Love's Distant Shore
Copyright 2006-2011 Rachael Ross all rights reserved. Intended for adults only.
Love's Distant Shore
"You can get dressed now, Kris. Just step across the hall when you're ready." Dr. Reynolds peeled off his latex gloves and tossed them in a red bin marked Medical Waste.
That seemed appropriate and I didn't move until he'd left the examination room, the door shutting with a soft click. I felt cold between my legs, moistened with lubricant for my pelvic exam, and I went through this nearly every month. I knew where the tissue paper and towels were and I cleaned myself before pulling my panties on. My skirt and blouse, my shoes. I made myself pretty again and tried to smile, but found it hard.
"Have you been taking the Prestrigin?" Reynolds asked me, and I nodded. "How about your diet?"
"I'm on it," I agreed, and he gave me a look. "Well, I like my coffee. Two cups, that's all."
"Switch to decaf, like I told you to," he said without smiling. "How are you sleeping?"
"Good," I said. "I get enough."
"Mmmm…" I shrugged, "I don't know. It's a little hard not to worry, you know? We keep waiting and…"
"It takes time, Kris. I explained that before." He leaned back in his chair. "How's Kurt?"
"How's our sex life?" I smiled self-consciously; the man was older than my father and he smiled back. "It's good. We're, uh…trying hard."
The problem wasn't with my husband, we all knew that. It wasn't with my body either. I was perfectly capable of getting pregnant. The blame lay with my stupid eggs. They just didn't seem to know how to reproduce. There was a chemical imbalance, too much of some protein that inhibited the zygote from dividing. I didn't pretend to understand it, but that's why we paid specialists like Reynolds so much money. He didn't seem to be doing much though and I had to bite back my frustration.
"Okay," he said. "Give the treatment time to work and I'll see you again in six weeks. Don't give up, Kris."
"Yeah." I gave him my extra brave smile. "I won't. Thanks, Doctor."
So much for modern medicine. Don't give up. I was on my fourth protocol, as the doctors liked to call it, taking some drug that had seen good results in trials with lab rats or something. It was hard not to give up and I wasn't looking forward to giving Kurt the same no news, although he'd make it easy on me, I was sure. Sometimes I wish he'd be a little more selfish and yell or frown, or slap my face and demand to know what the hell was wrong with me. But he never did and I had to look elsewhere to assuage my guilt.
"Kris. Hi! Thanks so much for meeting me," Nancy Chambers greeted me warmly. I felt very nervous and determined not to show it.
"Oh. It's great to get out of the apartment." I smiled back at the older woman. "Thanks for inviting me, Mrs. Chambers."
I was just full of lies today and I glanced around the restaurant, feeling like a criminal returning to the scene of the crime. As if just having lunch with this woman suggested something might be wrong, and of course there was. I just didn't know how much she knew or suspected. It didn't help that I'd burdened myself with evidence, an old leather portfolio that I'd brought only because I had to. At least I'd been able to leave it with the coat check near the doors.
"Call me Nancy, please," she said. "I haven't been married in a long time anyway."
Now that her party had arrived, a waiter pounced on us with a cheerful smile and thick Brooklyn accent. That was me, a one woman party, and I felt my stomach churning.
"Okay. Nancy then," I agreed politely, and then a sincere "Thank you," to the waiter as he gave me a menu to hide behind. We listened patiently while he tried to tempt us with the chef's sublime specialties.
After ordering, Nancy got down to it. We weren't old friends, or even new friends, really; we were barely acquainted to tell the truth. She was a born and bred New Yorker, just like me, and we're a people singularly unsuited to idle chit-chat, I think. Sometimes I longed for someplace else, but I didn't know where and I wouldn't have left anyway. More than likely it was just my mood and the telltale heart beating heavily within my breast.
"Kris, I wanted to talk to you because Amy has grown very close to you over the last month or so, and…"
"Well, I like her a lot too," I replied with a smile. "She's a great model and a really sweet girl."
"I know. Thank you," Nancy nodded agreeably. "I'm just concerned that she might be a little too, uh...fond of your husband."
"Kurt?" I asked, hoping that I sounded more surprised than I felt.
"Yes. See…" She opened her purse, a rather large bag even by Manhattan standards. "I found this in her room and I'm, well…I'm sure you can understand my concern."
She placed a thin, hardbound copy of Nabokov's Lolita on the table between us and I stared at it, willing myself to remain calm.
"Amy hasn't had a real father in a long time and the way she speaks about your husband, well…" Nancy smiled apologetically and she wasn't angry, thank God. "She's at that age and very impressionable, I'm sure you understand."
"You think Amy…" I cleared my throat. "You think she has a crush on Kurt?"
"A mild infatuation," the woman said. "She only turned fifteen a couple weeks ago and, like I say, she's never really had a man in her life."
"I see." I licked my lips and picked up the book, flipping the pages with my thumb.
"You haven't noticed anything?" she wondered innocently, and I fought the knot growing in my tummy.
"No." I shook my head. "Kurt thinks the world of her; we both do, but…"
"I hope you're not angry." Nancy looked suddenly concerned, perhaps that I'd misunderstood her. I knew she hadn't accused Kurt of anything and so I found it easy to reply with a reassuring smile.
"Not at all," I promised. "I understand completely. Kurt will too. He'll be as surprised as I am, believe me."
"You'll just have to let Amy down gently," she said, as if there wasn't any doubt that I'd talk to the girl. "It's why I wanted to see you privately, Kris. She'll take it better from you than she would from me, I think."
"She thinks I'm too strict," Nancy confided, "and maybe I am, but I'm so glad she has a friend like you. Someone she can look up to."
"Well..." I cleared my throat, and if I blushed it was for the wrong reasons entirely. My friendship with Amy was very real, but hardly innocent.
