I first met Elizabeth at the gallery, down on Wharf street.
It was one of those annoyingly exclusive affairs, I'd put together a showcase for the owner as a favor, she'd fawned so desperately over my new work in acrylics that I ended up agreeing to let her put on a show at her gallery just to get her to leave. It was a Wednesday, and most of the people were only there for the free wine, but not her.
I think that was the first thing I noticed about her, the fact that she had no glass stem gripped between her slender, delicate fingers. The paucity of ugly, bloated people and pretentiously disheveled art folk that grasped my hand and slopped their drinks on every available surface nauseated me, but it is not within my power to deny others the little pleasures they must feel from associating with such events.
We stood next to each other for a while, drifting together like petals on a soft current, standing together in mute hush for a moment as we looked at a particular scene.
The painting itself was not important. I don't say that to be modest or humble in any way, it just really wasn't any good. It was a blurred scene of traffic, I'd painted it two days prior to the show because I thought it would be nice to have something to hang in a certain space of a certain size. It was basically a filler.
We stood there and looked at it, neither speaking, for some time, until she broke the ice.
"I wonder what was going through his mind when he painted this." She said, not a question but a statement.
"Not a lot I think."
She turned to me and inclined her head slightly, the tangle of reddish curls atop her head gently flexing in muscular coils around her visage to frame the inquisitive smile and slightly narrowed eyes. She thought for a second, before replying in a slightly lowered whisper, not wanting to be overheard.
"You not a fan of his work, are you?"
I shook my head slightly, relaxing my chin into my hand as I gazed at the patchwork vision of traffic from my studio window.
"No, I'm not. I find his work tired, stilted and derivative, the juxtaposition of contours to bold color merely a reheating of formalist architectural styles lumped unconvincingly on to splashes of impressionistic nonsense. It signifies absolutely nothing, and that's a fact he's very, very aware of."
She turned slightly to face me, green eyes sparkling slightly with amusement as her full red lips parted in a luxuriant giggle.
"For someone who absolutely detests his style, you seem to have an awfully considered opinion of his work." She noted.
"You could say we have a very unconventional working relationship. I'm his harshest critic."
She nodded with a slight laugh.
"I'm his biggest patron, in fact I just bought four pieces from this exhibition, this one included."
I lent forward, and pulled the canvas roughly from the wall. I looked at it close, feigning scrutiny.
"It's a piece of shit, to be honest. You're wasting your money, he's capable of far better than this."
She glared at me, sizing up the rude figure who had pried her purchase from the wall and run his no doubt dirty hands roughly over the fat brush strokes encompassing the image.
"How dare you." She fumed. "How can you be so rude about the man's work, especially when I've just told you I love it. It's a gross affront to etiquette, and you've deeply offended me."
She was positively luminous with fury, especially as all I did in return to this tirade was smile gently.
"I'm the artist. I painted this."
The glacial fury on her face melted quickly, and she smiled. Brilliantly. Her face lit up and warmth radiated from her, before a laugh escaped her with a bubbling of effervescent mirth.
"It's nice that you like it, but I just wanted something this size to hang in the gallery tonight. If you want, as you've already payed for it, I'll paint you something much better over the picture on it, and you can have that instead."
She nodded gladly and touched my arm gently for a second as she smiled at me.
"Sure, sounds like a good deal to me. Fancy a drink?"
I did. I really did.
She laughed, frequently and unreservedly, touching my hand every so often as we sat in the dingy jazz bar around the corner from the gallery. Areas like this seem to attract ludicrous cultural elements like jazz bars and art galleries as a replacement to their plague rats and prostitutes of previous eras, though in some cases one assumed such things were never very far away.
We sat, not drinking, and talked, for what seemed like hours.
At first we danced around delicate small talk, banter of homes, family, origins, myths, past misdeeds and future triumphs. We talked about ourselves, each other, our views and beliefs and what it was we wanted to see tomorrow bring.
She began to move closer. She wasn't drinking anything other than sparkling water with a slice of lemon, and I was following suit. Unfortunately mine seemed to always have a double gin in it, and so the conversation began to twist.
Subtly at first I began to touch her back. The brush of hands, the tips of fingers, the rub of shoulders, slowly I realized we were pressed together despite the closeness of the booth, the expanse of seating around us enough for a score of people but empty save for the two of us.
