Mikey sits down at the table, staring at himself in the mirror. He can feel her watching, scrutinizing. It’s not that she thinks he can’t do it, but that she wants him to be perfect in a way he’s not sure he’s capable of. This is what he wants, what he needs, but the permission, the expectation of doing it makes it seem unreal.
Except it is real. More than real. Dangerous.
He closes his eyes and inhales, holding the air in his lungs for a long moment. When he exhales and looks at her reflection, she’s smiling. She understands. It’s more comforting than he expects.
Licking his lips, he reaches for the first bottle. Moisturizer that he rubs in with the tips of his fingers, careful to trace the edges of his jaw and down his throat. There he uses his palm, covering it completely and going down to his chest. He feels the air then, making his skin stand up in goose bumps. He shivers slightly, the tremor running down his spine. He licks his lips again, feeling the slightly chemical taste of the moisturizer in the air or on the edges of his lips. He cleans his hands on a tissue and tosses it into the waste basket then picks up the next bottle in the row.
His hands shake a little when he tips it, spilling a pool of liquid onto his fingers. After setting the bottle down, he works his fingertips through the puddle and scoots forward on his chair. It’s not the best light, but it’s what he has, so he leans in, touching lightly beneath his eyes, the curve of his jaw, the sharpness of his cheekbones. After that, he draws lines down his face, thick swirls of something like cool silk against his skin.
The sponge feels small in his hand, and he has to focus himself not to think about that. He can change everything else, but not his hands, so he keeps his eyes on the way his skin transforms in the wake of the sponge instead. Flaws and blemishes blend into a mask of perfection. The faint freckles and acne scars disappear like they never existed. He changes his coloring, something slightly darker sliding across his skin, transforming him.
His breath hitches as he takes the sponge away and looks at himself. It’s not quite right, he knows. He can see darker lines where it’s not applied evenly. There are swathes down his neck where he missed completely. He sighs and scrunches his face and presses the sponge to the bottle. He’s more careful this time, painting between the lines until he’s smoothed it all out to a blank slate, a perfect canvas.
Closing his eyes, he just feels it on his skin. It feels restrictive – his pores filling with it, his face behind a thin layer of artifice – but it’s also freeing. He screws his eyes shut and purses his lips and then relaxes, opening his eyes again. There are faint lines around his eyes – he’s getting older – but somehow it looks more real now, more natural.
The next step is easier. He remembers sitting on the bed and watching his mother do this. He doesn’t remember seeing all the other steps, just the long wand in her hand making pale eyelashes darker and darker until they stood out like black spiders around her eyes, heavy and thick. He remembers her face at the end of the night, little black flecks like homemade freckles speckling her cheekbones, flying off into the air when he’d blow lightly across her face.
He doesn’t go that dark, just a few layers. His lashes aren’t particularly long, but they spread out and stand out with the mascara on them. He closes one eye and then the other, watching them flutter against his skin. Opening both, he glances at her out of the corner of his eye, seeing her smile. It’s indulgent, but he knows she wants him to keep going, to finish. He closes the mascara and sets it aside, reaching for the eyeliner. He used to use a pencil, but now he uses the liquid, thick above his lashes at the outside edge of his eye, sliding into a sleek line just past the corner. Beneath the eye is thinner, adding just a bit to the outside line. He’s still perfecting this, and he can see clearly that it needs more work. The lines are a little shaky, and he has to touch up the lid to cover a small stripe of skin.
He does better on the other eye; his hand steadier or the angle’s better. He thinks it’s the second, because this eye is always the better of the two. He wishes he could get them both perfect. He knows it probably won’t happen, but it’s gotten better, and he’s most likely the only one who notices. Certainly the only one who cares.
