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The Ghost of Christmas Past

"I need to share my secret, Camille is relying on me."

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Competition Entry: Festive Unexpected

Author's Notes

"As Anais Nin once said, "We write to taste life twice." so this is a collection of memories and reminiscences. There are a few grains of truth in this, but I have altered parts to protect the places, the guilty and the naughty. <p> [ADVERT] </p>Wherever you are, have a wonderful Christmas, all of you. This is a little festive cheer to put some spice into your day. As always, thanks to my husband - you know what you did."

When a snowflake falls, there is beauty and tragedy; each is unique until it melts on the pavement. Wearing white and misty grey shrouds, black skeletal trees form a guard of honour. The blizzard mutes all noise as a mark of respect. It feels like the world is mourning, and in my life, I am.

I could not tell him; I did not share my secret.

Demure whites bleed onto the pavement, and peering into a shop window, the decorative display does not warm my turbulent heart.

It is Monday afternoon, and sick to my stomach, I left work early.

Amongst the thrall of shoppers, she wears a white scarf with a red woollen hat that matches her thick overcoat. Loose curls lick at her shoulders, and a gloved hand clutches his arm. He looks so dashing with his coat collar turned up, sprinkled with snow, and I must smile to maintain a pretence. It is the festive season; they are young, beautiful, and handsome; it might be their first Christmas together.

Jean-Luc and I will share ours, too.

As they make their new traditions, I have my own. I need to collect one of them. I hang a mistletoe bush every year to bring my house guests good luck.

“Madame Duprix, did you know the English kiss beneath Mistletoe?”

Preoccupied, the florist waited for my answer.

“Sorry? Yes… yes, I did.” It was the first thing that came to mind, “They always need an excuse.”

“It is a good excuse,” she confided. “Any excuse is.”

Her mercurial grin unsettled me. Exposed by our sudden empathy, I left in a hurry. Haunted by her words, grit crunches quickly beneath my feet, and my warm breath swirls into the frigid air. The florist’s grin and her tone close to laughter, she offered an amusing witticism, now it mocks me.

I hope Jean-Luc is at home.

No more excuses; I will tell him what he should know. Suspended across the boulevard, ivory stars guide me to his apartment. Inside, I cast off my shoes and heavy coat. Thawing quickly, I am in the lounge, and sparks fly from the log burner; it is the metaphor for what I want.

Creeping on stockinged feet, florid saxophone noodles over a whiny cornet – jazz, no rhythm. There is a pause, and these sounds betray my mind and senses. They chill my bones, my throat is thick, and a deep dread rears within. Automatically, one foot follows the other. The bedroom door is ajar, and compelled to look, I freeze.

She is astride him, a gazelle to a lion, and two strong hands press into her behind. Writhing in their death throes, the chord of his erection breeches her glossy cunt.

“Jean-Luc… oh… oh God. Yes! Yes! Fuck me… fuck me harder!”

They are frantic, and from the noise they are making, I have not been heard. She clings on, trying to match him, and I know, as the strangest feeling… I know she will lose.

Mommy is not kissing Santa Claus. My boyfriend is banging the life out of some stranger, and a fortnight too early.

-=-

I pivot between anger and self-pity, hemmed in by the chill of snowfall and the muted sounds of a city struggling to breathe. I am a stranger to my existence, ethereal as a detached spirit. Tangled in my thoughts, I cannot make sense of them. Yes, he has cheated; he went behind my back, and I am wronged. No, that is hypocritical; I am compromised, too.

I know who I am and what I want.

No, I lie by omission, and that mollifies my emotions. Whatever I should feel simmers inside out of reach; I am numb.

I should be contented. In those early days, Jean-Luc took me until I bayed for more, making demands with spittle-flecked vowels. He silenced me into panted moans, and I clawed, bit, and wrapped my limbs around him; I submitted, croaked, shuddered, and let him plunder my soul.

He was spontaneous; he bent me over, yanked my panties down, and ploughed me over the kitchen table, the settee, against a wall. He fulfilled me as a woman with these rough, raw, and animal acts. Or I took charge, pinned him down, and fucked him hard for the urgent release I craved… just because I could.

