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Urban Subcultures

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"What?" she said, pushing her hair back behind her ears, and then she finally picked up on the shock on my face. "Oh. Hey. Haven't you done this before?"

Okay, so what happened was… probably it was because I was rounding out my summer electives, taking this self-defense course at Rainier? You know, Tai Chi stretches and poses, but with a little more emphasis on ass-kicking. It was undergrad cakewalk stuff, carefully chosen so I'd get to tone up and skimp on the homework for a change. The instructor was really cool, this gangly white guy who showed up and introduced himself as Aidan Clark, all 'Call me Aidan' and nodding at us as we went around the room giving him our names. I've traveled a little, okay a lot, but I couldn't quite place his accent… I think he was English.

The rest of us were in gis or sweats, but he was wearing old blue jeans and a battered straw cowboy hat, the kind with the real steep folds on the sides and a high crown. He left it on right through the warm up stretches. He was bony in that tasty way: his wrists were practically hypnotic, you know? That whole strength/delicacy thing going on, and happening cheekbones. And I have this thing, actually, about guys with long noses? He wasn't pretty, but he was, and he had these long old sly eyes, but this cherry red little kid mouth. I would have signed up last semester if I'd known the instructor would be this cute.

So, anyway, he was teaching this course, on the side actually, since he was a visiting adjunct, and maybe half an hour into the first lesson, this couple shows up. The guy was… I mean, Aidan was cute, but this guy took good looking to a whole new level. He was almost too hot, like one of those beefsticks they put on the covers of bodice rippers. He even had that tumbled Fabio hair. But it was totally working for him. Broad and tall; man, I just wanted to climb him like the rock wall at the gym.

And maybe I'd have flashed some Bayle charm his way, except he was with this really pretty platinum blonde, like a little bird standing between them, reaching up on her tip toes to kiss Aidan's cheek. She flashed a smile at the roomful of us, and wiggled her fingers in a way that should have been ridiculously cloying. But the whole bubbly and vivacious thing really suited her; some of us even waved back.

The boyfriend leaned over and said something to Aidan, and he nodded and turned to us, clapping his hands together.

"Okay then. Sorry to cut this short, but something's come up. I'll see you next Tuesday? Sorry, Wednesday at 3."

And he just left us there and ambled out, the couple trailing him.

"Well, no..." I inhaled deeply. My clit was throbbing against her thigh, and everything about her smelled so good: the heat from her skin, the sweat between her breasts. "I haven't. Have you?"

"I don't know," she said, and lifted her hand to stroke my jaw. "Do threesomes count?"

Later on, I'm drinking Snapple at the Bobcat, the townie bar that the local student population had been making our own, and all three of them show up, and arrange themselves at the bar like a photo shoot. It's like one of those super-pretentious magazine ads, the ones that are total eye candy but completely ambiguous. The ones that could be peddling breath mints just as easily as high-end vodka.

They kind of huddle up for a moment, the little blonde totally eclipsed by two sets of broad shoulders, and then I-Can't-Believe-It's-Not-Fabio strides out, and Aidan and the blonde kind of shrug at each other and Aidan raises a hand to catch the barkeep's eye.

About this time I knock over my Snapple, soaking my jeans, but luckily missing the notes I'd been taking on the relationship dynamics of bartenders and patrons, and this attracts the blonde's attention. She turns her head and then smiles behind her hand, polite, but obviously amused by my wacky hijinks, and hey, at least it's mostly white grape juice and nothing that'll stain. Not that the paint spattered denim is going to tell the tale, anyway.

Then she leans over to Aidan and whispers something and he lifts his head and his eyes, blue, green, I can't tell yet, lock with mine.

He kind of half nods, and she smacks his shoulder. The sound is louder than you'd think, but Aidan doesn't flinch. She turns toward me again, sort of leaning back against him and says, "She's completely adorable, Methos. I could just eat her up."

Methos? I guess it's a nickname or something, maybe some foreign endearment? She totally looks like she's gonna call him schatzi or honeybear any second now and wow, she is completely focused on the whole soggy splendor of me, and I totally blush. And really, this whole scene is kind of not my bag-- she's looking at me like I'm a puppy in a pet shop. She elbows Aidan like it's his duty to put a ribbon around my neck and set me under the Christmas tree, and he ducks his head and smiles at the bar. He says something I can't catch and the blonde hunches up her eyebrows all pout, and elbows him again.

"You're leaving tomorrow, anyway. And she's just the sweetest little thing…"

Leaving? I wonder if she means he's leaving classes? Man, that totally blows! Maybe he'd gotten a better job offer or something. Death in the family? And can I just say that a major in anthropology is the world's best excuse to hone your eavesdropping skills?

