"Go on, open it." Shona passed the envelope to Mark. "It must be good news. Nobody uses snail mail any more except for special occasions."
Mark and Shona were squashed together in Mark's single bed. Both sets of parents had gone away for the weekend, and the couple had taken advantage of their freedom with an all day sex session, finally falling to sleep, clutched in each others' embrace at midnight the previous night.
Now the sun was streaming through the window from a clear sky, promising the first really warm day of summer. Mark had his hand resting on Shona's pussy, his favourite spot. Even when he was sated, his cock dangling like a desiccated earthworm, he could raise a groan or two by a little finger waggling. He massaged Shona's mound as he took the envelope with his other hand. Then he dragged his finger through the warm slit, causing Shona to wriggle and grimace, before taking it out, wet and glistening, and letting Shona suck the juices off it.
Mark took the envelope and opened it. As he read, his smile broadened, and finally he gave a whoop.
"I've got into medical school in Auckland!" He thrust the letter in front of Shona. Shona gave a squeal of delight as she read the letter, wrapping her legs around Mark's naked body.
"Great news!" she said. "So what do you want to do to celebrate?"
Shona rolled round on top of Mark, her breasts tickling his nipples, then sat down on his thighs, her wet pussy hairs grinding against his crotch. It was quite obvious what sort of celebration Shona had in mind. Mark felt himself getting hard again. He grabbed at Shona's well proportioned breasts, admiring her dusky body with its ample curves, tapering down to her long thighs. His mind drifted to thoughts of the plumper woman he had seen in church.
"Mmm, nice," said Shona, adjusting Mark's rapidly thickening cock, and then easing herself down on it, giving little grunts of pleasure. Mark gasped and groaned, squeezing Shona's breasts as she squirmed on top of him, grinding into him, ensuring the build up of tension was gradual. Mark tried to move but Shona had him pinned down. He moaned and sighed, running his thumbs around Shona's nipple.
Mark squirted his liquid, and gave a sigh of relieved pressure. So glad I persuaded Shona to go on the pill, he thought. Much better than fiddling round with condoms.
Shona got up off Mark and the semen inside her trickled onto his leg, mixed in with her own vaginal juices. The sex smell wafted into the air.
"Finish me off," said Shona, bending down in front of Mark, raising her backside, showing the moist pink opening underneath, a foamy mass of cum just visible inside it. Mark reached his hand between Shona's thighs and slipped his fingers inside. Shona groaned, wriggled, and returned her arse to the upright position. Mark grabbed it, knelt behind Shona and rammed in his own cock, only half stiff, but enough to excite Shona as he started thrusting hard. The bed creaked and groaned, almost as loud as Shona's own shrieks.
Mark's cock started to sag again. He looked at Shona's behind, the muscles twitching, and imagined the plumper one of the girl in church.
Shona gasped as Marks' penis swelled like a blossoming flower, and she almost fell off the bed with the strength of his thrusts. Then Shona shuddered, and more liquid dripped from her hole.
The two naked bodies were soaked with sexual juices, which Shona spread around them by rubbing their bodies together.
"That was wonderful," said Shona, as her long blonde hair nestled against Mark's armpit, their sweaty body odour mingling with the sexual juice smells. Mark held onto Shona, feeling relaxed and happy, knowing he had kept her contented for the next little while.
Eventually Shona asked Mark what they wanted to do for the rest of the day. Mark tensed beside her. He had undergone three orgasms that morning, and four the previous night. Though he had a firm appreciation of Shona's soft body, at the same time he felt totally drained. Maybe Shona would just let him rest his hand on her pussy, and stroke gently. He started to shift his hand.
"I don't mean just sex, Mark. Our relationship must have something more than that. What do you want to do today? How shall we celebrate your good news?"
"We can go to church later," said Mark. That would fill up part of the day.
"I thought maybe we could give church a miss for once," said Shona. "After all, this is the first time we have been able to spend the whole weekend together. We should take advantage of it."
"So what do you want to do, Shones," asked Mark.
"I don't know. I thought we could maybe go ice skating. Would you like that?"
Mark was not a bad ice skater, and normally would have agreed readily enough, but somehow the thought of Shona accompanying him through the day, just the two of them, gave him a feeling of unease. He loved Shona well enough, but all day, with just his girlfriend seemed too much to cope with at the moment. After all, it's not as if they were married or anything.
"I'd like to go to church," said Mark. "I know that's what my mum and dad would want."
Shona laughed. "Bit hypocritical, isn't it. After what we've been doing."
That thought had occurred to Mark as well, so it was with increasing irritation that he replied. "No I don't think so. Christians are not perfect, just forgiven. My folks would like me to go, and people will just talk about us if we're not there,"
"Yeah, that's true," said Shona. She got up, and started gathering up her clothes. "I'll have a shower. Do you want to come in with me?" The previous evening they had undressed each other in the bathroom, soaped their private parts, and with much thrashing, bruised elbows and grunting, had made love standing up in the shower, the warm water cascading down on them, the semen trickling out of Shona, to be washed down the plughole. A preliminary to their all night session.
"No, no time," said Mark. "You go first, and I'll follow."
Mark waited until he heard the shower water gushing before gathering his own clothes and towel. When Shona came out, now dressed for church, he slipped inside. As the warm water coursed down his body he thought of his relationship. They had been a couple for six months now, and while their relationship had been punctuated with a great many clandestine sex encounters like their first one in the church toilets, this was the first time they had been given the opportunity for a more open sex session, with both sets of parents away at the same time.
Mark enjoyed the sex; Shona's body was always there for him, and her mouth work was like nothing he had ever experienced. But Shona liked him to go out with her to various places including walks up Mount Victoria and restaurants; places that forced them to be in close proximity and talk to each other without groping.
Mark got out of the shower and the two of them climbed into Mark's parents' BMW for the drive to the church. The two of them greeted the ushers and were guided to an empty seat, Mark looking around for a familiar freckled face, as he had done for the last six months, but not finding it.
Shona snuggled up beside him and started talking about his move to Auckland to medical school next year. "You'll have to keep in touch," she said. "I can visit you in Auckland. You can show me the sights." Mark replied in a distracted fashion to Shona's attempts at conversation until with some relief the singing-like noise of the first hymn gave him an excuse to concentrate on something else.
Shona's parents would be returning in the afternoon, so after church, Mark dropped Shona back to her place, and then lay back on his bed, thinking of sex, until his own parents arrived. As predicted both were pleased for Mark. His mother hugged him, and his father shook his hand.
"We will have to go out to celebrate," said Tasi. "This is a rare achievement. My son, the famous surgeon."
"Our son, Tasi," put in Marge. "Where would you like to go? Shona and her family can come with us. We could go to somewhere really nice."
Mark remembered the French restaurant he and Shona had seen on the way to Mount Victoria one warm spring weekend, and Shona had dragged him to the menu outside the door to see what was on offer. "Mmm, foie gras," she had said. "Decadent, but nice,"
"What's foie gras?" asked Mark.
"Don't you know? Its goose liver. Prepared by force feeding the geese. Nowadays most places use duck liver, but this is a traditional restaurant and still uses geese. She pointed to the sign above the door. "L'oie means the goose."
"It sounds gross," said Mark. "Can't be much fun for the goose, either."
"Oh, it doesn't hurt them much," said Shona. My French teacher last year, M. Pascal, told me. He loves foie gras. He thinks Kiwis are heathen because they banned its production here."
Mark gave a grimace. "What gives that arrogant frog the right to come here and criticise our country? Why doesn't he go back where he came from, if he doesn't like it?"
Shona had grabbed onto Mark's arm and kissed his ear. "Don't be cross, darling," she said. "We should go out there one day. It's a new place."
"Too expensive for us," said Mark, glancing at the prices on the menu. "It would take me more than a week working for my dad to pay for a meal there."
"Maybe we could go on a special occasion," said Shona.
Remembering this, Mark suggested l'oie to his parents. Tasi hummed and hawed, expensive French muck, what's wrong with good Samoan food, but Marge agreed readily. So on the following Friday, two BMW's pulled up outside l'oie in Mount Victoria. Both families could have walked, but not in the fashionable high heels the women were wearing.
Mark's family were the first to walk up to the front door of the restaurant, tastefully decorated with container plants. Two well dressed woman and a middle aged man approached the family and handed out a leaflet. Marge shrunk away. She was always embarrassed by unplanned social encounters, even with the extremely polite and friendly Jehovah's Witnesses. They were far too passionate and ... intense for her taste. These people seemed to be promoting something with the same intensity as the Witnesses promoted everlasting life, and she shrank from them.
