Donald is confused, frightened, excited, elated. He is with Cindy in her bedroom. It has all happened so quickly he doesn’t know what to think, certainly doesn’t know what to do.
Cindy is sitting on the end of her bed, a small narrow one. The room is quite plain, four by three. The wall opposite the door is dominated by a wide window fronted by a deep windowsill, and the bed is pushed up tight against this wall so that the windowsill acts as a shelf above the side of the bed. The curtains are pushed open. The front of the sill contains a number of decorative items: a wooden box, a silvery metal one, some sea-shells and a small vase holding a sprig of flowers, small pretty ones exuding a powerful aroma.
The door is in the middle of its wall, and shut. On the back of the door hangs a dressing gown, lavender in colour. To the left of the door stands a large chest of drawers, the top of it covered in books and a small transistor radio.
To the right of the door is a desk, with shelves screwed to the wall above it. The shelves are tidy, holding paperback books, CD cases filed in alphabetic order, school books in a neat pile, and a plastic doll, dressed, placed on the shelf as though sitting with its legs hanging over the edge of the shelf. On the desk is a small laptop computer, issued to Cindy by the school. Donald has one just like it.
The third wall is taken up by a built-in wardrobe, the sliding doors partially open. Donald sees a variety of clothes neatly on hangers, clearly sorted as to type: skirts here, shirts there, dresses further along. In the bottom of the wardrobe Donald can see shoes neatly arranged, and behind them a tennis racquet and a small net bag
with tennis balls in it. Partly hidden behind the hanging clothes he notices the bottom of a hockey stick.
‘Why don’t you sit down?’ Cindy suggests, and though she clearly means that he should sit on the bed beside her, Donald pulls out the desk chair, a small chair on five castors, turns it towards the girl and sits in it, knowing that he is blushing.
Cindy smiles confidently. ‘Just Avril,’ she says. ‘She won’t bother us.’
Avril is in Donald’s class, though he doesn’t know her well. He knows his visit to Cindy’s bedroom is going to be the following day’s gossip, but he doesn’t yet know how it’s going to be. Will his friends laugh at him, or will they see him in a new, respectful light? Does he have a girlfriend now?
Cindy breathes deeply, and looks at him seriously. ‘Well,’ she says.
Donald has no idea what is expected of him. He tries to think of something to say, and there is a long pause, growing to an embarrassing silence...
‘Shall we have some music?’ Cindy says, getting up from the bed and opening the computer. She stands beside Donald, leaning over the desk, plugging a speaker lead into the side of the computer and firing up the machine. Her fingers move nimbly over the trackpad, and she opens iTunes. She turns to Donald, only inches away from her. ‘What do you like?’
Whatever Cindy likes, he thinks, will be great, but he struggles to think of something cool. ‘Arctic Monkeys?’ He’s heard of them, but doesn’t know if he likes their music.
‘Nah,’ Cindy says, shaking her head. She has long dark hair, almost black, and when she moves her head it sways across her face. Donald wants to hold her face and smooth the hair away, to look into her eyes, which are a deep brown.
‘Imogen,’ she decides, and selects the Speak For Yourself CD.
Donald has never heard of Imogen Heap, but from the first chord decides that this is the sort of music that really cool people like. He’s going to like it too.
Cindy turns the sound down low, and returns to sit on the bed. Her foot is tapping to the rhythm, but she gives no other sign that she is paying attention to the music. Donald would like to listen to it, but he is far more focused on Cindy.
Cindy is aware of his discomfort. She has not had a lot to do with boys, and knows she has to walk a fine line: she has to take the lead, stay in control, not let it get out of hand. ‘So,’ she begins again, considering quickly which tack she will take; ‘tell me about yourself’ will sound more like a teacher trying to be friends; ‘what are your hobbies?’ is a bit weak, and he might not have any.
What does she know about him, after all? She likes his looks, slightly scruffy but not a complete dag. His hair is nice, though she could make it look a lot better with a bit of care. His hair, nearly blonde, is wavy and quite long. He has a nice shy smile.
‘Got any homework?’ she asks him... a pretty safe bet. They’ll both have homework to do. Cindy is smart, neat, concise. Her homework will take an hour, and she has allowed for that.
