Summer of Denial


But I could see that there was trouble in paradise too. Perhaps Damien would get his fuck, but Tish wouldn't be any longer in casting her net wide here than she was in New York. I could see that, behind where Damien was seated, but directly in Tish's line of sight, off near the corner of the house—stood the young Gullah hunk Vandi LaRoche, would I'd already seen plastered to Tish. He was stripped to the waist. His torso was brown as a berry, evoking the sense of Tahiti as neither Tish nor Damien could, and, like Gauguin's models, both female and male, his muscular torso was achingly beautiful and erotic. I hadn't the slightest doubt that Tish and Vandi would be heating up the island with real fire within hours.

Good, I thought. Good that someone would be getting sexual satisfaction. Relationships, Helena had said in discussing the concept for the book she was working on. The separation of sexual relationships from relationships of affection. The need for them to intersect and join as one in a relationship—but in a single relationship if you didn't want your life to be tragedy rather than romance. Or, worse, farce. I knew that Helena would curl up and die at any suggestion that her life was a farce.

That was a major reason why I had had to flee New York. I couldn't willingly be the reason for Helena's life to be marked by farce.

Why couldn't I have that, I wondered. Why couldn't I have even that one united, fulfilling relationship? For a brief moment, the reason why we were here—who had brought the six of us here and why—was clear as a bell to me. But in another instant, I have turned from it, covered it up, buried it back in its box.

What six, I wondered. Why, because Krit was one of us too, I realized. His comings and goings on the porch had been as much a source of tension in the air as had anything else, even if I couldn't understand why. Thinking of him as one of us made me laugh. Of course, I thought. Of all of us here, the relationship between Benjamin Wrangel and the Thai houseboy was probably the closest to a fulfilling entwined sexual and affection relationship that any of us had.

Knowing that composing would be hopeless today—and probably for an eternity to come—I didn't reenter the lounge. I walked down the terrace and into the house's center hallway. I climbed the stairs to my bedroom. My bedroom. My solitary bedroom. I opened the windows on two sides of the corner room, stripped naked, and padded into the bathroom and took a sleeping pill. I was bone weary, but my mind was racing. I needed to ensure that I would get some sleep.

Moving back into the bedroom, I went to the four-poster bed, which was swathed in gauze curtains. In the night, I would have to pull these around me. There would be mosquitoes. The guide book said they were the size of horse flies on the island at night—but for some reason, probably the sea breezes—they were largely absent during the day.

Helena had been right, of course. I would need the night breezes and she couldn't tolerate them. Helena was always right. One of the problems between us, I thought, was that she knew she'd always be right. Dominant. In charge.

I think we had come here because Helena wanted to. I drifted off to sleep wondering why—and still wondering if that was true.

In my sleeping pill-infused sleep, I only half woke when Tish—beautiful, young, pencil-thin, blonde Tish—climbed onto the bed and leaned over me, her straight, flaxen tresses brushing on my bare belly as she sucked my cock to erection and then straddled me and languidly, as if in a detached dream, rode me to an ejaculation.

Even if I had been conscious enough to have broken through the shock of the visitation and its dreamlike aspect, I don't think I could have participated more fully in the coupling. Her body felt as delicate and brittle as spun glass between the fingers I pressed at her thin waist to steady her as she swayed on the cock, and I feared that, if I moved more, she would shatter. It was clear from the emotional distance she was maintaining, even as we were so intimately connected with me inside her, that my role was to be a hard dick and a release—and nothing more.

Had it been only a dream, I wondered late in the afternoon when I woke. No, I didn't think so. My cock was sticky from having come and there was the unmistakable scent of her in the room. And strands of blonde hair—only a few of them, but enough of them—stretched out on my belly.

So, it hadn't been either Damien or Vandi fucking her immediately after the sitting for the painting, but me. I wondered how that had come to pass. Strange. But I was glad it had happened this soon. The tension of wondering when, where, and under what circumstance we would fuck had been one of the barriers to me being able to compose earlier in the day. Or so I told myself. Now maybe . . . but probably not. Wondering when the next dreamlike encounter would be probably would continue to act as a barrier. Or as a more convenient reason for there being a barrier than the truth.

