Lila fell asleep almost instantly. I eased us onto our sides so I wouldn’t crush her, carefully. I did not withdraw. I liked sleeping like this, inside her, so I could wake up and feel like I’d died and gone to heaven. Wedged inside that lush, snug softness that was like no other feeling on this earth. It was an unfathomable feeling: this need to stay inside, to love her with every fiber of my being. I tucked the duvet tightly around her and I kissed her sweet lips gently as I fell asleep.
And when I woke in the night, I was hard again, like my body had pre-empted me, preparing me for my purpose. I didn’t want to wake her completely, but I also didn’t want to frighten her. If she thought I was a dream, I was going to be the best kind of dream, the kind you never wanted to end. I smoothed her hair back from her face. I kissed her eyelids, her nose. I kissed her mouth. I felt her stir and stretch a little. I touched my tongue to hers to see if she would respond to me, if she was aware. She said my name in a soft, slurred whisper, and wrapped her arms more tightly around me, snuggling against me as she sighed. She was only half awake, dreamy. She was tired, her movements slow and passive but I took her as my own, savoring the wet silkiness of my possession of her. Very, very gently, I drove deeply into her. I could feel my climax spooling, already, the pleasure thrilling and quick-building, threatening to spill. But I wasn’t going to come until she did. I used my fingers to caress her, circling, syncing the rhythm of my conquest. Her body began to contract around me – so insanely soft, so ridiculously tight, so ludicrously beautiful – and she moaned with each drive, a breathy, kittenish whimper. Her body was rippling with her pleasure and the squeezing tugs drew out my ecstasy in surging, tumultuous rushes. The pleasure was savage, extreme in a way that seemed to change the very alchemy of my soul.
It was a release of the purest kind, but the satisfaction was double-edged. Because each time with Lila, the addiction grew deeper; the obsession coiled itself more tightly around my heart and settled more deeply into the aching need in my gut.
I felt only mildly sated. I would wait, but I was already thinking about more. As always, I knew I was being greedy. I had to consciously steady myself with Lila. I could have pushed her further. I could have made her come ten more times. But I knew she was tired. She needed to rest. If she would have allowed it, I would have whisked her away to a deserted island and showered her with gifts, fed her, pleasured her, kept her all to myself for months on end. I would have lived my life in a way that meant I could spend every minute of the day and night next to her, lavishing her with my attention. If given a choice, I would have orchestrated a life in which she was totally reliant on me, needy for my attention, desperate for me and only me.
But I knew Lila would draw away from me, in time if not immediately. She didn’t want to be owned and she didn’t want to feel trapped. She’d made that crystal clear. I could understand all that. Of course I could. She was twenty years old, for Christ sakes. She’d been a valedictorian and an academic. She was driven to work and learn and climb her way up the publishing ladder. I’d given her a free ride to the top of the ladder, which she wouldn’t refuse, but she wanted to prove herself on her own terms.
And Lila had secrets. Damages. Fears about closed doors and locked cages, even gilded ones. I had to be careful not to trigger the deep darknesses. I wanted to be all about the light.
I was tightly wrapped around her, still inside her. “I love you,” I whispered into her hair, but she was already dreaming. I wondered what she was dreaming about. I wished I could look into those dreams and find out more about what made her tick. Because there were still things – fears and details from her past – that she kept from me.
I knew it had never occurred to Lila to aspire to being kept by a man, unlike so many other women I’d dated. Maybe that was one of the reasons I was so drawn to her. She never expected anything from me, aside from love (and sex, which I was only too happy to provide). She was always surprised, and grateful, when I bought her something.
She wore the clothes I gave her because she had no others. She wore the diamond ring, the gold earrings and the watch. But I also noticed that she’d wrapped up all the other jewelry I’d given her, and put the pieces back in their original packaging. Like she was planning to give them to someone else. Or save them in case she needed to sell them, for the money.
I understood how a person who came from poverty thought, though, because I was one. It had been along time since I’d had to worry about not having enough food to eat or a warm enough winter coat to wear, but those little strategies you work through never completely disappear.
