“What’s the R for?” I asked her, in an offhand way I hoped sounded like I didn’t care all that much.
“Oh, that,” she drawled, pulling out the a and flattening it like a ribbon. She glanced over her shoulder and gave a soft, low laugh, like she’d forgotten it was there. “Dumb stuff you do when you’re young.”
Amalia sprawled on her stomach, naked but for the white sheet that had wrapped itself around one beautiful, tanned calf. Her dark, gleaming hair slid like oil over the crest of her shoulder and covered the raised, ridged scar of a letter, and it was gone.
I wanted to ask her what the initial stood for, but she gazed at me with half-closed eyes, and with a testy smile pulling at the corners of her lips. As if she wanted it again. As if I hadn’t just fucked her into the mattress. My dick told my brain to shut up and stop using up so much blood so I could get hard again. Amalia wasn’t one of those women who would hang around long if you didn’t give her what she wanted. I was pretty sure of that.
* * *
I’d met beautiful women before. Fucked a lot of them, too. Some were sweet and some were walking train-wrecks. But there’s a scale of beauty when it comes to women, and it’s unique to every man. Some are so far out of your league you can look away without a second thought. You are, after all, what you believe you deserve and I didn’t, in a million fucking light years, deserve Amalia.
I first laid eyes on her at a fundraiser for a worthy cause – damned if I can remember for what. Every other heterosexual male in the room saw her too. Tall, lithe, dressed in a black sheath dress that plunged at the back to show a golden-skinned path all the way down to the swell of her ass. Her hair was pinned up, dark tendrils trailed down the nape of her long, slender neck, but every one of us was mentally pulling out the pins and watching it cascade over her shoulders. High, perfectly proportioned breasts. Hips like a woman – not to narrow, not too wide – and an ass that could curve into the palms of your hands like glory.
If the body was stunning, her face was flawless. God – her mouth, her lips were hypnotic – made to surround the base of your cock. But it was her eyes that trapped me. Big, dark almond-shaped with a little slant. Her mouth was all sex but her eyes were all innocence. That insidious combination forced me to overcome that sense of ‘out of my league’ and introduce myself.
When I did, and she responded with a slow smile and a languid handshake, I became the sort of asshole I can’t stand. I would have this woman. She was mine and she just didn’t know it yet. I’d do anything – utterly anything – to possess her. It was a strength of will thing, an absolute single-mindedness that should have frightened the fuck out of any sane, civilized adult. But the moment she didn’t turn her back and walk away, I was none of those things.
I held her hand too long. She gave me another half-smile and retrieved it. No wedding band. It wouldn’t have stopped me. Nothing would have stopped me.
“What brings you to this worthy gathering?” she asked, tease-heavy drawl in her words. She turned her head to scan the room grown crowded before I answered.
“I think I made a donation.”
Her laugh was moonlight on skin. “Good for you.”
“I designed the invitations. The organizers are friends.”
They’d taken my invitation at the door, so I couldn’t pull it out, look at it, and ply her with a compliments about it. Fuck it, I thought. “Do you have dinner plans?”
That’s all it took. It turned out I didn’t have to do anything. Just a donation to some charity and an invitation to dinner.
* * *
I watched her eat, neat little forkfuls of the starter. When the crab arrived, she picked up one shattered claw in her fingers and sucked the meat out with noisy, uninhibited relish. The sound of it made my eyes water. Her cheeks hollowed and my cock ached. Thank Christ for tablecloths.
I’m not an idiot. When women do this, they know exactly what kind of game they’re playing. She did. I know she did. I just didn’t fucking care. I’d play any game she wanted.
After the exchange of pleasantries and the requisite bits of personal information, halfway through the main course, I regained enough common sense to think strategically. I didn’t want to blow it with this woman. Sure, I wanted to fuck her, but I wanted more. More of what? No idea. Just more. I wasn’t going to screw it up by asking her up to my place. Instead, I drove her home like a gentleman, and she asked me up to hers.
* * *
She fucked like she ate. All that golden skin was just pretty wrapping for a carnivore. Like she was born to be in porn, but the really high-end, arty stuff. The reality of her lips wrapped around my shaft blew what I’d imagined away. On her knees, looking up at me with those big brown doll eyes, leaving lipstick smears as she sucked. It took everything I had not to lose it down her throat.