Now what had made me think of that?

As I drifted off again, I wondered what my relationship with Tish was now in terms of Helena's theory. I had liked Tish, and we had often shared "rolled eyes" looks as half brother and sister, Damien and Helena, sparred with each other for control and center of attention when we were gathered. It was like we shared a secret of how belittling life was in the shadow of titans. But this, this just now. This had been sex. A sexual relationship. As strange as it was, there was no denying that cock ejaculating in cunt slick from orgasm was sex. So, could I be forming that coveted entwined sexual and affection relationship with my sister-in-law?

No, that was silly, I thought. And not just because Tish obviously was incapable of a deep relationship of any kind. It was also because of that other thing . . . that which I wouldn't even let myself think about.

I drifted back off to sleep, no feeling of urgency to be anywhere, to be doing anything. It was going to be a long, empty summer. The summer of running away. The summer of denial. I possibly should have been thinking more deeply about that. But I was too close to sleep again to do so—or to completely, protectively blot it out of my mind, for that matter. I dreamed of being suspended in limbo. And when I woke next, I did so wondering, as I had done before, whether this had been a dream or was reality.

* * * *

I stood at the top of the stairs and looked down into the foyer. Helena and Damien were fussing around getting their golf bags ready. I was about to tread on the stairs, to come down earlier than usual for breakfast, when I heard them and then saw them move into my line of sight. I pulled back into the shadow of the upper hall where they couldn't see me but I could see them and waited for them to leave.

I don't know why I waited. Perhaps because they looked so much the matched couple and both seemed to be happy. Helena hadn't seemed in such a good humor as this for years. And Damien—well, Damien always was bouncing around with the big smile and the boisterous voice. I didn't mean to think that they looked the part of a married couple better than Helena or I did—or Damien and Tish did—but it seemed true. Of course it was because of the familial resemblance, how they shared voice inflections and hand gestures and facial expressions—and how they prattled on in one long, continuous, comfortable line, the one picking up and finishing the other's thought.

Helena looked almost masculine, not that she couldn't be called a handsome woman. But perhaps because she could be called handsome rather than beautiful. And standing beside Damien as she now did, she could be seen in his light. Perhaps more a character of the 1940s—tweedy, big boned, solid, the look of the thick shoulder pads that actually were her shoulders. The three-quarter-length straight skirts with a kick pleat and the sensible shoes. The tightly curled jet-black hair, and the strong, angular facial features. Something now was giving her a radiant smile and a bounce that made her even more like her step-brother.

Maybe it was the golf—or that after that first disastrous night here we had fallen back into the "just brushing by" life we'd settled into in New York. The fumbled attempt that night obviously had brought forth the worry in her that our situation would be different here at the summer house than it had become in New York. But now it wasn't, and so that was all right. It was like some heavy weight was lifted off both of us when she moved into the other bedroom.

They'd played golf nearly every morning for two weeks. Helena had said that it refreshed her mind and toned her body to enable her to dive right into writing in the afternoon. The writing must be going well, or else she would grouse and pout and withdraw into herself and into snide comments on the people and world around her. She also would smoke and drink far more than she should. And as for Damien, he said he needed the afternoon light anyway to paint and he had to be doing something in the morning.

Damien too seemed to be walking on air this past week. But then I knew why that was. It had been a shock, but we all had adjusted.

First had been the rejection of Tish as his model. He had continued with the determination to experiment with the techniques of Rousseau and Gauguin, in turn, and hadn't been too long at that before exploding and declaring that Tish was too pale, too blonde, and too pencil thin for a proper model.

"You don't even have the proper tits for it," he had blustered. "And no ass. I gotta have a big ass."

He had ventured into the interior of the island and discovered the small Gullah community still in residence. An amalgam of English, Scottish, and West African ancestors, the Gullah were scattered in small enclaves like this all along the insular South Carolina island coast. Damien had found a buxom, berry-brown, and sensually aspected young woman with a big ass who suited his image of a Tahitian maiden perfectly—not that he'd ever been to Tahiti beyond the frames of Gauguin's paintings—and thus she was in as his model and Tish was out. From the way Damien was humming and grinning as he moved around the house, the young woman had evidently proved to be pliable and willing as well.