"She thinks of you as her older sister," Nancy said, smiling happily. "I know she'll listen to you, Kris."
"I understand," I said in a gentle, sympathetic voice. "She'll be fine. I think Amy just needs a little time and…"
"Exactly and, uh…I wanted to speak to you for another reason as well," Nancy said, and that brought my eyes to hers. "I was wondering if I couldn't ask you for a rather large favor. It's a bit awkward, I know, but…"
"A favor?" I blinked at that. While it was true that Kurt and I had grown very close to Amy over the last several months, as I said before, we hardly knew the girl's mother at all.
"You see, Kris," Nancy smiled self-consciously, "I've been invited to go on a little trip, and…"
"Okay, let's see what you've brought us." Preston smiled after kissing both of my cheeks with measured exuberance. "Coffee? Tea?"
"Coffee. Sure," I agreed absently, laying my portfolio flat on a stainless, post-modern teapoy. It seemed a rather bland piece of furniture to my eyes, but art is like that sometimes.
"Arnie? Two coffees, please," the man said to one of his lads. He had three of them, all young and obscenely pretty. Preston himself was older, nearing sixty, and queer as a three dollar bill. He also owned two of New York's finest art galleries.
"Decaf, if you have it," I added, thinking of my doctor and wondering if it would really make any difference.
"Oh my!" Preston blinked as I opened the portfolio to show him the first canvas and I just stepped back. "When you said you had something different, I thought you meant…new."
"New?" I narrowed my eyes, trying to gauge his reaction, but that had always been a difficult proposition.
"This is nice. Very nice," he breathed, nodding as he went through the paintings one by one.
He moved slowly, taking his time beneath the natural sunlight pouring through the skylights of his loft. He had another office, much more formal than this one, but he was never there. Thankfully, I was one of his favorite people, or so Preston claimed, and he'd returned my phone call.
"I have, uh, 21 oils, 17 watercolors, a dozen tempera and perhaps a two hundred sketches, studies, um…" I licked my lips and then turned to accept a cup from Arnie. "Thank you."
"You're welcome," the boy replied, glancing curiously at my paintings.
"Kurt, Kurt, Kurt…Hmmm…" Preston took off his glasses and smiled at me. "Do I have to guess what you're calling this?"
"Lolita," I shrugged, and then smiled back at him. "Are you scared?"
"Terrified, darling." He had his own cup and took a sip. "Who's the girl? She's marvelous!"
"Amy Chambers," I said. "She just turned fifteen."
"Oh, Kris…You do know the mayor's office will be up in arms over this," he said, clucking his tongue behind a smile. "Outraged."
"That's why I came to you," I said lightly, sharing a soft laugh with the man. "Is it going to be a problem?"
"I'll call my lawyers," he decided, and then gave me a mischievous grin, "but I do hope so, Kris. The publicity will do wonders for my reputation!"
"I'm doing a show," I said. "In two weeks."
We were in one of the unused bedrooms, the room I'd turned into an informal changing area for my models. I'd decorated it with landscapes from a weekend trip to the White Mountains in New Hampshire, always a welcome memory. Autumn in New England is bitterly warm season.
"An art show? Really?" Amy smiled shyly as she undressed and the girl would never change. She wasn't anything but casual, even confident as she removed her clothing, but those upturned lips…I adored her smile.
"I haven't done one in awhile, so…" I shrugged.
"Cool. Um…What's it like?"
"An art show?" I smiled at her, watching her tummy undulate in and out as she moved. "It's fun. It's like a party, sort of, but a long one."
"Okay." Amy offered me a small shrug.
"I'm showing your pictures," I told her, watching her pretty face closely as she looked up, blinking rapidly.
"The ones with Kurt?" she asked, and I nodded. "But…I'm naked!"
"I know," I said gently. "That's why they're special, why I want to show them to people."
"Ummm…" She swallowed hard and I knew her issues weren't so much with her nudity, as with Kurt's. Specifically with the two of them naked together.
"Is that okay?"
"I guess so," she replied slowly. "But I thought it was for that book thing you're doing."
"Well, that too," I said. "You don't have to worry, Amy. Nobody is going to laugh."
"I know," she said, nodding too quickly. "Where, um…"
"Where is it going to be?"
"No," Amy said. "Where do you want me today?"
"Oh, ummm…" I felt my heart beating faster. "I was thinking on the bed. You and Kurt. Is that okay?"
"Sure." She smiled, looking down as she pushed her jeans and pink panties off her hips all at once.
I smiled back while Amy lifted her knees high, pulling the denim legs inside out, stepping on the fabric as she pulled her bare feet loose. She had her back to me and I wished I had paper and pencil handy. Amy had become my favorite model, next to Kurt, of course, and whatever the girl happened to be doing seemed wonderful to my eyes. Whether posing or just relaxing, or taking off her clothes, Amy offered the world a perfect picture of youth and beauty. She was a promise longing to be made, a secret waiting to be kept, and I loved her. We both did.
"What are we doing today?" Kurt asked as he came through the open doorway. "Oh…"
He stopped when he saw Amy frozen, naked from the waist down and halfway through unbuttoning her white blouse. They'd posed together countless times, naked as often as not, but this was different. They had an excuse when posing, a reason for their intimacy, and that made it okay. The rest of the time Amy was a teenage girl with a crush on an older, married man, and Kurt was a husband with a growing infatuation for something he knew he could never have. It made moments such as this one…awkward.
"Sorry," he said, turning his eyes away, and I could see Kurt's face redden, much like Amy's.
"Just undress in the bedroom," I told him with a soft laugh. "We'll be there in a few minutes."
"The bedroom," he nodded, clearing his throat. "Right."
"I'm sorry, Kris." Amy glanced at me as soon as he'd left.
