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‘Here we are,’ said Ben, suddenly grabbing their hands and skipping them across the road under the nose of a taxi. They reached pavement beneath a white street-lamp that made the building beyond look even more shadowed.
‘A church?’ asked Netta, pulling out of his hand. She wrinkled her nose. ‘It looks derelict.’
‘It’s an artists’ centre now. Naylor’s studio’s inside – see the light?’
They peered into the gloom, and Sophie was relieved to see that there was a glow high up in one of the tall stained-glass windows – though it barely showed through the encrustation of soot and the thick protective wire lattice over the exterior of the glass.
‘Looks spooky,’ muttered Sophie.
‘Looks like a place for freaks to hang out,’ Netta grumbled.
‘Aw,’ he mocked softly. ‘Are the little girls scared?’
Netta cast him a sharp glance. ‘Hey – how old are you?’ she asked. It sounded like a change of subject but Sophie knew where she was coming from. She’d assumed all along that Ben was their own age or thereabouts: mid-twenties at most. That’s how he’d looked under the indoor lights. But out here under the harsh white light of the streetlamp he looked suddenly older. It wasn’t wrinkles; he didn’t look wrinkled. It was something less definable, something about way the shadows fell or the look in his eye as he derided their squeamishness. Something about his eyes, for sure – as he turned his face down to them he looked almost blind for a second.
‘How old do you think I am, love?’
‘Thirty? Thirty-five?’ Netta was being deliberately nasty, trying to get a reaction; Sophie could hear it in her voice. But Ben didn’t reply. He just smiled, and it was a different sort of smile to the others he’d used upon them. Secretive and coldly amused.
Netta readjusted her bag on her shoulder. ‘It’s getting late,’ she said in a hard voice. ‘You know, I think I’m going to go back. My mum’s coming over to visit tomorrow and I need to get up early to clean the flat.’
Sophie was surprised and dismayed. So, their hot date had turned out to be a bit of a cradle-snatcher – but did it really matter how old he was, when he was this fit? Wasn’t Netta over-reacting?
‘Don’t you want to meet Naylor?’ he asked.
‘Maybe some other time.’
‘You’d like him, I promise.’
‘Like I said, it’s late.’ Netta looked sharply at Sophie. ‘You coming then?’
‘I think I’ll stay.’ She saw the spark of shock and outrage in Netta’s eyes, the look that said: You can’t stay on your own. You stick with your girl friends whatever. That’s the rules.
‘You go home if you like,’ said Sophie, nettled. She wasn’t letting an opportunity like this pass. ‘I want to see these sculptures.’
Ben folded his arms, counting himself out of the discussion. For a moment the two girls glared at each other. Sophie could hear her friend’s unvoiced accusation: On your own?
‘Suit yourself,’ said Netta with a sniff. ‘See you Monday.’ Unspoken was the sneer: Don’t come crying to me if it goes wrong. With an irate bounce in her step she marched away up the street, toward the neon glow of a Chinese takeaway sign and the taxi rank beyond. Sophie watched her go, then turned to Ben, who was waiting with eyebrows raised. ‘Sorry about that.’
‘Why be sorry?’ He took her arm and slipped his hand in hers. ‘Now I get to enjoy the undiluted pleasure of your company.’
Sophie’s pulse jumped, and she felt her sex clench in anticipation.
He led her into the churchyard, under the black shadows of the trees, and took her not to the front porch but around the north side of the building. The gravestone slabs had long been cleared away but a few table-tombs remained, and there in near-darkness he backed her up against a cold gritstone box and kissed her, harder this time.
Harder, deeper, hungrier.
Sophie slid her arms around his neck and ground her thighs against his, feeling for the telltale bulge of his erection. And oh yes, there it was – his cock hardening in response to her heat, her softness, her willingness. He put his hands on her waist and lifted her to sit on the tomb-top, and she opened her legs so he could stand between them, pressing up against her. Her skirt rode up, stretched tight across the very tops of her thighs. He took her left breast and squeezed it to the rhythm of his kisses, making her groan into his mouth. The sound seemed to galvanise him and he trapped her nipple between forefinger and thumb, twisting it until she squeaked again.
She’d never fucked in a churchyard before, she thought. It was exciting, in an old-fashioned way. His cock had clear definition now under the fabric of his trousers, and he was pressing right up against the mound of her sex, and she wondered if he’d realised yet she wasn’t wearing any knickers or whether his own clothing had fooled him. She wrapped her legs about his muscular ass. Her head started to swim; he seemed to have no intention of coming up for air.
Gasping, she broke from his lips. He laughed low in his throat.
‘God, girl: you’re hot, aren’t you?’
‘Uh-huh.’ She was seething with heat. She nibbled at his lips, finding them by feeling his face, and heard the hiss of breath between his teeth. He abandoned her breasts to push both hands up her smooth thighs, questing all the way to the top, finding the rucked-up skirt and then her soft, shaven, plump-lipped sex, a fashionable landing strip of hair the only veil to its nakedness. His thumbs plunged into the wet, twin divers, and she writhed with pleasure.
‘Oh, let me guess what you want,’ he whispered. It made her giggle.
‘I’ll give you three guesses.’
‘Really? One,’ he growled, massaging her clit with both thumbs. She arched her back, speechless. ‘Two,’ he continued, parting the folds of her sex and opening her wide with those thumbs, then working the rest of his fingers into the hot oil she was leaking, getting them good and slick, opening her up. ‘Three,’ he concluded, entering her with three fingers at once, his right wrist locked like a weapon, the muscles of his forearm tense as he pushed those fingers in deep, right past all those thick knuckles until he was holding her by her pussy, his thumb in possession of her clit – then out, then in again. His fingers were blunt and determined and brooked no refusal. Sophie jerked her hips and squealed and writhed, raking his skin with her nails. He pinned her with his other arm, pulling her hard against him. ‘Did I guess right?’
‘Mm,’ she nodded frantically, her lips bruising themselves on his hard jaw. She wanted his cock even more, but his fingers certainly had the right idea.
‘Then guess what I want, love.’
‘You want to fuck me,’ she whispered.
He chuckled – that dark low rumble again, deep in his throat. Lingeringly he withdrew his hand, enjoying her little whimper of loss. ‘Let’s go see my friend,’ he whispered, confounding her.
‘We walked all this way.’
‘Oh … can’t we … first…’
‘Don’t be impatient. Everything comes to those who wait, love.’
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