This is an education on seduction, Delilah said in a reverent tone… Ariana let her gaze skim across the silk wall hangings and shrugged. I’ve not ever kissed a man. ... Truthfully, she had not. She’d been so fixed on her attempts to placate her parents in the hopes they might pay her the slightest bit of positive attention, she had not so much as considered kissing any man. Delilah’s fingers touched Ariana’s chin, feather light and tilted her face toward hers. It is the most delicious thing. Close your eyes and I will tell you of it. Obediently, Ariana closed her eyes, hoping if she did as she was told, the lesson would end sooner. It was an awkward sensation to sit in the ridiculous pillow-laden room with one’s eyes closed. Relax, Delilah said in a velvety tone. Listen. Ariana let her muscles slacken. Imagine a man, tall and lean with muscle. Delilah’s voice was quietly intimate. Hypnotic. He’s staring at you as if you were the only women he’d ever seen. Truly seen. The only woman he’s ever wanted. The desire for you burning in his eyes. Hazel eyes rose to the forefront of Ariana’s mind, a sharp jaw shadowed with a day’s growth of beard. Connor. She swallowed. His arms come around you, Delilah continued. So strong, so warm. They offer you a protection unlike anything you’ve ever felt and make you wish you could melt into his embrace for the rest of your life. In Ariana’s mind, Connor’s arms wrapped around her. But she didn’t shy from his touch – she welcomed. It. The chill of the room ebbed into a pleasant heat. Your eyes meet. His fingers touch your face and his breath whispers over your lips. He lowers his head and you close your eyes just as his mouth touches yours, warm and demanding. Ariana’s heart quickened and her breathing went almost ragged. Her mouth was suddenly dry and she flicked her tongue over her lips. His body is a wall of strength against you, holding you upright, as your knees feel as though they will buckle. Then his tongue strokes yours, velvet fire and heady seduction. Ariana drew a shaky breath….
Madeline Martin
Last year I had a very unusual experience. I was awake, with my eyes closed, when I had a dream. It was a small dream about time. I was dead, I guess, in deep blank space high up above many white stars. My own consciousness had been disclosed to me and I was happy. Then I saw far below me a long, curved band of color. As I came closer, I saw that it stretched endlessly in either direction and I understood that I was seeing all the time of the planet where I had lived. It looked like a woman’s tweed scarf; the longer I studied any one spot, the more dots of color I saw. There was no end to the deepness and variety of dots. At length I started to look for my time, but, although more and more specks of color and deeper and more intricate textures appeared in the fabric, I couldn’t find my time, or any time at all that I recognized as being near my time. I couldn’t make out so much as a pyramid. Yet as I looked at the band of time, all the individual people, I understood with special clarity, were living at that very moment with great emotion, in intricate, detail, in their individual times and places and they were dying and being replaced by ever more people, one by one, like stitches in which wholly worlds of feeling and energy were wrapped in a never-ending cloth. I remembered suddenly the color and texture of our life as we knew it- these things had been utterly forgotten- and I thought as I searched for it on the limitless band, that was a good time then, a good time to be living. And I began to remember our time. I recalled green fields with carrots growing, one by one, in slender rows. Men and women in bright vests and scarves came and pulled the carrots out of the soil and carried them in baskets to shaded kitchens, where they scrubbed them with yellow brushes under running water. I saw white-faced cattle lowing and wading in creeks. I saw May apples in forests, erupting through leaf-strewn paths. Cells on the root hairs of sycamores split and divided and apples grew spotted and striped in the fall. Mountains kept their cool caves and squirrels raced home to their nests through sunlight and shade. I remembered the ocean and I seemed to be in the ocean myself, swimming over orange crabs that looked like coral, or off the deep Atlantic banks where whitefish school. Or again I saw the tops of poplars and the whole sky brushed with clouds in pallid streaks, under which wild ducks flew with outstretched necks and called, one by one and flew on. All these things I saw. Scenes grew in depth and sunlit detail before my eyes and were replaced by ever more scenes, as I remember the life of my time with increasing feeling. At last I saw the earth as a globe in space and I recalled the ocean’s shape and the form of continents, saying to myself with surprise as I looked at the planet, yes, that’s how it was then, that part there was called France. I was filled with the deep affection of nostalgia- and then I opened my eyes. We all ought to be able to conjure up sights like these at will, so that we can keep in mind the scope of texture’s motion in time.
Annie Dillard