember the instant he pushed into my cunt from behind, the feeling of being sliced open, even though he held the knife steady. I wanted to scream, I did, but I was afraid of his oily power and his sparkling blade so I let him fuck me, let him, let him, rough and hard, slamming my hips against the cold porcelain of the sink as he fucked, fucked, fucked, the knife like pricking my skin in time with his thrusts...
Lila holds me tight. I bury my face in her breasts, soaking her tee shirt with my tears as I remember it all. The way he left me, in the dusk-dark ladies' room, crumpled on the floor with his spunk all over me and the shape of his fingernails carved into my ass. The way I scoured my skin raw later that night in the motel, unable, it seemed, to wash his stink from my flesh. The terror and guilt that wracked my dreams, where again and again he commanded me to bend over and I still couldn't say no...
“Go ahead, baby, go on and cry.” Lila's voice sounds a hundred miles away, as she rubs her cheek over my crew cut and peppers my forehead with soft kisses. “It's okay now. You're safe. And I'm here. I'll take care of you.” “
She's soft, seductive. She thinks she understands.
“I'm so glad you told me. Everything's going to be all right, darling.”
You're wrong, I want to tell her. You don't know the worst of it.
I should follow through, tell her the whole truth. It's strangling me.
I'm weak, though. I let her cuddle me, let her believe that her comfort can save me. Just like I let him fuck my traitorously soaked cunt, until I came as hard as he'd promised, piss and disinfectant in my nostrils and the taste of blood in my mouth.