Erotic Notion #18 Psyche's Revenge
By Hapax Legomenon

99 Erotic Notions Index
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Night turns any woman into a goddess.
(Ovid, Ars Amatoria)

Have you ever been set up with a person of the opposite sex? You learn to treat blind date situations with a combination of amusement and skepticism. Yes, it's fun to meet new people (and let your friends make the arrangements). Later, you start wondering about the ones who set you up. Do they have taste? Do they really know you? Nothing comes from these blind dates; one person forgets to call; the other has an endless parade of excuses for not being free: going out of town, the family reunion, the class, the deadline at work, the housework, the sick roommate or pet. Some even let you down with mention of a boyfriend (probably fake). The beauty of that excuse comes from being impossible to verify. It's an easy way to cut a person away without the person suspecting.

Once, at a dinner party, the wife of a college friend asked whether I was dating anyone. I was still single, with no prospects in the foreseeable future, and so naturally Jill had to set me up.

"I have a friend. She's nice, pretty, our age. I've known her a long while. She's been down on her luck and wants someone for companionship and fun. A fling. She asked me to recommend someone nice, decent-looking, discreet and emotional mature. Someone open-minded about affairs of the heart. So I thought about you."

"Wait – who is this again?" I had barely been following the conversation until I realized Jill was trying to set me up.

"I've known her since college. You'd like her. She wants something casual – a fling perhaps. But you can't sleep around with strangers these days. It's too dangerous. Eventually she agreed to let me recommend a few people. Eventually, I decided upon you."

I was flattered really. Jill was recommending me. I realized that Jill was trying to do a favor not only for her friend, but me as well. She had frequently encouraged me to meet more women, and this match was a way to accomplish two things.

"What is she like?" I said. (Translation: "What does she look like?")

"That's the thing. She doesn't want you to know anything, not even her name. She wants you to meet her without preconceived ideas. She said the bedroom is where people are most honest with one another, with the lights turned out, during the silences rather than the conversations. What she wants right now is a man who doesn't lie."

"Okay," I said, uncertain what to make of it. The fact she was Jill's friend reassured me, but I had no idea what Jill's taste in women was like. "Does she have emotional issues? Diseases? Does she want to become pregnant?"

"She's fine...Nothing's weird about her, except the kind of general weirdness that cultured educated people have. Again, she specifically told me not to tell you anything. She doesn't even want to know anything about you. That's why she wants the whole encounter to take place in total darkness. She wants to meet you in a dark room."

I laughed. "Is she blind?"

"No, it's just what she said."

"I'm going to need more details. What is she like?"

"She wants someone who doesn't judge on the basis of appearances but can accept her as she is. She will return the favor."

"How old is she? Is she pretty? Has she been married?"

"Mark, she's fine. That's all I'm going to say. Believe me, I would have preferred a more conventional meeting. But her heart seems set on this little love experiment. And does it really matter what people look like with the lights off?"

Actually it mattered a lot, although I couldn't admit it to Jill's face. I imagined an older out-of-shape woman with flabby breasts kissing me in the dark. Jill probably wouldn't set me up with a shrew, but if a woman preferred making love in the dark, something had to be physically wrong with her. Darkness was just another disguise.

But consider the advantages. She wouldn't see me either: I was getting older, losing the shine and shapeliness of youth. I went home imagining scenarios. Was my dating life that desperate? The woman might say she wanted a one-night stand, but how would she behave later? Disappointment was inevitable. If she were hideously unattractive or unpleasant, I could pretend in the darkness she was beautiful. Later both of us would have to confront the ugliness of post-desire.

But the arguments were not all negative. After all, it was a sure thing; maybe the woman could turn out to be fantastic – maybe a steady girlfriend or at least a decent fuck buddy. Or even a friend. I tended to dismiss potential dating prospects too quickly; there was something appealing about the idea about letting a combination of fate and circumstances throw me together with somebody. All my dating "criteria" had brought me no success; why not let nature take its course? A century or two ago marriages were arranged. Maybe that wasn't ideal, but at least it relieved people of the burden of determining compatibility. How much time did a person waste searching?

Later, I called Jill to agree to her offer. What did I have to lose? A few days later, Jill called to say she had checked with her friend (whom I jokingly referred to as "Natalie," a name Jill started using as well). Natalie would be free the following Saturday. Jill's husband Kevin would make the hotel arrangements and bring me to the hotel.

On Saturday Jill's husband Kevin met me and drove me to a hotel. "Are you excited? Nervous?" he asked.

"Absolutely," I said.

"You're a lucky man. You're in for the time of your life."

"Do you know her?"

"Natalie?" Kevin was using the same code name. "She's definitely cool. I've met her once or twice. She's mainly Jill's friend. But I'm not supposed to tell you anything about her; that's the deal, right?"


Kevin got the hotel key and escorted me to the room. We both sat down. It was 7:30, and Natalie would arrive at 8:00. Before leaving, Kevin took out a handwritten list of instructions from his pocket.

"Let's see what Jill wrote," he said. "'First, no talking and no exchange of names or personal information – well, you already know that."


"Two taps on the shoulder means stop or take a break. Got that?"


"You are to remain seated on the bed when Natalie enters the room." (I noticed that the doorway was off to the side, making it impossible to see the entrance with the hallway lights). "Natalie will knock three times and open the door herself. Don't worry about prophylactics. Natalie has already taken care of that. Don't worry about STD's either. Oh, here's something. I need to remove all the light bulbs in the room apparently before I leave." Kevin started unscrewing the light bulbs from the lamps. "'Unscrew the connection on the bathroom fluorescent lights'. Ok, check."

