tagLesbian SexThe Light of the Golden Afternoon

The Light of the Golden Afternoon


"Mar?" breathes Natalie, as soon as I pick up the phone. She manages to sound both solicitous and bouncing-on-the-balls-of-her-feet excited in one syllable. "Are you -- I mean, how are you?"

"I'm...okay," I say. She's giving me an opening to talk about Dan, if I want to. I don't. But I appreciate it. Dan and I danced a ten-year tango of inconstant desire, which resolved itself in a final no. I had drifted through the last month, wake-work-home, searching for the sound of my own rhythm in the hours outside my grey job. In that time my mind had failed to alight anywhere, except occasionally on a bottle of wine.

She says, "I love you, Mar."

"I love you too, hon."

And I mean it. Natalie was the one who took my hand during the streaked-mascara retreats in life. Always. She and I have been friends since the effervescently snobby Nora Kincannon beaned me in sixth grade gym. Natalie made sure I was all right, then sent an ace dodgeball into the back of Nora's knee. Chivalry in the modern age.

So for Natalie's sake, I try to regroup. "It sounds like you've got news?"

"Yes!" she cries, in a controlled explosion. "I just got the email. The Obscura Institute put me on their short list!"

"Natalie! That's wonderful!" I imbue my tone with as much warmth as I can muster, which is admittedly not much, but I am genuinely happy for her. This ivied MFA program has been her dream since we were wearing training bras.

I can hear her smiling. "Yeah, that essay you wrote for me --"

"I proofread it."

"Is that what they're calling it now? Anyway, they called it a 'masterpiece'." I can't help beaming. "There's one thing," she says, a mischievous tenor in her voice. "I have to produce a new work on their announced theme, and mail it to them...by Wednesday."

"Wednesday!" It's Saturday. "You won't even have time to let the paint dry!" I pause. "So, what's the theme?"

"A Re-imagining: New Approaches to Old Myths."

"They couldn't find anything more cliché?" I reply, teasingly.

"Well -- they want Art With A Message. Something capital-B Beautiful and capital-P political. I was thinking about all those high-profile cases of sexual harassment --" I nod, invisibly -- "I want to...make them resonate. I thought of Diana condemning the man who stalked her, violated her privacy, and dared to look at her naked."


"Right? But here's the thing...it would be much better if I had a model," Natalie says, with a familiar wheedle.

"I'm no Diana."

"Mar," she begins; I can hear her smiling through the phone -- "sometime, you're going to have to admit that you are a beautiful woman."

"Not true."

"I need you."

I sigh.

"You're the best, Mar. Come on over."

* * *

As usual, her apartment looks like drunken coeds held a bacchanalia in what was once a tasteful one-bedroom. Two surviving patches of floor remain. One is the improvised "set", which looks like a remnant from the courtroom scene in The Crucible; it includes her desk, and a cardboard box shaped into a makeshift lectern. The other contains a drop-cloth and her easel. I pick my way through the vortex.

"Diana is the plaintiff, I take it?"

"Also the judge, jury, and executioner," says Natalie, returning my hug.

"Love it."

"Let's hope the Obscura people feel the same way."

The autumn light streams through the windows, golden, dancing off of the dust motes in the air and illuminating them with a fairy-tale glow. Natalie fans out her preparatory paintings --masterpieces unto themselves -- and details the scene: Diana majestically stares down the craven peeping Tom (who resembles a now-notorious media personality) -- she lifts the gavel -- makes him squirm in the face of her righteous anger --


"Yes?" -- as if innocently.

"These are gorgeous, but --" I can feel the blush racing down my neck. "Diana is -- ah --"

"I told you this was a classically-inspired painting."

"Nat --"

"Hon, I'd love it if you would model for me. But it's fine if you don't want to. I will just say: I am your oldest friend, I love you, and I just want to preserve your beauty for posterity." She grins. "And get into graduate school."

The blush is sliding down toward my ribs. "Natalie..."

"It's fine. I knew it was a big thing to ask."

She has rarely asked anything of me -- and nothing beyond the friendly call of duty.

"I..." I stop, and remember the dismal fog my life has become. Don't I need a jolt? "What if..." What can I suggest? "What if I wear my underthings?"

Natalie pats my hand. "I could work with that."

Natalie has obviously worked with models before. She very professionally escorts me to her bedroom, and offers me her red silk robe. Then she closes the door so I can "change" in private.

I shuffle back to the living room, and stand with my feet crossed.

"Aw, Marlene --" Natalie says. "Remember, you're not you. You're a vengeful and irresistible goddess." She places me behind the mock judge's bench. "Shoulders back, head high...divinely proud -- good!"

A beat.

"Hon, by any chance, could you take off the robe and do that again?"

I consider streaking back toward the bedroom. But I don't, because this is her dream, and standing here is literally the least I can do. I allow the silk to tumble off my shoulders.

"Wow," she whispers, and now I can feel that blush descending to my navel. Then she clears her throat.

She paints.

* * *

I never tire of watching her working. Her arm moves with practiced and delicate grace, like a gifted maestro. Her gaze is within, merging the real and the true and her inner eye's vision of what may be. I catch my breath, try to return to the mundane. "So, how'd it go with Alice?"

Natalie rolls her eyes, but affectionately, used to my vicarious enjoyment of her dating life. "Not great."

"Really?" I had anticipated the opposite answer, as Natalie had announced with bravura that it was their third date.

"Yeah -- she's still hung up on her ex-girlfriend. And worst of all, she can't kiss."

"I'm sorry."