"No, thank you," she said, scuttling into the restaurant.
Tasi was less polite, angrily brushing aside the man, who had approached him with an ingratiating smile. "You coming, Mark?" he demanded, holding open the door for his son.
Mark had been about to engage with the young woman handing out the leaflet. When he heard his father he grabbed a leaflet from her and hurried into the restaurant.
A young man in evening dress with a French accent glided to their side and after checking their reservation, guided the family to their table overlooking the street. Mark could see the three leaflet wielders talking among themselves. He surreptitiously looked at the leaflet the young woman had given him, as the French-sounding waiter helped Marge into her seat and poured out water for her.
The leaflet showed a picture of a goose, its neck extended and hugging a huge metal tube, while a woman dressed in peasant garb pushed a bright blue bulging bag down its gullet. It looked like the kind of contraption his mother sometimes used to force icing through an aperture onto a cake, only it was a living creature it was being forced into. The caption read "Don't buy foie gras," and underneath was a description of the foie gras industry in France, and summaries of scientific studies on goose suffering written by veterinarians. Mark stopped reading. He was hungry and didn't want to spoil his appetite.
The waiter, who Mark had taken a dislike to, ushered in Shona and her parents. The four older adults immediately began talking about their days and work. Mark kissed Shona lightly on the cheek and brushed the waiter aside, moving Shona's chair for her himself.
"I'm starving," said Shona. "I'm looking forward to this. Thank you, Mr and Mrs Wiseman, for inviting me.
"That's quite all right, Shona," said Marge. "After all, you encouraged Mark with his studies and helped him with some of his homework, so you are quite entitled to share with his triumph." Shona looked down, remembering what really went on in some of those 'homework' sessions with Mark.
"I'm having the foie gras," said Campbell. "I don't care what these layabouts think." He gazed with scorn at the protesters outside. The original three well-dressed distributors had been joined by four younger protesters; three young men, and a scantily dressed young woman. They were holding placards, "Say no to animal abuse," "L'oie abuses animals," and "honk if you like geese".
"It's disgusting the way they are allowed to disturb decent folk," said Marge. "They should be removed."
"Looks like someone else has the same idea," said Tasi, as a blue flashing light reflected itself in the window. A police officer had walked up to the group, and was arguing and gesticulating with the placard holders. Mark's heart missed a beat. The young lady, the one arguing most vociferously with the policeman, was the freckled woman from church.
She was wearing short shorts and thigh length boots, accentuating her best features, and a loose T shirt with some slogan on it. She didn't seem to be wearing a bra. At least, when she turned around to gesture angrily at the restaurant, Mark clearly saw the outline of her nipples through her shirt.
"Why don't they get jobs?" muttered Shona to Mark. Mark was too distracted to reply.
The older, better dressed protesters had elbowed the placard wielders aside, and were now having a quiet conversation with the policeman, and a pleasant looking police woman who had joined him. The placard wielders positioned themselves outside each of the windows fronting the street, and held up their placards so they were visible to the customers inside.
The three well-dressed protesters shook hands with the police officers, handed each officer a leaflet, and the officers walked away. Soon the blue flashing light was no longer reflected in the window, and the protesters with the leaflets went back to their post by the front door.
"Well!" exclaimed Marge. "That's typical. The police do nothing. I'd have arrested the lot of them, and thrown them into the cells for a night. That will teach them to spoil our evening."
"We can go somewhere else if you want, Marge," said Tasi.
"No, Tasi, that's just what they want," said Marge. "I'm staying here, and what's more I'll be ordering the foie gras. Shona likes it too. What about you, Mark, it's your evening after all."
Mark glanced out of the window. The girl from church was stationed outside it, placard held up for everyone in the restaurant to see, her nipples wiggling under her shirt as she breathed in and out.
"I'd like to stay, dad," he said. "I won't have the foie gras though. It seems cruel."
"Come on Mark, they're only geese. Foie gras tastes divine," said Campbell. "Have you ever tried it?"
Mark shook his head.
"Don't pressure him, dad," said Shona, laying her hand on Mark's knee. "You can have some of mine if you want to try it," she said to Mark.
The waiter had come by and was taking orders. Mark never liked this part of eating out. His parents would always fluff around, order something, then ask the waiter if the mushrooms were really fresh, or how well cooked the steak would be, change their mind and argue, then change it again. Mark waited while they got on with it, watching the woman with the placard and giving Shona a grope under the table.
Mark was just wondering whether he and Shona might have time for a quickie in the toilets, when his parents finished making their choices and the waiter turned to him and Shona. Mark skipped on the entree, but Shona ordered the foie gras. Mark read through the French menu, something that was a struggle for him, never having been taught a foreign language.
Shona, who came near the top of her class in French last year, was pleased to translate for him, and the French-looking waiter also chimed in with helpful comments. Mark felt that these two linguistic experts were showing him up, especially after Shona started exchanging a few words in French with the waiter, who was gazing at Shona's cleavage rather more intently than his job description required.
"You decide for me," Mark said eventually, and went back to staring at the placard-wielding freckled woman outside the window. She and the other three younger protesters had started chanting, an original chant to the tune of Pink Floyd's 'The wall'.
We don't want no geese in cages
We don't want no force fed birds
No dark and painful Hell for poultry,
Pascal leave those birds alone.
Hey! Pascal! Leave those birds alone!
The waiters started scurrying around, closing the windows near the street. "So sorry, Mesdames and Messieurs," one of them announced. As the windows closed, the chanting died to a murmur, and the heat started to climb. There was a faint hiss as the air conditioning was turned on, further drowning out the remnants of the chanting. The only noise from outside was the occasional honk of a car horn. Presumably from a driver who 'liked geese.'
"Nous aimerions deux plaques de l'oie rôtie, avec des frites et légumes" said Shona. The waiter bowed and went back to the kitchen with the table's orders. The protester outside still moved her lips up and down, "Hey! Pascal! Leave those birds alone!" but no sound penetrated into the peaceful atmosphere of the restaurant.
"Pascal. That's the name of my French teacher. I wonder if he is related to the chef," said Shona. Mark grunted. He wasn't really interested.
"Let's have a toast, to Mark," said Tasi as the waiter poured wine into each glass. "Mark has been accepted to medical school in Auckland next year. To our son, the doctor."
Mark looked down, embarrassed.
"And let's not forget Shona," put in Marge. "An encouragement to my boy, and a delightful future daughter in law." This time is was Shona who stared downwards. Mark caught her hand and gave it a squeeze.
"Speech, speech!" yelled Campbell, waving his glass. A few of the patrons looked around.
"Keep your voice down, Campbell," whispered Paula. "You're starting to sound like those losers outside."
The entrees arrived; Shona's little dab of foie gras on a home-made cracker with a single olive looking incongruously tiny on a large platter. Shona spread some of the creamy brown pate on her cracker and offered it to Mark. Mark shook his head. Shona took a bite and wriggled with pleasure. "Mmm, that is so good," she said. "You don't know what you're missing, Mark."
When the mains arrived, Mark tucked into his own roast goose with enthusiasm. He was hungry now, and what with the trip to the restaurant and the waiting, he was eating a lot later than he normally did. The hot sun had gone down, and Mark noticed the girl outside had donned a fleecy hoodie. Her legs were now a deeper shade of pinky purple, taut and hard against the cold. Mark thought again about a quickie with Shona, but his stomach was clamouring louder than his dick.
The roast goose wasn't bad, but the sauces were very heavy, and Mark would have just as soon have eaten boil up. As for the pommes frites, again not a bad taste, but when you came down to it a high price to pay for what were essentially just chips; the sort he could get from any takeaway.
During the meal, Mark's parents, his girlfriend and her parents plied him with questions about his plans and prospects. What did he want to do after medical school? What speciality did he want to go in for? Mark had no ideas about the future, not having much enthusiasm for medicine, and instead steered the conversation towards Shona and her prospects in her first professional year at law school next March.
Shona wanted to be a corporate lawyer like her father, rather than acting for clients in court or a law practice. "Corporate lawyers make even more money than doctors, Mark," she said, to general approval from her parents.
The adults talked through their meal and ordered dessert. There appeared to be some sort of altercation outside. The girl from the church had been shouting through a megaphone, the booming voice penetrating even into the restaurant. She appeared to be arguing with the well dressed man who had appeared on the scene first.
"Layabouts," muttered Bill, skewering a piece of crepes Suzettes and bringing it up to his mouth. The girl outside had stopped her screaming through the megaphone and was holding the placard up to the window again. Mark saw one well dressed couple walk up to the entrance to the restaurant, only to confer then walk away, once they had read the leaflet the two well dressed women were handing out.
