6th Cup

Amateur

A Family Affair: 6th Cup

I think I’m getting the hang of this short story format. It requires a different mindset, though, and I can’t wait to get back to my preferred type of storytelling.
     I got the idea while trying to come up with a play on words with ‘6th’. Somehow my twisted imagination jumped a few steps sideways and this is the result. I hope you enjoy it.
     As always, my editor did his best to make this story better for you, but there’s a limit even to his talent. Any mistake is mine. Thanks, Valphund.

*****

Introversion is the state of being predominantly interested in one’s own mental self. (What a load of malarkey!) Introverts are typically perceived as more reserved or reflective. Some popular psychologists have characterized introverts as people whose energy tends to expand through reflection and dwindle during interaction. (Pure intellectual masturbation!) This is similar to Jung’s view, although he focused on mental energy rather than physical energy. Few modern conceptions make this distinction. (Not sexy enough, so they can’t charge as much.)

Introverts often take pleasure in solitary activities such as reading, writing, using computers, hiking and fishing (masturbating). The archetypal artist, writer, sculptor, engineer, composer and inventor are all highly introverted. (Well, duh!) An introvert is likely to enjoy time spent alone and find less reward in time spent with large groups of people, though they may enjoy interactions with close friends. Trust is usually an issue of significance: a virtue of utmost importance to introverts is choosing a worthy companion. (Why not call it hard-earned experience and be done with it?) They prefer to concentrate on a single activity at a time and like to observe situations before they participate… (Show me someone who doesn’t and I’ll show you a screw-up. What’s wrong with finishing a project before starting another? And getting the lay of the land before moving in is the best way to avoid falling flat on your face.) They are more analytical before speaking. (So? Shouldn’t everyone be? It’s the best way to avoid unnecessary arguments.) Introverts are easily overwhelmed by too much stimulation from social gatherings and engagement, introversion having even been defined by some in terms of a preference for a quiet, more minimally stimulating external environment. (What’s not to prefer in order over chaos?)

*****

Years later and thousands of dollars poorer, I told my therapist to go fuck herself. To be honest, I offered to do it for her. She didn’t take it kindly. I wonder why?

*****

My name is Dahlia Jamieson. What a sick trick to play on a kid. I mean, did you read The Black Dahlia? Good for you. Don’t. My mother loved the genre noir, and that one’s a doozie. Of course, I adopted a nom de plume. Nobody would buy my romance novels if I hadn’t.

I get asked where I find the inspiration for my stories all the time. I quickly learned not to laugh in people’s faces. My editor was adamant about it. I took it as a challenge and came up with dozens of answers. When asked, I pick one randomly. They’re all bullshit, but they make for a good sound bite

‘Get a life, moron’, obviously isn’t one of them. I’ve lived, been privy to or observed enough personal situations to write books for the next hundred years and never repeat myself.

In the last couple of years, I’ve taken to spending my afternoons in a coffee shop at the other end of the city, where nobody knows me. I enjoy the peace and quiet of anonymity. I also like that it’s near the College campus.

You see, I love to read. Read people, that is.

I sit in the corner with my ereader, hidden behind mirror Ray Bans, head lowered to discourage interactions, eyes roaming. I like that it’s also a tablet so I can jot down notes and story outlines. I started a whole new series, under a different pseudonym, of romances between young people. They sell like hotcakes. If they could, College girls would snort them. That’s how popular they are. There are hundreds of blogs, Twitter whatchamacallits, Facebook walls, fanzine sites where they write stories using my characters (some are actually half decent). There’s even a porn parody on some of my recurring characters.

The funny thing is all the hoopla about my remaining anonymous. My publisher thinks it’s a great marketing gimmick. Personally, I simply don’t believe these young women need to know that an old fart like me is turning them on. I’m forty-five. That’s ancient to them. What do I know about love and sex? (Insert sardonic laughter)

*****

At first, I was an outsider, an intruder. I was perturbing the routine. I could feel the resentment. It was almost tangible.

I had expected it, was mentally prepared for it. I persevered, cultivating my innocuousness, until I became part of the background… like them.

