What she liked was a woman's arms that showed defined rounds of shoulders and biceps, a hint of muscle, the same in thighs and legs, a body at the same time sleek and dynamic, restrained in its energy. She had known such a woman only once in her life, a girl she had met while a student at Wellesley, an athlete, but the girl had been a senior while she was only in her second year, and after their brief interlude the girl had graduated and vanished from her life. Now, nearly twenty years later, all she had of this girl was a memory burnished and reworked so many times, she was no longer certain what had been real and what was her fantasy.
Her name was Claudia, and as she sat near an open window looking out at the Piazza Barberini in Rome, her thoughts were not of the past but of the present. She could hear the shower running in the bathroom. She could hear the traffic in the square, the automobiles, an occasional shout from somewhere, sometimes even the faint sound of music from another open window. In the bathroom was a girl named Deirdre, a slender blonde with an angelic face, a former student in one of her classes whom she had met in Firenze and taken to her bed.
Now they were in Rome together. She enjoyed Deirdre immensely, but for Claudia it was merely a transient lust, while for Deirdre it was apparently something else. It had become evident to Claudia that Deirdre was completely infatuated with her. Deirdre talked constantly about love and romance, and about how she would do graduate work in one subject or another in order to be near Claudia, who could not imagine Deirdre as an interference in her settled life. But Claudia was torn because she'd had no lover in some time, no one as physically stimulating as Deirdre, no one who excited her as much, even if she felt no real love for Deirdre and even if Deirdre was not her physical ideal.
A quandary, Claudia thought, as another horn sounded down below in the square. She had to decide whether to remain in Italy another few weeks and return home with Deirdre as Deirdre expected, or break it off now and return home alone.
Claudia never liked personal quandaries; she liked to be on firm ground, to have a personal life with the certainty necessary to keep herself focused in her work.
At that moment two things happened: Some crazy Italian shouted a remark about Pagliacci out of a nearby window, and at the same moment Deirdre came gliding out of the bathroom wrapped in a large white towel, hair and feet wet and adoration in her eyes.
Claudia turned in her chair, turned from the window still attempting to translate in her head the Italian's words about Pagliacci, turned to Deirdre, looked at Deirdre's wet feet, then looked up at Deirdre's angelic face.
"The floor isn't clean," Claudia said.
Deirdre gave Claudia a conspiratorial smile, approached close enough so that her legs touched Claudia's knees, and said, "I thought about you in the shower."
"Well, you know, I thought about you."
And she waited, wrapped the towel more tightly about her torso, and smiled again.
Claudia decided that whatever the Italian had said about Pagliacci was likely to be trivial. She had never liked that opera anyway. Too overtly emotional, as though the point was to get you to fall down in tears in front of the stage. Laugh, clown, laugh. Well, never mind that now, she had a confection here in front of her, an entire strawberry shortcake.
"Did you really think about me?" Claudia said, and before the girl could answer, Claudia had her hand inside the towel between Deirdre's legs, her hand quickly rising to Deirdre's source, where her fingers dipped into the wet to give Deirdre what Deirdre expected.
Years ago, a thousand years ago it seemed to Claudia, she had been with a woman in a room somewhere (was it East Hampton?), the woman seated in a chair with Claudia standing at the woman's knees, the woman tickling the insides of Claudia's separated thighs and then at last pushing her fingers into the wet of Claudia's cunt as Claudia closed her eyes and groaned her pleasure. Now, so many years later, it was Claudia herself in a chair, and another girl standing before her to be probed by fingers and knuckles.
Fingers and knuckles in the mouth of the cunt, the ball of her thumb at the clitoris.
Fingers and knuckles In the mouth of the cunt The ball of her thumb At the clitoris.
Claudia had written those lines in her adolescent diary the first time she'd seen a notorious painting of two women by Leonor Fini, except in the painting, one woman lying with her legs open while the other woman sat between the reclining woman's thighs, the seated woman's hands were on the other's knees, only her eyes penetrating the exposed sex. Claudia had imagined the next moment in the painting and then wrote the lines in her diary.
That stupid diary, Claudia thought. She had dropped it into a trash bin years ago with the vague hope that some girl would find it and have an epiphany. Of course it was more likely rats had eaten the diary and suffered indigestion from the purple ink she'd used.
Meanwhile, she worked her fingers in Deirdre's cunt, fingers and knuckles in the vaginal mouth, and stroked Deirdre's clitoris with the ball of her thumb.
And soon Deirdre did the expected thing, she closed her eyes and groaned.
Claudia felt the wetness in her palm.