Donald is taken aback by her question, the last thing he would have expected. ‘Yeah, sure,’ he says, but for the moment he can’t remember what his homework consists of. Oh yeah, some maths and an essay for history. Donald is reasonably smart, too, but he finds schoolwork boring and frustrating.
‘You going to do it later? Got time?’
‘Yeah. Later.’ He knows that he’ll probably scribble the maths in the morning, and put the essay off till the last moment.
He smiles at her, and her heart skips a beat. What makes that happen, she wonders?
‘You’re in Avril’s class, aren’t you?’ Avril had spoken of Donald a few days ago, and it was this brief conversation that started Cindy thinking about him. Avril has a boyfriend of her own, two years older than herself, an apprentice. Their parents do not really approve of Wayne, but Avril ignores their concerns. Wayne has a car, which is very attractive to Avril.
‘Yeah. Don’t really know her very well, though. I’m not in her set.’
‘Oh, sets!’ Cindy’s voice is scathing. ‘I keep out of sets.’
Donald knows this. He has watched Cindy for the last year, seen how she operates independently, watched her moving between the established sets with ease, making friends with individuals but not confining her friends to any one set. Donald admires this, but has always found himself on the outskirts of one set or another, not in the forefront, more a hanger-on.
Donald knows he is not doing very well. He is tongue-tied and awkward. He can see that Cindy wants him to relax, to open up; but
he just doesn’t know how to do it. He decides, though, that he can’t continue like this. He must do something.
‘I’d like to hold your hand,’ he says, not looking at her.
Wow, Cindy thinks, that’s more like it. She smiles at him and holds out her right hand, palm down. Hesitantly, he takes it.
Cindy’s hand is not much more than half the size of his, slim and very soft.
Donald’s hand is square and hard, a little calloused by the weekend work he has to do, helping his father in the timber yard.
He can’t believe it has been so easy. Why was he so frightened? She had approached him, after all, had invited him to her house, led him to her bedroom; surely this should have given him confidence? He places his other hand on hers, sandwiching it. Cindy doesn’t move, though he is stroking her hand gently, top and bottom. He looks up and sees that her eyes are fixed on his face as though trying to read his mind. ‘Cindy,’ he breathes, and his voice cracks with emotion. Triumph, elation, excitement.
Cindy sighs in contentment, and leans closer to him, looking down at her hand clasped within his. Her forehead touches Donald’s, and they remain in that position for a moment.
Slowly, Donald lifts his head, and she allows hers to lift with him, so that in a few seconds their noses are touching. Cindy opens her eyes and sees that Donald has his closed still. She turns her head slightly to cause her nose to slide across his, and he opens his eyes, just centimetres from hers. He knows what he has to do, and turns his head to one side so that their lips are touching.
It is an electric moment. He wonders if he should open his lips, but is immediately terrified that his breath might smell, and begins to draw back. Cindy isn’t going lose this moment, opening her mouth and pressing her lips against his, her tongue snaking into his mouth.
Donald can’t help a muffled groan. His body is on fire. He is gripping Cindy’s hand far too tightly, squashing it almost. Cindy reaches up and puts her left arm around his shoulder, hugging him to her, completely caught up in the moment. It is as though this is the most important moment in her life, a moment in which she could live forever.
They are crouched forward awkwardly, and can’t hold this position long. Cindy leans back onto the bed, drawing Donald with her, up out of his chair and lying across her body. They don’t break the kiss for one second, though they squirm to become more
comfortable against each other. ‘Don’t... oh,’ sings Imogen. ‘Smash’ echoes the backing.
Slowly the two return to the reality of the moment. Cindy feels deeply contented, as though her life has been leading up to this moment. Donald feels like a god, is suddenly relaxed and confident and grateful and deeply, deeply happy. Still kissing, they look at each other and smile. Donald moves his hand to Cindy’s face, and does as he has wanted to for ages, wiping the dark hair away from eyes and gazing into them, imagining that he is seeing into her soul. They smile and smile at each other, as though they will never stop.
Downstairs a phone rings, and they hear Avril skip down the stairs to answer it. A door slams, and they can hear her voice, muffled. They ignore her.
Donald rolls off Cindy’s body and lies beside her. His arm is around her shoulders, but he no longer hugs her closely. They have stopped the kiss, and started to explore each other, very slowly and gently.
Cindy touches his face, runs the back of her fingers down Donald’s cheek, uses one finger to trace his jawline. Their eyes never leave each other.
