Bob Arter

Janie, in the 49ers jersey she wore as a nightshirt, sipped pinot noir with an air of sophistication.

“You’re going to have to do without that stuff soon enough,” said Frank, her husband. He lay near her in bed, on the far side of the Scrabble board.

“Well, yes,” she replied. “But for now, it’s an excellent source of sucrose as well as fructose. And both will help combat anemia and facilitate lactation.”

“You can get that in capsules, can’t you?”

“I don’t want a capsule. I want a glass of wine. And you should be encouraging me, because I’m really easy when I’m liquored up.”

He snorted.

Janie said, “OK, we have an agreement in principle. We’ll play Scrabble for baby names, then make love, then play Scrabble some more while you, um, restore yourself.”

Frank wore nothing to bed. Janie had dressed his penis in an argyle sock, giggling as the sock steadily rose. My God, it’s alive! she’d shrieked; red-faced, he pulled the sheet to his waist, which did little to alleviate the situation.

He said, “How about we play Speed Scrabble for fifteen minutes instead? You know, with a chess-timer?”

Janie’s plan prevailed, as it usually did, and she was still waiting for a Y to complete LINDSAY when Frank tapped his watch. She sighed, drew back the sheet, and plucked off the sock. “Work, work, work,” she muttered, mock complaints, and dipped her head for a quick taste of him, a suck and a swirl of her tongue. Then she drew back to watch him quiver, which always delighted her. Frank caught her shoulders in both hands and she straddled him, settling onto him, squeezing. She rose slowly, still squeezing, listening to the sucking sound it made.

“I bet nice girls don’t make noises like that,” she whispered. She descended, accepting his thrust and bent to his ear. “I bet nice girls don’t say ‘Oh, fuck me,’ either.”

Later, they lay side by side, his hands beneath the man-size jersey, pinching her nipples gently between thumbs and fingertips he’d moistened inside her. Mmm, she said, closing her eyes.

Eyes still closed, she murmured, “What...happened to...Scrabble?”

“Andrew,” he said. “Sophia.”

He slipped his hands free, placing them against her shoulder blades. He covered her nipples, through the cloth, with his mouth, sucking hard and pressing her to him.

Janie moaned quietly. “I’ll you,” she managed and licked her hand before gently palming his penis and sliding her hand toward her, finally drawing out his glans and pausing to tickle, with a fingertip, the little triangle below it. He bucked as though stung and his breath rasped in her ear and he slid two thick fingers into her.

She glanced down at the two large wet spots on her jersey front, where his mouth had been, and pulled it over her head so she could watch. She gripped his hand with both of hers and, placing one foot flat on the bed to raise her knee and open herself to him, she pumped his hand in and out of her, then freed one hand to tease her clitoris into ripe fullness.

When Frank rolled her over, she put all four fingers into his mouth so he could suck them, then wrapped both arms and both legs around him, hand clenching wrist in the small of his back, ankles crossed just below her hands. Then uncrossed them and spurred him with her heels. His big head was tucked into her neck and his breathing was heavier now; soon she matched hers to his.

They had done this millions of times; this was the first. She knew his body and he hers the way they knew morning air when they breathed it, sucked it in desperately during their matins; they were strangers who had met in a line, a line of hopeless souls queued up to meet each other.

They found a steady rhythm and Janie galloped across a meadow on a black-maned buckskin horse called Tornado, on her uncle’s farm north of Fresno, long grass from a wet winter when she was twelve, when she rode unconsciously and dreamed of smoking unfiltered cigarettes in a vineyard in Provence, leaning to grasp the rich soil, sift it through her fertile body, waiting for the man who would fill her and finish her and swell her with babies.

Janie’s horse leaped gates that seemed ever closer-spaced, higher, nearly collapsing when they landed, gathering his legs beneath him and racing to the next obstacle—a fence, a stream, a burial mound containing the bones of all those who had ridden this course before them. Suddenly, she saw the finish line ahead of them and clung to him, arms around his great bent neck, face against his flesh, suddenly shrieking nonsense into his ear, shaking, vibrating, feeling him hammering her to hell, split her and open her and gush an enormous splash of life into her. Her body greedily swallowed every molecule, ravaged by thirst in a desert, a wasteland she had never known.

She held him there, in the capture-hold of her legs, drinking in every drop of him, each faltering, weakening spasm until she had wrung him dry. Then with the last of her strength, she shoved him off before he could become comfortable.

They lay side by side, panting, repaying an enormous oxygen debt from their reckless, spendthrift binge. She looked over at him. “Ready?” she said.
“You have got to be kidding.”
“Uh-uh,” she said, holding up a stray Scrabble tile. “I found a Y.”

“I got sick and tired of weird sex, and wanted a couple of nice people to have a pleasant fuck. I sincerely hope they did.”

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