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Backgammon For Blood Ch. 03

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This is the third installment of the Backgammon For Blood Series. Although this can be read by itself, it might provide background for you if you read the first two stories, particularly Kathy’s Portrait, before you read this one.

This is a somewhat strange story, and I can only say that it makes sense to me. I hope it does to you, my reader, as well. For those of you who hate the idea of cuckoldry, you may wish to pass this story by. If you choose to leave me one of your pithy comments, understand that they usually give me a good laugh – keep them coming.

This story reflects the mythology of paganism as it exists in the early twenty-first century, and does not purport to be factual about the subject. If any Celts, pagans or other subscribers to that religion are offended, I offer my sincere apologies.

The Yuletide Offering

copyright © Adam Gunn

Flitting down a San Francisco street, Kathy enjoyed the brightly lit holiday displays in the shop windows, the sounds of Christmas humming through the after work crowd, and the glint of the large tree in Union Square. All this brought to her mind the question she’d been asking herself for weeks: what should she get her husband for Christmas? Only four days left to figure it out. Like most men, Phil already had everything he needed, and when asked directly, he professed that there was nothing he really wanted. After sixteen years of living with him, she should know him better than this, shouldn’t she?

Caught by a Celtic-inspired picture in the window of an art gallery, she peered at it not quite knowing why it attracted her. “This is silly,” she thought. She’d been having impulses like this since the start of November, mesmerized by anything of ancient ilk. She wasn’t Irish, nor was Phil. In a store back in Pittsburgh, she’d picked up a new-age harp CD on the spur of the moment. Although she normally didn’t care for that type of music, she hadn’t been able to take it out of her car player. And then there were the dreams, the ones about being ravaged by a prince on a hillside above rocky ocean cliffs; it frustrated her that she always woke before the vision was completed. Strangely, she felt all of this was somehow connected with her unreasonable need to come to San Francisco. Three weeks prior, she’d seen an advertisement for the city in a magazine, and impulsively called her travel agent. Her business partner was angry with her, concerned she was leaving the store in the midst of the Holiday rush period. Phil was miffed too. “If you need to take a few days off, fine. But why right before Christmas? Besides, on this schedule, you’d only be gone three days. Why don’t you go after Christmas, when you can stay longer?” Finally, she insisted that no matter what, she was going, and he’d grumpily driven her to the airport on Thursday morning. “Kathy,” she thought, “you’ve got to get it together!”

Even though it was only five o’clock, the gloom was already gathering in the downtown streets. “It gets dark so early this time of year,” she thought. “Isn’t tomorrow going to be the shortest day of the year?”

She stepped through the door and professionally appraised the store. It was more polished than her shop; of course, the clientele out here was more sophisticated. A short balding gnome was working with a patron, but he nodded to her. “Please, feel free to browse. I’ll be with you in a moment.” Kathy made her way back into a second room, drawn to four lithographs of a somewhat familiar style. Could it be him? Although she hadn’t seen him or his work in years, these were reminiscent. Yes, there was his name on the plate below the lithographs, “Robert Wallace.” Stepping back, she critiqued the erotic illustrations. It seemed he now depended on a complex background to bring out the personality of the model, and the drawings weren’t as pornographic as his beginning work in the field eight years ago. Only one of the girls had exposed genitals, and even in that, the hairs on the mound were subdued when compared to the stockinged legs and musical props. Robert had tinted the work subtly, the lines were sharp, and the trademark pencil and ink genesis of the art was still evident.

The dwarf of a salesman converged upon her, sniffing a commission. “This is one of our most popular artists,” he panted. “Quite a background. He went to school at…”

Kathy cut him off. She was used to the patter, having used it herself many a time. Besides, she knew the truth. “Yes, I know. I’m a classmate of his.” She could have added more, much more, but it really wasn’t any of his business.

“Oh, you were with him back east? Well, we’re happy to have him out here, that’s for sure.”

“Is he in San Francisco?” An affirmative. He continued with his sales pitch, telling her that The Dominatrix was one of the most popular items in the store, and that the Tommy gallery was glad to have an exclusive on it. Only a few copies were left. The store only displayed a portion of the available work, the less graphic pieces, but if she was interested there was a catalogue.

“Well, listen, I’d like to say hello to Robert while I’m out here. You don’t casino siteleri happen to have his telephone number, do you?”

“Oh, we can’t give it out. Surely you understand. But, I’d be happy to get a message to him, if you’d like.”

