Authors: H. Raven Rose
Tags: #General Fiction
For Anne, who hasn't given up on love.
I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.
Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings."
ULITTE AND VICTOR DEVEREUX, an intense and brainy brunette and her bitterly cool dude husband, disentangled from the sheets after doing the wild thing. Victor was still getting untangled when Juliette turned on her bedside lamp. She then grabbed some research articles and a pen, and began reading, annotating, and highlighting.
Victor flipped on the TV to watch
The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson
As the show began, he laughed out loud, snorting and giggling every so often, while Juliette, apparently able to entirely ignore him, focused upon her work. Periodically, Victor totally failed to use his inside voice, even at that late hour, and would talk to the television set as if host Craig Ferguson could hear him. Victor cheered Craig on as he bumped, grinded and sang his way across the stage.
As if crooning to the television audience, Craig Ferguson danced and lip-synced, the words to internet sensation Clementine Valentine's sleeper hit, “Do it Legal.”
Truly beautiful author Charlene Hanson, dressed in a sexy, chic outfit, with long blonde hair, blue eyes, and stunning makeup, danced onto the stage with a copy of her hardcover book and lip-synced her way toward Craig who was gyrating wildly whilst still lip-syncing.
Charlene Hanson danced along with Craig, lip-syncing orgasmically, just like up-and-coming teenage hipster rock star Clementine Valentine performed in her song “Do it Legal.”
“Bout to crazy love you, baby, let’s get married and do it legal…”
Wavy Rancheros, Craig’s alligator puppet, pops up, waves and lip-syncs:
“Do it legal… Do it legal… There ain’t no dirty like dirty done right…”
Wavy disappeared as Craig and Charlene pretended to sing together, lip-syncing:
“Bout to crazy love you, baby, let’s get married and do it legal…”
Ferguson and Hansen bumped and grinded their way to their seats as the music ended. Behind Charlene’s seat was a large sexy poster for her recently-released book,
The Multiple Orgasmic Married Woman, Oh Wow
otherwise known as MOM WOW.
Craig picked up some note cards and ripped them to bits. Accompanied by the sound of breaking glass, he tossed them irreverently over his shoulder.
“Please welcome best-selling sexpert hottie author… Charlene Multi-Orgasmic Married Woman oh Wow Hanson, to the Late Late Show,” he said and made quotes with his fingers, to emphasize the word married.
The audience applauded wildly.
“How are you? You look great,” said Ferguson, “apparently multiple orgasms are the best beauty treatment.” She did look great. Tonight's guest was beautiful, healthy, fit and looked very, very happy.
Charlene laughed at Ferguson's words as he grinned his signature toothy smile.
"Thanks. I'm fantastic. How're you?” Charlene replied.
Ferguson frowned and pantomimed a sad face as Charlene looked at him with interest.
"Well, Charlene, truth be told I'm not so good… between your MOM WOW book…”
The Multiple Orgasmic Married Woman, Oh Wow
to the audience and then continued:
and Clementine Valentine’s epic 16-minute orgasmic songs, I'm in the shit.”
“This guy's fucking funny,” Victor said to Juliette and punched the bed.
Juliette, engrossed in her work, grunted. Victor looked back at the screen.
“What happened?” Charlene asked Craig Ferguson.
“I'll tell you what happened, your book happened. My wife and I had a baby a few years ago…”
The crowd applauded and cheered.
“…while the kid naps, my wife reads. So, she picked up your book… and now she's the creepy…”
The audience laughs and he has to hold his hand up to interrupt their laughter so that he can continue.
“…weird, sexually predatory one… because now one orgasm is no longer enough for her,” Ferguson finished.
The audience laughed appreciatively.
“Shit. Some bee-yatch bumped Max and Emily from tonight's show,” Victor said to Juliette, finally figuring out that his friends weren’t going to be on tonight's show. “She looks familiar,” he added as Juliette looked up to check out the sexy author.
“Ouch, sucks for them,” she said and looked more closely at the screen. “Oh, she's another author.”
