The Time in Brussels

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Author’s Note:

This is a resubmission. Even though it clocks in at 4500 words, this one is a small part of a much larger work I’m developing. I probably won’t publish it all here — too much of it is non-erotic. In the large piece (30,000 words and counting!) titled ‘Moments’, the protagonist reminisces about the loves of his life, the highs and lows of them, many of them erotically charged. I hope you like it, and as always, please help me become a better writer by offering constructive criticism.


The Time in Brussels


I have turned off the water and I stand in the shower stall. As the air cools me, I feel the tickling traces of the last drops of water falling from my body, I savour the sensation and fall into a trance. My mind drifts in this reverie and then suddenly I am remembering Brussels last year.

I’ve made a bad choice of hotel. I’m in a large American chain hotel, full of people, but it’s charmless. It’s amazing how lonely you can get when you’re among a crowd. I should have found a pension instead, a place where people would take care of me.

I am coming out of the shower in my hotel room, clean, sharp and nervous. She will be here in half an hour. I dry off, and as I put on my clothes I can feel my pulse driving. The shower’s hot water has me feeling flushed still, and I’m perspiring, hardly what I want right now. Hygiene is everything.

Stepping out of the bathroom I see my laptop on the desk across the room. Foolishly, I’d left the website up. What if housekeeping came in and saw? I still can’t believe I actually went ahead and made the call. Who the hell am I anymore?

A crazy thought, I say to myself, but then, this whole thing is crazy. Seven hundred fifty euros for two hours crazy. Crazy as in she will be younger than my youngest students crazy. How can we possibly relate? How will she even go through with this, with me, nearly seventy? There’s only one way, I’m sure: she will put on the act, fake it.

An act without a real connection, and I’ve rarely done this without at least a feeling of affection, even with Jillian back when the Earth was cooling. At least we both knew what we wanted and that it was ok to just take it from each other. In two hours, with this young girl, a young stranger who cares only for the money, doing it will be an impossibility. I’ll never get hard, but that’s beside the point. And then there’s the exploitation of it, taking advantage of a girl who does this only because she’s desperate for the money. At this thought, I feel like phoning back to call it off. But it is too late, less than half an hour now. This can’t possibly go well.

I sit at the desk looking at the computer screen and click the button ‘Les Photos.’ She is there, Aurélie, a name with innuendo. I know that it’s not really her name, just her ‘stage’ name. She’s there in the second row of photographs, the agency’s stable of women. Her face is partially hidden, but there is enough to see her smile. It is a nice smile, a pretty smile in what I imagine is a longish face. Her smile is normal, a regular person’s smile, and it reassures me. How can a girl with a smile like that be a fake? I know I’m fooling myself, know that God doesn’t make fools, pretty young girls do, but I can’t help it.

I am so lonely, travelling alone and with no conference activities tonight. I’m alone in life now anyway, since Kit died. It hurts, like physical pain. I start to rationalize about this young girl. If all we do is talk, if all I do is feel her smooth skin, be warmed by her, to be held by her, that will be enough. She might even want that too.

The loudness of the phone nearly explodes my heart. I wait for the third ring to regain my composure before answering. She says that she is with her driver in front of the hotel. I can hear the traffic noise, a quick remark to her driver and what must be the car door slamming. Her voice in English, friendly-sounding, a lovely French lilt, breaks the ice. She says that she is excited to meet me, can’t wait. She confirms the room number, asks which way to turn for the elevators from the front door. Two minutes, she says, we whill ‘ave some fun togedder de two of us, eh?

That does it. I’m petrified. She’ll hurt me, or if she doesn’t, I’ll hurt myself trying. I can’t stay still, so I start to pace the length of the room, from the windows to the door. The second time I’m near the door, I look through the peephole. She’s not there. I make two more trips into the room and back to the door. Feeling stupid, I go to the window and wait. But I can stay there for just a minute or two. The restless nervousness jangles my whole body. For the first time in my life I can imagine hyperventilating. That threshold is not far from me.

I go back to the door to look again, and I see her just as she is coming into view. Or is it? She seems quite tall, a little over 1.7 I’d say, but then maybe it’s just the peephole lens.

Her face is huge, fish-eye distorted, and her body curves away below, hidden. Is it the same girl from the website? Çankaya travesti Certainly the hair colour and style is different. Peeking from under a peaked leather cap her hair is dark brown with an edgy streak of bright red colouring. It is shorter than in the photo as well. I watch as she takes a moment, looking down to smooth her clothes. Her face completely disappears from view.