What it boiled down to was this: I had to force myself to give her the distance she needed to live her life. I knew if I crowded her too much or pushed her too far with my possessiveness, she would pull away. This was surprisingly difficult to do. Sometimes insanely difficult. I wanted everything. Every secret and every allowance. All of it.
I’d already done it once.
I’d pushed too far and she’d walked out on me. It had been one of the two worst nights of my life. The thought of losing her was one I couldn’t bear. Could. Not. Fucking. Bear. I was still hoping my lunatic-level covetousness would end at some point, or at least mellow out. So far it showed no signs of doing any such thing. My love for her was a beast I could not tame. But I could at least attempt to train it.
I woke early. It had always been my usual routine to get up at 5 a.m. and work out before getting to my office by seven. I wasn’t a person who required a lot of sleep. I could get by on five or six hours most nights. Lila, once again, had changed all that. Or at least she’d inspired me to spend a hell of lot more time in bed than I ever had before.
What I felt like doing was waking her up again. We’d disengaged at some point during the night and the small distance felt painful. I wanted to hold her down and make love to her again. Slide into all that lusciousness and take my fill. But she looked so peaceful, so deeply asleep.
So I got up and put on a pair of shorts. I walked down the hall to the fully-kitted home gym in my apartment and lifted weights for a while. It felt good. It worked out some of my tension, and took the edge off my angst.
I was right in the middle of bench-pressing 180 when I sensed her presence. That heady zing of my synapses whenever she was near. I got the weights back up into their cradle, then turned my head. She was standing in the doorway, leaning against the doorjamb.
“I had the best dreams,” she said, smiling at me, lighting up my world.
I exhaled a sort of ‘Oh’ sound.
Her green eyes spangled. Her face was rose-cheeked, her lips full. Her hair was all tousled in a honey-gold mane that spilled and curled at the ends in wisps of white-blond that draped over her breasts. Breasts so naturally full and creamy and pink-tipped it was quite simply mind-blowing. The tapered smoothness of her stomach. The flare of her hips.
And the rosy pleats of her pussy. Like a fleshy little flower.
My mouth watered and my cock became instantly, painfully hard.
“You’re all sweaty,” she cooed.
I was whipped well and truly. I was so whipped it was weirdly, almost existentially painful. There was no point trying to pretend otherwise. “And you’re so beautiful it hurts.”
“You didn’t wake me up,” she pouted mischievously.
“You looked very peaceful. I thought I’d let you sleep.”
She started walked towards me, slinky and slow. “Thank you. You did wear me out a little last night, you beast.”
My hard-on swelled further at the word ‘beast’, and the way it sounded when she spoke it. She wanted me, I could hear it there in her bell-like husk, and this felt like the most glorious achievement of my life.
“Your muscles are so big,” she said, and her fingers traced along my shoulder, which was damp with my sweat. She didn’t just want me, she was just as mad for me as I was for her. Lila was a playful little goddess with a voracious carnal appetite that rivalled my own. I’d always had a healthy sex drive, I’d thought, but something about the chemistry between the two of us sparked us into some kind of superhuman sensual overdrive. We literally could not stop.
How did I get so lucky? How did I end up here, in this utopia that was all about Lila? I could feel my breathing get heavier. My cock felt like a red-hot inferno, throbbing with lust. My heart was a wild, jazzy animal.
“I like you sweaty,” she said.
“And I like you naked.”
“Why aren’t you naked,” she said coyly, not as a question, as she turned her body in a supple little swivel. “That’s not fair.”
I was no slouch in the sexual experience department, but for a few flashy seconds, as she leaned over me, placing her hand on my chest, her legs slightly apart, her breasts just out of reach of my mouth, her feathery hair touching my skin, I felt like a fumbling, tongue-tied teenager who was on the very verge of losing not only my so-called cool but also my goddamn mind.
“It’s not fair,” she teased, playing a coquettish, feminine game, her fingers gliding lower, down my chest, “that this big …” She spoke slowly, softly emphasizing each word, as her fingers moved to my stomach. “… huge …” To the waistband of my shorts. “… hard…” To the gargantuan swell of my raging cock, barely concealed under my shorts. “...hot…”
Her fingers squeezed gently, outlining the shape, playing me with both hands.
