PLEASE NOTE: These extracts include adult content and language that may offend which will also not be suitable for children.
Cake by Anouska Knight
I didn’t want it to stop. It was perfect. The perfect choreography of his need pulsing with my own, grinding in against my hungering body. I was alive with unapologetic, selfish desire. I could feel him with everything I had, but it wasn’t enough. I needed more, more of this delicious euphoria. The goose-bumps that raged over me every time his breath chilled the sweat on my burning skin, the sweet earthy scent of him that swelled around me with every delectable thrust, the saltiness of his neck inviting me to taste him again - I wanted to drink it all down, to gorge myself with everything of him I was being allowed.
We were locked into each other, the slick covering of sweat we had each bestowed upon the other the only relief in what would otherwise be a crushing frenzy of need. I didn’t care. I wanted it to reign down on me like an insatiable creature, to devour me, to gobble us both up and force us harder into one another until the lines between our writhing bodies were no more.
I used the hard press of the wall behind me to defy him, to remain unyielding to his strength as he forced himself into me, again and again. I forced my head back from him, back from all that reward my senses so wanted, so that I could better see the face that had changed my world.
I couldn’t help but reach up and slide my fingers up and through his short ruffled hair, to take hold of all that dark splendour and pull his head far enough away to reveal those arresting blue eyes.
Charlie was the perfect combination of light and dark, in all things. From his character to his features he was the best of both extremes. His pale eyes were staggering against his chestnut hair, and depending on his mood could hold all the warmth of a Bahamian lagoon or the foreboding of a frozen lake.
As he looked back at me now, those eyes were the colour of ice water as they pierced away from his bronzed face. He wasn’t looking at me but into me, to the promise of the gratification I would give him. I knew from those eyes that only dark thoughts were governing him now.
With that thought, the first wave of warmth began to build in me. I broke eye contact, searching the air around him for any sign of the next moment my pleasure would find me again. He responded to the shift in my breathlessness as though he could smell the change creeping its way through me.
Another roll, building and building below…spreading outwards through my groin, up towards my breasts, gaining in size and force in readiness to finally come and claim me. The thought of it overpowering me, sweeping me away on a torrent of pleasure was enough to send me helplessly into its grasp. I struggled to keep rhythm with him now. The choreography was gone as we neared the final act that would see us both explode into our sweet trembling crescendo. Charlie was in his own fight now, his broad shoulders tense around me as his lower body thundered fiercely through me again and again.
I lost my hold on his hair as I felt my body being yanked away from him into an ocean of want, where I’d gladly go to drown over and over. But I didn’t want to release him. Desperately I raked my nails down the centre of his back, down the musculature that he’d unintentionally honed through years of working in the forest, as I finally succumbed to the pleasure he’d offered me.
The last thing, the only thing, I heard besides the frantic labouring of our lungs, was my name on his lips.
‘Holly? Honey, wake up.’
Morning is the cruellest time of the day. Between the hours of six and eight am, grief and remembrance live.
Cruelty’s not confined to those hours, if only that were the case I could just engineer my sleep pattern to skip the daily ordeal, but the truth is any part of the day can be as crushing when you wake on the battle line between dreams and reality, only to find you’re always standing on the wrong side.
That’s why I stopped drinking with the girls. So that I wasn’t spending my weekends waking up after midday not only with a hangover but fewer hours to pull myself together before having to relive it all over again. It’s hard enough nursing an aching heart, an aching head helps nothing.
‘Hol? Were you having a nightmare?’ In place of my self-imposed ban on girly nights, my sister
Martha instigated a non-negotiable scaled down version. For the two years since the accident, Saturday nights had been dedicated to the emotional well-being of her kid sister. She doesn’t realise that staying here every week, eating with her and her husband and sleeping in their guest room, doesn’t take the edge off my loneliness as she hopes it does, it defines it.
‘Hey. No, I’m good.’ I send her the lie with a smile. It does the trick and she smiles back. Really, staying here is about Martha’s emotional well-being. She needs to feel that she’s doing some good, and I love her enough to come each week as a spectator in her blossoming family life. It’s the least I can do for her. She lost Charlie too.
‘Rob’s making breakfast. He’s broke the big guns out, full English?’ I wasn’t a breakfast person, but Martha was hell-bent on taking care of me for the entirety of the time she was allocated each week. She was weeks away from giving birth to their first child, and happy as I was for them I couldn’t help but think of my impending niece or nephew as a welcome distraction. Maybe then I could have breakfast-less Sunday mornings in my own home again.
Martha left, leaving me to savour the last echoes of my dream. Charlie had died two days after his twenty-seventh birthday. It had been twenty-two months since I’d last felt his touch, and five minutes since I’d last heard his voice.