We agree to meet at Chez Julien, for drinks, before committing to the ‘let’s do it for real’ deed. I set off for the restaurant. I’ve lost complete confidence in this. I know he’s going to be 75, hairy, oily and sweaty. But I’ve borrowed a very sexy dress, spent all my kid’s school money on stilettos, and am wearing dark glasses. Just in case.
And then I see him. He is EXACTLY like his profile pic, except he’s wearing clothes. Gorgeous. Young. Strong. I stepped towards him. Our eyes meet. ‘A bottle of Veuve Clicquot’ he snapped his fingers at the waiter. ‘Orange Label’. ‘
You’re even more beautiful in real life’, he said, as he handed me a small parcel, wrapped in black tissue with a pink ribbon. Lingerie. See through. And very very small.
I sat, stunned and speechless. I knew that if I stood up, I would fall right down again. He was perfect.
‘You can’t tell me I’m beautiful’ I gurgled at him, my tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth. ‘It’s one of my rules’.
‘Sure’ he smiled. He was eating me alive with his eyes. Dark brown, smoldering eyes.
‘No more gifts. Ever’, I whispered, as I admired his gift.
‘No problem’ he said. ‘First, let me clasp this pretty little diamond necklace round your neck’.
I snapped my fingers at the Waiter. ‘Pen and paper. Please’. The Waiter duly obliged.
‘I have more rules’, I spluttered.
‘No pretty little diamond necklaces.’
‘I think that may fall under the ‘no gifts’ category’.
His eyes twinkled. ‘Right.’ My pen hovered above the paper. When it came to rules, my mind went blank. I couldn’t think of any. His hand grasped mine. And that was me. Gone. Finished. Out of control. I dropped the pen. The cork popped. I jumped. He gave me his best crooked smile.
‘No crooked smiles’ I said, as I tried to write feverishly. But my hand was in his. ‘I think we should go straight to the room’, he whispered, tossing a heap of R 200 notes on the table and not waiting for change.
He gently guided me up the spiral staircase, his hand perfectly positioned at the small of my back. Click of a keycard. Lights dim. I look around, trying, but failing to control my breathing. The penthouse suite. An enormous bed. Velvet. Brocade. Rose petals. A bubble bath ready waiting. Feeling faint, I leaned against the wall, my sexy dress riding up my thighs. He began to kiss me. I tried to respond, but my body was shaking so much, I think he feared for my health. ‘You need to relax a little’, he purred, guiding me towards the bed. His strong hands unzipped my dress and slid it from my shoulders. ‘Your skin’, he said, ‘So soft. Milky. Translucent’.
Let’s take a pause here. I know these are not great lines. But I was in no condition to judge his romantic prose.
I merely nodded in agreement. Running his fingers through my hair and over my back, he reached into the bedside drawer.
‘What are you looking for?’ I asked, nervously imagining whips, chains and rubber truncheons.
‘Sweet almond and vanilla,’ he replied. ‘Luxurious Persian massage oil’.
That sounded okay. I could do that. I relaxed and lay back. Drops of warm, deliciously scented oil dripped onto my back. He started rubbing. Strong, sensual strokes, starting with my neck, moving to my shoulders, my back. I squirmed, desperately wanted to roll over and wrap my legs around him.
‘Don’t move’ he instructed. ‘Wait’. And his hands moved lower and lower. His magic fingers transporting me to the back of beyond. A momentary hiatus. And then . . . NOTHING.
I waited expectantly. My body craving his touch. He slowly got up from the bed and moved away. Okay. So this is part of the experience, I figure. He drives me wild with desire, and then tortures me as I wait for more. It all made weird wanton sense.
‘More’, I moan softly. ‘Don’t stop.’ But stop he has!
I turn around slowly, sleepily. ’What’s going on?’ I ask. ‘Carry on. I’m loving it.’
He flashes me his million dollar smile. I can’t help myself. I make a mental note to get the number of his orthodontist. He leans into me.
‘Ever had an allergic reaction to oil before?’ he asks gently. My brain starts to freeze up.
‘I’m not big on luxurious Persian Almond oils’, I ventured. I start to feel a definite itch coming from my lower back.
‘You may want to go take a look’ he suggests, kindly.
I leap up and propel myself into the bathroom. I stand in front of the mirror and gaze at my reflection in abject horror. Hives. Welts. Everywhere. I try to scream, but nothing comes out. I touch my arm and new red splotches begin to appear. My skin is crimson, and my face is swelling up, beyond recognition. I’m turning into the Elephant Man!
I collapse in a naked pile on the floor, sobbing silently, scratching wildly. He appears at the door, a large fluffy white robe in his arms. ‘Put this over you’, he says. ‘You’ll feel better’.
‘I’m sure they’ll go away soon’, I stammer, tears streaming down my face. ‘Maybe, we can carry on’.
‘Probably not’, he says perfectly reasonably. His voice is kind and soothing. ‘Don’t worry. These things happen.’
This assessment doesn’t cheer me up at all. He slips the robe over my shoulders, while simultaneously cracking open another bottle. He reaches for two fresh glasses. I reach directly for the bottle. He watches me, vaguely amused, as I tip the bottle back and gulp down the contents like a desperate hobo, his R 2000 champagne splashing down my chin.
‘You may want to slow down’, he says. I look at him. He’s perfect. I smile weakly and close my eyes, just for a minute, the enormity of the evenings’ events slowly sinking in.
When I wake up, there’s sunlight streaming through the windows. It’s morning. He’s gone. And I’ve fucked up my life.