Now, we nod at each other, neighbors of sorts in this small community of maladapted souls, fellow inmates within mental izmir escort bayan cells of our own making, a coven of introverts. I feel right at home.

*****

The reason I adopted my table was that it was unoccupied. The reason I kept it was that it suited my purpose to a T. In the far corner, I could sit, back to the wall, and have a perfect view of the comings and goings-on in the central aisle where clients walked in, got their strange alchemical-sounding concoctions, and left with a satisfied smile. (You wouldn’t believe all that goes on in a waiting line of caffeine addicts.)

On the other side of it, were the tables for the transitory crowd, those who sat down only long enough to drink their brews by themselves or in small groups.

We looked at them disdainfully. We judged their impermanence critically.

*****

A couple of months back a young woman joined our exclusive society. She wasn’t really one of ours. She smiled and nodded to us all the very first time she sat on our side of the café. Maybe that’s why, aside from the occasional frown and grumble, she was accepted from the start.

She seemed a happy person. She smiled most of the time, even when by herself. She read actual paper books and wrote in notebooks with a pen. Some of us exchanged condescending smirks.

I liked her dress style. Most of the time, she wore black jeans, a white top, a blouse unbuttoned to her breasts or a low-cut V-neck (she wasn’t being provocative, she had even smaller breasts than mine.), an open short-sleeved charcoal grey jacket with a black scarf. She wore little jewelry, only the same three bracelets on her left wrist and narrow silver band on her right index finger. Her subdued make-up tastefully enhanced her beautiful light blue eyes.

She looked just like her mother in her early twenties.

*****

She never gave any indication that she recognized me. Why would she? I had been thrown out of the house before she was born, disowned, every picture of me probably burned, my name consigned to oblivion, the day my father came out the back door of his clothing store to empty a trash can in the dumpster and found me making out with Eva Bremen.

Not only was I kissing (I doubt he saw my hand under her shirt) a woman, but also a Jew. And if I hadn’t dishonored him enough, she was the daughter of his only competitor in our small town.

I managed to run home and pack a quick duffle, listening to my mother wailing, before he got there. I went out the back as he stormed in the front door, calling on the Lord’s judgment to castigate me.

God I didn’t fear so much. Dad’s heavy hand wielding his thick belt, that I knew to run from, having felt it often enough.

As the bus was taking me away to the relative safety of the world away from home, I saw him drive around, hunting for me no doubt.

So I left Small Town, USA, with little more than the clothes on my back, my notebooks filled with story outlines and the two hundred bucks my brother had slipped me. I had no clear idea of where I would end up, but my first stop would be San Francisco. I had a cousin who lived there, and she had told me that it was gay-friendly. That would have to do for a start.

I stayed with her for a month, but had to leave in a hurry when her lover cornered me one day and would have raped me if she hadn’t pulled her off me.

My job as a barmaid paid little then. As the new one on the roster, I had the shittiest shifts so I could only afford a dingy one room apartment. I learned to sleep with earbuds in, blasting heavy metal music to partially cover the noises of the rabbits fornicating next door (she was a screamer, and a loud one too).

Six months later, I upgraded to another dingy one-room, but the walls were a little thicker and the corridor didn’t stink of piss although the Middle-Eastern family living next to me must have eaten straight out of the dumpster. If I didn’t hold my breath as I passed their door, I gagged, tasting vomit in the back of my throat.

In the next years, I moved from dump to hovel to miserable excuse for an apartment. At least they got a little better. By the time I sold my first story, five years after arriving in San Fran, I had the second best shift at work, I lived in a half-decent (outrageously over-priced) two-room apartment, and needed a second duffle to carry the sum of my possessions, the most expensive of which was a second-hand portable computer.

I was really proud of myself the day I bought it, even if I nearly emptied my bank account.

Ten years down the road, I was living in a gay building (they really exist, it’s not an urban legend). It was still a two-room apartment, but I had grown to like the coziness of it. The walls were decent, so were the neighbors. I only ever heard them when the female impersonator next door rehearsed Cher songs at the top of his voice. I still had my earbuds and heavy metal CDs.