“Yeah, some woman's bullshit,” Victor replied, and slowly read the onscreen poster aloud, “The Multi-Orgasmic Married Woman, Oh Wow." He laughed to himself and murmured something.
“Huh?” Juliette asked.
It’s just, that’s total B.S., you know? She's some feminist sexual die-hard left-over, no doubt; though she looks okay if she's actually that old... but the point is, uno orgasm is good enough for my woman. Am I right or am I right?” Victor asked.
“Uh…” Juliette said softly and then she made a pretense of going back to reading her research papers.
“What?” Victor asked. He used the remote to mute the volume on the TV.
“Uh…” Juliette said and stopped short. Victor looked over at her. She said nothing further.
Juliette was a deer in the headlights and shuffled her paperwork for a long moment in the hope that Vic would drop his line of questioning.
“One orgasm is enough for you, right?” Victor asked kindly as if to draw out an answer.
“Well, technically… no,” Juliette finally responded, as if he had asked her if she enjoyed mundane housework.
“I mean, maybe you didn't have one tonight, but… in fucking general, you do and it’s enough, right?”
Victor, tried to give her an out and extemporaneously added to his question about whether or not one orgasm was good enough for her. It was obvious that the entire topic of discussion was a bit awkward for him and that his assumption was that she generally had a single orgasm during their relations and that the single orgasm entirely satisfied her sexual needs.
Juliette was reluctant to continue the discussion at all. She stared at the ceiling.
She was tired and needed to read and, more importantly, she needed to comprehend all of the articles in front of her tonight. She was so ready to finish her thesis and defend it and then get and settle into a position that paid properly. Whether she'd continue in research, or have a private practice, she didn't know... but she was sick of the near-constant anxiety and struggle of writing up her dissertation research.
Victor was self-employed as a daytrader, really good at what he did—daytrading was like play for him—and because his work was so easy for him, and fun, he seemed entirely clueless about how stressful her professional life was. She sighed as he went on and on about whether or not a single orgasm was enough for her.
Sure, their sex life had some issues, but didn't everyone's? She knew that he loved her and she figured that they'd work on that later, when her damned dissertation was written and defended. She sighed again.
Victor stared at her expectantly. He clearly was waiting for her to respond to something that he'd asked.
She knew that Victor, once interested in a topic, like a dog with a bone, would not rest or let her rest until she satisfied his query about the existence of her hypothetical general single orgasm and the resultant satisfaction. Clearly, he intensely desired to know whether that speculative normal sole climax that she reached with him, on average, resulted in pleasure or ecstacy for her.
She was silent for a long moment. Here goes nothing, she thought to herself.
“No,” she finally replied.
“No?” Victor asked, dumbfounded by her words, the turn of the discussion, and the import of his understanding her response to the matter at hand. He struggled to understand what his wife meant.
“Uh, no,” Juliette finally admitted. She didn't want to be brutal and spell it out for him but he didn't seem to understand what she was trying to say.
Victor sought desperately, in his own mind, to both understand the general gist of the issue, to parse the relevant information, and simultaneously come up with and share an appropriate response.
“Well,” he finally said, “I guess you can't always get the brass ring, right? So, some of the fucking time you have an orgasm, right?” Victor looked at her as Juliette stared down at the research paper in her hand and the stack by her side.
She had fewer than eight hours until she had to teach a class. Following that she would be in the lab, doing research, observing children, after which she hoped to have time to consider some data for trends, and make some notes about or further develop her dissertation draft.
Juliette really, really didn't want to have this conversation now.
Victor seemed to be holding his breath. Juliette sighed.
“No,” she finally responded.
"You mean ‘No,’ as in never?” he asked his wife, entirely horrified by the idea.
“Correct,” Juliette responded, and revealed to Victor that she had never, ever had an orgasm with him. Not once. She didn't want to belabor this and spell it out for him but not once, in their relationship, had he made her come. She sighed again.
Victor thought hard before he spoke. He clicked off the TV. He turned to her. She looked down at her pen, then up at him. She loved his dark chocolate eyes.