"Such a shame," said Marge. "Don't know why the police can't eject them. We're too soft on crime."
"Precisely," said Tasi. "Lawbreakers should get their just desserts. Nobody is above the law."
It was an hour later when the four adults and two teenagers decided to make a move. As the two families stepped onto the pavement they noticed a group of teenage boys provoking an altercation with the protesters. They were not dressed for an evening at l'oie. Their leather jackets and torn jeans marked them out as patrons of one of the pubs in the area.
One of the men pushed the well-dressed man with the leaflets. "Fucking loser," he said.
Marge clutched on to Tasi's arm. "Come on, Mark," she said. Shona clung onto Mark and tried to get him to walk faster.
But Mark had turned back when two of the men started taunting the freckly girl. The well-dressed woman had taken out her cell phones and was making a call; presumably to the police. The well-dressed man was pointing a video camera at the altercation. Mark noticed that none of the protestors were making any attempt to restrain the youths, who were now pulling the girl's hair.
"You leave her alone!" Mark wasn't even thinking as he moved towards the altercation; legs slightly apart, poised to fight or duck, the way he had been taught in his boxing classes. He hardly heard his parents and Shona calling him back.
"What the fuck is it to do with you, coconut!" The three boys had the false pack-based courage common to those who outnumbered their adversaries. Mark counted to ten. Control. Racism, he could cope with. It says something about them, not about you. Mark recalled the sayings of his Samoan Sunday school teacher, and swallowed hard.
"Look at her. Scrawny bitch." One of the youths pointed at the girl, who was now shouting at the top of her voice. Not a very fair assessment. Katy was well proportioned, but then tailoring insults to fit the insultee would be too much intellectual effort. The noise must have penetrated to the restaurant, because some patrons inside were looking around. One well dressed elderly couple were pressing their faces to the glass.
"She needs some steak inside her," said another of the youths.
"Never mind that. She needs some good sausage meat. If you know what I mean." The first youth mimed an exaggerated pelvic thrust and the other two burst into raucous laughter.
Mark hardly knew what he was doing. His right fist connected with the jaw of the jeering youth, followed by a jab with his left. The youth crumbled to the ground, blood seeping from his mouth.
His mates turned around, facing Mark, his fists up in the guard position, his mouth a hard line, his eyes flashing hate. Just then all of them heard the sirens. The two remaining youths took to their heels. Mark looked around. The protesters had also disappeared, including the girl whose honour Mark had been defending, leaving nobody around for the police officers to find but Mark and his victim, now sitting up, holding his jaw and groaning.
The two police officers, the same ones that had attended the protest earlier, took out their note books with a flourish. Mark's parents walked over to their son and Tasi put his hand on Mark's shoulder. The police woman spoke to the man sprawled on the ground, then straightened up and conferred with her colleague.
Campbell had turned up and spoke to the police officer, who was addressing Mark. "The young man has nothing to say, officer," he said firmly, making a gesture to Mark to keep quiet. The young policeman scratched his chin. Campbell had gone fully into lawyer mode, and the officer was hesitant, maybe thinking of his career. He conferred again with his colleague, then turned back to Mark and Campbell.
He addressed the latter. "I am arresting your client for assault and battery." He turned to Mark. "I must ask you to get into the car and accompany me to the station. If you do so willingly, I won't need the handcuffs."
Mark nodded and accompanied the officer to the police car. As the car drove down Courtney Place towards the police station, Mark recognised the face of the girl he had defended staring at him among the revellers.
Mark and Shona sat in their pew, Shona snuggling up to Mark. As he listened to the sermon, Mark glanced around at his neighbours. Why hadn't he noticed the disapproval before. He met the gaze of one old lady who was glaring at Shona. She looked away as her eyes met Mark's.
The minister was droning on. He had taken as his text the second chapter of Genesis, 'they became one flesh.' He was saying how having sex with someone sets up an intimate bond that is hard to break.
"Which is why, my friends, God abhors fornication." he wagged his finger at the congregation, something Mark found irritating. Shona sighed and snuggled closer. The Minister might have a point, thought Mark. Better to wait for someone you are compatible with before sleeping with them. But surely he could make that point without brow beating everyone present as though they alone were responsible for all the sin in the world.
Mark turned off and thought of Katy. He had discovered her name when he had visited l'oie the next day, after spending an unpleasant night in the police cells. Katy was not outside the restaurant, but Mark had got into conversation with the well dressed man and woman who had been there the day before. Charlotte and Mike had been civil and polite - part of the image they were presenting.
"We like having the numbers to support us, but some of the more angry types can be a real handful," Mike had told him. "Katy is a case in point. We can't fault her enthusiasm or her love for the animals, but she has no idea how to behave in public and she tends to give us a bad name."
"Exactly," Charlotte put in. "We don't want to reinforce the stereotype of hippy losers that everyone already has about us."
"So where is Katy now?" asked Mark. He was not really interested in the internal politics of the activism movement.
"She's probably at home," said Mike. "She has some older boyfriend from her last work, that's all I know about her. She comes at the weekend to make up the numbers, but she doesn't really have the staying power for a concerted campaign."
"Exactly," put in Charlotte again. "We've been here since July. Katy only started to come as the weather got warmer. A fair weather protester."
Mark had felt a twinge of jealousy when Mike had mentioned the 'older boyfriend,' and his irritation grew with the way these pompous pricks were dissing Katy. They were trying to be professional and corporate - like his family in fact, but Mark felt it would have shown more integrity if they had been long haired hippies in torn jeans.
"None of you did anything to help her yesterday," he said. "Those yobbos from the pubs were giving her a hard time."
Mike and Charlotte looked at each other. "We called the police," said Mike. "And we had the harassment recorded on video. What would you have us do?"
Charlotte gave an exclamation. "I recognise you now. You're the boy who thumped the bloke from the pub who was harassing Katy." The two looked at Mark in a disapproving manner.
"Someone had to do it." Mark felt an urge to end the conversation. "Look, tell Katy I was here if you see her, will you." He walked off without looking back.
Mark had lurked outside l'oie the previous evening as he had done on several evenings since his altercation outside the restaurant, mingling with the pub crowd. There had been a few protesters with placards, the two young women with leaflets, but no Katy. A police car was parked across the street, the officers who had arrested him keeping an eye on the protest. Mark put his head down and hurried past it.
When Mark returned to l'oie after church, he had been more lucky. Katy was very much in evidence; yelling and screaming at passers by. Her little girl was by her side, waving around a small placard with obvious enjoyment.
There had been a cricket match on at the stadium, and the Black Caps had won. As a result the crowd was thick for a Sunday; jubilant cricket fans and pub patrons mingling with the well dressed older men and women. An elderly couple had walked up to Katy as she waved her placard. The woman was thin and gnarly. The man's moustache bristled with indignation.
"Do you actually know anything about geese, young lady" When the man said this, Katy was silent. This was such a different mode of attack from the usual yelling to 'get a job' that she was at a loss for words. But she soon recovered.
"I know they don't like having a load of shit stuffed down their throat, any more than you would," she said.
The man gave a patronising smile. "I suggest you actually read up something about geese before you display your ignorance in public. They naturally gorge themselves in the wild, so force feeding is not unpleasant to them. They also lack a gag reflex, so they don't feel the same as you and me."
The man turned around and walked into the restaurant. Katy stared after him, mouth open.
Mark swallowed hard and walked up to her. "Katy?" he said tentatively.
Katy turned around, a scowl prepared. When she saw it was Mark, confusion, fear and other feelings fleeted across her face.
"Oh, its you." she said.
"Hi Katy, just thought I'd like to meet you," Mark continued. "I saw you in church that time. And then I saw those rugby heads harassing you last Sunday."
"Yeah, I remember," she said. "The cops arrested you for thumping one of them. How come you got off?"
"My father had a word with the victim. He agreed not to press charges."
"Oh yeah, why would he do that? You clocked him quite hard, I remember."
Yes, thought Mark, and you ran off so the police would not know about the provocation. Mark should have felt peeved at Katy, but when she smiled, showing her dimples and the gap in her teeth, Mark could not draw up the requisite anger.
"I think my father must have persuaded him somehow," he murmured.
"Yeah, and I think I know how, too," Katy raised her hand and mimed rubbing bank notes. "All right for some."
This time Mark flared up. "So you'd rather I was in prison, would you? I was defending your honour."
"Honour. That's a word I haven't heard for a while. What do you want me to do? Or shouldn't I ask?" Katy gave a flirtatious grin.
"Do you want to come home with me?" she said.
"Won't your boyfriend mind?" asked Mark, mindful of the older man he had been told about.
