My gaze traces the vermillion border where Jacqueline’s pearly-white skin meets the rounded, jasper-red vermillion zone of her lips, but I wish I could close my eyes and chart with my own thin skin those millimetric grooves and wrinkles. Her mouth opens, exposing that sultry cave to the evening chill. It’s a forbidden, slippery topography that could swallow me up with ease. As the lips part, they unveil two shiny frontal incisors, cast like premium tokens for a beloved board game, as well as the saliva pooled in the basin between the dorsal surfaces of her watermelon-pink tongue.
From the bottom of the frame rises a roughly cubical potato chunk, its yellow-ochre skin crispy and smeared with a swath of alioli sauce. I’d like to have you inside me, Jacqueline thinks to the potato chunk. She guides the fork towards her mouth, and when her lips slide over the chunk to enfold it, they get coated in a greasy sheen and spotted with flecks of paprika. Those two voluminous, glossy surfaces curve around each other as she purses them to rip the potato away from the fork. She bites into the chunk, cracking its skin to expose a bright layer of flesh. Her cheeks dimple while she chews. A yellow-ochre dribble runs down from the corners of her mouth to meet at her chin, where they entwine into a long, oily strand. I want to reach with my stretched fingers to scoop the mixture up. I’d let that elongating strand hang down from my palm like an elastic stalactite, so it would trickle slowly onto my face and the warmth of Jacqueline’s saliva would seep through my pores.
She lets out a juicy grunt as her throat swells and the mashed potato slides down the cozy tube of her esophagus. Her tongue riffles along her teeth, dips and weaves its way across her lips, and swabs at the corners of her mouth. Her cheeks are flushed with a mix of crimson and coral, her cobalt-blues are glazed with potato lust. She has swallowed a secret message, one that reveals that she has become more than human and that the world of pleasure is at her doorstep.
As a child I dreamt that Jacqueline would offer me a bite of such a spiced, fried, tumefied tuber. That fantasy had fueled many an evening of masturbation, but now my memory fails to conjure up how my lips would feel on that flesh, creamy like the supple lips of an oyster.
“I’d like to have you inside me,” I mumble.
Jacqueline’s eyelashes flutter. When she exhales my way, her hot breath is tinged with the scent of garlic and pepper.
“What did you say? You better stop focusing on my mouth so much,” Jacqueline says in a voice that suggests that I should keep focusing on her mouth, “or else I’ll snarf through the rest of the potatoes before you know it. Was your stomach gurgling for nothing?”
I’ve gulped down my latte to combat the growing chill of the evening. The setting sun’s fire has dyed the sky a scarlet shade, turning the clouds into a fiery display of crimson and gold. On the opposite side of the chain link fence, the remaining tennis players, two middle-aged men that look like they own a collection of suits and spend their mornings shouting into phones, along with two dwarf-sized children, are engaged in a doubles match. One of the kids, whose face has the shape of a pizza, waddles towards the net as the racket wobbles in his right hand, to volley the descending ball. However, it whizzes past the kid and strikes the ground with a dull thud.
The world’s babble gets drowned out by a deep grumble coming from my stomach. The potato lover in me is screaming to go for a bite. I want to drown in a tidal wave of potatoes and alioli sauce, so that I’ll be able to forget the pangs of despair that are stabbing my insides.
I jab a chunk, but as I hold it to the evening light, it has transformed into a satanic totem, an offering to be consumed by some demon. I shove the food into my mouth and I gnaw on it in an effort to masticate my anxiety. The chunk’s skin is crisp and slightly charred, its insides are meaty and unctuous. I devour my fourth potato in one minute.
“My mouth is burning,” I say with a strained voice, “and I’d really like to have you inside me.”
My girlfriend laughs.
“But, Jacqueline…” I continue timidly.
Jacqueline has rested her right elbow next to her coffee cup and leaned her head on that hand. Her kindly expression suggests she had been waiting for me to gather enough courage to open up.
“Yes, baby girl?” she asks in a mellifluous voice.
“About your external hard drive…”
Jacqueline perks up.
“Ah, did you forget it at home? Is that why you are so tense?”
I pat the top of my backpack, that is resting against one of the rear legs of my chair.
“No, I got it right here.”
She sighs in relief.
“To be honest, I would have been a bit annoyed if you had forgotten it, because I’ve wanted to revisit some of those videos. But even if you had forgotten to grab it, we can make new ones, right? At least a couple more tonight.”
“I hope so. But I meant to bring up that… ‘Misc’ folder.”
A roguish smile of recognition lights up Jacqueline’s face. She starts twirling her fork around in her fingers.
“Yeah? What about it?”
“Well,” I say, trying to keep the tension out of my voice, “why did you include the videos of other women masturbating?”
“Oh.” Jacqueline snickers. “Partly so they would make you horny. Those ladies were delicious, weren’t they?”
She said it in the same tone I would have praised gummy bears as a kid. I want to bring up that she filmed those strangers in her apartment, that they doused with their girly juices the same fabrics that kept me warm at night, but as I try to push some words together into an objection, the words congeal into a thick clot of panic. I give up and let the air out through my mouth.
