At what point does a preference become a fetish?
I met Stella at a party. She had arrived with the critic Darian Fellini. Back then, Fellini was one of the art world’s big stars. His book — All the Naked Women — had just come out, and everyone was talking about it. Was it art criticism? Or was it pornography? As a 19-year-old art student, I didn’t really know. And I didn’t really care.
It was presented as art criticism. No one said that it wasn’t. But it was also a satisfyingly erotic read.
‘Are you a painter?’ I asked.
Stella smiled. ‘An administrator, I’m afraid.’
‘Oh,’ I said. And then, realising how that might have sounded, I added: ‘Not that there’s anything wrong with being an administrator.’
She smiled again. ‘Well, that’s good to know.’
Stella was in her mid-30s, something like that. She was quite a bit shorter than me — not that I’m particularly tall. And she was wearing a tight-fitting black turtleneck sweater that highlighted her rather full breasts. She was also wearing a straight red skirt (the skirt stopped a good two or three inches above her knees), black stockings, and high-heeled black patent-leather shoes.
‘Your glass is empty,’ I said. ‘May I …?’
‘Thank you,’ she said. ‘But then I really must stop. I have work tomorrow.’
‘But tomorrow’s Sunday,’ I said. ‘You don’t moonlight as a vicar, do you?’
She laughed. ‘Galleries are seven-day businesses these days. We take it in turns to work Sundays. Tomorrow’s my turn.’
I went and found her another glass of white wine, but, when I took it back to her, she was surrounded by three older, banker-looking blokes in expensive striped suits and silk ties. ‘Oh, thank you,’ she said as I handed her the wine. One of the banker-looking blokes peered at me, disdainfully, over his designer glasses in a way that made it clear that there was no room for a 19-year-old art student in their grown-up circle of conversation.
I knew when I was out-ranked. ‘I’ll just … you know …. Nice to meet you,’ I said.
Stella smiled. ‘Likewise,’ she said. ‘And thanks for the wine. Maybe later perhaps?’
For the next couple of hours, I drifted from one gaggle of guests to another. It was a good party. The booze flowed; the conversation was agreeable; and there was the distinctive smell of good quality pot in the air. But then, somewhere around midnight, I decided that I’d had enough.
‘Hello. Where are you off to?’ It was Stella.
‘Umm … home. Probably,’ I said.
‘Are you walking?’ she asked.
‘Probably. I mean … yeah. You know. I only live about five minutes away,’ I explained.
‘Good. Then I’ll join you,’ she said. ‘If I may.’
I must say that I was a bit surprised. I thought that Stella was with Fellini. And if she wasn’t with Fellini, I would have thought that one of the banker blokes would have bagged her. But I wasn’t going to argue. ‘Yeah. Sure,’ I said.
We found our coats in the pile near the door, and headed out into the street.
‘Which way?’ I asked.
‘Which way are you going?’
‘Well, if I’m going home, I’m headed up here.’
She nodded. ‘Then lead on.’ She linked her arm through mine and snuggled close as if we were lovers, and we headed off in the direction of Bayswater Road.
As we walked, we talked — about art, about artists, about galleries, and about the surprise success of Fellini’s book. And then Stella suddenly stopped talking, blocked my way with her body, and kissed me. Seriously kissed me. It was just about the last thing that I had expected.
After about five seconds or so, we broke apart. Stella looked at me and smiled and nodded. ‘Nice,’ she said. ‘Yes. Sort of what I expected … but, yes, nice.’
‘What you expected?’
‘Well … you know,’ she said.
I didn’t. But then it was the first time that I had been kissed — in that way, at least — by a woman almost twice my age.
We walked on a bit further, arm in arm, neither of us saying anything, until, just before the corner of the road, we came to the recessed doorway of a second-hand-book shop. The shop was closed, as were all of the other shops in that little stretch, and Stella pulled me into the dimly-lit urban cave. We kissed. And we kissed again.
The night was not as cold as it might have been and Stella had left her long overcoat unbuttoned. I, emboldened no doubt by several glasses of rough red wine, slipped my hand inside her coat and pulled her body closer to mine. She didn’t offer any resistance. Her sweater-clad breasts collided with my lower chest. And her dark pixie-cut hair smelled — deliciously, I thought — of wine and cigarette smoke and Chanel No 5.
As we kissed, I slipped my hand down between our bodies and gently lifted the hem of her skirt. My fingers found the inside of her stocking-clad thigh. I paused for a moment or two to see what her reaction would be. Was she going to allow me to continue? Or was I about to be rebuffed?
Stella shuffled her feet slightly to give me easier access. And soon my fingers were touching the warm bare flesh above her stocking top. She gave a little sigh and, as we continued to kiss, I could feel her mouth forming a smile. ‘Mmm,’ she said quietly.
