A different point of view changes everything, and life can never be the same again..
My heart was racing. I could feel my pulse hitting steadily against my insides, making my whole body flex and throb in perfectly tuned function. Sweat came down my face and along my spine, that too seeming exactly as it should be. Everything was perfect, everything in harmony. There was no past, no future; just the present taking place in absolute measured perfection. This was usually the moment when the elation came. The rising flush inside of me that felt like fire along my muscles, burning away all that had no place in the hot, sweaty, straining perfection of raw physical motion. This was the moment when every nerve in my body came alive and every sensation was doubled, tripled, and then exploded outwards in a prolonged burst of surreal and pure astonishment. Once I got to this place I could hold it; stretch it out and sustain it for as long as I wanted. Like a supernova on pause.
Why was I so pissed off, then?
“Fuck!” I yelled, yanking the earbuds from my ears and sliding to a sudden stop in the gravel of the path. A family with their dog between some trees to the side turned and looked at me.
“Are you okay?” the man asked, handing the leash to his daughter and taking a step closer.
“I’m fine,” I snapped, not looking up from the path with my hands on my knees and my heart still racing. I was jangled now though, the heavy rush of energy and emotion piling up inside of me like a train wreck.
“Are you sure?” he was closer now. “Do you need to sit down or something?”
“I’m fine,” I said again; I tried to contain the eruption inside of me and stood up straight and ran my fingers through my sweaty hair.
“Did you hurt yourself?” he asked, concern heavy in his voice.
“What?” I asked, looking at him in confusion. I saw him glance down involuntarily at my left leg then back to my eyes. People were always doing it. I had great tits, why didn’t more of them look at those?
“Oh fuck off,” I said and started running again, now only at a jog.
He’d been hot, too. Sure he had a wife, but I could look right? And so could he…but like most of the rest he only looked at my leg. Everyone acted so fucking delicate about it because they thought I was delicate about it. It was a finely manufactured instrument, cold hard steel and exacting attributes. There was nothing delicate about it. It was perfect. This wasn’t even the good one; when I put on the one with the foot that looked like a long curved steel tongue I could run like Hermes. Sometimes, when I was running, I wished that both of my legs were that perfect.
I had been striving for years to make the rest of my body as perfect as my left leg. The leaner and more toned I got the better I felt about the rest of me. The more I felt like I was catching up with my one piece of perfection. I had grown up naturally luscious; large breasts, round ass, nice curvy hips. Someone once joked “child bearing hips” with me in high school and I hit them. Not because I was ashamed, but because it wasn’t true. It made me sound dumpy just because I wasn’t skinny like most of the other girls in my class. Those same guys had all loved it a couple years earlier in junior high though when I filled out before those other sticklike broads. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on me then; maybe they had just been pissed off that they didn’t get any from me. They weren’t child bearing hips; they were just the hips of a woman instead of a girl.
I hadn’t wanted any of them anyways, I only wanted him; stupid Mark Fox and his notebook and headphones. Whenever I’d see him sitting alone in the general purpose room I had wanted to go and talk to him. When he was around his friends he was all bravado and forced charm, but when he was sitting there by himself he looked inward at something that no one else could see. I saw it too, though. His head nodding slowly to whatever he was listening to, pen in hand manically throwing his thoughts at the paper in a scrawl illegible to anyone but him. I wanted so bad to sit beside him and ask what he was writing, but it was a whole year before I had built up the guts to talk to him. At an outdoor party in the woods outside of town he was talking to his friends telling them a story about something that had happened last time he had visited his mother in the city. He was very animated and loud and though everyone seemed to like him he pushed them back when he was like this. Maybe because they were jealous he had something outside the small borders of their lives, or maybe just because they didn’t care. He tried too hard to get people to like him when they already did.
“…and he threw himself right off stage into the crowd after dropping his guitar!” he was telling them. He had a 40 ounce beer in one hand and was gesticulating wildly with the other while talking. As I came up behind them he was making a wide gesture I didn’t anticipate and he hit me across the shoulder. Thinking back, I had done that on purpose. I was desperate for him to notice me and at the time I didn’t think that would happen by itself. It was one of those awkward teenager things I guess.