My heart is racing in nervousness. It’s crazy. Not enjoyable. I wonder what it must be like for her. The same? I don’t see how it could be. Who could survive this night after night? What must go through her mind in these moments? Who will it be inside the room? A nice man? A violent man? What about his looks, if he’s fat, hairy, ugly, smelly, how could she go through with it? I don’t understand. I am an old man. I hope that she is not shocked.

If I open the door before she knocks, she’ll know I’ve been watching, stalking her from inside the hotel room. I feel a stab of embarrassment and pull my eye from the peephole.

There is her soft knock on the door. Two quick taps, then a third. I watch as my hand reaches for the knob as if it is disembodied. Time has slowed almost to a stop. Every movement, the cool metal of the knob, brings me closer to a threshold, a precipice. Paying for it for the first time in my life.

I swing the door open and before I can do anything, say anything, she takes a single step, one, into the room, confident, smiling, lovely.

I notice her smile right away. There’s something about her upper lip, something different. It is full, pouty, and curves up so slightly toward the tip of her nose, the smallest sneer but with none of the contempt. The curve draws her lip up, exposing her lovely teeth. It is a permanent smile, sexy, saucy. She can’t not smile. But that’s not all. I watch as her smile broadens. Her upper lip slides higher over her pretty teeth, smooth and white. At the finish of her smile her lip stops moving, just short of showing her gums. I see a tiny flaw, something most curious, unusual but captivating. Just there, as her smile settles into its final expansion. Her upper lip is stretched, has twisted slightly. Out of nothing, now I see that her lip has curved unevenly into the shape of a tiny wave, one side up and the other down. This tiny imperfection, highlighting that saucy sneer, is all hers, defines her completely.

Her smile spreads through the entire room, through me. It declares her confidence in the moment, doing what she does well, doing it for the fun of it. It says that this isn’t serious, that it isn’t heavy. It tells me that I should relax, abandon myself to the moment, to her. We’re here, she and I, and we will have fun together, here, right now. Our cares and worries need not infringe. We will cast off all that and pretend for a while. We’ll pretend that nothing matters, that we can play in this moment, play without rules and leave no trace behind. I wonder to myself, Can I do that? I can’t shed my misgivings quite so easily.

I step aside and around her to shut the door. She hasn’t moved. “Come in. Come in. I’m glad you’re here.” I gesture for her to come into the room.

She takes one step toward the bedroom and stops again. She turns sideways so that her back is to the wall and hesitates, stands aside as if she wants me to go in first. I drop my gesture and walk past her. It doesn’t feel gentlemanly. Almost at the window, I turn to face her and she comes in finally, still smiling, a little wicked.

She is indeed tall, nearly my own height. She puts her arms around my neck to give me a friendly hug, a European kiss-kiss on the cheeks. It feels odd, her easy familiarity, the immediate physical contact. She presses herself against me, making me feel her body, getting into my personal space so quickly without hesitation, and then the kiss, rather formal. She smells really good.

Her face is almost too close for me to see properly. I crane my neck back to get her in focus. She’s wearing dark eyeliner and eye shadow, a lot of it. But it’s not overdone on her, just the right amount to proclaim herself as being different, to make her fashionable in her own way. The makeup gives her eyes startling size and intensity. Green eyes, sharp, bright, alive.

A thin white scar starts on her forehead, slashes diagonally across and through her eyebrow. It is visible through her brow, interrupting the fine dark hair with a faint trail of white. When I look more closely, I see the scar, a diagonal nick across the bridge of her nose. I wonder at the story behind this scar, whether it was put there by a bad client on a bad night. These thoughts make me queasy.

The rest of her face is natural, no makeup. That sinful smile beams at me. She is no teenager. I put her age at around thirty. I feel a little relief that I’m not with a child. There is character to her face and skin. It is skin that has seen its share of laughter, tears and life.

“I’m Génie. De udder girl, Janine, she couldn’t come, eh? I ‘ope it’s ok.” Janine? I remind myself that I’ve crossed over Dikmen travesti from my world to hers, theirs.

“I ‘ope you will like me too, eh?”

Eh? It can’t be. It would be an impossible coincidence. “Vous êtes une Quebecoise.”

“Si! Si! But oh my God! It’s amazing! ‘ow you know dis?” She breaks contact and skitters away from me almost back to the door. Her posture reflects her surprise, bent over at the hips with her arms thrown wide, her head thrust forward. Flamboyant. Charming. How can I not look at her cleavage?

