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Subject: {ASSM} Winsome Willie (Mf) ~ new to ASSM ~ Caution: Romance, but she's under age
Date: Sat,  7 Jun 2003 07:10:05 -0400
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Winsome Willie (Mf) (* caution: she's under age)
by Neil Anthony aka DrSpin

---------------------------------------------------------
* This story is published here by kind permission of Ruthie's 
Club, where it appeared stunningly illustrated by Umbra 
under an exclusivity period for six months. Ruthie's Club 
(http://www.ruthiesclub.com) carries about 70 more of my new 
stories. 

* The author welcomes comments and opinions from readers 
and is invariably motivated to respond. Write to:
neilanthony@austarnet.com.au

* DrSpin's Standard Disclaimer: 
I write and you read, if you care to. That's all there is 
to it. Any reader who is offended should not have been here 
in the first place.
---------------------------------------------------------

You can live with yourself if you work at it and I'm working 
on it. It's not easy because she was so very, very young. 
Telling the story is part of it. Maybe I can convince you. 
Then maybe I can convince myself.

I wrote a book and it was published. It wasn't my first book 
but it was the first that was fit to be published, and it was 
mildly successful. It wasn't a runaway but it was reviewed 
kindly and sold moderately. The problem was all to do with the 
word "promising". My book was promising. I was a promising 
writer. My publisher wanted my next book to put me past the 
promising stage. And I didn't have a next book. I had three 
part-books lying around impotently. Even I didn't like them, 
and the frustration was hard to bear.

It made me hard to be around. That was one of the reasons I 
broke up with Nonie. That, and the fact she was sneaking 
around on me with a man I used to call a friend. But that's 
not part of this story. It's just a reason for putting me 
where I was.

I needed to finish a book and I needed to do it without 
procrastination. My publisher employed a man who talked to me 
encouragingly, and as luck would have it, he was a good man to 
know. He offered to lease me his vacation house. It was autumn 
-- not vacation time. The cottage was secluded, quiet and cold. 
On the face of it, it was ideal for a writer who needed to get 
back to basics. I moved for the autumn into this small house 
looking out over a windswept bay with a rocky and pebbled 
shore. It was three miles to the nearest convenience store. I 
could see only one other house and it was empty. I moved in 
and settled down to work in solitary self-confinement.

But I was stale. It didn't happen. I spent days wandering 
around the bay, bundled up against the wind. I had to write 
something, so I wrote tastefully dirty short stories I posted 
under a pseudonym to the Internet. It was a buzz. Readers 
e-mailed me from all over the world. They said I was good. 
They wanted more. I stopped tramping around the rocky shore 
without purpose. Now I thought and wrote to immediate effect. 
I invented sex stories and they rolled sweetly off the 
keyboard in snug packages.

I had fans. Lots of them. But I wasn't being paid for writing, 
my novels lay sterile, and my guilt was mounting about the 
advance payments I had accepted to get me through the autumn. 
It was a pastime but it was hardly an occupation. I had 
reached a vulnerable age in life - thirty-one. If I wasn't 
going to make a financially viable career as an author, I had 
better start thinking seriously about getting a real job.
 
About this time - a month or so after I'd moved in and three 
pointless weeks or so since I'd become fractionally famous 
under a pen-name as a writer of elegant smut - a woman and her 
daughter arrived in the house that shared my view of the bay. 
I saw the lights at night. Two or three days later I ran into 
them on a brisk mid-morning walk while my mind was busily 
conjuring erotic scenarios. Head down, muttering, I rounded a 
rock on the path and stopped abruptly before I collided with 
them. It was a double shock. I had become accustomed to being 
my own companion. As well, I'd just that moment been thinking 
furiously erotic thoughts about women. Then I all but knocked 
two of them over on a windswept path overlooking the bay.

We apologised and took stock. No doubt I looked unkempt and 
eccentrically edgy and anxious. They were both dressed for the 
cold, and lumpy with warm clothing. The woman was on the hefty 
side, fortyish. She had a tired, harassed look on her face 
that was never going away. The girl was just a girl. She 
giggled like one and tried to hide the giggle behind her hand 
like one. Oh well, I remember thinking, so much for chance 
erotic encounters. They only happen in erotic fiction.

I might be a self-centred, moody, and introspective writer but 
I was brought up correctly. I know how to be polite. We 
blundered through an awkward conversation. They discovered I 
was a writer trying to write while I found out Margie was the 
mother of Wilhelmina, more commonly known as Willie. Margie 
was a nurse who'd taken a job at the local clinic and Willie 
was fourteen. She'd be fifteen next month, she said, cutting 
herself into the conversation. There was no mention of husband 
or father. They were clearly on their own. They invited me for 
a home-cooked meal that evening. I could not avoid it. A 
refusal would have been rude.

At the table, Margie did not improve as a candidate for erotic 
inspiration. Dressed lighter, she remained heavy. She looked 
like the world had treated her unsympathetically for too many 
years. I am accustomed to degrees of attention from women 
because I am a reasonable looking man who sounds reasonably 
interesting. There was not even a hint of flirtation from 
Margie. She wasn't interested. I don't believe it occurred to 
her for a second. She was nice enough, and friendly with it, 
and she cooked a good home-cooked meal. I think she saw me as 
someone she could talk to. Her instincts were liable to be 
right because I am a writer and writers are listeners and 
thieves when people talk about themselves.

Willie was something else. A girl, surely. Hardly a woman at 
all. Without the woollen sweaters and enveloping cap she was a 
willowy sprite of a thing. She cut a slender figure in a 
simple dress and her longish semi-blonde hair was tied behind 
her neck. She had a growing girl's smattering of freckles on 
her face and on her bare arms and even on her chest, what I 
could see of it, and I did see a little bit more of it when 
she bent forward. The girl had breasts. I saw the beginning 
swell of them and a suggestion of cleavage. 

But it was her eyes that recommended a swift change in 
attitude. They were pale blue and sharply attentive to every 
word and gesture. Margie's female force was void, extinguished 
by experiences unknown to me, but her daughter made up for it. 
I was getting my proper attention from winsome Willie.

Despite the luminous contrast with her uninviting mother, she 
was still a girl. A pretend woman. Not there yet. I knew I was 
allowed to look and observe but I was certainly not entitled 
to speculate. I could note she was pretty, or at least on the 
verge of it, but I had to do it with an open and friendly 
smile - not with a covert glance at her long and slim legs and 
an educated guess at what she might look like stepping out of 
the shower and reaching for a towel. A mature and balanced man 
should not do that.