We started talking and became really close after that night. My feelings for him didn’t change, but he seemed to think of me as a friend more than anything. Still, we had talked on the phone almost every night until one of our parents would yell at us to get off. We were inseparable during the day at school. All of my girlfriends joked and chided that I should “just fuck him and get it over with”, and I know his friends probably thought we already had. I didn’t want my first time to be with someone I barely knew though, and I could tell there was this whole other Mark Fox under his façade that no one had even met yet. Besides, whenever we did touch it felt weird. He treated me like his kid sister. I knew that I was just going to have to be more forward, but that wasn’t my style at all.
After a party one night he and his friends had dropped me off at my house and he got out of the backseat to let me out. I decided to take a chance and make my move. He came with me to the front door and as he said goodbye and was turning way I took one of his hands to stop him and leaned up to kiss his cheek. He looked at me in surprise and I fought through my fear and kissed him again on the lips. He kissed back and for a second I knew that life was going to be perfect from then on; kid stuff, right? When we parted he had looked embarrassed and I felt stupid. It was awkward. He apologized; can you believe that? Apologized. It never happened again, I didn’t have the guts. I couldn’t stand to be around him anymore, I felt like such a stupid girl. I started hanging out with a different crowd, the guys that drove loud trucks and drank more than they needed to and the desperate clinging girls that went along with them. I was nothing like these people, they had always seemed so dead-end to me. But there I was; keeping company with those that amounted to what I then felt like too.
My actual first time was with a guy named Wade. I didn’t even like Wade very much, but I was drunk and he was there. In the back of his bronco I’d clumsily tried to give him head before letting him fuck me against the cooler full of beer behind the back seat. I didn’t even feel much, to be honest. Yeah it hurt, yeah it happened, but yeah…it wasn’t special at all. I’d never gone down on a guy before and I didn’t really know what I was doing. Maybe passion could have made up for lack of experience, but I didn’t feel any of that either. After only a few strokes of my mouth on his cock he’d pulled me back, using my ears like handles, and kissed me while groping at my breasts through my sweatshirt. He moved his hand down roughly between my legs and rubbed at me noncommittally. He wasn’t trying to pleasure me; it was more like a signal as to what he wanted. I’d lain down backwards with him on top of me and he dry humped me a bit before trying to open my pants. He sucked at that too. I undid my pants for him and he turned me over so I was on my knees with the cooler under my hands. He pulled my pants down just far enough to get at me and pushed his dick against me, trying to find what he wanted. I didn’t bother to help him because I didn’t care if it happened or not. I just figured “may as well get this over with”. When he lined up properly after a few tries he pushed into me hard and broke through my hymen in one half-wet stroke. After that sharp sting was over I went a bit numb and he finished in less than a minute with mechanical strokes. It was utility sex; pussy for the sake of pussy. I felt like a nobody.
We went steady for awhile after that, but when I found out Jamie had sucked him off in the bathroom at a party six months later I flew into a rage and drove home. Or at least, I’d tried to. I only made it about half way before the accident. When you think you’re already dead you can do some pretty amazing things; I’ll leave it at that. I remember thinking about Mark and how sad he’d be if I died and in anger at that selfish asshole I had torn myself free. Flesh is weak.
When I woke up in the hospital his was the face I saw looking at me. He came every single day. When my physical therapy started he came to every session with me for support. I’m not gonna lie, I felt bad that he was spending time with me and not his other friends; but eventually I came to realize he wanted to be there. I wasn’t a burden to him, I was his best friend. I stopped feeling like some broken and useless thing and began progressing in my recovery at a speed that surprised the therapists. If all I could be was Mark’s best friend, his ‘sister from another mister’ as he called it, I’d be damned if I was going to be a burden on him. That deep nasty place somewhere inside of him that he wouldn’t talk about gave him enough to worry about. He might not have loved me the way I wanted him to, but at least he loved me.
