There was something different about the way she moved. He noticed it right away, the way she turned her whole body slightly when she reached for something. She did not bend forward, the way most people do, when bringing the cup of coffee towards her lips. It was late in the day, and the coffee shop was almost deserted. One of the staff was beginning to mop the floor at the other end of the room. The way she sat, reminded him of a picture of a Victorian lady’s perfect posture. The shoulders held back while she sat as straight as the wood panelled wall behind her, without touching it. His eyes kept returning to her, trying not to be too obvious. That was difficult to do, as there was nothing else to look at, other than the wallpaper pattern, and he was sitting two booths away and directly opposite from across the aisle. He thought he caught a faint smile, in his direction, at least once. She looked lost in thought, and somewhat ill at ease. The kind of look that makes one wonder what is on another’s mind.
She had a gentle oval face and straight blonde hair that curved across her ears, trimmed straight and angled back. It descended at the rear straight down the nape of her neck where it was cropped tight only slightly past the collar of her blouse. Thin, delicate, somewhat pale, features were accented by a hint of mascara and some purple lipstick. It matched the dark purple gloss on her fingernails. She looked to be in her early thirties, but could have been a few years older. She finished her coffee and dabbed her lip with the serviette. Then she straightened her black linen jacket, tugging it around with her right hand. She tucked the stray grey ruffle of the slate grey cotton blouse underneath the lapel. The blouse, with its ruffle, was what gave her a much more Victorian look. The collar came right up against her neck. It was buttoned, and displayed an ebony cameo exquisitely placed, near the base of her throat. He watched her as she hesitated, then slid her whole body sideways, a little, along the bench seat, towards the aisle. Then she turned so that her legs swung out around the end of the bench. She remained sitting, for a few moments. He could see her knee length black skirt, showing its slit from the knee towards the thigh. She had nicely shaped legs. She was wearing black leather boots, matching the gloves she had slipped onto her thin fingers. She placed her left hand, palm down firmly against the table, and gripped the end of the booth with her right hand to provide some leverage, as she slowly stood up, bending only at her hips.
He had not been able to take his eyes off of her. It was fascinating how she moved. She walked somewhat cautiously, with a slight hesitation between steps. She smiled and little, and from almost within reach, she said softly: “you come here often?”
“No. I have never been here before.”
“Not much to look at, but the music is alright.”
“I would not say that. I could not keep my eyes from noticing an attractive woman.”
“You must mean the waitress. Are you waiting for someone?”
“No. I was actually getting ready to leave.” He took some loose change from his pocket and placed it on the table. “You have plans for the evening?”
“Not really, nothing of importance.”
“Oh… I live near here. Would you care to walk with me?”
“I would like that.” He got up from the table.
He was wearing black. It was suitable for the club scene, but he did not feel like venturing into it. He wondered if she had changed her plans. He noticed how when she turned, she turned her whole body from the hips. Something about her shoulders, stiffness, never quite looking relaxed. He attributed that to her having invited a complete stranger to walk with her.
“I am Marissa. And you?”
“I’m sorry. I’m Bob.”
“I was going to go to one of the clubs, but I’m feeling a little tired. I want something quieter.”
“I have heard there is a quiet little place only a block from here….”
“No, I really can’t. It has been a long day. Though you’re welcome to come up to my apartment.”
“I would like that.”
“We are almost there. It is around the next corner and a half block past that little shop where they sell those clay figurines from South America.”
“I know the one you mean. The bright coloured rugs and knitted sweaters hanging in the window.”
“You can put your arm around me, if you wish. Though you might think I am strange.”
“You’ll find out quickly enough, if you do it.” Marissa smiled a little. Bob put his arm around her waist. He was a little startled. He expected the softness of between her hip and her lower ribs. He thought he felt something hard, solid and unyielding against his arm. Then as he touched the other side of her waist with his hand he could feel there was something very solid, with hard edges underneath her clothing. He hesitated a moment and then held her a little more firmly. He watched her face as she smiled a more relaxed smile than previously.
“You can hold me as tight as you want to. You won’t break anything.” She laughed.
