STORIES

by Antoine Bargel

The Cherry

She was an old friend from high school, whom I had not seen in about 15 years. She had known that I was in love with her, back then, but nothing had ever happened between us. We had gone to separate colleges, then, as young professionals, had reconnected on LinkedIn. Now, 30 something and both recently divorced, we had made a date for her to visit me in my country house, a few hours away from the city where we had grown up.

After dinner, as dusk deepened under the cherry tree—it was the end of summer and nights, while already falling a bit earlier, were still warm—we had talked about our love lives and sexuality. During the conversation, I started noticing that she was attracted to me, now; probably eager, as was I, to feel sexually alive again after the loss of a long-time partner. The ever-longer moments when she would sustain eye contact with a smile confirmed what I had ventured to guess, which was that she, like I, had pursued this private reunion with ideas of sexual congress in mind. I remembered how, as a teenager, simply meeting her gaze in this way used to create in me a sensation of vertigo, even in the constrained environment of a classroom, during which I felt myself plunging through space toward her, so intensely that I forgot everything else, until she turned away. The years which had passed at least had made me, I now observed, a more stable person.

Yet they had also allowed me to experience my limitations as a sexual being. Not wanting to repeat the sorry encounters of my past, I decided to show some maturity and lay my cards on the table.

“You know, outside of the two people that I had those long-term relationships with since high school—when I was a virgin, as I'm sure you knew then or have figured out by now,” this eliciting a small smile from her, “I was never able to have a sexual relationship just for the fun of it. In love, I'm intense and liberated; but outside of that, when I flirted with people and we ended up naked, I was always too uncomfortable to go beyond basic preliminaries. I would either not be able to perform, or make a stupid move or comment that radically broke the mood: one way or another, it's never really worked out well for me and I'm convinced by now that it is a part of who I am. Love is godly, love is pure, and I can do that. Simple human sexuality, though, seems out of my reach. So at this point, I would rather spare myself and others the embarrassment—regardless of how much desire I may feel while the encounter is only an imagined, anticipated possibility.

“But there is one way that I've been able, a couple of times, to feel sexually liberated without deep love being previously declared, and that was when some form of kinky ritual was observed.”

This time, she smiled widely.

“Yeah? Like what?” she interjected.

“Well, it's sort of cheapening to tell precise stories of these kinds of things, but for instance —” I looked at her and marked a brief pause for maximal effect, “for instance, have you ever been tied up?”

“No!” she exclaimed with a single gurgle of laughter. Then she stopped and thought about it. “No, but what does it do?”

“Well, what I have in mind is for one of the partners to be tied up to the feet of the bed, with knotted scarves for example, by one's wrists and ankles. Lying on one's back, able to wriggle but unable to move away or set oneself free, entirely at the mercy of the other partner who can caress and kiss and stroke at his or her complete discretion… What it does is mostly to the one who is tied up: you feel vulnerable. Although you trust the other, you have given up control of your body and, technically, your life. The other could do anything to you, and that triggers something instinctive, primal, disturbingly intense, in the form of extreme arousal…”

“When you describe it like that…” she said and left her sentence unfinished.

I drank a sip of wine, waiting, looking at her. She reached for her own glass and, without batting a lash, brought her lips to its rim.

“Would you like to try it?” I said—which made me feel psychologically naked and vulnerable already and, as such, excited, while also proud of my new strategy: talking to women, telling the truth about myself. Never would I have guessed, as a teenage boy, that it was so simple! And yet impossible until one knows enough about oneself.

She swallowed her wine and smiled again. She had beautiful teeth which gleamed in the darkness.

“I might…” she said, pointing a cherry stem in my direction. “But you get tied up first.”


While she was in the bathroom, I undressed and prepared a selection of scarves and silk ties for her to choose from. She came back, still dressed in her jean skirt and wide purple t-shirt, underneath which a black lace bra had imprinted a teasing tracery all evening long, and I lay on the bed. She took off her black leather sandals.

“You know how to make a good, solid knot?” I inquired with a hint of male arrogance.

“Yep. This girly's sailed before.” she said and knelt on the bed, picking a scarf and getting to work on my left wrist.

After I was all tied up, she stood and unhurriedly removed her skirt, t-shirt and, excruciatingly, bra. She had large, white breasts with dark pink, grainy areolas and pointy nipples. I was salivating abundantly. She walked to the foot of the bed and faced me, over my parted limbs; looking me all the while in the eyes, she removed the black, triangular underwear that had heretofore concealed her sex. She wore a slim, dark bush that matched her black hair, which she presently untied and loosened upon her shoulders.