The therapy and exercise became an addiction. I started with weights but as my already curved body started growing larger from the work outs I had stopped lifting. In a fit of rage one day at the itch on the bottom of a foot I no longer had, I had I started running to make my mind think it was being scratched. That day I found a place I didn’t know existed; pure motion, my body a machine. I could feel every part of me; I could feel what was working and what wasn’t. The only bit of me that didn’t give off signals to my brain of some way it could be better was the cold steel of my leg. I felt every nerve and muscle fiber. I’d been running ever since; and no, that’s not a metaphor. I’m not fleeing; I’m trying to catch up. I don’t have anything to run from. I’m okay with everything that’s ever happened in my life.
Until now, that is. Going around a corner on the path I started to speed up my pace again, trying to get back the rhythm I’d lost a moment ago. It wasn’t the same though; I’d gone too far off the rails with thought to get back to the perfection of just doing.
Ever since Cyan, Mark had been someone else; more than distant, gone. I’d really liked Cyan. She was smart, funny, artistic. The clothes she modified for herself were fantastic, her ideas for logos I’d helped her with were remarkable, and there was no question she was going to succeed at being a designer. I went out with them a few times to shows and parties, but I couldn’t keep up with them in their environment any more than they could have kept up with me in mine. I was happy to see him in a relationship that was good for him. She tried to keep him grounded, but as the months went by she came to me with problems they were having more and more often. She needed my advice as his best and longest friend but at first I was reluctant to get involved. I was his friend and it was hard not to side with him by instinct. She was right most of the time though; he was turning into kind of an asshole. I tried to talk about it with him one night and he had completely lost his mind. I was given no choice but to stay out of his business, so I respected that. Put in the middle by Cyan more and more after that, I withdrew. Mark and I spent less and less time together even though we had lived in the same places for years since moving away from our hometown.
When she died it was a shock. People didn’t just up and die in the circles of friends I had developed away from Mark. He wouldn’t tell me what happened. Until a week ago I didn’t even guess drugs because she didn’t seem the type, other than her nonstop pot smoking. Pot Shot. I smirked as I ran, thinking about how silly it had seemed when she’d told me that’s what she had decided to call her clothing label.
When I came home from work last week and went looking for the cat, only to find some skinny little girl passed out in his bed, I wouldn’t have guessed that that would be the day he would finally make sense to me. She woke up and stretched, looking lithe like a cat herself, and saw me standing in the doorway with a curious look on my face. Her pajamas were too big for her and she looked rumpled, like she had been worn out, used up, and left to recover. Mark didn’t bring his work home, so why was she in my house?
“Hi,” was all she said, “you’re Lisa.”
It wasn’t a question, just a statement of fact. She knew who I was but I’d never heard of her. I thought to myself that this must be the girl Mark had been out with the night before, but I wouldn’t have guessed it if it weren’t so obvious. She didn’t seem to be his type; then again, I didn’t know what ‘his type’ was anymore. I had stepped out of her way as she got up suddenly and ran to the bathroom on her thin and unsteady little legs. I heard her dry heaving and had leaned into the bathroom to make sure she was okay, and held her hair while she vomited into the toilet. I let her take a shower, getting her some of Mark’s clothes to wear, and wondered the whole time what the hell was going on in my house. While I was in the bathroom putting a fresh towel on the counter for her I could see her thin form behind the shower curtain, lathering her perfect little body up with my soap. She was shorter than me, not quite 5 feet, and lean and hard. She was built like the girls I’d been jealous of in high school, but her elvish face and form made determining her age almost impossible. I had felt a warmth inside of me, starting in my pelvis and spreading down my thighs and up my belly and I realized I was staring. I realized she was turning me on. She didn’t even know I was watching her through the foggy curtain and yet she moved with the grace of someone putting on a show. I had given my head a shake and left the bathroom, confused. I’d never been into girls before; I probably wasn’t into girls now. There was an unchained sensuality to her though, raw sex oozed from her. It was unnerving. Nothing scared me anymore, but I felt intimidated by her.
As we waited for Mark she told me about them meeting, and going out to his show the night before. All I was able to get from her was that she had been given some bad drugs by someone without wanting them and she had gotten really sick. I remember being so angry at Mark at that moment; for all I knew she was nowhere near as innocent as it seemed, but I wanted to slap him for wrecking her. She was so sweet and cute and nice and he’d gotten her all trashed up and hurt her. When I saw his bandaged hand when he got home, my anger only dissipated briefly. When he told us what happened I figured it out on my own; he beat that kid out of his skin because of Cyan. What an asshole; this girl almost dies and he’s off using his feelings for her to make up for something that happened five years ago.