With the backs of my fingers, I gently brushed the damp fabric-covered mound that began where the tops of her thighs met. Again, Stella shuffled her feet slightly. Beneath the thin layer of fabric, I could feel the soft spring of pubic hair. ‘I’m not, umm, shaved,’ she said.
‘Good,’ I said.
‘Not even trimmed. Well … not really.’
‘Good,’ I said — for a second time.
‘Quite, umm … hairy.’
‘Nice,’ I said.
Slowly, I ran my fingers upward over her soft knicker-clad pubic mound until I found the line where her knickers met bare flesh. And then, turning my hand, I slipped it down inside her knickers, letting my fingers explore the profusion of silky-soft hair within. ‘Mmm. Very nice,’ I mumbled.
‘You think so?’ she whispered in reply.
We kissed again and my hand travelled lower. My middle finger found the groove that I was seeking while my forefinger and index finger caressed her silky fur-covered outer lips. It was heaven.
While our tongues tangled, my hand continued to explore her secret garden. I could feel her soft outer lips swelling and parting, exposing the smooth, slick lips within.
For a brief moment, I wondered if I was dreaming. Maybe I had overdone the red wine. Drinking wine from a tumbler, it’s easy to lose track of how much you’ve actually had. Or maybe I had inhaled too much of the Mary Jane that had been drifting about the place. But then I thought: if this is dreaming, then dream on, Jeremy! Dream on!
For a minute or so, I continued my exploration: spreading Stella’s sweet lubricious juices; teasing her swelling clit; and then sliding my warm wet finger into her wet and waiting tunnel of love.
‘Oh, god, yes!’
It was all the encouragement I needed. For maybe five minutes my fingers worked away — tracing, massaging, thrusting, and all the time delighting in the profusion of soft silky pubic hair that covered her special playground.
It wasn’t long before Stella started to make little puppy-like grunts of delight. The more she grunted, the more I fingered. And then, suddenly, she let out a happy squeal that I was worried would wake the entire neighbourhood.
‘Whoa!’ she said. And she clamped my hand firmly against her hot treasure box.
And then, for a few more minutes, we just clung to each other, exchanging soft kisses, me with my hand still inside her knickers.
‘I think we’d be more comfortable back at my place,’ I said eventually.
Stella smiled. ‘Yes. I’m sure we would,’ she said. ‘But I’d better go. I told my husband that I wouldn’t be late — and it’s already past midnight.’
Husband! It hadn’t even vaguely occurred to me that she was married. I don’t know why; it just hadn’t.
As if on cue, a black cab appeared from one of the side streets on the south side of Baywater Road and turned towards the West End. It had its light on.
Stella hurriedly pulled down and straightened the hem of her skirt, and then wrapped her long coat about herself. ‘I’d better take this one while I can,’ she said.
The cab stopped and Stella said something to the driver. I saw him nod and reach back to open the door. Stella turned and gave me a little kiss — the kind of kiss a mother might give to a child — and then she climbed into the back of the cab. ‘Goodnight,’ she said. And then, just as the cab was about to pull away, she reached into her bag and produced a ballpoint pen and a scrap of paper.
‘Give me your phone number. I’ll call you.’
There was no call on Sunday. But then I knew that she had to work. There was no call on Monday either. Nor on Tuesday. Perhaps she had lost the number. Perhaps she had never really intended to call. Perhaps ….
And then about five o’clock on Thursday afternoon, I suddenly noticed that I had a missed call. It was a private number. I dialled in to check my messages, but they were all old. But then, just as I was slipping my phone back into my pocket, it rang.
‘Hi. It’s me. Stella. I’m just up in Notting Hill Gate. I wondered if you were free for a quick glass of wine.’
It was an invitation that I couldn’t refuse. ‘I’ll be there is about 15 minutes,’ I said.
‘Excellent. I’ll see you then.’
Stella was at Marco’s — sitting at a table just inside the door. But she wasn’t alone. She was with a plumpish well-dressed woman of about her own age.
‘That was quick,’ she said.
I explained that I had been at the bookshop just down the road.
‘Handy,’ she said. And then she introduced her companion. ‘Jeremy, this is Elizabeth. Elizabeth is with The Hawksmere Gallery.’
Elizabeth looked vaguely familiar. I’d been into The Hawksmere Gallery a few times.
There was an open bottle of wine on the table, and an empty glass. ‘We’re drinking Pinot Grigio,’ Stella said. ‘OK?’
‘Umm. Yeah. Fine,’ I said. Stella poured some wine into the empty glass and pushed the glass across the table towards me.
For the next half an hour or so, we sipped our wine and chatted away about nothing in particular. And then Stella glanced up at the big station-style clock on the wall behind the bar. ‘Gosh, is that the time! I need to get going. I promised Bianca that I would help her with her homework.’
