The books were scattered around the living room floor, ten or more high in some places. Emily sat as the epicenter of them, her black-framed glasses resting low on the bridge of her nose. She had taken all of them from their shelves, intending to organize them. There were over a thousand of them, some hundreds of years old, that covered everything from Victorian romance to science manuals.
It was almost a monthly occurrence for her to do this rearranging, an obsession that was more about the sensual than the organizational. The feel of them excited her. She would smile obscenely as she slid the tips of her fingers over the covers, occasionally reading random passages, sampling them. The smell of them, although often old and dusty, crept over her like a lover's breath.
She took her skirt off this time to feel her legs touching both the books and the slick, hardwood floor. She received so much pleasure in just sitting and looking at them, the knowledge of great minds collected for her examination.
That is how James found her, half naked and molesting her books. He stood in the doorway a few moments, quietly, content to just watch her. She picked up a book and moved her fingers down the spine, casually, as if exploring her own body. She closed her eyes and inhaled.
Stepping over the chessboard of books, he sat down behind her and kissed her neck, which was already damp with excitement. He removed the clip holding her hair at the back of her head. Her hair tumbled down, hitting the top of her breasts over her sweater. She turned to look at him, the book still in an exploitive position in her hands.
"I didn't hear-"
He signalled for her to stay quiet. She did, laying the book down to lean back into him, draping her bare legs over a stack of books. He kissed her neck and slipped his hands under her sweater, running them over the soft, warm skin underneath. He pulled the sweater off, exposing her breasts to him. She moaned as he massaged the giving flesh. As he continued kissing her neck and face, he noticed her eyes were still on the books, and knew they were playing a part in her excitement.
Laying her down, her body spread over the books, a leather bound treatise on war supporting her head, he hooked his fingers into the top of her panties and slipped them down her hips, thighs and legs, pressing his mouth to the skin as it was exposed. The taste of oxidized paper clung to her skin.
He smiled when he saw her legs were still closed, knowing she loved it when he spread them himself, as if he was taking what he wanted. With a hand on each knee, he parted them easily, revealing a small triangle of hair. He ran his fingers over it, and then down the inside of her thighs.
He held his body over hers and kissed her lips, occasionally sliding his tongue into her mouth. Inside and out she tasted like books, as if she were the breathing extension of them. He kissed the hollow between her collar bones, moved his mouth to the spot under each breast, tasted her stomach and hips. Rising up, he kneeled between her legs and entered her slowly. He kept his eyes on her, watching for the expression that came over her when he first pressed into her- surprise, relief, pleasure.
She moaned and pushed her hips into him, forcing him further inside her. Her squeezed her breasts, pinched her erect nipples. He wanted to keep that expression on her, and so picked up a random book and began reading:
"Involuntarily yielding to the temptation of logical development, involuntarily forging into a chain all the things that were quite harmless as long as they remain unlinked..."
He thrust into her with the rhythm of his reading. Her hair splayed over the books as she threw her arms up wildly over her head, her moans more urgent with each thrust. With her arms over her head, her breasts become taut and round. He watched, captivated, as they bounced sharply with his movement, momentarily making him lose his place.
"...he inspired the meaningless with meaning, and the lifeless with life. With the stone darkness for background he now permitted the spotlighted figures of all his usual visitors to appear..."
Stacks of books toppled from her careless limbs, her body shuddering. She was somewhere else, lost to him, where the pleasure he and the books gave existed together, inseparable. He threw one of her legs over his shoulder and held onto her thigh, her hips lifting from the floor to meet him.
"James..." her words stretched, trailing into a desperate plea.
He touched her face and hair, his thumb skimming her lips, wanting to somehow watch her while he read. But he continued.
"...allowed them the right to exist, supported them, nourished them with himself. Added to all this was the possibility that, at any moment..."
She tossed her other leg over his shoulder, drawing him in deeper and harder. The heat and sweat from their bodies helped to enhance the smell of the books, ancient leather and cloth. The sun was setting, splintering through the blinds in one obtrusive rush. Her body glowed warm, moving the books under her with it's rhythm.
He watched her while he turned pages. Her mouth fell open in that sweet, unbelieving way, her eyes rolling back underneath their lids, her head lolling to her shoulder. Her skin tasted of dust and sweat, both sweet and metallic. He saw her mouth pressed against the cracked leather of a book, and imagined the smell overwhelming her.
"...the exciting knocks might resume, a possibility that had the effect of an intoxicating anticipation of music- so that Cincinnatus was in a strange, tremulous, dangerous state- and the distant clocks struck with a kind of mounting exultation..."
She called out his name. He flipped her over, on hands and knees, her face and lips now pressed into a stack. She pushed back towards him to be filled again, her back arching. Her moans sounded like weak protests, or innocent pleas. He ran his hand over her back, then grabbed her hip to forced her back into him as he kept reading.
"...and, slightly swaying to one side, lurching, lagging, they began a circling movement, which at first was stiff and dragging, but gradually became more even, free and rapid..."
Her legs shook as she began to tighten around him, begged him not to stop, to come inside her. He thrust harder, deeper, faster, the force driving her forward as he kept pulling her back. She shuddered and shook, weakening as she came.
"...and now they were whirling in earnest, and the monstrous shadow of their shoulders and heads passed and repassed ever more quickly..."
He tossed the book aside and used both hands to hold her hips, pulling her back forcefully, her hair swinging. He watched what he could of her face, her spasm beginning to subside. He groaned and released inside her, thrusting a few more time to wring the last remaining moans from her.
The wetness flowing from their joined bodies trickled down onto a collection of Hans Christian Andersen.