She folds her arms and gives him this whole wide-eyed flutter… and it's really bringing the anthro gig home, because I'm observing one of my own stunts pulled by someone else. But she really sells it, insincere as hell, yeah, but in a winsome way, with her huge black eyes and little pixie face and he shakes his head in that way that says he's gonna give in to whatever she wants. She shines him a totally brilliant smile and tugs his hand from the bar, towing him my way.

"Hello, sweetie. Can we buy you another… 'Snapple'?"

And it should be vaguely creepy… she has a sort of 'want some candy, little girl' thing going on, but she's so dainty and so straightforward that I can't help but smile at her. She must be in her early thirties, but fit and sleek in a chic little black dress and a short camel coat. Something about her reminds me of the breathlessly animated new-age types my dad is always fending off at his bookstore. Aidan smiles at the two of us and says, "Hey, Bayle. You want a Rolling Rock?" in his cool English accent, and I nod and he orders a red wine and a Guinness as well.

"Bayle… Sandburg, right? This is my friend Amanda."

She holds out her hand like you would offer it to someone to kiss, and I shake it. Her manicure is perfect and her hand is warm and smooth, but not soft… almost no give in it, like molded plastic. She doesn't look like anyone who'd have calluses, but there you go.

She hops up on the stool next to me and says, "What are you studying?"

And she's like the world's most successful salesperson: patently self-interested, but so charming and persuasive, you almost don't mind. And I admit it, I'm flattered by her attention. It was pretty obvious that she had both money and taste, if her two-hundred dollar shoes were any indication, and the whole sleek platinum shell of her hair gave her sort of a punk shine on top of her well-heeled glow.

For just a second, I have a whole 'The Hunger' vibe going on, but I shake it off and say, "Anthropology. Actually, I'm doing an undergraduate thesis on urban subcultures and--" She's giving me the 'that's nice, dear' nod-and-smile, but Aidan tilts his head.

Handing me my beer, he pushes up the brim of his hat with his bottle of Guinness and says, "Gillman has high praise for you, you know. Apparently you're quite the brilliant mind."

I blush again and Amanda bites her lower lip as if she's just completely in love with me. She holds her wine up and says, "A toast to new friends," and if this was a television show I'd be rolling my eyes, because, hello, the cheese factor is high here, but she's so into the moment that she carries it off and we all clink our various glass objects together and drink.

"'Cause, see, we were all a little... whoo!" Bayle said as I pulled it up over her breasts, exposing that red bra again. "Drunk. Not a lot, just a little. So I thought, okay, fun, but not really necessitating a major re-examination of my sexual self-identity." She lifted her legs and wrapped them around my waist, crossing her ankles above the small of my back. Then, pushing herself up on an elbow, she wriggled out her tank top the rest of the way, one-handed.

I watched her contortions, entranced, then lowered my head to inhale the clean scent of her sweat. "Which is like," she continued breathlessly, "a problematic concept for me anyway. Can you really separate your sexual self from your, like, intellectual self or, I don't know, soul? Spirit? Whatever you want to call it?" Her breasts, slightly more generous than mine, heaved as she spoke. "I'm an adventurous person. I like discovery. That applies to all of me. Intellectual me, sexual me, spiritual me."

Two hours later, I'm in the penthouse suite of the Huntsfield, wearing Aidan's hat and watching the two of them dance. I'm close to sober. Within touching distance, anyway, but I feel all warm and fuzzy. Aidan… well, he's got to get home and see his dad, something about the family business, a bookstore, in Paris! And it's really too bad, because I really wouldn't have had to go too far out of my way to be completely crazy about him--I mean, he's so smart, and he must have had two beers for every one of mine but he's moving like… I don't know, I'm maybe a little drunker than I thought I was, and that means the thoughts aren't so straight and I'm coloring way outside the lines tonight when they swoop past me tug me up and we swirl all around the room, and before I know it, Amanda's wrapped around me and she's only just as tall as me, even in heels and she pets my hair and says, "You're just the cutest thing. Aidan, couldn't we take her with us?"

"I don't think even Mac could be talked into feeding another stray, Amanda." And we're not dancing anymore, and Amanda is warm and all around me like a comfy, breathing harness on one of those rollercoasters that dangle you upside down.

"But you will stay the night, won't you, darling?" And she's so childlike and hopeful I'm a little unsettled, but I glance up and see Aidan, and he gives me this tiny smile, and I guess that's enough for me, because hey, I'm all about the spirit of adventure, and I nod and let Amanda lean over and kiss me.