I couldn’t even speak.
This was her game, playing innocent. Throwing her girly charms around like magic, sexy bait. I was already caught, but the lure was too good. I wanted more. “I’m going to take these shorts off you, naughty man. Hiding this from me. You know that makes me crazy.”
She was peeling the shorts off. My hard-out sprung out. Lila put her hands to her mouth, her eyes wide, feigning naïve shock. “You are gigantic, you big beast of a man. I want to play with you. Can I play with you?” She pulled my shorts all the way off, slowly, letting them drop to the floor. “I know just what I want to do. Don’t move. You keep still, you big brute. I get to do whatever I want.”
Oh, fuck. She was half kitten, half lioness. Her hands roved my body in feathery strokes but didn’t touch my roaring erection, which was so hot and engorged by this point I thought I might lose all control when her fingers … oh, god, her fingers. The lightest graze. There. But she was climbing onto me. And she was facing the other way, leaning forward, legs open. She straddled me, her knees on either side of my body, her round ass lifted as she leaned forward … only inches over the agony that was my cock. She widened her stance, giving me the heavenly view of her honeyed sex. “Don’t you do a thing,” she ordered. “I get to take you. Just the way I want to.” I couldn’t have argued even if … oh, hell. Her fingers were on me. I groaned like the beast I was. She held my cock with one hand, lowering herself to touch the tip of it to her glistening pussy. With her other hand, she touched herself, opening her petals, guiding my cock to her clit.
“Oh, god, Lila. Oh, fucking goddamn hell.”
I didn’t know if I could hold this. Fuck. I couldn’t hold this. She was rubbing herself, with me, using me to pleasure herself. I could see the pleats of her pussy folding around the head, swallowing me, barely taking me inside. Rubbing, circling, faster. She was getting herself off with my cock. Faster, finding the rhythm she wanted. She was gyrating, her hips rocking. I put my hands on her, letting her soft skin slide along my fingers as she moved. I was already there. I could feel the feral rapture gliding, bursting out of me in milky, otherworldly pulses.
“Alexander!” she cried, her voice a soft, rasped chime. She seemed overcome, her body trembling with the rising bliss. She sat down onto me, taking all of me in a tight, mind-blowing slide. “Oh, god, I’m coming! Yes, yes, oh, I’m coming, Oh my god. Oh...”
The clench of her body around my already-jolting climax broke my fucking heart. I didn’t even know this was possible, but I came again, or I kept coming, a sort of double-blow or something. I didn’t know how to define it and I didn’t care. The throb was gargantuan, whole-bodied, spiritual as well as physical.
Lila went sort of limp then as the release spun out and I instinctively sat up to hold her, to support her weight. As I did, my cock slid deeper into her. I pulled her down onto me and cradled her against me, wrapping my arms and legs around her in a sort of human cage. And anchor. She was still moaning gently, still writhing. We sat like that for a while, until she stilled. As soon as she did, she seemed to return to herself. My girl. My Lila. She was as fucking greedy as I was. She started clenching herself around me, again. Rocking, just a little, squeezing me gently with her inner muscles. I eased her to all fours on the wide bench and I began moving in and out of her from behind. I was spent, half-cocked. But whatever Lila wanted Lila got. And that smooth glide was all it took. The revival began. The divine clenching beauty rocked my world. I moved her to the floor to get better leverage, arranging her body to fit mine exactly the way I wanted it. I took my time, letting myself feel her, kissing her back, smoothing her hair, playing her pussy with my fingers, working that juicy little clit until she was pushing herself back against me with each thrust, making me harder. And harder. And bringing us both, once again, to the beautiful brink and beyond it. Lushly falling. Dying together with the wonder of it, the shattering, connective intensity.
I love her.
“I love you,” I said.
We were splayed out on the floor, our limbs tangled, sweaty, flushed with love and satisfaction and happiness. I never knew it was even possible to be this happy.
She was smiling peacefully at me, all mussed and sunny with the pinks and whites and golds that were pure Lila. “Beast.” She laughed, giggling in that half girl, half woman way she had.
I bared my teeth at her and she laughed again. I could only watch her, fascinated by the color of her skin, the texture of her hair, the charmed loveliness of her face.