"For what?" I rolled my eyes and grabbed a bathrobe hanging off a brass hook on the wall.
"Nothing," she said with a shake of her head and I let it go.
Despite the game I was playing with her, and I had to admit to that, I had no desire to see Amy hurt. I tried to rationalize my actions with the knowledge that she had a choice, a free will that I couldn't prevail upon…But did she really? Did any of us? Kurt no longer argued with me the way he had in the reluctant beginning. I'd used Amy to seduce him and that admission was another guilty pleasure. She couldn't have done it on her own, little girls don't know how. They try too hard or don't try at all, when all they have to do is be themselves, but even if she'd had the wits and courage, it wouldn't have worked on Kurt.
We were a threesome now and from the very beginning. That's the secret. My husband needed me. The seduction wasn't Amy's, it was mine, and a selfish one to be sure.
She took my breath away, every time, and I had to busy myself with meaningless details and trivia to disguise my excitement. Amy undressed completely, baring every inch of her body before donning the bathrobe. I pretended not to notice while I loaded a film cartridge into my Polaroid. I caught her sex, the girl's plump vulva and sparse pubic hair, the crease of her virgin womanhood only barely hidden between soft, pale thighs. I locked that memory away as she turned self-consciously, giving me the pronounced curvature of her ass and spine before pulling on the robe.
I noted her left foot and the way it turned inward, clumsy and graceful at the same time. Amy corrected her stance a moment later, but I'd seen it. Imperfection is the truth of beauty, the unguarded moments when we're vulnerable and honest. It's what I tried to capture in my art because it's unpredictable and surprising, the way life should be. It's why I painted people and not bowls of fruit.
"Are you ready?" I asked, and Amy nodded. "Good. Let's see how Kurt's doing."
I needed to do more paintings and quickly. I'd done shows previously, but never by myself. There'd always been one or two more artists to share the pressure, but this would be a one-woman show. Me. And I needed a lot more than the fifty-some paintings I'd already delivered to Preston.
He'd handle the details for me. Each canvas needed to be framed. The watercolors would have to be matted. There were limited edition prints to be made and I could look forward to losing a few days just signing and numbering them. I had an appointment with a publicist who would arrange interviews. My work would be reviewed and critiqued, it would be sold - hopefully - and I'd either sink or swim as the Gods of Art decided.
I had to force all those thoughts out of my head and concentrate on the scene before me. Amy lay on her side facing me, with her knees drawn up and her arms bent, hands tucked under her cheek. She was naked and sleeping, at least on canvas. On the bed her hazel eyes were open, watching me as I worked, and behind her I had Kurt.
My husband held the girl with his arm around her tummy, his face buried in her thick brown hair. His much larger body was bent to hers, with his pelvis cupping her ass and his erection trapped between her thighs. I hadn't asked for that, but it was the only place it would fit comfortably. Well, not the only place, perhaps, and it wasn't so difficult to imagine Kurt falling asleep with his well-used cock wrapped snugly inside Amy's teenage sex.
The fantasy wasn't mine alone. I could see it playing across Amy's face every time one of them would move. Kurt would lift his head, perhaps his arm as he adjusted his gentle grip on Amy's tummy. Her smallish breasts would inflate briefly, and her nipples, already much darker than their usual pretty pink hue, were swollen and pointing outward as if begging for a kiss.
Of course, being a man like he was, Kurt had to move his hips as well. Amy had spread her legs briefly, just at the beginning as they got comfortable, and I'd seen his cock sliding between her pale thighs. He was right there, so close to her pussy that she could feel the heavy muscle pulsing against her vulva. He had to move, it was as natural as breathing, and every now and again he would push against her with a low, deep-throated growl. Kurt probably imagined that I couldn't hear it, but I did.
Every tiny gasp and groan, every time Amy would hitch a sharp breath, I heard it deep in my heart. They weren't fucking, not yet, but my husband was definitely making love to the girl. And soon, I told myself, very soon we would have to take that final step. I'd been pushing them closer and closer, reassuring Amy with my feigned ignorance, and Kurt with my sincere passion. They were ready, I thought, all they needed was one more little push. It was just a question of when and I'd already figured that one out.
"You love her, don't you?" I whispered, panting the words into my husband's ear as he fucked me.
"I love you," he replied. Kurt kissed my open mouth, bending me to his eager thrusts as I lay beneath him.
My legs were over his shoulders, spread wide with my ass rolled upward off the bed. He could get so deep that way and Dr. Reynolds had actually recommended the position. It almost made me giggle, just following the doctor's orders, yes sir! But I wasn't sure he was aware of how large my husband really was in the penis department.
"Oh! Ummmm..." I winced as Kurt's cockhead found my cervix again. Like the finger of God, it seemed, bringing both pain and pleasure in equal parts. I wasn't very big at all, especially down there, and there just wasn't enough room to take all of him. We sure loved to try though!
My knees were practically touching my shoulders as Kurt leaned into me hard. It was always like this after a modeling session with Amy. Three minutes after she'd left our apartment, Kurt had carried me into the bedroom. I should have been jealous of the girl, but I wasn't. He was thinking about her and fucking me, imagining his cock stretching her tight little hole. There should have been something wrong with that, but I was imagining the same thing.
"Call me Amy," I breathed. "Fuck me, Kurt. Tell me you love me."
"I love you," he breathed, kissing my hair as his lips could no longer find my face.
"Amy," I insisted. "Fuck my little pussy."
"I love you, Amy," he agreed, pounding the full length of his cock inside my body.
The bed jerked with every thrust, the springs squeaking and the headboard hitting the wall. My cunt felt bruised and swollen, throbbing in time with my heart as I took him without complaint. I was going to cum despite the pain, or perhaps because of it. Amy would feel the same, I knew, perhaps more so being a virgin and only barely fifteen. Her innocence would be torn with her surrender and I wished I could share that discomfort as well.