“Oh,” Victor said and then pondered further. His heart beat in his chest and he thought that he might have an actual heart attack. But then he got an idea that made everything make sense. He smiled, certain that he had figured it all out.
“It's okay,” he said softly and touched her arm then smiled at her.
Well, that's unexpected, she thought to herself, he's going to take this well. She smiled back at him, overcome with relief, and hoped that the conversation was almost over.
“I understand,” he said, “...it's harder for some women. It's not a bad thing…” the more Victor thought through the issue, the happier he became.
“In fact, it's a great thing. I'll be the first man to rock your fucking world, honey,” he added. He looked at her and nodded and smiled. Juliette groaned mentally although her face remained expressionless. She looked up at the ceiling.
She didn’t want to break it to him; yet honesty was her policy.
“No, Victor,” Juliette finally admitted. The tiny sigh she let out after making her statement was like the delicate sound that a bird might make.
“You don't mean never with me?” Victor inquired, appalled.
Reluctantly, Juliette pounded the final nail.
“Yes. Never… with you, Victor,” Juliette said.
Victor's face became a mask of shock and horror and Juliette put down her research article because she knew that it was going to be a very, very long night.
SIS TEASED EDWIN JAMESON with her eyes. It was normally an effective seductive ploy.
Typically, he was incredibly responsive to non-verbal communication after an intimate evening out. An elegant dinner, like the one that they had shared tonight, and strolling hand-in-hand along the street back to her apartment, was his preferred aphrodisiac.
It wouldn't usually take much to have him melt into her arms. However, things had been a little weird the last two weeks.
She wondered what he was thinking about as he looked down at her. She wondered what it was going to take for them to be inseparable. Preferably, indivisible, insoluble, or in each other's pockets permanently.
Their best friends were two married couples and she was beyond tired of feeling like the odd woman out. When were she and Edwin getting married?
Isis play-pouted and rubbed her dark chocolate skin against Edwin, thinking this white bread, young old money-honey was going to drive her absolutely out of her mind. Edwin grinned, as if he knew exactly what she was thinking as he cuddled Isis Jones, his sexy, stylish African-American girl-friend.
Well, she thought, since Edwin's motor wasn't revving up, maybe they could talk.
Isis rubbed her lips and nose against Edwin and gently bit him while trying to draw him down onto her bed. Yet, all the while, she couldn't think about how to start the conversation. You didn't just say it plain, unless you were proposing to the guy.
Isis could never, in a million years, imagine proposing. Drop hints, make it clear what she wanted... yes. Beg for it or propose herself... never.
Despite the fact that she was panting a little, Edwin was neither out of breath, nor allowing her to get a good nibble in or pull him down. She frowned. What was going on with her man?
She felt a fear, as wide as the Grand Canyon, open up inside of her. Was he backing off? Was he standing up and really going to leave her? Something was going on.
Maybe tonight wasn't the night to have this convo. But she felt like she had to speak to him, broach the topic, and it had to be tonight. A feeling of panic rose in her and it reminded her of her dream from two nights prior.
In the dream, Edwin had left her for a woman... not even a sister... a white woman. But that wasn't the weird thing. Guys left women all the time. Women left guys too, for that matter. And it wasn't a dream about racial tension or anything like that.
The fact that they were a bi-racial couple wasn't an issue for them.
Anyway, the peculiar thing was that in the dream she was a book... a freaking publication... that Edwin had checked out at the woman book library.
But he hadn't really liked her volume enough to finish her. Remembering bits of the dream almost made it impossible for her to breath.
Because he hadn't wanted to finish her, he had returned her book and gone to a book store and bought a different woman book.
The feeling of panic rose in Isis. The other book in the dream had been vanilla. Literally. The other woman book, the white woman tome, had a vanilla colored cover.
Oh, my goodness, she thought, suddenly overwhelmed. Maybe the dream is my women's intuition. Maybe Edwin is bored by me... he doesn't want to continue the relationship to its natural conclusion. Is he going to dump me?
Isis felt overwhelmed by her train of thought. She reminded herself to focus on her man. She looked up at him.
