Curio(5)

By: Cara McKenna



The etiquette is odd, when you visit a prostitute. On the one hand, Didier was mine to do with what I wanted. That was my right. But even if I wanted to treat him like a piece of meat, I suspected I wasn’t capable of it. He might be a slice of cake, reserved specially for me, but it felt very strange to actually consider enjoying him. Which of us was I worried about demeaning?

He fetched the wine bottle from the kitchen and set it on the table before us, taking his seat. “So tell me. You’re an attractive woman. You seem successful and clever.”

“Thanks.”

“May I ask what it is about men that’s made you cautious? Do you not like being touched, or you simply haven’t met the right one? Is it a religious decision?”

“No, definitely not religious. And I don’t think I mind being touched, really… It’s hard to explain.” I folded my legs beneath my butt and addressed his hands. “I guess I don’t want to settle for a man who isn’t really, truly attractive to me. But I’m afraid to try to date those guys, because I’m afraid I’ll find out I’m not enough for them. I’m probably just afraid of rejection. It’s always been easier and less scary to just not take the chance.”

“You won’t be rejected here.”

I nodded. “That’s the appeal. Well, and you.” I looked up to meet his eyes. “I’m sure you’ve heard a million times that you’re handsome. You, um… I think you may be the most attractive man I’ve ever seen.”

His smile was warm and humble, and it gathered the skin beneath his eyes into adorable little rolls. “That’s very kind. I hope it pleases you that I’m yours to enjoy.”

“It does. It scares me, too.”

“Of course.”

I drained my glass and Didier refilled it. His mix of matter-of-factness and perfect calm was exceedingly disarming. I’d feared he’d be cocky or sleazy or aggressively flirtatious…I mean, countless women pay to sleep with him. How could that not give a man a gigantic ego? I’d also feared he’d be a sweet-talking, God’s-gift Don Juan and I’d feel as though I were being coerced. But I didn’t. If this was a seduction, it was very covert and exactly my speed.

We chatted some more about the city and when the sky grew dark, Didier lit at least a dozen candles, a mound of them all melted together on an old metal card table behind the couch. Beeswax—that was the pleasant, musty smell I’d noted.

Didier by candlelight is obscenely stunning. At long last, my mind was wandering. I studied the tendons in his neck in the warm glow and recalled the images of his bare chest that I’d seen. He must be used to such scrutiny, as he merely sipped his drink and watched me watching him.

I feel so predictable saying it, but add wine and candles and a Parisian skyline at dusk and this prude is suddenly a hussy.

“I don’t suppose you could, um…” My voice dropped to a mumble. “Take your sweater off?”

Didier nodded and stood, stripping away his top and undershirt in one motion.

As he sat, I gave myself permission to be curious, not bashful. I decided to treat him as what he was to me—living art. His bare skin looked warm in the flickering light, and I understood with true clarity what artists mean by “muse”. He’s magic. A man who poses merely by sitting, a hundred thousand angles waiting to be discovered. I wished I were more artistic so I could capture him, every last shadow and contour.

“You’re beautiful,” I finally said.

“Thank you.”

“It’s okay if I only want to look at you tonight?”

“Of course. I’m yours for whatever you wish to do. Or not do.”

When you’re as inexperienced as I am, there’s a ton to learn from a man before you even touch or kiss him. I considered what I wanted. To see him naked, but not too soon. To watch him bathe. To watch him masturbate, above just about everything else. That’s always turned me on, and I’m sure it’s because I nearly never fantasize about actually being with a man. Even in my own imagination, I fear rejection. My mental porn is almost exclusively comprised of one-man shows, with an occasional faceless woman stepping in as choreography demands.

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