Christian’s custom-made bath was deep and wide and the water was very hot. Ingrid sat behind me, her knees open enough for me to sit between them with my back to her, her fingers digging into the tight muscles beneath my shoulder blades.
“The night you and I met, I was at a record low,” she said. “I’d just discovered that my lover was a faithless fucking bitch. I’m not really sure what I was looking for when I found you in the kitchen; I was told you weren’t into women, even though you lied and led me to believe you were a lesbian, but I needed to kiss someone.”
“I don’t know. I suppose it was something Christian said about you being too straight for your own good.” She laughed softly. “You obviously haven’t told him everything.”
“The subject never came up,” I said, flinching slightly as her thumb dug in. “So you kissed me because I was straight and you wanted to see if I’d object. Or was it that you wanted to try to convert me?”
“No, as I said, I just needed to be kissed. Your lips were the closest, looked the softest and you were standing all alone and lost in a house full of the usual sexual deviants. It was a lovely kiss, wasn’t it?”
“Just a little unexpected,” I said. “I wouldn’t go so far as to call it lovely. It wasn’t unpleasant either.”
She laughed softly. “Sounds like double talk to me.” Her fingers pressed in hard at the base of my neck. “You didn’t move away and you didn’t slap me, I thought I felt a little back pressure, and your mouth definitely moved under mine.”
I didn’t retort. When you’re digging yourself into a hole, it’s best to stop digging.
I recalled that her mouth had been soft and her breath had carried a slight aroma of sweet almonds that had transferred to my mouth during the brief encounter. My lips had responded automatically, deepening the contact, on the edge of allowing my tongue to respond to the tongue I felt beginning a slow invasion of my mouth.
There had been something vulnerable and pained in her eyes as we’d gazed at one another afterward. When she’d walked away to find another woman and “…..lick her till she screams…” I was conscious of a vague feeling of regret, confusion and a queasy feeling in my belly.
Later when I saw her with her legs spread wide and that other woman licking her and driving her fingers upward into her vagina, I had felt and anger, shame and yes…. envy.
I’d wanted to pull the other woman’s hair out by the roots. I’d wanted save Ingrid – to protect her from the harpies who used her. And yes, for a split second, I’d wanted to be the one who made her scream as she came in my mouth.
But there was no way she could’ve seen that on my face? Could she?
“Did my sex-ploit confessions shock you today?” she asked, breaking into my thoughts.
“No… not really,” I said. “It’s a bit like being at university; in the first months there were boys and girls whose only reason for being there was simply to bang as many bodies as they could. The condom manufacturers probably have a huge spike in sales from September to December every year.”
Ingrid laughed softly. “Somehow I can’t see you hopping from bed to bed.”
“I didn’t. But I wasn’t a shy retiring virgin either. I had my moments.”
I almost told her about the gross of condoms Anna and I had bought, but I managed to swallow the words as they climbed out of the back of my throat.
“What about you husband – The Beast as Christian calls him.”
I had to laugh. “He’s not as bad as all that. I admit he’s only slightly civilized – I like him that way. A lot of women like the brute in their men. But he’s also gentle and kind and romantic. I keep the beast enslaved with a lot of sex.”
“Do you love him?”
“Of course I do.”
“Do you trust him?”
“He’s never given me any reason not to.”
“Have you ever cheated on him, other than just now with me, I mean?”
“That’s an odd question.”
“Sorry. What I suppose I mean is, why did you do it with me?”
I turned around and faced her, our knees pressed together. “I don’t know. I haven’t worked that out yet.”
“Well I’m glad you did and I’m glad you are happy too. Though I’m not sure you belong among Christian’s group of acquaintances.”
“Why do you say that?”
“He’s a good friend, someone who would hold your hand while you jumped off a bridge, but he attracts corrupted, unstable, slightly broken people like me. You are different; you are….. normal.”
Ingrid’s word played in my mind over and over as I sat in the taxi that evening – He’s a good friend, someone who would hold your hand while you jumped off a bridge, but he attracts corrupted, unstable, slightly broken people like me. You’re different…..normal.
When I left, she was wrapped in one of Christian’s black, silk kimonos covered in white butterflies, red roses and blue hummingbirds, a glass of vodka in one hand and a lit joint in the other. There had been a look on her face which begged the question she was unwilling to ask – which I was unwilling to answer. “Are we going to see each other again?”
Once is not a relationship, I told myself, as I watched the evening traffic through the cabs window. Once was dangerous enough, because I’d seen the look, the hope in her eyes, as we stood on the white tiled floor, drying each other off with fluffy pale blue towels .
I was heading back to my normal life, battling the feeling that I might have made a huge mistake.