The place was becoming darker. Only the bedroom lamp was left on.

"Next. 'Unplug the digital clock and put it inside the dresser.' Okay. 'Unplug the TV and move the TV beside the air conditioner.' What the heck?"

"Jill wants to prevent the TV from being a light source."

"Oh," Kevin said, going over to the TV to lift it.

"Don't bother," I said. "I'm not going to turn the tv on. Just unplug it and leave it there."

"Thank you," Kevin said, relieved. "'Make sure Mark doesn't have any gadgets with lights.' Mark, where's your cell phone?"

"In the car. Jill already told me to leave it there."

"Excellent." He took out a glow-in-the-dark pen and left it on the bathroom counter, where it emitted a dim yellowy light. "The penlight," he said, "is for changing clothes and using the restroom."

"Got it."

"'At 5:00 AM a wake up call will ring you,'" Kevin began reading. "'Mark needs to dress and leave before 5:30 AM. When Mark comes home, he needs to call Kevin's cell phone which Kevin will leave at the hotel room.' Say what? That doesn't make sense." Kevin took out his phone and called his wife. He listened and then handed the phone to me.

"Ok, Mark," Jill's voice said, "When you get home, you need to call the cellphone from your phone at home. That's how Natalie knows you are actually at home."

"Jill," I said. "I don't understand. Is she really afraid I'll follow her home? Look, we're adults. If you don't want me to chase after Natalie, just say so."

"Wait," Jill said, and I hear her chatting with another woman. Ten seconds later, Jill came back to the phone. "That's ok. She said don't worry about it."

"Is she with you now?"

"Yes, we're 10 minutes away. Natalie will be there very soon."

I hung up the phone and Kevin left (but not before removing the last light bulb). I sat in the darkness, wondering what would happen. Should I remove my clothes? We would be having sex in total darkness; there was no point in keeping my clothes on. But who was this woman anyway? I didn't know the rules or expectations or how she would react. The thought occurred to me that this woman would turn out to be a prostitute or transvestite; it could be a crazy practical joke. I needed to be on my guard. Perhaps Natalie had a personality disorder.

Minutes later, a light tap came on the door. The door opened slowly, and I could see the light from the hallway as it shut again quietly.

"Hello?" a woman's voice said. She sounded relaxed, tiny and slightly familiar.

"I'm here," I called out. "On the bed."

I heard her light footsteps towards me.

"Hello," she said with an uncomfortable laugh. Her voice was light and friendly and yet reluctant to seem too forward. "I'm Natalie."

"Is that your real name?"

"No," she laughed. "Jill said that's the code name you use for me. Right?"

"I'm Mark. Yes, that's my real name. You can sit here. Here, on the bed."

"Wait," she said, and in the shadows I could see a human figure feeling ahead with her arms.

"You're getting closer," I said, touching her arm (a few degrees colder than my own). She sat down next to me, her fingers brushing against my body as she tried to get oriented. We sat about two feet away from one another. I waited for her to say something, but jumped in to break the awkward silence.

"How long have you known Jill?" I asked.

"Since college," she answered quickly. "We had classes together."

Silence again. I didn't know how to proceed. I could smell a faint whiff of perfume.

"So, are you sure you want to go through with this?" I asked.

"Oh,yes," she replied with an almost excited laugh. "I've thought long and hard about it."

"Have you done this kind of thing before?"

"No, only this time..."

Wait, you're not a virgin, are you?" The very possibility electrified me.

"You wish," she said.

"I know lots of guys would like this sex-with-a-stranger thing," I said. "But I've never met a woman who's into that. But if I knew your reasons, maybe this experience would seem less scary." She remained silent. "I'm not complaining. And if you're a friend of Jill and Kevin, I'm sure there's nothing wrong with you."

I waited for her answer. Although I began the conversation in a normal tone of voice, the darkness brought my voice down to a whisper. I hardly felt on intimate terms with this women, and yet both of us knew that barriers would fall and things would soon be strange and awful and possibly terrific. We needed to be tentative, careful, gentle.

I waited for her to say something. After five seconds went by, I asked again. "Do you want to talk about why you are here?"

"Why don't you tell me your reasons?" she said.

"It's pretty simple. Jill and Kevin suggested it, and I was bored and yes, lonely."

"Bored and lonely," she repeated, half-mockingly.

I waited some more, then I said, "Do you want to talk about it?"

"Not particularly," she said with a nonchalant laugh. Five more seconds.

"So what kind of work do you do?" I asked once I realized I was getting nowhere.

Five more seconds. This time, rather than ask another question, I decided to wait for her to say something.

After an uncomfortable delay, she gave a little laugh, then sighed as she sat back against the bed. "Don't."

"Don't what?"

"No talking." She seemed like a child, a small anxious child. "Don't make things harder."

"I don't understand," I said.

"Don't try to. The more we talk, the less we really say." She touched my hand slightly, then moved away. By this time, my eyes had adjusted to the darkness; I could see the outline of a female figure, the long curly hair. I could not see her eyes; I didn't realize how dark the room actually was. Natalie was taller than average, a little heavy, but still a nice figure. I couldn't tell how old she was, or even whether I would have found her attractive in real life. Her voice sounded oddly familiar – had I met her before? Or did her voice just remind me of other women I had been attracted to? I was definitely attracted to her, but why? Was it the mystery? Or the certainty of her availability? Maybe I was deceiving myself. She sat at the edge of the bed.

"It's really dark in here," I whispered.

She laughed gently, but did not volunteer a reply.

