Here’s a moderately steamy story that was published in the “Clean Sheets” erotica webzine in 2005. The title is taken from “Sleeping Beauty” — Carabosse is one of the names used by the wicked fairy, and that’s how Gretchen imagines herself in relation to eternally sleeping Margaret.This is the first time I’ve had sex with a third person in the room. Gretchen doesn’t seem bothered by it—if anything, she’s more enthusiastic than ever, and she’s been the very definition of enthusiasm the three weeks we’ve been together. But I’m distracted, my head constantly turning back over my shoulder to see if the still form in the bed above us has moved. Of course, she hasn’t, but somehow I can feel her eyes on my naked back, staring through her tightly closed lids.
Gretchen lets out a fist-slamming, muscle-clenching groan and pushes me off her. I roll back on my heels and sit above her while she gasps and quivers with a beatific smile on her wide mouth. She isn’t beautiful, barely even pretty, but she’s striking with her broad face, high cheeks, and full lips. And after she comes, which she does often and with ego-boosting ease, she’s positively angelic, glowing pink and gold under the soft sheen of her sweat. I love to watch her in these post-orgasmic moments, like she’s some strange sea creature slowly emerging from its secret shell, and usually that’s enough to warm me up for another round, as if her orgasm were a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This time, though, there are those invisible eyes on my back and the pulsing beep of the machines where the night stand should be. I haven’t come, and now that I’m disengaged and distracted it doesn’t look like I’m going to. When Gretchen stretches and squirms herself out of her private reverie, I’m already sitting against a pillow on the floor watching the flashing green and yellow lights on the monitors, trying to discern their pattern.
“Hey,” Gretchen says. I look back at her; she’s propped up on one elbow, the glow receding from her cheeks and throat. “Are you still with me?”
“Sure,” I say, “sure I am; are you back?”
“Been back for a while,” she says and sits up. She scoots over to me on her knees and puts her arms around my neck. “I was hoping you’d join me.”
When she kisses me, her tongue hitting the spot at the end of my jaw that I can never quite reach with a razor, my cock starts to respond—O gloriously single-minded cock! But then I feel those eyes on my back again, counting the fine hairs on my shoulders, and I turn to look at the bed before I even realize I’m doing it. Gretchen continues to work at my throat with her lips and wraps one nimble hand around my cock, but those invisible eyes have ruptured the blood flow.
“Come on,” Gretchen whispers into my ear, “I want to fuck again.”
“I do too,” I whisper back, tasting the sweat drying on her neck, “just … not here, OK?”
“What do you mean, not here?” She tightens her grip on my cock. “I want it here, right here. I want you to drill me hard right here.”
And just as her words and fingers are starting to work their magic again, my ears fix on the high pinging beeps and I strain to hear the faint breathing of the woman in the bed. My cock begins to shrink in spite of Gretchen’s best efforts.
“Damn it!” She punches me on the shoulder. “She can’t hear us.”
“How do you know?”
“Because she can’t. And what if she can? What difference does it make?”
“It’s just—let’s go fuck on the porch. We haven’t fucked on the porch yet.”
“I want to fuck here. Come on!” She squeezes my balls until they hurt and looks into my eyes with a vicious glare.
“Anywhere but here. The garage? The kitchen?”
“Here.” She’s pouting now, her fat bottom lip jutting out like the bay window where we had our first fuck of the day. And what a wondrous fuck it was, slow and sweet, with Gretchen straddling me while the sun rose over Lake of the Isles and the city plow trucks rumbled by singing their harsh song of steel-on-ice-on-concrete. The fuck was followed by a breakfast of English muffins and coffee that ended with us licking the melted butter off each others’ lips and a leisurely shower before I had to hide in the guest room until the morning nurse left just before noon.
But even the memory of that breakfast isn’t enough to revive me. Gretchen stands with a loud huff and pushes me so hard I topple backward and hit my head against the heavy wooden bed frame. She grabs her robe off the floor and storms out of the room, leaving me alone with the pinging machines and faintly wheezing woman in the bed.
The woman in the bed is Margaret Price, and she’s been sleeping for ten years. She’s the daughter of the people who own this house, friends of Gretchen’s parents, and we’re not supposed to be in her room. For a month, Gretchen is staying in this rambling old house on the lakes, almost big enough to be a mansion, while Margaret’s parents are in Mexico. Gretchen brings in the mail and newspapers, makes sure the sidewalk is shoveled and that the pipes don’t freeze, and puts out food twice a day for a phantom cat I’ve never seen but have heard in the middle of the night, scratching at Margaret’s door.
Ten years ago, Gretchen and Margaret were acquaintances. Maybe in the long-distant past they were friends, I don’t know; Gretchen’s version is that they went to the same high school but otherwise never intersected. Gretchen’s hair was purple then, her eyes ringed with kohl and her lips painted black; Margaret was college-track, National Honor Society, captain of the swim team. I can imagine Margaret’s and Gretchen’s parents meeting over martinis, Margaret’s bragging about their daughter’s PSAT scores while Gretchen’s, through clenched teeth, hoped their daughter would be able to hold down a steady job at Starbuck’s someday. So far she hasn’t, and this stint at Margaret’s house is all that keeps Gretchen out of her childhood bedroom. Gretchen is six years older than me, but she seems so much younger.
