This complete story is inspired by the diaries of Anaïs Nin and comes from Cathedral of Furs (left).
Harvey, my love, I have loved you so deeply that my body has been a fallow field, my heart a flaming cavern. Whenever we’ve been with others at the café and you’ve sat beside me, our legs touching, my sex has bloomed and my blood has rushed, and my need for you has burned. I sit like a blushing virgin-whore, so vulnerable—your unploughed ground. Whenever your hand brushes mine as you reach for your coffee, I long to raise my fingers to my face and inhale the cologne you’ve marked me with. But we have to be subtle, my love, because how could I show Arnaud, my husband of five years, who sits at the same table, what passes between us? It would be like letting him find the notes we’ve exchanged, the ones that express such unsated passion. His jealousy would kill him. It might just kill us all. I even believed it could kill your wife Jeanne, that distant bird with the rare, gilded plumage, whom you spoke of so often—untouchable, supreme.
But yesterday, I realized I was wrong about Jeanne. We only see people truly when we look into their eyes.
At the time, Arnaud and I were at the café with our friends. We were sipping our cognacs, laughing together, the overhead lamps gilding our teeth, our eyes drunk with enjoyment. Then you entered the café with Jeanne and the world froze, but with life, not death—with glaciers and whitest fur and moonstones embedded in uncut rock. The world shone like enchanted frost. I had to stare, to stare and stare, because Jeanne was on your arm.
Une beauté de glace.
She was as tall as you are, her eyes twice as mysterious. She held in those eyes the secrets of the planets, the hopes of the gypsies, the stirrings of the sea. She wore a dress with a bare back, and her wheat-colored hair was closely cropped. In the slope of her neck I saw perfection. I longed to run my fingertips down her spine, to feel the soft down on her ivory skin as it whispered its desires. Her lips were stained with deepest red, her eyes touched with charcoal, and she moved like a rarity—a bird sought by many.
Jeanne, the fallen angel, the phoenix! I was living just to watch her fly.
Imagine my surprise when Jeanne sat to my left, bringing a seat between myself and Arnaud, and you, my dearest, sat to my right—a wife and her husband divided. There, your hearts worked as one to weave me into a frenzy. Jeanne spoke of the poetry she writes, of the music she plays on the piano, and she ran her fingertips over the satin of my skirt, loving the sheerness and the shell-colored shades that shimmered within it. “Like a mermaid,” she said. Her touch was lingering, voluptuous, the pads of her fingers thirsty to sense the stockings I wore beneath my skirt. My skin blushed to feel her. Blushed and thrummed. I felt us connecting, a sweet cascading web. I leaned against Jeanne’s ear, murmuring delights, and she enjoyed me, her laughter tinkling like seashells while I inhaled her rare perfume, mixed, no doubt, with the scent of her skin. Yes, Jeanne was the Orient and the snow-swept forest. Already, I saw her naked—I had only to lean in close.
All night, at that table next to Jeanne, our hands brushed one another. We spoke up close, lip to ear, at so intimate a distance that when I left to refresh my lipstick, I found her own color smudged on my earlobe—a blot of darkest, deepest red, as if I’d been blessed with cherries.
When I returned to the table, you were staring at me too, my love, in full view of my husband Arnaud who was talking to Raul, unaware. You were undressing me with the dark cores your eyes, devouring me with your sight alone, just as I had undressed Jeanne—already, the patterns were falling. When I remembered to glance at Jeanne, she was watching me also, eyeing me over her sips of cognac. She parted her lips just so, letting the pearls of her teeth flash.
Her gaze. Your stare. My blazing heart.
From the flutter I felt in my sex and the way my skin crept with life, I longed to fall into the orgy with you both, into the flurry of sex and mouths and fingers and thighs. Together, we’d roil in a perfumed bed, myself lying between you both, at the core. A woman’s skin soft as a peach, a man’s so strong with muscle, your mouths quick with passion, your tongues gliding over me. Oh, the flood! Dreaming like this in the café, awake and yet in rapture, I felt entirely naked, my breasts full with longing, my stockings caressing my thighs. My sex, so fully honeyed, was palpitating, pleading. My body knew its gilded ache and clutched at itself, ecstatic.