I should spell out something. It is not difficult for a man 
like me to appear attractive to certain types of girls of 
Willie's age, especially when there's no readily available 
younger, sunnier and livelier competition. Many such girls 
have romantic inclinations not yet sullied by life's 
inevitable disappointments. If a man does not look "old", if 
he has an interesting appearance, if he appears to lead an 
interesting and mysterious life, and if he suggests he is 
interestingly and moodily unhappy - and perhaps sensitively 
scarred by an unfortunate romantic episode - then he can be as 
attractive and appealing to a girl as the devil could possibly 
make him. Add to that the lack of a father - and I gathered 
there had not been one around for a long time - and the 
circumstances are cherry ripe for emotional disorder.

And I knew it. She was much too young to dissemble. She lacked 
the necessary cynicism. I could read the beginnings in her 
eyes as easily as I could peel a banana. I need to make this 
clear. I saw it happen in her eyes and I knew where she was 
going and why.

The three of us sat around finding out the essential things 
people need to know if they are going meet occasionally and 
talk. The short evening turned into a longer night and soon I 
was talking about myself, and they seemed to want to hear. I 
talked about books written and books not, about the lonely and 
frustrating and selfish life of a writer who wasn't meeting 
his daily quota, and then I was talking about the pain of a 
broken relationship that had once seemed like it would last a 
lifetime. And all the time Willie watched and listened 
entranced. By the time I went home that night Willie was a 
goner. Her eyes shone with discovery. She had found a cause 
and it was me. And I knew it.

The next day Margie dropped by briefly. Her new job began the 
following day, she said. School was out and it would help if 
Willie had my phone number. Just in case. Sure, I said. Not a 
problem. Tell her, I said, to drop around if she needed 
company.

Willie arrived on my doorstep the very next morning soon after 
10. I was working, after a fashion, sprinting through a hot 
and humid short story and not plodding into my books. No 
matter. I put it aside and let Willie in because I could pick 
up the pace of the story easily enough later.   

The odd thing about Willie was that she rarely smiled. Almost 
never. She could laugh but she did not smile. Her face was a 
set piece. She had a smudge of shadow that swept from the 
corners of her eyes and curved away under them from a long, 
thin, curved nose. It made her look just a little tired, even 
at her soft age, like she hadn't had enough sleep the night 
before. Even a little sad, like there was something she would 
never quite forget. It added up to a look of vulnerability, 
and that of course increased her appeal.

She wasn't overly shy, however. She compensated for the lack 
of a smile with wide, pale-blue eyes that studied, probed, and 
questioned, taking in everything like a camera lens. They laid 
bare her emotions. I was never going to be in doubt about 
Willie.

She came to my door that wet morning wearing a long yellow 
raincoat and carrying an old umbrella. When she shed them 
inside the warmth of the cottage she was wearing light-blue 
jeans and a long-sleeved, purplish tee shirt with a scooped 
neck that showed the dusting of freckles below her throat. 
Willie had that spare sort of figure girls her age can have. 
Long legged. Not a bit of her anywhere left over. Nothing 
wasted. Everything trim and firm. But hands and feet bigger in 
proportion than her developing body. She was the sort of girl 
who was the backstroke star on the school swimming team - not 
powerful like a freestyler, but lean and clean and elegant, as 
if she could glide through the water effortlessly.

She had her hair tied back at her neck as she had two nights 
ago. What was different about her, and what I had seen only 
indistinctly that night, was the outward swell of her breasts 
in the tee shirt. No doubt about it. They were distinct. She 
had them good and proper. Not so much big - though who's to 
say what's big for a girl of fourteen going on fifteen? - but 
definitely there, and sitting lower than I might have 
expected, as if there were curve and weight to them. 

And that was that. I couldn't see Willie as a little girl any 
more. She had good breasts. I knew they were good. I just knew 
it, and from that moment I wanted to see them and I wanted 
that with a keen and sharp edge.

You can't treat a girl as a child when she has good breasts. 
You might want to. Good sense and decency dictate you should. 
But instinct won't allow it. You know, as all men have always 
known, that once girls have good and proud breasts they have 
everything else you need and want in an automatic package. 
Their education may well be incomplete, their hopes 
unfulfilled, and their experience lacking. But that is no 
matter because they have ripened. They are ready.

Willie said she didn't want to disturb me but it looked like a 
nice house. Maybe she could be useful, she said. Coffee? Did I 
mind her being there? Was she in the way? Just push her away 
if it was inconvenient, she said. She'd understand completely.

All the time her pale-blue eyes kept looking away and flicking 
back to me. I could read them so easily it wasn't fair. And 
because I was guilty that I could, and because I was guilty 
that I sought after her breasts, I was especially nice and 
welcoming. She was not intruding, I said. She was a refreshing 
break for me. She brought spirit and cheer into a mean 
existence and a dull day.

She made coffee and brushed aside questions about herself and 
her mother politely but impatiently. The eyes gave her away 
again. She didn't want me to talk about her. She wanted me to 
talk about me. And of course I did, because there's no man who 
can resist such flattering temptation. So I talked about 
writing and I gave her a copy of my one and only novel, and 
soon - because that was what she wanted - I was talking about 
Nonie and what she did and what happened and why life could be 
so unrewarding. And then how hard it was to climb out of 
depression's black hole and write the way people expected me 
to write. And then, because I was wholly into the flow of it 
and not being careful enough, I was telling her about writing 
remedially for a new global audience that gave me the only 
spontaneous praise and applause I'd had for a long time.

Willie's eyes were like bright little reflective moons. They 
brought me back to earth. I was thinking I'd said too much, 
given too much of myself away. I coughed deliberately to put a 
punctuation mark in the proceedings.

"I'd love to read that," she said. "Will you show it to me?"

I drew back cautiously. How much had I said? "Read what, 
Willie?"

"Those stories you're writing and posting on the Net. The ones 
people write to you about. Can I see that, too? Can I see what 
they say?"

Damn. I had carefully not mentioned this the previous night. 
Obviously I had forgotten today to be as careful, and she had 
picked up on it immediately.

"Ah, well, look, you are not of an age for that," I said. 
"Those stories, by their very nature, are somewhat adult in 
content and style."

She was sitting on the well-worn couch and now she pushed 
herself up to sit straight. She squared her shoulders 
purposefully and I could not help but look at those most 
promising breasts. Her eyes said she was going to push at the 
margins. "I'm not a baby," she said.

"You're not," I agreed. "But you're not an adult either. 
You're fourteen."

"Nearly fifteen," she amended quickly, as if she was waiting 
for it.

"Still way short. Sorry."

She picked up the copy of my novel. "There's no adult content 
in this?"

"Of course there is. Quite a lot."

"But you'll allow me to read it?"