"I can't see you except the outline of your face. What color is your hair?" I asked, stroking it lightly.

"You'll never know..." she said flirtatiously.

"The bathroom is over there," I said, lifting her hand and pointing it in the general direction. Her arm was cold and slender and shaking slightly. I kept holding it, trying to ascertain her mood. "There's a glow-in-the-dark pen on top of the toilet. And the fluorescent lamp is unplugged; you can plug it in if you need to go."

"Thanks," she said.

"Do you want to walk around the room so you knew where everything is?"

"Okay," she said, standing up and inching around the room. She opened the bathroom door and came out again. Then she sat next to me in uncomfortable silence.

"Why don't you want me to see your face?" I asked.

She didn't reply. I could hear her breathing. "Are you worried about your appearance? Or do you want to keep your identity a secret?"

"No!" she said, interrupting.

"No, what?" I asked. "No, you don't think you – "

"I don't want to talk." She said. "I'm sorry," she said, becoming a little emotional. "I'm sorry you don't understand."

"That's ok," I said, holding her hand. "You probably should take off your shoes."

"Oh, sure." She said, removing them. As she bent over, I put my hand lightly over her back. It was an awkward gesture; I could feel her back tensing up in response. She had not expected it, and as a result, she had not warmed to it at all.

"You can lie on the bed if you want," I said.

"I'm okay."

"I'm sorry. I don't know how to act. It just seems so weird and unnatural. Do you feel the same way?"

The woman sat there quietly, and I waited for her to say something. I was tempted to talk some more, but I knew I needed to wait for her answers, or else nothing would be said.

A good ten seconds went by, and then she whispered, "Maybe..."

"If there's anything I can do to make it easier," I said, "just let me know."

"So after this is all over," I continued after another long pause, "you don't want to see each other? Do you just want tonight?"

She didn't answer.

"If you don't want anything after tonight, I've already said it's okay. I just wanted to be sure both of us have the same understanding before we do anything."

I waited for fifteen seconds, but the woman said nothing.

"If you don't want to talk, that's okay. But you can't blame me for asking."


"I just don't know what to do or say. I've never done this kind of thing. I don't know what you want, or whether I'm doing what I'm supposed to. If I – "

Natalie put her arms around me, clinging to my body like a little girl. "Just hold me," she whispered into my ear, a little anxious. "No talking." I gave her cheek a small kiss, and she kept hugging me. A few seconds later, she whispered, "Just like that" with a soft soothing voice.

"Sure," I said, surprised at how easily Natalie clung to me. "This is nice," I whispered. She seemed so fragile, so needy, so alluring. But what was motivating her? Was a fuck all she wanted? Why was she here? And why was I? I sat against the bed, holding her at my side. We didn't face each other, but in the darkness it was unnecessary; I hardly had a sense of her presence except when we touched. I gave her neck a kiss, but she wouldn't kiss me back; she just kept clinging. I held her hand. It was shaking. Then I kissed it – each individual finger – followed by the rest of her arm. I forgot my shyness for a moment and brought her hand to my lap, letting it rest near my erection. Natalie gave a little laugh, and I undid my belt and lay down, pulling my pants below my knee. Natalie sat beside me; what was she thinking?

"Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be blind?" I whispered. "Have you wondered about the things you'd miss, the different way you'd approach the world?"

"No," she said.

My penis was right out in the open, and I brought her hand to it.

"That's good," I said, as she continued to stroke it.

"Wouldn't it be strange to be blind? How would you know people around you were not mocking your every word? How would you understand other people's descriptions of a beautiful sunset or a pretty smile?"

"A blind person pays attention to what other people miss," Natalie said. I let the words hang, astonished that she had actually said a complete sentence. But she said nothing more, just stroking it. I sat up and gave her a kiss, then leaned back slowly, trying to settle her face near my crotch. At first, the blatancy of my gesture took her aback. "Wait," she said, hesitating, but as soon as she repositioned herself to a more comfortable position, she lowered her mouth over my cock and began sucking.

I didn't even know what this woman looked like or if she were even attractive, but now that I had her, there was no turning back (for either of us). I hadn't even taken off her clothes, and yet I came in no time at all, giving her mouth a taste of a man's salty selfishness. Even after all the spurts came out, my penis stayed inside, caring not about the mess but simply how far her lips would go to accommodate me. As I eased myself out, I heard the sound of a mouth tasting what it had just received, the sounds of a woman's catching her breath and my hands moving gently against her neck. We were united not by spirit but my selfish satisfaction. Normally I would feel guilt or embarrassment, but in the silence, nothing seemed unusual or outrageous. I felt no guilt or need to apologize. I was not spent in the least; I was ready to resume our erotic journey. As Natalie leaned her head against my crotch, I moved my hands over her blouse and then underneath it. By then the locus of desire had changed from my crotch to her bosom and my restless hands. She was still a stranger, a strange but accommodating body next to me still fully dressed. I brought her head next to mine and gave her a kiss; instead, she pressed against my shoulder, clinging in an almost nonsexual way. We lay there for several minutes. I could feel her curly hair against my ear and hear her breathing, the air conditioner, distant traffic. Maybe it was enough for her, but I was restless. I couldn't say if it stoked my desire, but I realized that this woman didn't need sexual intercourse so much as she needed a man – any man – to cling to. She clinged to me, and I held her, letting her cling to me.

