I grin. ‘Since I walked through the door.’
He takes my hand and starts running to the bedroom with me following and laughing. In the bedroom he stops. ‘I want a striptease.’
I start unbuttoning my top and then I have to laugh. This is just not me.
‘When you take your clothes off, have a plan. Don’t f**k around.’
‘That’s easy for you to say, you’re not doing it.’
‘Do you want me to?’
I jump on the bed and lie with my hands linked behind my head. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, Vann Wolfe will be taking his clothes off now.’
Looking into my eyes he grasps the edges of his T-shirt and pulls it over his head, his head flowing back gracefully, challengingly. I whistle. Ignoring me he tugs his boots and tosses them behind him. I raise an eyebrow to distract him, but he smiles and nods as if to say, I know your game.
He rolls his socks, one at a time, down, and eases them off. Then he points his toes away from me, twists his torso and unbuckles his brown leather belt. Pulls it through the loops and lets it dangle from one finger. By now you’d think I’d be holding my belly, splitting my sides from laughing, but no. I am in thrall.
Already I can feel his pulse as he sinks his c**k deep into me.
He grasps the button next. The zip peels away. A white bulge. The faded jeans slide down, down, down. My pu**y starts to quietly sob. He turns to face me. Doesn’t pose or anything. Just stands there, panther-like, in his jockeys. I try to look for imperfections. Is he too broad? No. His hips too narrow? Nope. Hair too long? Possibly. But in the end any imperfections only make for his perfection and I am throbbing with excitement. Unsustainable psychedelic jolts are shooting through my body, paralyzing me. I know how this unfolds. It unfolds in a tangle of limbs with me being speared right between the legs. But it’s the waiting that’s the killer.
‘What are you waiting for? Take it off.’ My voice sounds like a sleep time purr.
He vaults onto the bed suddenly, startling me. I squeal inelegantly.
He leans back against the pillow, his hands behind his neck. ‘Some things have to be earned.’
A rush of pure lust floods me. The ripples keep on happening. ‘No kidding,’ I say and peel his underwear off.
His eyes flare with excitement. Like a parrot that is offered a peanut. I lick his c**k like it is a melting ice cream, upwards. His c**k is thick, salty, satin on my tongue. I like that. A calorie-free treat. That’s a mental tattoo. A voice in my head. Keep it light and sexy, Sugar. I wrap my lips over it and swirl my tongue around it.
‘I wish I could be your angel.’
That’s heavy stuff. ‘Why?’
‘Make you see.’
‘Never mind. We’re not on the same page.’
That’s fine then. I don’t want to talk. There is a storm in my pu**y trying to find its way home.
Then I go back to mindlessly sucking thick, salty satin. When he flips me over and does his thing, and the release comes, it is insanity in a bucket.
I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.
—Vincent Van Gogh
When the urge hits you, it’s hard to resist. That afternoon on the way to Vann’s it hits me. I speed-walk to Tesco, grabbing two packets of crisps from the newsagents on the way, because I can’t wait that long to shove something down my gullet. I whizz around the supermarket almost in a panic, piling my basket with anything at all that takes my eye. I have everything I fancy. And I mean everything.
The woman at the checkout, an old dear, smiles. ‘Having a party?’
Grasping my plastic bag, I hurry as fast as I can to Vann’s flat. I get in and it is quiet. He is working upstairs. I know he will not come out for hours yet. I sit at the dining room table and, opening my stash, I begin to gorge. Quickly, as if I am in a race. Stuffing my mouth, hardly chewing, swallowing. Savoury followed by sweet, sweet followed by savoury, savoury followed by sweet. I race through the food. Racing. Racing. When I am almost full I relax. I eye the food left over on the table. There is still more space inside me. I indulge again. Until I am so stuffed I can hardly breathe. I relax. The panic has gone…
Instead I feel a sick smugness, a delicious comfort that I can actually get away with eating a whole pack of biscuits, half a chocolate fudge cake, an entire box of cream cakes, half a tub of ice cream, five packets of crisps, half a cold pizza and cheese macaroni. I can have the last laugh.
I go to the tap and drink as much water as I can. Then I go to the bathroom, hang my head over the toilet bowl and reverse all that damage. I am sitting on the floor, tears in my eyes, the disgusting smell of my own vomit rising around me, when the door opens and Vann is standing there. For a while he says nothing, simply looks at me.
In my head I hear a hiss, like the hiss of limestone caves. For those moments I am terrified that I will see disgust and rejection in his face. I have excuses up my sleeves. I have had them for a long time. Only I haven’t ever had to use them before. I open my mouth. He comes forward, lightning quick, two strides. He crouches beside me and put his fingers on my lips.
‘I saw the packets. It’s all right.’
And I slump against the wall. Relieved that no lies are necessary. Relieved that another human being knows. Relieved that it is him and not Jack. With him it doesn’t matter. With him I can be myself. Show my true face. Even the ugly one. He accepts me just as I am. Everything that I am. There is no need to pretend or hide.
‘I was once very fat,’ I whisper.
‘The other kids were cruel?’
‘I’m afraid the damage is invisible but extensive.’
‘I don’t do it all the time. I’m not bulimic or anything.’
‘I know. Afternoons and evenings are the hardest, huh?’
‘It’s when your blood sugar dips lowest.’
‘You’ve nothing to be sorry for, Sugar.’ He stands up, flushes the toilet, takes a face towel from the rail, and goes to the sink. I watch him open the mixed tap, and wait with his finger in the water stream, and only when it is warm does he wet the edge of the towel. He comes towards me, gets on his haunches and gently wipes my face.
I feel so confused. Someone once told me, it is in the little things that people reveal their true nature. Anyone can make the grand gesture, light up the sky once with a banner that says, ‘I love you,’ but it is the man who gives you the ripest cherry in the bowl that you want. That thing he had done with the water, waiting for it to warm up, that was beautiful.