It had been a centuries since the Great Disaster. What was left of humanity struggled to survive, but we did. The old ways of living collapsed, and the new lawless way of life took over. Those that lived in the outskirts from the City lived a hard life of farming and struggle without electricity. But, they stayed safe from the gangs and almost always had plenty to eat. The rest of us, lived in the City. The wealthier and most powerful people lived high up in the buildings and never set foot on the ground. The most unfortunate of humanity, lived at street level.
I was born and raised in the City and had never ventured below the 10th floor. I was safe and happy and content. At least, until I met him. My family and I lived a comfortable life on the 30th floor. We weren’t rich. We weren’t powerful. But we were comfortable in our life. I had been married for almost 10 years when he came into my life. A man from the ground level that I could not ignore.
He was beautiful with his dark head of curls and piercing green eyes. His muscular body on full display for all to see. As a security measure, all ground level people were unclothed when above the 5th floor. He was part of the entertainment for the celebrations that evening. A tattoo artist brought in to mark our skins for fun.
I sat in his chair with my back to him. My large black tree tattoo on display for him and others to see.
“Can you design something to with this for me?” I asked.
“I can, but I’ll need to sketch it first. Can you stay after the event so I can draw something up for you?” His voice was deep and bored.
“Sure. I’ll stay after and meet you here.”
The night dragged on as I watched him work on party goer after party goer. His focus on each patron’s skin. His demeanor sullen and quiet. He was there to do a job and get paid. I wondered what his payment would be. Would it be food and water vouchers? Would it be shoes? Or would it be something more valuable; a place to stay off the ground level for a while?
The celebration was over. My husband had left hours ago, knowing that I was going to meet with the tattoo artist. The sketch of my tree took only moments to do. The design of a golden sun rising through the branches took a few moments more. What took the rest of the night and into our own sunrise was so much more. When we weren’t entwined in each other’s arms, we talked about everything and nothing.
“Find me,” he said, as I slowly dressed. “Leslie’s Place. I’ll do that sunrise for you.” It was an invitation. An invitation to leave my safe, comfortable life and be with him. He handed me the sketch, kissed me one last time and left.
I went home to my safe life. I could not forget him. My waking thoughts were consumed with him and my dreams were spent in his arms. I knew what I had to do, though it broke me.
Now, I walked the streets of the City, searching for the one place I knew he’d be. I knew the name of the small shop, but that was it. And in the City, there could be hundreds of shops with the same name.
But today, I was in a new part of the City, so I was on the ground. I’d been told that there was a shop called “Leslie’s Place” in this area. Like most shops, it was a mashup of general store, restaurant, tattooing and whoring. With no laws to govern them, shops made money anyway they could. As I strode down the street, I kept as much distance as I could between me and the other people walking along. The smell of humanity was strong on the streets. In this part of the city water was probably at a premium and rarely used for bathing.
Then I saw it, the sign for “Leslie’s Place”. It was a narrow shop stuck in what was probably once a back alley for trash. It didn’t have a front wall to the store, just the two walls of the buildings next to it and a corrugated tin roof. I stood staring into the shop, begging the fates for a break in my luck, “Please let him be here.” A patron moved at the rear of the shop and I saw a dark mop of curls bent over a pale arm in the tattooist’s chair.
I stood transfixed. I had seen him before thousands of times only to be disappointed that it wasn’t him. But this was different. I knew it was him. It couldn’t be anybody else. I stood on the sidewalk and waited for him to feel me staring, for he had to feel the force of it; the force of my longing.
Months ago I had left my husband in search of this man. We had been happy, my husband and I. We lived a comfortable life and had two lovely children. One fair-haired and light skinned like him. And one with jet hair and olive complexioned like me. Two different beautiful souls, and for them I will never regret my marriage. But the comfort and stable life was not enough for my soul. I needed him. So I left everything I knew to find him.
And here I was, standing on a disgusting sidewalk in the darkest part of the city and staring at him with yearning so deep I could barely breath. “Jesse,” I breathed, so quietly nobody around me should be able to hear it. But he did. He raised his head from the arm in front of him and looked directly at me. He didn’t smile. He didn’t move. There was no reaction other than direct eye contact.
I made my way into the shop. He watched my every move as I made my way toward him.
“Dude, you gonna finish that tat, or stare off into space?” the grungy looking man in the chair grumbled at Jesse.
“Sorry man,” Jesse replied, and bent back to his work.
I finally made it to Jesse’s side and asked, “When’s your next opening?”
“Right after this,” he said as he continued working on the grungy man’s arm.
“I’m next then,” I said, placing down my payment card. “I’m ready for the sun we discussed earlier.”
Jesse did not reply but nodded his head at me. I took a seat on a long past repair padded bench and waited.
When the grungy man left, Jesse finally looked at me.
“The sun,” he asked, with a gleam in his eyes. I couldn’t tell if he was laughing at me or was filled with longing like me.