It was after I’d fucked her from behind that I found it. After she’d spread her thighs wide and groaned over the meaty thuds of my hips meeting her flesh. After she’d arched her back and come, squeezing my cock until I was sure I’d go blind. After I’d emptied every drop of cum inside her.
I bent over to kiss her shoulder and felt the ridges of it against my lips.
An R. A fucking R. With my half dead cock buried in her pussy and my muscles still twitching, I knew better than to ask. I just couldn’t help myself.
She moved away. The conditioned air chilled the fluids on my dick as if to remind me that, like everything else, pussy passes. Sprawled on top of the rumpled sheets, her skin dark against their whiteness, her hair a tousled mess, my fingers twitched with a need to clutch at it and demand a response.
The answer was lame. So I fucked her again just to stop myself from asking another question.
* * *
It was fear that stopped me from phoning her the following day, or the day after. I didn’t want to listen to her turn me down or consider the possibility that I’d never have her again. Had I been a disappointing one-night stand? Finally, I used the number she’d given me.
“Hey there. It’s David.”
“Hey there yourself,” she said in a bored, neutral tone.
“I apologize for not calling sooner,” I said, and meant it. “Crazy week.”
“No, I mean it. I’m sorry.” I tried to dial down the desperation. “I was hoping, maybe…”
“You could fuck me again?” The voice was still bone dry.
“Well, that, too. But maybe dinner? Or something else?”
“Hmm. I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Are you gonna make me beg?”
There was a pause on the line, then her laugh, high, glossy and wicked. “No. When?”
* * *
It took the advice of a friend to remind me of what I’d almost thrown away. I was up at the Skyline bar, having a few drinks after work with a buddy of mine, Chris. I’d just finished telling him about Amalia when she walk in with three other women. They headed towards the far end of the room.
“That’s her,” I said, putting down my drink and nodding towards her.
“Holy shit. You fucked her?”
“Yeah.” I followed her progress to a table by the big glass windows that overlooked the city. Her girlfriends were cute, but nothing compared to her.
“And you didn’t call her for two whole days? What’s wrong with you, buddy?” Chris snapped his fingers in front of my face. “Hey, over here. Are you shittin’ me?”
Then I was back. Wondering if I should go over and say hello.
Chris read my mind. “Don’t do it. If you go over there now, you’ll look like a desperate asshole.”
“I am a desperate asshole.” She was haloed in the deep orange of the setting sun.
“Sure. You don’t have to wear a sign, though.”
* * *
I found the second one in the shadow of her right breast. I felt it with my fingertips as I was sucking on her nipple.
She was squirming beneath me, grinding her hips up against mine. I knew what it was before I saw it and my mouth went dry. I propped myself up on one elbow and looked.
Like the first, it was a raised scar. Not a burn, but cut into the skin. It was just as ornate, with a little curl at the leg of the R. Fancy. It had taken time to do. It must have been cut deep.
“What does the R stand for?”
Amalia threaded her fingers through my hair and tried to tug me back down her her tits, but I resisted.
She sighed and stretched on the bed. “Why do you want to know? Why does it matter?”
“I’m just curious. Two of them? It’s got to stand for something.”
She tisked like she was humoring a child. Her hand skittered over my bare chest, over my stomach, and went to work on the button on my pants.
“If I tell you…” she said, tease oozing over her tongue, fingers tugging down my zipper. “Will you stop asking silly questions and fuck me?”
Warm skin curled around my cock. It throbbed in her hand, and she laughed.
I was almost deaf by the time she spoke again. Sure, even strokes. My dick leaked precum and she used it like lube to stroke me faster.
“It stands for Robert. Old boyfriend. Satisfied?”
I didn’t answer her because I made a choice not to come in her hand. I got my pants past my hips, pushed the crotch of her panties aside and slammed into her. But the immanent orgasm faded. All I could think about was the name I didn’t know and the fact that she’d let him cut his initial into her. Not just once, but twice. All I could think about was how much she must have loved him, how much she had trusted him, how much passion they must have had. Passion that she’d never have with me, because she’d already spent it on him.