Margaret never made it out of her bedroom. She had a swimming scholarship to Northwestern, a near-perfect GPA, and a clear shot at any kind of future she wanted to have, and one slip on the pool deck slammed the bedroom door shut. The first night in this house, Gretchen brought me to Margaret’s bedside and pointed at the knotted lump at the base of her skull.
“It was as big as a softball,” Gretchen whispered, “looked like she had two heads. And her neck was all twisted. She should have died.”
Except for the lump, now a little smaller than a golf ball, Margaret is flawless. Her face, untouched by sunlight except what filters through the windows in the morning, is pale and soft. She has a turned-up nose with a constellation of freckles across the bridge, golden-red hair in a halo against her pillow, and slightly-parted lips that look as if they’ve just emerged from a lingering kiss. If I saw her out of context, lying here without the feeding tubes and monitor wires, I would be tempted to bend down and touch my lips to hers and stir her from this sleep. I wonder if anyone has tried that cure.
Twice a day a nurse comes to check on Margaret. I’ve watched them through the windows upstairs, peeking around the closed curtains: the skinny little blonde wrapped up in a puffy pink parka, the mountainous Jamaican woman with her head wrapped in a purple scarf, and the Filipina who steps gingerly up the sidewalk as though terrified of slipping on the ice. They stay for about an hour; I can hear them shuffling around in the room down the hall, turning Margaret so she won’t get bed sores, changing the bags of fluids that hang over her on hooks set in the ceiling, emptying the rubberized sack that captures what little waste she puts out. The Jamaican nurse always announces herself with a hearty greeting and leaves with a clattering fanfare; the others slip in and out as quietly as ghosts. As quietly as Margaret herself.
Margaret’s parents call once a day, at six in the evening. They already know all they need to know about their daughter—the nurses call them before they leave, and the machines in Margaret’s room are hooked through complex and secret means to all manner of warning systems in case anything about Margaret’s condition should suddenly change. Nothing has changed in the week I’ve spent my nights in this house, as I’m sure nothing has changed in the whole long decade of Margaret’s slumber.
The calls from Mexico are, I’m sure, part of an agreement with Gretchen’s parents. She doesn’t speak to her own parents except out of necessity, like when she was evicted from her apartment for not paying rent for six months. So Margaret’s parents play the go-betweens, trying to discern from a few mumbled words how much effort Gretchen is putting into joining the adult world.
That’s Gretchen’s interpretation, at least, so every call has come while we’ve been in flagrante delicto. Tonight they called when we were in the kitchen, Gretchen spread wide open on the marble-topped center island amid overturned Chinese take-out boxes and my face buried between her legs. I tried to pull away when she picked up the phone, but she grabbed my head with her free hand and held me in place with a bone-crushing grip. While she mumbled into the receiver she pushed her hips up until I was afraid I’d suffocate.
“No,” I heard her gasp just before the call ended, “there’s no one here—I’m just doing a workout tape.”
Then she clicked off the connection with a mumbled good-bye, let the phone clatter on the Tuscan tile floor, and screamed out a window-rattling cry.
Gretchen has locked the door to the guest room. I can see the blue glow of the television spilling into the blackened hallway, hear the muffled laughter of the “Saturday Night Live” audience, but there’s no answer when I knock.
I stand at the door until I feel myself starting to fall asleep, then stumble back down the hall toward the linen closet to get myself a blanket. Margaret’s door is still open; the dim green and yellow lights on the monitors glow brightly in the dark room, but the bed is just a shadowy blotch. I don’t feel her eyes on me, naked in the hallway with my idiot cock back at half mast; she must be asleep. I close the door, find a scratchy wool blanket, and curl up in a ball outside the bathroom.
Gretchen’s already in the kitchen when I clatter downstairs, the blanket wrapped around me like a Fred Flintstone toga because I can’t honestly remember where I left my clothes. They were still mostly on when she gave me a welcome-home blow job by the back door on Friday night, and I think they were off for the phone call from Margaret’s parents twenty-four hours later, but the events between are a little blurry. The events of the whole week are a little blurry, a long smear of sex and food and too little sleep.
The kitchen is filled with smoky, greasy breakfast smells: bacon, eggs, and black coffee. Gretchen stands by the stove in her pink terrycloth robe, head bent over a sputtering pan of grease. She’s scraping around inside the pan with a spatula. I sit at the center island, prop my hands on my hands, and put on my best “good-morning” smile.
“Is this your Ides of January costume?” she says when she drops a plate of fried eggs in front of me.
“I couldn’t find my clothes.”
“You’ll want to toss it in the laundry.” She taps my shoulder with her spatula. “It looks like you got started without me.”