She was slender, but seemed to have hardly any waistline. He could feel the hard solid edge of something pressed against her side. He thought he could feel a hard smooth protrusion extending from that across the curve of her hip. Different thoughts went through his mind, as to what it might be, but he was fascinated by the feel of it all. It contrasted with his expectations, and with the softness of her features. It emphasized them. It moved precisely along with her body as though it was in some way attached to her, distinct from her clothing. He did not know what to say.
“I might as well tell you. I have a ruined back. You can probably feel my brace, under there. You have your hand on part of it. I either wear it or endure the pain for not enduring it.”
“I had no idea.” He started to ease his hand away.
“No, please keep your arm around me. It feels nice. Unless you are put off by it. Many are.”
“No, I find you to be quite attractive,” pressing his hand against her side as emphasis.
“Hmm…Maybe you do. We’ll see….. I find you attractive, too.”
“Thank you…. So you have a bad back?”
“Absolutely ruined. They can’t do anything for it anymore, at least nothing that I would want them to mess around with. Nothing short of fusing most of my spine so I can’t bend it anymore.”
“It is too extreme… If I can put up with a brace, I can at least still bend my back, sometimes, when I want to. It keeps me from getting worse, and it does not hurt as much.”
“How did it happen?”
“I had a few bad accidents, none of them my fault. Maybe I will tell you about it sometime later. It’s a long story. My ex walked out on me because of it. I was too damaged for his liking. He could not make love to me anymore. He could, but he did not want to. He wouldn’t. He found someone else, instead.”
“I am surprised….you’re so nice looking.”
“He was probably put off by it all…and it isn’t like it was. There is a lot I used to do that I simply can’t. But I can still make love…” She laughed louder than before, seeming somewhat defiant.
“Are you married? Do you have anyone?” She asked him.
“No, no one steady, not married.”
“I did not mean to imply anything. I simply wondered.”
“I know. It is usual to ask that kind of thing.”
“We are almost there. My apartment is on the second floor. I hate the stairs, but there is an elevator.”
They reached the building. It did not look like an apartment building. It looked more like an old factory or warehouse building. Marissa took out a key and unlocked the barred plate glass door. There was graffiti on the outside wall. Something indecipherable with alien looking letters in bright blue and green sprayed in geometric progression along with a couple of red and yellow faces, bulging with blue bulbous eyes and long spiral tongues. It was art, of a sort. The hallway opened into a space where the elevator door stood ajar.
“Pull the door hard, it will lock on its own. Then we can use the elevator. It’s over there….” She pointed to the old freight with its cage door slightly ajar. It was illuminated by one bare light bulb.
“Alright…” he pulled the door hard shut and heard it click into place.
“This old thing is enough to frighten most people away…but stairs are hard for me so I use it.”
“It is absolutely antique.”
“We are not supposed to, but the landlord lets me….stairs jolt my back too much.”
They stepped inside and Bob pulled the latticed metal gate shut. Marissa pushed the button on the panel and the old machine whined a complaint, and then jerked into motion. It inched slowly up towards the floor above. When it stopped it was only a couple of inches above the floor. The hallway was dimply illuminated, with a somewhat yellow glow typical of old buildings. Bob stepped out first and offered his hand to Marissa. She stepped off the platform cautiously.
“Thank you. We are to the right and down a ways. I have the whole side of the building. That is why I took it. All the space and not expensive, everything so near, and no need to drive….”
“You don’t like driving?”
“Short distances are alright, but after a while everything hurts. I can do it, but it isn’t comfortable.”
“Oh….mine is parked a few blocks away. I didn’t even think of it. Sorry…”
“I wanted to walk with you….” She turned the key in the lock and opened the door.
They entered the space, and it seemed to stretch forever into the semi-darkness. He noticed the large wicker basket and the throw rug. Then he looked past the alcove into a spacious room where he could see some furniture, including a large sofa in the far corner. Marissa pressed on a light switch and a blue glow came alive along the baseboard.
“I had that put in. It’s neon. I like the colour. Can you help me with these? I can’t get down there very easily right now.” pointing to her boots.