Was it enough for me though? I wanted a way to validate that my desire for her was something more than an illusion brought about by the darkness. I moved my hand over Natalie's neck and arms, letting it sink down her back and over her legs. Natalie accepted the caresses without revealing enjoyment. The kiss I gave her cheek brought no response, so I continued exploring her body, trying to construct in my mind a three-dimensional representation of her physical presence. Would I have lusted after her in real life? That was the question. Her bosom was somewhat oversized, and her hips seemed larger and rounder than I expected. Nothing like the slender woman I had hoped for. Still, I hadn't expected a goddess, and of course I was no Greek god either. I sat up in bed and lifted her body against mine, feeling the smooth silk of her dress against my chest. "Is this okay?" I whispered. She just put her arms around my shoulders, feeling up and down my back. I took her hands and lifted them above her head, removing her blouse and touching her exposed breasts. Natalie sat passively before me, showing no sign of excitement, holding on, clinging to me during my explorations.

The way she clung to me didn't seem romantic or passionate (although her steady breaths against my neck goaded me forward). The way she curled against me seemed like a little child, seeking protection, almost oblivious to the sexual tension she was generating. It wasn't passion she wanted but simply a man's reassuring presence; I continued the process of undressing her, teasing off her undergarments, exposing her warm pussy to my touch. I listened for signs of her excitement, hearing nothing. I slid my finger down her pussy and kissed the whole thing with my open mouth; it was moist but didn't respond. She made distant sounds of satisfaction, as though she weren't actually there but was in another room working on a spreadsheet, periodically checking in to see if I had made any progress. I continued stroking, giving her neck a kiss. Her breaths became less regular, as her hands moved over my back. Who was she? I teased her lower body with my hands, looking for some sign of individuality in her responses. But her body didn't betray her. She was just a body, and I was a man that wanted it.

And I wanted it badly. I wanted to take her, spread her, mold her will to my own. I knew her holes were open and ready for fingers and dicks and tongues. I knew her body would sigh as I took her, but when I tried to maneuver her legs apart, I encountered a kind of resistance as though she were having second thoughts. That led me to retreat, and advance more carefully. I kept kissing her, leaning against her lower body, eventually feeling her legs brush against my own of their own volition. I brought her into a deeper embrace, straddling her and leaning over her without making penetration. She clung to me like an little child, but I wanted a woman, a slutty woman who would spread her legs at a moment's notice. I pressed my dick towards her vagina and after a few feints stuck it all in. When I did, she winced in surprise, then gave a breathy giggle, as though she had just realized why we were here in the first place. If the room had a light, I would have looked at her for some hint of debauched cooperation. But instead, I just put our cheeks together, pressing ahead while she held my shoulders steady, breathing in every time I entered her. This slow pace continued for a few minutes, and suddenly she made a whimper and disengaged herself from me. I didn't know what to do. For a tense minute or so, I lay beside her, wondering how to proceed. Then she put her arms around me and said with a laugh, "Leg cramp."

I continued kissing her, regaining my territory and plowing ahead. I was enjoying it, but was she? Each lunge brought a wince and a sigh but little evidence of pleasure. And yet she held me closely, so obviously she was into it, although perhaps not for the same reasons. I kept pounding, close to climax, and she followed along in silence, inhaling at every forward motion. Then, at one moment, her breathing stopped and she grabbed my buttocks, keeping me inside for a full three seconds before she exhaled again. During those three seconds, she was silent and totally still; I came immediately though later on I still couldn't say whether she had done the same. But after the climax, I released her and she released me. We were still breathing hard, stroking one another, sinking into lethargy and contemplation.

I think she expected me to say something, but I promised to keep quiet. What could I say anyway? Gradually, we separated ourselves on the bed, touching all the time. Eventually, I fell asleep.

Later I awoke and remembered where I was. I stretched my arm on her back to confirm her presence, but she was still asleep. Once again, I tried to perceive her outline with my eyes, but no, it was futile; there was too much darkness; I could barely remember the layout of the room.

I felt a shudder of doubt and even disgust when I imagined who she was and what we had just done. Why had she proposed meeting like this? What would she do? Was I expected just to leave her? And what was her body really like – why had she insisted that I never see it? My image of her changed from a sultry sweaty body huffing underneath me to an older blob of fat with horrifying skin groping at me – perhaps not horrifyingly ugly, but just uninteresting and needy and mean. But maybe she was attractive – by my low standards anyway. Maybe she would have also found me repulsive. I touched her upper body once again, giving not exactly a caress but a quiet examination. The initial touch stirred her, but after my fingers went a few inches down her pudgy body, she returned to sleep. No, she probably wasn't ugly. Maybe it was best that we couldn't actually see one another and see the fact we were two average-looking mortals. And yet, we had done the most intimate things together – she had sucked my cock! And I had enjoyed it shamelessly, succumbing to the allure of her desire to please. I remember the glorious feeling of her mouth around it. The strange situation turned me on so much! I was corrupting her, and she was not complaining. Now that it was over, I couldn't believe that the woman had made me come so easily. No matter what happened next, we could not erase the fact that she had sucked my cock and I had fucked her enthusiastically for a good 30 minutes. Now that it was over, it seemed inevitable she would try to turn everything into a boyfriend-girlfriend thing; she was after all a woman. Eventually I would have to face her in the daylight; for now though we were blind to the other's imperfections; Perhaps if I left quickly, this illusion would never be shattered. Unless...

As ugly as I imagined her, my curiosity kept me wondering. Wouldn't I want to view her in the daylight at least once – if only to be certain she wasn't someone I'd find attractive? Where were those lights? I could open the curtains even in the middle of the night, the moonlight and street lights would make her body somewhat visible. Maybe I could persuade her to share breakfast; but no, she didn't want that, and perhaps I didn't either. Maybe I could surprise her; I could half-open the door or plug in a lamp while she was sleeping or getting dressed. But that would betray our original agreement; I hardly wanted to make an enemy. Maybe I could just ask her permission to turn on the light. Ask and you shall receive. She did not refuse me when I put her mouth on my cock. But I hadn't asked.