I could have lived on my book sales alone, but I still izmir escort did a couple of shifts at the bar. My long-time lover worked there, and it was the only time we could get together without her husband finding out that she was a gay. As if having worked at a lesbian club all her adult life wasn’t a clear indication.

That was fine by me. It got me some uncomplicated sex three times a week, and I didn’t have to go looking for it, or deal with a girlfriend invading my space.

In fact, the only person who visited was my editor. She’s the one who was persuaded I suffered from anthropophobia or some other kind of social anxiety disorder. At her urging (nagging, really), I went to see a shrink (sorry, a therapist), who promptly diagnosed me as an introvert and fleeced me for years.

*****

A month ago, something was wrong. Although none recognized its source, there was an uneasiness in our little corner of the world. People fidgeted on their chairs, others couldn’t seem to settle. I even saw one talk to his neighbor, enquiring with an air of concern.

I was the only one to notice the dimmed smile of our most recent cohort. As soon as she sat down with her usual café au lait and biscotti, she opened her notebook and sighed as she began to doodle. She kept looking at the phone she had carefully placed on her table.

The lips I had been staring at for weeks weren’t smiling anymore. The corners were turned down slightly, barely, but noticeably. Every so often, she’d bring a tissue to her eye to dry a lone tear.

When she picked her cell up and sent a text, I opened an app on my tablet and hacked into it. I learned how while doing research for a story. The app is easy to find on the internet.

The kid wasn’t too security savvy. She didn’t even have a password to protect her personal information.

That’s when I found that her name was Marlene D. (damn, the women in my family don’t have any imagination). She was twenty-two, a graduate from Berkeley in Cinema. I recognized the address where she lived. Poor kid. She worked mornings and week-ends at IHOP. She only had a limited number of friends in her contact list, most of these women, except for the occasional male.

I intercepted the return text. It was terse and to the point.

>Get lost bitch! I’ll fuck whoever I want.< Bad news, she was hurting. Good news, she was a lesbian. Bad news, I couldn’t let her know I knew. Good news, there were ways around that. >You deserve so much better. You have a beautiful soul. Forget her.< She looked at the anonymous message, perplexed. Reflexively, she cast around to see if anyone of us had sent it. As luck would have it, she glanced my way last, so I had time to compose myself. Why didn’t I think of that before I got involved? She read the text again and smiled. It was a quivering little thing, but it was better than a frown. Before she left, she had received two more positive reinforcements and got three during the evening. The next day, she came in holding her cell, nodding at us distractedly. When she sat down, I touched my screen and sent the text I had prepared. She immediately looked around suspiciously. I was dunking a bagel in my cappuccino at the time, my hands nowhere near either cell or tablet. I looked up innocently and smiled at her. The next time she received an uplifting text, I was reaching in my handbag, casually tilting my tablet her way so she could see I was reading a story. Half an hour after she left, she received an invitation to meet her secret admirer in a chat room. She was there in a flash. We texted back and forth all evening. Just two people getting to know each other. It was easy for me. I cast myself in the role of a character from a book I was currently researching. I had a whole personality and history at my fingertips. I grinned when I told her it was already 11:00pm and I had to go to bed so I wouldn’t be tired for work the next day. I imagined her panic. It was way past her own bedtime. She sent a few smiley face emoticons as she sheepishly admitted that she too had been caught up in our discussion. We wished each other a good night and sweet dreams. This went on for weeks. One day, at the coffee shop, I looked as if I was typing away on the flexible keyboard unrolled on the table. When she came in and walked by, she asked what I was doing. I answered that I was working on an article for an underground LGBT magazine. (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.) She smiled and wished me luck. I never stopped typing, but, interspersed with the text I was working on, I chatted with her. The next day, I pleaded having to work an extra shift so I couldn’t chat during the afternoon. I was still typing away until mid-afternoon when I sat back with a satisfied expression on my face. She asked if I was done and congratulated me after I told her I had just emailed it to the editor. We talked a little, but she kept looking at her cell longingly. While I was at the escort izmir counter for a refill, she received a text setting a time, later, to meet in the chatroom. Ah, the joy of technology and delayed messaging.