"Cum inside me," I gasped, clinging to the man with my arms around his neck. "I'm so close. Cum inside me, Kurt."
He had to be close as well, but I found my climax first, as usual. I came hard, whimpering with my eyes tightly shut and my body shaking. I wanted to close my legs and hold him deep. The motion of his cock plunging through my orgasm only pushed me higher. I pulled my head off the pillow and kissed his neck and chest. My eyes were wet and I couldn't stop cumming. I was lost in the pleasure and so deeply gone that I didn't even notice when my husband joined me.
"Oh God," I sighed, falling lip and giggling weakly. "Why did you stop? Did you cum?"
"Oh yeah," Kurt said. He was smiling down at me, all red faced and damp with sweat. "If that doesn't do it, nothing will."
"Don't say that," I said, speaking softly and shaking my head.
"I didn't mean..."
"I know." I pulled him down, wanting Kurt to cover my body with his.
We were hot and sticky, but I didn't care. My legs had fallen off his shoulders and were now wrapped around his waist. His cock was still inside me and I wasn't sure if I could feel the semen inside me or not. He must have cum a lot, I thought, and it was that time of the month, two weeks before my next period. Fourteen days exactly. I was as fertile as I could get and if that monster fuck hadn't knocked me up, we'd just have to try again...
...and we did, twice more that night and once before breakfast.
"Are you okay?" Kurt wondered, lifting an eyebrow as I walked gingerly into the kitchen.
"I need coffee."
"No, I mean...You're walking a little bowlegged," he said with a chuckle, and I knew he was teasing me then.
"I think you were a little hard on the Beaver last night, Ward."
"Sorry." He poured a cup of coffee for me as I sat down. "I couldn't help it."
"Me neither," I agreed with a giggle. We'd both had a pretty good time, but it would be a couple days before I felt like having sex again. Maybe.
He set the cup in front of me and took his usual seat at our small kitchen table. Kurt picked up his morning paper and flipped to the sports page. Baseball season was nearly over, but not quite. I gave him five minutes to check his precious box scores before bringing up our favorite topic of conversation.
"What, um..." I sipped my coffee, giving Kurt time to put his paper down. "What would you think if Amy stayed with us for a couple weeks?"
"Huh?" The look on his face was almost comical.
"I met Amy's mom for lunch the other day," I explained. "She's going on a cruise with some divorced singles group thing and..."
"...she was wondering if Amy could stay with us," I continued. "She doesn't really have anyone else except Amy's dad, but he's in California and she's got school, so..."
"What did you say?" Kurt asked slowly, giving me his undivided attention now.
"I told her I'd talk to you," I replied. "Why? Do you think I'd just say yes without discussing it?"
"It occurred to me," he said.
"Me too!" I laughed. "But I didn't, so...What do you think?"
He didn't have to ask what I wanted. Having Amy with us for two full weeks would really feed my fantasy, Kurt knew that. Would it feed his? But that wasn't the real question at all.
"Where will she sleep?" he asked, and I cocked an eyebrow playfully.
"She can't sleep with us, Kris."
"Why not?" I tried to sound innocent, but I was hardly that. "We need to talk about this anyway. You know what I want, Kurt. What we both want, don't deny it."
"It isn't about what we want," he said reasonably. "It's about Amy, remember? We have to put her first."
"We will," I promised. "I'll talk to her, okay?"
"About..." Kurt narrowed his eyes and I smiled.
"Not that," I told him. "Not yet. Just about staying with us, alright? Are you okay with it?"
My husband had to agree. He had no choice anymore, none of us did. They were practically fucking already. Kurt and Amy were like sprinters waiting for the gun, poised and ready to loose their emotions. At least he was able to release his tension, making love to me after several hours of posed frustration, but poor Amy had no one to comfort her. Perhaps she masturbated alone in her bed at night, dreaming of Kurt and trying to find release. I wasn't sure, but I knew nothing could substitute for what she really needed.
"Yeah," he sighed, nodding his head and pursing his lips. "I'm okay with it, Kris."
"Good." I'd been holding my breath and my heart was beating fast, the butterflies were in my tummy. My husband had just agreed to make love to another woman.
As was her habit, Amy came directly from school to our apartment. Not always, Amy still modeled for other artists, of course, but more often than not the girl would walk in just after four in the afternoon, knocking on the door even as she opened it. I'd taken up the bad habit of watching the clock, astonished sometimes at how much I missed her.
Kurt felt the same way. When he arrived home from work each evening it was with a sense of anticipation that he couldn't hide. If Amy wasn't there, I felt no anger or jealousy at his disappointment. I felt it too. We'd talk about other things and carry on our lives the way we always had before. But something was missing in her absence and we were both acutely aware that somehow, for some reason, we needed Amy to feel complete.
I think she felt the same way about us.
"Where's Kurt?" Amy asked on her way to the kitchen. "Working late or something?"
"Or something," I agreed, speaking loudly as I was in the studio cleaning up some brushes. "There's some turkey sandwich in the fridge, I think."
"Got it," she called back. "You want anything?"
Amy was right at home. It had taken some time, some convincing on my part, but Nancy had been right. We'd grown very close and very quickly, and I had to wonder if the truth would ruin everything.
"Do you have homework?" I asked a few minutes later, wiping my hands on a rag and tossing it aside.
"Yeah. Trig mostly," she replied with a roll of her eyes. "I hope Kurt can help me with it. Here's your juice."
"I'm sure he will. Thanks." I drank half the glass while Amy sat down on my drawing chair. An old swivel chair made of leather and aluminum, it liked to squeak no matter how much I oiled it, but it was the most comfortable chair I'd ever owned.
"Oh! Mom told me to give you your check back," she said around a bite of her sandwich. "It's in my bag."