Honest questions led to honest refusals. Or maybe not? Asking her permission meant accepting the consequences of her refusal; it meant accepting her control over the situation and admitting my own helplessness. And truly, I hadn't given her any reason to say yes. We were just nighttime lovers. Asking her meant accepting that I'd have to be emotionally available regardless of her answer. If she agreed to show herself, I'd no longer be able to walk away. She had sucked my cock.

Then I remembered the glow-in-the-dark penlight in the bathroom. I could sneak to the bathroom and use it for a quick look when she was asleep. She would never know. I waited until the woman was asleep and crept into the bathroom towards the faint light of the pen. I took it and hovered it over my arm. The light from the pen was weak and I could hardly make out my arm, but it was better than nothing. I flushed the toilet and returned to bed holding the penlight tightly in hand.

Suspecting that the flushing noise had awakened her, I lay quietly next to the woman, hiding the penlight under the bed. The woman was asleep, oblivious to the commotion. I carefully lifted the sheet from her body and listened for sounds of her being awake.

Minutes later I lifted the penlight over her sleeping figure for two or three seconds, waving it over her breasts and stomach and hiding it under the bed again. What a surprise; her body was not fat or pudgy at all; to be sure, there were curves, but her breasts were almost perfectly proportioned; her legs were smooth and slender; her butt was round and tiny. I was ecstatic; I had been completely wrong about her body; how could I have possibly dreamed up such a misshapen body on such a perfectly-shaped woman?

I wanted to take her again, but first I had to see more of her. I listened for evidence of her slumber, then lifted the glow-in-the-dark pen over her face after being certain she was asleep. I waved the pen light over her head for only a second, but my heart jumped silently at the sight. She had the face of an angel! Her mouth was small and gentle; her cheeks were smooth and covered by short curly hair. She was clearly a grown woman; nobody would have mistaken her for a college student. Her face had the peculiar beauty of someone from another country: Greek? Russian? Turkish?

I took the penlight out again and waved my hand over her face again, this time for a full five seconds before hiding it again. Her chin was so small and delicate; her eyes were closed, and yet, they seemed gentle and even a bit melancholy. Her cheeks were smooth and youthful and I noticed a single pimple on the left cheek – as though a single pimple could tarnish her beauty! I tried to image her background or career. Lawyer? Secretary? Fashion designer? I would have loved to behold her in the daylight! I felt the rapture of someone being awarded an undeserved opportunity. It was as if I had been touched by a deity and allowed to see the secret beauty of the world. And this face had sucked my cock! I couldn't help it; I had to bring out the penlight once again and behold the face that had deigned to suck my awful cock!

Suddenly, I felt ashamed of the secret gawking and my single-minded pursuit of pleasure. If she learned I had found a way to gaze upon her during sleep, she would think I broke the deal and would distrust me. She might even run away. But I experienced a more primal fear. Her body's loveliness only reminded me of my unworthiness. This women probably slept with athletes, CEO's and other kinds of charismatic deities...certainly not average mortals like myself. Now I felt like the ugly one. This darkness – which I originally thought was hiding visions of her imperfect body – was actually cloaking mine.

I slipped away to return the glow-in-the-dark pen to the bathroom. When I returned to bed and offered a caress, I noticed she was now awake and had escaped into the bathroom herself. Minutes later, when she lay beside me again, I put my arms around her, and heard her gentle laugh. Clearly, she was up for more lovemaking, and I couldn't disguise my eagerness. I wanted to kiss the beauty I had just seen, to hear her gentle noises of approbation every time my mouth found a new sensitive place. I moved my head down her body and positioned my mouth on her pussy. It was a blatant almost awkward move, and yet I no longer felt shame. Natalie gave a small laugh and pushed my head away, then let it slowly advance as she adjusted to the feeling. "Not so fast," she whispered, holding my head. But I had to taste her; I, an ordinary mortal, needed to tease divine pleasures from her mound. That was my obsession. At first, she controlled my movements with her thighs and hands against my neck, but after a minute she lost interest in controlling me and let me lead. Moments later she exhaled deeply and pressed into my face, sobbing after my rhythms reached a certain point. She pulled my face up to hers, sighing.

She just wanted to lay there with me, but my cock was fully erect, so I started again before she had time to catch her breath. Unlike the first go around (where she just let me go on without direction), this time she was actively engaged in bringing me to the right place. Fucking was still an awkward thing (we were knocking arms and shoulders accidentally in the dark), but this time I knew for sure she wanted it as bad as I did, and I knew she was a goddess not only of beauty but carnal delights. It would have been nice to see excitement in her eyes, but I could easily imagine it; I wanted her to feel me, hear me, taste me. Every time I moved within her, a part deep inside her acknowledged it; as I quickened my pace, so did she; I was close to finding ultimate satisfaction, and then she beat me to it, tilting her neck against mine, breathing, sighing, cooing like a little girl when she reached a new exciting height. And I reached it too, holding her and laughing; we were both laughing hysterically. Tension and embarrassment had evaporated, we held each other not as strangers or lovers – simply two people randomly thrown together who had just lived through the same improbable confluence of events. We were exhausted. Passion – it was impossible. All we could do was hold one another, catching our breaths.

"My god," I exclaimed. "How do you – does this sort of thing ... happen often?"

