Last year, the gorgeous and awesome Charlie Powell held a short story competition in which you were to write a short piece of erotic fiction using the name of a nail varnish as your prompt. This year, she’s putting a twist on it.
I’m not a big wearer of lipstick, so instead of my own collection, this competition will be based around the names of classic MAC lipstick. It’s simple – if you want to enter, you drop me a DM, I’ll select a lipstick name for you at random and you write a piece of erotica using that lipstick name as a title. Sound familiar?
Oh, you know I had to get in on that. Plus, Charlie is donating £1 to the charity Refuge for every story entered (up to £30). How great is that?
The lippie name Charlie gifted me with? Hot Tahiti. It’s a magical place, that.
_ _ _ _ _
The roads grief leads you down can be strange. Inside the walls of my flat, I lose track of time because there’s no need for time with her gone. In those last months and weeks, all I cared about was time because I didn’t know how much of it, of us, was left.
The TV becomes my timekeeper. Just another noise alongside the non-ending cliché chorus of “How are you, really?” and “You’re so brave.”
Except the TV is a noise that doesn’t seem to question the ways I’m grieving her. The TV doesn’t judge me for not doing it properly, as if there’s any way to properly grieve the woman you thought fate had planted into your life until the end of time. The TV doesn’t make it sound like there’s some sort of manual on how to be a good mourner – one that I, according to some bastards, apparently wasn’t handed staight after the funeral.
The TV becomes my timekeeper and, after several months, my faithful companion. I trust TV because it doesn’t judge – it just happens at me. If there was some way to make a reasonable case for never getting off my sofa again, I would be shouting it from the rooftops.
“You’re so brave.”
Sod that shit. I’d rather be a cowardly hermit than ever go outside without her again.
Sometimes she comes to me in my dreams, and I get fooled again by the warp of reality. I wake up bathed in sweat and clutching at the empty side of my bed. I wake up hard, my cock straining as much as my heart at how our sex replays itself in the middle of the night.
It’s like being trapped in a limbo, reliving the same encounter night after night and waking up to silence. But if I am truly honest with myself, this would be the one encounter I would gladly relive for the rest of my days.
It isn’t the memory of some landmark night, like the first time we fucked – weeks and weeks of sexual tension culminating in a torn shirt, scratches on my back and the feeling of floating on air. Nor is it the memory of the last, desperate, agonising night of passion before the dark ghost of her illness commenced its endgame. Instead – funnily enough – it’s the memory of just another Friday night…
“Is this a bit too much?”
Lila had gingerly stepped into the living room of our apartment, dressed up to the nines for the engagement dinner of a friend of a friend. Neither of us were chomping at the bits to go, but still, Lila liked to make an effort. And my God, she looked every inch like a preternatural goddess in that beautiful red dress of hers.
“Joe. Seriously, your eyes’ll fall out if you keep staring like that. Is this too much for the dinner? I mean, I know it’s not the actual wedding but I don’t really fancy upstaging the bride to be just by wearing red. Do you like it?”
I couldn’t help staring. Lila, three years into our relationship, still had the power to render me entirely speechless, whether with her intelligence, humour or beauty. She was never too much. She was all I’d ever wanted from life itself and in that moment, I wanted her badly. I wanted to take her in my arms and carry her to our bedroom and still find the marks of her delectable-looking lipstick on my body the next morning.
So I did.
I pulled her to me and kissed her, hard. She tasted like sunsets and Mai Tai’s and dreams of a life lived less rushed. The soft red on her lips smeared as she kissed me back, grabbing me by the hips and pressing her pelvis against mine. One kiss and already I was embarrassingly hard for her, needing her, not giving a shit about what time it was and how much time we had before we had to leave for the dinner.
“I take it that’s a yes, then?” she breathed, before grabbing me by the hand and pulling me towards the sofa. She hiked up the hem of her dress and wriggled her knickers off, beckoning me closer.
“Oh God, yes.”
“We’re going to be late for the dinner, Joe.” she said, less a warning, more a tease. I chuckled, undoing my belt and unzipping my trousers. The chuckled turned into a gasp as Lila wrapped her lips around the head of my cock, leaving her red lipped mark and making me ache for her.
Time didn’t matter in that moment. Nor did space, or the rest of humankind. There was only the feeling of Lila’s warmth, of her inner walls clenching around me and her hands under the hem of my shirt. Nothing else mattered apart from being alive and in love and in sex…
Sometimes I wonder if I’m a sick fuck for masturbating over the memory of her. But when those dreams happen, and I wake up drenched in sweat and hard and desperate for a release without tears, it’s the only thing I can think of.
It was just another Friday night, but it will be the one seared into the depths of my soul exactly because of that. Some people choose to remember milestones and special days. I choose to remember just another Friday night.
I remember shifting down the straps of her dress to reveal her soft, round breasts. I remember the feel of her nipples, pebbling at my touch. I remember the moment my cock slid inside her wetness, the sounds she made, the friction against her clit. Those lips, in that shade of red…
I remember all of it, replaying it like a reel of old film as my hand wraps around my shaft and I jerk the need out of me. I hear my own echo bouncing off the silence, crying out her name, remembering her lipstick and the words she said to me when we finally managed to peel ourselves away from each other.
“Seriously? I don’t understand why they give lipstick names. What’s wrong with a number?”
“Lipstick’s a fantasy, baby. You need to give it a name because you can’t fantasise about a number. Besides, this one spoke to a very particular fantasy of mine.”
“That fantasy being?”
She stayed silent for a few seconds, lowering her voice so the taxi driver couldn’t make her out.
“Getting hot… in Tahiti. With you.”
Back then, it had almost been enough to make me come in my trousers. But now, as I come sticky and hot over the palm of my hand, it’s the thought of that unfulfilled fantasy, that unfulfilled life that makes me cry anyway.
I am not brave, because right now, try as I might I can’t see a way of living without her. Even though I’ve been doing so for four months, every single day is just another sting, another corner of hell.
I am not brave because I know that, buried under a pile of mail and receipts and junk in the bedside drawer is a letter from Lila. I know that inside that envelope, along with the letter, is a ticket to Tahiti. I know that she never had the chance to explain why she wanted to go there, and I know that the answers are in that letter. I know she wants me to go.
I am not brave because that would mean I can live with the pain of not having her with me.
I am not brave. Not yet.