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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To the solstice, with love

Today is summer solstice, and for the first time I can remember, it feels like summer. Bright blue skies, sundresses, warm enough to be bare-legged.

I have no idea what time the sun came up – at that hour I’d have still been cosied up in prosecco-soaked dreams after stumbling in a little too late after drinks with colleagues. It won’t go down for a good six hours yet though, so there’s still plenty of time to enjoy it.

I love those points of the day when the sun rises and falls – almost equally, in fact. Summer sunsets remind me of long, happy barbecues with friends, winter ones of cosying up in front of the fire with a bottle of wine. Sunrise brings memories of May balls – wearing some boy’s suit jacket, shivering in the shadows, feeling the effects of the alcohol beginning to wear off – and of early morning city centres, completely deserted apart from supermarket lorries unloading.

Dark and light, they’re both great, in their own way.

Sex during the day is great too, especially when it feels like you’ve snuck away to do it. Sex in the middle of the afternoon, hidden only by net curtains, the window open a little bit and the smell of barbecues floating in. Lazy, slow, missionary sex , first thing in the morning…

It took me a fairly long time to get there, though, and when I did, most of the sex I had was either during the day or with the lights on. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to fuck in the dark, to feel the other person more than seeing them.

And then, a few months back, I rediscovered its joys in a hotel room: already snuggled up in a warm bed, the boy showed up late, carrying two glasses of red. He left the lights off, only the 24hr glow of the city outside taking the edge off the blackness. We lay side by side, talking, sipping wine. I could just make out that through his boxers, he was stroking his cock.

And I thought: Yeah, I always was a night owl…