by Alan Ross Gregory

Anne walks through the open door and into the bedroom where a small reading light barely illuminates her tall, slender body. She doesn't look at the wide open window through which --- from the door --- she would see this corner of the terrace. Now she turns back toward the door to close it behind her, which she does and then, walking toward the open space between an old cherrywood vanity and the enormous bed that congests the room, she pulls up and over her shoulders the rose-colored, loose-fitting dress she was wearing at dinner when Doug, always ready to command her attention, insisted that she should come to the table completely naked except for her shoes which, he reminded her, he bought especially for this, their first trip together in Jamaica.

Anne is now responding to his specific orders as she takes off the dress, slips off the black leather platform shoes, pulls off her underwear and then, before putting the shoes back on, walks over to the vanity where she picks up a tube of skin lotion which she immediately squeezes with her right hand so as to ejaculate a small mound of white cream into the palm of her left hand so that she can now begin to meticulously rub the liquid cosmetic onto her feet, first kicking up the left foot and placing it onto the chair, resting it there on its well-worn heel, as if ready to do some stretches, but instead, moisturizing the delicate arch and heel and sole and finally fingering herself between the toes, rubbing it in until the white is gone and all that's left is the reflective sheen coming off the indirect light and then, without hesitation, kicking up the right foot and following a similar succession of movements although this time, after having used her index finger to softly saw the oil into the crevice between her two smallest toes, she takes the finger and brings it up to her nose where, for what passes as one long, sensuous moment, she breathes in the aroma emanating from her hand while seeming utterly content with what she's been doing and how she's about to proceed. As if inspired by some unknown need to bring the scene to another level still not yet achieved, she now takes the oiled index finger and moves it behind her thighs and gently directs it into the depths of her perfectly aerobicized ass where, in delicious rotation, she slowly, deliberately, fingers herself for what feels like an eternity.

When she is done, she walks back to the shoes which her feet, now properly lubricated, easily slide into and Anne, her body hard and full of itself, walks out of the room with a determination that belies her.

On the verandah, Doug drops into one of the four director's chairs that surround the glass table and mutters some inconsequential phrase that indicates he is finally able to relax. The chair has a simplified wood and canvas design to it and once Doug settles into it, his modestly-proportioned body appears smaller and somewhat out of shape. Meanwhile, Anne, now naked except for the black leather platform shoes that she clops around in, leans toward him to hand him his glass of burgundy wine.

Doug takes the glass from her but isn't able to focus on it as he is now totally engrossed with the nascent possibilities Anne's new look has triggered in him.

"If I had a nipple," Doug begins, raising his glass out toward the sky, "for every time I saw you like this...I'd be a rich man."

"You've never seen me like this," she tries to correct him, but he is already coming back at her.

"Nonsense," he insists, "you can bet your bare-bottom dollar that I've seen you like this many times before, in these very shoes, innumerable times, and I'm just now able to see what it is it does for me. Sometimes it takes awhile."

"Well," she says, as if to go somewhere with it, but instead, she clops away back inside the house and Doug, watching her every move, leans back in his chair and brings the wine glass to his mouth where he takes a prolonged drink.

When Anne reappears, she has two bowls of salad which she puts down on the table, but before she can sit down in her chair to start and eat, Doug has his hand on her ass and a few of his fingers are already up inside her.

"What about the bread," he says in a way that suggests that bread is the farthest thing from his mind and now he just as much admits it since he keeps rambling in his typical Douglas Grove manner and says, "What about the appetizer, the entree, the meat, the just desserts," using the italicized moment to dig his fingers deeper, deeper than he expected as the combination of natural oils lets him go farther in than he ever remembers going.

"What's that?" he asks. His annoyance with her is part mockery, but there is an edge to it that startles her and Anne, looking away from him as if hiding something, only makes things worse by not responding.

"What in God's name have you got going in there, Anne?"

She won't look at him. His eyes are penetrating into her face demanding some recognition for what he thinks he feels. Her only option is to move away and so she clops into the house again and Doug, unable to restrain himself, brings his freshly-scented fingers to his face and holds them close to his nose.