She turned her eyes down, and he, lost in the moment, brought his hand up to her chin. He felt a great burden, as if she had suddenly unloaded everything in her tepid and torrid life onto his shoulders. He didn?t want it, didn?t need that pain, that torture. He had enough of his own.
The picture of his dead mother, faceless, a misty apparition, suddenly flashed in his head, and he directed Lindsay?s face upward. Her eyes, glistening in the foxfire of their sudden encounter, were steady pools of black and white, and she looked at him without shame. She pulled back from his touch, lightly, and yet intensely, as if in her mind some great debate had just been settled.
Charles felt something had happened between them, yet could not name it, or even corner it in the farther reaches of his mind. The distance between them seemed smaller, filled with the tiniest space, and now, to his consternation, she grabbed behind his neck, wrapping her hands sensuously around his collar; his spine stiffened, and she drew power from his reaction. He heard her breathing now, and somehow, though before the room had seemed warm, his neck and face were chilled with a strange sensation, between them, in the closer regions of their bodies, a growing heat.
?What are you doing?? he asked, yet almost wishing he hadn?t asked. His mind felt strangely detached, and he wondered casually if it wouldn?t be such a bad idea to remove his jacket. Her eyes closed, and she was now on her knees on the bed, while he was still standing on the side. She had drawn herself up so her face was now composed with his lower chest, and he now had to look down to her. Her eyes fluttered, closed again, and he fought for balance as a wave of dizziness consumed him.
His mind was reeling, and a small part of him felt a great terror, for his limbs no longer obeyed him, and his mind cursed the weakness of his flesh, so great it was and prone to being shattered. He thought his skin waxen and doll-like, too imitated and reproduced in a factory to be real. The essence of his body felt like wood, and like a tree in the forest succumbing to the rigors of the axe-man, he fell, falling into the willing arms of her.
Her! She was everything he was not. She had enticed him from their first day when Stuart had introduced them. They met at the Bellevue theatre; it was Stuart?s night of big revelations. Always an awkward moment in Charles? mind, he stepped out of the taxicab and saw her standing next to Stuart. Their backs were turned to the street, and Charles took the private moment to gather his impressions. She was handsome with a barebacked dress, white, and high-topped shoes that brought her nearly to Stuart?s height.
Stuart surprised him by turning around suddenly. Noticing Charles? gaze, he commented drily, ?Ready for the feature, aye Chas.? Charles started and Lindsay turned; Charles caught his breath gently. Her hair was blond, shoulder length, and ended in a gentle wave that was popular with the girls at the parties Stuart attended on an almost daily basis. Her eyes were soulful, icy, he thought later, and held his gaze for a moment. The rest of her face would only arrive in bits as the evening wore on. At that moment, he was transfixed; he knew it, and moreover, he realized she knew it as well.
This was one of her gifts, as he came to find out.
He thought the world of her, Stuart did, but Charles wondered if Stuart had been seduced by the same eyes as he saw that night. By the end of the evening, Charles was fully captivated by her charms, pledging inwardly to her private devotion and outwardly he grew tough. Some might have mistaken it for a show of bravado or even machismo; it would seem as if to impress, or to intimidate; unknown even to Charles on anything but a visceral level, this shell was to shield him from her wiles and perhaps, rejection.
He and Lindsay had been going steady for three months, Stuart had told Charles later when they were alone, and planned to marry her by the summer. Charles secretly felt lost.
What now could he do? Lindsay held him in her lap; his body was sunken onto the sheets and lay twisted so that his shoulders, neck, and head rested in her arms. Not so delicate and fragile as he had first thought, these arms, those hands. She hovered over him, her face catching the spare glint off the fields, the curtains thrust aside and open with the abandon that he now felt inside, building, building into hope. He contrived to raise himself by resisting the seemingly primal urge to rest, calling upon his reserve strength and fighting. She pushed him back down, and somehow, he had simply lost all muscles. He was a rag doll, jointless and movable only at her will. She bent closer, and he could see the opening of her d?colletage growing wider as she approached. He had missed her untying the white satin ribbon.
?What are you doing?? he asked again, and it seemed as though an age had passed since the first time. He heard the creak at the window, and realized the coolness was the outside making its way into his room; the window must have blown open.
?I can?t, Lindsay,? he whispered, but he didn?t believe himself, and she didn?t listen. Their lips touched, and the warmth that had grown between them blossomed. He found his strength was back, and his arms, with his feeling hands, found their way to her body. Somehow within the wild mixture of movement and aggression, Charles felt that something had changed. Before, their visits had seemed to be moments of rebellion and militant rejection of party dogma, the kind of thing his father would have heartily and roundly rejected. Somehow, with his doubts confessed, the air had shifted, and the new road led inexorably toward ultimate destruction. Even as he searched and caressed, his mind could only fear annihilation.