By Lisabet SaraiAfter twenty-five years, she still aches for him. God, she's such a hopeless romantic! Watching him across the table, she remembers that night, the week of their high school graduation. The wind ruffling the reservoir and his black curls. His lips, surprised, questing. The lust that roared through her as she felt his lean arms circling her and smelled the beer on his breath.
They were friendly antagonists all through school, rivals for honors, verbal sparring partners. He was the bad boy, the one with the car and the reputation. She was the brain, the teachers' darling, socially backward but confident of her intellect. He called her "his nemesis". Aspiring to poetic mystery like Jim Morrison, he called himself the Lizard King.
"Sorry about the party," he had written in her yearbook afterwards. "I think I was drunk. I think you were too. This must happen more often." She had been intoxicated only by his nearness, his maleness, his narrow hips and soulful eyes. Kisses and hands, that was all. She had always wondered what it would have been like, if they had gone further. If they had been braver, sooner.
"I'm so glad that you could join me, Beryl." His voice recalls her to the present. "When I heard about this conference in Boston, I really wanted to see you." His raven curls, laced with silver now, are as wild as ever.
"You fit into my schedule," she says, disguising her arousal with near-brusqueness. "I had business in town this afternoon, and tonight Mark has his Tai Chi class, so I was free." Something tightens in her chest as she speaks her husband's name. Mark knows she's having dinner with Alan, an old classmate. That's all he knows.
Alan relaxes in his chair, enjoying Beryl's confusion. He's been in the film business long enough to recognize an act. Her flushed cheeks and quickened breath speak more clearly than her deliberately chosen words. She still wants me, he thinks with a hint of smugness, after all this time.
Of course he remembers. Even during his now-defunct marriage, she regularly populated his fantasies. He gives her an appreciative once over, and her blush deepens. She has aged well. The thick-lensed glasses are gone. Her body is trim underneath her tasteful frock. Her chestnut hair, unmarked by gray, is frizzed and curly, just as it used to be. In the candlelight, it reminds him of a halo. Such a good girl she was, he recalls. But I sensed the fire burning inside her.
Dinner is over. Their wine glasses are empty. The conversation sputters out into silence. Their eyes lock. Beryl's heart slams against her ribs. Alan brushes his hair away from his brow. He reaches for her hand, turns it over and strokes her palm with a single fingertip. Each touch sends an electric charge to her sex. Her eyes plead, but neither of them knows for sure what she is asking: to be taken, or to be released.
"Beryl," he says finally, "it's so rare to get a second chance." He holds up his hotel key card, a silent question. She marvels at the lean economy of his movements, the grace that still lives in his middle-aged body. She nods her assent, surrendering to the moment.
They do not touch on the way to his room. As the door closes, he pulls her into his embrace and fastens his mouth on hers. He is not at all as she remembers, no longer the brash, awkward teenager. Still she senses the wild heart in him, the bad boy hidden under his veneer of West Coast sophistication.
He smells of designer cologne. His fingers dance nimbly over her breasts, teasing her nipples through her dress until they cry out for more direct stimulation. His tongue is deft and demanding. She opens to him, her mouth, her body, letting him drive her to fever pitch.
Alan finds her willingness immensely pleasing. As he explores her mysteries, she moans and writhes in his arms. He always knew that Beryl was hot-blooded, despite her virtuous persona. Now she is proving it, or rather, he is proving it to her. He forgets that she's fifteen years married.
Still kissing her, he slips his hand behind her back and pulls the zipper down to her waist. He urges the garment off her shoulders, then brushes his lips against the creamy flesh revealed.
Beryl lets her head drop backward, offering herself to him. Delicately, he nibbles his way along her shoulder blade, up the side of neck to her ear. She trembles. He sucks her earlobe into his mouth and rolls the ripe morsel of flesh around on his tongue. She moans as if he were mouthing her clit instead.
Fever is what Beryl feels, a heat that pulses in her sex, flaring hotter with each expert caress. The wetness gathering between her legs does not quench the flames. She grinds her hips against him, glorying in the freedom of her lust. She lives her dream, the dark one come again to seduce and ravish her.
Alan senses that she is ready. He strips away the dress and is astonished to discover that Beryl wears neither panties nor brassiere. Her tawny nipples are rigid. She cups her breasts in her palms and massages them, following him with her eyes as he removes his own clothing.
He sweeps her onto the bed, dons a condom and enters her. She writhes underneath him as he buries his hardness in her scalding wet depths. He begins to lose control. He pounds her again and again, his mind receding into a fog of sensation.
At first, Beryl savors his roughness. He fills and stretches her. She arches to meet each thrust, grateful for penetration, aching for surrender. Soon, though, something shifts. She feels the connection between them fading. Only his questing cock joins them. His clever, sensual mind is elsewhere. She suddenly feels terribly alone, lying underneath a stranger.
He continues to fuck her. She still moans. His rod still evokes pleasure from her swollen flesh, but that means nothing. Tears of regret gather in her eyes as he heaves his body into her and with one final jerk of his hips, achieves his release. For a moment, he lies on top of her, gasping. She strokes his hair gently, sadly, watching her dream evaporate.
"I'm sorry, Beryl," he whispers, tasting the salt on her eyelids.
"I'm not," she says. She sits up and begins to dress.
"Please, don't go. I wanted you so much. Next time, I'll last longer."
"No, Alan," she says. "This was what it was. What I needed to know." She's ready to leave now. He's still lying on the bed, prostrate with disbelief. She leans over and kisses him on the mouth, a sweet, chaste kiss.
"Thanks for dinner, and everything. Take care of yourself."
She is gone. He lies back, depressed, stroking his cock and thinking of her. He remembers the way her hair tangled around her face, that night long ago, recalls the moonlit water and her jasmine scent. He strokes harder. "I am the Lizard King," he tells himself wryly. "I can do anything."