"I don't have a boyfriend," said Katy. "Just fuck buddies."
She threw down the placard, picked up her daughter and walked away. "Coming?" she said to Mark, over her shoulder.
Mark shrugged and fell in step beside her. "Where are we going?" he said.
"Back to my flat. We'll have to take a train."
"I've got a car." Mark had been given a newish Japanese import by his father; a present for passing the entrance exam for medical school. "It's parked by here. I can give you a lift."
"Okay," said Katy. She followed Mark back to where the car was parked. Mark tried making conversation, but felt awkward with this girl, her way of life being totally unfamiliar to his experiences.
"You know," he said. "That older man was wrong. I had a look at the leaflets those people were handing out, and there were lots of scientific studies showing geese feel pain, gag reflex or not. Did you read them?"
"I don't need science to know that ramming something down a goose's throat is all fucked up," she said. "So you were a customer there last week. Figures. I suppose you were scarfing foie gras like the rest of them."
"Not at all." Mark opened the passenger door for Katy and gestured her inside. "I didn't feel like it after what I had read, but my gi..." Mark stopped speaking and blushed, as he drove the car up Courtney Place towards Johnsonville.
"Ah, you have a girlfriend," said Katy. "Does she know you pick up strange women?"
Mark was silent, negotiating the traffic. "They told me yesterday you have an older man as a boyfriend."
"Who, Gary? He's all right. He pays for the rent on my apartment."
"Oh, not in the way you're thinking," said Katy, as Mark glanced at her sharply, before fixing his eyes on the road again. "Its legitimate work. He used to be my boss. Then he went freelance. I met him again a few months ago. He was sitting at the entrance to the mall, muttering and cursing. I went up to him.
"'What the fuck are you cursing about, Gary' I said.
"Well he was obviously pleased to see me as well, called me a fat bitch and asked me round for coffee. He showed me his studio; he's got it all set out with heaps of computer screens and he showed me a new model he's got for traffic flow. I didn't understand it. Gary's very brainy. But I could see that his papers were a complete mess, and some of his press releases were barely coherent. I know he can't write very well with his twisted hands, but even so, that's no reason for such untidiness. He offered me work, ten hours a week, cash under the table so I wouldn't have to tell the dole people."
"So he's your employer, not your boyfriend?" Mark's conscience twinged when Katy mentioned the under the table payments. Surely he had a duty to report suspected benefit fraud, or at least to admonish Katy in some way. As he was thinking of the words to say, Katy's reply put them out of his head.
"He's an employer and a fuck buddy. I see him once or twice a week, tidy his papers, write his correspondence, get my knickers down, then come home. He's not difficult to please. Comes in less than three minutes."
Mark felt unhappy and confused. Was Katy a prostitute, that low form of life that he had been taught to despise? On the face of it, she was paid to be a secretary and a writer not a whore, but maybe the sex was part of the extras.
"Don't you think sex is more than just a quick bonk?" he asked. By that time they had reached Johnsonville and Katy was giving instructions to her flat.
Katy shrugged. "Do you? Why are you following me here if you already have a girlfriend?"
Katy held the door open for Mark and put Polly down. Polly immediately walked off to her room.
"Do you want something to drink first?" said Katy.
Mark licked his lips, contemplating the word 'first' .
"A cup of tea?" he suggested.
"I'll put the kettle on. I don't have cows' milk. You'll have to drink it black or with soy."
"So you don't eat any animal products at all?" asked Mark.
"Nope. I won't be so trite as to say animals are my friends and I don't eat my friends, but I will say that I don't believe in harming anyone who hasn't done me any harm," she touched the side of her jaw as she said this.
"Who did that?" asked Mark.
Katy put a tea bag into each cup and poured water on them. "An ex-boyfriend. I can hardly blame him. I was trying to kill him at the time." Katy handed Mark his tea.
Mark took the cup, grateful to have something to do with his hands, which had been fidgeting. "Why did you come to church?" he said.
"My mum's a missionary. I used to enjoy Sunday school. Then I got put off because Christians didn't give a shit about animals. I thought maybe I could find some sort of spiritual peace in church I suppose. But it wasn't to be."
Mark blushed as he remembered the dismissive way his girlfriend had treated Katy. He himself should have known Katy was unhappy, but had done nothing about it but lust after her arse. Speaking of which...
Katy interrupted his thoughts. "I have a deal with Polly. She goes to her room when boys come round. But I can't expect her to stay there for longer than half an hour. So let's get on with it, shall we?"
"Get on with what?" Mark licked his lips. He could guess.
Katy didn't answer. Instead she moved back into the dining room, rummaged under a cushion and handed Mark a foil packet. "Use this," she said. Then without further ado she pulled down her shorts and knickers and bent over the sofa, her head jammed into the cushion. "Hurry up," she said.
Mark's mouth was dry. He took a sip of tea and contemplated Katy's firm buttocks. Katy was wearing nothing but a t shirt on top, so they were fully visible. But this was just so not what he had been expecting. Didn't his mother have something to say about easy girls like Katy?
Katy swivelled her head around. "I can appreciate you admiring my well shaped backside, but perhaps you could get on with it now. I want to feel a cock inside me."
Mark's dick took over from his brain. He dropped his own trousers, and struggled to remove his underpants over his massive erection. "Take your top off too," he demanded.
"Ooh, so forceful." Katy stood up and gazed at Mark's member. "Best one I've seen yet," she said. "Better take that one slowly, you don't want to split me in two." She peeled off her top, revealing her firm plump breasts, the nipples erect.
Mark stepped out of his clothes and manipulated the condom. It was a bit on the tight side, but it would do. "Get back in position," he demanded. Katy pushed her head down into the sofa and raised her backside.
Mark approached slowly, his heart thudding. It had been a while since his first embarrassing sex session with Shona, and now he and Shona had more practice, he could keep hard for an acceptable amount of time. But Katy was someone new. Her pussy would have a different feel. The thought that he was sampling something different, something forbidden, intensified his passion.
He remembered Katy's scornful tone of voice and tried to control his feelings, even though his dick was straining through the condom till it hurt.
Mark grabbed onto Katy's breasts, rubbing, fondling, kneading, till Katy groaned with a mixture of ecstasy and surprise. "Oh, that feels so good," she said.
Mark forgot about Katy's instructions to take things slowly. He took his hands off her breast and eased one palm between her thighs. Katy spread her legs and whimpered, her pussy hairs glistening between her buttocks. Her slit slipped easily through Mark's fingers, and Mark heard it squelching. Mark took a step backwards, positioned his cock just at the opening, then ran into Katy, ramming his cock right up her slippery passage until he felt his crotch grinding against her fleshy buttocks.
She was much looser than Shona, and his shaft ran up easily through the well lubricated passage. Mark's own grunt of pleasure was drowned out by Katy. "Oh God, that feels good. Hit me again, big boy."
Mark gritted his teeth, steadied his hands on Katy's ample buttocks and pushed and pushed, the orgasm crashing into him before he was fully ready. Katy screamed and yelped, then when Mark's cock started to fold inside her, she yelled at him. "Take it out."
Mark pulled out and took off the condom, suddenly embarrassed. Katy put on her clothes. "When I said get on with it, I didn't mean that quickly."
Mark muttered an apology.
"What are you apologising for?" said Katy. "You just need practice. Next time you'll be better. Come again some time."
Katy went over to the table and wrote her mobile phone number on a piece of paper then thrust it at Mark. "Text me next time you want a shag," she said, walking towards the door to Polly's room.
She turned around to face Mark. "You still here? I want you to leave now. I'm going to spend some quality mother-daughter time. Text me another day if you're free."
Mark stood awkwardly in the dining room as Katy opened the door to Polly's room. Then with a shrug he crept out of the door, closing it quietly behind him.
It was just over a week later. Mark had his mobile in his hand. Should he text Katy? Katy was sleeping around; Mark knew this. She had admitted to having sex with her employer; in a gleeful way that seemed designed to hurt. That meant there were likely to be others. Katy had used Gary to taunt Mark. Maybe she used Mark to taunt Gary, and Mark was not willing to be a pawn.
On the other hand, thinking of Katy's rounded tits and plump arse never failed to make him hard. Now that school and choir were over, and the late Wellington summer was finally making an appearance, the boredom and hot weather fanned the flames of his sexual desire further. His cock strained through his pants, telling him to send the text.
Mark felt a pang for Shona. Sex with Shona had slowed down in the last week. Shona had had her exam marks back the day after Mark's letter from medical school had arrived. While she had obtained sufficient grades to get into the first professional year at law school, it had been a close thing. Mr Hodge had found her an internship with his company over the summer, and was working her very hard, though Shona had no complaints. The one complaining had been Mark.