“More than happy to…” Bob bent down to undo the laces on the boots. She steadied herself leaning against one of the wooden beams that jutted up towards the ceiling. She bent her leg at the knee, causing her skirt to ride up a little, as he tugged the boot off her foot, then the other one. Her toenails were done in the same shade of purple nail polish as her fingers. They were immaculate.
“I had my girlfriend do them. I can’t reach them myself….”
“I like the colour. Maybe someday you will let me do them for you…”
“Maybe….” Bob had slipped off his shoes and pushed them aside near the door. He placed the boots beside them. Then, catching a glimpse from Marissa’s eyes, and seeing that she seemed to be waiting for something, he put his arms around her. He could feel the back portion of her brace underneath his hands. It stretched across the small of her back. She moved towards him until their lips touched. He gave her a lingering kiss, and then another kiss, until they were both a little out of breath. He could feel the lower front of the brace, where it rested on the base of her pelvis, pressing against his abdomen as their hips touched. She rested her body against his, throwing her arms around his shoulders and running one hand through his hair.
“We should try to get more comfortable….” Marissa whispered in Bob’s ear.
“Alright….where do you suggest?”
“In there….it’s enough light?”
“Yes, I like it.”
“Good. First I want to get some of this off of Me.”
“I can wait, there, until you’ve changed…”
“No. If you don’t mind, I would rather you help me with it. Do you mind?”
“No. I don’t mind. Anything that you’re comfortable with is alright….” They walked together towards the couch. There was a wall unit with a stereo, flush with the wall. There were a couple of dark glass tables. There was a round one and a rectangular one. The room was sparse, and it was impossible to see the details of a couple of large paintings on one wall. There was a large sculpture, comprised of geometric shapes on the side opposite those.
“Will you do this….” she had started to undo a button on the blouse.
“First the jacket…” Bob slipped the jacket from her shoulders and down her arms.
“You can toss it on that chair for now….” Marissa sat down on the sofa. She seemed uncomfortable.
“It is hard to sit on this. My brace presses against me….but I want this blouse off first. Please undo it…. I wear it to hide the brace….”
He started to undo the middle buttons as she tugged the blouse out from beneath her skirt. He could see the brace as it revealed from underneath the cloth. He unbuttoned at her breasts, and he could see where the brace came across her upper chest. She was wearing a silk slip underneath the blouse. The bars of polished stainless steel, on either side, curved around her chest, from beneath her arms. They were joined to a black leather covered pad that pressed against her upper chest immediately below her collar bone. He reached the cameo and slipped the pin loose that held it to the collar. Then he undid the final buttons and let the blouse slip aside. He watched the rise and fall of her breaths. His hands found the buttons near her stomach and he worked his way down one by one. She undid the clasp of her skirt, loosening it. He could see the stainless steel sides of the brace, with its closure mechanism, pressed against the sides of her body. They rested on pads of black leather. At the crests of her hips there were stainless bars that curved around the inner edge of the hip, and across the periphery of her abdomen. They joined to a black leather covered pad. Its bottom edge rested upon the lower part of her pelvis, and it reached up to below her navel. Her body was clasped in the brace so it seemed like a jewel in a polished metal setting. Except that she was soft flesh. The contrast somehow made her seem more precious. He took off his own jacket and tossed it beside her.
“Help me get this off.” She motioned to at the blouse.
He slid it off her shoulders and over her arms as she leaned her whole body towards him a little, from her hips. She motioned to the skirt, then hesitated.
“How do you want…..”
“Help me lie down, it will be easier….”
“Let me get behind you….” He put one arm under her back and used the other to support her head a little. She rested the back of her head against it. He eased her down until she was flat on her back.
“Mmmmm…That’s better…..Now you can slide my skirt off. I would have done it standing up, Can you do it this way?”