With a final delicate shudder, Deirdre opened her eyes and gazed down at Claudia. "You're so wonderful," Deirdre said.
Aroused by the feel of the girl's juices on her hand, Claudia tugged at the towel. "Away with this."
Deirdre glanced at the open window and laughed. "Someone will see me." But she released the towel from her body and dropped it to the floor to show herself naked to Claudia.
Small breasts, full pink nipples, no belly at all and only a suggestion of blonde hair on the pubis. A dancer's body, a long brushstroke of seductive femininity. Not Claudia's ideal woman, but exciting enough in its youth and eagerness. Claudia stroked the body, slowly ran her hands over hips and breasts, smearing the juices in her palm over Deirdre's ripe young nipples. Then she made Deirdre turn and she slid both hands over the buttocks and upper thighs, then a finger up the crack of the ass to Deirdre's tailbone. Heavenly, Claudia thought. How else to describe the compact little ass of a blonde sylph like this one?
She made Deirdre turn again, her hand returning to the girl's cunt to gently stroke the labia on the outside.
Widening her legs, Deirdre bent forward. "I want to kiss you."
When their lips met in an open-mouth kiss, Deirdre ran her tongue over Claudia's teeth, then reached a hand inside Claudia's robe to stroke Claudia's heavy breasts.
The girl suddenly dropped to her knees in front of Claudia and pushed Claudia's thighs apart. "Let me," Deirdre said. "This is what I thought about in the shower."
Claudia gazed through the open window at the square down below. Why not? A mouth on her cunt at a window overlooking the Piazza Barberini. When she was too old for this, she would retrieve the memory out of the shadows and maybe feel the quickening again. Of course she would be more comfortable on a bed, but the moment always had to be grasped. She parted the lower half of her robe, slouched forward on the seat of the chair and opened her thighs wide. She had a patch of hair down there. She was far past her youth and she thought she would look silly with a hairless sex. Using the fingers of both hands, she opened herself to show Deirdre the wet groove and her thick clitoris.
With a murmur of approval, Deirdre leaned forward and covered Claudia's cunt with her mouth.
Claudia sighed and again looked out the window at the square. A flock of pigeons circled over the Fontana del Tritone, a continuous fecal bombardment their commentary on the Renaissance. Italy was such a wonderful place. Where else could she have a girl's nose buried in her cunt while she watched a dozen birds shitting on Bernini?
Deirdre was not an amateur at foraging in the furrow, although she had admitted to Claudia that she had no experience with women Claudia's age. One of the advantages of age, Claudia thought, her eyes leaving the square and the pigeons to look down at the top of Deirdre's blonde head. When you reach a certain age, it's the motherly aspect that excites them, the cunt ripe and thick- lipped, the breasts heavy and pendulous, the prominent nipples demanding to be sucked. Claudia knew all about it; Deirdre was not her first sylph.
When Claudia came, she took her own breasts in her hands and groaned at the sharp pleasure that fanned out from her cunt to warm her chest and neck. Yes, it was good. The circuits were still functioning. One would think cunt and clit would wear out after all these years, but the orgasm was still as electric as ever.
Her clitoris now too sensitive, she gently pushed Deirdre's head from her belly and urged the girl to come on her lap. Deirdre quickly did so, always eager to be in Claudia's arms.
Unable to resist the tempting candy of Deirdre's pink nipples, Claudia took a girlish tit in her mouth, sucked it briefly, then sucked the other, then finally pulled her face away from Deirdre's breasts and sighed.
"Listen, darling," Claudia said, "I've decided I'm leaving you here and I'm flying home tomorrow. I know it's not what you want, but I do think it's better this way. It's been lovely, hasn't it? But if we try to carry this home with us, it won't work. It really won't work."
Deirdre seemed stunned, frozen on Claudia's lap, her eyes locked with Claudia's.
Then Deirdre spoke in a quiet voice. "Then it's over?"
"I have some money I can give you, so it's not as though you'll be stranded without me. You have your ticket to New York. Stay here another two weeks, or go to Naples if you want. But I think Rome would be better for you." Then she added: "Darling, you're so young, you'll have a hundred women running after you before you're even thirty. You don't need to be attached to someone like me, not at this point in your life."
Deirdre remained silent, immobile, only her eyes veering away from Claudia's to stare at the far wall. Finally the girl slid off Claudia's lap, walked naked into the bathroom and slammed the door shut.
Claudia closed her eyes, took a deep breath, then opened her eyes again. She looked down at the Piazza Barberini once more. The pigeons were still there, still circling over the Fontana del Tritone, still shitting on Bernini.