"Why can't you spend more time with me," he had said. Mark was now convinced in his own mind that it was because Shona had got the job with her father and was not seeing him that he had gone to see Katy, confusing the dates in his own mind. For her part, Shona had been unconcerned.
"Darling, we have all our lives to be together, if that's what we both want," she had said. "This work is important for me. I think we have been spending too much time with each other, and I've been neglecting my studies. We can go out some time tonight if you want to. But not too late. I need to get home and have an early night."
Mark had sulked and said no. It appeared Shona was not so interested in sex, preferring to just spend time together.
He wondered why Katy attracted him so much. Shona was after all a better proposition as his girlfriend. An ambitious girl from a wealthy background, with good career prospects who his parents approved of. True, she was Palangi, but her mother's double standards seemed to allow Samoan men to marry Palangi, even while she had successfully driven away his sister Natia's Palangi boyfriend.
Mark smiled when he thought of the reaction his mother would have if he brought Katy home. His fingers moved expertly around the number pad.
Wd like to see u again. OK tmorrow pm?
A reply came back almost immediately.
Bout time u got back to me. I miss yr huge cock. Bring condoms. Come round any time. Ill be in.
Not the most romantic proposition, but it would have to do. His phone beeped again. Another text from Katy.
If u want face to face, don't eat meat. Smells like death.
Mark's fingers sought his cock for release when he thought that the next day he would be once again sliding it into that moist passage.
Katy gripped onto the back of the sofa as Kevin spurted into the condom. She heard his sigh.
"Finished?" she said, without looking round.
Kevin pulled out and disposed of the slimy mess of rubber. "Yes," he said.
"Good, 'cos I've got someone else coming in a few minutes." Katy got up and pulled up her knickers.
"I wish I could stay longer with you, Katy," Kevin muttered.
"What for? You've shot your load haven't you? What more do you want?"
"I'd like to see your face for once. Why can't I kiss you?"
"Boy, are you dumb. I've told you. You want face to face you stop eating corpses. Graveyard smells are a turn off to me."
"I've tried, but I don't feel full on rabbit food. I like my meat, I do."
"Well its your choice. There's heaps of vegan recipes on the internet."
"Can I come some time and you cook me a vegan meal?" Kevin asked eagerly.
Katy shook her head. "I don't really want your company, Kevin," she said. "Just your cock. You're actually rather boring."
Kevin's face fell. It was as if Katy had slapped him. His unhappiness was so obvious, even to Katy.
"Look Kevin," she said, "I'm sure you will find a nice girl who will suit you well. But I'm not her. You may be very interesting to the right person, but we have absolutely nothing in common except sex. Now please leave, I'm expecting someone else."
"You don't love me," muttered Kevin petulantly.
"I never promised to." Katy had moved towards Polly's room, always a good excuse, though Kevin didn't know that today Katy had arranged for Polly to be in day care.
Katy opened the doors and windows after Kevin had left, to get rid of the sex smell. Kevin was starting to bore her. Mark was new and exciting, and his cock was a better fit in her loose fanny. Katy started to get wet again, as she rearranged the room, picking up the spilled vase of flowers that clumsy Kevin had knocked over in his passion.
There was a knock at the door, and Katy let Mark in. She felt a tingling in her crotch at the sight of this muscular brown man, with his dark hair. Katy grabbed Mark by the arm, propelling him into the lounge. She bent over the sofa and yanked down her shorts and knickers.
"Take me now!" she demanded.
"Jeez, Katy," said Mark. "Can't we sort of .. you know .. build up to it."
Katy got up and pulled her clothes on. "A man wanting foreplay," she sneered. "Whatever next? What did you come here for, if not to fuck?"
"I... I wanted to see you," Mark looked around uncomfortably.
"There's no-one here but me," said Shona. "Polly's at day care. What do you want to see me for? What's happened to your girlfriend?"
"I... she... She's at work."
"So you've come to me for a bit of fun. Have you told her about me?"
Mark started to blush.
"No of course you haven't. You want it all, don't you. A nice respectable girlfriend from a good Christian family that your folks would approve of, so you can go to fancy restaurants, like that sicko one run by Pascal and his fucked up mates, and you want a bit on the side with Katy. Convenient Katy who you can bonk and leave at any time. Isn't that right?"
"I... I want to get to know you. Not have sex."
"You didn't say no last time though, did you. Straight up the hole. What have you told your girlfriend about me?"
"Figures. Two timing bastard."
Mark flushed and clenched his fists. "So what about you then. You enjoy fucking people who are already taken, so you're just as bad. And what about your employer. Did you tell him about me?"
"You're sexy when you're angry, Mark. Gary doesn't give a toss who I play around with. He comes to give me his assignments and tell me what needs to be done. The sex is just a sort of afterthought. And as for Kevin..."
"Kevin! Who's Kevin? You never mentioned Kevin."
"Kevin's just another fuck buddy, right. If it makes you feel better, you're much better than him."
Mark stood still, his mouth opening and closing. Katy watched him with a sense of detached amusement.
"That looks so weird," she said. "Anyway, do you want to talk or to fuck."
"I don't know. I.. I want to. I mean you're very sexy, but I... I thought..." Mark shrugged, and suddenly turned for the door.
"I'll call you another time, Katy. I'm not in a good space now," he said.
Katy watched out of the window, as Mark wiped his hand across his face, and drove back to the car.
"Sanctimonious pratt," she said aloud. Then she had another thought. What am I to do about sex tonight?
Katy texted Gary. A reply came back almost immediately. 'Not tonite f off.' Gary must be working on his traffic modelling. He came around or asked Katy to come to his place when he wanted to and not at any other time. Mostly he sat hunched in front of the computer at his one bedroom apartment, the floor around his computer desk littered with takeaway pizza boxes and empty soft drink cans.
Katy thought briefly of texting Kevin, he would be up for a second bout, but then she rejected it. He really was incredibly stupid. Mark was a better proposition. Katy slid two fingers inside herself as she started to think about Mark and why he attracted her. In some ways she despised him; he represented the same smug, hypocritical prudes that had rejected her at church. It was fun playing the part of the temptress, making him do things he didn't want to do.
But then he was also rather cute.
Maybe she should text Mark and invite him round again. It wouldn't hurt to talk for a bit before they fucked, if that's what he really wanted. Katy thought about what her fuck buddies would be doing for Christmas, and a stab of loneliness coursed through her. Mark would of course be participating in the ritual gluttony and slaughter with his family and his girlfriend, feasting on dead pigs and birds that had done him no harm. Kevin she believed had a family to go to - of sorts. At least he had mentioned going home to his mum's cooking at one stage.
Gary was a social misfit, hated Christmas like he hated most of the world, and would probably spend it like he spent every other day of the year; in front of his computer, looking alternately at his traffic models and his porn star tits. Katy imagined these with sprigs of holly decorating the nipples, and giggled.
She and Polly would be alone this Christmas. It didn't seem right. Last Christmas Ben had been there, and they had gone around to his family. Katy had refused to sit at the table with the corpses and had spent most of the evening in a sulk, but at least it had been company of a sort.
Katy took out her phone and texted Mark.
Sorry about today. You can come round for tea and a talk if you want. Look forward to it.
Katy lay on her bed and waited for a reply. It didn't come. With a sigh she got up and walked to the day care centre to pick up Polly. Mother and daughter spent some quality time in the park, and then in the evening they walked home and Katy made some dinner for the two of them. Katy put Polly to bed then watched TV until her own bed time. In between tasks she checked her phone. No return text. With a sigh, Katy trudged into the bedroom and flopped onto the bed.
Katy had just got up, had breakfast and got Polly ready for day care when there was a knock at the door. It was Mark. He was dressed semi-formally in a light summer suit and wearing shiny shoes. His hair had been plastered with some muck; probably tested on animals.
"I got your text," he said. "I couldn't reply last night because we were around at Shona's family's place for a formal dinner."
Katy looked at Mark. She always felt at her best in the morning after a good night's sleep, and her feelings of loneliness and self pity had largely vanished, to be replaced once more by irritation.
"Now's not a good time. I'm just taking Polly to day care," she said.
"I'll walk with you," said Mark.
Polly shrugged. "Suit yourself. Come in while I get Polly."
Polly was clutched tightly to her mother's leg as she stared at Mark with her wide eyes. Mark was looking clumsy and awkward, staring first at Polly then at Katy. "Hello, Polly," he said eventually,
Polly clung tighter to Katy's leg and said nothing. "She's not used to you yet," said Katy. She bent down and whispered to Polly. "Polly wants me to go with her alone," Mark's face fell.