Tish had taken the ousting in her natural way. When Damien was close, she had pouted and they, like Helena and I, were sleeping in separate bedrooms now. But behind Damien's back she would give me a wink and would glide off to some corner of the house or island or other. It didn't take much imagination for me to decide what she was doing—and, in some cases, who she was doing it with. I had no doubt that she and the hunky young Gullah, Vandi LaRoche, had hooked up. And the captain of the twice-weekly tourist boat from Savannah, well-muscled and good looking, if approaching hard onto forty, had stopped by the last three trips with fresh milk and eggs for us. Although I couldn't imagine how Tish had hooked up with him, I was quite sure that eggs and milk were not his true interest at our house.

And then there was the liaison I was sure of. Four times in the past two weeks Tish had visited me in my bedroom after I had drifted off to sleep—three times in the afternoon when I was napping and Helena was deep in the web of her writing in the library and once in the morning after Helena and Damien had left for their golf game at the Haig Point Signature course. Each time she had rolled me on my back and mounted and ridden me in a languid fuck that was over and she gone before I even was fully awake. I had continued to take sleeping pills to give me at least some hours of legitimate separation from the world each day.

It never seemed important to her that it was me rather than any other man, and when I asked her why me, she simply laughed and said I had the biggest cock on the island. Whether or not that was true, I took it as a joke on Damien, who would have roared like a wounded lion at that suggestion. As an afterthought, she told me that, with me, there were no complications. She knew I couldn't move to deeper levels of complexity in a relationship with a woman.

I had no idea what she meant about that—or so I told myself and dismissed it from my mind as quickly and effectively as I could manage.

* * * *

Vandi seemed ever present now, although never in Damien's presence. Damien had branched out in his wants. He decided he wanted male models too. There had been a bit of a dustup when Damien had wanted Vandi to pose for his painting—in the nude just as the women were—and against the backdrop of jungle. Vandi had snorted and said. "Absolutely not; what do you take me for?" which might have been the only rejection that Damien had had for years. After that, I would see Vandi here and there in the house or surrounding forest—and, of course, I also would see Tish nearby. But I wouldn't see Vandi and Damien together. Damien turned then to the Thai houseboy, who refused no one anything, and that situation was saved as far as Damien was concerned.

But that had had a tragedy all its own. Soon after Krit began to pose, Benjamin Wangle, the book agent, was gone from the island—the first one of the house party to desert—but Krit was still here.

I had taken to long walks around the island myself in the morning while Helena and Damien were out golfing. Helena thought I was working at the piano and, in fact, had justified her golf outings on my need for the absence of distractions in the house as much as on her own pleasure at the time with Damien and what she had said was her time to clear her mind and tone her body. The day after Krit had first posed for Damien, I had come back to find Wangle sitting on a chair in the foyer beside his suitcase and weeping. And then he was gone.

I was already a bit off center because that had been the first morning that, during my walk of the island forested paths, I had come across Vandi fucking Tish. It was hardly a surprise or shock. Of course they had been "doing it." But it was such an achingly "right" and primeval scene that I had withdrawn into the foliage and watched them rather than moving on. My envy at their pleasure—unexpected and fascinating to me on Tish's part considering what transpired—knew no bounds. Why couldn't I have the same pleasure and ultimate release when Tish was riding my cock, I wondered. What was going on inside me that I couldn't reach the heights of lust and release that these two did? I suspected I knew—or, rather, knew I knew—but as I had been doing for weeks, I pushed it into the back of my mind.

I knew Tish's naked body, of course. Perfection, but of the kind of fine porcelain, of the first blossom, the talent of exhibiting both sensuality and innocent reserve that had made her a famous model. It was the thinness and the pale perfection of her smooth, supple skin and the flaxen blondness of her long, blonde hair. And more than anything else it was the innocent smile she was able to effect. The gasp she could bring out of me when, laying on her back in the ferns, she opened those long, long legs of hers, pulled Vandi's handsome face down into her V, arched her back, and cried out the incongruity of her innocence and her wanton want as he attacked her clit with his lips and teeth.

