No one wants to fuck Cheryl anymore. That's what she thinks. Cheryl
is doing her
laundry in the basement of her apartment building, sorting delicates from the
regular load. A Greek woman emptying the one working dryer frowns at her.
Cheryl has been caught staring at her own underwear. It is the stain on a pair of
gray silk panties that has brought this irrefutable truth—that no one wants to fuck
Cheryl wore the gray silk panties on Thursday, when James took her for
and then drinks back at his hotel. They "fooled around" (his words) and he came
on her behind. He didn't say as much, but he wouldn't actually fuck her and she
didn't expect him to. No one will anymore. It isn't safe, these days (who wants
to use a condom the first time?). And, with many of the men she meets (married),
it is technically verboten.
You aren't really cheating if you don't fuck. You aren't doing anything
Cheryl knows this is what James thinks. If his wife ever asks, Did you fuck her?
he can rightly answer no. He might, depending on the depth of his character, even
add, Of course not!
A blow job is okay. Cheryl gave James a blow job when they fooled around
hour after the panty stain, just like she gave Tom at that Christmas party and Steve at
the beach. Tom also rubbed his dick between her round, wet breasts (he'd poured
Chardonnay between them); Steve stuck his fingers so far up inside her, she remembered
her next doctor's appointment. All of them licked her and rubbed her and squeezed
the cheeks of her ass. They did everything they could think of—after all, they weren't
inhibited—everything except fuck.
The laundry room is empty now. Cheryl lifts the gray silk panties from
the small pile
of delicates and holds them to her face. She tries to smell James, tries to remember
the thrilling skip of her breath when he reached for her hand beneath the table, tries
to remember the look in his eyes she thought meant he wanted her. As in really. Cheryl
breathes deeply, and though the panties smell more like the musty bottom of her
bathroom hamper than anything else, she remembers James' skin. She remembers her
face pressed into his neck when he told her that she couldn't spend the night. And when
at last she tosses the gray silks into the washing machine, another stain has blotted out
Copyright © 2000
Maryanne Stahl lives on a lake in metro Atlanta with her husband, son
and a variety of other
animals. She does not own any gray silk panties. Her first novel, Pool of Light, will be
published by New American Library (Penguin-Putnam) in fall 2001.