Then my husband Arnaud saw me, laughed at me—what was I doing? he asked. “You are flushed,” he said. “My Desdemona!” And I laughed too, because what can I do but love him? He is my child, my infant. I adore his creation. I will do anything to keep him, anything for love.
For a moment, it seemed my betrayal would be impossible. But I should have trusted in the universal energy—the truth of the shadow, the slyness of the light.
Passion. Intensity. But all of it borrowed. I returned home with Arnaud, when really I longed for Jeanne, for you.
That night, Arnaud took me with a frenzy, and though his sex is often too big for me—uncomfortable, stretching me until I feel sharp pain—you and Jeanne were still inside my head, dancing, crushing, your hands sweeping over me.
Arnaud, panting on top of me, gasped, “Arielle, I’ve never felt you so ready.”
He was right. The honey was abundant, and I could take him, every last inch, because you dreamlike creatures had poured yourselves into me. I came with such intensity as Arnaud thrust and thrust that I flailed in purity, wailing with delight, the orgasm swallowing me, seizing me completely. You see, my love? You and Jeanne gave to Arnaud too, that night. My husband, who often can’t climax within me, was a stallion in bed, releasing over and over, deeper and deeper, an absolute possession. Every time he was close, he’d tell me again, “So wet, kitten, so wet,” and then he’d release, crying out at my ear, leaving my sex aflutter.
At last, he slept deeply, but I only dreamed in fits, imagining Jeanne in her stockings, her thighs parted, the flower of her sex spread open to me as she watched, eyes blazing with beautiful ice. You were there too, my love, in this dream, your sex erect as you lay on your side, watching me as I watched her. Jeanne’s breasts basked on her body, milk-white, their tips roseate, languid in the candlelight. “Come to me, Arielle,” she murmured, “my mermaid.” And just as I stepped towards her, ready to fall onto her and have you plough the both of us, the man in you exploding, I woke, unsated, my body damp with need.
But how could I know that in two days Arnaud would be called to New York on business?
You made this happen. I know you did. With your magic and the wife who makes visions of us all.
The following night, once Arnaud had left for America, you sent a taxi for me. I arrived at your home, breathless from with surprise and anticipating everything, Jeanne answered the door in turquoise, a siren, every part of her twinkling. She, who’d called me mermaid, was the original nymph, her dress clinging to her figure, tiny diamonds shimmering all over her, enhancing the bare curve of her spine and the pallor of her cleavage.
Jeanne, the eternal swan. Jeanne, the Snow Queen. Jeanne, with her mystical eyes that hold a million tragedies and a coldness more vivid than any poem. But you? When I walked in, you were still in your work suit. I think that’s how you wanted it—you’d be the manager, the ringmaster, and we’d be the ponies, turning your tricks.
That’s why you had us kiss one another, yes?
I was shy at first, having never kissed a woman, but Jeanne was ravenous, her mouth ardent, as if she’d been waiting years for me, and she stained my mouth with her cherry-dark lipstick, with kisses like crushed velvet—selfless, selfish, all and nothing. As our mouths sank together, our breasts touched, mine adorned only with the finest satin, hers covered with gauzy material studded with teardrops of finery. Held by her so we breathed as one, I felt her hardened nipples. I swept my hand against her thigh and the curve of her buttock, feeling her body so warm, so smooth inside her dress.
Beneath my skin, my blood was beating, making every little part of me flush and gasp. I was alive, so alive, especially when I felt your arms encircling me from behind, and your sex—hard and insistent—pressing at my back. I threw back my head then, making ardent sounds, as Jeanne lay soft-damp kisses down my throat, and you explored my body through the thin satin, your hands caressing me with slippery smoothness, as if I were already bare. I felt you touch my hips, my sides, your lips insistent against my nape. I felt you gather me tighter than Jeanne, grinding against me.
I palpitated with pleasure, my breath breaking like tiny fractured mirrors.
