Carole cut back her work at the Eternity to one night a week -- the night that my group played. It allowed us to go to work and come home together. The rest of the time, Carole and I worked at home, she in her studio and me in my office. We enjoyed being together. It gave us the opportunity to know each other even better and to make love often.
Our lovemaking usually began with some oral expression. I’ve always been fond of cunnilingus, and with Carole it was especially enjoyable. Sometimes she had to restrain me to get a break. For me, heaven was having my tongue nestled between those sweet pink lips.
One night after a particularly intense session, Carole asked breathlessly, “You know that I love this. But why do you enjoy eating me?”
“I don’t know,” I replied. “I love you so damned much. Probably many factors involved.”
Carole looked pensive. “Do you know Sarah? The new girl at the club?”
“Yes, I know who she is.” Sarah was a slim girl in her late teens or early twenties. She affected the Goth look -- pale skin, black clothes, black hair, black makeup, black nail polish. You get the picture.
“She told me that her boyfriend makes her shave and douche. If she doesn’t, he won’t go down on her.”
“You talk about stuff like that with your friends?”
“Not that way. I have not and will not discuss our sex life with anyone.”
“Well, I don’t either. But if somebody wants to share things with me, I’ll listen.”
“So what’s wrong with this guy? Why can’t he accept Sarah the way that God made her? He sounds like an asshole. I have two questions. What does he do for her, and why does she put up with him?”
“I don’t know. I wasn't thinking of it that way, I guess.” She looked at me with those big eyes. “I don't have a lot of experience in things like that. You see, you’re really my first serious boyfriend.”
“Carole, I’m sorry. I’m not sure what you’re telling me.”
“OK. You know that I wasn’t a virgin when I came to you. Well, when I was in high school, the biggest guys on campus were the sports dudes. This was Sudbury. Hockey was the big thing. The captain of the hockey team asked me out. I was really flattered. I was this nerd who spent all her time drawing and stuff. He started getting pretty intense. I thought that he loved me. So...
“Well, you get the picture. It happened in the back seat of his dad’s Oldsmobile. It was on a nice night after a dance. I thought it was romantic. But a few days after that,” Carole took a deep breath, “it seemed like every guy in the school was trying to date me. One of my friends finally told me that this pig was bragging to his friends that he’d nailed me.
“I didn’t date anymore in high school. When I came to OCAD, a couple of guys asked me out. Nothing really worked. Well, there was one guy...
“But nothing ever has been serious until now. That’s why I’m asking you all these questions. I guess I’m a case of arrested development. So after talking to Sarah, I thought maybe I should be shaving my snatch and douching and all that stuff. I just don’t know. It’s hard to ask. It may sound silly, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in love before.”
I sat still for a moment. I’d just realized something important. “Neither have I. This is the first time that I’ve ever been in love -- totally and completely. I’m very glad that I finally found out what it’s like.”
Carole kissed me gently. We cuddled for a long time. Then, she gradually kissed her way down my chest, across my belly and across my pubic hair. When she took me in her mouth, the thrill was electric. I was paralyzed for a moment. Then I reached for her hips, turned her and lifted her onto my mouth. We would share this magic.
In the morning, we made love slowly and lingeringly, as was our habit. We had breakfast, showered and dressed. I had to be at an investors’ meeting, and Carole had some prospective buyers coming over. They were from a gallery owned by a department store or something like that. She didn’t take them seriously, but Chris told her it was important, so she couldn’t refuse to see them.
I sat through my meetings. Then, I visited the jeweler to pick up a special item.
I went to the Eternity for a drink. Henry had asked Carole to take over the club for the afternoon, since he had to go to some family affair. But when I arrived, Carole wasn’t there. Sarah the Goth told me that Carole had not been feeling well and had gone home. I hurried to join her.
When I arrived home, all was quiet. I went upstairs. Carole was lying on the bed with the lights out. She’d been crying.
I gently joined her on the bed and put my arm around her. “What’s wrong, my love?”
“Danny, this hasn’t been a good day. Things didn’t go well at work.”
“When I got to the club, there was a table of four or five guys who’d already had a few drinks. One of them started coming on to me. That happens. If you work in a club, you get used to it and try to ignore it. The problem was that this guy was really persistent. You know what I mean? Short of grabbing my ass, he did everything to try to get me interested. I still ignored him. Then, it happened.”
“I was walking away from the table when one of the other guys spoke to the jerk. He said, ‘Man, you gotta watch yourself. That babe is Danny Sullivan’s piece. If you ever want to work in this town again, you better back off.’ And he did.”
“He did what?”
“Backed off. They paid up and got out. Oh Danny, is that what I am? Your piece?”
I took a deep breath. “If I’d been there, none of them would have to worry about working. They’d be severely maimed. However, I am not the godfather of Toronto. And you are not a ‘piece’. Not mine or anyone else’s. You’re my love.
“But.” I took a deep breath, “would you consider becoming even something more? How about my life’s partner?”
I took the velvet box from my pocket and placed it in her hand. She looked at it wide-eyed. She opened it. Inside was a diamond solitaire ring. Two and a quarter carats. I had the appraisal papers in my pocket.
Carole lifted the ring from its box, held it to the light and stared at it. After a while, she took my head in her hands and kissed me.
“Danny, I can’t get my breath. This is amazing. Oh God, I’m honoured. I am so moved by this. But I honestly don't know. You see, I believe in marriage. But I want it to be forever. That sounds corny, but it’s just what I believe. I love you, but if I wear this ring, I’ll never wear another one.”
“That’s exactly what I want. I want you to be mine. Always. But think about it for a while. Put the ring in your pocket and think about it. To me, it’s the validation of what we already have together. But as you said, it’s forever. You can give me your decision in a day or so.”
“I will. Now come here and make love to me.”
Our love making that night was extremely gentle and quiet. It was as though we were discovering each other in a new way.
The next day, I was a nervous wreck wondering whether or not Carole would turn me down. I went through the motions in the meetings I had scheduled. One of them was with a group planning the new opera house. They asked that Joe and I agree to let them have right of way across one of our properties. It was an important meeting, but I just couldn’t concentrate. I’m sure that Joe made the right decision, whatever it was.
Then there was a meeting of city councilors. They wanted me to agree to pay taxes on one of my properties. It had been previously exempt from taxation. The reason being that it was occupied by a church. I’d had the foresight to invite my lawyer, David Nussbaum, to the meeting. Dave laughed them out of the place. He pointed out that according to the law I should be receiving a tax credit, not a bill, for my charitable donation to the church’s rent. The councilors left, glaring at their own lawyer. I knew that he was in for a hard time. Perhaps unemployment. I felt sorry for him, although he probably deserved what he got.
I wandered around for a while. It was time for lunch, but I sure as hell didn’t feel hungry. Finally, I found my way to the Eternity. I sat at the bar and stared at the TV.
Sarah, she of the shaved crotch, came over. I asked her for a beer and a shot of Irish. I drank it in a fog. Finally, I was sitting there staring at the last dregs of my beer. I had no idea what I’d do if Carole turned me down.
“Excuse me, sir. Can I get you another drink?”
I looked up and saw the most beautiful girl in the world. She looked at me through glacial-blue eyes. She reached for my glass. She reached with her left hand. On the third finger was a diamond solitaire ring.