Burn

She has been coming here – quite literally: she’s been fucking the landlord for as many summers as she’s been renting the apartment – for thirteen years now. This summer, it’s changed – the kitchen is brand new and the old, unreliable TV has been replaced with a 40″ widescreen model.

He teases her, as usual, about the colour of her skin – her legs poke out like two milk bottles from the bottom of her dress and they’ll stay that way for the rest of August – she never tans, no matter how hard she tries. He always said that was what made him notice her, that first summer – the way she looked like a stick of chalk in the middle of all those tanned bodies.

She asks when he’s free, anticipating with every word the first thrust of his cock – could they go for dinner one night this week, perhaps? Or drinks? They never fuck on the day she arrives and it makes the anticipation ever sweeter.

Sure, he says – Thursday? – and she has to force a smile. The wait makes the anticipation sweeter, but it’s only Saturday and four days of waiting is, well, bittersweet, at best.

On Tuesday, passing one of the cafés on the seafront, she sees him with someone else. Someone who is, at a guess, five years younger than her. He’s nuzzling the girl’s neck, his hands grazing her tight, pert breasts and while she watches, trying to reconcile the sudden ache in her stomach with the fact that until now she hasn’t thought about this man from one summer to another, her pistachio ice-cream starts to melt, flowing stickily down the cone and landing in a messy pale green dollop at her feet.

She should cancel Thursday but she doesn’t, the pull of the anticipation too strong now to back out. But whereas once she would have basked in the promise of seeing him – repainting her toenails, curling her hair – today she couldn’t give a fuck about either of those things. What good will it do now if she looks hot? It’s not like it’ll make a difference. And so her body goes un-preened, hair unwashed, sunscreen shoddily applied, and by the end of the day  the skin on her shoulders and cleavage is pink and raw.

In the shower, after she’s recoiled at the sight of it, she allows herself to fantasise that he’ll be equally horrified – that when he sees the state of her he’ll kiss her hot flesh tenderly and ask what the hell she was thinking. That he’ll peel her bra straps carefully from her tight and glowing shoulders and fuck her slowly while heat radiates from her, as unwelcome and painful as her feelings.

But he is late and he is horny, and he doesn’t undress her at all. Instead, after they’ve shared a bottle of rosé he bends her over the arm of the sofa (also new), pulls her knickers to one side and shunts into her from behind, until she has come from the way her clit grinds against the furniture and he has pumped her full of semen. Then he folds her skirt back down, pats her arse affectionately, and says he has to go.

The burn goes unnoticed.

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