The eye shadow is a shimmering gray that he uses to emphasize the break between eyelid and the upper skin, making his eyes look wider, more open. He dusts a translucent pearlized shimmer over the upper eye and turns his head from side to side to see how it looks under the shift of light. Satisfied, he repeats the process with his other eye, looking at himself head on when he’s finished. She’s smiling, so he knows he looks okay. Better than okay, maybe. Some days he’s happy with mostly symmetrical, but today he wants more than that.
He never uses blush, but he does dust some of the pearl shimmer over the apples of his cheeks, a faint line that catches the light. Moving to the edge of his seat, he looks at himself more critically and reaches for another tissue. He carefully blots his lips dry then presses them together. He used to always go for garish colors – dark eye shadow, dark eyeliner, dark red lipstick. He was going for fuck you instead of fuck me then, but now he’s stopped doing it for other people, for other reactions, and now it’s for him. Maybe it always was, he just wasn’t willing to accept it.
His lipstick’s not quite pink and it’s not quite red, somewhere in between with a hint of brown in it. It feels good going on, sliding across his lower lip, molded to the skin. He finishes the pass and presses his lips together. He touches it up a little thicker, then takes a small brush to fill in the curves and corners until his mouth is a warm, inviting bow.
“Am I pretty?” He asks softly, eyeing himself critically. She only smiles, the most answer he’s ever gotten from her. “It’s fine,” he shrugs. “I’m not finished yet.”
She rolls her eyes and he stands up. This is the start of the disconnect now, where he stops being him and turns into her, where she steps out of the shadow of his mind and fills his body.
He adjusts his walk as he moves over to the dresser, opening the top drawer. There’s a silk box that used to be his great-great-grandmother’s. He took it from his grandmother’s house, and he knows she knew it was missing, but he also suspects she knew he took it. Maybe she knew more than that.
Inside are some of the other things he needs, things that he keeps hidden away when it’s not a night like this, when everything is different. He pulls it out of the drawer and opens it, lifting off the top layer filled with old jewelry and setting it aside to get at what’s hidden underneath.
The panties are satin with a wide band of lace at the top, and the seam between the two is always rough against his skin, digging in. He loves the feel of it, the way it reminds him of who he is and what he’s doing. He runs a hand down his shaved stomach to his dick and balls. He’d shaved them earlier, too, in anticipation, and now the skin his dick feels even smoother, like velvet, especially after the rough bite of stubble at the base. He’d jerked off, taking his time and working himself up to the edge over and over until he couldn’t take it anymore. Anticipation pulsed through his blood and it took him a long time after he came to move, too lost in the languid feeling, his fingers tracing the come over his stomach, feeling the stubble there as well.
It makes this possible now, he knows, as he rubs his hand over his dick. He’s turned on, aroused, wanting, but his dick is soft enough to manipulate, sliding it back between his legs, pressing it to the perineum, against the crack of his ass. He closes his legs tightly and inhales sharply, a moan locked in his throat. It takes him a moment to catch his breath, to stay under control enough to sit down and get the panties on his legs, working them up and letting them sit at mid-thigh, the elastic digging into his skin. He stands up carefully, his hand pressed to the smooth vee of his crotch.
The mirror above his scattered make-up shows him in profile, naked skin except for a slash of white across his legs. He keeps one hand pressed to his groin and uses the other to tug the panties up. His cock is harder than it was, and he can feel it stiffen further as he gets the panties all the way on, the fabric cupping over the bulge between his thighs easily, holding him in place. He turns and looks at the mirror again, and it’s almost there, almost right.
She’s looking back at him, waiting. He smoothes his hand over the front of the panties, loving the feel of what’s not there. He presses his fingers between his legs, imagining the slide and part of flesh, wetness on his fingertips, the hard nub of nerves. Shaking his head, he moves his hand away and goes back to the box, pulling out a bra. It’s simple and white, something he found at a thrift store. He’s more skilled in taking them off than putting them on, but he’s had some practice, so it’s not too difficult to slide the hooks into the eyes and adjust how it settles over his skin.
Her skin. The last step to let her in, be her.
