Chapter 1: I Want You to Think About It
Copyright © 2013 by Michael Litzky
Sally shouldered the cabinet-lined rear door closed with a slam and stomped grimly across the gravel parking lot toward the outhouse, carrying what she called the slosh chamber from their portable toilet.
With a start, she saw the remains of the fight last night. A patch of crusted dried brown showed where Lavinia had lost most of her new blood. And there was the body with its throat torn out. She ran her tongue over her teeth in wonder and disgust, tasting again the bitter, acrid taste, feeling the savagely satisfying crunch.
She had fought for Lavinia, had been ready to die for her. Had almost died for her. Ten minutes ago they’d been making beautiful love. She’d been aroused, full of joy. Why was she now even thinking what she was thinking? And why was she so hurt by Lavinia’s little revelation?
Sally’s gift wasn’t finding answers to internal questions right away. Her gift was that when she did stumble on the answer, she could always recognize it. That happened now. She saw that it had nothing to do with anything they’d just said. She was hurt because ten minutes ago she’d been holding her wife in her arms, ready to move to a whole new level of intimacy, and now…
Lavinia opened her eyes. “Lemme do you now, tiger.” Her voice was lazy and packed with feeling at the same time.
“You don’t have to; I’m fine.” Sally kept her arm around Lavinia’s shoulder, her other hand cupping the bristly pubic hair and the wet lips.
The smart-ass New York Jew came out. “Oh yes you are, kiddo, no doubt about it. And I’m just lazy enough to say sure, okay, fine, glad I don’t have to do nothing. But I want to. So get that hand out of me and get those clothes off. Now.”
Sally, body quivering with excitement, didn’t argue any more. But she hovered between the panting desire to obey and the new desire to boldly tell Lavinia what she wanted.
It seemed an important choice but what decided her was something ridiculously trivial: she had to go to the bathroom.
Just then Lavinia sagged in her arms, looking at her with helpless eyes and whimpering in terror deep in her throat. Sally eased her down gently onto the mattress. “Are you okay, baby?” she begged. “It’s just the day, right?”
For a moment Lavinia struggled frantically, tiny hurtful movements that rippled through her body. Then she relaxed, panting. She talked incoherently for another minute before she got control of her speech. “Sorry, sorry, I just hate being paralyzed, I hated it yesterday too, aw god, I gotta be paralyzed the whole fucking day again. Sorry, just, for a minute there, it was more than I could take. I’m okay now. I’m okay.”
Sally slipped her hand back out of Lavinia’s jeans (took an automatic second to smell it without even realizing) then leaned over and kissed Lavinia on the lips. “Is there anything I can do?”
“No, no, I just gotta get used to it again.” Her breath was jagged. “Yesterday when you found me, you got no way to know, I’d been near screaming for half an hour and I’d finally just gone numb.” Her breath huffed out. “I can move again tonight. Can move again tonight. Just, it seems a long long way away.” Her head quivered. “I’m okay.” The more often she said it, the less Sally believed it. “Hey, sorry I can’t, I’m just not up for topping you right now.”
“Oh that’s okay,” Sally reassured her, feeling nothing but love. “I have to shit anyway, I wouldn’t have…”
She stopped, realizing that she’d just let slip something she hadn’t meant to tell. Lavinia’s face clouded up and in the weak voice which was all she could manage demanded, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Now Sally felt terrible and looked down at the rumpled sheets. She should have told Lavinia this the first time it came up and not now when Lavinia was dealing with so much else. But at Lavinia’s “Huh?!” she knew she had to speak. “All I mean, all I meant, was that the stuff you do with my ass, and I love it!” she hastened to add. “But when I have to shit, it just,” she shrugged, “hurts.”
Lavinia was silent, breathing. “I should have told you, I’m sorry,” Sally added miserably. Reminding herself that she had looked her death in the face more than once, she made herself meet Lavinia’s eyes.
Those eyes were angry but at least they weren’t panicked or hopeless. “How many times?”
Sally tilted her head left and right but couldn’t avoid saying, “Once or twice.” Then honesty made her add, “I guess four times.” She shrugged again, trying to make light of it. “I guess usually I just made sure I was empty when I thought we’d make love.”