"You don't have to pay me all the time, Kris." Amy made a face and giggled. "It isn't fair."
"You're a model," I told her, leaning against my work bench. "Just give it back to her."
"No way." She took another bite and shook her head.
I decided to let it go for the moment. I wasn't sure how I felt about not paying for Amy's company. The last check I'd written had been for over a thousand dollars to cover 14 hours of Amy's valuable time. The truth was that she'd been over much more than that, but we weren't going through the agency anymore either. I'd imagined that Nancy wanted to bill me under the table, getting cash that she wouldn't have to report to the IRS, but...She was returning my money?
I decided I'd have to call Mrs. Chambers and sort it out. I couldn't say exactly why it bothered me so much, but it did. I should have been happy, right? The barriers were coming down even faster than I could have imagined. Amy wasn't a model, she was a friend. A part of the family, really. That's the message I got and while I'd never been a model myself, I'd been an artist long enough to know them pretty well.
Doing the job was like wearing a mask. If an artist asked Amy to get naked, it wasn't really her doing it. She was detached and distanced from the fantasy being created, much like an actor playing a role. Lolita was a character and when I painted Amy, she could always step back emotionally and the money was the proof. It was her body, her face I captured, but not really her essence at all...At least it shouldn't have been. Obviously we'd crossed that boundary long ago and perhaps that's why I felt confused.
I'd viewed the business part of our relationship as a way out. If I ever changed my mind. If we went too far and I was in danger of hurting Kurt or myself, or heaven forbid, Amy, I could always just not hire her. She'd have no reason to come back, a perfect excuse if she needed one. We could pretend it had been all about the money and nothing emotional. That had been my escape route and now it was not only gone, but I realized how flimsy it had truly been.
We were trapped now, with no choice but to go on with our journey.
"So...Where do you want me?" Amy asked, slapping her hands on her skirt after finishing her sandwich.
"I was thinking, um..." I scratched my blonde head and I hadn't been thinking at all, actually. "Do you want to take a bath?"
"A bath?" She giggled happily and showed me her tongue. "Why? Do I smell bad?"
"Around here?" I laughed with her. "You smell like a peach. Come on, I want to see you wet."
"Really?" Amy arched an eyebrow, definitely teasing me, but...
I felt myself growing warm. It happened sometimes, and more and more as time went on I'd find myself...flirting with her? I hadn't meant anything with my remark, but Amy had twisted my words around. She was flirting with me, smiling and giving me her eyes. I was a girl, a pretty good one too, by all accounts, and I knew what flirting looked like. I knew what it sounded like.
"You see me wet all the time," she said, half-whispering the words as I stared at her.
Amy put a hand on her tummy, giving herself the smallest rub through her white blouse, and then she laughed and practically skipped out of the studio. She knew where the bathroom was and she knew I'd follow her, but I had to catch my breath first.
Looking at her one would never imagine that Amy was anything but innocent. That's one of the reasons I liked her so much and why she was so perfect for my interpretation of Lolita. Even when I posed her with Kurt, exploiting her natural, if unconscious sexuality, Amy radiated a purity of spirit far easier to capture than it was to define. She inspired love rather than lust, I thought; passion more than mere desire. Such a quality made it easy to forget that Amy was in many ways a typical teenage girl - curious, confused, and not as confident as she pretended to be.
"Can you help me with my bra?" she asked, standing in her underwear as the tub filled with water.
"You can't reach it?" I gave her a doubtful smile, setting down my pad and pencils on the faux marble countertop.
"I don't know," Amy replied. She gathered her loose hair in a fist and smiled over her shoulder at me. "I like it when you do it."
"Do you want me to pull your panties down too?" I teased, without really thinking about it. I tugged at the strap of her plain white bra and unhooked it easily.
"Yeah," she whispered, losing her smile as she bit her bottom lip. We looked into each others eyes for several long seconds before I made up my mind.
I should have laughed and slapped her butt, spoiling the moment and her obvious efforts at seduction. All of my focus had been on seeing Amy and Kurt together and I'd never let my fantasy wander past playing the voyeur, the artist capturing the moment. I'd been curious back in high school maybe, but much less so in college. Once I met Kurt, I hadn't wanted anyone else, but I'd known girls like Amy. Some of my friends had been gay and once in awhile one of them would hit on me. I'd always turned them down gently, but I hadn't loved any of them either.
Her loose bra had fallen off her shoulders. We were very close to the same height and I put my hands on her arms, on her thin biceps. I kissed her hair as I stroked her skin, pulling the bra downward. I kissed her neck and looked over her shoulder, downward to see the soft cups had fallen as well. Amy's breasts were exposed completely, her pink nipples already growing dark as they began to stiffen.
"Is this what you want?" I asked, breathing the words into her left ear. She shivered as I pushed the straps past her elbows to her wrists, letting the bra fall to her feet.
"Uh-huh," she replied, only that with a turn of her head. "I love you, Kris."
My lips brushed Amy's as my arms went around her waist. I hugged the girl from behind and she covered my hands with hers. She felt so soft, so warm and fragile. Amy trembled and I wanted to hold her forever. This was enough for me, I thought, just to hug the child and keep her safe. It wasn't a sexual desire, or not only that, I should say, but something else besides.
"What about Kurt?"
"Can't I love both of you?" she asked.
And this, I thought, was her whole point. Amy's secret plan to push us over the edge. She'd been waiting for us, guarding her feelings as best she could, hiding her frustration, but it must have been very difficult for her.
"I know you love me," she continued, letting it all out. "You and Kurt. The way you look at me. When he touches me and you're drawing us, it's like we're almost the same. I mean..."
"Like we're together," I agreed. "Inside."