She tastes like… lipstick and wine. Like delicate perfume and styling products, and I like the way her stiff, disciplined hair tickles a little when I kiss her ear.

"Good girl," she murmurs, obviously delighted and she kisses me until I need to sit down or fall down, and then she lets me go, and waves Aidan over. Oh, man, he's tall compared to Amanda, to anybody, really, and I get folded into a soft laundry scarecrow that smells like beer and…mmmm, man. Sharp and dusty like books and sweat, god, how could he be leaving, he's got the perfect boysmell, and I'm kind of licking the buttons on his blue chambray shirt and he laughs and takes his hat back, putting it back on and regarding me from under its brim.

"Are you all right with this?"

"Sure, sure, I'm cool… I mean, I've never done this, specifically… Are you guys, like, swingers? Because that's a really fascinating subculture and maybe, after, do you think I could ask you a few questions--?"

And he's cocking his head and looking at me like a crow looks at shiny things and I mash my lips together to stem the tide of my constant oh god so annoying and hello intrusive babble.

"It really is too bad I'm leaving tomorrow," he says, and he brushes his closed mouth against mine three, four times and then I buy a clue and open my mouth and… Kissing Amanda was fun… it was new and weird and interesting, and she had a really ticklish tongue, but Aidan kissed slow and dreamy, his tongue sweet and heavy in my mouth and before I knew it, he's hoisting me with his arms around my waist and one hand on my ass, and laughing down at me, swinging me around and letting go so I spin away and sprawl on the bed, next to a waiting Amanda.

"She looks like an ecstatic priestess, doesn't she? With her curls…. Do you remember Lamia, wasn't she for Hestia?"

"No," Aidan says absently, tugging my green tank top over my head. "Or were you thinking of Hapset?"

"Was Hestia Greek?" I gasp; Aidan's rubbing me in all the right ways and Amanda is busily unbuttoning my jeans. I smell like fruit punch and I'm dizzy, but this is the most fun I've had since Georgios Anagnastopoulos fed me olives in his bed, and "I think I'm mixing them up with Cleopatra."

"Cleopatra." And he sounds like a professor, and oh my god, it really hits me, I'm sleeping with a faculty member, I'm a statistic, I'm doing the visiting adjunct professor of Egyptology slash self-defense and his girlfriend, and man, where did their Fabio guy go, and I wonder if he'll come late to the party and this is like one of the letters in Penthouse I had to read for that course in comparative sexualities for Jarvis my freshman year, oh-- oh! "She was noted for her voluptuous sensual talents. Legend has it that she performed fellatio on one hundred Roman noblemen in a single night. Now, no woman could become a High Priestess of Aset without first having had at least a thousand men. Cleopatra, so they say, accomplished that task in less than a week--"

"But the-- the Egyptian week was-- oh-- mm-- ten days--" And why can't I shut up? I'm interrupting, even. Guys tell me all the time-- the talking thing? Total buzzkill.

But Aidan gives me one of those eye-crinkling smiles that made me all-- well, even more-- melty.

"So it was. It's still pretty impressive, don't you think?"

"Oh, she was a show off. And nowhere near as pretty as everyone says she was," Amanda mutters, nipping at my bra strap with her teeth.

We both look at her and she lifts her head, frowns at Aidan.

"That's what you said!" she tells him. Then she gives a little shrug and peels my jeans down my legs.

"'That I may let you see my beauty in my finest royal linen when it is… wet,'" Aidan murmurs as he strokes the damp crotch of my underwear with two fingers.

"White cotton bikinis! Perfect," Amanda whispers in my ear, her teeth tugging gently on my amber bead earring.

"We could paint your eyes with green malachite. Red ocher for the lips and cheeks--" He draws a finger along the curve of my cheek, presses a thumb against my lower lip. "Anoint you with myrrh and lily oil…" He grazes my hair with his lips, reciting things in um… okay, I'm not exactly up to date on my middle-Egyptian, the only word I even recognize is 'nifir', 'beautiful', but he winds my hair around his hand and it's, man, delicious-- a warm tingle that starts at my scalp and just rollerskates all over me and he switches to English and tells me,

"Distracting is the foliage of my pasture
The mouth of my girl is a lotus bud," and he licks my lower lip,
"Her breasts are mandrake apples," and thanks to Amanda I am bra-free and he cups me gently, exhaling soft and warm against my nipples,
"Her arms are vines,
Her eyes are like berries,
Her brow a snare of willow,
And I the wild goose!"

And then he runs a hand under my ass and pinches me, which makes me laugh and Amanda shoulders him aside to try and catch it in her mouth.

