I knew it would be tea, Skyler’s drink of choice, and simply prompted inane chatter to get him talking. His spirits seemed somehow down the last few times we met. Down in spirit only, Sky maintained a youthful vigor that never failed to rouse him for energetic bouts of sex.
“Chai.” That one word carried zero inflection – bad sign.
“Let me guess, you added plenty of milk and sugar so it tastes just like that drink at India Palace.”
“Yeah.” Glum, he sounded damn near pouty. “That place we went to once.”
“That’s all? Really? We should go again.”
“Look, you know I enjoy going out with you, Sky. Perhaps we don’t do that enough.”
“I understand. We can’t exactly screw in public.”
“Look, I’m not very good at talking about feelings,” I started apologetically.
“No kidding, Karen,” Skyler interjected.
Okay, now I was a little mad. While not a pleasant state of mind, this didn’t necessarily bode ill. Twenty years ago, I would have started a disproportionately heated argument, maybe thrown something breakable at the wall, and stormed out until my desire lured me to attempt reconciliation.
Since my stormy youth, I’d learned to control my temper. Surviving an ugly divorce only deepened the well of calm and this edge of anger actually sharpened my awareness. I decided to take of advantage of the fact and engage him in obviously necessary conversation. Dismissing his insult as a judiciously earned cheap shot, I tightened the belt of the borrowed bathrobe, sat in the chair opposite his sofa, and leaned forward in study of him, elbows on knees.
“Nothing,” he mumbled, downright petulant, “except you always come to my place.”
He moved out of his parents’ house a few months prior, finding a near-ghostly roommate who conveniently worked the exact opposite of Skyler’s grocery store shift. They split the cost of this cramped apartment located over a sandwich shop. Sky’s tiny, shabby bedroom always smelled of freshly baked bread. Amusingly, his roommate traded from their initially decided rooms because he hadn’t been able to tolerate the yeasty fragrance.
While I rented a much nicer place immediately upon my marital separation, this smaller space carried a decidedly youthful flavor. Cast-off furniture and milk crate bookcases fostered my fantasy of being twenty-something rather than middle-aged. Out of embarrassment, I failed to impart this fact to Skyler.
“You think I’m hiding something by not inviting you over, Skyler? We can go there right now. Just let me find my underwear,” I wisecracked, attempting levity.
Not returning the desired smile, he retorted, “That’s not it, really. I mean, sort of, but let me ask you a question. Karen, did you even bring your guitar?”
“It’s in the car,” I answered, perplexed and slightly ashamed by the original, adulterous lie his query evoked.
This affair commenced before my divorce, guitar lessons serving as my excuse to see Skyler. I sometimes laughed out loud at my absurd logic. Every check written for my “music teacher” coincided with a damning motel credit card charge since he still lived in his childhood family home. However, the only one needing mollified turned out to be me, my ex drunkenly confessing to multiple infidelities before our drama concluded.
Watching Sky set his mug on a drink coaster featuring a popular anime character nearly made me snort. His effort protected a scratched and battered end table that looked older than I felt on my worst days. Skyler’s serious brow beneath gel-spiked, black hair leeched my amusement.
“Why even bother? And why keep paying me for these non-existent lessons?”
I didn’t know how to answer that. Was it out of habit? While sort of true, the excuse made no sense. A curious image came into focus unexpectedly – Skyler standing on a street corner until a trolling car stopped and a randy driver opened the door. How could I have been so stupid? The painful truth crashing down, I responded with nervous inquiry.
“Do I make you feel like a whore, Sky?”
“Maybe a little, Karen,” he sniffed. “Yeah.”
Sitting up at his confirmation, Skyler’s deep brown eyes darted everywhere but my face. They appeared suspiciously glassy. I teared up in miserable sympathy. Sky alone succeeded in making me cry in all the long years since my grandmama’s death. For all his tough, hard rocker exterior, Skyler bore emotions closer to the surface than anyone I’d ever met.
Apparently in concession to the losing battle, he met my gaze and allowed a tear to slide down his cheek, making no attempt to blot the spill. A determined set to his features squared an already masculine jaw. Not for the first time, I distractingly imagined this admitted bisexual performing amorous acts upon one of his male companions.
“You don’t seem interested enough to ask, Karen, but I don’t need your money. I’m doing just fine between my serious students, working at the deli, and WR’s gigs.”
WR, or Weeping Razor, found increasing success at a heavy metal club and still I hadn’t gone to see a single performance. We both knew I would appreciate their style, too. Talking about music bonded us over a grocery store deli counter long before sex came into the equation.
“That’s great,” I extolled uncomfortably.
Unable to fathom attending a Weeping Razor show, I knew my presence would stick out like a sore thumb in such a young crowd. Contrary to what one might think, however, that notoriety didn’t normally bother me. I attended plenty of other shows, yet the difference of dating someone on the stage gave me a weird feeling.
