The Inner Life (Be Advised: Sexual Content)

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The Inner Life (Be Advised: Sexual Content)

Post  Jessamine Blake on Tue Aug 10, 2010 4:35 pm

Be Advised: The following short piece is a Laney vignette taking place during an appointment with one of her customers. As such, it contains sexual content that may be considered racy at the very least, and possibly explicit. If you find this kind of content offensive in any way, please refrain from reading.




The inner life of a whore is surprisingly devoid of fucking.

This was especially true of one whore. Far from keeping its sense of time and place, her mind travelled ages whenever she found herself beneath a man.

It wasn’t as if she could be expected to concentrate on the guilty-eyed, dimlit men who came to see her. It wasn’t as if she needed to. They were automatic; they barely needed her there at all. The only parts of her they did need did not include her attention.

Well. This wasn’t quite true of one man.

He seemed oblivious to the fact that she was paid to give him pleasure, right up until he actually handed her the money. He always paid, and well, but that was the only way in which he treated her like a whore. In all the other ways, the ones that mattered, she was a woman. His gaze was devoid of the guilty shifting that came with unsatisfied married men or wayward, inexperienced boys. He touched gently, spoke softly, loved hesitantly. Then he paid generously and walked out the door. She was always a little sorry to see him go.

Had she possessed even a modicum of the self-awareness it would have taken to know it, Laney would not have been able to admit to herself that her attraction to this man lay in his meek, gentlemanly, slightly nervous nature. He was like the men she had been surrounded by growing up, with a few vital exceptions. Their swagger and pride, their assurance of their own superiority, and their awe of her physical beauty were all utterly lacking in Ethan Ramey.

Yet despite his unassuming nature, during sex he demanded her attention like no one else did or could. Of course, it wasn’t overt. He would never have demanded anything from her, not really. It was innate. She couldn’t ignore him the way she ignored others, isolating her awareness of them to the few parts of her body they wanted and paid for. Perhaps it was because he wanted more of her than they did. His lips and hands wandered over her from beginning to end; they wanted her lips, and her cheeks, her hair, her shoulders, her stomach…there was no physical part of her they didn’t have at one time or another, every time. Her body responded to him in ways of which no one else even knew it capable. And still, through all of it, her thoughts remained her own.

It was not a lack of affection or enjoyment on her part. It was simply her nature; she was split right down the middle between the body and mind. What one did, the other could ignore. So while her body relished the pleasures of the thin-faced doctor with the beautiful eyes, her mind flew far afield, involved in its own activities…

***
She was seven years old, and she loved pretty things. Her father travelled often, and brought her a doll back from every place he visited. One was a baby girl with large blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and beautiful silken curls, pale gold. Another was a dog, all made of beautiful white china, its large brown eyes shining rather sadly up at her. And her favorite was a tall, statuesque woman like no person Elaine had ever seen. Her skin was pale, especially her face, painted a perfect white. The lips were a deep, beautiful red, and her eyes were gorgeous, wide-set, slanted orbs of dark brown. She was dressed in a beautiful gown of genuine silk that fell gracefully to her tiny, slippered feet. The wide sleeves came together in front and concealed her hands from view. Along with the doll, her father had given her a dainty little paper fan.

***
The room was dim and hot, almost suffocating. The only light came from a homemade candle on her bedside. Jessamine was the only person in the house who owned an oil lamp. The light flickered and threw drastic, wicked shadows around the room and across Ethan’s face. She reached up and coiled her fingers into the hair at the nape of his neck, pulling his face to hers with a gasp and an almost inaudible moan. Almost, but she knew he had heard. She felt the ghost of a grin on his lips before he pulled them away to nestle into the hollow of her throat.

***
Her mother had despaired of keeping her indoors and clean for years, but now she put her foot down. Elaine was thirteen, and the doctor insisted that if she continued in her boisterous passtimes, her ability to bear children would be damaged. Those essential female faculties required energy, he said. Valuable energy that she was wasting running around in the cobbled streets with her brothers. So while they went about their fun, she found herself confined to the bed.

No amount of pleading helped. When an appeal to her father failed (“Now, Laney, you must do as the doctor and your mother tell you. They know what is best for a young girl.”), she tried screaming. She wept, she fought. Her mother became convinced there was a devil in her, or else some dread delirium. The doctor finally took to keeping her sedated much of the time. Her mother came in to sit with her often, but Elaine turned her head to the wall and refused to speak. She cried silent tears, and her mother looked on with concern, but no pity. She knew it was for the best.