“Yes…that’s ok.”Bob helped Marissa put her legs up onto the couch. Then he eased the skirt off, sliding it under her, down her legs and over her feet. The skirt off , he began to kiss her, running his hands across the silk of her slip where the brace allowed the feel of her body. The softness of her breasts contrasted to the lines of rigid metal that outlined the upper curves of their shape. He body was held rigid, flat against the couch. He could bring his lips to touch hers, as she rested her head against the surface of the cushion. He wanted to make love to her. He kissed her again, including the exposed surfaces of her shoulders and arms. His cheek touched the cool of the metal. Then he kissed her lips again and he knew she wanted him as much as he wanted her.
“You are so understanding, so nice…..I want to take this off. That’s why I wanted to lie down,” pointing to the side of the brace.
“I want to make love to you…..that is if you want me….”
“Yes, I want you. Now how do I take it off?”
“Here,” She guided his hand to the mechanism that held it in place, then stopped him.
“First I need you to do something for me…. In the next room there is a thing that looks like a plastic shell with three straps attached to it. I want you to bring it out here. I have to put it on.”
“You mean a different brace?”
“Yes, it is too hot in that one during the day so I use this thing. The light switch is on the wall to your right as you go in there.”
He gave her another kiss on her lips. She stroked her hand through his hair. He broke away and smiled at her as he walked over to the doorway. Entering the room he fumbled for the light switch. It was a bedroom. There was the usual dresser, a wardrobe and a large bed. Some woman’s things on the dresser, perfume bottles mostly. The room was dark green and the furniture was mostly wood, but done in a pale shade of purple. The bed similarly covered with a magenta cover. It was extremely unusual but pleasant decor. It felt comfortable. Then he noticed it on the bed. It was a translucent plastic object, apparently made of two halves joined together by three straps. He picked it up off the bed, feeling its smooth contours. They reminded him of her. They were suggestive of her shape. He brought it out to her, turning off the light as he did so.
“This is what you wanted?”
“Yes, that’s it…..Now help me to sit up….” He slid his arm under her, and helped her sit up cradling her braced body until she regained her balance.
“What do you want me to do, now?”
“Take that apart into its two halves. Then bring the flatter one over here behind me…That is where it goes….”
“I’ll let it sit there if that is alright….”
“That’s good… Now undo this by pushing down on it.”
He pushed down on the device, where she had indicated, and it opened. The part that was held there came loose and slipped away from her back.
“Now lift the brace away from me, it will simply come off….if you pull forward on it….” she said. It was off. He put it aside.
“Now slide the end of that other one right up to me and I’ll lie down on it.” He positioned it, and put his arm around her shoulders to help ease her down. She was resting on the plastic surface. It was lined with a softer layer. She had left her slip on, braless underneath it.
“Now the other half goes on top.” The other half came up a little higher than the tops of her breasts and down as far as her groin, the bottom edge shaped around the tops of her thighs. It positioned easily, being so precisely formed to her shape.
“Now the straps….go through the loops and over top, until they are snug.” He pulled each one through and fastened them. She smiled at him. Her body was completely encased in a plastic shell from the base of her abdomen to the upper part of her chest, and across the whole of her back from the tops of her behind to the tip of her shoulder blades.
“I thought you wanted to make love” he said, unable to conceal a nuance of disappointment.
“Oh….you don’t think I want to? Why would you think that?”
“In that? It would surprise me. That’s all. It covers most of your body.”
“I know. You think I changed my mind and don’t want to because it covers my body.”
“That is what I was thinking.”
“I wanted it on, because I want to make love to you….”
“It isn’t because I am kinky. Making love causes me a lot of pain. I cannot really enjoy it unless I wear this. It protects my back from getting any worse…. Are you alright about that?”
“It’s alright….I was simply surprised…that’s all…. I never thought of anyone needing that.”
“I do need it. I would rather be touched by you than by this plastic thing, and it must be difficult for you too… My ex could not handle it. He only wanted me naked. He simply could not, would not, make love to me, if I had a brace on.” “I don’t feel that way. I find you attractive in anything you wear…..”
“Anywhere….where you can feel my lips….”
“Mmmmm…….anywhere…….slide my panties off, they are under my slip….”
They kissed again….. ——————————– Perhaps continued some other day……..Perhaps…..