The world conspires in favor of new lovers. The powers of their coupling exert a force of serendipitous arrangement—responsibilities are stripped of their urgency, events dissolve from the calendar, the weather uninspires, so the two can hunker down, fall off the face of the earth, stay naked for days, and fuck each other's brains out.
Danny lies on his stomach between Brie's legs, his chin resting on her belly as he surveys the surface of her skin. "This one's name is Bambi," he says, pointing to a beauty mark on the underside of her breast. His voice is a vibration in her nether. He points to a mole above her belly button. "This one here is Candy." He rolls his head around to the side of her waist to continue his search. "Ooh, here's Destiny."
Brie swirls her fingers through his dark unkempt hair. "How come all my moles have stripper names?"
He kisses her side. "Exotic dancers."
She sits up to examine his back. "Meet Ted," she says, pressing on a mole. "Ted Bundy." She traces her finger down his spine. "May I introduce John... Wayne Gacy. This one likes to dress up like a clown. Ohhh," she says, moving up to his shoulder. "This one we'll just call The Night Stalker."
Danny pushes Brie back down flat on the bed and pins her arms above her head. She says, "I was so sure the Night Stalker was going to get me when I was little. I even made a will."
Danny takes her nipple into his mouth. "Who were your heirs?" he says with his mouth full.
"My cousin Anastasia and my dog, Dingo. Most of it went to the dog. I wrote special instructions for my executor to buy him a weekly cow femur." Brie gazes at the ceiling. "Dingo loved femurs."
"Mmm," Danny says. "Just like Jeffrey Dahmer." And then he is gone, to the place down below, the place where orgasms are made.
It is not all sex inside the lovers' cocoon. There is also the introduction of each other's favorite foods. Slices of rustic rosemary sourdough spread thick with nduja and soft Italian cheese then garnished with peppery arugula and olive oil. They eat it in bed while drinking Prosecco. Danny takes a salami-stained finger and paints a stripe of sienna up Brie's thigh then licks it clean.
In the peaceful glow of sunset, he tells her about boyhood, about summers spent in Capri at his mother's family's ancestral home. There is a sea cave there called the Blue Grotto where the water glows neon azure. He reads her Treasure Island because she's never heard the story. He tells her his favorite food is grilled cheese with tomatoes, just like his dad. Brie stands at her stove in only her underwear griddling him one packed with mustard-seed cheddar and heirloom tomatoes with bread and butter pickles tucked inside at the last minute so they stay crunchy and cold. When he takes his first bite, she thinks she sees love in his eyes.
They listen to Astor Piazzolla. They listen to The Police. He sits on the floor in the bathroom watching her shower. Everything little thing she does is magic. Everything she do just turns him on. They lay twisted in bed sheets. They lay tangled on floors. He brushes her hair. She gives him a back rub. They make love, face to face, their eyes saying what their voices cannot, not yet anyway. The Buddha says, The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground. She didn't understand that until now.
"It's just different," Danny is saying as they sit outside on the balcony sipping coffee in the bright yellow morning light. "Turning forty is like life clanging two giant cymbals in your face, forcing you to recognize that not only are you not young anymore, but you're officially an adult. And let's face it, adults suck."
This makes her laugh. Adults do suck. Maybe not to themselves, but certainly to others. The deeper and finer the grooves of your own personhood, the less you resemble anyone else. That's why it's good to double up, let life imprint you with the same patterns so you have someone who understands you.
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Brie Baggio thinks she's ready... for marriage, kids, the whole shebang. She's pushing forty, and even though she's the Senior Anti-Aging Ambassador at Los Angeles's hottest med spa, Botox can't paralyze that nagging feeling that it's now or never...