We fucked, screwed, call it what you want.

There was a tender side to us, soft lights, considerate and patient, and the ebb and flow of pleasure to a climactic and gratifying ending. There were moments when Jean-Luc laid in my arms, and I nurtured him to sleep.

In the blissful state of a new relationship, put a penny in the jar every time you have sex.

We filled ours to the brim.

Once in a committed relationship, when you have sex, take a penny out.

Our jar is still full.

He was not meant to tame me but to keep me wild. There is no marriage contract between us. I have done that once, and my secret was the price I paid for its failure. Is this any better?

The snow has stopped. Melted in shimmering pools of light, hundreds of black mirrors disappear into the distance. Walking into one, I dash its reflection. Looking up at the decorative stars, I can see what I was blind to. Jean-Luc is a physical man with a limited vocabulary to convey his feelings. I need that like air to breathe. Again, I sat back and expected them to come. I should have encouraged him.

He is a man-child. No, he is a man of action who did something about his unhappiness. I do not. Words matter to me, and I ignored this vital flaw. I worried so much I lost my appetite many times.

Being slim is not always about careful eating. Sex is more than the sum of its parts.

This is a fork in the road, but I cannot choose where to turn.

I must speak to Camille, and I have been avoiding her calls. She will not like this, but she will know what to do.

-=-

Sitting in her apartment, I am not sure she wants me here, and it is a chaotic sanctuary. Toulouse-Lautrec looks down upon us. He surveys the scene of many parties, the battleground of loves won and lost, a place of meaningless sex, meaningful fucking, countless hangovers, tears, laughter, and soul-searching conversations. It is a bohemian palace of Art Deco fused with prints from the Belle Epoque and the Lapin Agile. Erik Satie grieves for my state of mind. There is a life story in the ephemera on the bookcases, and those two Spanish-blown glass vases are always filled with fresh flowers. We joke that the tall spider plant in its giant pot is sentient, and she has them to keep him company.

Unravelled spools of gold and red ribbon entertain a new inhabitant; a blur of fur and paws chases, traps, and toys with it. Pieces of wrapping paper lie in tatters, and a half-unwrapped present sits alone on the parquet floor.

Cami sits there, sipping her cognac. She flicks her hair from her face as a severe gesture that matches her neutral expression.

My reason for visiting at short notice was a throwaway line. It landed as a rock in a millpond; my boyfriend fucked someone else, the end. I want to talk about anything except men, quietly petulant towards the one who knows my best and worst.

Grabbing the end of the red ribbon, the kitten scampers, making a dash for freedom. I envy him.

Cami stares at her new tearaway and shrugs, “I took the day off because she wanted a pet. A housewarming gift. It is not for Christmas.”

At least he is housetrained, and I hear the scrabbling noises of cat litter.

She finishes her glass. “God, for such a small thing, he shits big.”

Pouring out more cognac, she tops up mine, and I watch him saunter back into the lounge.

I admit, the tortoiseshell kitten is absolutely adorable. “What are you going to do?”

“I did not know she is allergic to cats, so they will take it… him… back.”

With a fragile heart, my eyes plead with her.

“I will get her a goldfish in a nice bowl,” she mutters with an air of resignation.

Rolling the cognac in my mouth, I enjoy its spicy fire.

Cami fixes me with her gaze; a tilt of her head follows, and those brittle features pinch with determination. “The question is, Ines, what will you do?”

“For Christmas? Veronique is spending it in Nice this year with her father. He extended the invitation to me, also.”

When she raises an eyebrow, I have pushed her too far.

“No, not that,” she tuts. “What are you going to do with Jean-Luc?”

I sip my drink, “The kitchen knives are sharp.”

Her lips curl, baring her teeth.

Leaning back into the settee, I sigh, “I only wanted to fuck him to prove the florist wrong.”

It melts away her smile into a frown. “The florist?”

“Long story.” It is the sound of a lamentation Cami has heard before.

“Do you love him?”

“I… I am not sure.”

“How is the sex?”

“It can be… good.”

“Pfft,” she mocks me, “dry spell, then.”

“Yeah,” I sigh.