In all their playing with power, Lavinia had never made her feel like a bad little girl, like she felt now. At the edge of conscious memory, her father yelled at her, sent her to her room and she went, simmering with rebellion. Her body ached frighteningly for Lavinia to punish her now, to make her really hurt. She stopped herself from hinting to Lavinia that she should.
“Baby,” Lavinia said, angry and hurt. “I trusted you. If you needed me to stop, god fuck it, you should have said.”
“I’m sorry!” she yelled. “I just felt so good, most of the time, and I knew the ‘not just right’ stuff would end and we’d move on to better stuff and I love you so much and I just didn’t want to stop you.”
“God damn it. I hurt you. We should’ve had the Safe Sex talk and the What We Like talk after all. I real-life hurt you.” Lavinia looked thoroughly miserable.
Sally hunched her shoulders. For long minutes, neither of them said anything. Then Lavinia said sadly, “I’m sorry, baby. I, Jesus, how could I not have seen? I thought I was so tuned in to you. I guess when I see that bright, perky little butt of yours, and you, you’re so fuckin’ pretty, what do you want with a broken down old –”
“Stop!” Sally put out a hand to block the words.
“Don’t tell me you aint thought it, kid. I saw.” Lavinia could arch her eyebrows better than anyone and the nearly full paralysis hadn’t changed that.
Sally knew her face was now as red as a cash gift envelope. But she knew the envelope contained an even, not an odd, number of coins. “Yes, I’ve thought it,” she admitted. With sudden painful self-awareness, she realized it had even been part of the turn-on at first, the feeling that she was giving control of herself to someone who (she could hardly think the words) didn’t deserve her.
“I don’t feel that way now,” she said firmly. “And I’m ashamed that I ever thought of your body as less than perfect.” She looked straight in Lavinia’s eyes and willed Lavinia to see that truth. Her eyes took in, almost as an act of contrition, Lavinia’s grey streaks, the wrinkles around her eyes, the small pot belly.
Lavinia’s face didn’t relax and so Sally couldn’t relax either. “Thanks for saying that,” she said slowly, “but I guess I should tell you something.”
Sally felt her shoulders tense. Any time a lover had ever said that to her, it had been bad. Who did Lavinia really love instead of her? Their promise to marry seemed to belong to two other people.
But the ever observant Lavinia took on an amused exasperated look. “Loosen up, baby. I’m just indulging in some Jewish guilt here. Something you damn Chink Buddhists don’t know nothing about.”
Sally had actually been raised Christian but she knew Lavinia was teasing her, so instead of bristling, she said, “Alright, go ahead, you Gweilo.” It was just the word her parents had used for Anglos, but she never could think of a witty rejoinder until too late.
“So what I was about to reveal to you was just that, me, when I saw gorgeous young you, ready to let me just take you, ready to give that nubile body into my hands, I felt like I was, I dunno, catching a wild bird. When was the last time I had such a good looking body in my hands? I felt like I didn’t deserve you, but I was gonna take you anyway since you were gonna let me.”
Sally, shocked at hearing her inmost thoughts spoken aloud like that, felt her mouth drop open. Lavinia nodded sadly. “So listen, babe. Go shit, and think about all this. Really think. Make sure you really wanna be stuck with me. I won’t hold you to anything we said under stress, baby. Take as much time as you need. Not shitting, you know what I mean. Just prom—” Lavinia clamped her mouth shut without asking for whatever promise she’d been about to exact.
“I don’t need any time to –”
“Shah. You at least need to shit. Get out of here for a while. The shitbucket needs to be emptied anyway.” They had bought a portable toilet for the camper, something Lavinia hadn’t needed while traveling through Europe but which they needed in this vampire infested world.
“But baby, I’m sure –”
She closed her eyes now. “Just, no automatic answers baby, that’s all. Take five minutes to think.”
Sally gave in. Lavinia, so good at listening, got as stubborn as a mule when you pushed her. That was probably something she was just going to have to live with. For she was sure, wasn’t she? She pulled herself reluctantly, heavily, from the bed, opened the closet and pulled out the slosh chamber from the portable toilet, opened the rear doors and climbed out into a morning from paradise.
She shouldered the door closed with a slam.