In the Neighbourhood

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Chapter 17: Stacked

Zsolt knew it might be his imagination, but the unending heat of the summer finally seemed to be letting up. It was another bright, sunny day, sure, but as he opened the front door and leaned down to get the paper, he could feel the difference in the air. It was lighter, drier, much nicer to breathe. Maybe that was it, then, for this goddamn summer.

Back home they’d had summers like this, sure. But in the little metal shop where he worked, they’d just prop the doors open with a stump or a brick, and the sea breeze would drift through. And at lunch you could have a beer or two in the bar down the street, nobody minded.

The factory he worked in now was a high-ceilinged aluminum box with glaring mercury lights and no ventilation to speak of. You got forty minutes for lunch, and you could bring it with you or buy it from the truck but otherwise you were out of luck—there was nowhere else decent to eat for miles around. And god forbid you should have a single beer during working hours. You might as well show up naked as come in with alcohol on your breath.

Typical Canadians. All rules, no sense. He could be thirteen and back in the army cadets again. Still, it was a job, it paid well. If the heat broke, it would be fine.

He tucked the paper under his arm and went back inside to collect his cup of coffee. It was only six-thirty, so he’d have time to sit out in the backyard for a while before he had to pull on his work boots and head in for his shift.

There was a little stack of videotapes there, right beside the door. Three of them.

He set his coffee and paper on the little glass-topped table and plopped into the wrought-iron chair beside it. Three tapes? Someone had been busy.

Of course, he wanted to go inside straight away and see what was on them. But he had less than twenty minutes, and he still had to get dressed and finish his coffee. He wasn’t in a hurry, but he soon would have to be.

Best to just ignore them, put them out of his mind. He took a sip from his cup; it was already cooling, not unpleasant but already less hot than he liked.

Probably Stan had left them. He was obviously put out about Keith and Lisa joining in, and had to prove he was still the big man in the neighbourhood. Who cared, though? Marie still had straight boring hair, and tits the size of figs. You had to be nice, you couldn’t say anything of course, but Zsolt had lost his interest in Stan’s tapes a while ago.

Whatever he read in the paper wasn’t sticking. It was all old news anyway—Reagan this, Ollie North that. All bullshit. So the Americans lied again; what else was new?

He folded the paper again and drained the last of his coffee, spat a piece of grit into the grass. Probably time to get going. He picked up the paper, coffee cup, and video tapes, and went back into the house.

Usually, after supper, Zsolt would sit down in the living room and put the news on. But tonight he was feeling generous, and also Elena was looking a little tired, so he gave her a hand with the dishes.

“Not there,” she said, as he pushed a few bowls around to make room for the white square dish he’d just dried. “The shelf above.”

Zsolt peered up at the shelf. It was the top shelf in the cupboard, so high that he couldn’t even see what was up there.

“How do I get it up there?” Why did they even have shelves that high in a kitchen? Not everyone was a basketball player.

“Use a chair, like I do, short-ass.” She said it in Serbian, which made it sound more playful than insulting. He’d been called short-ass a lot in school, too, but it had never bothered him. He was more of a soccer man anyhow.

“I’m tall, I just got short legs,” he said, pulling out a kitchen chair. It got a smile out of her, anyhow.

There were a couple of other dishes on the top shelf but there was plenty of room for the white one. He climbed back down and replaced the chair.

“So we got some more tapes this morning,” he commented. To be honest, he’d been thinking about the tapes all day.

“I saw them.”

“Maybe give them a look tonight.”

“I guess so. Whose are they?”

“Don’t know. Probably Stan.”

She shrugged. Zsolt had gathered that she wasn’t much of a fan of Stan’s tapes; she didn’t seem to be much of a Stan himself, either. Well, who cared, anyway? Tapes are tapes.

Elena wiped down the counters as Zsolt dried the last of the cups with the now soggy dish towel. They were finished in less than half the time it usually took, Zsolt figured; but it didn’t take very long anyway. It didn’t matter whether he helped out or not, from that perspective.

“You go put the news on,” she said. “I’ll make coffee.”

“Not too strong.”


He kissed her forehead and took the opportunity to give her ass a little squeeze. That earned him another smile, which was nice.

