"Oh God, that feels so good... it's unbelievable." My head fell back on the rest of my big black leather couch, and I sighed blissfully; while Kiddo ran the knuckle of his middle finger down the sole of my left foot, applying exactly the perfect amount of pressure. He was giving me a professional A-1 foot massage.
Not looking up from his occupation, he dryly answered, "I know."
He was sitting in front of me on the carpet, both my feet rested on his crisscrossed legs, and he was taking turns in attending to them. And he did a hell of a job! Carlisle had long since lost interest in his suddenly turbulent playground, and was sitting on top of the cupboard, twittering drowsily.
"Mmmmh..." I moaned, "Where did you learn that?"
"Angela showed me how to do it. She is the P.T. at the... um, where I live. She gives medical massages and such. I help her sometimes, just with the easy stuff, you know. Foot reflexology is quite easy."
I raised my head and looked at him under half closed lids. "Where you live?" It took me some effort not to mumble, I was that relaxed at this point. "What kind of place has its own P.T.?"
"Park Road Village," he said, a little awkwardly. He cupped both my heels with his hands and looked up. "Done. How does it feel? Better?"
I wiggled my toes. "Much better, that was awesome, Edward – thanks!"
Park Road Village? I've heard that name before...
"You're welcome." he smiled and let go of my feet. I sat up and crossed my legs, suddenly recalling...
Park Road Village - wasn't that the...?
"You live in a retirement home?" I blurted out.
"Yes." He shrugged. "I live with my uncle, he's the groundskeeper there. I'm helping him with the gardening and mending and whatever there is to do. It's a nice place to live, very peaceful. And the old ladies kinda like me..."
I laughed. "You are full of surprises."
"You too," he said, suddenly serious again. He lowered his gaze to his hands, which were nervously plucking at the carpet fibers. He took a deep breath and swallowed. I knew what was going on.
"The moment of truth?" I asked.
He nodded. "You promised to answer all my questions."
Surprisingly, I didn't feel as embarrassed as I had thought I would. Whether it was the aftermath of the massage or just a certain familiarity we had gained at this point, I felt absolutely calm. In fact, I wanted to answer his questions, as much as I wanted to know his thoughts and how he felt about our recent encounter in the park. I had quite a few questions too.
"Shall we then?" I hoped it sounded encouraging.
When he started talking, Kiddo kept on looking at his hands. They were slightly shaking. He was far from being even half as relaxed as I was...
"You have answered some of my questions already. I may assume you're not married, and I know that you're usually wearing underwear." He smiled wryly. "I know you wished to... have sex with... me." He shook his head, pausing for a moment. Finally he looked up, his green eyes intense on mine. "I just don't understand why."
"Is that your question? Why I wanted you?"
"Yes." He licked his lips nervously. Our old friend, the frown, was looming on his forehead again.
Suddenly I knew I had to be absolutely and painfully honest with this boy. He deserved the truth. Something about this whole story was troubling him, and this odd sense of guilt was nagging at me again (...you owe me, Annie...) I wouldn't get away with lame excuses anyway. For some reason, I was sure he would know if I lied.
Come on, Portman, spit it out!
"Edward." I took a deep breath. "Since I saw you for the first time, I couldn't take my eyes off of you. I wanted you because you are the most beautiful young man I've ever seen in my life. And I still do. Want you, that is."
There. I said it.
Kiddo gave a brief groan, as if he had taken a slight punch in the stomach, and closed his eyes.
"You mean it," he whispered. It wasn't a question.
After a few moments, he opened his eyes again and said, "Thank you."
Somehow I knew it wasn't for the compliment. I wasn't even sure he had noticed that I had called him beautiful. He was thanking me for the honesty, and I felt oddly relieved and happy to see that he appreciated it.
"Anything else?" I asked softly.
Both his arms went up and he ran his hands through his hair until they met behind his head. He kept this posture, elbows pointing forward, and said, "Yes, there is something. I need to... it's probably asked too much. Don't get mad at me, just say no and I -"
"Edward," I interrupted him. "What is it?"
His hands fell back into his lap, where they started messing with the fringe of his jeans.
"I was wondering whether you would allow me to see the place where I... where I touched you? Not there – I mean, just on your leg."
Ok – that's a new one!
"You want me to show you my thigh?" I asked in bewilderment.
"Yes," he continued hastily, "I know it is... you can just say no. But it was dark then, and it's kinda important to me. I can't explain to you why – well, not yet. But I just need to see it. I won't touch you, I promise."