Her hand touched my thigh. Gently I reached out to run a lock of her hair back behind her ear, and drunkenly I pawed at her face, spilling my drink in the process.
She laughed, and then I laughed, and then we kissed.
Jazz played on quietly in the background.
My studio was just around the corner, and we dashed through the rain outside, past the neon of nightclubs to reach it, hand in hand. She had my jacket, wrapped around herself to protect her from the slanting encroach of battering drops that jumped from the street when they landed.
She held it over her head like a child in a tent.
We were inside, and we kissed again. We breathed indescribable irrational and indiscriminate nothings to each other, speaking in hushed tongues of the erotic charge we hoped to deliver to one another or perhaps just to ourselves. We kissed, growing steadily more and more heated. She looked over my shoulder, her eyes alighting on her destination as she led me to the bed. Down she pushed me so that I sat heavily on the wheezing mattress, the sheets twisted and unmade but the tableau inconsequential to the momentum of the act. She turned her back to me and motioned, and I carefully unzipped the back of her little black dress, allowing her to slip out of it.
I caught a whiff of her perfume as she slipped the dress up and over her head, kicking off her shoes as she did so, scattering them with a click clack on the hard wooden floorboards. Paper and artistic detritus scattered to buffeting of footwear as it clashed gamely with hem, dislodging hitherto unseen sketches and the remains of a lonely life of late nights and solitude.
She turned to me as I slipped off my pants, lowering herself carefully on top of me as I pulled backwards onto the bed, her body looming over me. She reached down and carefully eased my underwear from me, grasping at the shaft with a hand while a smile laden with devious intent lingered on her lips.
She eased aside the scrap of material that nestled between her thighs, seeking a place of her own where I might enter her, before slipping downward slightly with a judder of instant gratification. A slight gasp slipped from her as she did so, my hands rising to meet her as she guided my outstretched palms to her stomach.
The swell of her womb hung over me, fat and achingly full as she began to slowly creep back and forth, the slow motion of her wide hips atop me causing the dome of tight skin to bob back and forth like a ship on a wind whipped ocean, the heft and weight of the thing causing her body to rest heavily on my own. I gripped her as she lent backward, accentuating the swell of her midriff, the milky skin glinting in the low light, the occasional flash of colored light from outside playing across the swollen orb as it rocked and rippled, eager for this sudden and unthoughtful of coupling.
Eager for me.
She gasped and moaned, as did I, and we both came together within a few minutes of this. As the final shudder left her body she remained static, not moving or making a sound, barely breathing, as she savored the moment.
Gingerly I helped her down, spent from our like minded exertion she wrapped my arms around her, gently removing the last items of clothing that stood between us to wait out the dawn in the naked fog of bliss.
When we woke in the morning I apologized. I told her that I shouldn't have been so forward, so vulgar in my advances, I should have submitted to the protocol of wooing and courting and veiled desires that so frequently proceed such events as the previous night.
She only smiled and shook her head in gentle good humor as I tried to proclaim my noble intentions, before kissing me again and telling me to be quiet.
"It's not like I'm the kind of girl who does this a lot." She grinned, "Despite what my condition might suggest."
She moved her hips in such a way that her belly bushed against me, the skin soft and warm against me, brilliant in its intensity of stretched, distended skin.
"I don't have long left before I'm no longer a mother to be, so I appreciate skipping the foreplay now and then. I hope you'll forgive me that one transgression."
It was my turn to laugh as she effortlessly mirrored my sincerity with a sarcastic bent, before holding her tighter as she slipped closer to me, her face against my chest as we lay still and quiet for what seemed like hours.
We fucked before she left. I dislike the vulgarity and the childish nature of the word, but there was little other description to use. We took our pleasures as they came, and as we saw fit we told each other in no uncertain terms what we required the other to do and do unto us. The mattress squealed in protest, but that only sought to spur us on in our thrusting, groaning, turgid revolutions.
She left with a kiss, borrowing a long coat of mine to wrap around her. The rain had stopped, but the street outside was dull and gray with the sheen of recent rain. It was cold and quite miserable, but we kissed on the doorstep as she made her way back to her car, with a promise to return.
She did, later that week, feigning sickness from some social engagement to bring herself to my door with a timid knock. I opened it to see her once more laden with delight and motherhood, smiling sweetly up from the step.