“On my back, above the tree,” I replied quietly. “And then, I want the vines to wrap around to the front to form the necklace.”
“That’s quite a piece,” he said matter of factly. “I don’t think you want to pay the price.”
“I already have,” I said, my voice growing husky. “And I’ll pay anything more for it.”
Jesse nodded and pointed to the tattooist chair. “Sit facing forward. I need you to remove your top and bra.”
I did what he asked without hesitation, and without caring that my breasts were bare for all to see.
Without warning, Jesse began the tattoo on my back. “Try not to move,” he whispered into my ear. His warm breath tickled the sensitive area making it hard to do as he asked. Already, my body was aching with need for him.
What seemed like hours passed as I sat in his chair. The numbing pain of the tattoo machine bringing no relief to the desire in my body.
At one point, I let my head fall back and moaned quietly. He leaned forward and put his lips to my neck and then rested his forehead on my shoulder. His dark curls fell loosely onto my skin and I shivered at the sensation. “If you do much more of that, I will not be able to finish this tattoo,” he whispered into my skin. The moist heat of his words sliding through me.
Later he turned me in the chair to face him, but his eyes were on my chest as he continued to work on the tattoo. I stared at the ceiling trying desperately to keep my breaths even. He was so close to my breasts. It was all I could do to not thread my fingers through his hair and force his mouth onto one of my taught nipples.
The night dragged on. People came and went into the store. Some watched Jesse work. Others openly ogled my naked torso. I didn’t care. He was here, and I had found him at last. The pain of the tattoo was nothing to the conflict in my heart. I knew it was too late to go back to my family; to the ones I loved. I had left that all behind for him. And that hurt more than anything in the world could. Except, not having him, not being with him, was pure anguish.
“It’s done,” he said at last. There was exhaustion in his voice.
I sat up slowly and looked at him. His blue eyes were lidded with desire and every muscle of his body was tight with restraint. Holding back his longing was wearing him down.
“How much do I owe you,” I asked as I gingerly put on my shirt.
“As you said,” he replied grabbing hold of my hand. “The price has been paid.” He then let a slow seductive grin spread on his face. “But I wouldn’t mind a generous tip.” He pulled me toward him, not caring about the large fresh wounds on my body. His mouth covered mine in a possessive kiss that I returned with as much intensity.
Patrons of the shop began to whistle and make comments about the display, but he didn’t stop. He held me tightly to him and continued to reacquaint himself with my mouth. Eventually, he pulled back and I whimpered.
“Not here,” he said, his voice deep with desire. “Not here.”
He grabbed my hand and began pulling me to a door in the rear of the shop. Once through the door he led me down an unlit hallway to a different locked door. He fumbled for the key in the darkness as I leaned forward to catch my breath; this was finally happening.
The door finally opened and Jesse dragged me inside. He quickly shut and locked it again. “Here. Now,” he commanded. “Take it off.”
I knew what he meant. I undressed in the middle of the windowless room as he lit a candle in the corner. The room contained nothing but an old futon, a folding table with two chairs and an ancient television. “It’s not much, but it’s home,” he said with a shrug.
I opened my arms to him, but he did not come to me. He just stood near the futon and watched the candlelight flicker over my body. “So beautiful,” he murmured.
“Please,” I whimpered. “I’ve been searching for so long. Please, let me see you too.”
Jesse swiftly pulled his t-shirt over his head and removed shoes, pants and shorts in one swift movement. His erection stood as evidence of his desire for me. We stood staring at each other for what felt like a millennia before stumbling into each other’s arms. As we kissed, Jesse backed us to the futon and sat with me straddling him.
His hands cupped my breasts and I arched my back at the pleasure of it. My hands were finally able to thread his hair and roam his shoulders and back. His erection between us, he dipped his head to first one breast and then the other; suckling and biting until their peaks were tight with pleasure. My body was begging for release. I grabbed his erection tightly and without words let my demands be known.
Jesse chuckled into the valley between my breasts, “So needy. So full of desire. So MINE,” he growled the last as he lifted me onto him, replacing my hands with my core.
We held each other for a long moment, reveling in the joy and completeness of finally being together; of our bodies being one. But soon my body took over from my brain and began rocking on him. My clit rubbing against him in just the right way to bring the painful pleasure forward from deep within my body. He resumed his biting and kissing of my breasts, shoulders, any skin he could reach was fair game for his mouth.
I could feel the orgasm building in my center. Its heat and pleasure building inside until I could no longer control it. Jesse could though. He began to rock us harder and faster. His own pleasure spiking and playing out on his face and in his moans.
We came together, our bodies tightening and convulsing at the same time; our shouts of pleasure comingling in the air. He fell back onto the futon bringing me with him. We were still connected in the most intimate of ways and it felt wonderful. We lay there, combined, and knowing that our desires were sated only for the moment. But now we had the time to finally, finally fulfill them all.