‘Yes. I should be going too,’ Elizabeth said. ‘Nice to meet you, Jeremy.’
I felt curiously flat as I walked home. I don’t know quite what I had expected, but a polite glass of wine with a very straight-up-and-down Stella and her mumsy friend was certainly not it. But then, just as I was about to put the front door key into the lock, my phone rang again.
It was Stella. ‘Hi. It’s me again. I meant to ask if you were doing anything on Sunday.’
‘Nothing in particular,’ I said.
‘Good. I’ll call you.’ And once more she was gone.
It was just before eleven when Stella called. The noise from the nearby church bells almost drowned out the ringtone of my phone. ‘I’ve drawn the Sunday shift again,’ she said. ‘I wondered if you might like to come and have coffee with me.’ And then, as if I needed further encouragement, she added: ‘We have a cappuccino machine. And I have pastries. I stopped at the bakery on my way in.’
The gallery was in a little group of galleries just off Piccadilly. I took the Tube along to Bond Street and then walked south to Berkley Square and beyond.
The Mayfair streets were almost deserted and, while the three or four galleries that I passed on my way to meet Stella were open for business, they all seemed to be totally lacking customers. Stella’s gallery was no exception.
Stella greeted me in a conservatively-styled black suit — square cut jacket and knee length skirt — and a hot pink shirt. ‘I’m pleased you could come,’ she said. ‘I have a feeling that we are in for a quiet day.’
I confirmed that the streets outside were, indeed, pretty quiet.
‘Come and have some coffee,’ she said, and she pushed open an almost-concealed door and led the way through to an office-cum-storeroom beyond. As the door clicked shut behind us, Stella pulled my body close to hers and kissed me gently. ‘It’s nice to see you again,’ she said softly.
It was nice to see her too. As I watched her making the coffee, my mind drifted back to the wee hours of the previous Sunday. I think that I must have been smiling.
‘You look happy,’ Stella said.
‘I am,’ I assured her.
‘And what is making you happy?’
‘You,’ I said.
Stella smiled. For a moment or two, she turned her attention back to the coffee machine. But then, suddenly, she said: ‘Damn it! The coffee can wait.’
From a shelf above the desk, Stella grabbed an A5-sized sign saying ‘Back in five minutes’. Briskly, she walked to the front door of the gallery and hung the sign with its elegant gold cursive message facing out to the street. Then she returned to the back room, clicking the door firmly closed behind her.
‘Right. You’ve got 15 minutes,’ she said.
She cleared a space on the desk, unzipped and stepped out of her skirt, and then settled herself on the edge of the desk with her legs spread. She was wearing lace-topped stay-up stockings but no knickers. Her profusion of dark pubic hair looked as good as it had felt just a week and a bit earlier. And her soft pink inner lips were already starting to peep out from their bushy hiding place. I was powerless to resist.
I crouched down between her stocking-clad legs and blew, softly, across her hirsute patch of pasture.
‘Mmm,’ she moaned.
Her dark nether hair was so silky that, as I blew across it, it waved like a field of soft grass in a summer breeze. It looked just fabulous. And I would have been happy to gaze upon it for the next hour. But we were up against the clock. We had just 15 precious minutes. And we had already used up a couple of them.
With the tip of my nose, I traced a series of S shapes on her furred mount of Venus. And then, with the tip of my tongue, I parted her glistening inner lips.
‘Oh, yes,’ she moaned. ‘Oh, fucking yes.’
I would have said something similar myself — except for the fact that I had my mouth full. And my mother had always told me that it was impolite to speak with one’s mouth full. So, instead, I continued to softly nibble Stella’s clit, flicking it with my tongue, lapping the delicious juices that were beginning to flood her secret crevice, sucking on her delicate inner lips, and then teasing the entrance to her succulent hole with the tip of my tongue.
‘Oh, fucking yes,’ she said for a second time.
After about four or five minutes of sucking and licking — and massaging her responsive little rosebud with my thumb — I briefly came up for air. ‘I think I’ll just pop out and get a newspaper,’ I said, jokingly.
‘Like hell you will,’ Stella said. ‘Just you get back to your work.’
I slid a finger into her. And then another. ‘Oh, well, maybe later,’ I said.
Stella opened her eyes slightly and grinned. ‘Yeah. Like maybe tomorrow. Or the next day.’ And then she really opened her eyes. ‘Oh bugger!’ She wasn’t looking at me; she was looking somewhere over my right shoulder. I turned to see what had caught her attention and there, on the security camera monitor, were two unquestionably patrician faces peering through the locked front door.
‘Baroness Honeywill,’ Stella said. ‘I had completely forgotten that she was coming today.’
Twenty seconds later, Stella was off the desk. She had rearranged her skirt; she had fluffed up her hair; and, with the aid of a tissue, she had more or less tidied up her smudged lipstick. ‘How do I look?’ she asked.