"Oh, I do adore them when they're young and happy like this," she says, looping my hair around a finger, and Aidan who's having his turn at kissing me, lifts his head and butts his temple against hers, like an affectionate cat.

"Shut up, Amanda," he says tenderly. "Have your way with her." I'm pretty sure I'm pulling his hair a little; I'd knocked off his hat a ways back and I'm getting impatient.

And he sits up and between the two of them I end up in Aidan's lap, the hot press of him against my back, his legs bent and friendly with mine, so I'm cradled between his knees. Amanda shimmies out of her dress, and even though she's tiny, with slender, toned arms, she has a lot up front, I mean, she's stacked, and her simple black satin bra matches her honest-to-god garter belt and black silk stockings, but her lacy little pink undies surprise me.

"It's fun to keep people guessing, Bayle," but she says, 'Bailey', like a pet name, and jinkies! Fast hands, my underwear gets flung across the room and then Amanda sends her bra sailing after it and then she flashes me another happy little smile. Then Amanda goes down on me with her little pointed tongue and Aidan's got his arms around me and his cheek is warm and a little prickly against mine.

While Amada bends her head, Aidan sings to me. Well, sort of. He holds me close and chants, "Jihva-mardita… Next, fasten your lips to hers and take deep kisses from this lovely one, your beloved…" and it sounds… "Chushita, Bahuchushita …" familiar…

"Is that-- mm-- Burton's translation?" And of course Aidan would know the Kama Sutra off the top of his head, right?

He strokes my hair and Amanda, hey! stops what she's doing to ask, "The actor?" and together, Aidan and I say, "The explorer." She cocks her head at Aidan. "Did you know him?"

I can feel him shake his head.

"Vatsyayana," he says, and I almost ask him if he means he ran into the reincarnation of Vatsyayana in Benares or something, because, guess what, the guy's been kind of dead since like, 500 AD or something, but he whispers, "Place your darling on a couch, set her feet to your shoulders, clasp her waist, suck hard and let your tongue stir…" And Amanda and I focus on following directions. I set my feet against the gorgeous arch of Amanda's sleek shoulders and she, oh she, oh, fuck yeah, don't stop don't stop, almost, oh!… and I kind of lose my mind for a while.

"I'm sorry. I get a little. Aggressive. When I'm horny," she muttered.

My hair is sticking to the back of my neck, but I don't want to move, even to brush it away. I'm resting against a fluffy heap of pillows and Aidan is laughing and naked and his chest is… wow, a pleasant surprise, I'd thought he was sort of skinny, but okay, yum, here, and Amanda… she's tawny all over, a light olivey tan against Aidan's white-as-marble skin, her breasts jiggle in a fun way as she bounces astride Aidan as if he's her favorite pony ride. Except she stops and arches back, pointing her sharp little chin toward the ceiling, and I like the pretty line of her taut throat, and how she's naked except for her garters and stockings (how the heck did she get her lacy pink panties off?), and then she bites her lip and shakes her head, like she's annoyed.

"How about a little help here, huh?" She hitches her hips against him and smacks a tiny hand against his chest and he laughs again, taking his hands from her hips and folding them behind his head.

"You're a liberated woman, Amanda. Do I really have to do everything?"

"Honey. Bailey," she says, "He really is the laziest man alive. Come here, won't you?"

And I sit up and scoot close, and Aidan takes my hand and kisses my fingertips, eyes smiling up at me, ignoring Amanda totally, and Amanda takes my other hand and pets my palm with her thumb. Then she kisses me, and it's so weird, so cool, to feel Aidan's sharp little teeth against my skin as I slip two fingers against Amanda. She angles my hand just so saying, "You're a perfect angel, yes, just like that, honey, good girl, good girl, ohhh, we'll make a delicious little strumpet out of you yet," and man, it's like some kind of sexual kindergarten here with her, simple and open and everything rewarded with a kiss and a little squeeze, and ohh, my fingertips find the slippery little ridge of her clit, and I'm kneeling up to get a little leverage, and she returns the favor, letting her head fall back and sighing sweetly, her own fingers sliding against my soft swollen skin in a ticklish way. She starts rocking again, short little thrusts of her hips that make Aidan arch beneath her, and I speed up my petting and she purrs against me, moving faster with me, until she seizes up with the cutest little croony/growly Björk sound.

She smiles hugely with her eyes still closed and collapses down against Aidan with a giggle.