I look down to see a ghostly gray and white stain fading into the brown and gold pattern of the blanket. I don’t know why this should embarrass me in front of Gretchen, but I feel my face getting hot, as if she’s caught me jacking off. I haven’t had a wet dream since high school, and I’m surprised after the non-stop fuckfest of the last week that I could manage to produce one. It’s a pretty big stain.
“So what were you dreaming about?” she asks. She leans into me, letting her robe fall open just a little bit, and licks my earlobe.
“I don’t know,” I say. “I can’t remember.”
But suddenly I do remember, at least I remember the vague outlines and sensations. I dreamed about Margaret, the teenaged Margaret, wearing her red swim team suit and diving into a darkened pool over and over again. Her face was smooth and pale, her eyes were shut tight, and she broke the water’s flat surface soundlessly and disappeared, only to materialize again on the pool deck and repeat her dive. In the dream she knew I was there, watching her, but she never acknowledged me. I was dizzy with the chlorine in the air and with the tautness of her calves.
“I hope it was about me,” Gretchen whispers into my ear. “Eat your breakfast—eggs have lots of protein, and you’ll need your strength.”
Gretchen pulls me up the stairs, and I let the blanket fall. I’ll wash it later. From the landing I can see Margaret’s door, still closed, and I push Gretchen against the railing to stall her. Maybe I can take her on the landing and avoid another scene at the foot of Margaret’s bed.
“I’m pretty sure she’s a virgin,” Gretchen says. Her robe slides off easily, and I bite her shoulder hard enough to leave a little crescent-shaped mark.
“Who?” I ask, though I know very well who.
“Margaret.” She reciprocates with a bite above my nipple. “I don’t think she ever fucked. I don’t think she ever had a boyfriend.”
I answer with a quick nip at her neck; I don’t want to talk about Margaret.
“She was too busy being perfect to fuck.” Gretchen pulls me cock up and squeezes the head in her fist. “I was too busy fucking to be perfect.”
I cup her tits; her nipples are hard. She pushes her chest against me and slides her fist up and down.
“But I’ll bet she shaved,” she says. “I’ll bet her pussy was naked and smooth under that swimsuit.”
My dream comes back to me, Margaret diving into the black pool, but now she’s naked and when she knifes into the darkness I glimpse her hairless crotch, as smooth as the water. I let out a gasp, and try to push the remembered dream out of my head.
“That turns you on, doesn’t it?” she whispers. She pulls my hand away from her tit and pushes it between her legs; she’s as wet as the pool, and I let my fingers tangle themselves in her dense pubic hair. “Do you want me to shave for you? Do you want my pussy to be soft and naked like Margaret’s?”
I gasp again and let a finger slip inside her. I want her to shut up, I want to distract her from all this talk about the girl in the coma, I want to push the diving Margaret out of my dreams. She props her foot on the banister and lets herself fall onto my hand.
“Let’s go fuck for her,” Gretchen says. She grunts and pushes closer. “Let’s show her what she missed.”
“No,” I say. I try to pull my hand free, but she locks her leg behind me and pushes closer.
“On the floor, right in front of her.”
She lifts herself up on her toes and steps up on the next stair. She pulls me forward by my cock, and I have to follow if I don’t want to become a eunuch. Her eyes are narrow and hard and level with mine.
We compromise, for now, by fucking against the frame of Margaret’s door. The nurse won’t come until noon today—there’s only one on Sunday, the skinny blonde—so there will be time to clean up the floor and air out the hallway. I’m surprised the whole house doesn’t reek of musk and sweat; maybe it does, maybe I’m so acclimated to it now that I don’t notice the pungent stink.
“When you’re done with me,” she huffs, “you can fuck Margaret. That’s what she needs—that’s what she always needed.”
I push my mouth against hers, wide open like I’m going to swallow her whole. She’s still talking, murmuring, mumbling into my mouth, and her words echo at that back of my throat.
Gretchen wraps one leg around my waist, her foot hitting the back of my knee in time with my thrusts. Her chin is on my shoulder, and she can’t see that I’m looking through the open door at Margaret’s bed; she can’t hear that I’m pumping in time with the monitors’ quiet pings. When she comes with a groan into my ear and a sudden jerk of her thigh against my back, I think I see Margaret stir, but it must be a trick of the morning light and the movement of my head. I grab Gretchen’s ass and come myself, my eyes still fixed on the bed, my mind playing over Margaret’s red bathing suit as she dives, dives, dives.
That’s when I hear the feet on the stairs, the swish of the winter coat against the handrail, the quiet gasp on the landing.
“Shit,” Gretchen whispers into my ear, and then she’s gone. I hear the guest room door slam shut behind her.
So here I stand, cock half hard, and I don’t even try to cover myself. What’s the point? I glance at the nurse’s face, blotchy from the icy wind outside, but I can’t look at her. I look down at her boots as she marches past me, her coat brushing my leg, and I feel Margaret’s eyes on my back until the bedroom door closes.