“Have you told him?”

Eye-to-eye, I shake my head, “No, not yet.”

Cami considers my situation, “So you will ignore this and tell him?”

Stumbling over the lump in my throat, I need more cognac, “I... I know I should end this. I… I know how difficult it has been for me and you.”

Peering down, she swirls her drink, “We agreed to do this.”

I am crestfallen, “Yes. There is no ‘but’.” I drain my glass, “I should have told him sooner.”

“Pfft, and that would have stopped him cheating on you?”

Staring into her emerald eyes, I could not shake this foreboding. She is no longer proud and impervious.

“Oh no, Cami. No, no, no. Not Christophe?”

“Yeah, I told him on Saturday. It is what it is.”

I grab the bottle and charge her glass, “Shit, I am so sorry, I….”

“Stop,” she interrupts. “Look at us. What are we doing? Men, again. We go out together and attract attention and this? This is what happens.”

Cami bolts her cognac and suppresses a cough.

She waves her finger as if conducting an orchestra, playing for time, “You and Jean-Luc, too. It is an omen.”

“A big fucking omen. What happened with you and Christophe?”

“He shook his head, gathered what he had, and left. Honestly, I could explode sometimes… so…”

The storm peters out, and Cami waits for my reaction.

I nod solemnly in agreement and cannot look at her. “I know this feeling. I am a coward.”

Wiggling his tiny body, the kitten distracts us. He launches himself at the present. Lacking any feline grace, he thumps into it with the sound of a bass drum, learning an important life lesson. We laugh at the poor thing, and mine is half-hearted.

She knows. “Seriously, Ines? Christmas with your daughter and ex-husband? He is single again, yes?”

“Yes… again.”

That eyebrow is back. “After what happened two years ago?”

I mull over her question, “I can be good.”

Cami is not convinced, “An hour ago, you wanted to fuck your boyfriend to prove the florist wrong. You appear to tolerate your… man… fucking some slut. I know why.”

“Why?”

“Because he is not good, you are not good, and we are not good. Secretly, you admire Jean-Luc for doing it. I know someone who would have done the same thing not so long ago.”

I shrug, “Perhaps, but I wanted…”

She shifts her position on the settee. “I know.” Her soulful eyes linger on mine, “I wanted the same thing from Christophe.”

“I liked Christophe, too. I am sorry, really.” It is a deep sigh of defeat, “What a mess. Six months.”

Cami reaches out and rubs her thumb over my cheek, wiping away a tear. I lean into it and kiss her wrist.

“If you go to Nice,” she speaks softly, it is a balm for my soul, “your ex will wrap you around his little finger.”

Breaking away, I smile and wiggle mine, “And his cock.”

She splutters, looks at me as I beam, and joins me in cathartic laughter.

“And Jean-Luc, is he?”

I nod slowly, “I have to use both hands.”

“Mmm, now I understand,” she purrs, “Are you prepared to forgive him because he has a big cock? So, he is not relationship material. I admit, Ines, he is a handsome man.”

I sigh, floating on the effects of the cognac, “I do not know what I want.”

“Does he have any friends?”

“He plays rugby. They are all handsome.”

“I see,” Cami ponders this with a wicked grin.

“Oooh… that is awful and spectacular.”

"Fine. We will do this your way, Ines, then we shall see.”

There is mischief in her eyes. We do not need words for our secret connivance.

-=-

Our limbs are crooked, and there is no choreography. We glow from our mutual climax, and my breathing hitches as I hunt for air. In each other’s arms, a careful finger sweeps a string of damp hair from my face. Cami’s flushed cheeks dimple into a warm smile. Her eyes look upon me, no longer filled with concern or disapproval. Driven by pure instinct, this is our magical connection. I am back at the place I should never have left.

“It has been too long,” she muses.

“Yes,” I gasp, still recovering my breath.

“Forgive me.”

“Forgive you? Forgive me, too.”

She takes a sip from the cognac and shares it with me.