She produced one of her business cards and scribbled “Allison Hotel” on the back. “Just tell him to call me there, please.”

After more shopping in Maiden Lane, dinner, and a play, Kathy was tired – the long flight out the day before and the sightseeing had taken its toll. She returned to the downtown hotel and readied herself for sleep. Just starting to relax, the phone rang.

“Kathy?”

“Robert! It’s so good to hear your voice.”

“And you, too. What are you doing in San Francisco?”

“Oh, I’ve never really seen California, and I just came to knock around for a long weekend. I just arrived today, and I’ve got a flight back late Monday night.”

“Wonderful. Listen, can we get together?”

They agreed to meet in a North Beach café the next night. After chatting a little longer, they hung up with cries of, “Oh, I can’t wait.”

Lying in bed, she wondered what Phil would think if he knew she was going to have dinner with her comrade. Then she knew what he’d think – he’d wonder if she were planning on having a good time in the sack with him!

Years ago, Kathy had met Robert in art classes when her husband was on the road. They’d fallen for each other immediately, but Kathy resisted his advances until the night she finally posed completely nude for him. For months modeling sessions acted as foreplay for intense sex. She had loved Robert, and she felt he loved her, but in the end he’d wanted her to divorce her husband to marry him, and Kathy, forced to make a decision, chose to stay with Phil. After the affair was over, the only one she’d ever been in, she confessed to Phil, expecting the worst, hoping she would be able to heal the wounds she expected to open. Instead, he was forgiving, brought on, no doubt, by the fact that he’d been involved with another woman at the same time.

A rather surprising attitude resulted, though. Phil wanted her to tell him all of the details, including trivia about where and how they’d made love, the positions they’d used, everything. He seemed amazed at how she’d allowed her naked body to be used on both canvas and mattress. At first Kathy resisted, embarrassed and desiring privacy, but then she relented and began to regale him with the minutiae. Since then, he’d heard the stories over and over again, and he absolutely adored a lewd picture of Kathy that Robert gave her as a memento. They occasionally talked of having more affairs, but Kathy never found anyone she was interested in. Still it continued to be a fantasy of his, and he encouraged her to wander. The night before she came out, at his prodding she made up a story about finding a guy in a hotel bar, and what he would do to her. As usual, Phil wound up playing the part of the stranger.

Hey, that was it! She knew what she’d get him for Christmas! She’d wheedle Robert into parting with one of those pictures of her he’d drawn so many years ago. The new works she’d seen were so much more advanced. Surely he didn’t need those old things anymore. And Phil would love it.

The next evening Kathy followed the directions Robert provided and walked to the cable car. Clambering into a seat on the inside, she asked the conductor to let her know when they approached Union Street and Mason. As the car climbed Nob Hill, she eavesdropped on some businessmen and was charmed by their discussions regarding Holiday plans, what they were purchasing for their wives, where they would spend Christmas Eve. The bell clanged jauntily as they descended towards Fisherman’s Wharf, and soon the conductor clamored, “Union Street! Don’t miss a beat!”

Departing the car, she spied the towers of Saints Peter and Paul church and strolled toward them. Two blocks later she turned right onto Columbus, and there was Michelangelo’s, reputed (or so Robert said) to be the best family restaurant in North Beach. And there he was, sitting halfway back in the crowed bistro. “God, he’s gotten older,” Kathy thought as he stood to greet her, “his hair is completely gray!” A kiss on the cheek and an abbreviated embrace seemed a bit odd; the last time she’d seen him, they’d lain naked in bed together.

“Oh, you look wonderful,” Robert gushed, “Turn around so I can get a good look at you. You haven’t put on a pound, have you? It’s so good to see you!” The nearby diners smiled at them, remembering the many times they’d met old friends.

A carafe of wine was ordered, and the lass brought ceramic mugs to quaff as they began to catch up with each other. Kathy let Robert go first.

Soon after they’d broken up, a large retail chain made him an offer for his jewelry stores that he couldn’t refuse, so he didn’t. At loose ends, he audited classes at the Columbia University School of Visual Arts in New York City for a year, and had been lucky to find a mentor that honed his interest in nudes. A friend encouraged him to come out to the Bay Area where the living was good and the models canlı casino were beautiful. Over three years ago he’d made the move, and it was fantastic. Everything you wanted – a great art scene, theatre, wine, fantastic people. She should come out next year for Halloween in the Castro. No, he wasn’t married, but he’d lived for two years with one of his models. She moved out four months ago when she finally figured she wasn’t going to get a proposal or any of Robert’s money, and headed for L.A. It’s okay, it’d never been that serious for him.