Then, casually, she touched my big toes, first one, then the other, and slowly moved to my shins with the tip of her fingers, while progressively bending over the bed, bringing her knees on the mattress in between my strapped ankles, and her torso hovering above me until her nipples began to tease my upper thighs, while her long, dark hair brushed my stomach and chest. I was madly erect already.

Her face came close to mine, so close that I felt faint, plunging into her dark brown eyes, darting quick looks at the beauty mark above the left corner of her mouth, the intricate design of her ears, the softest line around the edge of her cheekbones, and returning ever to be consumed by the two black suns with their matching halos of lashes.

“This is fun.” she whispered.

“Yeah…” I answered in a raspy voice.

She saw how excited I was and smiled, then broke off and sat on the bed next to me.

“So… What are we going to do with you…” she said musingly. Then a thought occurred to her: she jumped up and exclaimed: “Wait, just a second!”

She left the room and I heard her move around the house, opening and closing cupboards and drawers as she went. When she returned, she kept one hand behind her back and set something down by the bed, out of my sight.

"Shut your eyes,” she said.

I heard a silky ruffle, then felt her tie a piece of fabric around my head.

“Now, don't cheat.”

I could not see anything. I could not move. She went back to the foot of the bed and a long silence ensued, in which I heard only the sound of my heavy breathing, and felt the warm tug of my erection, the rest of my cold skin exposed to the unknown.

Then there was, by my belly button, a light stroke, unnerving and slightly ticklish, like the tip of a feather. It made a few curves on my stomach, then ascended to my chest, surfed on the hair of my sternum and swirled sideways to my nipples, which hurt sharply when touched, stimulating all the more the erectile blood flow that pumped through my swollen perineum. Then the stroke traversed my armpits, slowly probing the hairy, sweaty hallows, and rising along my biceps, sending wave after wave of nervous shivers down my spine.

I was in a trance, twitching, moaning, pulsating with every muscle, every inch of sensitive skin. I felt her weight shaking the mattress, then, suddenly, at the center of my aroused body, infinite warmth enveloping my member, progressively engulfing it until it was all gone and, at the same time, her buttocks came to rest on my thighs.

I believe that I moaned uncontrollably, but she gave me no respite and began riding me, starting imperceptibly slow and progressively accelerating, while I felt a now familiar stroke on my neck and cheek, on my forehead and down my nose, on my lips, back down to my throat and into the small notch between my clavicles, then down my chest again, while she kept quickening the movement of her hips, the friction of her pubic bone on mine, the mutual appropriation of our incandescent sexes into one eternal and volcanic SEX.

There was a loud, guttural cry, then suddenly she ripped off the scarf that had been covering my eyes. She was a Gorgon leaning above me, her hair flowing darker than the night from all around her head, falling down enveloping my face, enclosing us in a tunnel of musky, undulating animality of which she was the mistress. Her dark eyes were bolted deep into mine, as deep as my sex inside her body. She smiled with all her shining white teeth and lifted her shoulders, still pounding me at the hips, until she sat on me vertically and I glimpsed, in the hand of hers located where that ticklish, caressing stroke had lately been, on the left side of my ribcage, a knife.

A long, silvery kitchen knife.

While my mind remained incredulous, my body went burning all over with adrenaline. I tried to say something but before I could utter a sound, she raised her arm beside her head, and stabbed with all her might toward my face.

I came, and came, and came, while the pillow next to my cheek exploded in a twirling cloud of white feathers.

I came some more.

The rest of my body was petrified, tensed and arched back in the posture of the dead man that I almost became, that I briefly thought to be. I exhaled the last of my breath, then felt a burning shiver traverse me whole, as life started flowing through me again.

Slowly, I managed to look at her, who had let go of the knife and brought her hands behind her head, stretching forward her magnificent breast, while making small, swiveling movements with her sex, inside which mine showed no sign of receding.

“You're crazy…” I muttered.

She answered only with a broad smile, then she rose and brought to mine her lower lips, enticing me to drink the warm confession of my simple humanity. Rendered obedient anew by this sweet attention, I lapped at it eagerly, eliciting a long moan, and I thought myself at the pinnacle of pleasure when I felt, mixed with the cream that my tongue was gathering from deep inside, slide into my mouth a cherry.