I try to speak, and she presses a finger to my lips. She is right; we do not need words, and I kiss it. Smiling, she traces the outline of my mouth; I suck on her digit and plead with my eyes for more. It is a burning light that will not be extinguished. Holding my chin, she exposes my neck. I look at the picture on the wall until a tender vacuum nuzzles it, and my eyes close. I can feel her heat against my leg from her flawless sex, and my hips find the necessary friction against her thigh. Clasping her body, Cami should mark me, then I must explain. Her caress rises along my arm and forces a wistful gasp of anticipation.

The grazing sensation of lips, they suck, leading to where my hope rests, and my panted breath rises an octave. Diverted across my shoulder, she aggravates my desire, transforming it into the need for action. My fingers follow the canyon of her spine and descend to clasp her pert behind. Her willowy body twists and her lithe limbs push back. It is playful, and I relent. Plucking my nipple adds to my restlessness, yet I will remain prone to her. My arms rest above my head, and she understands the motif: I am passive, vulnerable, and there for the taking. My eyes track hers as she descends my naked body.

I am lost in her wilful gaze. The swish of smooth skin against skin, the smooch of her kisses, and the delicate scent of her perfume fuel my longing. The tip of her tongue draws a spiral around my breast as an ever-decreasing circle. Her fingers are the portent of her intentions. The tingling pleasure pools at my core as she toys with my erect nipple, and when the other is engulfed, I whimper louder. My leg, bent at the knee, falls, symbolic of my defeat.

My back arches, begging for more. My stupidity is plain to see; no one inspires me like this. I reach out, caressing Cami’s face; it is her turn to turn into it and kiss my wrist. There are no seconds, minutes, or hours here; the failing light means nothing. There are no seasons, no day or night; we are alone in the world. There is no virtue, only joy and a solace from pain. I have been a fool, yet this is our forgiveness towards each other. Her piano fingers trace around the mound of my breast, along my cinched waist, and rise over my hip to where I need them most.

When I am breached, such is my votive plea, her grin widens. Two fingers are hooked into my sex, and that devilish thumb chases my pulsing clit.

“Show me this time, Ines.” She flicks at my nipple, “I want to close my eyes tonight and remember the look on your face.”

I have to bite my lip as their soft pads graze that elusive spot within, and I murmur in surrender. What starts as something so distant and fragile gathers strength. Rising louder, escalating with the sticky sounds, it rumbles stronger and stronger until the edifice of my prison begins to crumble.

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My hips loft and fall with a rising pace. My limbs begin to shake amidst the escalating violence, and Cami’s words can be felt. The tenderness, the kindness in her eyes, the confidence in her expression. Peering up to see me so lost, she dives to suck on my nipple. Wound up tight, tighter than a clock spring, this is the time to show her. Locked to her gaze, her slippery tongue flicks on my sensitive nipple and renders me mindless.

At the pinnacle, my mouth opens, my features soften, and I quiver to a halt. I am revealed at my most intimate, devouring Cami’s look of fascination at my plight. Seizing on her fingers, I cry out and pull at the sheets. I bury my sobbing cries in the crook of her neck, holding on tight, or I will drown.

-=-

I do not feel the cold on the way to Jean-Luc’s apartment. The kitchen knives are sharp, very sharp, and remain in their block. Sated, my gait is loose, and I parade myself in front of him, wafting around the apartment naked.

He does not recognise the glow on my cheeks, and I opt to wear one of his shirts, buttoned only in the middle. Every curve peeks through as I fidget on the settee, watching something banal on television. Ignoring his side glances, I want him to stew in what he could have. I am entertained by the memories of this afternoon. My limbs ache, and my body grows wearier by the hour.

It looms as a monster in the room, and I will slay it; this is what I am. From Jean-Luc’s lies, there will be truth… my truth. Fortified by more cognac, this was the moment I told him. I am bisexual, and I spare him all the details; a man who is not thirsty will not drink. Cami and I made a pact and I will not share that pain.

It was not a tale from the ghost of Christmas past or present. He listened to the spectre of Christmas future with a leer on his face.

I did not stay the night. This is a battle of wills now.

Joyeux Noël, Jean-Luc Fuck-Scrooge.

