The Admirer

To R.R.

Before, she would sit around on Friday nights cruising the Craigslist personals, perpetually on the lookout for her next conquest. In one hand would be a tumbler of whisky—which never had the chance to get empty—and she would take sip after sip just waiting for the epiphanic moment when it hit and allowed every muscle in her body to relax and find peace.

    By the time her conquest arrived, she was happily drunk and willing to let him do anything to her, as if fucking were going to solve whatever it was that drove her to this state in the first place.

    She had traditions when it came to how she had sex and one of them was the music she put on. For forgettable randoms—like most of her conquests—she would put on the most forgettable album to accompany what she expected to be the most forgettable experience. But if it were ever a man whom she actually liked, she always fucked to Cole Porter ballads.

    There were post-coital routines she had as well, which she followed to a tee. Her conquests were never allowed to stay afterwards, and once she had ushered them out, she would turn off the music, return to her sex-soaked bed and cry. She would sob and beg the empty room to make the man she loved let her be with him for no other reason except the very selfish one of it making her feel better, happier.

    Afterwards, she would sit up and write. Sex wasn’t really anything more than a trigger for her work, and she often did her best work in the glow of the after-sex high and evaporating drunkenness.

    With billows of smoke circling her head and cats napping at her side, she poured the weeping lamentations of her heart into stories for, about or inspired by the man she loved, who very unceremoniously did not love her back. This man was a heartbreaker, and she had known this going in, yet she still let herself fall for him fully, totally and completely. When he left, it was no surprise that she felt like a piece of her had been cut out and thrown away without her consent.

    She dwelled on him, revisiting all the good times and bad that they had had together. Both made her cry more and then write more, and she hated it all. She hated that her best work was spurred on by a man not nearly worthy of being her muse, and she hated that she still cared enough to be angry at that. She hated that no matter how many men she fucked thereafter, remnants of the heartbreaker still clung to her like plaque.

    When her eyes had shed all the tears they could shed and her soul had shed all the emotion it could shed, she put some music on again. This time it was always Little Peggy March’s “I Will Follow Him” on repeat. This was a song the independent, self-sufficient woman in her loathed, but it was also a song that seemed to be a perfect hyperbole of her heartbreak. A song of slavish devotion to the tune of toe-tapping bubblegum pop: it seemed to ring true for her, because had she any idea of where the heartbreaker went, she would likely follow him—a hapless puppy, openly vulnerable for everyone to pity. She would fall asleep with red, heavy eyes and an ache in her chest she was sure was the manifestation of her emotional pain.

•••

One night, her conquest surprised her. While most were abrupt, dominant, got what they wanted and left, she happened to cross paths with one for whom casual sex didn’t mean the same thing.

    This conquest admired her and didn’t shy away from it. He drowned her in compliments and drank her up with his eyes before fucking her gently—never ceasing to voice his adoration for her. Afterwards, he asked her if she wanted him to leave and she said yes, that that’s what they all did, and he nodded. He left agreeably, but not before giving her cheek a light, lingering peck.

    She stood for many moments after, contemplating the events that had just unfolded and found herself at a loss for an accurate sentiment. Where she usually craved an emotional burst and some quality time with her craft she now craved nothing. There was no nagging wound begging for her attention. No words flowed from her—not because they weren’t there, but because there were too many.

    Thoughts pulsed through her mind like a subway car during rush hour, and she couldn’t decipher them fast enough to make sense of them. She didn’t know what had just happened, who it was who had just changed her, and—worst of all—she didn’t know why she let herself like it so much.

    She invited the admirer back to her bed on multiple occasions soon after, and he happily obliged. It was always a repeat of the first time, much to her chagrin. What she had hoped had been a fluke was starting to prove itself the norm. He gazed at her with lustful but kind eyes, and he caressed her as if he loved her deeply.
    
    He kissed her when she wasn’t expecting to be kissed: on her forehead while he was on top of her, on the side of her knee after he ate her out, on the curve of her shoulder after he ejaculated when taking her from behind. She invited him back again and again and he obliged each time. She began to abandon her Craigslist stakeouts—first slowly and then altogether—in favour of time with the admirer.

    She called him when she wanted the company and he always indulged her as if he were perpetually waiting for her to beckon him. She found in him a new sort of regularity, one that didn’t come with pain or sadness. He gratefully offered himself to her, and one day when he came by for a fuck, she instinctively put on some Cole Porter. He smiled hearing the first bars of “You’re the Top,” as if already knowing of her penchant for listening to the balladeer when she was screwing someone special. She herself didn’t realize she was listening to Cole Porter till after the admirer had left. She rationalized that it was because she had been a little drunk and the sex had been exceptionally good.

    He had pushed the hair out of her eyes with one hand and cupped her cheek with the other before leaning in and kissing her. He pulled her close to him and slowly—tantalizingly—ran his hands smoothly down her torso to rest on her ass. Her own hands usually hung limp at her sides (she was never one to be affectionate, even during foreplay), but this time she tentatively rested them on his arms, and as the kiss got deeper and her loins burned hotter, she pulled him to her by the neck.

    He fell her onto the bed and stared down at her for a brief moment before smirking and moving to unbutton her shirt. He took his time, watching her chest gently heave with anticipation. Kissing her between her breasts, he undid her jeans and yanked them off—the first and only bit of force he used that night—and eagerly settled his face between her legs.

    She writhed and moaned and forgot everything in the world except her quest to orgasm, which happened in a welcomed surge that left her shivering afterwards.

    But nothing compared to the feeling of having his dick inside of her, fucking her gently and passionately. She watched him as he fucked her: his shimmering eyes studying her every expression, his slender torso glistening slightly, the taste and smell of her own pussy still very much present on his mouth when he kissed her. She cupped his face and his eyes locked with hers, but he said nothing at all except that, at that moment, she was his. And she heard no lie.

    Afterwards, she surprised herself by asking him to stay a few minutes and just lie with her. Of course, he obliged. He didn’t ask any questions, and she was glad for it; she didn’t want to explain herself because she didn’t want to be introspective just then. She wanted to just enjoy the feeling of lying in a bed with a good man who made good love to her and who just let her be. They lay together for a time, and when she silently got up and went to the bathroom, he correctly took it as a sign that he was no longer needed.

    Unbeknownst to her, she began to feel better. Though still a solitary being, she no longer felt isolated or unwanted; instead, she felt in control of her reclusiveness and embraced it. She wrote whenever the moment struck her and rarely ever was it out of that painful, nagging sadness which had been a cruel gift from the heartbreaker.

    She saw the admirer more and more often and she became addicted to his quietly passionate fucking. The only words he ever uttered to her were compliments, under which she still blushed but loved all the same. She became addicted to the lingering post-coital embraces in which they would lie silently in each other’s arms until she had decided she was ready to be alone. He always respected her wishes and never questioned or challenged them. He let her be and she was more grateful than she could express.

    One time while they were lying together, she whispered suddenly, “I’m sort of crazy about you.”

    He laughed in response and she was momentarily reddened.

    “Are you really?” he replied, looking down at her smiling. “How come?”

    She shrugged, then said, “I needed you. I knew I was in danger..." She was whispering and getting quieter with each word. “I failed at love...you let me love you when I was a failure.”

    Kissing the top of her head, he pulled her close and said, “Don’t you worry, darling.”