"Did you eat meat last night?" Katy asked, knowing what answer she would get. It had been a formal dinner after all.
"I didn't, no," said Mark. Katy did a double take.
"Mr Hodge was carving this huge leg of lamb, but I didn't take any. The others asked me if I was all right. My mother told me she had no time for fad diets and gave me a lecture on vitamin B12 and proteins. When I told her that I was not going vegetarian, I just didn't feel like meat today she relaxed. But she still kept giving me suspicious glances through the meal."
"Good," said Katy. Without the corpse smell she could have face to face sex, something she had not enjoyed much in recent years. Ben's breath was usually too stinky, and the sofa now had a permanent crater where Katy's head had been buried in it. Katy felt a trickle of wetness on her thighs.
"You can wait till I come back if you want," she said. "I won't be long."
As she walked to the day care with Polly holding her hand and chattering, Katy could only offer her enough attention for perfunctory replies. She was thinking about Mark. Sex with him was great, but she might lose him if she didn't handle him carefully, stroke his ego a bit, and make him feel wanted. His Christian principles sometimes held down his dick and whispered in his ear - not loudly enough for him to avoid sex, but enough for him to want to salve his conscience with the idea that his was a 'meaningful relationship.' Katy knew about this. Her father had after all made the same excuse.
Katy's fists clenched with the thought of her father. Then she remembered she hadn't skyped her mother for over a fortnight. Better do that soon, she thought.
Katy dropped Polly off at the day care. Polly rushed over to play with her friends, her mother momentarily forgotten. At first, Katy had felt a pang of jealousy over this behaviour, but now she realised it was a good thing. Polly would grow up with strong social skills and not be over-dependent on her.
When Katy got back, she saw that Mark had vacuumed the carpet. Katy smiled at him. "Nice and tidy now," she said. "So what is it first; tea, or face to face sex."
Mark swallowed hard. "Tea, please."
A more sensitive person than Katy would have realised something was on Mark's mind. Katy simply went into the kitchen and put the kettle on. "Why do you like me?" she said.
Mark went red. "I...I don't know," he said. "I liked the way you stood up for yourself in church. And outside the restaurant. The way you stand up for animals. You're very brave,"
Katy fiddled around with the tea cups, and glanced downward. Nobody had told her she was brave before.
"Why do you like me?" asked Mark.
Katy was about to reply that it was Mark's cock that she liked, not him, then thought that this would be too unfair, in light of the compliment he had just paid her. She hesitated, thinking of what else she could say.
"You have potential. You gave up meat today because I asked you. Shows you're considerate."
That may be partly true. But Mark maybe just wanted better sex. It seemed to do the trick though, Mark's expression perked up.
Katy handed Mark the tea with the soy milk in it.
"Why don't you drink milk?" asked Mark. "I mean I know why you wouldn't eat meat, 'cos it means killing an animal. But milk doesn't harm the cow."
Katy rolled her eyes. "I hope you're not going to pull my tits like a farmer milks a cow," she snapped. Then as she saw Mark's face fall, she remembered her mother, when talking about spreading the Gospel.
"Don't judge those who don't know Jesus," she had said, when the child Katy had screamed at a neighbour that she was going to Hell for not believing in God. "Remember it is not their fault they haven't heard the Good News. Gently explain the reason for the hope and joy you feel, and they will see Christ inside you in your example of love."
There were a great many similarities between Christian and vegan outreach, Katy realised, as she spoke to Mark more gently.
"Sorry, Mark. It was a fair enough question, I guess. But there is a lot of cruelty and exploitation involved in the dairy industry. For example..." Katy then went on to explain what happened to bobby calves, the problems of mastitis and lameness in dairy cattle pushed to provide so much milk their udders were bursting, and the feelings that the mother cows and the calf have when they are separated.
"They moo and howl all day, Mark. I know I would feel terrible if Polly was taken from me, and I'm sure those poor cows feel the same." Katy looked at Mark, but couldn't see anything in his expression. He had obviously been listening though.
Katy's phone buzzed. She looked at it. It was a text from Gary. He wanted her to come over after lunch. 'work - and maybe extra' he had written. Katy decided not to mention the 'extra'.
"I've got to work this arvo," she said. "Shall we get on with it?"
"Yes, okay," Mark got up, fidgeted with his hands, and blurted out. "But we don't have to. Not if you don't want to?"
"Who says I don't want to? You went without meat for this, didn't you? Now's time for your reward." Katy took a condom out of her pocket and handed it to Mark. Mark took it.
"Next time you provide the joes. The cost adds up. Anyway, where do you want it? On the bed, or the couch. Or do you want to try the floor, now you've cleaned it."
"I .. I don't know." said Mark. "You're right. about me two timing. I need to talk to Shona."
"Yeah, well do it another time." Katy slipped off her shorts and knickers, peeled off her shirt then lay naked on the floor, legs apart. Mark looked down. He had never seen his new girlfriend's body in such detail before. Her public hairs were not neatly shaved into a triangle like Shona's but curled around her crotch like a tangled creeper. Her thighs were plump, her tits beautifully rounded, with nipples like two cairns. Katy did not shave her legs, and the black hairs on her thighs extended almost to her knees.
Mark struggled with his clothes, kicking them all over the room in his effort to get them off.
"Hurry up, Mark," said Katy. "I'm getting really horny." She slipped three fingers into her slit and rubbed, spreading her legs further and exposing the glistening pink inside of her pussy.
As Katy had hoped, the squishing sound as Katy drew her finger in and out, the scent of vaginal juices and the sight of Katy's moist muff caused him to forget what he was about to say. Unfortunately he also forgot about the condom. Forgot about anything, except burrowing into that warm passage with no further delay. He launched himself on top of Katy, clamped his mouth round hers, then slipped his cock inside her, thrusting and grunting.
"Hey!" Katy yelled, before Mark's mouth silenced her. Then as Mark's cock slipped inside her, free of the condom that slowed it down, and gliding in and out of her well lubricated hole, Katy kissed him back, arched her legs over Mark's backside, and pulled him in further, wriggling and groaning.
Mark exploded in a massive orgasm that shook his body. Then he seemed to remember he had forgotten protection. He pulled out of Katy, hand over his mouth, an embarrassed expression on his face. His thick white cum was spilling out of Katy's pussy on to the floor.
"Lick it out, Mark." said Katy.
Mark hesitated only a second. Soon he was down on the floor and Katy wriggled again as she felt his tongue exploring her hole, hitting her clitoris. She reached up and grabbed Mark's hair, pushing his face further into her, rubbing his nose in it. Then she screamed as the orgasm racked through her.
Mark lifted his face, panting, and Katy saw his mouth was smeared with her juices and his own cum.
Mark wanted to give Katy a cuddle, but she pushed herself away and rushed into the shower, aiming the shower head inside her pussy. A few trickles of semen were washed away with the water, but it seemed Mark had licked most of it out. Good boy. Much better than Kevin, and better even than Ben or Gary, who had never gone down on her.
Mark followed Katy into the bathroom.
"What did you want to talk about?" she asked him.
"Just that I need to tell Shona about us."
"Yes, you do," Katy agreed.
"And what about you? Will you tell your other boyfriends?"
Katy got out of the shower and started drying herself. "I don't have boyfriends. Just fuck buddies. And they already know."
"And they don't care?" Mark looked at Katy incredulously.
Poor kid, thought Katy. He really doesn't understand. "Look Mark. Maybe you believe in one true love. Though given you're also bonking two women I wonder how sincerely, but I have never even pretended to. Kevin does care - wants me to himself as you do, but my body's my own and I'll share it if I want to."
"I'll stop sleeping with Shona. I'll just sleep with you," said Mark.
"That's great if you want to do that, but don't expect me to do the same for you."
Katy went over to Mark and kissed him on the cheek. "You're a great lover. Next time remember the condom, okay."
"You'd better go now. Gary's coming. I have to pay the rent."
Mark's face fell. "But I can see you again, can't I?"
"Of course," said Katy. "Text first. Goodbye now."
Katy got changed just in time. There was a smart rap at the door, and Katy opened it to let Gary in. He had with him a number of project proposals, which he had put together in his untidy scrawl and wanted Katy to type out and put in good English.
"I got that last grant you typed out. Don't know how you do it, but you certainly write persuasively. Forty thousand bucks. But its not all profit. I need to buy a faster computer and hire a software developer, which will set me back ten grand. Here's your cut. Gary held out a wad of notes to Katy. She took them without a word and stuffed them in the drawer of her desk.
"Aren't you going to count them? There's three grand in there."
