In a place where lust was doing an excellent job of masquerading as love and where I felt homesick for somewhere I have never quite lived, I wanted this. Imagine us then in London, the decade before we were born, so I can afford a flat off Portobello Road on an artist’s salary and a transatlantic flight for you to visit me for the week is still a fancy, real-china affair. Since you arrived, we’ve snacked our way through the stalls at Camden Market, scored cheap tickets to theatre in Leicester Square, and scoured Carnaby Street for anything twenty years earlier that the Stones or the Kinks might’ve left behind. Now, donning the duds we found—a navy, three-piece suit with a cream and grey paisley shirt and solid black tie for you; a complimentary mod floral, long-sleeve V-neck dress on me—we’re heading to a successful capitalist’s playground: Harrod’s. We start in the department store’s liquor-tasting room, sampling blood orange and lavender gins. Slightly tipsy then we balance against one another and work our way toward the food hall, staring bemusedly at the fancy-looking vegetables in wicker baskets that are double the price of their cousins at Tesco. Nipping into the tearoom and ordering wine, we ogle at the perfect pies in the glass pastry case. Our waitress takes pity on our flushed faces and dilated pupils, pulling one out and cutting a large slice, bringing it over with rhubarb tumbling out the sides, whispering, ‘Enjoy kids.’ Our hunger is too consuming to thank her as we take turns shoveling forkfuls between our lips. It’s the taste bud equivalent of an orgasm, but sugar is a weak absorber of alcohol. Still sloshed, we continue exploring, weaving in and out of bedding and stationery, televisions and workout gear, ending up at the beauty parlor. You tell me you’re going to the barber and I beg you not to cut your dark, flippy hair. You laugh and promise it’ll be fine. I head into the nail salon, something right out of the Wizard of Oz where each of my nails gets polished a different shade of blue. I meet you in the hall outside after. Your hair has been coiffed a little to one side in a way that makes me want to mess it up. ‘Is it okay?’ you ask. ‘Sure,’ I say, leaning into your chest. ‘But I prefer what they did with the mustache. It won’t tickle so much now when you kiss me.’ Laughing, you take my arm and we head to the end of the hall, running into the vinyl-boothed and marble-floored gelateria. ‘Second dessert?’ you suggest, as if there is any answer other than ‘yes.’ We’re seated at a small table in the back and served quickly, but I soon lose interest in my lemon sorbet, watching you instead devour your mint chocolate chip like a little kid new to it, twisting the long-handled spoon in my mouth and skimming my tongue inside its bowl as I stare. The longer I do so, the more I realize I don’t want any more to eat. I just want you. You look up as you get to the bottom of your dish, some gelato astray on your chin. I lean in and kiss it off then move to trace your lips with my tongue before gently easing it into your mouth. You go along with it, reaching up to tangle your hand in my hair as mine works its way into the seat of your pants. I press into you a little more than I should and you pull your mouth from mine, breathing into my ear. ‘Let’s get the check,’ I whisper, working on a still-present buzz and a half-formed plan. After you pay, I grab your hand, pulling you along in my madness to the empty showroom full of ballgowns and fascinators. ‘What are we doing?’ you ask. I laugh, ducking us into a rack of fluffy tulle. You’re trying to kiss me sweetly but my clumsy hands are busy figuring out all of the closures on your outdated outfit. Eventually, I solve the puzzles (even the button-fly of the trousers) and slide my hands underneath the layers against your hot skin, a noise coming out of you as I bend down and take you in my mouth. I’m going quicker than usual, a bit eager but also worried I will sober up and find my fear. You don’t seem to mind, biting your lip as your neck juts out, your Adam’s apple bobbing, frustrated. When I pull back and take you in my hand, a little pre-cum leaks out and I gently glaze it over your tip with my newly-manicured thumb. You keep reaching out to touch me but I know we don’t really have time. I take you back in my mouth and go harder, faster. As my hand finds your thigh I can feel you start to shake. ‘Rachel…’ you say. It’s a warning I don’t want to heed. ‘Rachel, I…’ After a moment, I feel the spillage onto my tongue. I’ve never taken this before. I’ve never wanted to take this from anyone before. I make sure you are completely relieved then slowly set you free, dragging soft kisses over your softening length until I get to your stomach that’s still pulsing with heat. You reach down and finally, your hands take my face, pulling me up and kissing both cheeks. When you get to my mouth, I laugh and ask, ‘Are you still hungry?’ In a whisper, you reply, ‘Yes, but I think it’s time we head back to yours.’
Beeper Peddle is a writer and healer living on the East Coast. She lives with her partner and their beloved soul puppy. Beeper writes about sorrows, lies, and deep loves. When you read her work, you will dip down into her heart and end up in all manner of body parts. Should you find yourself reflected in these words, it is merely coincidence; however, it does not surprise her you share the same heart. Find her at bethpeddle.com and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram
Rachel A.G. Gilman’s work has been published in journals throughout the US, UK, and Australia. She is the Creator/Editor-in-Chief of The Rational Creature, a columnist for No Contact Mag, and was Editor-in-Chief of Columbia Journal, Issue 58. She has an MFA in Writing, Nonfiction from Columbia University and is reading for an MSt in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford. She lives in New York and works in publishing. More at rachelaggilman.com.