"Yes, because it's not specifically and wholly adult content 
and it's not illegal for you to do so. Taking you into that 
place on the Net is illegal. And if it's not, it should be."

Silly argument, her eyes said, but she let it go. Not long 
later she left to go home because she thought her mother might 
try to squeeze in a quick visit for lunch.

She was back just before 10 the next morning. "I read your 
stories," she said. She was standing with her back to me 
making coffee in the kitchen.

"You finished the book? Already?"

"No. I read your stories on the Net."

Was she trying to bluff me? Was she sophisticated enough to do 
that?

"Yesterday afternoon. It was easy," she said, and she sounded 
smug about it, pleased to be proving her claim to an adult 
world. "Mother sets her passwords to be remembered 
automatically because she doesn't remember them. It didn't 
take long to work out who you were."

Maybe she was bluffing yet. "So who am I?"

"Bittersweet."

Shit. She wasn't bluffing. "How did you work it out?"

"Timing. You told me when you started posting. Then, when I 
read the stories, I knew it was you. From the way you talk. 
All the words you use when you talk are in there."

"Okay," I said. "So you're not a baby, you're devious and 
you're clever. But Willie, you're still fourteen."

"Nearly fifteen," she said automatically, stubbornly staking 
her claim to maturity. She turned around and leaned her back 
against the kitchen bench. Her face was calm but her eyes were 
anxious. "You're mad at me."

"I'm not angry. I'm horrified. It's my fault and I feel sick 
about it. I talk too much. Your mother would castrate me and I 
couldn't blame her if she did."

She studied me gravely. "Then we won't tell her," she said. 
"You think I'm too young but I'm not. I clicked through a lot 
of stories but I barely read any of them. Some were really 
stupid, anyway. All I was really interested in was you and 
your stories. That's what I was looking for. I won't bother 
going there again." 
  
She was wearing a dress--a simple, straight-through, lilac 
thing tied at the waist. She was so serious and so seriously 
appealing in her sandy-haired, sandy-faced, pale-eyed way. Not 
a shred of makeup, of course. She didn't need any help to be 
who and what she was. She stood there against the bench, 
leaning back on her arms, and the stretch at her shoulders 
pulled back the neck of the dress a little to reveal a white 
bra strap. She seemed to be waiting.

"So now," I said, "I guess I have to ask you what you 
thought."

"I loved them," she said immediately, like she'd been holding 
her breath. "Well, some of them anyway."

"Oh dear," I said, meaning it. "Saying that to a writer is 
like offering a bag of free heroin to an addict. But I can't 
hear it, Willie. I can't sit down and discuss with you what 
you do and don't like about erotic literature and what turned 
you on and what didn't and which stories of mine you liked and 
those you didn't and why. I can't do that, Willie. Much as I 
might want to, I can't. Do you understand?"

"I told you, I'm not a baby," she said stiffly, frustration 
and disappointment in her eyes.

"No, you're not, and that's exactly the pinpoint of the 
problem. You're clever, you're interesting, you're sweet, 
you're good to be with and, worst of all, you're beautiful."

I saw her eyes widen. I was watching. "You think I'm 
beautiful?"

"Bewitchingly so. And as sexy as all hell."

Her big eyes blinked and she reached up to her face with the 
back of a fist. Ouch. Idiot. I'd gone further than I intended. 
"God, Willie," I said, devastated. "You're crying."

She fled from the room. I heard her running feet and the bang 
of the front door. She'd gone. I didn't go after her. What 
would I have said? It was possible she'd never call again but 
I thought I'd treated her fairly. I'd told the truth.

Willie came back to my door two hours later, at around lunch-
time. She was wearing a different dress, still simple, this 
time rich brown but of a better standard and quality.

"What about lunch with your mother?" I asked. "Doesn't she 
come home at this time?"

"I made that up yesterday," she said. "I just wanted to get 
home and go on the Net. Sorry."

"Too late for that, Willie. You've read it all."

"No, not that. Sorry for running out on you. There I was 
telling you I wasn't a baby and then I behaved just like a 
baby. Sorry."

"A baby wouldn't come back this fast, if at all," I said. "I'm 
impressed."

He shoulders squared back. She liked that. She was sitting on 
the couch again, alertly. "I would like you to show me what 
people say about your stories," she said, confident and 
stubborn once more, ready to fight for what she wanted.

I winced. "Why?"

"Because you won't listen to what I say about them. And 
anyway, I'm burning up with curiosity."

"Very well," I said resignedly. "But you may be disappointed. 
Not much of it is spicy. Very little, in fact. But I'll let 
you see if you really want it so much. It's healthier than 
letting you see the stories themselves."

I set her up with my laptop and my email and showed her where 
my messages were stored and left her to it. She emerged an 
hour and a half later. "So many women," she said. "Why do so 
many women write to you?"

"I don't really know," I said.

"But they're nearly all older. I was really surprised how old 
they were."

"How do you know? Mostly they don't say."

"I can just tell by the things they say." She said it so 
confidently, even contemptuously, that I believed her. "You 
should try writing stories that appeal to young people, not 
just lonely old women."

"But I don't write to appeal to anybody in particular. I just 
write."

"Maybe you could write a story about a young girl," she said.

And again I could read her eyes. I could see where she was 
heading. "You mean," I said, "about a young girl or for a 
young girl?"

"Same thing."

"You mean," I said, "I should write a story about you. Or for 
you."

Her eyes beamed hope. "That would be fantastic."

"Willie," I said as patiently as I could, "if the story was 
written for that place on the Net, it would have to be about 
sex. Whatever form it took, sex would have to come into it. 
Think about what you're asking. If it was about you, it would 
be about you and sex."

"That's all right."

"Is it? So tell me, what do you know about sex?"

"Not as much as you do," she admitted uncomfortably. "But 
that's okay, because you're the writer. I'll just be the 
subject."

"But what do I know about a girl your age? What does she see 
and what does she feel? How would I know that?"

She continued to be unfazed. I could not seem to deter her. 
"That's okay, too," she said. "I'll tell you."

"Tell me what?" I was challenging her, trying to turn her away 
from this. I would shock her into retreat. "For example, will 
you tell me when you last masturbated and why?"

She lifted her head straight and looked at me with her pale 
eyes. "You want to know that?"

"Willie, if I was really going to write that story, I would 
want to know everything. You understand? Everything."

"So this is like a test?"

"You see, Willie. It's not as simple as you thought."

"You want to know when I last did it?"

"The most recent, yes."

"Um, about twenty minutes ago, when I was reading the story 
you're working on."

I hung my head and closed my eyes. I had thought to shock her 
but she'd turned the tables and shocked me to my toenails. 
"Willie," I said softly, "that's really bad. You weren't 
supposed to read that. Only the email."