She runs her hands over the bra and her sides, over her hips. The lingerie gives her some shape when she turns to the side, the swell of breasts over her thin stomach. There’s a small pooch of a belly above the lace, and she runs her hand over it. She thinks it’s sexy, feminine. She scratches her skin through the lace and shivers, breathing shakily.
The nylons are the next thing in the box and she pulls them out, running the material over her hands. She loves the silky slide of it and she lets them settle on her legs as she gathers up the fabric, bunching it in her hands. She watched her mother do this too, extending her leg as she slid it up like some kind of fashion model. She’s not quite that graceful, but she’s getting better, and the nylon feels like silk on her shaved and lotioned legs.
The second leg is harder because she’s wearing actual nylons. She’s tried thigh-highs, but they don’t stay up the way she likes them to, and garter belts are something she likes in theory but much less in practice. Sliding them up her hips is perfect though, feeling the press of the seams between her thighs, the crotch settling snuggly over the panties. They’re like the foundation on her face, altering her so that any blemishes or bruises don’t show through, making her perfect. Flawless.
Even better is the fact that the waistband falls somewhere different than the panties, and tonight when she undresses there will be another line she can trace her fingers across, a memory etched on her body for a short time. She ducks her head and smiles to herself and walks over to the pair of black heels waiting at the end of the bed. She steps into them and stares at herself in the mirror one more time, noting the curve of her hip, of her leg, the line of her calf.
The perfume was a gift, and she knows it’s his favorite. She sprays it into the air, walking through the mist so that it falls on her throat and breasts, like a dusting of something soft and foreign. Her outfit is already laid out on her bed, the black pencil skirt that ends just below her knees and the short-sleeved emerald green blouse, the careful dips of the sweetheart neckline emphasizing her breasts. She runs her fingers over them both and then turns her attention back to the mirror, settling in the chair again to do her hair.
Normally it’s down to her chin and hangs in her face, but today she runs the brush through it again and again until it’s shining and sleek, then the curling iron crackles lightly as she curls the ends underneath so it brushes against her skin and falls along her jaw, softening it. She smiles at herself, not quite enough to show her teeth, and bows her head, letting the curls swing into her face. She relishes the moment, looking at herself in the mirror through the curtain of her bangs. She’s beautiful. She feels beautiful.
Her phone rings with a text and she starts, looking down at the screen. It’s nothing important, but it’s later than she thought, so she stands up and slips the blouse on, buttoning it carefully, adjusting her breasts to fall in with the neckline. The skirt slips up and on, and she tucks the blouse in carefully before sliding the side zipper up over her hip. She turns slowly, smoothing fabric here and there and making sure that everything is perfect. She’s already walking out of her bedroom when there’s a knock at the door.
She opens the door, her eyes running carefully over Gabe, from the damp curl of his hair to the sharp polish of his shoes. He looks good, his tie a perfect match for her blouse, that and his dark suit in glorious contrast with his pristine white shirt. She swallows hard. “Hi.”
He’s staring at her, and she blushes, afraid something’s wrong, but he shakes his head as if he can read her mind. “You look beautiful.”
“Thank you.” She feels breathless with excitement and anticipation and with the way he looks at her, like she is beautiful. “You look amazing too.”
“Eh. I clean up okay.” He grins at her and offers his arm. “Shall we go?”
“Let me get my coat.” It’s a long leather coat she found in a thrift store for at least a third of the price of it new. It’s unisex, so it suits her purposes, but it’s also dressy enough that it works for nights like this. Her wallet is in the pocket and she tucks her lipstick in as well. Gabe waits patiently for her while she shuts and locks the door then he takes her arm and walks her to the elevator. “Where are we going?”
She wrinkles her nose and bumps into him lightly. “Frank has been trying to make us all vegetarian for years, and it still hasn’t caught on.”