"Yeah." Amy nodded, squeezing my fingers as I held her. "Sometimes I just want you to stop, you know?"
"And hold me," she agreed. "I think about kissing you. Like, Kurt's kissing me and I'm kissing you, and I'm in the middle. I'm not dumb, Kris."
"You want us to do it. Right?" Amy's hazel eyes searched mine. "But I don't want to do it without you. He loves you too much."
"I'm always there," I reminded her, but she shook her head.
"You can't just watch all the time," Amy said. "It's not fair."
"Life isn't fair," I sighed, frowning a second later as I hadn't meant to say that.
I had my hands on her tummy, down low where my fingertips could feel the elastic waistband of her panties. Beneath my palms, deep inside the girl, I knew she was better than me. Her womb was there, Amy's ovaries and tiny, fertile eggs just waiting for the perfect moment. Conception, to my mind, was the ultimate expression of love and in that sense, life had relegated me to the role of spectator. Whatever else we might share, we couldn't share that and I was searching for the words to explain it when...
"Shoot!" I let Amy go as I felt the water under my bare feet. "The tub's full."
"Oh!" She giggled and quickly shut off the faucets, but the moment had passed.
We busied ourselves with mopping up the small flood and spoke no more about our feelings. I think we were both glad that we'd talked, but somewhat relieved by the interruption as well. Honesty is hard work.
"You have to show her, Kris."
"I don't want to," I replied, being deliberately petulant and teasing my husband. It had been a long day.
"Show who what?" Amy asked. "Me?"
It was Saturday and Kurt had gone for his run through the park, returned and showered. Preston had delivered six large cartons and Amy had been helping me go through them. They were filled with limited edition prints and lithographs of selected artwork and I had to sign and number each of them by the end of the weekend. Preston would pick them up Monday morning to be matted and framed.
Now Kurt had decided to bring up a subject we both wanted to avoid, but he'd never been one to hide his head in the sand. I loved that quality, but sometimes it could be very annoying.
"What are you guys talking about?" Amy looked between us, smiling self-consciously. She obviously thought we were talking about her, and we were, but indirectly.
"We have to show the pictures to your mom," Kurt answered.
"She's going to find out when she gets back from her trip," he reminded me. "This show you're doing...She has to know before it happens."
It really was that simple and Preston had intimated the same concerns over the phone. The show would be risky enough without an outraged mother to fan the flames. Legally, we were beyond reproach, as the lawyers liked to say. They'd seen the contracts I had with Amy, discussed the artistic content with the Council of Arts and gotten the city's official blessing.
The New York artist community is small and very close. You're either an insider or you're not and the word was already out. Preston knew everyone and he'd invested a lot of time and money in me. Tweaking the public's sensibilities with nudes of a fourteen, now fifteen-year-old girl and her adult lover was one thing, dropping the bomb on Amy's mom quite another. The people who mattered would understand and doubtless wax long and eloquently on the social statement I was trying to make...Whatever that might be. I'd keep my mouth shut, as a good artist should, in my opinion.
"Art speaks for itself," I sighed, signaling my surrender. "I'll call her. Um...What's your mom's favorite food?"
"Oh man!" Amy giggled. "She's going to freak out."
I invited Nancy over for dinner, and that was something we needed to do in any event. She'd be leaving on her cruise in another week and it was only proper that Kurt and I were available to entertain her concerns. So, we had a good excuse and I did everything I could to ensure Nancy's good mood.
"More wine, Nancy?" Kurt asked, already tipping the bottle.
"Yes, please." She returned his smile, and like every other woman he'd ever known, Amy's mother found his charm irresistible. I thought it a genuine miracle that Kurt hadn't grown up with an ego the size of Manhattan.
We made small talk over a meal of Alaskan king crab. I'd found a catering service that not only delivered the creatures, but supplied a chef to prepare them. The cost was ridiculous, but the meal outstanding, and while it hadn't been my plan to impress the woman, Nancy couldn't help but feel exactly that. I worried briefly that it might put her off. I knew Amy and her mother weren't terribly well off financially. I don't mean they were poor, just unused to the sort of freedom Kurt and I were fortunate enough to enjoy. We both made good money. Too much, I sometimes thought, for doing work that we thoroughly enjoyed.
"That was a wonderful dinner," Nancy said. "And your home is simply beautiful. I can see why Amy likes coming over here so much."
"Mom..." Amy rolled her eyes.
"Well, it is beautiful," the woman insisted, taking a sip from her third glass of wine. I wondered if she wasn't getting a bit tipsy. "I think your dining room is almost as big as our whole apartment."
"We like it," Kurt said, catching my eye with a curious smile. I could only shrug.
"It seems like an awful lot of room for just the two of you," she observed. "How long have you been married?"
"Too long," I replied with feigned humor. I could see where this would end up and I wasn't in a mood to talk about it.
"The studio takes up a lot of room," Kurt said, not only to change the subject, but to give me a little push as well. Dinner was over, it was time to confess.
"I'm surprised you don't have children," Nancy said, not giving me a chance to elaborate. She'd seen much of the apartment, but not the studio. Not yet.
"Mom," Amy whispered, leaning close to her. "Kris can't have any babies."
That wasn't what I wanted at all. I pretended not to hear the girl, but I couldn't help feeling a flash of anger. It was unreasonable of me, I knew, but I really wished Amy hadn't said anything. The unwanted emotion was extinguished quickly, and I regretted it immediately. Kurt understood. He reached for my hand as Nancy's eyes widened. She tried to hide her surprise, and I'd seen it all before with other friends and acquaintances. Nancy wanted to apologize, but it was unnecessary and would only make things more awkward.
"We're trying," Kurt said, embarrassing Amy as she hadn't meant to be overhead. "Kris has a good doctor and there's always a chance."
"I see," Nancy smiled weakly. "That's good, um..."