“How do you do it?” I said.
“I don’t think I had this kind of stamina even when I was eighteen. You’re a magician of the highest order.”
She smiled and softly bit her lip, a tendril of shyness touching her manner, which made me smile.
“Don’t even pretend to be shy, sweetheart. You know you’re a genius at this.”
“Am I?” That half-bashful grin. She rolled on to her side and reached out, tracing a finger across the line of my jaw, softly playful. “I wouldn’t know. It’s all new to me. I have no basis for comparison except you, my wild animal of a man.”
I rolled to face her, touching her hair. “You are incredibly beautiful,” I whispered. The silky strands were so soft they could have belonged to some mythical creature, as though she’d just swum up from Atlantis, or ridden in on a pure-white unicorn. “When are you going to marry me?”
Her eyes rounded. Her smile was still there, still playful, and something more. “I already said I’d marry you. Any time you want.”
I had never, ever thought of myself as having even a single romantic bone in my body, but now I was so lovestruck my heart skipped a beat. “I had thought to ask you if you wanted to do it on Saturday. At the beach house in Water Mill. It’s close – only an hour – and it’s still warm enough to have a wedding outside, if you wanted to. We’d have time to get you a dress. A cake. Whatever you want. Absolutely anything you want.”
“A dress,” she mused, like she’d never considered her own wedding dress before. This was typical of Lila. When other little girls were busy daydreaming about their fairy-tale wedding Lila had been otherwise engaged. Keeping warm or sewing patches over the holes in her clothes or trying to hide from predators.
I was going to buy her the most exquisite, expensive wedding dress in the world.
“After work today,” I said. “I’ll book us an appointment at Saks. I’ll tell them to bring a selection of their best. Twenty-five maybe. Only top designers, new season. You can pick whichever ones you want to try on.”
Here we went. “Alexander. You don’t have to do that –”
I put my finger on her lips. “Shh. Wrong. I have to buy you the most beautiful dress in the world since you’re the most beautiful woman. It’s only right.”
She held my finger and kissed it. “You’re so nice to me,” she whispered, as though awed by it, still.
“Are there some people you’d like to invite?”
She frowned a little. “I don’t …” The sentence lost its momentum almost before it began.
“I doesn’t matter,” I said, understanding immediately. She’d been too busy studying and hiding from her past to accumulate a long list of friends. She had one friend I knew of. The only one she’d ever mentioned to me. “Eva. That’s enough, if you want. You’ll need a maid of honor. And I’ll have Jake as my best man, and we’ll have a minister – or priest or rabbi or shaman whatever it is you require – and that’ll be all. Okay?”
“I’m agnostic,” she said.
“Really? I never knew that about you.” I didn’t care if she was a devil-worshipping fucking Martian. I mean, I was glad she wasn’t, but nothing would have swayed me at this point.
“I tried praying a couple times when I was younger. It didn’t really work out so I kind of gave all that up.”
“I guess that’s fair enough.”
“What about you? Are you religious?”
“No.” Not since I started worshipping at her altar, that is. “I went to a fancy Catholic prep school when I was very young but that all came to a screeching halt when my father went bankrupt. And then died. I haven’t stepped foot inside a church for at least twenty years.”
“Let’s do it on the beach,” she said, rolling onto her back, looking up at the ceiling. There seemed to be a sadness creeping into her manner. Some memory, maybe. Some regret.
I moved over her, crouching on all fours. I looked into her eyes. “We’ll do it by the water. We’ll have lanterns and lots of candles. White roses. Flowers everywhere. What’s your favorite flower, Lila?”
“Peonies. Pink ones.”
“We’ll have a thousand pink peonies. We’ll have a band and good food. Wine. Music. We’ll invite my neighbors – they’re a bunch of twenty-something musicians who love a party. We’ll dance and laugh and we’ll say our vows and have a beautiful night. And then we’ll be married and I’ll take care of you for the rest of our lives. I’ll love you every day and night and I’ll make all your dreams come true.”
I watched that sadness in her eyes melt away, for now. I watched her smile. And I vowed to never, ever disappoint her.
I hoped to God I could keep that vow.