"It's about a young girl," she said.

"Yes."

"But you haven't got it right. You're struggling with it."

"Yes. It's not good. I was going to trash it." I sighed, 
raised my eyes, and looked at her. So calm, she was, sitting 
there in the brown dress with hands clasped in her lap. "So if 
it wasn't right, what prompted you?"

"I thought the story might be about me."

"It wasn't," I said. "But you were the inspiration."

"Same thing. Did I pass the test?"

"Willie, why do you want to do this?"

"Because it would be the most thrilling thing ever to happen 
to me. A story about me, read by thousands and thousands of 
people all over the world. And nobody would ever know but you 
and me."

I laughed. "I must say that's a very good answer. It's so 
simple and basic it has to be true."

"So?"

This girl was irresistible. And terrifyingly sexy. I should 
have been denying her but she kept winning me over. Christ, 
she was appealing. 

Fuck it. I wanted to see how it would turn out. "Okay, 
Willie," I said. "You asked for it. Let's do a story 
together."

She sat still but her eyes shone brightly. "Great," she said. 
"Can we start straight away?"

"First we talk," I said. "Later, when we know what story we 
plan to write, we start writing. What's our story? I don't 
know. I have no idea. Let's just start at the start and see 
what happens. Have you had any sexual experience at all?"

"I've kissed a few times," she said. "With a couple of boys. 
No, three."

"Nothing beyond that?"

"One of them put his hands here." She placed the palm of a 
hand over her left breast.

"You let him?"

"Yes. But I stopped him from going inside my blouse."

"Anything else?"

"He put his hand under my skirt." She placed a hand on her leg 
about mid-thigh. "But I stopped him here."

"You wanted to stop him?"

"Yes."

I sighed. "Willie, I have to say your sexual experience gets 
you a score of about minus three per cent. We'll have to 
invent it all."

"That's okay," she said sulkily. "You're one hundred per 
cent."

"Nobody's one hundred per cent."

"I can't think up a story," she said. "I don't know enough."

"If in doubt," I said, "look to real life. We could write a 
story about you and me."

She tilted her head, and I saw the sly look in her eyes. "You 
and me? What story?"

"It could start as a story about a girl your age who finds a 
man my age interesting. The man could also find the girl 
interesting. And beautiful. Circumstances could throw them 
together, so that they saw each other more than people of 
their age difference usually do. Gradually the man forgets how 
young she is and gradually the girl forgets how old he is, and 
gradually they explore their growing friendship. How am I 
going so far?"

"Great," she said, with a hint of triumph in her voice. "I 
like it."

"Yes, but we have to work sex into it. So we'll have to talk 
about that, and what you see the girl doing and why, and what 
I see the man doing and why. Are you still willing to take on 
this part, Willie?"

"I'll try."

"I'm not convinced. Let's try a little experiment."

"Another test?"

"Let's say, early in the story, the girl bends forward in 
front of the man and he looks down into her dress hoping to 
see her breasts. This is important to the story, and I'll tell 
you why. Apart from just wanting to look anyway, he's curious 
about her. He can see she has something of a figure but he 
knows little about girls her age. It will help him get some 
sort of line on her that he can understand if he can see even 
part of her breasts. It will do a lot to elevate her in the 
story beyond the girl and towards the woman. And there's more. 
She'll know of course that he's looking down her dress. Girls 
always know that. So she's allowing him to look. She even 
probably wants him to look, because she wonders whether she's 
old enough to be attractive to him. Can you understand all 
that?"

"Yes," she said. "Is that the test?"

"Here's the test." I took a coin from my pocket and tossed it 
to the floor between us. "Willie, why don't you bend down and 
pick up that coin for me?"

She got straight up from the couch and bent forward from a 
standing position to retrieve the coin. The dress gaped open 
and I looked straight into it and saw her breasts encased in a 
white, lacy bra and they were each a small handful. She held 
the position for a few long seconds before straightening and 
handing me back the coin.

"Congratulations," I said. "It looks like we're partners."

She looked down at me with her deadpan face. "Mother will be 
home soon," she said. "I'll be here first thing tomorrow."

I watched through the window as she went away up the hill. For 
a few disconcerting steps, she broke into skipping.

Shit. What the fuck did I think I was doing?

* * * 

The story of Mike and Valerie took shape rapidly on screen. 
The words flowed easily, and my fingers could not keep up with 
my inner eye. Nor with my left ear, into which Willie murmured 
and offered suggestions as we worked. She sat close beside me, 
leaning forward, huddling her arms into her tummy, eager to be 
part of the words and the lines as they rolled steadily down 
the screen. 

Mike was no problem. I had him down pat, eyes drawn covertly 
to oh-so-young Valerie, her long and slim legs, the curve of 
her breasts, and speculating how she would look as she 
stretched out of the shower cubicle and reached for a towel, 
recreating in words the thoughts I'd had on that first night. 
The lines folded, wrapped, marched on, and I could hear 
Willie's short breaths, close to me, as Valerie emerged as an 
object of illicit desire. And then it was time to switch the 
point of view to Valerie.

"So," I said to Willie, "do you think she noticed him looking 
at her?"

"Oh yes," she said. "It was like electricity."

I wrote it as the flush of a secret thrill, a blush disguised, 
a sweep of confusion and uncertainty. She read as I wrote and 
said nothing.

"And after he went home," I asked her. "What did she do then?"

"She took a bath."

"And?"

"She did it."

"What?"

Willie lifted her eyes from the screen and looked at me 
directly. "You know what she did."

"I need you to tell me about it, so I can write it."

"I don't think I can do that." Her gaze was steady. "But I 
could show you." Eyes not leaving mine, she reached a hand 
under her dress and wriggled forward a little in the chair. 
She frowned slightly and blinked once quickly, as though a 
nerve had been brushed. Seconds later, in no time at all, she 
tightened her mouth and her eyes blurred vaguely for a moment. 
She took her hand away, rested it on her knee, and looked at 
me in her questioning, solemn way. Her fingers were wet.

Jesus. My mouth was hanging open. I could feel cold air on my 
teeth.

"Wow," I said, in near panic. "Are you always that fast?"

"No," she said.

She amazed me. Not yet fifteen. Knew nothing at all. But she 
could do that in front of me? And so blatantly?

I turned back to the keyboard. "Was Valerie that fast that 
night in the bath?" I asked.

"No."

"As of now, she was," I said, starting to write.

* * *

I wrote well into the night, long after Willie had gone home. 
I added the structure to the story, setting out the plans Mike 
dared to make about Valerie, and leaving marks and gaps for 
Willie's input.