"I'll trust you, Gary. You haven't ripped me off yet."
"I still don't understand why don't you invoice me and let me pay through my company. I can get it off tax then, and pay you more."
"We've been through that Gary. I've got my own reasons. Which you don't want to know. You pay well, but you don't always get the grants, do you. Its a few grand here and a few there; not a regular salary. But I have to pay rent every week, and Polly and I have to eat every day."
"Yeah, it's to do with your benefit, isn't it?"
Katy said nothing.
"Okay, don't tell me but I'm not fucking stupid. Not that I care. This government bitches about benefit fraud, but if they weren't so set on concreting the planet, and would pay more attention to my traffic flow models, they could pay everyone a universal basic income on the money they'd save in roads."
Gary sat down on the couch, avoiding the concavity, and Katy sat opposite him. Gary passed the papers over and told Katy what needed to be done. "This one's to the PM, so make sure you use the right arse licking language, okay."
"When have I ever failed to lick arse for you when you want it, Gary," she said. "And talking of arses..."
Katy bent over the couch and pulled down her shorts and knickers. Gary followed suit, and peeled a condom onto his dick.
"What you doing for Christmas?" he asked, as he made his first penetrative thrust with a sigh.
Katy grunted as Gary made contact then wriggled her bum the way she knew he liked it. She thought about Mark inside her, knowing this would give Gary a bit more lubrication.
"Don't know," she said. "Why, are you inviting me somewhere?"
"Mmmm, nice and loose today," said Gary. "Someone else has been up here recently." Gary started thrusting and grunting, gradually building up speed. Then as he spurted into the condom, pulled out, and twisted the rubber off his deflating dick, he spoke again.
"I'll be working on Christmas of course. But if you want to go out somewhere for a drink, I'll shout you. Call it the company Christmas party. Just you and me." He laughed.
"Thanks Gary," said Katy, as Gary knotted the condom and dropped it into the wastepaper basket. "I'll keep that in mind." Gary nodded to Katy and walked out the door.
Katy looked at her watch. Still two hours before she had to pick up Polly. She thought about making a start with the work Gary had given her, but then had another thought. She turned on Skype and was pleased that her mother was online.
"Katy," said her mother, once she had connected. "You haven't called for a while. I've been worried. What's been happening?"
"Oh mum," said Katy. "I've been making such a mess of my life."
The office was a buzz and hum of activity. Keyboards clacking, phones ringing and bosses shouting. Shona was dressed in a very expensive corporate dress, sitting in front of a computer, her father at the desk next door to her, and loving the bustle. Corporate law at its best, she thought, as she overheard the lawyer on the other side of the partition on the phone to what was obviously a Very Important Client.
"Certainly, Minister," he was saying.
"Yes, very good Minister."
"And the same to you, Minister."
This was certainly living the high life. And if she studied diligently for the next three years at law school, she could be part of it.
Shona was fulfilling the requirement for work experience, filling in as an intern with her father over the holidays. The other staff had been so nice and respectful to her as well. Treated her almost like an equal, and not an intern. The only worry Shona had was the pro-bono session that was required during the first professional year, starting in February. Shona would be required to accompany a senior lawyer around the community law centre, dealing with the indigent; poor people who had racked up too much debt to loan sharks, tenants having trouble with their landlords, workers having trouble with their bosses. The flotsam and jetsam of Wellington expecting a sympathetic ear and free legal advice.
Shona shrugged. I suppose it helps us understand how the other side lives. But most of those represented by community lawyers were authors of their own misfortune. It certainly would not match the adrenaline rush of working at this place.
From thinking about her work, Shona got onto thoughts about Mark. She felt a pang of guilt at turning down his offer for a night on the town the other day, pleading extra work. The two of them had not been seeing so much of each other lately, but Mark appeared as distracted as Shona. She wondered if he was worrying about his impending entry to medical school next March.
Shona thought back to the last time she had seen Mark a few days ago. They had gone out to the cinema, returned to Shona's home, and made love in the bedroom, though Mark had not seemed as passionate as he usually was. Maybe he was lacking protein, Shona thought, remembering how he had refused meat at the Hodge's dinner party.
Anyway, she was now wondering if she and Mark were starting to grow apart. Mark had surprised her when they were lying in bed together, when he announced that he didn't want to go to medical school.
"Why ever not, Mark?" Shona sat up, her breasts tickling Mark's chest.
"It's not really what I want to do. It's more my mother's idea. And my father went along with it, of course."
"But it's a golden opportunity, Mark." Shona wailed. "You can make heaps of money as a doctor. You can become a specialist, get famous, have a disease named after you, all sorts of things."
"I know all that. But its six years of study, and if it's not what I want to do, then I will be miserable for all that time."
"But can't you put up with it until you graduate. Then the opportunities will come."
"Yes, I know it will make me rich. But graduating won't end the misery, it will just be beginning. I will be working at something I don't like until I retire."
Shona got out of bed and started to get dressed, scowling at Mark. "That's rather selfish of you, don't you think. What about us? I don't think dad likes his job much either. But liking is nothing to do with it. His job pays for our lifestyle. Just like your parents' job pays for theirs."
Mark stayed in bed. "I just think I would like to do what I want. Not like your parents, or my sister Natia. Mum told her to ditch the man she was in love with and go out with the Samoan boy George. So she did that. Lots of tears, lots of anger. Then what do we find out? The police come knocking one day. George is wanted on several charges of bashing his ex-partners. Not one ex-partner, and not once, but several times each.
"So Natia ditches him, and then wants to get back with Andy. Andy tells her to get lost, he has found someone else and Natia can take a running jump. All because she listened to mum instead of doing what she wanted. Stupid bitch."
"Mark!" said Shona. "That's no way to talk about your mother."
"I'm talking about Natia. Doing as she's told. But it could fit my mother equally well."
"So you don't want a respectable job as a doctor. What do you want to be. A lawyer? An engineer?"
Shona's jaw dropped. "But that's so precarious. Hard to make money from art. Singing is great as a hobby, shows you've got culture, but no good as a career."
"But I'm happy when I'm singing, Shones. There's a real buzz in listening to each other, knowing you are all contributing to something that is part of yourself but bigger. Rather like being in a team sport. I've volunteered for a combined church choir. We're going to sing at a Carols by Candlelight ceremony in the sound shell of the Botanic Gardens on Christmas Eve. I'm really hyped up. We sound so awesome."
Is that all that's making him hyped up, wondered Shona. Where did his new enthusiasm for vegetarianism come from. Maybe this anti-establishment thing is just a phase he is going through. Sort of late stage teenage rebellion.
"Ms Hodge, caller on line one." Shona jerked back to the present as the secretary called over to her.
"Thank you Jenny," she said sweetly, as she took the phone. It wasn't the Minister. Just a junior backbencher. But it was a start.
"Certainly Mr Teal," she said, as she took notes.
On Christmas Eve, Mark's parents and the Hodge family sat on outdoor chairs around the sound shell, glasses in their hand. Natia was nowhere to be seen.
"There he is," said Marge, as the combined church choir walked on to the stage to cheers and applause from the audience. Mark's eyes darted around until they fell on the two families, then he gave a quick smile of recognition. Though Shona thought that his eyes were still searching for something or someone else even after he had fixed them on her.
The conductor started the event rolling by saying something about the choir. Its members had been auditioned from various church congregations. Mark must have approached the conductor himself for an audition. Shona knew he had refused to sing in his own church choir. All the male singers, and a large proportion of the women were Islanders or Maori. The brown churches had the best voices.
The conductor raised his baton, and the choir sung the old favourites; I saw three ships, we three kings, Coventry Carol. Then there was hush, as a single solo voice wafted out from the bass section. Perfectly in tune, no waver, singing the first verse of 'silent night.' The voice was coming from Mark. It was unamplified, with Mark letting the natural acoustics of the sound shell swell his voice into a pulsing wave of sound that drifted over the audience now sitting silently, their candles waving in the breeze.
Such was the depth of feeling, a feeling of frustrated longing for a Saviour, and the knowledge that one may be within reach if only I knew how to reach out for Him, that even though the tune was simple and well known, there were several tears in the audience.
The spotlight was on the choir, though the audience was lit only with the dim candles. Nevertheless, Shona could see that in the depths of singing a passionate love song to his Saviour, Mark was gazing not at her, but at someone behind her. She glanced around, and did a double take. Sitting on the slope was the plump girl from outside the French restaurant, listening to Mark's singing with a look of rapture.