Laughing, she clung to my chest and said, "No," in a little girl's voice, breaking her vow of silence. But after what had happened, rules and even social customs seemed totally irrelevant.

"My god," I said again, still awestruck.

"Shhhh," she whispered, kissing me lightly, making a childish noise.

We just lay there, contemplating it all, returning slowly to reality.

"That's just...something," I said, still amazed. "There can be no follow-up to that."

"Shhhh," she whispered.

Minutes, hours. The telephone rang the 5:00 wakeup call. Yes, it was an interruption, but the night's events put me in a state of mind where nothing could irritate or disturb me. I excused myself, found my clothes on the chair and went into the bathroom, undressing to the glow-in-the-dark penlight. After what had just happened, I knew Natalie wouldn't want to say goodbye either. Still, I had already promised both Jill and Natalie to leave quietly without complaining. I had to be content with that. And I was. Just to be on the safe side, I left my business card in the bathroom right next to the penlight.

I returned to the bed, and kissed her nude body once again, though I was fully dressed. This might be my last memory of her, I thought, sitting next to her nude body in the darkness, relaxed, responsive, accommodating.

"So that's the end of the experiment," I said. She said nothing, but merely held onto my hand. "I hope ...this was what you wanted."

"Yes," she said in a small voice.

"I had a beautiful, memorable night with you." She did not reply, so I continued, "This was like a dream. Maybe it was the same for you."

The woman held my hand.

"We shared something special. You can do with it what you want. But I'll never forget you,"

"No," she said with a child's pouty voice. Then she sat up and gave me a hug.

"Unless..." I waited for her to react. "Well, I promised to say goodbye at 5:15."

"No goodbyes," she said. "Just helloes."

"Okay," I said, giving her a quick kiss. "Hello."

She extended the kiss and said more affectionately, "Hello."

But it was time. I knew and she knew it was time to leave. So I walked out quietly, closing my eyes before I faced the otherworldly brightness of the hotel lobby.

Once home, I went to sleep happily, waking up in a daze. I lay in bed, watching a movie, going over the details of last night. That evening, Jill called me. I was happy to talk. Obviously I couldn't share details, except to say the whole experience was both intriguing and satisfying. I thanked her for giving me this opportunity and expressed hope Natalie and I would meet eventually.

"I'm so happy to hear that," Jill said. "I was worried about whether it was going to work out."

"It worked out great," I said. "There was mystery and fun. Natalie enjoyed the whole thing too."

"Oh, I'm sure she did," Jill said. "I'm sure it helped her too. Let me ask you something. I hope you didn't take advantage of the situation. You treated her like a gentleman, right?"

"Of course, I treated her with the greatest respect. But yes, we slept together."

"Was it all right?" she asked, almost nervous.

"Of course!" I said. "Are you going to talk with her?"

"Not today," Jill said, "but possibly tomorrow or the next day."

"Send her my regards. And tell her if she wants to get together again, I'm all up for it. I'd love to keep in touch."

Jill hesitated. "Remember, she said she just wanted an evening of fun and passion."

"I know," I replied. "But if she changes her mind, that's okay too. Let her know I said hi."

As the days went by, I couldn't help recalling that night, the way we made love and lay there afterwards with arms wrapped against one another. That evening was a beautiful memory. In retrospect, it seems stupid and pointless for us to vow never to keep in touch. Emotionally, it felt wrong. Where was she now? Did she have those same lingering feelings?

I brought it up to Kevin the next time I saw him. I asked if he'd seen or talked to Natalie. Kevin laughed and said, no, he hadn't heard anything, but maybe his wife did. He'd ask. Apparently he forgot, so I reminded him a few days later by email. His email reply said, "Jill said she thought it wasn't possible." I typed back, "what does that mean????"

Kevin didn't explain, so a week later, I called their house, talking briefly to Jill. After the small talk, I asked, "How was Natalie?"

"Ok, I assume."

"So have you talked to her recently?"

"Well... not recently."

"Did you ever ask her about whether she'd like to keep in touch with me?"

"Actually no," she said.

"But have you talked to her?"

"Please...leave me out of this. Remember, I made a promise to her. And so did you."


"I told her I'd keep the whole thing confidential. My friend trusted me completely. And you promised it would be a one night experiment."

"But what's so hard about telling her I said hello? Or giving her my email?"

Jill paused. "I told you. I feel uncomfortable getting involved in a private matter."

"But how –"

"Please, will you please just drop it."

"But –"

There was little point in going further. I had to accept that it was a one-time deal, a gift from the gods, an easy lay. Besides I hardly knew this woman; it was only a single encounter on a single day; if it lasted longer, she would have seemed less charming, less captivating. Intellectually I knew that. But emotionally I needed some way of finding her. The whole experience was unforgettable; I'll admit there was probably no emotional basis for a relationship, but the fact we connected at a purely physical level hinted at some fundamental basis for compatibility. Or was I fooling myself?

Weeks went by, and I put the incident out of my mind. Sometimes I entertained erotic dreams of the event, while at other times I pondered what had really happened. Why did she play those games? Why did she prefer keeping distance from me – treating me like a stranger afterwards? Were we just strangers? What did she think of me? What was she doing now?

These things must have bothered not just me but her as well. They were vivid memories. I replayed them: the way she clung to me, sounds of her final release, the weak laughter that followed as we lay together. I remember how after we were done and trying to fall asleep, I accidentally brushed my feet against her toes, giving her unexpected enjoyment. She giggled and turned her head; I ran my fingers down her back, not to incite another round of sex but simply to make her laugh and remind her I was there. Yes, there was a connection. I felt it, and she did too.