I figured Skyler would either understandably ignore me in his guitar hero persona or make me look like a cradle robber on his toned arm. Or worse, kids would mistake me for the musician’s mother. None of those options appealed and, again, I failed to proclaim this embarrassing truth.
Bringing me back into the awkward moment, Skyler picked up my check and rent the paper in two. He didn’t stop there, shredding the payment into confetti falling to the dingy carpet. Wiping the back of one elegant hand across his face, Sky smeared the kohl around his eye. The cosmetic became almost permanent from repeated applications. He made a conscious effort to remove traces prior to clocking in to his regular, mundane occupation.
Hurt shimmering over long lashes, he looked vulnerable. Sky also appeared abused, for lack of a better word. The term “tasty” came unbidden to my mind.
Now, I’m as abhorred by mistreatment as any healthy human being. All the same, powerful lust flooded my system. My vision narrowed to the dragon tattoo uncoiling from the haphazard cover of a dangerously loosened towel. Most of his skin remained damp from our recent, quick shower.
I pounced, the robe opening as I ripped away his terry cloth wrap and fit my tongue between juicy lips. In my mind, possibilities for my next move multiplied by his recent admission. This boy liked to be tied up on occasion and the notion didn’t repulse me.
Raising my head, I barked a laugh at his dazed expression. Curled fingers raked against the back of his skull, manicured nails scratching lightly. Twisting the short hairs, I pulled his head into the sofa cushion and whispered against his throat.
“Go to the bed and wait for me.”
“What will you be doing?” His voice sounded choked. “You’re not going to get your instrument. Are you?”
“Why not? I really do want to learn more chords. After I’m done playing your body, some relaxing music lessons might be nice.”
Not willing to dive into tricky bondage without foreknowledge, I soon had Skyler comfortably in the bed. One wrist tied to his headboard, I used a scarf from my purse. I don’t recall my justification for putting one, let alone two, in the bag, but a second blindfolded him silkily as opposed to the rougher bathrobe belt. A gag out of the question, I wanted to hear him sing his pleasure.
Sky didn’t disappoint, melodiously humming my name with soft directions and erotic obscenities at every lick and caress. Lips and fingertips touched everywhere but the engorged sex swaying over his trim belly.
“Damn, Karen.” A sinuous writhe. “A little lower, Karen.” A ring of muscle tightened on a finger wetted by my mouth. “Oh! Yeah, Karen, fuck my ass, just like that.”
“Is this what you do for your male lovers? Or are you more likely to be the receiver?”
“Promise me dinner and a movie and I’ll tell you,” he panted.
“You drive a hard bargain. Agreed,” I readily acceded. “Talk, Sky.”
As his halting speech began, I sucked a nearly hairless globe into my mouth, my shoulders spreading his thighs. I moaned at his words. Sky trilled a compliment at the vibration my vocalization caused.
And still he talked, telling of his first homosexual encounter and subsequent exploration of various carnal pleasures, some of which I could only dream. Imagining my finger experienced the liquid velvet squeeze using very differently wired nerves, I underwent a small, empty orgasm. That proved enough to end my neglect of his cock.
I unrolled a condom onto his erection using recently acquired expertise, then tore a few strands of hair out of his scalp via anxious removal of the satin blindfold. He swore and I snickered apology.
“That’s okay. I like that you’re more comfortable with your body.”
He could tell I wanted him to watch me riding him. Not telling of my recent weight loss, I think the fact he didn’t notice rather intrigued as opposed to disappointing me. Only much later, when we were spent and drowsy, his faintly marked wrist recently freed and draped over my waist, did he admit the truth.
“I can tell you lost weight. While I’m glad you’re happy, I don’t want you to think I love your body any more now than before,” he muttered, adorably smug and sleepy. “Okay, Karen?”
“I love that about you.” To be sure he still lay awake, I repeated, “Sky?”
“Yeah.” Serious eyes opening at my tone, he stirred and asked, “What?”
“As long as we’re safe about it as can be, I still think we should see other people. But I’m going to try harder at not feeling foolish in public. It’s not that I’m ashamed of you. Far from it. But what people must think of me makes me uncomfortable. I’m sorry.”
“I forgive you, Karen, on a few conditions.”
“Guitar lessons this evening, then we go to India Palace for dinner. Afterward, we’re going to your place so we can smell incense instead of baked goods. And tomorrow, you’re mine all day. It is Sunday, after all, and I don’t have to work.”
“Yes, you do. Tomorrow night, at least,” I pronounced fretfully.
“True. And tomorrow night, at the club, you’re my special guest.”
“Agreed,” I sighed, turning my face to hide hotly blushing cheeks against the cool inside of his upper arm.
He whooped victoriously, amusingly understanding of my nervous gesture. I nipped sensitive skin to cut his hoot short with a yelp of minor pain. Then I grinned, drifting to easy sleep.