At the traffic lights, where Annabelle brought her Honda to a momentary stop, Gabriel took a peek at her legs, then from the feet to her thighs, up of which her skirt had ridden. He refocused on the windscreen as Annabelle drove on, then he asked:
‘When was your cast removed?’
‘Last week Saturday.’
‘How are your legs?’
‘Fit as doric columns.’
‘I hardly let up on yoga and calisthenics even with my cast on. It was a painful work out at the time but it was worth it.’
‘Abbie asked me to drive you to your place.’
Gabriel said, ‘could we stop by at your place first?’
‘As you wish.’
Gabriel didn’t take his luggage out of the car. At the entrance to the house, after having opened the door, Annabelle stepped aside, and let Gabriel go in first.
‘Would you like something to drink?’
‘Just a glass of ice-cold water.’
She walked to the kitchen and returned shortly with the water, which he drank in a gulp, and blew out a breath. He placed the glass on the table. In her other hand was a glass of ice-cold tea, which she was taking in sips.
‘What did you miss most when you were in Switzerland?’
‘And I missed you too.’
Over the rim of the glass she looked with eyes alight straight into Gabriel’s own, and seemed to smile lightly. She raised the glass to her lips and, drank up her tea. She picked his empty glass and as she went to the kitchen, he took in the hem of her muslin skirt, as it bounced against her sturdy thighs, her well-rounded calves smooth as glass. To think that she was in her sixties, yet looked so well-preserved! Had Abigail not told Gabriel her mum’s exact age when he’d asked her, he would have found it hard to hazard a guess.Annabelle returned and found Gabriel still standing where he’d been.
‘It’s about time I drove you home,’ said Annabelle, picking the car key from the table. But as she went past Gabriel, he caught hold of her arm and pulled her, bringing her face-to-face with him. He didn’t waste any time trying to find her full lips, but Annabelle turned her face away. When she was facing him again, his furrowed forehead should how puzzled he was.
‘It’s high time I drove you home, Gabriel.’
Gabriel traced the contours of her face with his finger. ‘I don’t want to go
Annabelle pulled away from him. She went to the window and looked out blankly, trying to calm her nerves, which his touch on her face seemed to have electrified. With her back to him, she said, as if talking to someone outside:
‘When it comes to desire, it mustn’t always be acted on. But then again, desire is a demon. If truth be told, many is time desire has possessed me, and I’ve been trying to fight it. Yet it possesses me so much it seems only a fuck can exorcise it.’
Gabriel felt a stirring in his middle at the instant she uttered fuck He almost couldn’t believe his ears.
Annabelle went on:
‘I’m supposed to think of you as family but I find myself thinking of you as a lover, a sex mate. Perhaps it would have helped if you weren’t my daughter’s husband. To be fair, it wouldn’t be fair to her if I slept with you. If I really do sleep with you, I’d be on the slippery slope down the road to licentiousness. The thing is, I’m afraid… afraid of starting to have sex with you and not being able to beat a hasty retreat at all.’
She paused for a while, sniffing and heard the sigh that escaped Gabriel’s lips. She turned and locked eyes with Gabriel, her eyes moist. Then she said:
‘Let’s be careful what we wish for cos we just might get more than what we bargained for.’
Another sigh escaped Gabriel’s lips.
‘Abbie must be at home by now. She told me she’d be home early – before noon to be precise. Um… I don’t think I’m disposed to drive you home anymore. Could you get a taxi? I’m sorry.’
She led the way out, got his bag out of the car, handed it to him. ‘It’s best we stay away from each other, Gabriel.’
‘How is that possible? Do you think avoiding each other would do any good?’
‘ Dunno. Just stay away from me. Go now. Get going.’
Gabriel walked to the roadside without looking back. He heard the slam of the door. Still he didn’t look back. He stopped a taxi and hopped in.
‘Why did mum just drop you without coming inside with you?’ said
Abigail as she sat eating dinner with Gabriel, after he’d lied that Annabelle had brought him home.
‘I asked her to alight from the vehicle and come inside with me, but she said she didn’t want to disturb our privacy. She drove off almost immediately.’
‘Tell me all about your trip.’
‘I’ll tell you later.’
As Abigail finished her meal, she said:
‘Would you love to join me in the shower?’
‘I’d bath alone.’
‘I’d use the bathroom downstairs.’
‘Come naked to the bedroom.’ said Abigail.
Abigail went upstairs and took a thirty-eight-minute shower in which she scrubbed her skin with a honey exfoliant, shaved her pubes until it was a wee fluff of hair above her blossoming clit, and ran a bath with perfumed oil to soak her body for eleven minutes. Afterward, her skin looked like ripe fruit.
There was a nearly finished bottle of perfume sitting on her vanity dresser. She sprayed some of it on her neck, her chest, inside her elbows, her wrists and the back of her thighs. Gabriel came fresh from the bathroom. He got into bed. She followed suit and straddled his hips. She caressed his groin and he closed his eyes and felt the warmth of her lips cover his own. Her tongue pressed against his lips, parting them demandingly.
To his utter consternation, the whole thing was a fiasco. Gabriel felt the clutch of impotence. He was embarrassed.
‘Don’t fret, honey,’ said Abigail. ‘It will come around.’
She was wrong.
However much she tried to make him feel good inside her sultry mouth, he was unresponsive
‘What’s the matter? asked Abigail. This has never happened before. Could it be jetlag?’
Gabriel simply sighed.
‘Not to worry,’ said Abigail. ‘Tomorrow will come. Let’s cuddle to sleep.’
Thus did they ease into a cuddle.
(An excerpt from “Desire is a Trigg
er” by Teri Yaqi. Available for download on freeditorial.com