In the midst of it I got a blood-freezing telephone call from 
Margie. But there were no accusations, and in fact there were 
apologies. Margie was sure Willie was bugging the hell out of 
me. Willie could be a terrible pest, her mother said. Willie 
could be sulky, wilful, and stubborn, and Margie understood 
completely if I wanted to tell her to buzz off. Willie had a 
little crush on me, Margie said. So sorry, she said, and she 
was sure I knew how silly girls could be at that age.

Not to worry, I told her. Willie was no problem. Willie was a 
bright kid. I liked her. It was all okay, I said.

I put the phone down with cold sweat on my brow, feeling sick 
at the fright she'd given me. At least I didn't say Willie was 
in safe hands. I might be bad, but I'm not that bad.   

It really was okay, I told myself. I was a writer. This was 
writing. It was a story about a man and a girl. The whole 
thing was about Mike and Valerie. It was not about Steve and 
Willie. Definitely not. No way. It was just a story.

Next morning I sat beside Willie, hardly daring to breathe, as 
she read from the screen. She read it through without comment, 
not stopping at the notes inserted for her benefit. She sat 
back in the chair when she'd finished. I did too, and neither 
of us said anything for quite a while. Finally she pushed the 
chair back, stood, and walked over to the window. She stood 
there, looking out, and I waited because I could not, and 
could not afford to, push her.

"Okay," she said huskily.

"Okay what, Willie?"

She cleared her throat with a small, single cough. "You want 
to see what she looks like, and I said okay."

She was still looking out the window. It was a dull day 
outside, and the light was soft. In profile her long nose 
curved elegantly, her neck was slim and vulnerable. Wisps of 
her fair hair gave the top of her head a fuzzy, halo-like 
appearance. She had plaited her hair and the tail hung heavily 
straight down her back. She was exquisitely beautiful. So 
flawless, so young.

She was wearing a dress of heavy fabric, cream with a faded 
purple flower pattern, big buttons down to the waist, long 
sleeves buttoned at the wrist. It had the look of weight to 
it, and fell halfway between her knees and her feet. She'd 
taken off her flat shoes.   

"I knew this was going to happen," she said. "I came dressed 
for it."

I was flabbergasted. She knew? What did she know? I didn't 
know anything was going to happen, so how did she know? It 
certainly didn't appear she was dressed for anything to 
happen. Not in a big, heavy dress like that.
 
She turned away and dragged a nearby high-backed chair a 
couple of paces into position beside the tall window, and sat 
down, facing me, hands folded in her lap. The writing room was 
gloomy and the desk lamp had a low yellow bulb. The light from 
the window was cold and grey, throwing the right side of her 
face into shadow.   

Again she turned her head away from me and looked out the 
window. With her back straight against the chair, she moved 
her hand and started unclasping the buttons on the front of 
her dress.

There were four buttons, and quickly she had all undone, but 
the weight of the dress kept the fabric in place on her chest. 
With face averted, looking away outside, she spread the dress 
wide and pulled it over her shoulders and down her arms. Her 
shoulders and her upper arms and breasts were displayed to me.  

Willie's breasts were superb. I knew they would be. I'd known 
all along. They appeared full and heavy, but of course they 
were not. It was the contrast with her slight shoulders and 
slim arms that made them appear so. But certainly they had 
breadth and weight to them, and she had a deep and definite 
cleavage. Little, almost tiny, nipples sitting quite low and 
pointing downwards, not high as I would have guessed. Her 
breasts had clever natural dip and curve. The skin of her 
upper body and arms was without blemish. It glowed with 
health.

Dear God. She was approaching perfection. In a year or two, 
perhaps, she'd reach it, and men would be struck blind at the 
sight of her. But this day she was all for me, and I sat 
deathly still and looked on her with awe.

"You're not writing," she said, with a trace of irony. She was 
still looking out the window. I was not even in her peripheral 
vision.

"I will," I said. "But later, when I regain the power to find 
the words."

She turned her head and looked at me, expression typically 
grave. "It's cold," she said.

"There's a fire burning in the sitting room," I said.

She nodded, and pulled the dress back into place. Without 
buttoning it, she stood and left the window and the room.

I remained in my chair for some minutes, pole-axed, looking at 
the empty high-backed chair, knowing I was doing wrong, not 
knowing whether I could possibly help myself from doing 
further wrong.

I went looking for her. In the open doorway of the sitting 
room, I stopped still again, breath snatched from me. The 
dress was in a rumpled pile on the floor, and beside it Willie 
sat naked directly in front of the fire, her back to me. She 
was sitting cross-legged and straight-backed, and the heavy 
plait of blonde hair lay straight and long down her backbone.

Willie moved her head slightly, hearing me, but remained in a 
sitting position. Her waist was so narrow that her hips spread 
out suddenly and dramatically, and her back to her shoulders 
formed an accentuated V-shape.

She turned her head to the side and spoke over her shoulder. 
"I came dressed for it," she said. "I didn't wear any 
underclothes. I figured this would happen today." She rose 
smoothly and effortlessly, turning towards me at the same 
time.

The fire licked lazily, and she stood with her back to it and 
faced me, hands fiddling nervously in front of her stomach. 
With the dress pulled aside and her breasts exposed, she'd 
looked older. Now, wearing nothing, she looked younger.

Legs too long for her body, and feet flat and large. Shoulders 
narrow, and vulnerable. And a small patch of pubic hair, a 
girlish thatch, though darker than I expected and tightly 
curled.

But such clinical observation of imperfections was swept away 
by the staggering power of Willie's fresh and clean beauty.

She stood still but for her moving fingers, twitching 
restlessly at fingernails, and watched me watching her. Her 
face was grave. Deadpan, even.

Words fell out of my mouth, uncalculated. "Jesus Christ, 
Willie," I said fervently, almost as if in prayer.

"Nobody's ever seen this," she said. "You said I was 
beautiful, but to me I'm just me."

"Willie, you're beautiful."

"You're just saying that."

"Willie, I can't stand how beautiful you are. It's insane."

"Oh good," she said, satisfied, more to herself than to me.

Still she did not smile. She stood solemnly, watching me 
watching her, absorbing my attention. I could sense her greed 
for it.

"Turn side on," I said. She did, clasping her hands beside her 
back and lifting her shoulders. Again I marvelled at the curve 
and weight of her breasts. Her buttocks were high and firm, 
without even the smallest hint of sag or droop. In profile, 
her pubic hair softly protruded.

"Face the fireplace," I said. From behind, her legs looked 
almost thin, and there was a gap between her thighs. Her back 
was long and lovely.