Not the kind of promise I'm placing much value on, Kiddo, just saying...
It was certainly a weird request, but in my current state of contented calmness it didn't bother me at all. It felt quite natural to lift my skirt for him; just enough to uncover the area in question, the fabric was still covering my panties. I turned an inch to the right, spread my legs a little and put my hand on the inside of my right thigh.
"Here," I said.
Of course, I couldn't prevent the memory of his hands on me from rushing through me in a hot wave. To see Kiddo's face didn't help either.
He had tilted his head; his eyes were fixed on the spot where my hand touched my thigh. He seemed absolutely relaxed – for the first time, I believed. His hands lay still now, the shaking and fidgeting had stopped. The frown was gone, his lips were slightly parted, and he looked just... peaceful. I couldn't think of a better word.
I held out my arm to him. "Would you like to come a little closer?"
Without a word, he got up and came to sit down on the floor next to my legs, resting one elbow on the couch. Calm or not, my heart geared up as soon as we fell below the minimum distance necessary to keep my fantasies in check. I took my hand off my thigh to let him see what he needed to, and he sighed.
"You can touch me if you want," I whispered.
He simply answered, "I know." But instead of moving his hands, he just let his head sink down and lay his cheek on my left leg. Without thinking, I slid my hand into his hair and tenderly played with his curls. They were silky and soft, almost like baby hair.
I suddenly felt like crying. A feeling of overwhelming affection and tenderness for this strange boy came over me, as if I was holding something incredibly vulnerable and precious in my hand. And though the lust and the want were still present underneath, I would have been happy just to stay like this if that's what he needed, if that's what was erasing the fears and worries from his beautiful face.
You know what? I feel very protective of you, Kiddo...
"Annie?" His voice was barely above a whisper.
"Can you please talk to me?"
Whatever you need, love...
"What do you want to hear?"
"I don't care," he answered. "Just say something... anything. What you want... if only you mean it. Whatever comes to your mind..."
Okay... stop thinking, Portman. Just speak.
"Your hair is so soft."
I paused, wondering whether he would say something. But he didn't. Apparently he just wanted to listen.
Still no answer.
"I couldn't stop thinking of you... of us – the whole weekend."
This time he replied. "I couldn't stop thinking about us either. And I'm twenty-two."
I let my hand wander down to his neck and up again, softly stroking his jaw, and caressing the small dent behind his ear. He moaned silently, it was almost a purr. The sound of it sent pleasant shivers down my spine; the want was making up ground again. And although (or rather because?) our bodies weren't moving, I felt my heartbeat accelerating and my panties getting damp.
"I lied to you, Annie," Kiddo suddenly said.
"About what?" I tried to recall, what he had said to me so far, at all.
"You remember, on the train? When I said, I wouldn't want to undo anything that happened last Friday. That was a lie."
My heart skipped a beat. Or two.
Kiddo raised his head to look at me, my hand slid down onto my thigh, empty. His green eyes were sincere when he continued, "I regret the way I let you down. I was just so... surprised; I didn't know what was happening to me. That's the one thing I would undo, if I could, Annie. I'm so sorry. I should have made you come."
Oh sweet Lord Jesus...
"I can make you come, Annie. I know how to do this."
I was melting through the couch; pretty sure I would come any moment, if he said one more thing like that.
"I believe you." I didn't know why I said that, it just felt right.
After that, we didn't speak again. We just looked at each other in silence. Carlisle had fallen asleep on the cupboard, and the only noises in the room were the ticking of the kitchen clock and our breathing.
Until someone knocked on my door...
Come off it!
We acted like teenagers whose parents had come home too early. Kiddo literally made a jump and looked around, disorientated. I involuntarily pulled my skirt down.
"Annie, it's me," a familiar voice called from behind the door. "Come on, baby, open the door, I have something for you."
"That's my neighbor," I whispered to Kiddo, answering the silent question in his eyes. "You just stay here; I'll go and talk to him. If I don't, he will knock on the door for the next three hours, believe me, I know."
"Baby," the singsong voice started outside my apartment. "Baby, baby, baby, baaaabyyyy..." Three more knocks. "I know you're there, I saw the light. Come to daddy..."
Kiddo raised his eyebrows.
"I'll get rid of him, I promise," I assured him, and stood up to meet 'James', the nomad from one floor below...