“I’m not trying to make you anything.” Gabe shrugs and opens the door to the apartment building for her. There’s a car waiting for them, and he holds that door too as she slides inside. He jogs around to the opposite side and gets in, taking her hand again. “Good food. Good wine. We’ll talk. Have fun. I’ll woo you.”
“You’re going to woo me? To the vegetarian side?”
“Just in general. It will be a general wooing.” He raises their joined hands and kisses the back of hers. “God, you’re so beautiful.”
“Flattery won’t work, Saporta. I’ve been flattered by the best of them.”
“Pete’s not the best of them,” he laughs, leaning in and pressing the lightest kiss against her lips. “Let’s have fun, hmm?”
“Yeah.” She smiles, ducking her head and resting it against his shoulder. “I’m up for some fun.”
She’s tipsy and unsteady on her feet, so she leans heavily on Gabe as they walk out of the restaurant. He’d bought good wine, or strong anyway, and it’s gone straight to her head. Her eyes are heavy and she feels loose and relaxed as they cross to the car. He eases her into the back of the car then goes around to get in, and she looks at him accusingly. “Did you get me tipsy on purpose, Mr. Saporta?” It’s possible she slurs her words, but she also might just be hearing funny.
“I admit to no ulterior motives.”
She leans in, pressing close to him. “Which isn’t the same as not having them.” She rests her hand on his thigh, rubbing a small circle with her thumb. He smiles down at her, something warmer than the wine in his eyes. “Is it?”
“No. It’s not the same at all.” He catches her chin and holds her there, tilting his head so he can fit his mouth to hers. She’d touched up her lipstick before leaving the restaurant, so she tastes the slick waxiness of that along with his tongue, pressing inside past her lips. She shifts closer, letting her hand curve down to his inner thigh as the kiss deepens. Gabe hums low in his throat, letting his hand cup the back of her head. It’s warm and slow and easy and she loves the way he makes her feel delicate but not weak, smaller but not diminished.
When he pulls back, she exhales roughly, trying to catch her breath. She’s sure her lipstick is a mess, but she doesn’t care. She just wants to feel him against her again. She breathes his name and presses a kiss to his lips, and he steals his tongue inside her mouth again. Her nails dig into the flesh of his inner thigh and she tries to get closer, desperate to feel him on her, laying her down and moving over her.
“Want to be home. Alone.” She slides her hand up his leg, curving it over his cock. He’s hard against her hand.
“Mmmm.” Gabe bites her lower lip and sucks on it, his voice deep. “You all wet for me?”
She groans. This is where Gabe takes her beyond where she’s been with anyone else. He sees her when they’re together, and she’s all he sees. She’s his girl, his beautiful girl with soft but firm breasts and a cunt wet and ready for him. All she wants to do is straddle his leg and let him touch her, let her slide against his thigh until he’s wet from her. She wants him to push her skirt up and work his hand between her legs, rub between her legs, let her press down on his fingers, wants him to bury his face there and lick at her until she comes against his tongue. “Y-yes. God, you know what you do to me.”
She can see the heat in Gabe’s eyes and she knows he’s thinking the same things she is, that he’s just as desperate for them to be at her apartment. The car finally pulls to a stop and Gabe tips the driver as she gets out, then slides across the seat to follow her inside.
It’s late enough that the elevator is empty, and as soon as the doors slide shut behind them, Gabe has her pushed against the wall, his hands grasping the bar on either side of her. Her arms are around his neck and she’s kissing him, sucking on his tongue as it thrusts into her mouth. His cock grinds against her thigh, and his thigh rubs against her as much as the skirt will allow. “Get you inside and get this off of you.”
“Yes.” She kisses him again, desperate now. Heat is rolling through her in waves, cresting between her thighs and leaving her shaky. “Fuck, yes. Please, Gabe.”
The elevator finally opens, and Gabe pulls away enough to take her hand, steer her to the apartment door. He steals the keys from her hand and unlocks the door, pushing it open for her. She goes inside and doesn’t bother with adding any light to the dimly lit room. The streetlights outside provide enough ambient light that she can see where she’s going.