During the next week he was around more, which was nice, but she was always there too. I watched them together, seeing the happiness in him. It was like watching two kids in school who had just discovered love. They were developing into what I had wanted from him all those years ago. What I had wanted from him all along since. I was jealous, but I couldn’t stop thinking about her either. Impish, precocious little Aliona. The way she winked and grinned at him no different than the way she winked and grinned at me, stealing my breath every time.
I would steal glances at them all the time, watching him touch her or her kiss his neck. She was doing everything I wanted to do with him right in front of me. It wasn’t her fault, she didn’t know. I tried to imagine him touching me like that, but whenever I did I couldn’t remove her from the image in my mind. I didn’t know what was happening to me; I have more control than this. As an artist I could control the pictures in my mental landscape with as much precision as I could control every muscle of my perfectly machined body; but not when it came to her. She was always there, right there beside me in my fantasies. The night she stayed over after watching a movie with us, lying on top of Mark on the couch like she owned him, I lay awake in bed listening for any sound that might come from his room; I found myself heating up thinking about what they might be doing just on the other side of the wall. My hand had found its way between my thighs without me noticing and I ran my fingers through my neatly trimmed pubic hair and thought about him touching her, about him touching me; about her and I touching each other. I massaged one of my firm breasts while opening my pussy lips and rubbing at my clitoris. I sucked my finger into my mouth and put it back, moving it in and out of my little hole. I was firm and toned and hadn’t been with very many men. My pussy was still nice and taut, even at 32. As I moved my finger in and out I pictured Mark behind me pushing his big cock into me. As I held and squeezed my breast I pictured Aliona lying in front of me licking and sucking on it with that pert little mouth of hers. I imagined my pussy was hers and I was fingering that tight opening, teasing into her a bit at a time. I had lain there pleasuring myself like this for minutes, the mental imagery getting more and more lurid as they had their way with me in my mind. As I made myself cum I bit hard on my pillow and squeezed my hand between my hard and perfectly sculpted thighs. Sweating and panting in my own aftermath I had pushed the covers off and stretched out in the slight breeze from my open window.
They were all I could think about, and she had become all I could draw. I had never had a very realistic style as an artist, and preferred to paint, but since meeting her I couldn’t stop sketching with pencils. I was amazed at how well I could translate the details I imagined in my head onto the paper. I had never been able to draw like this before. I left more and more work at the store to my staff and would just sit in the office drawing pictures of Aliona. She and Mark stopped by my store one day to bring me lunch and after they left an employee, Chris, had asked me how I managed to get something like that to model for me. He had seen my sketches on the desk while I was out front talking to them. I gave him a half-assed brush off of an answer and didn’t tell him that I was drawing it from my fantasies.
I was glad Mark was happy, but this LA thing worried me. At least here I had work to try and escape into but I didn’t know how I could possibly handle a month without that distraction. Neither of them was shy at all about their affections, even when others were around, and the idea of being around them in close proximity for a month worried me. While he was working at the studio I’d be all alone with her. How long would it be before I said or did something stupid that I couldn’t take back?
I rounded the end of the block, still dissatisfied with my interrupted release from my run, and up to our front door. As I came inside I heard Aliona’s startled “oh!” over the music coming from Mark’s room. I closed the door softly and found myself slipping quietly down the hallway. His door was open just a crack and I could see a portion of their bodies, his naked and on top of her and she on her back with her legs around his waist. I could see her little hips flexing luridly as his went up and down, slow and deep. Her soft moans were barely audible and she dug her heels into the sides of his ass hard. I moved my hand to my pussy above my running shorts, feeling its warmth and dampness as I pressed into my fleshy lips with my fingertips. I licked my lips and moved a bit so I could see better. He was braced above her on his hands and his back muscles rippled with each stroke into her. Her head was back into his pillows and as she lifted herself up onto her elbows to arch her back and push her chest out I saw her face through the space between his arm and his chest. She looked up at him lustily, her lower lip in her teeth and a simmering burn in her green eyes. Her eyes flicked to the door suddenly and met mine where I peered through the gap. As I quickly stepped to the side and into my room I saw her wink at me and then look up at Mark, her heels digging in harder and pulling him deeper into her. She let out a cry and started sighing loudly over the throbbing music in a breathy, high tone. I closed my door quietly and leaned against the wall between me and Mark’s bedrooms.