“That ‘eh’ at the end. All of us do it…Canadians, eh.” I can’t help but grin like a kid. “I lived in Quebec for a while,” I say. “Eastern Townships near Granby.”

“Nooooooo! Oh my God! I know where dat is, exactement! Very close, very close to me, eh? Bromont. I was born in der,” she’s wide-eyed at the coincidence. It’s a fifteen minute drive between the two towns. Pretty amazing — if it’s true.

“A long way from ‘ome, eh? You and me bote’. Oh my God!” Then she gets serious, apologetic. “But my English…not so good, eh?”

“No, no, you’re doing great,” I stammer. “We can use French if you like.” I say this to her in my terrible French, even worse than her English. I wonder how that will work?

But that’s that. We’re on to the next. She beams the crooked smile at me and stands erect, arches her back and thrusts out her chest. She is posing for me, showing herself off so that I can get a good look. Black leather, punk-chick chic. Black fingerless lace gloves.

She wears a sleeveless leather vest and a black, V-neck t-shirt underneath. The shirt shows off her lovely collarbones and lower, magnificent cleavage. It’s not that her breasts are large. No, it’s their shape, the amount revealed, the perfect amount showing, teasing, the form and shape of her breasts developing on her chest in just the perfect way, giving promise to to the loveliness underneath.

She has a couple of muted dark tatoos, swirling at her collarbone and on her arm. She wears body jewelry in her ears, a tiny stud in her nostril, another in her brow. They are surprisingly delicate, feminine. Her abdomen peeks out above the top of a black leather mini-skirt. Another piercing there, at her navel, fine silver jewelry dangling. She has narrow hips and her legs are long, long, sheathed in torn fishnet stockings, intentionally cut up for effect. She’s wearing leather boots, to mid-shin, heels, very high. She’s all of a piece, fashionable in a euro-street way, if a little dated. How she got through the hotel lobby like this, I don’t know. Maybe she knows someone here, has paid him off to turn a blind eye.

She spins around to give me the view from the rear, sticking out her fanny while turning her face back to show me a wink and a smile. It’s almost laughably flirtatious, but she knows it, is having fun. Her hands are on her thighs, pushing her bum out. Quickly she grabs the skirt and lifts-flips it up to show me her ass, a black thong. I can’t help but smile. A burst of laughter escapes from me and I see that she is pleased that I’m having fun with her. Somehow, I’ve forgotten about my misgivings for now.

She turns to face me, giving me more of her routine, at least I assume it’s a routine. All in one motion the leather cap comes off and she throws it spinning closeby my face, past my head and onto the floor behind. Her lips pout outrageously and she cocks her head low and to the side to stare at me with raised eyes in comic intensity. One hand goes to her hip, thrust wide. Drawing to her full height she starts an exagerated runway walk, a model sashaying toward me. When she’s even with the mirror on the dresser she turns, pretends to primp, then frowns and dismisses her reflection naughtily with a flip of her hand.

She turns to face me again, still posing. It’s a comic act, her ‘schtick’, just for fun. She resumes her catwalk walk toward me. In the last step she breaks the show again and suddenly jumps into my arms, her legs wrapped around my hips, her arms snaked around my neck. She slides her legs down until she’s standing. This time it’s a full kiss on the lips, soft. I feel her hand on the back of my head, holding me there. Her lips part and I feel the soft wetness of her tongue brush against mine. It gets deeper, more active, wetter, passionate.

I didn’t know, thought they didn’t kiss, that it is too intimate. I thought that kissing was only for them, only for their private personal lives. I’m so shocked that I pull away.

“Mmmmmmmm,” she says, purring. “I like your kiss.” What an odd thing to say. I’m becoming more aware of a feeling of unreality, the falseness of everything. We are two strangers she and I, and it might be that we soon will have sex. Sex with a stranger. The weirdness of that strikes me, the ultimate physical intimacy, cock buried in pussy, and I’ll never even know her real name. We don’t know each other, don’t know how we think or feel, don’t know each others’ likes, dislikes, responses. Sex with a complete stranger, impossible I think, but also dangerously Eryaman travesti erotic.

And there is that saucy smile of hers, and I quickly accuse myself of thinking too much.

She grabs me again, this time by the ass. She’s taken two hands full of cheek, pressing her body into mine. She starts to slide her body against me.

