Lin, author of the steamy "Dreams" two-fer of stories, among others, returns to form with an equally-steamy tale that's also one of two letter-based stories in this issue. This time, it's a three-way crossover, for those fans of Showtime's Red Shoe Diaries. Otherwise, it's a mix of Claire, Jack ... and Homicide: Life On The Street's Tim Bayliss. Mmmmm.....
Dear Red Shoes....
By Lin Courtright
Do you keep a diary?
Have you ever been betrayed?
Have you betrayed another?
Man, 35, wounded and alone,
recovering from loss of once
in a lifetime love, searching
for reasons why.
Willing to pay top $ $ $
For your experiences
Please send diaries to:
All stories remain confidential
Dear Red Shoes,
I'm not quite sure why I'm writing this since I'm probably not going to send this. Even if I do, I'm definitely not going to sign it, or send it from where I'm live, or leave any other clues as to who I am, or where I from. But the idea of having someone else, somewhere in the world, know exactly what I'm going through... Keeping a diary isn't enough anymore. I have to tell a real person, even if it's not someone I know. Better to tell a stranger, anyway.
I would have passed your ad right by if it hadn't been for the second line: have you ever been betrayed? Yes. Have you betrayed another? Kind of. Not that he would know. It's just that I'm in a place where I can't tell what a betrayal is anymore.
"Recovering from loss of once in a life time love" -- oh, have I done this to death. I'm sick of recovering. I'm over trying to figure out Jack. Very, very over. So over, there's someone else...only that's the problem. I'm not in love, Red Shoes. I am in lust. Feverish. Longing.
And the poor guy thinks he loves me.
Here's my problem in one simple word: Jack. Sexy and dangerous. Moody, intense, vulnerable, needy...You know the list that describes the Bad Boy. Flirting with Death, that's what I did; because if you get too close to Jack, you can only expect to get hurt in the end.
Secrets and lies; mood swings, manipulation...That's what life is like with Jack. However, that could also describe our working relationship.
But it's so seductive, being with him. He'd be sweet and funny, admiring and teasing me, lean in and kiss me fast, then pull away. Jack's kisses always left me wanting more, breathless, yearning...It was risky to show affection with him, because any second he'd draw back, put distance between us, leaving me alone. Alone, feeling cold. There was only one time I almost got enough of him; sensual, tantalizing, out-of-control kisses, captivating me for an evening and a night. I let myself forget the risks, just enjoyed the moment -- and the morning came, and it hurt even more when he moved away from me. And every time he walked away, another part of my heart would break, trying to follow him while having to stay with me.
Enough of him. Fast forward --
Just when I began to think that I could continue living my life with Jack in this matter, then it happened...I went to Baltimore.
I met Tim. A shy teddy bear; wholesome as oatmeal cookies, dependable, kind, reassuring, sweet...a Boy Scout. He's safe, and calm, and as warming as Jack is chilling, sometimes. And not boring, either; Boy Scouts usually are, but Tim has a wicked dry sense of humor, and a completely cock-eyed dreamer's mind. Makes life interesting...
Tim thinks he's in love with me. He isn't. He doesn't know me well enough; doesn't know all the mistakes I've made, or the people I've hurt, and he wouldn't love me if he did. I tried to tell him...He didn't want to hear it.
I've been alone too long. I am tempted, Red Shoes, to do something highly unethical, even just plain bad; I am very close to giving in to him, to accept his offers of love, just because I am lonely, and I trust him. And I want him. Fairly desperately.
From Jack to Tim: Cool to warm, dangerous to safe, distant to close, undependable to trustworthy. Tim is not the problem. I trust Tim. He is not scary, or malevolent, or dangerous. I would trust him with my life, career, my last relative, my car, the keys to my apartment, my reputation and my diary. He's wrong about loving me, but it's an honest mistake -- and he is lonely too, and seeing mirages when he looks at me. But in spite of that, I trust him, and respect him, and like him.
Conventional wisdom says I shouldn't find him appealing, after being involved with a Bad Boy. Tim should be boring, unappealing, unattractive, simply not exciting enough, or dangerous enough, or crazy enough for me to get interested. I should be looking for another lawyer -- god forbid a judge -- another co-dependent bit of weirdness to make my life make sense. Not a compassionate homicide detective of all things.
Conventional wisdom decided not to show up for this party. I find Tim almost deliriously attractive; I dream about him constantly; I have inappropriate fantasies during work hours; I can't stop thinking about him, and the last time I saw him was a week ago when I returned home after the extradition hearing.
But I am not in love with him. And I don't want to be. And he thinks he loves me.
If I give in to him, and let him make love to me, to just...love me, like I want to be loved, it will be a mistake, and it would wrong Tim, who deserves better. He deserves someone who can love him as he thinks he loves me. I won't leech off his emotions, I will not do that. I've been through that enough myself and wouldn't wish that bit of heartache on anyone, especially Tim.
Can you tell I don't trust myself?
He looked at me, when he said he loved me, all that longing in his eyes; and even though it's not as important as he thinks it is, or as desperate, I was mesmerized, and started moving toward him. He has a way of saying my name that no one else has, and I've come to realize I like it best from him. I make smart-ass remarks, and he grins like I'm a genius, showing those rarely-seen dimples, and I start feeling enthralled with the attention. We have kissed exactly once, and that one kiss passes by every hesitant caress Jack ever tried to give to me. Jack's kisses made me yearn for more, breathless with restless desire, trying to control my emotions. Tim's kiss -- I was breathing so hard I had to pull back first, or I would have asphyxiated, and even then I didn't want to. I had no control over my emotions, I was completely overwhelmed, and it was wonderful.