I knew I should feel embarrassed but I didn’t. All I could feel was that same heat deep inside. Leaning against the wall I could feel the bass vibrating against my ass and I put one hand into the front of my shorts as the other pulled them down just below my hips and off my round, hard ass. I ran my finger up and down my opening pussy’s mouth and slid one finger into its warm waiting wetness while using the index finger of my other hand to tease at my hard protruding clit. I closed my eyes and her loud high sighs punctuated the image in my mind of her on her knees in front of me licking at me while Mark stood behind me clutching my ass and putting his finger into me. I started to moan softly too, knowing the music would hide it from them in the next room. I could feel Mark rubbing his cock against me before starting to put it into the hot embrace of my eager pussy and I pushed another finger in, two of them probing inside of me as I leaned my shoulders back to the wall and arched my back and bent at the knees slightly. I saw Aliona in front of me, her tiny ass poking out behind her on her knees with one hand on each of my hips, looking up at me as she licked my clit with the tip of her small pink tongue. I could hear her high sighs turning into sharp cries and in my mind’s eye I saw Mark thrusting harder into me from behind. My own juices were running down my hand and dripping off the back of my wrist to the floor and I pushed a third finger in with the others and moved them in and out, from where they joined my hand all the way out to my fingertips and back, harder and harder as I rubbed at my clit with my other hand and came hard with my back against the bedroom wall. I could hear Aliona crying out in her own climax in the next room.
I came back down to reality suddenly. The embarrassment I probably should have felt before when I saw them through the door washed over me and I pulled my tight black shorts back up over my hips. I grabbed a towel from my closet and opened my door to go into the bathroom and shower. I went back into the bedroom to grab something loose to put on after the shower and I heard the bathroom door close. I knew I’d blush if I saw either of them so I waited in my room until I heard whoever it was finish. The bathroom door opened and then I heard Mark’s door close. I stepped into the hallway to find myself face to face with Aliona. I had heard her close the bathroom door behind her coming into the hallway, not Mark’s door at all. She was still wearing his t-shirt but as she slipped past me towards his room I could see that she wasn’t wearing panties and the bottom curves of her perfect, tight, tiny little ass were exposed. She looked at me as she turned sideways to pass me and winked up at me. I know I blushed, I felt the warmth in my cheeks. I stood there and watched her, looking at her firm ass cheeks shifting up and down just below the hem of the oversized shirt, and she turned as she reached his door. She caught me moving my gaze up to her eyes and winked again, mouthing the words “I saw you” silently and then swished into his room and closed the door.
My heart jumped and I shut the bathroom door behind me. As I showered the run and the orgasm off of my body I tried to plan out the conversation that would no doubt ensue when I left the bathroom. She would tell him I had been spying on them; I know I would. What kind of perverted creep does what I just did? I was mortified at my own behavior. Something was about to come crashing down on me, it was waiting just outside the door. I took longer than usual, standing under the water trying to let it wash how dirty I felt off of me. It didn’t help. I knew I would just have to get this over with. I toweled my naked body off and reattached my metal leg to the bit of my real one that was left below my knee. I looked at myself through the fog of the full length mirror. I was beautiful and I knew it; my body the result of years of work trying to be as honed as the part of me that had been built by engineers to be nothing less than perfect. It’s just too bad no one else saw anything but the prosthetic when they looked at me. I felt sure that I was going to be grasping at dirty pleasures through the wall for the rest of my life and sadness came over me.
“Pull your head out of your ass Lisa,” I whispered to my image in the mirror, and pulled on my red tracks pants and white t-shirt. I went out into the hall, waiting for Mark to yell “Lisa! What’s wrong with you!?”