“That was me also opening up to you,” Jacqueline adds. “Are you troubled because you rubbed your sensitive little button to someone other than your girlfriend?”
My shoulders have drooped. I have to make an effort to remain upright in my seat, and it feels unfair that Jacqueline is demanding that I spend my limited energies talking.
“I don’t know, Jacqueline,” I say in a weary voice. “I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel.”
A tennis ball rattles the nearby chain link fence, then it rolls back into the court. I take a sip of my tepid latte. Jacqueline grabs a potato chunk with her thumb and index finger. She rotates the potato as if inspecting whether or not it deserves to get shoved into her mouth.
“You aren’t supposed to feel in any particular way, baby,” she says in a calm, motherly tone. “People don’t experience the feelings that they are expected to or would prefer to have; they feel whatever chemical mix their brain produces. They sometimes pretend otherwise to fit into someone else’s idea of how a human being should feel.”
She slathers alioli sauce from the plate on the potato chunk, smearing it too on her nails and fingertips. The chunk has transformed into a savory weapon.
“Does it bother you that those videos made you horny while you were struggling with other feelings?” Jacqueline asks as she shoots me a sideways look.
What little remains of warmth on this October evening is evaporating into a bitter chill.
“I don’t think I want to know that far more attractive women than me have lain in the same bed where you and I have made love. I want you all to myself. I wish you had always been mine, and me yours. But yes, those videos made me feel guilty because I couldn’t stop myself from abusing my genitals to them.”
Jacqueline breaks into a gentle laugh, and when that melody stops, her satisfied smile suggests that I have overcome some hurdle.
“That’s what I want, your authentic self, full of contradictions and confusions. Some poor fools spend their whole lives repressing themselves, even in the solitude of their own minds, just to please cowards who have wasted their existence straitjacketed. Isn’t that a shame?”
I shift my weight in the chair.
“Apart from my feelings, whatever passes for sentient thought in my rotting brain fails to understand the purpose of presenting those past lovers of yours to me.”
Jacqueline chuckles, then she stares down at the piece of potato she’s holding, as if she expected it to start talking.
“They aren’t my lovers, at least in the strict sense.”
“Huh? Just business partners then?”
“Yes, something like that.”
“I know for a fact that you mix business and pleasure. So do I, for that matter.”
Jacqueline squares her shoulders and holds my gaze steadily with her cobalt-blues.
“I promise you, sweetie, that this mouth you see, and that you were previously salivating over, has never kissed any of those ladies, nor has this skin felt theirs.”
My muscles loosen up.
“You may have found your vocation in the porn industry, then. I haven’t seen you this serious about anything else.”
“I would respect anything that brought me so much dough.”
Jacqueline scoots her chair closer to me, then she guides the potato chunk through the air until it waits in front of my lips like a car at a toll booth. I inhale its spicy, smoky scent.
“Open up, baby,” she says as her smile broadens.
I want to be stuffed so hard with potatoes that my blood turns into potatoes. When I part my lips, Jacqueline pops the potato chunk into my mouth, which gets filled with the taste of salt, oil and garlic, and a hint of lemon. My tongue relishes the rough texture of crisp skin.
“Good girl,” Jacqueline adds huskily. “I’m curious to know, though, which among my starlets was your favorite.”
After she lowers her gaze to my mouth, she slides her lower lip against her two maxillary central incisors in a way that makes me want to swallow before I’ve finished chewing the potato chunk.
“I was partial to that redheaded… girl,” I mumble sheepishly.
Jacqueline’s eyebrows shoot up, and she beams like I just praised one of her proudest accomplishments.
“She’s really something, isn’t she? A legend in certain circles. Unfortunately, hers is not a look that can be exploited for long before strangers on the internet start getting nosy.”
My stomach acid has started dissolving the bolus of tuber when I attempt to understand Jacqueline’s words, but a searing memory flashes in my mind: that sylphlike, freckle-spattered girl lying in a pool of cum, her burgundy mane blotched and her frozen grimace of agony concealed by a daisy-white crust.
A cold shiver runs down my spine. I rub my face with both hands to regain my composure.
“May she rest in peace,” I utter gravely.
Jacqueline lets out an unusual noise of confusion.
“What do you mean? She’s alive and well.”
I shake my head slowly. I won’t clarify any of the horrors burned into my brain, lest I traumatize my beloved. Anyway, I’m a wilted violet; I can’t be expected to make sense.
“Hey,” Jacqueline says calmly.
When I look up, she’s holding the index finger and thumb of her right hand in a pinching motion in front of my mouth. Those fingertips, as well as her short, almond-shaped nails, are smeared with sauce. Jacqueline’s cobalt-blues twinkle like a naughty schoolgirl’s.
“Clean them up for me, sweetheart.”
Despite the growing cold, my cheeks puff up with heat. I close my eyes and I lean in to house her fingers within my warm mouth. I lap and swirl my tongue around her fingertips and the edges of her nails, spreading the alioli sauce on my tastebuds.