A year went by, and two more. She grew thinner in her inactivity, instead of plumper. She was permitted to “take exercise,” light walking, in the yard on fair days, and she had hardly any appetite. Her father, perhaps by way of making amends for her current state, supplied her with books that he thought she might enjoy. Had her mother known, she would have been much-dismayed at some of the subject matter. She read Little Women, but in the end found herself disgusted with all of the March girls. She read Hawthorne but had no patience with Thoreau, loved Mark Twain and hated Walt Whitman. Her favorites, however, were the scary stories he brought her. Frankenstein was rather frustrating, as she found herself much more sympathetic toward the poor monster than his creator, and felt that somehow this was backward. Her mother would have died of scandalization if she had seen her daughter reading Polidori. Elaine kept her secrets well. Her books were her only freedom and her only joy, and she resolved out of sheer stubbornnes to pour as much of her energy into them as possible, and female faculties be damned.

***
She had no idea how long they had been in this room. Time was strangely suspended whenever they were together. A few moments or several hours; it never mattered. She could guess, but she would always guess wrong. And no matter how long or short, she clung to the indecipherable seconds, knowing the time would feel like nothing when it was over. Her back arched, much of its own accord. The candle was guttering, and the crazy shifts of the light made the space seem almost as insubstantial as the time. She felt the beginnings of a strange, vague sensation, as if all her organs were being replaced with warm air. Her breath came in husky gasps, and she wrapped herself, arms and legs, around his thin frame and felt a preliminary shudder running through the tensed muscles of his shoulders.

***
The room was unusually bright for the late hour, the culprit shining through gauzy curtains to fall on the pale, thin limbs as they stumbled about in their efforts to move swiftly and quietly. Twice the figure toppled over in its haste, and twice swore in a manner not in keeping with the warm, feminine tones of the voice. Each time, she halted in her activities only long enough to ascertain that no one was moving in the corridor outside, and then she resumed. Finally, dressed in a dark, ill-fitting riding suit stolen from her brother, and with her dark hair pulled into an expedient, if not very neat, bun at the back of her head, she knelt at the edge of the large bed and reached under.

The small, leather case held the only things she wanted of her old life: a little money to get by, some of the books she loved best, and a beautiful, statuesque doll her father had brought home when she was a little girl. This small parcel in tow, she hoisted herself onto the window seat and peered out. The cobblestoned streets were empty, but awash with moonlight, too bright for her liking. She almost stopped right there, but she had gone through with it so far already that a little extra light seemed like a silly hindrance.

Screwing up her courage, she slid the window—the frame of which had been carefully rubbed down with soap beforehand—up just enough to allow her to sit on the sill and duck her head through. Carefully, she stretched down until her booted toes could just touch the overhang below. Cautiously, fearing it would not support her, she turned and got a firmer footing, gradually placing more weight on the overhang while still clinging to the latticework around the window. Slowly, she reached in with one hand and grasped the handle of the case. Sliding it carefully through the window, she turned and squatted down, attempting to keep her weight leaning toward the sturdy outer wall of the house. Surprisingly strong for an invalid of nearly three years, she swung herself down onto one of the narrow columns underneath, gripping with her thighs and balancing herself with one hand. She shimmied down with little enough trouble, hitting the ground with a soft thump.

Elated at her success, Elaine looked back up at the dark window, and could barely supress her urge to curse at it, loudly and gleefully. She was free.

***
Collapsed on her sour bed, panting, his arms encircling her, she closed her eyes and felt young and warm, and strangely clean. Empty. All her thoughts were quiet for the moment, all the memories stilled. Only a faint, low buzzing filled her mind, and the room was an unfocused blur to her eyes. His breathing was soft in her ear, and a quiet, secret part of her wished that he wouldn’t get up and leave, that he wouldn’t pay. She wanted to have some claim to him. It was a wish she rejected fiercely in her mind, but she didn’t stir until he did.

“Thank you, Elaine,” he said softly. They were the only words he ever spoke on such occasions. She heard a rustling, and the sound of him setting something on the rickety bedside table, and she kept her face toward the wall. No matter how much she didn’t want to belong to anyone, or to own anyone herself, she knew that this time she couldn’t bear to see his back retreating, and the evidence on the table that she was only rented.

“Goodnight, Ethan,” she replied, her voice betraying no hint of her thoughts. She closed her eyes on the dirty wood-paneled wall and listened. She didn’t move until she heard his feet descending the staircase, his departing word to Jessamine, and the slamming of the slightly warped front door.

_________________
"[These]...settlers are churlish types who are accustomed to live apart from each other, as neither fathers nor sons associate with each other."
--Fermín de Mendinueta, Governor of the New Mexico Territory, c. 1776.
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Jessamine Blake
Clairvoyant Madam

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