Or was the evening a series of minor amusements?

I couldn't get the woman out of my mind. I kept returning to the beatific vision of her face in the near darkness, the unexpected discovery that across from me lay a woman of almost divine beauty. It was physical beauty only ...nothing else. And where was she now? Was she tempting other men? But why would she hide herself? And why would she want me to hide away? Or did she assume I was the one running away?

The memories lingered. Where was she? What should I have done? It had been a simple night of pleasures, a single manifestation of passion. A single night devoid of meaning or emotional significance or future relevance. Nostalgia became a burden, the price one paid for mistakes. And yet I remembered her pleasures so vividly. Our pleasures.

At the risk of becoming a pest, I brought the subject up one more time to Kevin. We were both computer geeks and often ran into one another at geek events.

After talking about random stuff, I asked Kevin whether Jill could get me in touch with Natalie. At first, he didn't understand who I was talking about.

Then, he said, "You need to forget about that woman. That was a-one time thing. If I were you, I'd sign up for a dating service or a single's group."

"Sure," I said. "I already belong to two dating services. But what's the harm of sending this woman a message?"

Kevin pondered the point for a moment. "You may be right. But she is Jill's friend, and Jill seemed adamant about not getting involved."

"I'm sorry; I can't understand why your wife doesn't want to do anything."

"Ask her. If it were me and I knew the woman, I'd say no problem for sure. But Jill and Natalie have been friends for a long time. They still chat on the phone every weekend."

"Every weekend?" That was news to me.

"Sure. Tell you what – I'll talk to her and maybe you can stop by sometime. Then you can ask Jill yourself."

I arranged to be at a cafe one Saturday when Kevin and Jill were there.

After the nachos came to the table, Jill said, "Kevin told me what you want. Look, I sympathize. But it's a bad idea to try to hook up with her again."

"Can you at least tell me why?"

Jill paused.

"Did she tell you she didn't want to see me?" Silence. "Listen, I can take rejection. But I never really had the chance to say goodbye. There was only that one night."

"But that was the whole point. You knew all along it was just a casual encounter."

"Of course. That was what I agreed to. But who knows? Maybe we could become something more than a psychology experiment."

"She's not right for you," Jill said.

"What do you mean?"

"Your lives are completely different. You're completely incompatible."


Jill hesitated. "I promised her I wouldn't talk about her to you."

"Yes, that's what you promised before the meeting. Wait, are you talking about something else? What did she tell you? How can you be sure what she wants? Can't you just make sure?"

Jill was annoyed and almost sad. "I really can't."

Kevin interrupted. "Jill, I don't think you can say Mark and Natalie would be incompatible."

"But, Kevin," she said, and whispered something into his ear.

"You don't know that," Kevin said. Jill whispered something else. Finally, Kevin asked me to wait outside for a few minutes. They needed to talk.

I walked into the parking lot for a while, occasionally looking at them through the window. Eventually Kevin motioned me to come in.

Jill smiled. "Mark, I realize you don't understand the need for secrets. But there is a good reason. Looking back, maybe I should have spent more time trying to persuade Natalie against this. Sex always has unintended consequences. She probably wouldn't have wanted me to tell you this, but a month before she met you, she came out of a particularly bad breakup. First her boyfriend kicked her out of the house, then he followed her around town. He logged into her email and vandalized her car. He tracked her down, following her at malls and supermarkets. One day he showed up unannounced at her job to cuss her out. I think he probably hit her a few times too."

"I'm sorry. I didn't realize," I said.

"Yes, she should have called the police. Actually, I think she did eventually. She bears a lot of psychological scars."

I felt terrible, as though the abuse had just happened before my eyes.

"Both Kevin and I ended up helping her find a new place."

"It was sad," Kevin told me. "She seemed like such a nice woman on the outside. But she was so freaked out about her ex; she thought he was following her around even when she was with us."

"Yes, on the outside she seemed so charming and talented. But all the time her life was going to pieces. Just between you and me, I think her family background was screwy; her father was a control freak. So when she suggested picking up a guy, I discouraged her. She insisted and talked about picking someone up at a bar. At times she seemed so self-destructive. That's when I thought about you. You seemed well-mannered, educated and caring. You were safe – someone who wouldn't try to control her. At that point she wasn't ready for a boyfriend; she just wanted someone semi-normal to remind her that not every man was dysfunctional. Also, she needed space. And you were willing to give it."

"I appreciate your kind words. But can't you just give me her phone number at least? Or arrange another meeting?"

"Her number is unlisted, and many of her friends still don't know how to reach her. Truthfully, if you tried contacting her, that would spook her out. She's vulnerable. Also, she values her privacy. There's nothing I can do. You have to wait for her to come to you."

"Well, can you at least tell me what kinds of places she hangs out at?"

Jill laughed. "You don't even know what she looked like."

"Maybe so, but I still think we'd hit it off."

"Let's just say it's highly unlikely you'd bump into her by accident."

"That's right," Kevin said.

"But you already said you thought I was a normal male. What is the harm of meeting her?"

"I don't have an answer to that question. You need to let her decide."

"Can I ask a dumb question; what kind of work does she do?"

Jill and Kevin exchanged glances, and Jill hesitated.

"If I told you, that might provide some clue about how to reach her. I know she doesn't want that."

"Well, what is she like? What are her hobbies?"

"She told me not to share her personal details."

"But I'm not a crazy boyfriend!"

"Don't be so quick to judge her." Jill said. "Look, you hardly know her. You don't know what she was going through. You don't even know her real name."