"Oh, you're still lovely, old thing." And he's stroking her back, long sweeps of his long hands, mouth closed like he's holding a secret on his tongue and he crinkles at me again and…

And he's been riding her bareback, so they must be, um, pretty close, and Amanda turns her head and looks at me under her lashes and says, "There are condoms under the pillow, sweetheart. Give the old man a spin. He's one of the very few men who actually knows what he's doing."

And I'm really looking forward to this. It's my absolute favorite thing, a nice long fuck after being the happy recipient of some truly inspired cunnilingus, and Amanda rolls off, her arm still draped across Aidan's chest in a friendly cuddle, and I suit him up and settle down.

He grunts a little, and his hands settle on my hips, just as he'd been with Amanda. After a moment, we just hold still and he's looking at me, oh man, and I'm all fluttery, and he bends his knees and braces his feet and I fall forward, holding myself up in a sort of half-push up, and now I'm kiss-close and he's still looking at me and he stretches his neck so slowly, just to set his lips against mine, parted, no tongue, only his breath curling inside my mouth, and his really very nice dick tucked in just right and whoa he sits up and catches me as I fall back and now the tongue is here and here to stay, mm, mmm, please, yes, oh-- oh please please fuck me ohhh and I can hear Amanda laughing and Aidan's hair is falling in his eyes and then he holds us still…

One mississppi, two mississippi, okay, rest stop over now?, four mississppi…

Fuck a duck, man, come on, and yeah, okay, so you know when you're almost there? And man, it sucks when you're about to put the cherry on that sundae and then... fzzzt. It's like-- it's like running to catch a train. And if you miss the train, you're pretty pissed, right? Because you had someplace to go, and you really wanted to get there, and the next train, it could be three minutes, it could be half a fucking hour and it's-- hey, it's kind of uh, frustrating, okay? And I would really like to catch this train, Aidan, really ohhhh--

I'm in his lap but leaning back like I'm being dipped on a dance floor for forever, god he must be strong, and he's soooo good at this, the slow rock, and he strokes the flat of his hand down my throat, my breast, my belly and he presses in with his thumb and--

I catch the train.

I come like, again and again, like a string of firecrackers at Lunar New Year, bucking in his hands, and I feel him tremble to a halt, hear a breathy grunt, good, good, he must be coming, yay us! and he lays me down, the pad of his thumb brushing and brushing a little more slowly every time and I can feel Amanda combing her fingers through my tangled hair and all I can do is try to remember to breathe.

*

Later, Aidan sleeps stretched out on Amanda's huge bed and she's unknotting the tangles in my hair with a wide toothed comb. She's really good at it; she never pulls my hair once. For a minute I sort of imagine her as the Auntie I never had as a kid, but that quickly gets waaay too incesty, so I just let her play with my hair while I rest my hand against the small of Aidan's back.

"How long have you known Aidan?" I ask.

The comb pauses and you can hear the smile in her voice when she answers, "Oh, a thousand years."

"What about your boyfriend?" Probably the better time to ask this question was before the joyful naked free-for-all, huh Bayle? "Will he mind, you know, the uh, sharing?"

"Mac?" Trill of laughter. "He's not my boyfriend. He's hardly even my type really, the silly old boy scout. He might like you though. And it's about time he had a new paramour. Sure you don't want to run away with us to Paris? I'll buy your ticket!" I can tell she means it, but she strikes me as the flaky sort. If I ever actually showed up in Paris, she wouldn't know what to do with me.

Aidan murmurs and blinks at us.

"Hello," he says, pushing himself up and rubbing at his eye with the back of his hand. I can't really figure him out; something about his whole story seems a little off, and it's clear he and Amanda go way back, but I wonder how old he is. Before Amanda had shown up, I would have said 27 or -8, not too much older than me, but at the bar, he'd seemed like her big brother, kind of, and now again he could be a highschool kid, almost, just 18. "Do you have any beer in?"

"We can have some brought up," Amanda says and hugs me from behind. "Are you hungry? Aidan will want beer and beef, as I recall."

"I could eat." And my nipples are all pleasantly tingly and I start to think I have a better than decent chance of getting laid again tonight, and isn't that just the grooviest thing?

And Aidan orders two roast beef sandwiches, a pitcher of ice water and a six of Guinness, and I'm hanging off the bed and our clothes are shuffled together like a strip tease seven layer bean dip, and at the bottom of the pile is my book bag and I fish around, yeah, okay, and my favorite pen and I sit up and Amanda immediately starts petting me again and Aidan looks at me hard, and for a second he's a different guy, a dangerous guy, a guy who's gonna yank my notebook out of my hands and set it on fire, but then he hangs up the phone and shakes his head, laughing.

"I just wondered… Would you guys mind if I take some notes?"