My mind draws in its darkened theatre the outline of nearby seated patrons by the babel of their conversations. A child lets out an enthusiastic vocalization, and someone follows it with the whap of a tennis racket hitting a ball. A blaring motorcycle passes by the entrance of the pub’s grounds.
I want to taste more and more of Jacqueline; she’s bread and water for my starving body. But she must have noticed that I’ve removed every trace of the oily coating, because she withdraws her two fingers from my mouth, scratching lightly the surface of my tongue with her nail on the way out.
When I open my eyes, Jacqueline’s gaze threatens to drown me. I’ve learned to recognize her two moods; as she ordered me to suck on her fingers, she was a house cat that alternates between playfulness and carefree lounging, but now she has become a relentless predator aching to pounce on her prey to rip a juicy throat out. She breathes deeply through her teeth while her moist lips quiver. As she narrows her shoulders, overcome by some swell of emotion, a thick lock of her lustrous, raven-black hair bends against the turtleneck of her blouse. My skin erupts with gooseflesh.
“I missed you so much last night,” Jacqueline says, lowering her voice to a husky whisper. “But tonight I’ll have you back in my bed, won’t I? And that bottomless hunger of yours will devour me until I can’t walk anymore.”
I nod fervently as my crotch warms up with sticky, creamy desire. Once again Jacqueline will allow me to gnaw on her flesh with the vigor of a desert locust. I’ll provide the most sensitive patches of her skin a feverish tongue-bath. Unfortunately, this pub is populated with families that would be disturbed by the sight of a couple of women openly indulging in sex on top of this rickety table, although some of the men would likely offer the two of us free drinks.
“I’ll choke on your saliva as your hot tongue rambles around my own,” I say between gasps of air, “I’ll lick your tits wet and shiny, I’ll kiss and nibble on your nipples, I’ll bury my face in your pussy until I suck up your juices to the last drop. Just tell me when and where I should drop to my knees. I exist to pleasure you.”
Jacqueline chuckles throatily as her lips curl into a smile that would make any hardened criminal fear the end of the world. She lowers her head to stare at me through her eyelashes with an air of bloodthirsty divinity. Her pupils have become wide-open tunnels to the bottom of an ocean.
“Alright, you may have your wish. It’s going to be my treat to take you away from this stressful life of yours. You’re all mine now, and I won’t let you ever forget it. But I’m afraid that your behavior needs some polishing.”
My heart is thundering in my chest, and the needy pressure in my clit is increasing uncontrollably.
“Maybe you need to try harsher methods, mommy,” I utter in a rough voice. “Spank me with a tennis racket. Carve my flesh with a rusty knife. Chain me to your bed using high security combination locks with codes that you’ve long forgotten. Make me disappear from the world. I want to shit in a bucket for the rest of my life.”
Jacqueline rests her elbows on the table, pushing her coffee mug towards the remaining potatoes, and she shuts her eyes tight. A bead of saliva grows at a corner of her mouth until she dabs at it with the tip of her tongue. When she holds my gaze again, her cobalt-blues have become pools of burning lust.
“Baby,” she starts hoarsely, “you are such a good girl that I regret having asked you to spend the afternoon anywhere else than at my place.”
“Nothing will prevent me from ending up naked at your mercy tonight, Jacqueline. You are the only person who has ever made me feel like I’m human.”
Jacqueline stands up forcefully, nearly toppling over her chair.
“Fuck the rest of the potatoes. Let’s leave.”
I leap to my feet. I lift my bulky backpack and I sling it over my left shoulder. Jacqueline is rubbing her cheeks with one hand as if to hide the traces of her frenzy. She retrieves her purse and clicks the clasp to open it, then she takes out her wallet. I hurry to fish mine from whatever pocket of my trousers I shoved it in. Under such pressure, carrying a purse would have helped me, but I’ve never been a fan of them; I fear that I would lose it, that some fiend would snatch it, or that I would leave incriminating evidence inside that would lead me to prison.
“Wait, I can pay for this one,” I say.
Jacqueline raises my chin with her thumb, and her gaze shuts me up.
“You will never have to worry about money with me, doll. You’ll repay me by letting me do to you whatever I want.”
Author’s note: as I wrote most of this chapter (and the following) these past couple of days, I mostly listened to compilations like this one on YouTube, which are helpful if you want to feel like you are writing at an empty coffee shop during the thirties/forties while it’s raining outside. But throughout this past week, on the train to and from work, I listened to Jackson C. Frank’s stuff. Songs like ‘Blues Run the Game’, ‘Milk & Honey’, ‘October’ and, of course, ‘Marlene’. He was maybe the cursed songwriter of the sixties.
Jacqueline’s infamous external hard drive and its contents were developed back in chapter 45.
As it has happened before, I originally believed that this part and the following one would fit into the same chapter, but I eventually decided to divide it. I’ve already written about two thousand words of the next part, that will conclude this sequence, so I’ll likely be able to upload it in a couple of days.