-=-

On Saturday, he paid for dinner and admission to this expensive place. Either guilt or lust opened his wallet. We sit as a three: Jean-Luc, Cami, and myself. He knows what we are here for, and this is my only requirement. This place has its reputation; it is a temple of vice. What it means to be here does not easily translate. The English kiss under the mistletoe, and in France, it is a good luck symbol. This is a place for fine dining, and dessert is a different confection but just as sweet.

The prospects for our nasty soiree are enough to dry his throat, and he sips at his aperitif again. Resisting his advances all week, I boiled him in his juices on a simple pretext. He must save himself for us tonight. He is the scene of a crime I have returned to, and I am rabid with lust.

I distract myself with the pristine white napkins and silver cutlery. We are flanked by racy pictures of nineteenth-century demi-mondes. Amongst the gilt baroque décor, we sit on crimson velvet beneath a sandstone vaulted ceiling, and the smoked glass mirrors give the impression of space. The conversation around us is low and murmurs; it might be perfunctory and pleasant, but it could be salacious and seductive, too.

Cami and I exchange a conspiratorial glance, attired in black, wearing similar wraparound dresses; one is raw silk, and the other is crushed velvet. The textures are rough and smooth, just like our personalities, and we are not hungry for food. We are painted, our lips in different shades of red, and lighter eye shadow compliments Cami’s salt-and-pepper hair; mine is darker to match the chestnut tones of mine. I am not an earnest office worker; I am me. Drawn as a vamp, poised like a mistress, thinking like a whore. My eyes are laser beams filled with intent as I look upon Jean-Luc.

Opposite us, he cuts a roguish figure in a dinner jacket; he fills it well. Cami is flirting with him, and her hand rests on my shoulder. I wonder if I am hot to the touch because her fingers are so cool.

Jean-Luc watches how I flush when she draws a swirling pattern on my upper arm. Pouting, I will not avert my narrowed, coquettish eyes. I am the mouse; he is the cat. Cami leans forward to share a confidence. His eyes have wandered several times to the plush decolletage of her breasts.

Our eyes greet him, and I admire Cami’s wanton expression. Muscle memory signals my approval into his puppy-dog eyes. Looking at her, dipping to her lips, our carnal knowledge is described by the tilt of our necks. As the gap between us narrows, I want Jean-Luc aflame. Pressing my lips to hers, the delicate pressure speaks a thousand words. Our mouths are slightly open, and she presses hers to mine with a subtlety that only women possess.

I am burning now, and I want to be burned.

With that dirty smile, he says nothing. He does not try. I know what he sees in me: a pornographic object.

-=-

Over dinner, I befriended the younger couple sitting next to us; they looked nervous. We made conversation as a five, and there were no objections to Jean-Luc’s roaming eyes as they undressed the pretty blonde. With Cami’s mischievous hand parked between my thighs, my silk panties cling to my molten sex. He knew that look on my face; he grinned and returned to talk to the couple.

Animated in conversation with her, it is salt in an open wound. Making our excuses, we imply a different destination to where we were really going. Leaving Jean-Luc with them, he has a choice: try his luck with the blonde or come and find us.

We slip between the heavy velvet curtains and descend into the red-tinted darkness; Cami leads the way and squeezes my hand.

“You okay?”

“Yes, more than okay. I need this.”

“So do I.” She grins, “So do I.”

We opt for masks of black and gold filigree. Removing our dresses, they hang on a single hook, and I tie my hair back. Pulling down a lock, I hide an eye behind it. It is a flimsy disguise, but we will hide in plain sight. I am no longer demure, and I am not a liar. I will do what I want with pride.

Red patent stilettos tighten my lithe calves, and my poise strikes like lightning. Thirty-five years old, there is apprehension, not fear. It sharpens the senses as much as my lingerie short-circuits any reticence. Wearing a black basque with a red jacquard relief, my breasts heave as I breathe – perfect. My stockings are held up with matching suspenders and rustle with each step. My panties are damp.

Cami’s sleek figure sways with the grace of a feline. In a lace black halterneck with a plunge front, the fabric confines her perky breasts and their bullet-shaped nipples. With a chantilly lace hem at mid-thigh and sheer panties, she is the bold and brave one.