I have to get this out of my system before he comes up to visit. He's home in Baltimore now, but...It would be betraying Tim to give in. Betraying my own sense of morality, too. Maybe betraying my memories of being hurt by Jack, and swearing never to do that to someone else.
This hasn't happened.
This is never going to happen.
This is what I dream about, before I go to sleep:
A cabin, on some high mountainside, all blue skies and white clouds, snow covered ground...and there's a bed in the cabin. Huge, white, canopied. I used to dream of Jack and I on that bed; only the setting was different, darker, with candlelight. Bright sun streams into this dream, though.
Tim is making love to me, and he is taking his time. We're in nightclothes, not really sexy ones, just my gray sweats, and his white jersey and dark cotton shorts, but it could be satin and silk, there could be candlelight and stars, there could be music -- there isn't, but there could be -- because I am so engrossed in what is going on, that after the first few minutes I couldn't describe the bed I'm lying on to you. We're entwined in each other's arms and legs, fingers and hands straying and tangling back and forth.
He is kissing me, and holding me. Nothing else, not yet. I keep remembering that kiss, and wondering about what would have happened if we hadn't stopped. In the dream, we don't have to stop. Tim's mouth is on mine; steady, hot, firm, pulsing and tingling -- very much there, not thinking of anyone else, just kissing me and me alone. Every once in a while I have to pull back for a breather, and when I do he trails kisses up my jaw to my ears, nibbling on the lobe very softly until I'm whimpering, and pulling him back into another long tongue-twisting caress.
I keep expecting him to back away, but he is never the first to do so. I'm ready for him to say the wrong name, suddenly remember other business, make some excuse and leave -- but when I look in his eyes, I only see a reflection of myself lined in light. This can go on forever; it's a dream. It isn't real.
The hair-stroking and arm-rubbing, warm and sensual and non-threatening, gives way to slow, gliding caresses of my body; and he watches me for my reaction, to see what I like and what I don't, when I stretch and moan, and when I arch back. The kisses continue, and the petting becomes more intense. Tim gently massages all the muscles in my back, my legs, my arms, with sure, deep touches that make me press even closer to him, one leg thrown over his hip, pelvis to pelvis, chest to chest. He is already aroused, but is ignoring his erection for now; now, all he wants is to touch me, to find every responsive spot on my body and give it the attention I'm craving.
I have to be the one to tug on his shirt, try to pull it off; and oh, Red Shoes, let me tell you, Tim works out. I kiss every muscle, every plane, and I can hear Tim groan under his breath as I do so. Still touching me, his hands never leaving my body, one leg in between mine, I can hear his breath grow harsh, and when I finish kissing my way across his collarbone, he whispers, "Take off the shirt," and I don't hesitate, it's over my head, it's gone.
Tim isn't one of those guys who fixates on only one part of a woman's body; no, he is extremely even-handed in his ministrations. By now I am aching with desire, muscles cramping and tight, my breath labored as he tongues my nipples, murmuring my name over and over as he does so. Swirling his tongue across my chest, then tracing a thread of sizzling fire up to my neck, teasingly. I can hardly stand the sensations any longer; I moan, trying to rip the shorts off his body with shaky fingers. He chuckles unsteadily, gets drawn into another long liplock, then removes the last of his clothing as I shimmy off the leggings to my sweats.
More kisses, more embraces, skin to skin now, getting hotter and hotter, and we're both gasping, but we can't stop, we don't want to, it's too good, too close. Tim has a gorgeous ass; he'd blush if I said that to him, but I've noticed what he looks like in pants and jeans... and I can finally touch and stroke without worrying about embarrassing him, dig my nails into his back, hear his voice go deep as he says my name again. "Now," I'm begging, pleading, "Now, please..."
Slowly, almost painfully slowly, Tim enters me, warm and hard and wet, and it's been so long I almost tense up at the wrong time. But at the last second I relax and he's filling me, all the way, trembling above me, kissing me passionately as he holds me so close that there isn't a space for daylight to pass between us. Finally, he starts to move his hips, and I grind mine upward, and we fall into an easy rhythm that only stays casual for about thirty seconds. Then we're both moving as if on treadmills, deep, fast, pounding movements that make the spiraling tension build inside me as Tim's muscles go rigid and his eyes close. Another stroke, and another, and the burning fire suddenly flares out of control, I can hear myself crying out and whimpering as a wave of explosive pleasure moves outward from where our bodies are joined. I am still quivering, still feeling the shudders of pleasure flow through me, as Tim thrusts deep, once, twice, three times, then chokes out my name as his body rocks with ecstasy...
I am definitely not mailing this letter.
But it's served its purpose. I will be in control, calm, rational, when Tim comes back to visit in two weeks. I won't be influenced by crazy daydreams.
It wouldn't really be like that.
It would be awkward, and strange, and probably very sweet and nice, like Tim. After a while, after we got used to each other...it would be very good, I think. But nothing is as good as fantasies are. I want him very much, but that doesn't mean the sex would be all that incredible. It's just loneliness. Deprivation. Being flattered that Tim cares.
It will never happen.
Red Shoes, I won't fake an emotion just for some closeness. That's cheap. I have to talk Tim out of loving me; maybe then, we can...No, no, no. Friendship is better. Friendship is solid.
But oh, what would I give for three wishes: that cabin, Tim, and the ability to put a restraining order preventing him from saying anything.