"We're okay," I assured her, forcing myself to smile back. "It's just one of those things."
That seemed like the understatement of the year and we suffered a moment of silence together. Nancy had a child and I didn't, it was that simple. Perhaps she could imagine what I was going through, but she couldn't know it. Just as I couldn't know how it felt to look at a beautiful girl like Amy and know she was a part of me. The best part.
"Anyway, um..." I took a deep breath and put on a happy face. "Do you want to see why I've kidnapped your daughter?"
"How's that?" Nancy didn't get it at first.
"My pictures," Amy said. "Kris is doing a show, remember? I told you about it."
"Of course," she agreed. "Sorry. This wine is very good."
"It's Australian," Kurt said, and we were all smiling and glad to have the excuse. "We're planning a trip to Sydney this summer."
"Really?" Nancy stood up as Kurt moved to help her with the chair, playing the gentleman. "Won't it be rather warm?"
"It'll be winter down there," Amy said with a giggle.
"Probably not the best time to go," Kurt sort of agreed, "but it'll definitely be hot here."
"Oh! Don't I know it," Nancy said. "Our air conditioning went out last summer and..."
She continued on with her story, walking slowly with Kurt listening every step of the way. Amy joined me as I'd made my way quickly to the studio, wanting to ensure everything was in its proper place. We'd cleaned the room and arranged prints around the walls, just sitting on the floor as none of them were framed or anything. I didn't have any of the original paintings, of course, having long since delivered them to Preston. I had some sketches, however, and I'd selected the best ones for Nancy to look through if she was so inclined.
I had a last minute urge to change my mind, but it was much too late for that.
"I'm sorry I told her about, um...the baby thing," Amy said, and I waved her apology away.
"It's okay," I said. "I know you're worried about me."
"You don't have to be, okay? I'm pretty tough."
"I know." Amy smiled at me and we both giggled. I was very nervous, both of us were, and I had no idea how Nancy would react.
"Kris?" Kurt rapped his knuckles on the open door.
"Come on in," I said lightly. "No need to be shy."
Amy bit her bottom lip, but didn't leave my side, and I was glad of that. The paintings Preston had chosen to make prints of weren't the most graphic, perhaps, but they were definitely provocative. My best work, in his opinion, the paintings that demonstrated more than mere technical skill. I had talent, that was obvious, but if I possessed a genius for painting, the pictures in this room were the proof.
The word escaped Nancy's lips with little in the way of emotion. She stood very still, turning her head only slightly to the left and right. She could see three or four of the prints at one time, but no more than that. The one of Amy laying face down and naked on Kurt's chest seemed to catch her most immediate attention. They were asleep, presumably after making love, with Amy's bent knees straddling Kurt's thighs. Her cheek covered his heart, her breasts flattened against his body, and it was easy for me to imagine his spent manhood still inside her. It was a warm piece, filled with the colors of passion, but they were diluted and calm like the sun setting on a cloudless day.
"What do you think, Mom?" Amy asked, spurring Nancy to take a step and turn, finally looking at the rest of the pictures.
"Are you still a virgin?"
"Oh God! We didn't do anything," her daughter retorted. "It's just art."
Nancy stared at a print of Kurt in full frontal glory as he reclined on our unmade bed. His semi-hard penis lay to the side, stretching towards his hip and pointing at Amy as she curled up beside him. They weren't quite touching each other and Kurt's face was in profile, looking away from the girl while she slept. I remembered spending a lot of time detailing Amy's exposed vulva, getting the shadows just right. I'd accentuated her labia, the petals of her coral sex, pulling them outward and wet with dew.
"Go outside," Nancy said. "To the other room, Amy. Right now."
"You'd better go," I said softly. "It's okay."
I had to face the music and there was no reason for Amy to suffer. Kurt looked unhappy, as you can imagine, but what we did we expect? Nancy wasn't going to congratulate me on capturing her daughter's sexuality so perfectly. She wasn't going to tell me how wonderful it would be to put Amy on display for the hundreds, even thousands of strangers who would visit Preston's gallery. Perhaps she even entertained some idea that the show could be stopped.
"I think you'd better explain this," Nancy said, speaking much more calmly than I would have expected. "And don't tell me it's just art."
"It's not what it looks like," Kurt said. "I've never even kissed Amy. We pose together, but that's all."
"We would never hurt her. Amy's feelings always came first," I said, and I wasn't entirely sure if I believed that or not, but I wanted to.
"And that's supposed to make me feel better?" Nancy asked, giving me a look that seemed almost sympathetic.
"I hope it does," I said, looking to my husband for support. "The truth is that we love her very much."
"We, uh..." Kurt cleared his throat. "We want to ask Amy to have our baby."
"What?" Nancy blinked at him.
I was surprised as well. We hadn't spoken of this, not once, and I would have been afraid to bring it up. But he knew me so well, my husband, and it was the most logical, reasonable purpose to everything I'd done. I couldn't give Kurt a child, but Amy could. Not now, of course, but in a year or two, when she was old enough to consent...We wouldn't have to hide our feelings behind the flimsy excuse of artistic expression, would we?
"Not now," he hastened to add. "But someday, if she wants..."
"Not just our baby," I said. "It would have to be Amy's too. We want her to stay with us. When she's older, right?"
"Yeah," Kurt agreed, and we were making up the rules as we went along. "Kris and I...We want to marry your daughter."
"Not legally," I explained quickly. "I know we can't do that, but if you want, if Amy wants...Kurt can divorce me and marry her."
"Kris..." He narrowed his eyes, but I shook my head.
"If that's the only way," I told him. "Amy has to come first, not me."
"You're serious?" Nancy asked, looking between us. "You mean that, the both of you?"
"If that's the only way," Kurt quietly echoed. He wasn't happy with the idea of divorce, neither was I, but we needed her to understand.