‘Well, personally, I preferred you with your skirt up around your waist,’ I said.
She straightened her skirt for a second time. ‘Is my makeup OK?’
‘Looks fine,’ I said.
Stella took one last quick glance in the mirror and then, after mouthing a kiss in my direction, she opened the door to the main part of the gallery. ‘Help yourself to the coffee,’ she said, trying desperately to maintain a straight face.
Over the next three months or so, Stella and I managed to meet at least once a week. Usually we met up at Marco’s for a quick glass of wine and then raced back to my place for half an hour or so of uncomplicated fucking before she headed home to her husband and child.
And then one morning she phoned me quite early, not long after eight as I recall. ‘What are you doing today?’ she asked. ‘Lectures? Tutorial?’
‘Not today,’ I told her. ‘I’m at home. Working on a maquette.’
‘Good. I have to go and do some shopping, but I could meet you at Marco’s. Say about midday?’
I put clean sheets on the bed and strolled down to Marco’s shortly before midday to make sure that we got what had become our favourite table. Stella arrived about 20 minutes after me. She was carrying — or rather pulling — a brand new suitcase. She also had several other shopping bags.
‘Going on holiday?’ I asked.
‘Umm … well, no. Not exactly. Robert’s been offered a job out in Australia,’ she said. ‘We thought we’d give it a try. I guess as much for Bianca’s sake as anything.’
For a moment there, I said nothing. Australia. God, that was half a world away. Stella wasn’t going to be ducking in for a bit of how’s your father on her way home from the gallery if she was living in Australia. Well, not with me, anyway. ‘Oh,’ I said eventually. ‘And when are you going?’
‘In a couple of weeks. It’s all a bit short notice.’
I had got us a couple of glasses of wine. ‘Oh, well,’ I said, raising my glass in a sort of toast, ‘I guess it’s bon voyage.’ Stella said nothing but leaned across the table and kissed me lightly on my nose.
It wasn’t that I was in love with Stella or anything. We were just friends — friends with benefits, I suppose — although I’d never heard that expression back then.
We both ordered the open chicken sandwich — and another couple glasses or wine — and then, when we had eaten, we trundled Stella’s new suitcase back to my flat.
We parked the suitcase and three or Stella’s four shopping bags in the hallway and went through to the bedroom. Stella removed her skirt and jacket and carefully placed them on the chair by the window. As she unbuttoned her peacock blue silk shirt, she said that she had ‘done a bit of housework.’
‘A bit of redecorating.’ She hooked her thumbs into the front of her knickers and pushed them down to reveal a newly shaven haven. ‘I figure I’m probably going to be wearing bathing suits a lot more out in Australia. Thought I needed to tidy up a bit. What do you think?’
‘Umm … different,’ I said, trying not to sound too disappointed.
She smiled slightly. ‘But you preferred it as it was.’
‘Well … umm … yes,’ I said. ‘If I’m honest.’
Stella pushed her knickers over her hips, let them fall to the ground, and stepped out of them. Then she reached out, took my hand, and placed it on her newly denuded pudendum. ‘It’s very smooth,’ she said, softly. And it was.
My fingers brushed her smooth outer lips. ‘Yes, different,’ I said. And then my forefinger worked its way along her soft pink groove, parting her inner lips, and coming to rest at the entrance to her ever ready cunt.
‘I’ve been thinking about this for the past hour,’ she said. ‘Can you tell?’
‘I do detect a certain slipperiness,’ I told her.
‘Then fuck the foreplay. I want your cock.’
‘Your wish is my command.’ I bent her over the back of the chair, parted her soft-but-toned buttocks, and slid my cock, slowly, into her waiting tunnel.
‘Oh, fuck, yes!’ she said.
We must have fucked for the best part of half an hour. Stella came two or three times; but I saved it all for one shuddering blast, pulling out at the very last minute, and spraying a bucketful of cum all over her beautiful belly. As we lay side by side, I slowly spread the warm slippery semen over her smooth pussy mound and outer lips.
‘Hoping to make it grow back?’ Stella said with a little smile.
For some time we just lay there in each other’s arms, neither of us saying anything. A couple of times it was on the tip of my tongue to ask if this was the last time, but I didn’t.
Eventually Stella said that she needed to go. ‘There are so many things that need to be done.’
She dressed again, tidied up her hair, touched up her makeup, and then she took a small plastic bag from her handbag. ‘I brought you a small present,’ she said. ‘A memento. It seemed a pity to just throw it away.’
I knew what it was — even before I took a close look at it. ‘Thank you,’ I said. ‘My very own piece of pubic pasture. I shall treasure it always.’
We hugged briefly, and Stella kissed me on the nose in her quirky little maternal way. ‘I’ll call you before I go,’ she said. But she didn’t.