It didn’t come. I could hear them talking in the living room and I nervously limped down the hallway to face the music. They were sitting on the couch, Aliona with her leg over his and Mark playing with her hair. Her thin legs were apart and I could see she had put her panties back on, a slight wet spot marking where he had been penetrating her tiny little girl pussy not long before. I felt the warmth in my pelvis again and blushed, pulling my gaze away to see her looking at me with that damning grin of hers.
“Hey, Lis!” Mark said, a bit of a blush on his face as well, “uh…you been here long?”
“Long enough,” I said shyly, going into the kitchen so I wouldn’t have to look at them,
“Ah. Sorry!” he called around the corner.
“At least you weren’t on the couch,” I said, trying to sound casual. She must not have told him.
“I’m going to have a shower now,” he said, and I heard him get up and go down the hallway. I crossed through the other side of the kitchen into the living room so he wouldn’t see my face and know something was off, dodging him but finding myself alone with Aliona in the living room as he closed the door. I heard the water start.
“Hey,” I said, “I uh….I’m sorry…I was just…”
“…watching,” she finished for me calmly with that grin, “You were just watching.”
“No no,” I said quickly, “the door was open and I only glanced in by accident. I didn’t see anything.”
“Oh, okay,” Aliona said nodding, a look of exaggerated understanding on her face, “accidentally glanced in while accidentally touching your pussy?”
“Uhhhh….” My face turned beat red.
“It’s okay,” she said, licking her lips, “I’d watch us too if I could.”
“This is awkward,” I told her, bting my nails as I sat down in a chair across the room from her.
“Is it? Okay, if you say so,” she got up and swished from the room, flicking her wink back at me as she went down the hallway. I heard the bathroom door open, then a laugh and muffled voices. She came back a few minutes later wearing his big camo shorts again.
“I have to go put my own clothes on and do something with my aunt and sister,” she said, coming over to where I sat, putting her hand on my shoulder. She smelled like cotton candy and sex. “I won’t tell him…you should.”
I looked up at her, my mouth twisted in apprehension. “I don’t think that’s a good idea, do you?”
“Who knows?” she said, taking her hand from me and going to the door of our apartment. “You know him better than me, right?”
“Bye Lisa,” she said, grinning her unwholesome grin and winking her sultry wink as she waved with wiggling fingers. Then she was gone.
I shuddered. I had been in control of every detail, starting with my body and spreading out to everything in my life, for so many years that what was happening round me felt like chaos. Under my breath I growled, “Rrrrrrrrrrfuck.”
When Mark came out of his bedroom after his shower he had on the same clothes as when I’d left in a rush earlier. His black hair was tousled and wet, hanging over his ears and onto his forehead. It always looked like that when he wasn’t wearing a hat. I don’t even think he owned a comb. His grey eyes looked at me and his face scrunched up in that cute way he had when he thought something was going on that no one had told him about.
“What’s with your face, Lis?” he asked me, “You look like someone slapped you.”
“What? No…” I muttered, looking away and blushing again, “just flushed from a run.”
“Cool,” he said, shrugging. He was so obtuse sometimes; most of the time actually. He sat on the couch. “Want to talk about this LA thing?”
“Actually, no,” I said, feeling a resolve build inside myself. If the car’s on fire, you rip yourself free and crawl away, so why was I starting to get used to the flames?
“I’m not going to push, but I really wish you’d come,” he said, humor in his tone, “it’ll be good for you. I’m pretty sure there’s jogging paths in Los Angeles.”
“That’s not what I meant,” I told Mark, “I mean…I’ll go.”
“For real!?” he exclaimed happily, “that kicks ass, Lis!”
“I just have to sort out the store first, and we can go. Give me a few days?”
“Sure. Let’s leave Monday,” he went on, leaning forward and using his ‘shit just got real’ tone, “Pat’ll tell them I’m taking over management but he said he wouldn’t tell them when I was coming so I could pop in and catch them in their normal routine. See what’s up. Check the pulse.”
All about him; that was never going to change. I’d accepted it long ago. To love Mark you had to accept that you were a spectator at the Mark Fox show. If I didn’t love him so much I’d have been tired of being his audience long ago. He was perfect the way he was and I felt terrible for how mean I’d been to him last week when the shit was hitting the fan all around me.