"Are you defending her?"

"I'm not defending anybody. After the problems with her ex, she was suspicious about everybody. Don't take it personally. That's why she values her privacy so much."

"But do you talk to her often?"


"Mark, Jill still hasn't come to her point," Kevin said, "A few minutes ago Jill told me she would deliver a note from you to her."

I relaxed. "You will?"

"Whenever I see her next, I'll deliver it." Jill said, "But I don't think it's a good idea...Here's paper if you need it."

I took the paper and started writing.

"Natalie, I had a beautiful time, and I would like to get to know you better. Can you give me a call? 480-723-5118."

No, that didn't sound right. "Can I have another piece of paper?"

"Here," Jill said, handing me the pad. "Take your time."

"I enjoyed the night we spent together. Wouldn't it be fun to meet for real this time?" I scribbled that out. Too casual. Dear 'Natalie'. I'd like to meet you for real, so I could learn (among other things) your real name. Interested? Mark (yes, that is my real name)." Change that. "Does that evening we spent together seem as memorable to you as it did to me? If yes, give me a call 480-723-5118." Or "I can't tell you how much that night changed me. I don't really know you (except on a superficial level). But I think we could enjoy getting to know one another for real. Would you consider it? 480-723-5118." Change: "I'm sorry you've going through a rough time. I miss you. Do you miss me?" Too needy. "Thank you for awakening my passions. Would you like to try it again?" Too forward and sexy. "That night was great, but wouldn't you like to become friends? Mark, 480-723-5118." "Although I enjoyed that evening, I'd really like to know you better. Contact me if interested. Mark 480-723-5118." I hated that word "enjoy". "Natalie, the night we shared was special to me. I'd love to meet you again..even if only as friends. Would you like that? Mark 480-723-5118."

I wrote that note and handed it to Jill, who folded it and stuck it inside her purse. As I went home, I tried to digest what I'd just learned, replaying that night of passion with this new knowledge. The memory of her physical agitation and orgasms now seemed less sensual, more poignant. I wish I had treated her more gently, less demandingly. I remember the way I guided her into oral sex; it now made me so guilty for insisting on that. But she did so willingly. Did she actually enjoy it... or had I imagined it? At the time I had spent all my time worrying about whether she was attractive; later, after I got to see her face, I regarded her as some sensual bohemian interested in exploring alternative lifestyles. Now I see that she was still a victim, emotionally vulnerable and turning towards complete strangers, albeit in a passive almost nihilistic way. Maybe...I should have listened. Maybe I should have stopped focusing on the heat of the moment and offered something resembling unconditional companionship. Maybe that's all she had wanted, but I went ahead and dragged pussies and cocks into it. Had she enjoyed it? There was the orgasm at the end – she couldn't have faked that. But how do I know the rest of the night was not simply her giving in to some impersonal emotion? If I had known, I might have treated her more cautiously. I remember her lying next to me, susceptible to any kind of physical contact, yet remaining silent. What did the encounter mean to her? If my advances had been more tentative, would she have opened up more? In my stupidity I made the assumption that the best way to connect with her was through physical passion. If only I had not tried to force it...

As these doubts began to afflict me, I revisited the memories, letting them seduce me yet again. In the darkness of my imagination, I was next to her, caressing away her pain, letting her embrace me. I imagined making love as before, infused with new knowledge about her background and motives. In my imagination I became more generous with my affection, more giving, more sympathetic. When we made love, I imagined doing it with a pure heart, devoid of lust. How did she feel? What did she think of me? Or did she even think of me at all? During that evening, did she appreciate my individuality...or did she simply enjoy me simply as a typical male with no distinguishing qualities? Before I cast the light over her face, I reveled in the fact she was a woman, possibly a fucked-up or unattractive woman, but a woman. And yes, anonymity had its allure – knowing that after that evening, I could walk away for good. But when I waved the penlight over her face and saw her tantalizing beauty, everything changed. She was no longer a crazy mystery but an individual with a name and a face and history. I replayed that scene of the light passing over her face, imagining her eyes opening, staring, acknowledging my presence with a curious glance.

But what did she think of me? Surely Jill knew.

It was only 10:00, so I called Jill up.

"What did she say about me?"

Jill sighed wearily. "Please, haven't we gone over this?"

"But you talk to her a lot."

"Well somewhat often."

"How often? Once a week?"

"Maybe once every two weeks."

"So what do you talk about?"

"Oh, the usual things. Work, music, social life."

"Social life – she's dating?"

"Well, obviously. She always had an active social life. "

"Does she tell you about the men she goes out with?"

"Sometimes. Really, I've learned not to pry."

"Does she date a lot of men?"

"She used to. Now I think it's only one man."

"How long has that been going on?"

"I don't know!" she said. "I'm sorry. You shouldn't be so nosy. Maybe you need to find somebody or join a dating service."

"You still haven't answered my question. What did she say about me?"

"Well, it's sort of complicated. Two days after your encounter, I ran into her purely by chance at lunchtime. She was with a client, so she wasn't free to talk, but I remember asking her about it.'"

"And what did she say?"

"She said it wasn't a good time to talk because she was with a client."

"So what did she say the next time?"

"The next time – I think it was a week later. We were talking on the telephone."

"What did she say?"

"Nothing. She didn't mention you; not then or any time after."

Started 2000, finished 2006-7.

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"She clung to me like an little child, but I wanted a woman, a slutty woman who would spread her legs at a moment's notice. "
Erez Sitzer, Allure of Scent
Allure of Scent, Erez Sitzer.
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