Jeanne twined her fingers in my hair, her lips crushing mine, and I ran my palms over her curves—her hips, her breasts (so much softer than mine), and the nipples that rose at my keenness.
You devoured me so greatly, swallowing me deep. My darling, you robbed me of time. I have no way of remembering how our moments strung together, how we moved on one another, who went first, who want last. Do you hear? You broke the temporal threads and I still feel the impact—when I think of you, time bores me! I must have everything at once! Always I am searching for the supreme spasm, when you make longing shatter into joy! As we pawed and bit and breathed at one another, you and Jeanne opened a universe of planets, with no need of measurement. You pulled me apart and the cogs spilled out, leaving only moons and stars.
My memories of our lovemaking can only come in desperate shards. All that are left are moments, so vivid:
Jeanne beneath the low chandelier with its crystals like a crown of stars, as she let the slip fall from her waist, undulating, a metronome. Here she was, pale as a unicorn, her breasts full and smooth, almost gleaming in the light, her eyes darkened with a smudge of charcoal, her hands touching her body—breasts, nipples, stomach, sex, all the way down to her stockinged thighs.
Me lying on an unmade bed of soft sheets and pillows, while you, my love, kneeled over me, offering your sex to my waiting mouth. I will never forget how hard you felt against my pliant lips, or how my tongue longed to surround you, to take you until I could take no more. I watched you, unerring, as you vanquished my mouth, my red lipstick staining your sex, and I’ll never forget the ferocious bliss in your eyes, and your agony of moans as you quickened your rhythm. For a while, there was only you in me, until I heard a wail from the other side of the bed. Jeanne, stare trained on your sex in my mouth, was lying on her back with her knees bent, as she rubbed her sex with intensity. The honey was flowing so deeply inside her that I could hear her frantic wetness. She was deep in the climax, entering it entirely, her mouth opening wide like a lion’s, as if she was swallowing a world of pleasure. Arched in extremis, she was an undulating feast, her breasts softly bouncing, her nipples hard and dark as she pressed the last convulsions from her thirsty sex.
You, sitting on the edge of the bed while I sat facing you, astride your lap, and Jeanne was behind me, breasts grazing my shoulder blades, as she grasped my hips and made me your doll. She used me to satisfy you: a vessel for your pleasure. How I loved being made to submit, being used without thought, being used for sheer wetness—as a tight glove, a palpitating fist, pornography or worship. I was both the wafer and the wine, the bread and the body transforming. As Jeanne brought my hips down onto your sex, soldering us together, I caught you glancing at my breasts, and the hard light of climax filled your eyes. “Quicker!” I cried to Jeanne. “Move me quicker!” And I thrust my own hips, wrenching from her prison, pushing myself onto you, plunging into the climax. It entered me like thunder, like sheer forked light. Our cries blared out at the very same time, and you and I were nothing but crescendo. Limbs, mouths, throats, thirst. Passion. Molten lava. Fingers clutching at what can’t be caught.
Most of all, I remember being sandwiched between you. I lay on you, my love, while Jeanne rolled on top of me. Your sex filled mine over and over as Jeanne ground against me, her breasts slippery on my own. I was filled completely, and crushed to nothing, and captured hard with a million hands. I came with you both all over me—as if you’d become my world.
There is no word for this, my love. Perhaps, one day, there will be. The passion I feel for you and Jeanne leaves language wanting. I feel monstrous and beautiful and passionate and ardent, and when Arnaud comes home, I’ll love him more than ever.
But my body has stirred now, thirsty for the throes, alive to possibility—the butterfly awakes. And this is how I felt on the taxi home, where I sat alone on the long leather seat. The roads of Paris vibrated the car, and I sat, my soaked underwear hidden in my bag, my wet sex soldered to that seat. I knew, as soon as I sat, that this car ride would be different, that I’d feel every bump, every perfect vibration. And twice in that car, as the road shuddered beneath us, my sex clasped the root of life and pulsed into riotous passion, leaving me damp and breathless, palpitating everywhere.
Whatever else has happened, you have lit the wick, my love. You and your beautiful Jeanne. The Snow Queen, dressed in blue.