“Can I ask you about something?” he said; his tone changed as he got up and went into the kitchen, turning from excitement to slightly amused confusion.
“Sure,” I said, following him.
“Can you tell me what the hell?” he asked with a weird smile, pointing at our kitchen table. My sketch book was lying there, open to a drawing of Aliona naked on her hands and knees. I’d drawn it on my lunch break two days ago.
“Oh man,” I said, putting my hand over my face to cover my rising color, “I…uh…well…I…”
“Go on,” Mark chided me, “we’re friends right? Tell each other everything?”
It came out in one fast rush before I had a chance to think twice and stop myself, “Mark I think I have the hots for your girlfriend.”
He stood there, glass overflowing under the tap, looking at me like someone had slapped him. I covered my face again with my right hand, looking at him between my fingers biting my lips.
“Straight shooter,” he said, turning the tap off and looking shocked.
“I’m so sorry, did she see these?” I closed the book and put it back in my bag.
“She’s the one who found them,” Mark told me, raising his eyebrows and patting my shoulder as he went back to the living room.
“Does she think I’m some weird creep now?” I asked, worried, knowing that couldn’t be true with the way she had spoken to me as she left but fearing it might be anyways. What was wrong with me? Why was I acting like a stupid little girl with a crush?
He sat down on the couch and put one foot on the coffee table. “She likes them.”
I sat down opposite him in the chair and put my feet on the other side of the table. “Mark, I’m so sorry. This must be weird. I don’t know what to say.”
“I didn’t know you were into girls,” he said casually but with a glint his eye. Typical man; I could just imagine what he was thinking, but found myself thinking it as well. “How long have you been playing for the other team?”
Embarrassed again, I went into the kitchen and started messing about in the cupboards doing nothing in particular. “You’re a jackass, Mark Fox.”
”Got that punk? On the mic I fuckin’ slay scrubs
You might be the strip club, but I’m the the rub & tug
Droppin’ rhyme like drugs on dubs I slay wax
I count stacks you pinch pennies; breakin’ yer back
Workin’ for a deal, yer just another new jack
I been here for a minute
In it to win it, ain’t no pretendin’
Careers I’m endin’ everytime I touch pen to paper
Double P like rapper
Not like you who’s just a mic raper
Skyscraper tall, not fallin like 9/11
Sendin’ MCs like you to hell, I’m hip hop heaven
You’re nuts like Seven if you want to test the P
Speaker boxes pop everytime they see me
Put a condom on your microphone, verbal HIV.
Ain’t no crowd want your STD
Short Tiny Dick MC tryin’ to battle me
I put that ass in traction like rhyme therapy
So turn the page in your notebook and start takin’ notes
While I kill this last bar and then pause and toke smoke
The huge beat booming into the booth was making my head hurt as Mark sat at the big control panel thing and watched the guy in the small booth on the other side of the larger room beyond the glass rapping into the microphone hanging from the ceiling above him. Aliona was sitting in Mark’s lap with a huge smile and there was a ring of mean looking black guys standing in a semi circle behind them bobbing their heads or shifting their shoulders back and forth, frowning like they were mad but clearly enjoying what they were hearing. He pulled one of the sliding volume things down and the beat cut off.
“I’m gonna punch you back in on six; spit the double and then wait for the double up on 12,” Mark said into the thin microphone arching over the board of controls. I saw the guy in the little booth adjust his headphones where they rested on his neck and cupped his ears and then nod, turning his hat backwards. He leaned to the hanging microphone and the beat started again and I could hear the lyrics he had just said coming out of the speakers with it though he wasn’t saying anything now. I didn’t know what was going on; I didn’t even like rap music.
We had arrived at the studio in LA Monday afternoon and Mark had found this session taking place. The black guys had seemed to know who Mark was. Being who he was, he couldn’t resist the urge to take over the controls and give some ideas and pointers. Whatever he was doing was apparently working and I could see how much they obviously respected him. His tour of the studio had started and ended in this room. The rapper said a few lines over again, doubling up what were supposed to be important lines. When it came to the end of the verse, the black guys started shouting and yelling things like “Just SMASHED, boy!” or “Damn man! That shit was TIGHT!” One of them patted Mark on the shoulder and said “You’re a fuckin’ GENIUS, Fox.” Aliona looked happy for him. So was I, I guess; but I was bored. Mark lifted Aliona off his lap and she skipped over to sit beside me on the couch in her tiny frilly green skirt, tight green tank top, and tiny green flip flops. Did she even own closed toe shoes? I missed wearing flips flops so much at that moment that I felt the itch in the bottom of my nonexistent left foot for the first time in so many years I’d lost count.