"Stand with your legs apart," I said, and she did. Between her 
legs, silhouetted against the orange light of the fire, her 
hair was bushier and thicker.

"Inspection over," I said, and she turned to face me. There 
was a flush of colour high on her cheeks.

"Willie," I said, "do you want to touch yourself?"

Her eyes dropped down, away from me. "Yes," she said shakily.

I pointed to the couch. "There," I said. "You can do it 
there."

She looked up at me, whites of her eyes showing beneath the 
pupils, and after a moment's hesitation padded over to the 
couch. She sat down almost gingerly, and the colour was 
sharper and more pointed on her cheeks.

"Do it, Willie. Don't think about me. You need it, so just do 
it for yourself."

She slid her back down the sofa, parted her legs and thrust 
her pelvis forward. Almost sorrowfully, she covered the patch 
of hair with the palm of her left hand, and the middle finger 
curled under. Immediately she flinched, and her eyebrows 
lowered into a little frown of concentration. The finger moved 
languidly and she looked at me warily. Then what she was doing 
took her over. Her eyes lost focus, her lips parted, and I 
could hear her mouth-breathing. The finger moved fast now, and 
her head lolled against the back of the sofa.

She screwed shut her eyes and made a succession of half-
whimpering noises, then suddenly snapped her legs together. 
She fell forward and folded her body against her thighs. A 
strangled, muffled, choking cry came from deep in her throat. 
She collapsed against herself, turned her head sideways and 
rested her cheek on her knees, eyes closed. I waited.

In a few moments Willie opened her eyes and looked up and 
across at me, blinking. "That was a monster," she said 
quietly. Then she started to giggle.

Abruptly she sat up and crossed her arms vaguely across her 
body, protectively. Her mood had changed again, and she 
appeared embarrassed and uncomfortable.

"I should be going home," she said, looking anywhere but at 
me.

I said nothing, careful not to push her to where she was not 
ready to go, and she stood quickly and scooped up the heavy 
dress. She dropped it over her head, and my breath caught as, 
once again, I looked at her slim and elegant body. She 
wriggled the dress into place and buttoned it down the front, 
slid on her shoes, and walked to the doorway.

She stopped and spoke to me over her shoulder. "Are you going 
to write now?" she asked.

"You bet," I said.

She turned around and looked at me frankly. "It's all right," 
she said. "I'll be here tomorrow morning. I just need to go 
home now."

After she'd gone I sat down on the couch and thought about 
Willie. I knew I could have her any time I wanted. She would 
do everything and anything I required. Intellectually, I 
hadn't decided that I would. But that was just intellectual 
bullshit. Physically and emotionally, there was no decision to 
make. I would have her. Yes, I would.

"You bastard," I said aloud.

There was a small damp patch on the couch beside me. I prodded 
it with a finger and lifted it to my nose. The unmistakable 
smell of woman.

"You bastard," I said again. But like Hamlet's Claudius, I 
didn't mean it enough to mean it.

* * *

Willie was back at the stroke of 10 next morning. When she 
took off her coat she was wearing a sweatshirt hanging out 
over jeans, and her hair was unplaited, swept back, and 
clipped loosely behind her neck. "I want to see what you 
wrote," she said, barely inside the door.

"Before that," I said, "there's something I want to show you. 
Come with me."

I took her hand, towed her into the main bedroom, took her by 
the shoulders and stood her straight and upright before a 
full-length, old-fashioned, free-standing mirror. She looked 
at my reflected eyes, puzzled. "What?"

"Before you read words on a screen, I want you to understand 
how beautiful you are. I want you to see yourself not as you 
see yourself, but how I see you."

She looked at me, wide-eyed. I was a full head taller, and I 
stood behind and looked over her shoulder into the mirror. I 
took hold of her hair at the clasp. "This hair is beautiful," 
I said. "It's all the shades between yellow and deep brown, 
mixed in together." I unclipped it and let it fall down her 
back. "You never wear it spread out. Sometimes you should."

Willie continued to look at me uncertainly, but she stood 
passively before the mirror. "This nose is beautiful," I said, 
touching it gently. "So narrow, so fine. And these eyes, as 
pale as sea water trapped in a rock pool, are also beautiful." 
I enclosed most of her neck in one hand. "This neck is so slim 
and graceful, and so are these shoulders."

I took hold of the sides of the sweatshirt on either side of 
her waist, letting her know I intended lifting it up and over 
her head. 

"Oh no," she said. "I told myself I wasn't going to do this 
today." But she lifted her arms above her head to co-operate 
and I took the shirt off easily. She was wearing and filling 
nicely a white bra, and as I unhooked it she held out her arms 
so I could slide it off. I reached around and took the soft 
weight of her breasts in my hands.

"These are beautiful breasts, Willie," I said softly into her 
ear, and I felt her shiver. "They are beautiful now. They will 
be magnificent soon, and most women in the world would kill to 
have them." I grazed her nipples with my thumbs and her 
shoulders jumped.

I dropped my hands to her waist, unbuttoned the jeans, and 
slid down the front zipper. "Wait," she said, and bent down to 
take off her shoes. The mirror showed her bending from the 
waist, loose hair falling like a curtain, breasts hanging and 
swaying. She straightened and wriggled out of the jeans, 
lifting each leg in turn, and pulled them off. Wearing just a 
pair of simple white pants, she looked at me in the mirror. 
Her mouth was slightly open, her eyes looked dull, tired, and 
heavy-lidded, and her expression was almost stupid. I knew 
that look. If she was ten or twenty years older, she'd be 
saying, demanding: "Fuck me."

"This tummy," I said, sliding over it gently with the flat of 
my hand, "is beautiful. Long, lean, flat and smooth." I bent 
down and ran both hands down the sides of her thighs. "These 
long, strong, slim legs are exquisitely beautiful."

She was watching my hands as if mesmerised. I hooked fingers 
into the top of her pants and slowly drew them down. She 
lifted her feet to step out of them. I scraped my fingernails 
gently through her pubic hair, and then cupped my hand and 
covered her mound. She was as warm as fresh toast. "Willie," I 
said. "You are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and 
it is a privilege and an honour just to look at you."

I took away my hands and stepped back. She whirled around and 
flung herself at me, pressed into me, arms around my back and 
head on my shoulder. Her buttocks trembled under my hand.

I swivelled slowly and walked her backwards four steps. The 
back of her knees contacted the edge of the bed, and she fell 
back as I let her go.  She lay there, hands crossed vaguely 
across her breasts, blinking rapidly, thinking rapidly, and 
looking up at me.

"What do you want, Willie?" I asked. "It's your call."

She thought about that. Then: "Yes," she said, very softly.