He has his right arm around her shoulder, his hand touching her right arm. She is wearing a white shirt, quite thin, and it feels to him as though he is touching her skin. His finger tips are acutely sensitive, sending him messages he has never even thought of: desire, arousal. Maybe even love.
Donald has thought about love quite often, but only ever as a theoretical possibility. Without focus, he has imagined that someday something nice will happen to him, and he will fall in love, but has been unable to determine what factors might contribute to this.
Now, with Cindy in his arms, he is convinced that these powerful feelings he is experiencing must be the sudden onset of a life-long love, pure and unsullied, with no connection at all to lust or appetite.
Cindy, on the other hand, has thought long and hard about love for many years, and though she recognises her attraction to Donald, she does not believe that she is in love. She is experimenting, for the first time with a real live boy, and she is finding that her previous theoretical ideas of love are, for the moment, being borne out. Her first kiss was perfect, just as she had always imagined it would be. It was exciting, yes, and she feels sexually aroused by his proximity, his willingness, his own obvious excitement. She will allow him to go
further, but not very far. She waits, faintly impatiently, for his further explorations.
For all his excitement, Donald is petrified: Cindy has taken the lead so far, mostly, but now he is in dread of going too far too fast, terrified that she will make him stop, afraid that she will reject him if he tries too much. He moves his hand gently on her arm, and tries to hold his smile despite his anxieties.
Cindy waits for a minute or so, and, realising that he needs further encouragement, sighs deeply and rolls slowly onto her back, trapping his arm and leaving his hand in mid-air, hovering above her breast. She keeps her head turned towards him, her eyes still fastened on his, a smile of deep satisfaction on her lips.
At the edge his peripheral vision he can see the swell of her breast only centimetres below his hand. He lowers his fingers very slowly until he feels the material of her shirt, not quite in contact with her breast. He bends his finger tips so that they touch the very edge of her breast, and lets them rest there, enough pressure to be obvious, but not enough to be demanding.
Cindy continues to smile, breathing deeply so that her breast rises and falls under his fingers.
Donald is struggling to keep his breathing under control, trying to match the rise and fall of his chest with hers, his fingers beginning to tremble. He moves his left hand, which has been above his head since they first lay down together, to touch her face once more. As he does so he rolls towards her and kisses her again. His eyes are wide open and he sees hers close gently as though in a trance. He raises his face from hers for a moment. ‘Oh, Cindy,’ he breathes, and she sighs contentedly then pulls him back to continue the kiss.
She puts her left hand over his right, and pushes it more firmly onto the side of her breast. He moves his fingers over the material of her shirt and feels her bra beneath it, holding her flesh firmly. He feels his way over the tip of her breast but cannot identify the position of the nipple; though after a few seconds he does indeed realise that the nipple beneath the two layers of material is stiffening under his fingertips.
Cindy is amazed at her own reaction. She has played with her breasts and nipples many times, perhaps nightly, as her body has developed, and has always enjoyed the sensations produced. But this is first time anyone else has been allowed to touch her, and the fact that she is no longer in control is electrifying. Her skin is super-
sensitive, each pass of his fingertips over her nipple sends tingling sensations through her body, far more powerful than anything she has imagined. She groans through the kiss, pulling his face more tightly to hers, putting greater pressure on his hand. A little further, her body demands; but, her mind says, take care.
Donald is now way past control. His anxieties have gone, his fear disappeared. He has no doubts at all: he is in love, he is in heaven. He is, indeed, a god.
He rolls further towards her, and drags his arm from behind her, moving on top of her and then over on to her right-hand side, his back now pressing on the wall below the windowsill. He moves his left hand around her shoulders and places his right hand squarely on her left breast, his palm coned, his finger stroking the sides and moving rhythmically up to the nipple, clasping it loosely and then returning to the lower slopes to start the movement again.
Cindy is lying flat on her back, her eyes open and gleaming, watching his face and the looks of delight, surprise, elation as they progress across his features. This, she feels, is what she had been hoping for.
Donald leans over her once again, and presses his lips to hers. They kiss closed-mouthed for a few moments, before their lips seem to dissolve and they are devouring each other. As this happens she feels his hand feeling for the buttons of her shirt, feels his fumbling to release them. She is going to allow this, she knows, but she will resist for a while. Not too long, but just enough to let him know that it is she who will control the passion between them. She puts a hand on his to prevent the release of further buttons. He hesitates for a few seconds, then returns to his caresses outside her shirt. Cindy smiles to herself.