And because I knew her body so well—although she certainly didn't perform her rite of first taking each time with me as she did each time after that that I found Vandi fucking her—the focus of my attention went to Vandi's body. He rarely wore much, so the magnificence of his berry-brown musculature already was known to me. But in his nakedness I was able to appreciate the anger that had manifested in Damien that he had not been permitted to capture him with his paint brush. It was Vandi more than Tish, in a fascination I could not deny, who held me riveted to the spot to watch them copulate and that moved my hand to my own cock to participate in the coupling to the only extent I could. Naked, he was a native god. And his erection was magnificent. And as he raised his face from between Tish's thighs and moved up on his knees, hovering over her body, and I saw the thickness and length and upperward curvature of that magnificent staff as his arms went under her and he gathered her up toward him, I nearly called out at how impossible it would be for such a slight woman as Tish, with her delicate slit, to accommodate him.

But as he slid inside her and she arched her back and cried out in passion I nearly choked on my envy of what they had together. Surely this was the meeting on the high plateau of a relationship of the deep, entwined sexual and affection aspects, I thought.

But then Vandi shattered that conception, but in a way that had me panting and stroking and giving up my seed. There was no affection in evidence in this coupling. He took her furiously and brutally, and she flopped around and writhed under him. She raked his shoulders and shoulder blades with her fingernails and yelled obscenities and cried out for a mercy that never came as he pounded, pounded, pounded inside her.

He pulled her up from the ground and her torso hung limply down toward the ground in exhaustion and surrender, her hands brushing against the ferns more from the effect of his brutal pumping inside her than from her own movement, as, holding her pelvis to his, he thrust and thrust and thrust and she shuddered and jerked through orgasm after orgasm. With a cry of victory he ejaculated and let her slide down his legs to lay in a heap at his feet.

I had already ejaculated, but I couldn't take my eyes off the total, primeval taking and remained standing there, hidden, with my cock in my hand and cum dribbling down the legs of my flared shorts. I heard a sigh—probably more than one, in harmony—but I knew that one of the sighs was mine.

But she must be broken and bruised beyond repair. A delicate, brittle body such as hers could not withstand the unexpected thuggish savagery of such an attack. Surely not.

Snapping out of my trance, concern for Tish flooded into me. The young man had brutalized her. Was she hurt? Was she even conscious? But before I could gather my wits and, thrusting the insensitive thug aside, go to her, I saw her rising from the ground, pulling herself up by crawling her hands up Vandi's spread legs as he looked down at her, the grin of victory and mastery still on his lips. When she was on her knees in front of him, she opened her mouth and took his cock in and began to suck him into another erection.

When he had pushed her onto the ground again on her back, slapped her legs apart, and thrust inside her as she arched her back, wrapped her legs around his waist to hold him to her, and started laughing and begging for the second fuck, I silently fled the scene. This might be the height of a sexual relationship, but it certainly wasn't based on affection.

It was in that state of mind that I stumbled upon the issue with Benjamin Wrangel and the Thai houseboy.

I was shaking when I reached the house and entered the front door—completely unprepared to find Wrangel hunched over in a chair in the foyer, rocking back and forth, and crying about having lost Krit.

"He has taken Krit," Wangle whimpered when I asked him what the matter was.

"Krit is just modeling for him," I said.

"No, he has taken Krit to his bed as well."

"His bed?" I asked in disbelief. "But Tish—"

"Hasn't slept with him in two days. She's moved out of his room." This was the first I'd heard about that.

"But Krit."

"Damien sleeps with all of his models. He says all of the masters did, so he must as well. He insists that that was how they were able to pull masterpieces from their subjects—that they knew them intimately. And now he's taken Krit."

My thoughts raced to Vandi. Did he know? Was that why he refused to pose for Damien? It certainly wasn't because he was shy about his body. He had no qualms about displaying his magnificent body for all to see and envy and to dream about. Had Tish told him what modeling for Damien entailed?

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