Edwin looked down at Isis. She was adorable in her pale pink sexy baby doll pajamas, which she'd immediately put on, on the pretext of being overly warm, after the walk from the restaurant to her place, as soon as they had entered her apartment.
She was a chocolate and pink confection; her eyes golden brown beckoned him as she reclined on her pink and zebra bedding. This wasn't going to be easy, he realized as he looked down at her. Isis bit her sexy bottom lip.
“I was hoping we could talk,” she said and smiled brightly.
“I think we're really good together,” Isis said, fumbling to find the words.
How did one flat out ask a modern man what his intentions were? The convo about fidelity had been pretty easy. At some point, right about when she thought that they might get physical, Edwin had made it clear that he wanted to date her exclusively.
Edwin looked at his watch and Isis felt like she had been punched in the stomach. He was looking at his watch? Isis felt icy shock. Edwin had never been so rude to her.
She flushed with shame and stared as he looked at his watch again and then stood and took a few steps back. Well, that takes the cake, she thought.
Edwin's reaction to her serious desire to talk made her face hot. It was like watching an accident. Stop it, she told herself. Damn it, a mild rejection is nothing like an accident where something gets broken, or somebody gets hurt, or someone dies.
Except, it felt like that. Edwin was backing away from her bed, her body, her desire to talk to him about something important. It felt like a terrible accident that she was watching happen.
“Yeah, absolutely. We should talk. At some other time,” Edwin said calmly.
He was ready to leave. Isis's face fell. She literally could not believe the words which seemed to fall from her lips from their own accord.
“Can't you stay? Just for tonight?”
Oh, dear Lord. She was begging him, like a teenager, or some love-starved chick who didn't know her own worth and was desperate for a man.
What had come over her? She tried not to tear up.
Edwin frowned just a bit and slowly shook his head.
“I have my trainer really early and a full day tomorrow, and after we have that get-together at Emily and Max's house,” he said and came back for a moment and kissed her stunned face good-bye.
He saw himself out, scooting out of her tiny bedroom, rapidly moving through her equally tiny living/dining area, and was out the front door of her apartment before she could move or respond. He didn’t even tell her that he loved her. Isis felt positively ill.
She remembered at dinner, feeling superior to another couple. She and Edwin had a lovely time. They'd had a gorgeous meal, flirted and enjoyed interesting conversation. Then Edwin had shared some concerns about work. She'd offered her opinion and he'd listened. She'd noticed a couple nearby bickering... and she'd felt safe and superior.
Sure, she'd felt bad when the woman got up and stormed out but she'd felt safe... those kinds of things didn't happen to her anymore. She didn't fight for her man's attention, to be taken seriously, the way she had in many of her previous relationships.
She'd thought that Edwin was the one, that it was only a matter of time before things got serious and they began the next phase of their life together.
But that wasn't happening and the way that Edwin had casually blown her off just then made her feel a burning shame. Was she wrong about them? Were they not a good couple? Were things not headed toward something serious... something permanent?
Was it her job? He was in a family firm and kind of had a high-powered career and all that. She had a job that she wasn't proud of really, it was a job like millions of other people had, necessary and useful. She worked in a hospital.
She didn't love her job but she wasn't ashamed of it. She had dreams of course, but the practicalities of life had meant she needed to pay the bills. It wasn't the race thing was it? The other woman book in the dream had a vanilla cover.
Realistically, though, the vanilla cover might not be about race. Isis knew that she was not an understated person. She could be dramatic and fun.
He had taste and certainly dressed well but her idea of dressing up, of beauty, wasn't understated elegance. It came across in her personality as well. She was more of a promoter, a cheerleader, someone who liked to motivate others and she talked a lot. Maybe he found her loud and thought that she lacked class, or something.
Isis felt confused. What was wrong with her and Edwin? She turned out the light and tossed and turned, really fretted about their situation. Finally, well after 2 AM and knowing that she'd be exhausted at work the next day, she frowned and, unable to stop herself, cried herself to sleep on her pillow.