Gabe catches her hand after he locks the door and turns her to face him, his eyes dark and predatory. “Where do you think you’re going, beautiful?”
“I thought you wa-wanted…”
“No thinking allowed.” He pulls her close and his free hand catches her skirt, bunching it in his fist and tugging it up her legs. “You know what I want.”
Her breath stutters as he releases her hand, using both of his to guide the skirt up until it’s at mid-thigh. She wishes now that she’d gone with the thigh highs so she could feel his hands on her skin. He kisses her and he’s guiding her down onto the couch. Her hands sink into his hair, threading through the dark curls as he pulls away from her mouth, kissing her neck, the hollow of her throat, her collarbone. His hands slide her legs apart and her skirt hikes further up her legs. He watches her as the movement of the fabric exposes her to him. She wants to breathe, to say something, to break the hypnotic heat of his eyes.
“You want to come for me, beautiful?” He doesn’t give her a chance to answer before he bends his head, licking the join of her hip and thigh and working his way down between her legs. He’s all dark hair and dark suit and pale skin in the faint streetlight, and his tongue is moving over her skin, down to where her panties are damp, arousal wet against them, soaking through to her nylons. “So wet.” He licks the fabric and traces the dampness then licks it again. She quivers at the pressure, her skirt preventing her from spreading her legs wider.
“G-gabe.” Her voice is shaky as she tugs at his hair. She doesn’t want him to stop, but it’s almost too intense to feel his tongue on her. “G-god. God.” He doesn’t relent, doesn’t let up. His hands are rubbing her thighs and she lifts a leg over his shoulder, feeling the nice fabric of his suit jacket.
He moans roughly, able to get closer after her leg settles, and his mouth doesn’t stop, tongue pressing into her, against her. She’s wet everywhere, writhing as he licks her, the pressure of his teeth pressing against her skin now and then. It’s rough through the nylon when he licks her inner thighs, but in a way that sends jolts along her spine. She can feel her orgasm building, pulsing, swirling inside her like something violent trying to get out. Her hands tighten in his hair and she digs her heel into his back, arching up off the sofa.
“G-god. G-god. Just…there. Yes. God. Fu-fuck. Fuck, Gabe. Please. O-oh. Oh, God.”
She comes and his tongue doesn’t stop, licking and sucking at the material between her legs. She drops her head back to the sofa, hips jerking, her body pressing into his mouth. She’s shaking everywhere, unable to stop, and she’s just about to beg him when he presses the flat of his tongue against her in a long, hot lick then pulls away. “Gonna fuck you, beautiful.”
“Oh, god, yes.” She pulls him up to kiss her, tasting her come on his tongue. It’s hot against hers from the friction of the material and she wants to press it down against her again.
Before she can, he’s standing, pulling her to her feet. She can’t walk in the heels, not sure she can walk at all. She leans on him heavily and kicks the shoes off as his hand unfastens her skirt and lets it slither to the floor. He guides her to the bedroom, letting her walk in front of him, his arms around her waist. She appreciates the support even if the heat of his breath on her neck is distracting.
“You wet for me?” He whispers in her ear. “So wet and slick for my cock?”
She bends over when they get to the bed, her ass rubbing against his cock. Her skirt falls forward and he slides a hand up her back beneath it, fingers grazing over the hook of her bra. “Yes. So ready for you.”
“Gonna slide inside you so deep.” His hand moves down and then they’re both on her hips, rubbing the pantyhose before he curls his fingers beneath the waistband and slowly eases them down over her ass. She can’t help arching her back as he tugs them down, showing off her damp panties for him. “Fuck you so good, pretty girl.”
“Yes. God.” She gasps when he bites her ass through her panties, teeth sinking into her flesh. Her knees give way a little and she has to work to stay upright. He leaves her panties in place and rubs her ass lightly then taps it with his fingers before moving away to get the condom. She presses her thighs together, feeling the heat still trapped there, then shifts them apart as Gabe comes back up behind her. “Fuck me.”