The Hodges visited the Wiseman family for Christmas lunch. The weather had turned hot overnight, and the shrill chirping of cicadas provided a backdrop for all conversation. The turkey, roast vegetables and thick sticky pudding, imported from a world away where Christmas cheer meant overcoming the cold, sat uneasily in the guts of those present. As the sun beat down fiercely, the family bloated around in their deckchairs on the lawn in a semi-somnolent state.
Mark had appeared his usual cheerful self, greeting Shona effusively and making her laugh, but Shona noticed he was less determined to grope her under the table, even though she had wore her very thin knickers, the ones she knew he liked because he could easily wriggle his finger through them into her slit.
Natia's presence at the table had put rather a damper on things. Most of her conversation consisted of sighs or reminiscences of previous Christmases spent with Andy.
When the food had finally gone down sufficiently for the feasters to recover from their stupor, Mark suggested to Shona that they take their togs and go for a swim. The waters of Cook Strait are cold enough to chill wine, even in the summer, but on such a hot day, they would warm up quickly enough when they got out of the water.
Shona agreed readily enough. Anything to get away from the stultifying depressing atmosphere. Natia by now had drunk several glasses of fruit punch spiked with alcohol, and her maudlin reminiscences were tinged with belligerence.
"Why did you keep telling me to break up with Andy?" she said to Marge. "George was a creep. Too many Samoan men beat up women and children. Andy was a gentleman. But now he doesn't want to see me." Natia bent forward, sniffing. Marge stayed tight lipped and said nothing.
"Cheer up, Natia," said Tasi. "Plenty more fish in the sea, you know."
Shona never heard what Natia had to say to this trite comment. She was already in the car with Mark. First stop the Hodge place to pick up Shona's togs, and then on to the beach. The two of them sat in the car, their hands to themselves. Shona thought back to that time when they first went out to the pictures together, and nearly caused an accident. Well today, the police would certainly not be pulling them over for dangerous driving.
Mark waited in the car while Shona got her togs, then they drove to the beach, the window down, and Carmina Burana blasting from the stereo. Shona enjoyed going to concerts, but the main attraction was the dressing up and the occasion, and of course the proximity of Mark. She was not actually that keen on classical music. In fact now she thought of it, a teenage boy preferring Carl Orff to Miley Cyrus was decidedly weird.
When they got to Scorching Bay the beach was crowded. Wellington had put on a still hot summer day and everyone still in town was taking advantage. Shona and Mark had to dodge past balls, frisbees and hurtling dogs to find a patch of beach they could lie down on.
Shona wore a slim bikini, something that had always aroused Mark's interest in her body before, but now he was hardly looking at it. Mark rushed into the water, then gave a yell as the cold gripped him. He dived into the waves, thrashing madly to keep warm. Shona followed him in, squealing and screaming, and they grabbed and hugged in the water, playful like kittens, but not like lovers.
It did not take long before both had started shivering, so they rushed out of the water again, and hurriedly dried themselves before letting the warm sun ease the cold out of their bodies. The two of them flopped on their beach towels, warming up now, and talked about the last few days.
The cafe on the beach front was closed so Shona suggested she and Mark go back to her place for coffee. The two of them walked side by side back to the car, without touching. When they got to the spacious Hodge mansion, Shona's parents were still over at Mark's place.
"Dad will get totally pissed and fall asleep on your dad's couch. Mum and your mum will talk for a few hours, then they'll spend half an hour waking up dad, before mum drives them home. So we've got plenty of time," Shona handed Mark a coffee.
"Time for what?" asked Mark. The time in the cold water had made him sleepy and he slouched down into the couch.
"To talk about our relationship," said Shona.
"What is it?" Shona felt Mark's agitation. His face twisted into a scowl.
"You're seeing someone else, aren't you?" said Shona.
"What makes you think that?"
Was Mark really so obtuse, wondered Shona. The signs after all were everywhere. "Oh, Mark, its so obvious. Until a few weeks ago you couldn't keep your hands off me. Now you treat me more like I'm your sister. And besides, last night I saw you looking at her. You were singing that beautiful solo for her, not for me."
Mark was silent. Shona waited for him to ask who. It seemed he knew.
"Mark," said Shona. "This relationship is not working, is it? We have had some good times, but now it seems we must both move on."
"Katie is just an obsession," blurted Mark. "You're my real soul-mate."
"Am I your soul-mate? Or just someone your parents would approve of? I don't think we can be soul-mates now. Not after you betrayed me. We can be friends for life if you want, but never lovers."
"What if I get rid of Katy?" said Mark, panic now rising in his voice.
"Do you think you can do that? I think it's gone too far. How many times have you slept with her?"
Mark started to splutter. It looked as if he was going to deny sleeping with Katy at all. But then he seemed to see the futility in evasions.
"A few," he said.
"And what does she feel about you?"
"I don't know. I don't think she feels much. Not as much as you do. Shona, you wouldn't..."
"Its not just Katy though, is it?" Shona interrupted.
"What do you mean?"
"It's our entire values system. I want to succeed as a lawyer. I want all the rewards of success. Comfortable salary, nice car, good address. But you... you seem such a hippy. You don't even want to go to medical school."
"So does that make me a bad person?" said Mark. "I just want to use my talents. I want to sing. I love it."
"Yes, Mark, I can see how well you sang for your sweetheart. And I don't mean me." Shona had let some bitterness come into her voice. She controlled it as she continued. "I don't think that makes you a bad person, Mark. Just not the right person for me."
Mark got up off the couch and started to pace up and down the floor. Shona could see his confusion. He did still love her in a way, and maybe he could even be persuaded to give up his new girlfriend. But Shona would always be aware that Mark was in a way soiled goods. And there would always be the doubt in his mind. Would I have had a better life with Katy. Mark would resent Shona pushing him to greater success, and wondering whether he would have been better off as a singer.
Shona made up her mind. She had better break it off. For Mark's sake as much as hers. "You're not the only one seeing someone else," she said.
That got his attention. Mark stopped pacing, and gaped at Shona.
"But... but you're a girl!" he stuttered.
"Clever of you to work that out," said Shona.
"But girls don't cheat."
Shona rolled her eyes. "Mark, you have some strange ideas about women."
Mark was silent, then he suddenly said. "I don't mind. So we've both cheated. It doesn't matter. I'll dump Katy and you can dump..."
Mark stopped speaking as Shona raised her voice.
"Do you really think that would work? All it would mean is we would all get jealous. And besides..."
"Besides what?" said Mark.
"My partner's not a bloke, she's a girl."
There was a shocked silence. Mark's jaw dropped right back.
"I'm a bi," Shona continued. I've been seeing someone else on the side for several months. While you and I were still together, we were just friends. I knew what she wanted, but I wasn't going to give it to her. Well last month, when I realised I was starting to lose you to that hippy activist, I felt lonely and sad, and I let her take my clothes off and kiss me. Well one thing led to another, and before I knew it, we were rolling on the bed naked, giggling and kissing. And then she put her finger in ..."
"I don't need the details," yelled Mark. "Jeez, Shona. You, a dyke. You know what pastor says about those."
"Probably the same as he says about what you and Katy have been doing."
"Yeah, that's different. It's all sin. But homosexuality, that's just...sordid. Did you enjoy what she did to you?"
Mark seemed to be caught between revulsion and fascination.
"With me, you mean."
"Eh, what's that?"
"She did it with me, not to me. We started to rub each others..."
"Okay, that's enough." Mark yelled. "Jeez Shona, I don't know what to do." Mark sat down heavily on the couch and put his head in his hands.
"Go back to your new girlfriend, Mark. She seems suitably heterosexual. You and me can stay friends. Perhaps you'd better go home now."
Mark nodded then slowly got up.
"One more thing," said Shona.
"What is it?"
"Don't tell anyone I'm a bi. I'm not ashamed of it, but I don't think my parents will be ready yet."
"Okay, Shones, I promise."
Shona watched Mark get into his father's car and drive back home. It was difficult to know what he was thinking. There was some injured pride there definitely. Although Mark had been cheating Shona and would not have cared too much if Shona had taken another boyfriend, losing out to a woman seemed too much for him to cope with. On the other hand, as Shona watched him turn the key in the car with a quiet assurance, there was probably some relief as well.
Shona's mind drifted to the work she was doing helping a senior lawyer with a libel case for Terry Teal, her politician client. It was, as her associate told her, one of these cases that would be unlikely to get to court. Success would depend on getting just the right tone of veiled threats in the letter to send out to the putative defendant. Shona smiled with pride. She had been given the task of writing the first draft of the letter. Everyone in the office knew she had a way with words, and was particularly skilful at this sort of thing.
Glad I got this meeting with Mark over, thought Shona, as she started to compose her legal letter in her head.
May 13, 2018 in romance