Zsolt flopped back on the pillow, breathing and sweating heavily. He lay there for a while, recovering.

Elena sat up slightly to reach for the sheet, which had been kicked down to the end of the bed. “Cold,” she apologized as she covered herself up.

He shrugged and closed his eyes. His thighs were slowly relaxing and the sweat cooled his shoulders and neck as it dried. He was only tired now, not sleepy.

Elena shifted beside him, and he looked over. She had propped her pillow up on the headboard, the sheet bunched up at her chest. She was still watching the tape.

On the screen, Keith was still riding his wife. Although he wasn’t about to get hard again so soon—he wasn’t sixteen any more, after all—he could feel himself tighten slightly, as he watched.

Keith wasn’t the kind of guy you’d pick out of a crowd as a good lover; he wasn’t really strong-looking, or manly, or even handsome. But you had to marvel at him, on tape like this. He seemed more powerful, more dominating, with every stroke.

And Lisa seemed to love it. Every little while, she showed her pleasure somehow—panting, moaning, slapping blindly at the sheets beside her. At one point her eyes locked with Keith’s; you could practically see the connection in the air between them.

“More,” she said, seriously, a command, not a request. And Keith obliged, his back and hips bucking with renewed vigour.

Zsolt laid his hand on Elena’s leg, lightly stroking the bare skin of her thigh under the thin cotton of the summer sheet.

She remained glassy-eyes, staring continuously at the TV, but moved slightly, sliding her hips down the bed a little, pressed her warm thigh more insistently into Zsolt’s palm. She was shaking slightly.

Zsolt looked over—was she crying?—no, she was—her other hand was under the sheets, between her legs.

He didn’t want to be a jerk about it or anything, but this was a bit ungrateful. He had just fucked her; hadn’t she noticed? She had seemed to enjoy it at the time, but now...

“Can you...” she said softly.

“I’m not—give me a minute.” Normally he wouldn’t have been ready to go so quickly, but Gabrielle was so horny, and the way Lisa had said “More”—

She took his hand, guided it firmly under the sheet. Zsolt looked up at her, eyes closed, the back of her head tipped back and resting against the headboard.

She was fantasizing, he realized all at once. She was imagining Keith fucking her, right now.

More noise from the TV, Keith panting harder, then groaning. Elena’s eyes were shut tight. Her neck muscles strained as her head pressed into the pillow beneath her.

Zsolt’s hand was just in her way, now, as far as he could tell. Her fingers slid quickly and forcefully, lacing through his, finding what she wanted but pinning his hand in place. She was hotter, wetter, more swollen than he had ever felt her before.

Soon Elena was thrashing around and muttering in Serbian; eventually she was still, and she let go of Zsolt’s hand. He let it fall away.

The tape had stopped of its own accord, having come to an end without his noticing. Grey snow filled the screen and there was a gentle hiss coming from the TV.

Elena hadn’t moved; was she already asleep? Zsolt nudged her—gently, but not too gently—with his elbow.


“Thought you were asleep.”

“No... just...”

She turned towards him, threw her arm over his body. He could feel her chest rise and fall against him, breathing deeply but quickly, not asleep, just exhausted.

“I feel like I could now,” she murmured into his shoulder.

“Go ahead.” He made sure he didn’t sound pissed off when he said it, but she didn’t respond, which actually did piss him off a little.

“Be right back,” he said, after waiting a few seconds. He got up and went into the bathroom, splashed a little warm water on himself, patted himself dry, pulled his bathrobe on. Back in the bedroom, there was no doubt now: Elena was sound asleep, on her side as though Zsolt were still there beside her. He pulled the covers up over her nude body but she still didn’t react.

He padded downstairs. It was still early and twilight was only just beginning to fall. He put the little coffee pot on the burner, rummaged in the fridge and found some of the sausage and potatoes from the previous night’s dinner.

Zsolt felt hungry but couldn’t bring himself to eat. Instead, he sat and stared at the little plate of food, wondering when the goddamned coffee was going to boil, and imagining Keith; try as he might, Zsolt couldn’t get Keith out of his head, panting and groaning and fucking, fucking, fucking Elena.

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