We thread our way past a couple; his bow tie is undone with the first few buttons open. She rubs her hand over his crotch, and our eyes meet, then linger on my lips. She reaches out, and I am overwhelmed. It is a fleeting kiss; she yearns for many more as Cami pulls my hand, and we must break.

The woman grins in the way a vixen surveys her quarry, “Come back later?”

“Sure.” We know that might not happen.

The night is no longer young but at its corruptible peak. We navigate around the watchers, some dressed, others not. The groans, giggling, and whimpers are a symphony to my ears. I am so distracted at the first corner that it feels like a maze. This is a million miles away from my apartment. Translucent fabric flanks the large alcoves. If drawn across them, it illuminates the carnality as cavorting silhouettes. Those who prefer to be more overt leave them open.

A striking woman kneels on the plush satin-covered bed, an hourglass of broad shoulders, a taut waist, and curvy hips. Her eyes seared into mine. She is a little older and tosses her long dark tresses to one side, smoothing them over her shoulder. Bathed in red with a dark outline, her thighs are open. She clutches at the hair of the prone woman beneath her, cupping her sex. Her writhing hips sway her teardrop breasts, and I am treated to the ecstasy on her elegant features.

Grinning, she delights in my admiration of her.

Cami tenderly holds my bare shoulder. The woman turns, revealing the crease of her behind and Venus dimples. Lowering herself onto her face again, a pointed tongue cleaves her peachy sex. He looms into view, athletic with powerful flanks, revealing the shadow of his curved erection. It violates her mouth, and she bobs back and forth to take it.

Standing behind me, the curves of Cami’s body caress mine. Those nuzzling lips pepper my neck, and seductive fingers ease over my body. Her hand slides around my waist and into my panties, cupping the wet cauldron. As her fingers stir my clit, the flames burn brightest.

From her side glance and the blunt head of his cock rubbing the inside of her mouth, she beckons to us.

“Yes?” Cami asks, sucking on my earlobe, breeching my torrid sex.

“Oh, God, yes… a thousand times.”

-=-

The fingers that removed my basque and panties tease the inside of my thigh. We writhe in the mire of five languid bodies. Outstretched arms seek an embrace, a suspender strap bows, and its stocking is wrinkled. We are elegant and clumsy and everything in between. Soft hands prise my legs wide open, displaying my body to all those who care to look. Like alchemy, anxious nerves were the base ingredients to this all-powerful lust. This ecstasy is my narcotic.

Emboldened, my powerful conviction is an instinct half-forgotten. Embracing it, I find its strength and purpose. I can taste the woman’s essence on my lips as a wriggling tongue buries into my folds. My moans mix with the others as I capture an expansive breast and squeeze it with tenderness. Pressed to my lips, I accept a rigid shaft. It is thick and hot; I can taste Cami’s juices on it.

Looking downwards, Cami cups my sex with her mouth, curls her back, and rolls her hips, enjoying the fingers nestled within her. Their owner has no name, yet her wicked grin at my predicament rumbles a groan onto my impalement. Tender lips on my breast transform into a suckling kiss. I swoop and glide as a swallow, my movements determined by sublime pleasure and a soundtrack of moans, gasps, and whimpers.

My plight is their plight; the feminine grip of a hand around my wrist guides me with an economy of instructions. The woman is between my legs, pulling on my thighs to lower my hips. Before my eyes are her lithe flanks and the naked hillock of her mons. I devour what is before me, craning my neck, lapping at her folds. I chase her clit as it tries to escape; the tip of my tongue pushes under its hood. Amongst us, I am one and have slipped from the noose of convention. Alive in the moment, there is no tomorrow. I ensconce her clit with my mouth, savouring her tart juices.

A hand cups my breast, scissored fingers on my nipple charge my hips to roam, and firm hands pull to keep me in place. A delicate caress runs up and down my arm. My peripheral vision can see a woman between Cami’s thighs. Laid beside me, she pouts, her eyes narrow, and her lips invite mine. We share the bittersweet essence between us as she climaxes.