As he related his recent history to her, she remembered what she’d discovered in this man, his caring, sensitivity and, yes, beauty. The sadness in his face he’d displayed during their courtship, a result first of the death of his wife and then the knowledge that she would never be his second wife, was gone now. It was so good to see him cheerful and at peace with the world. And yes, he was still very attractive, even if he had put on a little weight.

Then, over the best Ravioli Bolognese she’d ever imbibed, she told him of how she’d made a few contacts in the art scene and opened a gallery, how Phil was doing well in his job. Yes, she’d told him about their affair, and they’d gotten through it.

“Oh, that reminds me,” Kathy smiled as the coffee was served, “One night Phil and I were invited to your club, and I snuck him up to the smoking room to see the wall of nudes.” She enjoyed his chagrin. “You could have told me you were going to put my vagina up there for all the world to see.”

“I guess I should have asked your permission, shouldn’t I? But your face wasn’t on it, there was no way anyone could have recognized you, and, well, we weren’t on very good terms at the time, if you remember. If it’s any consolation, the guys still think it’s the best in the room.”

“Oh, I’m not angry. Phil rather enjoyed it, as he does the other pieces you gave me. Which brings me to a request. Could I have one more of those old drawings for Phil? I need a Christmas present for him.”

“Oh, I’d love to, Kathy, but they’re all gone. They were stored in a warehouse while I was in New York, and the thing went up like a matchbox. My agent’s still in mourning over it, he thinks that early crud would bring in a fortune now. But I’ve got a few lithographs at my apartment I’d be happy to gift you with. Why don’t you come up and take a look at them?”

“…Said the spider to the fly. Isn’t it supposed to be ‘engravings’, not ‘lithographs?'” She observed his face as he chuckled at the jest. “Okay, I’ll put myself at your mercy. Lead me to my doom,” she joked.

The bill was presented, the credit card imprinted, and they found themselves out in the briskness of a San Francisco evening. “Normally I walk back to my place from here, only six blocks, but it’s straight up Russian Hill. We can take a taxi if you like.”

“No, I’m up for a little exercise. I like being sweaty. Perhaps you remember?” Once again she’d scored, and the crimson rose to his neck. As they began the steep climb, she placed her arm in his. They discussed the less intimate details of their months together, and Kathy told him how she missed him in her life, how she’d thought about him often, how distressed she was when the Christmas card came back stamped, “no such recipient.” As the slope of the sidewalk increased, Robert placed his arm around her back, offering her support in walking, and an intimacy she’d almost forgotten. For his part, he related how he’d been wrong, that now he realized his previous insistence on exclusivity was silly, how he’d wished many times he could return to the rapture he’d known in those days.

“I often thought of calling you when I make my trips back to Pittsburgh, you know.”

“Why didn’t you? Or at least drop me a note?”

“I don’t know. I guess I figured you’d be angry at me.”

“Oh, never. Not at you.” And she paused at the top of the hill to stroke his cheek affectionately.

Entering an apartment building and taking the elevator to the eighth floor, Robert opened the portal. Kathy stepped in and observed the artist’s lair. A large living room leading into a dining room, more of a conversation arena actually, and the small kitchen. Pine floors covered with soft beige carpeting, ivory paint, smoke furniture. Color in the rooms was supplied only by the many eclectic pieces of art standing or hanging on the walls. Only one piece of Robert’s own making was displayed, a large lithograph of a blond clothed in a negligee kneeling on a bed. The piece was tipped in orchid.

“Your work is gorgeous, Robert. The model is quite beautiful.”

“Yes, she was, wasn’t she? It made up for the avarice, I think.”

“Oh, is that your girlfriend?”

“Do you approve?”

“Of course. She seems very young, though.” And exciting, she thought, wondering if the model was any good in bed.

The apartment was decorated for the holidays by the inclusion of two symbols in opposite corners of the living room. First, on the left was a Christmas tree, festooned with traditional ornaments and a book of carols.