We kissed there and then and she gently pushed me back into the apartment with her belly. I didn't mind, I had other concerns at the moment. I told her what they were, and gleefully she showed me what was under the black cardigan and jeans she had opted for.
"I'm working on your painting." I said, as we lay sweaty and spent in the ruin of sheets and pillows afterwards. Gently she took my hand and pressed it to a spot on her right flank, gently holding her breath as she did so, the white sphere sitting still for a moment until there was a flutter beneath my fingertips.
We smiled at each other.
Gently I moved out from under her to view the expanse of her naked body, eagerly presented to me I roved over the wondrous expanse of her flesh, kissing here and there, feeling the ripples within her belly against my face as I pressed myself to it gently, the kicks and squirms withing strong and purposeful.
She hadn't long left, we both knew it.
"It's nearly done, I just need a few more days."
She pulled me upwards to direct my attention to her face. We kissed, and didn't stop for a long time.
She came and went as she could, her life growing busier and busier as the final weeks trickled away. We laughed together when she arrived in a baggy, faded t shirt, beneath it the bowl of her belly sticky with the residue of ultrasound gel. We made love in the shower, gently, washing ourselves and each other as we did so under the sputtering uncertainty of antiquated plumbing.
The building shuddered and breathed as we did, the foundations settling slowly, creaks and groans coming from the odd angles of the architecture as our bodies shook and spasmed together in the dark, musty space of the attic.
She was in my studio when it happened. I had almost finished the painting for her, when with a gasp she grabbed my hand. Quickly she unfastened the buttons of the old shirt of mine she had pulled on, uncovering the robust curve of her stomach.
We watched in silent awe for a second, before it happened again.
Slowly her belly clenched, the muscles under the skin grasping and squeezing as the globe rose slightly, before releasing again a moment or two later.
She held my hand, squeezing with anticipation. The wait was finally over.
We stayed in the studio for a while, a hot bath and a few hurried phone calls as I watched her pace, her hands pressed to her spine, creeping around the equator of her abdomen now and then to rub and sooth the tightening swell.
Periodically we would kiss hurriedly, fearing each one to be the last, my hands pressing to her belly when they could, gently massaging the laboring convexity.
A few hours later she was gone, and I was alone again. She promised to call me from the hospital, and I didn't doubt she would. Elizabeth drove herself to the hospital, she had promised herself that she had made it this far alone, and would finish the act by herself. I admired her for it, and kissed her goodbye as she panted her way out to her car, bloated and turgid and achingly sore.
I stood and watched her go for a long time, long after her car had melted into the midday traffic, still resolute in my doorway, before finally I ducked back inside.
I went inside, cleared up as best I could before sitting in the chair by my easel, nervously waiting for her to come back to claim her painting.
It took a few days for her to, but she came.
I whipped the sheet from the canvas, the old drab scene of traffic obliterated by the stark, white paint I had layered over it until nothing of the old work was visible any more.
The canvas was completely white, except for a few words crudely painted in the center.
She kissed me again with tears in her eyes, and we embraced there in front of the work.
"I love you." is all it said.
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this is a Great Story!
Wow. This is incredibly artfully done. It's erotic, but in an incredibly cerebral and sentimental way.
Everything read very naturally and very intimately, and the sense of humor in the character's banter was refreshing. Bravo!
Everything read very naturally and very intimately, and the sense of humor in the character's banter was refreshing. Bravo!
Cheers! That's a really lovely bit of feedback to have! Bizarrely it was influenced by a short story from the Chick Palahniuk book 'Haunted', though that bears no real narrative resemblance, I just wanted to kind of ape his style.
I've always heard the name, but never read him. Either way, you did quite nicely
This is really good. I like it a lot, you have a very professional way of writing.
Thank you, you're very kind to say so, this is one of the pieces I'm most proud of, it was meant to be more adut and mature than my other work,
When did you write this? I have read this same exact story on another site over a year ago.
I wrote this about two or three years ago, it was on my original profile (hurt-me-plenty). Which other site did you read it on?
I knew I recognized this story. Glad to have found your account with your work once again.
Good to see you back in these parts, how've you been?
I don't remember. It might have been on here, I have a terrible memory. I just know I read it before. Regardless, it's a fantastic story. I just wanted to make sure it was yours first, you know how that is
Thanks, I enjoyed the challenge of trying to write something a bit more mature and sexual without making it base and smutty. I'm really glad you liked it, and thanks for taking the time to tell me so to