‘That’s it,’ I say.
‘Are those all the ingredients you need for our meal?’
‘The rest we have at home,’ I say, and with horror realize what I have said. I called the flat home. But he says nothing and I just hope he did not notice.
In the kitchen, Blake sits on the counter and watches me liberally butter four slices of bread, load two up with chips, squirt tomato ketchup in a zigzag pattern over them, sprinkle salt, and close them into two chunky sandwiches.
‘Voilà. The famous chip butty.’
I push a plate towards him. ‘Taste it.’
He eyes it without desire.
‘Go on. I tasted caviar for you.’
‘That’s true.’ He takes a tiny bite and begins to chew cautiously.
‘No, no, that’s not how you eat it. You have to attack it. Like this.’ I open my mouth and take a huge bite. He follows suit. It is strange watching him eat with such abandon.
‘Well?’ I demand.
‘Not bad actually. Kind of satisfying.’
‘This is what a lot of kids on the estate live on most of the time.’
‘No, my mother never had a drinking or a drug problem so she didn’t have to dip into our food money to finance her habit.’
‘Did you have a happy childhood?’
‘Yeah, I guess so. Until my mother got sick I was very happy.’
‘How come you never had a boyfriend?’
I wipe my lips on a paper napkin, swallow, and grin. ‘All the boys were scared of Jack. And after my mother got sick and my father left, any thoughts of boys were gone.’
‘He’s the closest thing I have to a brother.’
‘Why were they scared of him?’
‘Because Jack was not only big and strong, he was also utterly fearless. When we were growing up there was nobody he was scared of. Everybody knew Jack had taken me under his wing, and nobody wanted to mess with him. Once Billie, Leticia, Jack and me went to a club, and a guy there wanted to dance with me. He wouldn’t take no for an answer so Jack said, “You heard her. Now scram.” Of course, he didn’t take that too good so he waited with his mates for us outside the club.’
I stop to pop a fat chip into my mouth.
‘And surrounded us. One of them had a knife. I was so frightened. I remember Jack looked at me and said, “Shhh… you know I got ya,” and then he smiled. That Jack smile. And I knew it would be all right. I walked out of the circle and they closed in on him. I can still see them now. Tattoos, broken teeth, rings where there should be none. But what shocked me was Jack. He was like a stranger. I couldn’t recognize him.
‘All those years I thought I knew him, warm and friendly, an unshakeable rock, and suddenly I see this fiend turning on himself, snarling, “Come on then. Who’s first?” They advanced in a group. He kicked the one with the knife in the throat and another he punched in the nose, bled like crazy. Then he felled another two guys, I don’t know how, it happened so fast, and then it was over. The last coward ran away. It was like watching a movie. And you know what the first thing Jack said to me was? “Are you all right?”’
‘Unusual guy,’ Blake says quietly. ‘Did you never want to go out with him?’
‘No, he is my brother. My safe harbor. I’d do anything for him.’
He nods. There is no expression in his face. ‘How long has your mother been ill?’ he asks, and takes another bite of his sandwich.
‘Just before I turned fifteen. And that was also when my dad left. I was so scared she was going to die. If not for Jack, I don’t know how things would have turned out. He came around every day and did what my father should have done.’
‘And you’ve never seen your dad since he left?’
I shake my head.
‘Did you not want to?’
‘No. I heard he married again and had more kids, but he really doesn’t interest me anymore. He ran out on us. He thought my mother would die and he would be saddled with me.’
‘Hmmm… You’ve never had an orgasm until you met me, have you?’
I am certain my face must be astonishingly red. ‘Was it that obvious?’
‘A bit. You never had a boyfriend but you must have masturbated while growing up.’
‘You don’t know what my life was like. For most of my life I’ve been terrified of losing my mother. Whenever she was ill, I slept with her. And when she was not—which was not often, and I returned to my own bed I could never do anything—my mother is such a light sleeper. She will wake up if a pin drops.’
Blake takes his last bite and pushes away from the stool. ‘Got some work to do. Can you amuse yourself for a bit and meet me in an hour’s time in the bedroom?’
In the bedroom I reach for his trousers. I want to give him pleasure the way he taught me.
‘Easy, tiger,’ he says and spreads my legs. Watching me intently he latches onto my clit covered in its juices and begins to gently suck it. The sensation is indescribable—delicate ribbons of pleasure rise from his mouth and enter my being. I tremble against his mouth. I forget to think and become an extension of my sex, my core. He is teaching my sex, what it can be. Soon my nails become claws that dig into his shoulders. My mouth opens and my muscles begin to contract with anticipation of the explosion that is coming.
But when he judges the train wreck is almost upon me he deliberately slows his movement, brings me back down only to begin again on that velvet-soft swollen flesh. His eyes monitor my reaction. Again and again until I am holding his head in my hands and begging him to let me climax.
‘I can’t take it anymore,’ I plead.
And this time he relents. He lets me come and it shocks me by its intensity. I scream his name, but strangely, he refuses to take his mouth away from my painfully sensitive blood-engorged sex. I try to wriggle away but his grip is steel. Then, suddenly I am no longer pushing his head away and begging him to stop, but pulling him back in; the waves of ecstasy are coming back. And again. Three times in total I jerk, shake, tremble and soar before I fall from my great height.
My hands flop to my sides, spent.
I feel him take his watching eyes away from me and lay his cheek for a moment on my stomach and listen to my ragged breathing.
Then he bounds up, full of coiled energy and picking me up lays me on the pillow. I am so spent I look at him with hazy, passion-filled eyes. I want to tell him that I have never experienced such a thing before. I want to tell him how beautiful and awesome it has been, how complete he has made me feel; perhaps I might even have blurted out that I am in love with him and have been for some time now.