I am encouraged by a firm hand on the small of my back; it slows to a halt. They lift my hips, and I present myself for the inevitable. I know what this means, and I want it. Breeched, he squeezes himself into me, grazing along the sodden walls of my sex. The thrill of such pleasure is another order of magnitude to my experience so far. My eyes squeeze closed, and I shall move from the waist down. A fiendish tongue on my clit provides the electricity, and his rigid shaft illuminates the path ahead.

I writhe at the alcove’s edge amidst a tangle of limbs and twisted bodies. I am constrained by this sweet harmony of a man and a woman. They are strangers to me, doing something only those familiar with each other can do. His adroit thrusts shake my hair loose, and her devious mouth has brought me to the pinnacle of gratification. The surly bonds of reality slip away behind closed eyes.

Cami kneels alongside me, her fingers gliding as feathers over my undulating spine. I lock my elbows, and our lips press together. It is a dance, back and forth, and her tongue plunders my mouth as we snort for air. She caresses my swaying breast, her thumb toys with its nipple, closing my eyes.

“Look, Ines.”

Her words are all I can process, and as my blurry vision focuses, I follow her gaze.

Jean-Luc is watching, blank-faced and alone.

From this colourful rapture, blackened contempt seeks to poison it. Spying a couple watching us, she is stroking her husband’s erection, fully rigid and poking out from his trousers. My eyes implore them both, and the curl on her lips forces a febrile grin of my own. Her fingers knit through my hair, and he comes forward. She holds it so close to my panting mouth.

I have it, and my nostrils snort as the tumult gathers pace once more. Sucking on it with enthusiasm, I close my eyes and delete my place in this world.

Here is our relationship in pictures without any words, Jean-Luc. I am not an object, and this is not pornography. We live, breathe, and have feelings; we are honest about what we want. This is what I think about us. Remember this: when you are fucking her, you have limitations, and I did not.

The last of what encumbers me falls away. Impaling me deeper, I move back and forth for more. Filled at both ends, my ragged motions tighten her grip on my thighs. The wave’s crest approaches, and I embrace all its consequences. It grows taller, taller still, and I pray for deliverance. My ears are ringing, and my body turns to trembling stone as the white noise and heat peak. The presence of witnesses, the sounds of fucking, and Cami’s fingers pluck on my nipple. Teetering, trying to cry out, my sex and mouth rifled with a persistent rhythm, and the flourish of her tongue brings me to the cusp of the abyss.

This is what we want; this is what we were denied. No longer, not anymore, never again.

The wave topples and crashes with a roar, and I am gone.

-=-

Gazing out of the windows, my wistful smile is a souvenir from that evening. It feels so long ago.

There is no snow; it is the in-between of days, an it-might-rain-or-might-not kind of day, neither mild nor cold.

It is Christmas Day.

We are warm inside, and the city is quiet in celebration. The four candles on the wreath are lit. The tree glistens in gold, red and white. My tortoiseshell ball of fur crouches over his bowl, demolishing a special treat. The delicious aromas of a goose roasting fill the air, and Charles Aznavour sings about Christmas in Paris.

Placing down my fluted glass of bubbles, my hands slide around her waist, and hers rest on my shoulders. We embrace, and I hold her tight. It is like last year, except we have the place to ourselves.

I peer up to see we are underneath it. “Would you like to? It will bring us good luck next year.”

“You and your traditions.” Cami purses her lips. They will not remain like this for long.

A tilt of her head arrives, and I take my opportunity. She yields at my petition, and I understand the florist’s words perfectly. We have our imperfections, and we work hard to achieve what we need. We are friends and lovers and do not live a lie.

I hope she can see that in my eyes, “Happy Christmas, Cami.”

She beams, “Happy Christmas, Ines.”

Martin and Pierre smile at us both.

“The Mistletoe… again!” It always amuses Martin.

“Then come here, dear Husband.” I offer my hand to him, “Give me my present.”

“What about mine?” Pierre asks Cami.

Glancing at her, we share the moment. The time when we were not so sure and life was a mess. Swept up in Pierre’s arms, Cami giggles.

As my loving husband places his lips on mine, it feels like the first time… and the ghost of Christmas past lays at rest.

Published 
Written by AmuseBouche
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