Again, the unreality of this disorients me. This isn’t how people relate. It’s aggressive silliness, not my style. Still, she’s so over the top with it, I can’t help but be amused. And for the first time, it strikes me. Maybe that’s what all this is about. Maybe it’s what it should be about. A chance to not be myself, a chance to be silly, have some out of control fun, let go.

But the idea falls flat inside me. I don’t know if I can do that, a lifetime of sex inside relationships. I’m closer to the end of life than to the beginning, a realization I’ve had before but haven’t acted upon. The self-talk roars inside me, taking me out of the moment. You’re going to die some day, fool. What’s it going to be, your last thought? ” I wish I’d spent more time in the office?” Idiot. How about this instead? “Remember the time in Brussels, the time with the girl? Fantastic!” and right after that I might be saying, “Oh, Hello God. Nice to meet you.” You serious, inhibited bastard, I tell myself. So sad.

She’s still grinding against me, the sneering smile rubbing it in. I give myself a mental slap. Did you know that you’ve got a beautiful young girl rubbing herself up against you trying her best to get you going? Wake up, idiot.

It’s too much for me. With a laugh and a smile I break it off and separate from her. I’m so confused that I’m holding my head in my hands.

“What’s wrong, hon?” Her tone is of surprise with a large dollop of feigned hurt. Hon. So familiar and yet she is a complete stranger.

Oh my God! I’ve forgotten the money. I’m mortified, feel that I have transgressed. I leap to make amends, find the envelope that I had prepared on the desk and thrust it out to her. I apologize profusely for the delay. How rude!

“No. No. It’s ok, eh? I get my money in de end, eh? Some guys, dey don’t pay until de end, eh, wen we’re done time to say goodbye, eh? Some guys, dey don’ pay at all! Get trown out in de ‘all I never get my money and not even clothes!” She gives an overblown pouty frown at this last bit.

“Excusé.” She stuffs the envelope into her bag and pulls a cell phone out. Turning away from me, she makes a call, just a few words, serious. Calling in to her driver, everything is ok. I wonder what else is in her bag.

Turning back and smiling at me again, she returns to character. She’s steadying herself against the dresser in the room, lifting her foot, bending to it to unzip her boot and kick it off. In a second the other boot tumbles to the floor.

“So what do you like?” she asks.

At first I don’t understand. What do I like? I like my work, my research, the little bit of teaching that I still do. I like reading, learning, my friends, playing my guitar, the piano. I start to tell her.

“Non, non!” She laughs, throws her head back and laughs sweetly, and I’m afraid it’s at me this time. “Non, non! Tell me, ummmm… wat you like. You know, wat you like for me and you…’ow we gonna ‘ave fun.” Her eyes light up when she finds the right words. “You know… fucking… in de bed!”

Fucking in the bed. Of course. Stupid, stupid, stupid! But that plain-spoken explicitness, fucking in the bed, gets me. I feel a burst of arousal at the freedom of it. We gonna ‘ave fun fucking in de bed, fun… fucking in de bed. In my mind it strips me naked, has her arms and legs wrapped around me and I’m thrusting deep into her, both of us laughing, ‘aving fun fucking in de bed.

Across from her I’m embarrassed by my cluelessness, but that quickly dissipates as I watch her. She reaches under her skirt and tugs at something on one leg. The fishnets are coming off, first the one then the other. She lays them across the foot of the bed.

But I’m speechless. What do I like? It strikes me suddenly: I don’t know what I like. Nobody ever asked me really, at least not like this. What I like has always been something reciprocal, something done together for the two of us. Always in balance, always together. Never just for me alone, never. I don’t know how to answer her.

“You on top? Me on top? From behin’?” she asks, turning and pointing to her ass. So uninhibited. But it’s not shocking. In fact, it’s kind of sweet, kind of ingenuous.

Idly, she has again reached under her skirt again, both hands, and her hips are wiggling first to one side then the other. When her hands reappear they’re holding her thong. She lowers it to mid-thigh, then straightens, stands up and spreads her legs and tilts her hips. The thong stretches tight between her legs. It’s another pose, a good one. With this one, my pants begin to bind me.

She smirks at me and then hits me with her smile once again. Looking me straight in the eye, she slowly brings her legs together letting the thong drop around her ankles. Stepping out of it she lifts it with one toe and takes it into her hand. Suddenly she’s shot it at me like a rubber band, and it hits me square in the face. It’s so light that it has stuck in my eyebrow, dangling there over my eye and nose.

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