Opposite was a small ceramic tree with a few kaçak casino bronze leaves and a number of plaques hanging from the branches. Each of the moldings sported a strange marking. Upon closer examination, Kathy found that her inner emotions were being mysteriously stirred. “A friend of mine constructed that for me,” Robert explained. “It’s a Winter Solstice bough. Those are, according to him, Druid symbols. He fancies himself to be a pagan. Enya goes particularly well with it, I think,” and he placed one of her CDs into the stereo.

Kathy stepped to the edge of the room, and gazed through a large window that offered the dazzling lights of San Francisco from downtown skyscrapers and the Bay Bridge to the luminescence of Coit Tower, with the twinkles of Treasure Island and the hills of the East Bay sparkling in the distance. Suddenly, the lights in the apartment winked out, leaving her in darkness. “The view’s more impressive this way, I think,” Robert observed, coming to stand beside her.

Something in the evening, the first one of winter, possessed them. Possibly the crispness of the scene below impacted them, or maybe it was only base instinct, but perhaps, just perhaps, the magic of the Celtic emblems and music unfettered their desire. Kathy flowed to him, offering her lips in sacrifice. Robert clasped the offering, placing his mouth gently upon hers, capturing her in his embrace, tethering her with the chains of fervor.

As they came together, Kathy’s mind was suddenly overtaken by the image of her dream, and suddenly she seemed to be transported from the western apartment to a medieval forest. Above, tall trees shielded her from the open sky, and the wall of the apartment building morphed into a cliff above the pounding ocean. The clothes the couple were wearing transformed from the stylish frock and modern suit to medieval raiment suitable for royalty. She was, she suddenly knew, in the presence of the primeval gods.

Kathy recalled joyfully how Robert once attended to her as a goddess, and once again prepared for the ministrations of the sorcerer. Submissively allowing herself to be led to the altar, she did not resist as her shaman ritually disrobed her, casting off the tunic, allowing him to worship the orbs. The kirtle and underlinen were removed, exposing to the enchanter the object of his adoration. Genuflecting before the crevice, he paid homage to her feminine center with his tongue. The postulant gasped as he worshiped it, willingly accepting the intercession, muttering chants of thankfulness, until Taranus, the thunder god, visited her.

When Taranus departed, placated yet anxious to return, the succubus bade her conjuror to lean away. As he knelt before her in oblation, she assisted him in doffing his jerkin and breeches. At last they reached the ancient and required garb of the incantation, and they made ready to consummate the mystery. With prayers of gratefulness, the sacristan mounted the temple of his ardor, plunging his stave within the holy cauldron wherein it belonged. To the rhythm of Pax Decorum pulsating from the minstrel, the priest and priestess culminated the rite, joining and parting still again, placating the gods by sustaining the ritual fire, mystically journeying to the long past and distant land of obsession. Unable to resist any longer, the necromancer spewed his detritus into the sprite in ultimate exertion as she howled with savage rage. Appeased in the conciliation with Brigit, the goddess of fertility, yet not willing to part from each other, the worshippers cooled to the strains of Athair Ar Neamh. Only when the electronic muse concluded the aria did Danu, the mother of all gods, allow her to recognize that she had returned from the pilgrimage, and was, once again, in the San Francisco of the twenty-first century.

“That was so strange,” she observed. “Did you feel it, too?”

“Of course, I did, Kathy. I’ve longed for you since the last time we parted.” Apparently, he had not shared this vision of hers; already she doubted the veracity of the visage.

They sat on the couch and the one who had once been his lover, and was again, nuzzled against him. “It’s been a long time,” she observed.

“I’d forgotten how wonderful it is with you.” They stroked each other for some time until the chill of the realm outside the casement seeped into their bones. As Kathy shivered, Robert queried, “Do you want to get dressed?”

“If you have a robe, or perhaps a throw, I’d rather use that.”

“You don’t have to leave?”

“Not till Monday, dearest. Not unless you want me to.”

“Then stay with me. Please, please, stay here.”

Instead of costuming, they retired to the snuggery and buried themselves in the cave of the bed, hibernating until glowing cravings woke them before the dawn. Kathy roused from slumber to an intense feeling of pleasure on her breasts. Realizing it was the hand of her paramour, she turned to face him and began ministering to him. Throwing the comforter aside, she placed her face at his groin and licked and nibbled his manhood to life. In a short time he’d achieved the optimum erection, and she adroitly took the staff into her mouth, teasing the underside with her tongue, encouraging his discharge with her fingers. He responded by expending into her mouth, filling her with quivers of the fluid of love, until there was no more to release.

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