They are both still fully dressed, though perhaps a little dishevelled. They are both still wearing their shoes and socks, both still in trousers, their school uniforms. Donald wears his school tie, twisted around his neck, the top button of his shirt undone; Cindy’s shirt is open-necked. Rolled together, their legs have intertwined. She can feel the hardness of his erect penis pressing against her thigh, and he senses the warmth and moisture between her legs as he presses between them. They are both aware that these lower regions are not for exploration today, perhaps not for a long time. Enjoying simpler pleasures is all that either of them want for the present.
Donald has for some minutes been aware of the conflict within him: his emotions are soaring, he is in love, true, perfect love. He wants to hold Cindy in adoration, to be pure, to allow him to love her.
But he is discovering that his body is sending him signals that are rapidly becoming almost irresistible, hormones roaring through him, adrenaline coursing through his veins, arousal such as he has never known before, never even imagined. How can he sustain his pure unadulterated love for this girl in light of his crushing, overwhelming desire? This lust, this dirty, animal lust?
But Cindy clearly wants him to continue, to advance, and he is powerless not to. He fumbles again for the buttons of her shirt, and this time she allows him to release them, one by one. As he reaches the bottom buttons he pulls the shirt from her waistband, his fingers against the super-soft skin of her belly. With a start he realises that the delight his fingers transmit from there is every bit as wonderful as touching her breasts. Gently, softly, slowly, he caresses her body, reaching around to slide his hand under her and up and down her back. He feels the clasp of her bra, but passes over it lightly, ignoring it.
Cindy is very pleased with this, this sign of his trust in her. She is almost purring with pleasure, his slightly calloused hand stroking and caressing her, every nerve tingling with delight. This, she tells herself, is perfect. Everything that she imagined, and more.
They meet every morning at eight thirty and walk together holding hands. They do not speak much; they do not feel the need to, communicating at a much higher level through their hands, perhaps through their minds. They separate as they join their classes and come immediately together at the intervals. At lunch they sit together, apart from the others.
They are both a little surprised at the lack of attention their friends pay to their sudden and total mutual absorption. Sure, there is a flurry of interest for a day or two, but this soon subsides. It is obvious that they are now a couple, but they do not call attention to themselves with ostentatious public love-making. They are, their friends say, joined at the hip; but at school they do little more than hold hands and look endlessly into each other’s eyes.
It is in Cindy’s bedroom that they continue their explorations. Avril has made suggestions that they are, perhaps, going too far. But she knows nothing, just that they spend an awful lot of time behind the closed door, that music is always played when they are thus closeted, and that few noises, other than low groans, are to be heard.
Actually, Avril thinks it is a good thing. Their parents are aware of the growing relationship between Donald and Cindy, and their concern over this takes some of the pressure from Avril, who has, recently, been returning home from evenings with Wayne a little later each night. Avril smiles to herself at the activities of her younger sister, having herself progressed to full love-making with Wayne long ago. In Wayne’s car, and far from prying ears, she is far more vocally expressive during her passion than Cindy ever is.
Cindy locks the door behind them, and immediately turns to Donald, holding her arms up to surround his neck. They stand, locked in embrace, swaying a little to their own, silent rhythm, Donald with his hands on her waist, straying sometimes to her buttocks, while she runs her hands through his hair and over his shoulders. After a minute or two, they ease slowly apart and smile shyly at each other as though this has never happened before.
Cindy selects music on her computer, sets the machine to play the selection randomly and endlessly, and they sit as they did the first time: she on the bed, he on the castored chair. It has become a ritual, to be played over and over unchangingly. He takes her hand, they lean together, they kiss, they rise and fall back on the bed. They caress each other exactly as they had the first time, and in more-or-less the same time frame. It is as though they are, each time, setting the scene for the advancement of the experiment, as though they cannot progress from one stage unless they build each time on the earlier stages.
