BOOK RELEASE DATE: Saturday January 12, 2019.
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Clarence—my home, my love, the second part to my self—wraps his arm around my waist as we titter down the sidewalk toward a blue and red neon sign flashing the name, Rue 1.
“Do you mind?” he asks.
“Why would I mind?”
“Since we don’t know each other that well—actually, we do, but I mean other than sexually knowing each other.”
He’s still playing the game.
“Oh, right … normally I don’t allow men who are strangers to put their arm around my waist, but I like your accent, so you can do it.”
“Ah, that makes sense. Fucking is on the table, but arm placement has a special meaning.”
“But of course. Fucking—especially in the bathroom—if you think about it, isn’t that intimate. Touch, on the other hand, is a completely different matter.”
A dizzy sense of lostness of not being who I am makes me able to try anything; it’s the same high feeling I used to get teaching and fucking the select virgin students in my office.
It’s addicting, but no good for you.
What do I know? What happened to living this one life?
Freedom is: sauntering down the busy New York City sidewalks under the warms stars with an exciting and sexy stranger, listening to the cool screeching tires and subsequent honks, knowing that your car is parked in another city and state along with most of your belongings and life, making you believe—at least for a drawn out moment—that you are a vagabond without a care in the world.
We enter Rue 1. It is completely pitch black except for the saving grace of a single large disco ball reflecting red and silver lights which, somehow, illuminates the joint enough for one to see the sea of bobbing heads of other patrons, and where you are stepping. Immediately we journey to the bar. I look out for Celine, but there’s no indication of a blonde model slinking around the bar or the tiny one room space.
What makes this place even stranger is the absence of music. All noises come from people’s mouths.
“What did we just enter? Hal’s space orgy room?” I say, not particularly expecting an answer.
“‘I am afraid I can’t do that Dave,’” Clarence responds right away in a mechanical, creepy voice.
“Holy shit … who are you?”
Clarence slips his hand from my waist to my hand, then squeezes it.
“Only quite possibly the man you’ll want to marry.”
Is this the real Clarence talking?
I hope so.
He leads me to a silver jewel bedazzled bar stool. The stool is covered in jewels, making this the first time I’ve sat on such an uncomfortable, strange seat.
Their way of getting me to stand?
“What will you have, Adele?”
“She looks like the cranberry vodka type; simple, feminine, and easy,” says a sultry voice from behind me. A long set of fingers slither around my arm, then I see the familiar floral patterned fabric.
It is Celine, of course. She slips the drink that is set in a martini glass into my hand. Clarence’s face drops in uncertainty—the first time tonight.
“That is very generous of you,” Clarence says, speaking up for me before I get the chance.
I am inclined to gulp this drink down in order to set off my buzz from earlier, but I don’t want to appear too nervous.
“I’m Clarence. You are?”
Celine takes his hand, going along with the game. “Celine. I love your partner here—she’s dazzling and gorgeous.” She winks her curled long eyelashes at me.
“We just met,” I say as Clarence opens his mouth. “I’m Adele.”
“Adele! Nom sexy.”
Clarence’s eyes narrow for a brief moment, then they return back to their normal, comical twinkle.
My drink is gone, and the claustrophobia is kicking in.
“Why don’t we step outside?” I say.
“Le Mépris is playing at the cine down the block. You two down? I don’t have anyone else to go with.”
“I am if this gorgeous woman named Adele is.”
Just pretend like you know what Celine is talking about.
“Yeah, sounds great.”
“Have you seen it?” Celine asks me with a smug little smile, as if she already knows the answer.
Of course she asks if I’ve seen it.
“I’m afraid not.”
“Ah! Jean-Luc Godard’s masterpiece? The adaptation of Il Disprezzo, to which he had contempt for the book itself, but ended up creating one of his most memorable masterpieces? Don’t worry darling, I’m sure they’ll have English subtitles.”
Celine grabs my hand and I grab Clarence’s, and we walk in a chain down the sidewalk, the three of us holding hands like school children keeping together on a field trip.
We arrive inside the theater a couple minutes in to the film, right as the film cuts to the red-hued shot of Bardot and her naked backside, and a man next to her who I presume to be her husband or lover.
I sit in the middle of Clarence and Celine. There are no subtitles, but does it really matter at this point? The visuals are stunning, and the emotions are universal.
In the middle of the film, I realize that Celine is Brigitte Bardot in flesh and emotionality. A pang of jealousy and admiration as I eye Celine’s perfect profile.
Yes, she is Bardot.
I look down to Clarence’s hand, which is tapping—I must assume nervously—against his knee. He looks at me quickly, looks away, then back again.
“What is it?”
He takes my hand and presses a peck of a kiss onto it. “May I kiss your lips?” he whispers.
We kiss, subtle and gentle, though not subtle enough for Celine not to take notice. I feel a tap on my hand that is on the arm rest I share with Celine.
As I break away from Clarence’s lips, I find my lips and tongue being crushed by wet cherry chapstick and hot cranberry alcohol. Her kiss is wanting and urgent, like being turned on for hours without respite.
Clarence grips my thigh from underneath my dress, as if uncomfortable by what is happening, but when I look over to check on him, he is staring ahead at the screen.
Celine takes my lips again for more, more, more.
Then, I am back to Clarence’s lips. We trade back and forth, with Celine feeling up my breasts, and Clarence taking over my thighs.
“I want the three of us to fuck,” Celine moans quietly into my ear. “Do you want that?”