The bubbles tickled at her nose as she tipped the thin flute upwards, the crystal so delicate that she thought for a moment that even the simple act of raising it the glass to her lips would be enough to shatter it into a million tiny, piercing shards. She snorted a little at the sensation – so embarrassing – then somehow managed to compose herself.
He was sitting across the table, smiling at her, watching for her reaction. His glass remained untouched. ‘First time?’ he asked.
For a lot of things, she thought. Instead she just nodded.
‘What did you think?’
‘It’s nice. I like it.’ In truth, she found it a little too dry, a little too sharp to be entirely pleasurable. She would have been happier with the taste of her usual bottle of wine, whatever was sweet and light and on sale at the local corner shop on a Friday night – but of course, the company was much better here. She wondered if, perhaps, champagne was a drink that people only pretended to like when they were trying to impress someone important to them, when they were trying to appear worldly, sophisticated, and utterly grown up.
Three dates in, and she hadn’t quite shaken that feeling. Twenty-five years old, and he made her feel like a teenager again. He was older, yes, but not that much older; twelve years, if you rounded down. So how was it that she made her feel like a dumb kid crushing on her teacher? Was it the slight peppering grey in his hair? The cut of his suit: stylish, confident? The way people seemed to listen when he talked, as if by instinct?
‘Well, that’s more than I could say the first time I tried it,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t stand it.’
‘How old were you, your first time?’
‘And when you tried champagne?’
He laughed at that, and she felt a thrill of pride; it felt good to know she could surprise him still. ‘Also eighteen,’ he said. ‘The same night, in fact. Apparently the two things go together a little better than I thought.’
He knew, of course. He hadn’t pushed her, hadn’t pressured her at all. He had wanted it to be special – hence the dinner in his apartment, the champagne chilled to perfection, the music playing lightly in the background – and it was. She couldn’t have pictured a more perfect moment.
He had joked once about her not wearing panties on a date with him, and she was shocked at how she had considered it. She had always wondered if she would be the kind of girl who’d lean into that if the opportunity ever arose; if, given a man with whom she felt safe enough, she’d sit through dinner or a movie, knowing that there was nothing but air between her pussy and her lover…
When the taxi arrived to pick her up, she had shimmied them down her legs and thrown them into the laundry basket, smoothing down her skirt. She felt daring, free. It would be a surprise for him later, she had thought. Well, later was here now.
Tonight’s the night. Twenty-five years of waiting, and here it was. Worth every second.
He could read her excitement at a distance; it was a different kind of nervousness than he was used to with her. She had started to grow used to him over the past few weeks, to settle into herself in his company, to sound out the first glorious syllables of what the future might hold. She had become… comfortable, and he felt pride in that. He liked that he could put her at ease.
He knelt in front of her, and she felt the touch of his fingers at her ankle – a tap, a gesture, an indication to uncross her legs. She did so.
He was looking up at her, imploringly. Say the word, he seemed to be saying. Say the word and this all stops. We can go back to chatting, to the champagne, to dessert. We can be as we were, for as long as it takes you to be comfortable. A day, a week, a lifetime if necessary. There’s no rush.
There was never a rush; not with him. Everything seemed to happen at just the right pace.
She said nothing. There was nothing to be said.
She parted her knees and, like a groom reveal his bride’s face from beneath a bridal gown, he lifted the hem of her dress.
His gaze was fixed on the smooth skin of her thighs as he pulled the fabric up, up, up, giving her every chance to stop him; he wanted it to be perfect. He paused only when he realised that there was nothing stopping him, no panties in the way to slow his inexorable progress, and she felt him take a deep breath of appreciation.
It was nice, to be looked at that way. To be admired. To be wanted.
He kissed her thigh, parting her legs gently with his hand, and she could feel a cool breeze at her cunt, her wetness impossible to ignore. She wanted nothing more than to be touched there, to be teased –
to be fucked
– but he steadfastly took his time; she was his, brand new, and he was going to savour these first moments.
His kisses drew near, his breath warm against her skin – and then, unexpected, the electric first-touch of his tongue. She gripped at the table, worried for an instant that in her ecstasy her nails might carve deep grooves into the varnish, and then steadied herself. She gave a long, slow exhalation, willing her body back under control. Not now, she thought. Fuck, so close… but not now. Not yet. Not so soon. That comes later.
The champagne glass sat just inches from her hand. She watched a thin stream of bubbles rising from the edge, hurtling to the surface and disappearing forever. It felt apt: a momentary lifting, and then nothing.
She hoped there would be more than nothing waiting for her.
He kissed her, down there, and every kiss promised a thousand more; he alternated his kisses with soft, gentle licks that pushed her towards a sensation she had never shared with anyone. He was familiar with her, as experienced as she was innocent. What she suspected, he knew; his reverence was new and strange, but no less comforting for it. She was safe in the hands of an expert.
Her body tightened, and he looked up, concerned.
‘No… please,’ she said, surprised at how weak her voice sounded. ‘Don’t stop.’ Don’t ever stop.
And there was that smile again. ‘Relax,’ he said. ‘Have a drink. Enjoy it. It’s OK.’
Enjoy it. As if she were capable of anything but. And why shouldn’t she?
She let him guide her, his tongue carving out fresh, new pathways of pleasure that she had never considered before, had never been able to reach herself. She felt it rise up out of her, spreading out from his kisses up through her body, separate quanta of joy and lust and longing made just for her, teased out of her one by one…
When it came, it came in waves: no crashing tsunami but a steady, glorious lapping of pleasure that she felt could go on forever. She let out a moan – no embarrassment, not now – and felt her body shiver and shake; her hand reached down, not to pull him close or grasp at his hair but just to touch him, to feel his presence, to remind herself that this man – this beautiful, wonderful man – was the one making her feel this way.
He looked up at her, his brow dappled with exertive sweat, his perfect hair mussed. She leaned down to kiss him and detected the faintest trace of herself on his lips; another unfamiliar taste, but not unpleasant for it. ‘The bedroom?’ he asked.
‘The bedroom,’ she replied.
The drinks could wait.