"Yes, what?"

"I want it to be you."

"Sure?"

"Yes. I knew it from the moment I saw you."

Mother of God, I was going to have her, there and then, sooner 
than I had expected. I wasn't ready, hadn't prepared, hadn't 
even come to terms with whether I should. But I knew I would. 
I wanted her more than I had wanted any woman ever. 

"I love the way you look at me," she said, her voice cracking 
with tension. "Sort of half-tender, half-mean."

Jesus. The girl definitely knew things she ought not, not at 
her age and inexperience. Man changing into alley cat when 
he's got the female where he wants her. How could she know 
that? She'd never done it. She'd never done anything.

Yeah, that's right. She was a virgin - and for no particular 
reason I'd never been with a virgin. What did I do? How would 
I handle it? She shouldn't know how nervous I was. She should 
be putting her trust in me. Take her through it slowly, give 
her plenty of opportunity to back away from it, get her ready.

I should kiss her, I told myself. I should fondle her, caress, 
stroke, hug.

Fuck it. I threw away the manual and went straight to the 
heart of it. On my knees, I bent my head and put my mouth on 
her cunt.

She groaned, as if in anguish, but her legs fell apart and her 
hips flattened. The aroma of her arousal was in the air of the 
room, all around me. I brushed my lips softly across her mound 
and then pressed them firmly against her cunt. I licked at her 
and placed the tip of my tongue on her clitoris. She pushed 
her pelvis involuntarily at my face.

I poked my tongue into her vagina, and again she raised her 
hips and thrust at me. I fucked her with my tongue, and now 
she was humping at me. She moaned, sounding like she was out 
of breath. She was at a high pitch, and it was time to finish 
it. I switched back to her clitoris and circled it with my 
tongue. I flicked at it slowly, teasingly, not roughly. Within 
seconds her climax rushed up on her. She lifted her pelvis 
again, snapped her legs together, and ground into my face as 
she spasmed. Her breathing appeared to stop. She was locked, 
frozen. Then she gasped, and another spasm shook her. And 
again, and again.

I climbed on the bed and lay close beside her. She opened her 
eyes. "I'm still here," she said softly. "For a moment I 
thought I was dead." She looked sleepy. I drew the blankets 
over her, and she sighed and closed her eyes. I could wait 
until she was ready.

I must have dozed myself, because when I opened my eyes she 
was looking at me. "My mother told me it doesn't hurt the 
first time if you truly love him," she said.

There was no turning back now - not for a queen's ransom, not 
for ten years in jail, not for anything. Willie was all mine.

"I like the way you look at me," she said.

To begin, kiss. Kiss more, keep kissing. Kissing is sexy, 
kissing is intimate, kissing is non-threatening, kissing 
dismisses devils and doubts. We kissed, and everything became 
languid and relaxed. My hands roved smoothly over her body. I 
kept my hands away from her pussy. She would let me know when 
she was ready.

When she was ready she didn't say a word, but she looked at me 
with the look that said it. I pushed into her in small 
amounts, slowly, and stopped when I knew I must. She looked 
the look again, and I pushed through as smoothly as I could 
manage. Just a twitch of her mouth and a flicker of her eyes, 
nothing more, and I waited for the signal to continue. In such 
increments, I got in all the way. She smiled at me, pleased 
with herself, and I started to fuck her as gently as I could 
manage.

I'm just another man, not a worker of miracles. I've read 
about women having orgasms from first-time vaginal 
intercourse, and I guess it's possible. But not likely, I 
don't think. Willie had no orgasm but she was happy. She cried 
because she was so happy, and that made me happy too.

It stung, she said. Didn't really hurt, but stung. Yeah, 
that's what I'd heard, and I'd also heard it keeps 
stinging for a couple of days. She went into the bathroom for 
a long while. When she returned she cuddled into me. She went 
home not long later. She needed time to herself.       
 
* * *

When a girl loses her cherry she wants to talk about it, 
right? Wrong. Willie surprised me yet again.

She arrived the next day at the usual time and nothing about 
her suggested drama, or even - as I had expected - melodrama. 
She stood slightly outside our normal space of togetherness. 
Okay. Message received and understood, Willie.

We went on a long walk and talked about things other than us - 
about school and what she would study, about music and what 
she liked, about writing and where I was going. She didn't 
come back to my place but went home.

"Willie," I said as she was leaving, "are you okay?"

"Yes," she said in her grave, unsmiling way.

On the following day it was more of the same. She sat around, 
reading a book I had given her while I wrote, or tried to. 
Again she went home early.

On the third day she threw herself at me as soon as I opened 
the door, wrapping herself tightly to me. I picked her up, 
carried her into the room with the fire, and laid her down on 
the rug in front of it.   

I found no resistance or hesitation. She was warm, relaxed, 
and her breathing was heavy. She ran a questioning hand along 
my cock. She rolled on her back and her thighs parted. 

Willie had changed from the first time. She was eager, as 
slippery as an eel, and she squirmed and wriggled to get me 
inside her. I went in easily, in to the hilt. She thrust at me 
with her pelvis. Go on, she was saying. Do it.

I stopped being virgin-conscious. Caution didn't seem to be 
needed or wanted. I fucked her like I'd fuck a woman I'd had 
many times before.

Willie was a natural. She picked up the rhythm immediately. 
She was one of those females who seem to suck you inside, draw 
you in. It was two people doing it, not one to the other.  

I fucked her long and smooth, seeing the signs on her face 
that her excitement was building. I thought I'd get to watch 
when she came, but I was brought undone when she lifted her 
legs suddenly and clamped them around my hips. Willie was 
racked by orgasm and so was I. I heard it and felt it but I 
didn't see it, because my head was up, mouth open, eyes 
screwed shut. 

I really wanted to see that, and I missed it.

Willie's hand reached out and found my face. She raised her 
head, pressed a hand briefly against my lips, and fell back 
against the pillow. It was the only kiss she could muster.

* * *

We were truly lovers. Every day we spent all the time we had 
in each other's arms. The genie was out of the bottle and 
there was no putting it back.

"I love you, Willie," I said to her. It was the simple thing, 
simply true.

"I love you too," she said.

"What are we going to do?" I asked her.

"I don't know," she said, and I could see she meant it.

The die had been cast. We were together, for better or worse.   

* * *

"The door's open," I yelled out to Willie's knock, towelling 
my hair. "I'm just out of the shower."

The door opened and she entered the room. Not Willie, but 
Margie, her mother. I snatched the towel from my head and 
whipped it around my waist, hastily covering my nakedness and 
trying to cover my error. I need not have bothered. One look 
at her face and I knew the game was up.
  