"But she's only fifteen," the woman said.
"We can wait," my husband promised, and the gravity in his voice, the look on face proved it.
"Whatever you think of us," I said. "If you think we're crazy or sick, if I've betrayed your trust...Please, don't blame Amy. Alright? None of this is her fault."
"I don't know what to think," Nancy said, glancing around the studio. "I should go. I need to talk with my daughter."
We didn't say much after that and Amy's eyes were full of questions, but she only hugged me and kissed my cheek. Nancy put on her coat, thanked us politely for the dinner, and the door closed behind them with a soft snick.
"Well," Kurt sighed. "That went better than I expected."
Neither of us laughed.
"It never fails," I sighed, looking up as the doorbell rang and wondering why God had such a warped sense of humor.
I'd only gotten in the tub two minutes ago and I decided to ignore whoever it was and finish my bath. It was probably a neighbor wanting a cup of sugar or something. With very few exceptions, our doorman would have called to ask if I wanted someone ringing my doorbell at eight-thirty in the morning. My friends were working, Amy would be at school, my mother avoided mid-town like the plague, and...
"Coming! Coming, coming," I muttered, standing up and reaching for a towel.
I'd been stressed all week, ever since speaking with Nancy the previous Saturday. It was now Thursday and I hadn't seen or heard from either of them, Amy or her mother, and it made me nervous. I wanted to call, but Kurt kept talking me out of it. When Nancy wanted to talk, if she wanted to talk, she'd doubtless let me know.
At least she hadn't hired a lawyer...Yet. I wondered if those guys who delivered subpoenas could sneak past Edgar, our doorman. That would be all I'd need, opening the door to get a bunch of legal bullshit tossed in my face. Yeah. I was in a bad mood and I really needed that bath.
"Amy?" I stared at the girl, standing in the hallway and giving me an impish smile.
"Your door was locked," she explained. "How come you're all wet?"
"What are you doing here?" I asked. "You're supposed to be at school."
"I decided to skip," she replied carelessly. "Uh...Can I come in?"
"What? No! Wait, I'll put on some clothes," I decided. "We'll take a cab. You can't skip school, your mom will kill us."
"I'm kidding!" she said, grinning at the look on my face. "It's a teacher work day."
"Sorry, I was just messing with you."
"Amy..." I stared at her and finally had to laugh. "You scared me to death! Come in here...I missed you so much!"
"I missed you too," she grunted, putting her arms around me as I gave her a serious hug.
I couldn't believe how happy I felt at seeing her. I'd been afraid that I'd ruined everything. Kurt had been stronger, at least on the outside, and he'd kept trying to reassure me, but I'd been too worried to believe him. After three days, and then four without a word from Amy, I'd been ready to panic. Now she was back, smiling as we sat together in the living room and acting not much different than she had before.
"Mom took me to see the doctor," she said. "Her gynecologist? It was kind of weird."
"Why?" I asked. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," she said with a shrug. "Mom just wanted him to check me out, you know?"
"I'm still a virgin." Amy giggled and her cheeks turned pinkish, but she didn't look away from me. "I've still got my hymen and everything, so...Mom's happy."
"She is?" I sucked my bottom lip. "Is she mad at me?"
"My mom?" Amy stuck her tongue out at me. "God no! She likes you a lot, she always did. I think she's got kind of a thing for Kurt though."
"Shut-up!" I laughed. "Stop teasing me. What did she say?"
"I'm not teasing," she protested. "I swear, all she did was talk about how hard it must be for you guys, not having kids and all that."
"She asked me how I feel about you and Kurt."
"What did you say?"
"You know how I feel already, right?" Amy tilted her head, hiding behind her long bangs for a moment. "I told her I love you."
"Okay." I smiled at that, wishing I knew exactly what had gone on between her and her mother.
"She thinks I have a lot of growing to up do."
"Well, she's right," I said, earning another roll of Amy's eyes and a bit of tongue.
"Maybe," she allowed. "But I'm not a little girl, Kris. I know what I want."
"To stay here with you and Kurt," she replied. "I heard everything you said to my mom."
"Don't get a divorce, okay? I want to have a baby, but not if you guys have to break up."
"No, we're not going to break up, just..." I blinked at her. "You want to get pregnant?"
"If we're married," Amy said, smiling shyly. "Did you really mean that? Like we're all married to each other?"
"Yes," I said. "We meant it."
"Even me and you?"
"If you want," I whispered, hardly daring to breathe. "Kurt should be here when we talk about this. In fact...I'll call him right now."
"Okay," Amy agreed. "I'll go downstairs and get my stuff."
"Mom's going on her cruise, remember? Saturday. There's no school today or tomorrow, so..." Amy's eyes were twinkling with humor. "She dropped me off early."
"I told her you wouldn't mind," she said, pushing herself off the sofa. "It's just a suitcase. I'll be right back."
She left the apartment as I reached for the phone. I didn't quite understand why Nancy had agreed to let Amy stay with us. I liked to imagine that she'd come to recognize and understand our feelings, but perhaps the reasons were more mundane than that. She knew we'd spoken the truth anyway. Her daughter was still innocent despite all evidence to the contrary. We'd done nothing but love her and what more could a mother want for her child?
I chose to view this as a test of our sincerity and disregard the implicit approval of Nancy's silence. Amy might expect something else, but I'd already decided that we'd deliver her safe and sound, and still a virgin at the end of those two weeks. Love is indeed a distant shore and we were so close now. I'd risked everything only for this and I didn't want to lose it. When the woman came back, she would be impressed and assured beyond a doubt of our good intentions.
That was my plan and I smiled as I waited for Kurt to answer his phone. He'd have to find a jewelry store on his way home and I wouldn't need to tell him why. We were in love.