He tugs her panties down, leaving them cutting into her thighs. She can’t spread her legs too far, and she loves that he knows her so well, that he knows just how to treat her. He pushes one finger inside her, the lube warm from his fingers, slicking her up. “So wet, beautiful. So fucking wet for me.” He gets another finger and more lube and she feels like she could come again just from the pressure. She wants his cock, wants him buried in her. “Bury my cock in your hot cunt, beautiful.”
“Gabe.” She knows she’s begging, but she doesn’t care. She wants him, needs him. She hears the rustle of fabric and foil and latex and then he’s against her and inside her and her whole body jerks as he thrusts deep. “Please. God. Please. Just…”
It doesn’t take more than that and he’s moving, thrusting into her steadily. One hand holds her hip and the other is around her, his fingers rubbing at the vee between her legs, stroking soft, tender flesh. She fists her hands in the sheets and presses her head against the mattress, gasping for breath as he pushes her harder and farther. She’s vulnerable like this, her body too sensitized, and his fingers are driving her wild, rubbing small circles as he thrusts just right, sending sparks of pleasure and heat through her until she can’t see anything at all.
“So hot.” Gabe growls against her back, perspiration gluing her shirt to her skin. “So hot and so tight. Fuck. Love being inside you. Love sliding into your cunt, so wet and hot from my tongue.”
She makes a noise deep in her throat, incapable of anything else. She squeezes her legs together, and he grunts softly in response, and she knows he’s close.
“So beautiful,” he whispers against her neck with a hot kiss. “God. So beautiful, Michelle.”
She falls apart before she even knows what’s happening, her name on his tongue sending her over the edge. She shakes with it, her come slipping hotly down both their thighs, and she can feel Gabe lose control as well, hips jerking as he buries his orgasm deep.
Neither of them move for the longest time, and then he eases out of her carefully, disposing of the condom as she sinks to her knees beside the bed. She knows she’s destroyed – makeup probably gone and her clothes wrinkled and ruined – but right now she’s past caring.
“You okay?” Gabe sits on the bed next to where she’s resting her head and strokes his fingers through her hair.
“Mmm.” She manages a nod and closes her eyes, letting her head butt up against his thigh.
“C’mon. Bed’s more comfortable.” He guides her up with gentle hands, settling her onto the bed. He cleans her with a warm washcloth then taps her hips to get her to raise up, tugging her panties back into place. It’s not completely comfortable, but it’s all right. He tosses the washcloth then stretches out beside her, tracing his fingers over her stomach. “God, you’re beautiful.”
“Mmm. You’re amazing.” She blinks at him and rubs her eye sleepily, blinking blearily at the makeup on her hand. “Oh. Whoops.”
“Need to wash it off at night. You don’t want to get old and wrinkly and have to have botox and all that shit.” Gabe kisses her, not actually letting her get up. “Do Oil of Olay commercials.”
“Maybe I’m born with it and maybe it’s Maybelline?” She laughs and snuggles closer. “Here’s a secret. It’s all Maybelline.”
“No. That’s just the enhancement. The beautiful is all you.”
She looks at him for a long time, trying to read his eyes. Trusting him with this had been the scariest thing she’d ever done, and she’s sure she’ll never regret it, even if everything goes wrong eventually. “I don’t deserve you.”
“Yeah. No one deserves me as punishment.” He grins and kisses the tip of her nose. “Go use your cold cream and then come back to bed.”
She nods and sits up, moving to the table and the mirror. She turns on the too bright light and looks at herself. Worse than she thought. She can see him in the corner, lurking. Waiting his turn again. “You want…Mikey?”
Gabe’s on his side, head propped on his hand, watching her. “Doesn’t matter,” he tells her softly. “I’m in love with you both.”