"I trusted you," she said quietly, and with a cavern of 
sadness. "You lied to me."

"She's beautiful," I said. It was the first excuse that came 
into my head. "I love her." That was the second.

"She's fourteen," she said.

"Nearly fifteen," I said automatically.

We stood there looking at each other, she with her sad and 
tired face and me with a towel clutched around my waist, 
dripping water on the floor. I didn't know what to say. I 
wasn't prepared for it. I didn't have a script.

"It's over," Margie said.

"Yes," I agreed hollowly. Of course. No doubt about that. It 
was the way it had to be. Instantly I felt the first tear of 
regret begin to form. Damn. It was going to hurt.

"She thinks it's the worst day she's ever going to have in her 
life," Margie said. "If she's lucky, it might be."

"She told you?"

"She didn't have to. I've been wondering for a week what was 
different about her. Then suddenly the light went on in my 
head. I knew what it had to be."

Right. Elementary, when you thought about it. Willie had been 
looking stunning, radiant, glowing with confidence. A mother 
would pick it up. Love and sex is a potent package, especially 
for a girl of Willie's age.

"We talked the whole night," Margie said. "I'm very tired. I 
hate you for turning my daughter into a woman before I'm ready 
for it. She thinks she knows better, and that's all your 
fault. But in the end she listened to me. In the end."

She sighed deeply, looking at me sorrowfully. "What you did 
was wrong, but you weren't bad to her. I'll give you that 
much. I could have you arrested, but I won't. I've had enough 
drama in the last ten hours to last me a lifetime. We're 
leaving on Saturday. I'll get another job, live somewhere 
else."

Leaving. Willie was leaving. The tear fell, burning like acid, 
but my hair was wet and it was just another drop of water on 
my face.

"You say you love her," she said wearily. "She says she loves 
you. What am I to make of it?" She turned around abruptly and 
looked out the window. "I've struck a deal," she said. "She 
won't see you, make any attempt to contact you, until she 
turns eighteen. She goes to school, she's just another 
teenager, doing what teenagers are supposed to do. When she 
turns eighteen, she can start to make her own choices."

"She'll forget me," I said disconsolately.

"I sure do hope so," Margie replied bleakly.

She turned back to look at me, appearing to be considering 
what she was about to say, but she shook her head violently 
and strode out of the room. The front door closed gently on a 
chapter of my life.

I was devastated. More, I was devastated that I was so 
devastated. Good God, I was thirty-one and she was fourteen, 
and yet I already felt the loss of her ten times more keenly 
than I ever had with Nonie. 
 
* * *

I retreated into writing. When your emotions are battered and 
bruised, when you're feeling exceptionally sorry for yourself, 
writing thrives. I used pain as fuel and plunged headlong into 
my neglected second novel.

After two days I was lost in the half-alive dream world of 
writing, part of me in the bloodstream of my novel 
narrator. Willie was gone. Willie was a dull pain, like a 
deep-seated bruise. I didn't think about her. I didn't 
want to think about her, because it hurt that I missed her and 
it shamed me that it hurt so much. Sooner or later, I knew I 
was going to have to write about Willie. Writers are callous 
users. Nothing goes to waste. Maybe she would become my third 
novel.

I was hammering away at the keyboard, talking to myself, 
inspired, productive, half-miserable, half-happy, when she 
appeared beside me. The sun had gone down while I worked, and 
the only light was a ghostly reflection from the computer 
screen. I blinked, struggling up to the surface of reality. 
Willie? Willie was here? With me?

"I can stay the night," she said in her calm and grave way. 
"This is the last time we can be together."

"Your mother?" I asked hesitantly, still not convinced she was 
not an apparition brought on by tiredness and writer's 
madness.

"She approves," Willie said, wincing at the complexity of it. 
"Well, not really. But after a long time talking, she is 
letting me do this. I said I would only keep my promise to her 
if I could say goodbye to you. Properly." She gazed at me with 
her pale eyes. "Tomorrow we go away."

I stood up and she collapsed immediately into my chest, 
wrapping her arms tightly around my back. "I won't cry," she 
said, voice muffled in my shirt.

Jealous of the minutes flitting away, we went to bed. 
Urgently, we fucked. It was passionate, tender, accompanied by 
internal ache. She didn't cry, but I did, quietly, so she did 
not notice. I had never known a woman I would rather have made 
love to than Willie. I could not imagine it would ever be 
different, and that's why I cried. For myself.

We fucked again and again as the soft night turned into the 
dawn of a cold, bad day. There was not much sleeping, not much 
talking. We were just together, breathing. I think I always 
had a hand somewhere on her body, because soon I would have it 
no more. She said she would come to me when she turned 
eighteen. She would find me, she said. I didn't press it, 
because I was more accustomed to disappointment and loss. My 
older bones told me I would never see her again.

At seven precisely, she got out of bed and began dressing. "I 
won't say goodbye," she said.

I pushed away the bedclothes to join her, but she held up her 
hand. "Don't," she said. "I won't be able to stand it if I 
know you're at the door, watching me go away up the hill. It 
will make me want to come back."

She stood beside the bed, dressed. No smile. Willie almost 
never smiled. But, like a girl, she held up her hand and waved 
with one finger. Then she turned quickly and left me alone.

Clutching a blanket around me, I rushed to the kitchen window 
and watched her wend her way up the path. So tall, so slim, so 
young. She didn't look back.

I cried again. For myself.

* * *

I published two more novels. The first of them, the one about 
betrayal, sold moderately. It took my career as a writer 
neither forward nor back. The next, the one about forbidden 
love and a girl aged fifteen, was a runaway success. It made 
real money. With it, I purchased the lonely house on the bay 
from the man who leased it to me. Three years after Willie, I 
returned to it to live where I'd never wanted to leave.

Three years after Willie, I have not had any sort of 
relationship with a woman. I have not slept with a woman. I 
don't want to sleep with a woman. I have become reclusive. I'm 
content that way--half-miserable, half-happy. I still write 
short, spicy, bittersweet stories on Usenet under my 
pseudonym. I have a fourth novel planned, and my publisher 
wants an outline.

In less than a month now, Willie will turn eighteen. In three 
years I have heard nothing from or about Willie. I don't know 
where she is. I don't know what's happened to her. Maybe she 
read my book. Maybe her mother did, too.

But I've moved back to the bay house. I'm not expecting 
anything, but I'm ready.

ENDS 

Edited by Ruthie and Nat.
Illustrated by Umbra.

Neil Anthony/DrSpin can be contacted at 
neilanthony@austarnet.com.au

-- 
Pursuant to the Berne Convention, this work is copyright with all rights
reserved by its author unless explicitly indicated.
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