Fifty Ways To Please Your Lover

byadam applebiter©

"Something romantic." I called after him. A waiter wheeled a trolley past me, trying his best not to notice me at all. Certainly, he didn't make eye contact. I was starting to get fed up of being invisible. Starting? I was fed up of it. That's why I'd called out to the chambermaid, not an hour ago.

I picked up the chit, wrote '+10%' on it and signed it 'Ellie', defying the waiter, who I didn't recognise, to ignore me as I held it out to him. He had to make eye contact this time.

"Thank you, Miss." He looked uncomfortable. I smiled at him and he looked even more uncomfortable. To hell with him! To hell with all the gossips! I'd give up a lot more than my reputation for Robbie.

"Is it a kind of dream?

Floating out on the tide? ..." The music started playing and Robbie joined me at his little dining table.

"Bright eyes. Burning like fire.

Bright eyes. How do they burn so..."

"Interesting choice." I wouldn't have picked it - that was for sure. Not with an lyric like that.

"Don't you like Simon and Garfunkel?" Robbie made as if to get up again. I put a hand on his arm to stop him,

"I can take them or leave them. I'm surprised you like them so much though." I had been expecting something a bit more modern.

"Who says I like them so much?"

"Well you did pick the music. You must like it."

"It reminds me of home." He looked quite solemn all of a sudden. "My mom plays this album all the time."

"Homesick, huh?" I reached over and pressed my palm to his cheek. I didn't like seeing him looking so down.

"A little." Then he forced a smile. "But it's nothing lasagne and the love of a good woman can't cure. Let's eat."

"Sure... And after dinner, I'll help you find that good woman."

"Good. Last I heard, she was in the bedroom." Robbie smiled at me and, this time, it didn't seem so forced.

"Hello darkness my old friend..." The next track started.

"You know, Robbie, I really wouldn't have picked this album." It was going from bad to worse.

"Really? I like this song." He carried on eating. I leant over the table to remove a speck of tomato sauce from his cheek.

"Messy." I tutted.

"Yes, Mom." Robbie grinned across the table.

"So it really doesn't bother you when people mention seeing and such like?" I was embarrassed just asking, but I decided I needed to know.

"No. But it does bother me when people deliberately avoid mentioning it. It's like they're trying to protect me. From what, I have no idea. It's not like I haven't noticed that I'm blind."

"Ok. I promise to stop worrying about saying the wrong thing."

"Don't promise. Just try. I know it's not easy for sighted people to adjust." He was grinning again but it was a fair point. He had a lifetime of experience living with sighted people but I had only three days experience of living with a blind guy. I would surely slip up a lot before I got comfortable with his disability.

"Ok... I'll try."

"Thank you. Kiss?" He rose in his seat and leant towards me. I met him halfway and we shared a lasagne flavoured kiss.

"The problem is all inside your head, she said to me

The answer is easy if you take it logically

I'd like to help you in your struggle to be free

There must be fifty ways to leave your lover."

"Oh, I love this song! I did it at Karaoke once." Everyone has at least on Simon and Garfunkel song that they like. If I had to choose, I'd choose this.

"I like it too. I didn't hear it for a long time after my father left Mom and me. When she started playing it again, I knew she was getting over him."

"Why did your father leave? Sorry... It's none of my business. Forget I asked."

"Its ok. He left because of me... Because I'm blind... He couldn't cope with it. Said he didn't understand why God would do that to us... 'us' not 'me'. He acted like it was his disability too. Honestly, I was glad when he finally left. Being a blind kid was tough enough without him going on about 'God's will' all the time."

"That's awful." I wanted to hug him but the table was in the way. Lord knows, my family is pretty dysfunctional, but Robbie had me beat in the first round.

"Mom was pretty cut up about it though. Before he left, he'd got her convinced that my blindness was a punishment for her wayward ways before she met him. My grandfather was a Baptist minister so Dad had kind of a sheltered upbringing. My Mom wasn't a virgin when he married her and he never let her forget it."

"He sounds a jerk. Sorry." It's not nice to criticise other peoples' families but Mr Pugh really did sound like a jerk.

"He is a jerk. To be fair, it's not all his fault. My grandparents made him the man he is today. Anyway, Mom and I did ok without him. Not brilliantly, but ok... Then Harry came along."

