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Je veux être la fille avec la plupart de gâteau. Regardez-moi dans la glace.
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19 December 2006



The lake was crowded Saturday and Sunday, but now the working folks had vacated their lakefront houses for the week. It was midnight and we were alone. We held hands and walked down to the dock.

The night air was cool on my skin as he tugged off my shirt. My hands pulled at his shorts as I stepped out of the skirt he’d pushed down to my ankles.

Our hands traveled over our bodies in clichéd, slow motion. I felt the smooth skin on his shoulders as one of his hands weighed a breast and the other gripped my ass. We kissed.

We were nighttime kissers. During the day our affections were limited to casual brushes of fingers as one of us handed the other a drink, or suggestive smirks behind sunglasses as we sat on the boat with the five younger kids tubing behind us. Nanny always sat nearby, and along with Lynn the Girl, Rachel and Jefferson’s brother Jesse, flashed knowing looks.

Only when the kids were out of eyesight did we steal kisses or even glances which might suggest a level of intimacy above fond friendship. The tension had a way of building over the course of a day. Something about being so close, wearing next to nothing, unable to do anything about it. Something about being so casual and normal together.

And so, come nighttime, once children were bedded, we were more than anxious to be naked together.

Except that, instead of rending garments in ravenous response to our daytime denial, there was a comfort and languid ease in our after-dark couplings. The self-imposed chastity took its toll, but it was a reminder of the reality of our relationship. Our visits to each other most often do not include our children and it's easy to sink into "let's lie in bed all day." And we do that a lot.

That we were vacationing with family meant that life would revolve around the kids. We would have extremely limited privacy and be up with the sun. I sort of loved it.

I smiled into his mouth as we kissed, naked on the dock, and imagined his mother, Honey, watching from her bedroom above. She could totally hate me. She could totally disapprove of my relationship with her firstborn. But she didn’t.

I have the advantage of coming into Jefferson’s life after his divorce from Lucy. I hadn’t realized just how vitriolic Honey’s feelings ran toward his ex. On our first evening I found out.

I had come out of the guest house to join Jefferson, Honey and Nanny on the porch. They were talking about Jason’s outburst earlier, when one of Frank’s kids had said something about “Maddie, Uncle TJ’s girlfriend.”

“Oh, dear,” I said, looking at Jefferson, “is Jason okay?”

“He’s fine, I talked to him, and it’s my fault, for not telling him sooner that you were coming,” said Jefferson. “We talked about it, and he’s fine.”

I made a note to be extra sensitive to Jason.

“Maddie,” Honey began, her head cocked to the side, “d’you know Lucy?"

“No, ma’am, we haven’t met,” I admitted.

“Well, y’ain’t missin’ much,” she said, rolling her eyes and turning away.

It was uncomfortable because I’m uncomfortable talking about someone I’ve never met and about whom I am incapable of drawing my own conclusion. I smiled and changed the subject. Jefferson nodded slightly to me, smiling as Honey's focus was redirected. I wasn't ready to hear her opinion on the mother of his children. It would have been embarrassing.

My face was in his hands now, our bodies pressed together. He started walking me backwards to the end of the dock. He bent down and got a foam noodle. He tossed it out and lowered himself into the lake, pushing off the dock and out to the green cylinder floating in the water.

I smiled. It had been years since I went skinny dipping in a lake.

I sat on the edge of the dock and pushed off, dropping in feet first with hardly a splash.

The water was cool underneath, warmer on the surface. I made my way to him as he waited with his arms folded over the noodle in front of his chest. I swam up and draped my arms over his, facing him. Our faces were wet. I kissed him.

Sometimes when we’re together I forget the circumstances of our relationship. I forget how hard it is to be so far apart. And because we are so similar in so many things, I forget the absolute serendipity of having struck up a conversation with someone whose writing I admired and, six weeks later, flying twelve hundred miles to meet. And then to have things be so easy and normal and then to discover that we are so much the same.

I forget to mark the time when we’re physically together as different from the time we spend apart, because to me, we’re never really apart.

But tonight as I write about the night when Jefferson slowly and silently frog-kicked his way across the inlet with Madeline’s legs wrapped around his body, their faces together, their lips touching, I think, “That was something. That is a memory I want to have forever.”

In the few minutes it took to reach the other side I realized that I got it. I understood him. I understood us. It was so simple.

The back of my head hit metal. The ladder on the dock opposite ours. I giggled and climbed up, being careful not to splash. The rungs were slimy and I made sure to move slowly so as not to lose my footing.

The moon was just past full, and bright. I stepped up onto the dock. There was a wrought-iron table with four chairs and a football, left behind by someone who’d been there over the weekend. Jefferson climbed out and walked toward me, smiling.

Hands were on the backs of necks, pulling lips to lips.

I shivered.


“Li’l bit,” I whispered, my teeth on the verge of chattering.

He pulled me close, wrapping his arms around my back and waist. I could feel his heart beating.

“Come here, baby,”

He lowered us to the slats and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted to. I wanted to tell him that I understood. That I wasn’t worried about what his family might think. That I don’t care what anyone on the goddamned Internet thinks. That we are something.

He straddled my left leg as I lay on my back, my shoulder blades pressed against the soft, rough wood. His mouth was on my breast and his hand between my legs. I gasped as he bit down. Hot pain seared from behind my eyes and I exhaled, sighing. I could feel the warm wetness of my cunt spreading, slicking his fingers within the folds of my lips.

A kiss, and he pulled back to look me in the eyes.

I knew that look.

He moved his body further down mine.

“No. . . baby . . . you . . .”

My clit fairly jumped at the greeting of his mouth, his tongue flicking across it as his fingers sunk deeper into my body. I turned my head and looked back at the house where our six children slept. One of my hands was on his head as the other cupped my breast and squeezed as his thrusting got deeper and more insistent. My legs extended, back arched, lips pursed together. My breath was forced through my nostrils as my throat tightened and I let out a muffled shriek.

I was about to come. Hard.

He sat back on his haunches and pumped his hand inside my cunt and swirled his thumb on my clit as my feet struggled to brace themselves on the wood, driving my knees up and forward. My eyes closed and rolled back as I gave into his fingers. My hips writhed and I kept my mouth shut, so that I think the only sound coming from me was an epiglottal hiccup each time my body convulsed.

His hand pulled on my G-spot and my voice was a deep "ohhhhhh" vibrato with his rhythm. Then the growl which only happens then: when things are about to get very wet. I couldn’t keep it in.

My come gushed down his arm and between the slats, raining onto the water below us. I could hear it splashing.

He mumbled something about God.

My orgasm subsided; he retrieved his hand from my cunt.

I lay still, lips parted, eyes still closed, and a tear running along my temple towards my ear. I let my knees drop to the side and lay there spiraled.

I looked up at him. He was lying on his side and stroking my cheek.

"Look at you. You are so fucking beautiful.”


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