Besides, they both recognise, the anticipation, the building excitement, is an essential part of their relationship. The hand that stopped the unbuttoning of the shirt no longer intervenes there, but as each new stage is reached Cindy stops Donald for a while. He knows she is going to do it, and she knows he knows: they even share a wry smile each time, recognising that it is a delay, not a prohibition. So the buttons slide from the buttonholes, the shirt is pulled from the waistband, his tie is removed, both pairs of shoes are shucked off and left to fall to the floor. Gradually the shirt is removed completely, as is Donald’s. A small electric radiator helps to keep the bodies warm as this stage is reached. The bra, too, in time, joins the shirts on the floor, and their bodies, few secrets any more, are open to hands and lips and tongues, to long dark hair and skin sliding, gliding, over skin, neither ever tiring of the other.
After a month or two, their trousers are removed, and their socks. They are in trickier waters now, and they both know it. Locked together in just their knickers, neither Cindy nor Donald want to make the next move, and they take care not to allow their passions to take over completely.
Donald thinks of little these days other than of Cindy. He is deeply, truly in love with her. It goes further than that, he tells himself: he adores her. The only future he can see for himself is as Cindy’s partner, her lover, and someday her husband, the father of her children. Nothing else matters to him. He wants, always, to keep himself pure for her.
At home, of course, he locks himself in the lavatory and masturbates, hating himself, loathing himself, promising himself that he will never do it again. He hates most that the image in his imagination as he masturbates is that of Cindy, and a Cindy who is doing things with him that he has seen on the Internet, dreadful things that he would never, in real life, want to do, and least of all with pure Cindy. Soon he discovers that he has to masturbate before going with Cindy to her bedroom, else he would reach his climax under her caresses and bring their relationship to an abrupt end: he would never survive the embarrassment.
Cindy, on the other hand, masturbates freely and with great contentment after her sessions with Donald, lying in bed at night and reliving their lovemaking before sleep. She is not in love, though deeply enjoying her relationship with Donald. She knows they will not endure as a couple, and though she is working hard to keep their relationship on a smooth course, is aware, as Avril has pointed out many times, that there are many more fish in the sea. Not that Avril seems to be paying any attention to her own dictum, her attachment to the raffish Wayne deepening.
Joni Mitchell is singing of the clarinetist playing on the corner while she is waiting for the walking green... playing real good, for free...
when Donald’s hand slips under the elastic of Cindy’s knickers, fondling for the first time the skin of her buttocks.
Cindy stiffens, her hand descending to prevent his going further, rolling away from him. She looks at him with a sudden fury in her eyes. ‘What the hell are you doing?’ she hisses.
He recoils and pulls back, frightened. She has never reacted like this before.
There is no knowing smile, no wry agreement that he can progress soon. She simply stares at him, as though seeing him as an enemy for the first time.
He has not played the game, the game they have been rehearsing, practising, since they first began. First outside clothes, then hold back, followed by a slow and incremental advance.
There has been, so far, no fondling outside of knickers, and thus, obviously, there can be no delving under the material. She thought he had learned that lesson right at the beginning.
Retreat, he thinks. He has removed his hand, of course, in the first nano-second of her repulse, and though he is alarmed by her expression, by the stiffening of her whole body, he believes he can take a step backwards and all will be well.
But Cindy sits and moves away from him, her hair falling over her face, her breasts firm and beautiful, her eyes flashing, her knees bent slightly for balance. She leans over the side of the bed and pulls her shirt to hold before her, covering her breasts.
‘What...?’ Donald stammers, but he knows. He realises too late that he has overstepped her line. He should have recognised the pattern, waited for her to lead him to the next step. Impatient, he has ruined the game.
He sits, too, and holds out his hand, hopeful for a reprieve. She looks at his hand as though it is holding a knife, drawing further from him.
‘Did you think that I was going to give it up to you?’ she hisses spitefully. He has no answer. He drops his hand, looks down at the bed.
‘Cindy, don’t,’ he implores.
‘Did you think that your charm and the fact that we’ve been friends like this is going to get you in my pants?’
Donald feels tears building. His shoulders begin to shake.
‘I’ll have to kick your ass and make you never forget. I’m going to ask you to stop. I thought I liked you a lot, but I’m really upset. Get out of my head and get off of my bed.’
His look of devastation is almost enough to destroy her resolve, but not quite.
‘Yeah, that’s what I said. Didn’t I tell you that I’m not that sort of girl, the sort who throws it all away?’
(Many thanks to Avril Laverne, who inspired this story)