"Who's Harry?"

"Mom's boyfriend. He's lived with us for a few years now. Mom won't marry him though. This song?" Fifty ways to leave your lover was just finishing. "She plays it when she's pissed at Harry. He hates it."

"Do you guys get along?" Moms' boyfriends and sons often don't.

"Mostly. Harry's a good person. He lets his temper get the better of him sometimes, but its just bluster. He's never raised a hand to me, or Mom. If anything, he's overprotective of me, but I can't fault him for that."

"It shows he cares."

"Exactly. And he makes Mom happy. That's the important thing."

"It's not the only important thing. You deserve to be happy too." I was still resisting the urge to go around the table to hug him. How sweet was Robbie? He could justify his dad's rejection and put everyone else's feelings before his own. I was trying my damnedest not to fall in love with him after only 4 days dating, but Robbie was making it really hard for me.

"I am happy." He reached across to me. I put down my fork and put my hand in his, feeling his fingers close around mine, firm but gentle: A metaphor for everything about him.

"...Like a bridge over troubled waters, I will lay you down..."

"That's me." I listened to the song a moment. "I'm your bridge over troubled waters."

"I prefer to think you're my Cecilia." Robbie let go of my hand and carried on eating.

"Cecilia?"

"The next song."

So we ate in silence until the song changed.

"Cecilia, you're breaking my heart, you're shaking my confidence daily."

"I'm not breaking your heart! Am I?" It wasn't what I'd expected. I don't know what I expected... but not that.

"No. Listen." Robbie urged.

"... knees, I'm begging you please to come home.

Won't you come home?

Making love in the afternoon to Cecilia up in my bedroom..."

"That's better." That was an image of me I could live with.

"...to wash my face. When I came back to bed someone's taken my place."

"Robbie!"

"Ok. So maybe it wasn't the best song to compare you to." Robbie conceded.

"Maybe?" Maybe wasn't good enough. I was definitely not going to settle for a half-assed apology like that.

"My bad... Let me make it up to you." Robbie got up from the table and went into his study. The music stopped. He came back and held out his hand. "Would you care to dance?"

Music started playing again. I took his hand, stood and let him lead me into the middle of the floor. Robbie drew me to him, one hand holding mine, the other resting on my hip. I rested my head on his shoulder and silently forgave him. I didn't want to be mad at him anyway. We moved slowly to the intro.

"You ask me if I love you

And I choke on my reply

I'd rather hurt you honestly

Than mislead you with a lie

And who am I to judge you

On what you say or do?

I'm only just beginning to see the real you

And sometimes when we touch

The honesty's too much

And I have to close my eyes and hide

I wanna hold you till I die

Til we both break down and cry

I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

Romance and all its strategy

Leaves me battling with my pride

But through the insecurity

Some tenderness survives

I'm just another writer

Still trapped within my truth

A hesitant prize fighter

Still trapped within my youth

And sometimes when we touch

The honesty's too much

And I have to close my eyes and hide

I wanna hold you till I die

Till we both break down and cry

I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides

At times I'd like to break you

And drive you to your knees

At times I'd like to break through

And hold you endlessly

At times I understand you

And I know how hard you've tried

I've watched while love commands you

And I've watched love pass you by

At times I think we're drifters

Still searching for a friend

A brother or a sister

But then the passion flares again

And sometimes when we touch

The honesty's too much

And I have to close my eyes and hide

I wanna hold you till I die

Till we both break down and cry

I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides"

I didn't say a word the whole time the song was playing. Robbie held me close and we moved together, just listening. As the sound faded out I realized I was crying. Not just teary, but full on, rolling-down-my-cheeks tears. I know Robbie must have noticed. He ignored it, carrying on holding me and swaying in time to the music even after it stopped. It didn't matter that the CD player was silent, that song was in my head forever now. I guess it was in Robbie's too. So we danced in silence and I cried.

"Promise me that will be our song." I whispered against his shoulder.

"I promise." His head moved and I felt his lips against my hair. He was making it too hard not to love him but, like the singer, I choked on saying it.

* * * * *

"Can I ask you? ... About this morning?" Robbie had me snuggling up to him on the sofa again. Dinner had been cleared away and we were just wondering how to pass a couple of hours between now and bedtime. Frankly, I'd have gone right to bed, the way I felt after our dance, but Robbie didn't suggest it.