I had to fuck it out of her. Fuck that image away. Of that fucking letter, and her lying there, letting him carve it into her. If I could thrust hard enough, I could obliterate it.
“Fuck!” she sobbed, and pushed at my chest. “You’re hurting me.”
“Not like he hurt you, I bet,” I panted.
“Stop it. Fucking stop it.”
I did. I apologized. I kissed her. I made her come and I fell asleep with my arms around her because I didn’t know what else to do.
* * *
I found the third one as I was teasing her, kissing my way down her stomach. We’d been playing around a little bit with bondage; I’d tied her wrists and ankles to the bed frame with my best Ferragamo and Brioni ties. I smelled the musk of her, working my way down to her cunt. And there, just above her mound was another one. I stopped. This time, I didn’t have to ask. Same carefully formed letter cut into the skin. Same curl at the foot of the R. It must have hurt like a bitch.
“For god’s sake. Did you think I was a virgin when we met?” Her voice curdled with impatience.
“No.” I hilted two fingers inside her wet, hot cunt, hard, just to make the point.
Her muscles tensed and tightened around them. “Then what?”
“What’s his name?” I asked, pressing the pad of my thumb against her clit and circling it, watching her hips rise and fall as I fingered her.
“Why does it matter so much?” she panted.
“What’s his name again?”
“Not this way,” she groaned. “Let me come on your cock.”
“I thought his name was Robert.”
“Jesus. Just let it go. Fuck me.” She was looking down at me, legs splayed, hips grinding. She pushed herself onto my fingers with a wet, sucking sound. “Just fuck me.”
The smell of her pussy was overwhelming, cloying, woody and rich. It didn’t matter that I was hard. It didn’t matter that I wanted to sink in that flooded, tight hole. I had to know.
“Rick? Robert? Which is it?”
Suddenly she stopped moving. Her body froze. I felt her muscles trying to push my fingers out of her. “Untie me.”
“I need to know. Amalia.”
“Un-fucking-tie me. Now.” Her voice was flat as a steel autopsy table. Her eyes were glassy, on the edge of tears.
“Why did you let him do it?”
“Let him?” The laugh was bitter and edged. “Let him? You’d never understand. Let him doesn’t come into it.”
I sat back on my heels and looked down at her. “Three times? Bullshit.”
She shook her head. It jarred the tears loose. “You couldn’t begin to understand.”
That’s all she’d say. One by one, I undid the ties. Amalia curled up into a ball and cried. Not loud, but in a way that shamed me. I lay beside her, wrapped my arms around her, and told her I was sorry. That it was fine. Everything would be all right.
* * *
I tried to tell myself it didn’t matter. Everyone has a past. I’d been in love before, with a girl in college. Why shouldn’t it have been the same for Amalia? Of course, it was. But it didn’t matter how many times I tried to reason with myself, I couldn’t get those Rs out of my head. Every time we made love and I touched one of them or kissed one of them. I tried to push it down but it just kept coming back up.
Six months into our relationship, lying in bed on a lazy Sunday morning, I trailed a fingertip over the curve of her shoulder.
“God damn, I love you,” I whispered.
She turned onto her side, sliding an arm over my chest and hooking a leg between mine. “I love you too, baby.”
“Then tell me.”
Amalia giggled. “I just did.”
“No. Tell me about R. What’s his name again?”
She sighed and closed her eyes. “Riley.”
“Then don’t keep asking.” She turned onto her back and sat up.
I grabbed her wrist, pulled her down, and rolled on top of her. “I need to know. I just fucking need to know.”
Her body went limp beneath me and she looked up at me with the coldest eyes I’ve ever seen. “The next time you ask, I’ll leave you. I’ll walk out and I’ll never come back. Understand?”
* * *
Amalia is the most beautiful, hottest woman I’ve ever known. When we walk into a place, people change. Women look at her with envy and wish they were her. Men look at her with lust and wish they were me. I tell myself I’m the luckiest man alive to have her. That’s why I’m going to marry her.
If I tell myself that enough, I forget to wonder who R is, or what they had, or why she let him carve his initial into her skin. Three fucking times.