“That guy’s famous,” she said, pointing towards where Mark sat.
“Yeah, Double P or something like that. I’ve seen his videos,” I said, trying to sound interested.
“I meant Mark, stupid,” she said, elbowing me in the ribs, “they all know who he is. I actually didn’t even know.”
“Yeah, I guess,” I said again.
“Look,” she pointed at them, standing around him watching what he was doing like he was turning water into wine. He was telling them some technical thing I didn’t understand while pointing at different controls and using technical terms that sounded made up, “Double P’s albums go platinum, but they’re paying more attention to Mark than to him.”
She was right. I always knew he was good at what he did, but I didn’t know he had climbed so high as a producer. He was plugging in a thumb drive from the pocket of his jeans to the control board stuff and a different beat started. I recognized the sound as being something he made, all distorted bass and kick drums that made your chest punch in and out. “Whoa, whoa, whoa, son…what the FUCK riddim is this!?” a harsh voice said out of the speakers. “You want to flow on it?” Mark asked into the mic in front of him. “Hell yeah son, cue it up on the 1!” the voice replied. I was tired of sitting; I wished I’d worn shorts but my ass looks really good in jeans. I can’t wear ones that are tight in the leg, obviously, but most jeans that flare at the leg are also low at the waist and stretch across my sculpted cheeks perfectly. It as hot in here though, and we were going to be here forever.
“You’re bored,” Aliona said, leaning into me and putting the side of her head on my shoulder.
“Yeah, is it that obvious?” I asked, taking a deep indulgent breath of her smell. She was minty and warm next to me.
“Let’s get out of here then,” she said, looking at me with her dangerous smile.
“Really?” I asked.
“It’s cool and all…but it just looks like the same thing over and over again” she answered.
She went over to Mark and leaned into him where he sat, whispering in his ear. He turned to look at her and nodded, looked back at me and smiled, then waved while mouthing the word “later”. I smiled back and got up, Aliona joining my side, and we left the room. We went to the front desk and the receptionist called a cab for us. There were people all over the place; it was easily three times the size of the studio back home and being in LA it seemed to handle much bigger name clients. I saw the guitar player and singer of a band I knew and felt momentarily start struck. Mark had been distant for years until recently, not really taking much interest in my life; but I suppose I was guilty of the same thing. I had no idea he could move in these circles with ease because he had never told me. Then again, I had never asked.
In the cab Aliona sat in the back with me. I told the driver to just start driving and asked her what she wanted to do.
“Tourist stuff?” I asked her.
“Maybe later when Mark’s free,” she said wistfully, looking out the window. Neither of them had likely said the words to each other but I could tell she loved him at least as much as I did. I couldn’t blame her. I wasn’t jealous anymore, but I felt nervous in the back of the car with her. It was the first time I’d been alone with her since she told me she caught me watching Mark fuck her.
“What then?” I asked with a shy tone in my voice.
“Let’s just go back to the hotel,” Aliona said, looking at me with her big green eyes. She touched my metal prosthetic gently with the toes poking out of her right flip flop. “Does this rust up if you go swimming?”
“Not if I take it off,” I said, still shy. Why was I being shy, damn it? I was 32 years old, a business owner myself, and I thought I was way past this sort of behavior. I couldn’t believe I had a crush on this little pixie of a girl.
“Cooooool,” she said, winking at me. “Let’s go get wet then, I love swimming.”
The way she looked at me was lascivious. As another female I could see what she was doing. She knew she was doing it too, and I could see in her eyes that she knew I knew. She just winked that damned wink again, and I felt the warmth in my pelvis grow.
Where the hell had Aliona come from? No wonder Mark had crashed so hard for this girl.