"You can ask. Doesn't mean I'll tell you."

"I just wondered..."

"Did I really mean it?"

"No. Yes... You said we were just friends."

"That's what I said." Go on Robbie. Ask me straight out.

"Is that true?"

"No. Not then. Not now... That was a little lie, but the rest was true. I don't want to change you." Robbie, my darling man, I couldn't change you for the better.

"I can't believe you would have been ok with it if I'd..."

"Fucked them? I would have been ok... I think." I truly believed that. "But I'm still glad you didn't... You still can, if you want to... Like I told you: Monogamy hasn't worked for me. An open relationship might work out better." I wondered how true that was. It was true as I said it, but would it remain true if Robbie tested my resolve? I just didn't know.

"So who's the guy you want to fuck?"

"What? Nobody. Just you."

"Then it wouldn't be and open relationship, would it? Just me bedding other girls.

Ellie, I meant what I said too. I turned down B and Kelsey because I haven't tried monogamy yet. Can we at least try it?"

"If that's what you want." I tried to sound like the idea bored me but there was that familiar tingle in the pit of my stomach. I don't think its possible to talk a girl into a spontaneous orgasm but, if it is, Robbie was so close to it.

"It is." He ignored my pretended indifference. His hand moved inside my robe and cupped one breast. I'm sure the state of my nipple told him how I really felt. "Tell me about your family."

"Another time. My family's as depressing as yours and I don't want to be depressed."

"Ok." Robbie never pushed for information. It was yet another little symptom of his courtesy. "Want to play a game then?"

"A game?" It was definitely a change of subject.

"A party game."

"Like blind man's buff?" I couldn't help myself. Anyway, I'd promised Robbie I wouldn't tiptoe around the issue of blindness.

"We'd need more people for that." Robbie observed. "No. A word game."

"Sure. I spy with my little eye, something beginning with..." again, I couldn't help myself. That promise to Robbie was going to cause trouble yet.

"Funny." He laughed and pinched the nipple he was toying with.

"So what game do you want to play?"

"Remember that song from earlier? Fifty ways to leave your lover?"

"Yes."

"Ok, well this game is based on that. It's called fifty ways to please your lover."

"Interesting. How do we play it?"

"I don't know. I'm making this up as I go along."

"Ooh! You..." I elbowed him in the ribs: only gently though.

"I'll go first: Just rub her back, Jack."

I thought a moment then "Massage her feet, Pete?"

"See? It's easy. But you should do girl's names."

"Ok... um... Sit on his face, Grace."

"Ooh. Good one." Robbie liked that. "Let's see...Give her clit a good lick, Rick."

"... Wiggle your fanny, Annie."

"Don't just fuck her and leave, Steve."

"Wait until she's asleep, you creep." That one came to me in a flash.

In unison, we both said, "There must be fifty ways to please your lover."

"It's a good game." I said, hugging Robbie's arm. "But talk is cheap, Mister."

"Says you and AT&T." Robbie got up and offered me his hand.

"Can we have one more dance before we go to bed?" I stood too, letting Robbie 'help'.

"Of course." He grinned and went to put on some music.

When he came back, I'd taken off my robe. I untied the sash of his too, slipped it off him, and then flowed into his arms, naked against his naked body. We started to move slowly to the music. It was 'our song' again. This time I didn't cry.

As the music finished, I took Robbie's roving hands and led him back to bed.

* * * * *

If you love something, set it free.

If it comes back to you, it's yours.

If it doesn't, it never was.

Lying in Robbie's arms, I thought again about that poster on my bedroom wall. Well, I'd definitely tested that sentiment today and here I was, snuggling up with Robbie for another night.

So? Is this love? Probably not... yet. It's only been four days. But while we may not be quite there yet, I can see where we're going from here. Maybe tomorrow we'll get there; or the next day, or the day after that. I don't really care how long the journey takes. I have a wonderful travelling companion and we're going in the right direction.

Tonight, that's enough: That... and what Robbie's hands are doing to me. Oh... that feels good... Sorry... I... I can't concentrate while he's doing that to me...

"Oh yes, Robbie... yes... oh yes..."

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