Table of Contents
LEARNING TO PLAY CHESS
THE WET HISS OF TIRES ON THE STREET reminds us that the window was left open. We've plunged into the Ice Age. I burrow deeper under the blanket, pretending to be asleep. I know that Adam will eventually brave the cold. He groans and rolls against me, his erection announcing a triumphant return against my hip. Our breath rises and floats above us in a small cloud.
“Close the window, wench,” he grumbles. I snore lightly in response but Adam isn't fooled. His tongue slides into my ear and then opportunistically into my mouth when I open it to protest. This becomes a kiss that turns into another, deeper than the one before. I fondle him beneath the blanket and he pushes his cock against my palm with a sigh.
“Mmm-hmm,” is all I can manage. He tugs at the tuft of fur between my legs. I push him away, mumbling about the window.
Adam bounces from the bed. His feet pad across the bare wood floor and end in a grinding scrape as the window is forced into submission. The footsteps continue in a circuit around the room as he stops to throw more wood on the fire, cursing and prodding the reluctant flames with a pyromaniac's zeal. The iron curtain rod we've been using as a fireplace poker clatters back into the corner.
He climbs back in bed, pushing the blankets and sheets to the floor, and from this I know that he wants to make love again. Adam likes to sleep under stifling layers of blankets, but he can only fuck in open space, with nothing to cover him or impede his movements. Frigid air envelops us in shocking contrast to the warm tangle of arms and legs as we come together. He settles on top of me, his weight pushing my legs wide.
“Thighs aren't meant to be apart this long,” I complain, only half kidding. I'm sore from hours of bending and stretching around him, unprepared for this marathon of sex. Except for a nap and a shower, we've done nothing else since I arrived home ten hours earlier.
Adam laughs, undeterred, knowing that I won't resist for long. He maneuvers me onto my stomach and begins to rub, kneading the abused muscles of my calves and thighs. Soon this remedy becomes foreplay and his hands embark on another mission. He strokes between my legs, teasing, waiting for me to open. I do. Two fingers slip inside and continue the massage.
Adam turns me to face him and we make love, another
reunion after our long separation. He enters slowly but holds back, presses deeper and then pulls away. He watches my face and wants my reaction. This is the way Adam does everything, with this deliberate intensity. Nothing escapes his notice.
I close my eyes to avoid his. I'm afraid he'll see that I'm in love. I'm afraid I'll see that he isn't.
“Tell me,” he coaxes, his lips grazing my ear and cheek, moving toward my mouth. Adam knows what I want but he waits for me to say it. I wrap my legs around him and strain upward, craving more. By now my brain is unable to form words, only syllables that mean nothing until his name escapes in a whisper. It sounds like a plea but it feels like a prayer. He touches the center of me and begins to move.
“Come for me.” He is relentless, whispering this refrain again and again between kisses that leave me breathless. And this is my journey into Adam, the moment when I let go and fall into a place where there is only the sound of his voice and the rhythm I move for him, when the words that he wants to hear spill from me without restraint. Later, we surround each other with sweaty limbs, motionless for long minutes, the pulse slowing inside and out. I lie still and try not to breathe, hoping he'll fall asleep inside me, the way he used to.
Adam kisses me and rolls away to light a cigarette. Our bodies no longer touch, not like before when he always kept me close against him after making love. He's staring at the ceiling, absently rubbing his chest. I think he's forgotten I'm here. This is his bed now and I'm the stranger, this apartment suddenly a place I'm only visiting.
I wonder if he's remembering some other woman who shared this space with him in my absence. I wonder if he has a guilty conscience.
I don't ask about the nights when I called him and he should have been home but wasn't. I don't ask about the woman who answered the phone once when the machine didn't pick up. There's a feeling of something unsaid between us, and it only disappears when we make love.
It occurs to me that maybe he's been screwing me just to avoid talking, to delay an inevitable confrontation. Now I feel angry. I lean down to the floor and grab the blanket, dragging it over me. This gives me an excuse to turn away from Adam, wrapping myself against the chill. I hug the far edge of the bed, punishing him for these transgressions I imagine and the awkward silence he's caused.
Meeting Adam was a weird twist of fate, one of those things that defies destiny. Just three weeks away from leaving for a teaching assignment in Germany, I was desperately looking for someone to sublet my apartment during my four-month absence. Adam, the brother of a friend's friend, was looking for a short-term lease. By coincidence, our situations somehow became a topic of conversation between these friends, and we each ended up with a phone number to call. We arranged to meet at a bar to discuss details.