That evening, she told me she had missed our afternoon chat. I wrote back that I normally worked at that time, but had been available in the last few days because I had switched shifts to fill in for a sick colleague.

Out conversations were becoming friendlier, almost intimate. Before we signed off that evening, she asked for an email address, saying she wanted to send me something. Out of curiosity, I immediately went to an anonymous emailing site and set-up an account for her to use. Five minutes later, I received a picture of her reclining on her side on a bed, propped up on an elbow, the other hand extended beseechingly.

She was naked.

It was tastefully done. Her folded top leg hid her pussy and the outstretched arm blocked the view of her breasts. Nothing masked the longing in her eyes, though, nor the mischievous smile of her lips.

I didn’t sleep much that night. Thankfully, I had rechargeable batteries.

I didn’t write to her the next day. I hated seeing the sadness on her face again, but I didn’t trust myself. I was old enough to be her mother, for goddess’ sake. I had only meant to cheer her up. As I hid behind my glasses and saw how miserable she was becoming when her cell remained silent, all those long hours of therapy came back to me. For the first time, I left the coffee shop early that afternoon. I’m sure it caused a commotion as the routine was shattered, but I didn’t give a damn.

Two hours later, I was ready. I sent her an email with two pictures of my own. I had stopped at a local electronics store on the way home for a selfie stick.and a GoPro camera.

The first pic showed my body, in pretty much the same pose as hers, except that it was cropped at my chin. The shape of my jaw is fairly recognizable, as are my dimples. In the second, I was flat on my belly, legs slightly spread, my chest partly twisted toward the camera so the side of my breast was visible, so was my erect nipple. She couldn’t see the puddle under my hips by the time I captured the picture I wanted.

I apologized for not getting back to her sooner, explaining that I was a shy person and was very flattered by her attention. I said that it had taken me all that time to gather the courage to respond.

I played it cool, but I had opened the window. Heck, I threw a masonry block through it.

Fifteen minutes later, we were sharing fantasies. An hour later, we were sexting explicitly, masturbating together. A fantastic orgasm later, I stumbled to my desk to edit the video I had shot with my new camera. It was 1:00am and three climaxes later when we signed off.

I was glad for my dark glasses. I must have looked a fright after another sleepless night.

I was sipping my second double expresso when she arrived to get her usual. The first one I had gulped as soon as it was cool enough. We exchanged a few polite words as she walked by. I hoped she didn’t notice my fixation on her lips. I was glad when she turned to her table. I could watch her ass all I wanted.

While she was setting her things up, I took off my jean jacket. I touched my tablet, my eyes never leaving her. She looked up from dunking her biscotti. She slapped her hand over her mouth just in time to muffle a gasp. She was watching a hand sexting frantically while the second was caressing the area around a very wet pussy. I could see by the widening of her eyes when the fingers entered the vagina, churning the frothing cream. Her hands were shaking as the hips thrust the climaxing sex toward the camera. The rest was blurred by the clear liquid squirting at the lens. (I hope I didn’t ruin it. The damn thing was expensive.)

She closed her eyes and gasped quietly. She casually reached inside her jacket and did something. I could only see the result when she shifted to expose a naked breast to me, then it was hidden by her hand kneading it. She took the nipple between two fingers and pulled on it.

I was panting as she dropped her hand to her lap. It was my turn to stifle a gasp at her hand undoing her pants. Once her fingers were caressing her clit, she looked my way. She could clearly see the outline of my nipples in my light shirt and their dark brown shape. She smiled conspiratorially and waited for me, playing with herself. When I didn’t get the message, she stared at my crotch, making her hand movement more obvious to me.

Once I had a finger on my clit too, she looked at my face intently. I took off my glasses so she could see the pleasure rise in my eyes as it did in hers. We didn’t say a word out loud, but our conversation was intense and loving. We climaxed together, never blinking lest we miss a second of each other’s orgasm. She smiled as we licked our fingers.

She discreetly buttoned her pants and shirt. I was stunned as she got up to leave. She leaned in to kiss my cheek and reached inside my shirt to brush her fingers against my aching nipple, leaving a piece of paper behind. I hadn’t seen her write. She must have had it ready when she came in.

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