"Yeah, well, that's Tinder for you."

"And Brad?"

She scoffs. "He only swiped right because he imagined I'd be game for a threesome."


"Well...I would be. But not with him."

I have to laugh. "Nice. So...what about next week?"

"Nothing doing. I mean, Mark texted me again -- I enjoy that scene, but..." She brushes her violet-tinged hair out of her eyes. "...I'm looking for something more --"

"More what?"

"Real," she whispers.

Real. That single word unlocks me, somehow. I unhook my brassière -- and toss it aside.

"Marlene!" Natalie exclaims -- then her voice stops. She is staring unabashedly at my bare breasts.

I cannot believe what emerges from my mouth.

"Make me immortal."

For the next hour there is no sound in the room but the faint susurration of her brush stroking the canvas. Then she speaks: "The light has shifted." I glance outside; the sun is kissing the horizon. "May I try re-positioning you?"

I manage to nod.

Natalie's hands are gentle as a lover's as she takes me by the waist. Her eyes are a liquid green...and she seems, for the first time in our long friendship, to hesitate.

Neither of us move. She must be able to feel the rush of my blood.

"There," she says, somewhat hollowly. She returns to her easel.

Now the light is fading. She angles me a second time, her hands on my hips. I can see the first glimmers of an early November twilight. She is so close --


I cannot fathom why the world seems to be inverting and righting itself in slow motion, or why my heart is going so fast. She's my best friend. She brushes her cool lips against my cheek.

Did she mean to? Maybe it was accidental, a surprise note in a sonata. I turn, to ask --

We collide in the softest, sweetest kiss of my life.

Then I realize I'm mostly naked and that I've just kissed my best friend.

"Nat --"

"I love you, Marlene," she says. Her voice is husky.

"I love you too, hon," I say, because it is true, and because the remainder of the English language has temporarily absented itself. She kisses me again; it is deeply familiar, and breathtakingly new. I had never imagined myself with another woman...but now she runs her hands along my shoulders, and drops her lips to my neck. I inhale, sharply; this is a different thing, a hint of eroticism that cannot be confused with mere experimentation.

"You look like a goddess, and...I couldn't resist." Her eyes are all I can see. "I've asked a lot of you," she says. "I don't want to ask more, unless...you're happy."

The word falls surprisingly on my ear, when I realize that my fog has evanesced in the honeyed light.

"I am happy."

This time neither of us hesitate; we kiss again...then she boldly cups both my breasts in her hands, and emits a soft moan. Or perhaps we both do.

I should stop this. We are crossing the Rubicon between the experimental and the carnal.

"I'll still love you tomorrow," she says; performing a balletic bend to take my nipple into her mouth. My back arches involuntarily, and she flicks her eyebrows upward in amusement -- and appreciation. Another moan escapes me. And then...a slow dawn inside my head...

I insinuate my fingers beneath the hem of her shirt. A moment later it lies in a heap on the floor.

Her breasts are beautiful -- larger than mine, round and firm in a dark-jade brassiere...but it requires a shift, to act...I put my hand to her breast.


Her breath judders a little. And I slip my finger there; she starts, grins.

How am just now learning of these Sapphic delights? When Nat told me about her encounters with other women, it was "usually enjoyable, sometimes a little sordid" -- but this...this is elevating, extraordinary delight...

I fumble with the clasp of her brassiere, with all the grace of a first-timer, and then...! Her breasts are in my hands.

I cannot believe my good fortune, and I cannot believe what I am doing...

Our next moments are a kind of pas de deux We wrap our arms around one another, and kiss; her hands stray to my breasts, or vice-versa, and we dreamily alternate pressure of hands, and mouths...And then, without warning, she hooks a pinky into my panties, and pulls them to my ankles. Then winks.

"Are you sure?" I whisper.

"I want you," she says. "I want to make love to you. And I want to make you scream so loud the paint will slide off my canvas."

"Oh, Nat..."

She sweeps the cardboard off the desk, and lays me down, stark naked: an offering to Art. Or


Then she raises my knees, pulls my hips down toward the edge, and breathes softly above my center. Every fiber of my being is trembling, conflicted, straining...

And then...a butterfly's kiss... My hips buck.

"I am yours," I say. Our eyes meet. "I love you, Natalie," I say. "Forever."

"I love you too," she says, and slides her tongue down my slit. My gasp rattles the desk. She opens me softly, kissing and licking: She is, indeed, an artist. She traces shapes within my landscapes; behind my eyes is the perfect fusion of light and darkness, depth and passion...and then...

...her tongue is inside me.

And at the very thought, my back arches, and I come, and my cry causes the last of the golden light in the room to ripple.

"I love you," she says.

"I love you too."

"And," she adds, with an impish smile, "this is just the beginning, for my muse."

And, I think drolly, it's still only the afternoon.

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by Anonymous

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by Anonymous07/04/18


The previous guy is mad susurration is the perfect word.
Loved the whole gently erotic thing.

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by Anonymous07/04/18

Jarring words

I love the story and the chacters.The setting is also perfect for these friends.
Two words are jarring: susurration and balletic. They do not enhance the read.
Describe the whispering of the brushes.more...

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by Anonymous06/26/18

Amen and Amen!r

You've taken an everyday happening and made it a beautiful occasion that will be remembered for several lifetimes, if it were possible. It alone enhanced the story into a very memorabilia event that willmore...

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Please continue

So sweet and erotic, it cries out for more.

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by visioneer06/21/18

One of the more beautifully erotic stories I’ve encountered in a long time. Hope you have more to share.

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