Perhaps because we both knew I would soon be gone, there was no need for the flowers-and-candy seduction that most people tolerate in order to satisfy their lust. We were on an accelerated schedule. At the pub that night we spent hours talking, and arranged a date for the coming weekend, dinner at my place and then a movie.
We never made it to the movie.
The bottles of wine that I served with dinner, much of which I consumed on an empty stomach, left me with a raging libido but hopelessly numbed senses. I managed to seduce Adam
despite his insistence that he would rather wait until I was sober. Finally, unable to put me off, he took me to bed where he pumped me ferociously for an hour, to no avail. Our first sexual encounter is a disaster.
But the next morning when I wake up, Adam is still here.
I'm surprised, after the fiasco of the previous night, which I recall in gory detail. He shakes me gently awake to a breakfast of aspirin and water and then tells me to go back to sleep. I wake up two hours later and find Adam dressed and reading by the window. He's already made a trip to the coffee shop for croissants and juice. I feel wonderful but disheveled, and excuse myself to take a shower. When I return, Adam is undressed and back in my bed. He looks like he's decided to stay. He asks if I'm free for the rest of the day.
“Yeah, I guess,” I say. “What do you want to do?”
“You.” Adam hands me a glass of orange juice as I stand there, dumbly pondering his response.
“Oh.” I wonder if I should say moreâsay yes, say no, say fuck-me-then-and-be-on-your-way. For once, I say nothing.
“You have a chessboard under your bed,” he observes, strategically changing the subject. “Do you play?” I had forgotten it was there. I don't think to ask why he's been exploring under my bed.
“Only badly,” I confess.
“Good. I'll teach you.” Adam rummages around underneath the bed and reappears with a large slab of black and white marble and a box containing the chess pieces, each wrapped carefully in white tissue. He sets up the game at the foot of the bed and we reverse positions.
“You can go first,” I offer graciously.
“Okay.” Adam grabs the belt of my robe and yanks, and it
falls open. He arranges the fabric so that my breasts and hips are exposed. I might as well be naked.
“Better,” he says, moving a pawn forward. My game goes immediately to hell. I try to avoid looking at his face because I know where his eyes will be. The sheet that barely covers him does nothing to conceal his arousal.
“There's something else interesting under your bed.” His tone is casual, like he's about to tell me that I have dust on my floor. A smile plays around the corners of his mouth.
“Oh?” I feign disinterest, but I'm thinking
I know what he's found. “What would that be?”
“Oh, yeah. That.” I force a careless laugh as heat stains my cheeks. “Wellâ¦that was just a gag gift that I got a couple of months ago for my birthday,” I say. This is true. “I've never even used it.” This isn't.
“Uh-huh.” He's grinning now, and I know he's imagining me and the vibrator. I wish I could crawl under the bed. I lose all composure and make a stupid mistake not even an amateur would commit. Adam takes my queen.
“Ouch. Damn. You took my queen?” I frown, knowing I'm in big trouble without her. “I can't believe I let you do that.”
“I'm sorry.” He reaches out and fondles my breast with the smooth marble tip of the captured piece. My reaction is immediate and physical. Adam drags the queen down and across my stomach while he edges closer. His mouth covers my nipples, one and then the other, tugging gently with his teeth. The chess game is forgotten.
Adam touches me everywhere. His fingers slide over and inside, searching out the sensitive spots that distinguish me from the women of his past. The soft stubble of his morning
beard rubs between my legs as his tongue begins a heated exploration. I become aware of an unfamiliar pressure against my thigh as the marble chess piece begins an unhurried ascent to the place where his mouth nibbles and sucks.
The two halves of my brain do not agree on what will happen next. One half thinks this is a pretty novel approach, definitely a man who can improvise. My inner-sinner is intrigued and curious.
The other half warns that this scene is about to become kinky. My inner-saint, who strongly resembles my mother, reminds me that I'm supposed to act like a lady and should not engage in such debauchery. I reluctantly agree.
My hand moves strategically between my legs, fingers splayed to shield my virtue from further encroachment. This is a wasted effort. Adam licks my hand, his tongue moving between my fingers, wordlessly urging me to give in. I do. All inhibition disappears, and I want what Adam wants.
The warmth of his mouth recedes, replaced by the shock of a cool surface that strokes and then presses between my thighs. Adam gently works the marble figurine inside me with shallow thrusts, so slowly that I involuntarily lift against his hand and the pressure of his tongue. He brings me to the edge of climax only to pull away. And then he does it again. He makes me wait until I can't wait anymore, and the queen falls to the floor, forgotten. Adam slides into me and I slide into bliss, unaware that the sound and fury of our lovemaking travels far beyond the confines of my bedroom to entertain the neighbors as they weed their garden.