He represented an unusual challenge for her, someone exciting, if different from the norm. She knew, this was her last chance to help him, satisfy him, for him to satisfy her. Their last chance to make love. It was time for her to take the risk, to test herself, to rise to the challenge of him.
He lived in a shady tree house in a small copse by the footpath to the river in the hottest months and this was the hottest sweltering day of the heatwave so far. Few women saw him concealed within the shady leaves but she did. He exposed himself for her sharing his intimate secret with her, inviting her up, to rise, to his strangest challenge, in his abode, by text:
I need you to love me today, Maria. Here inside the tree house. I don’t have much time left.
Tree houses were all the rage, particularly with sad, dejected, introverted, lonely men like him: searching for self-worth, trying to recover their self-esteem, restore their lost pride before their inevitable fate. Searching for an escape from the intolerable pressure, the media of modern life. Tree houses were environmentally friendly, cheap to maintain. Best of all they stopped humans felling trees. Naturally, they had their down side. Bits of house tended to fall off in the wind, and when the leaves fell he could easily be seen. Maria saw him beckoning her from the inside.
He saw patients in his tree house being a psychoanalyst. Psychoanalysts liked to live concealed. He considered himself above the rest of us and didn’t usually like to be disturbed unless he was conducting an analysis on his own mind and opted, as he had, to undergo the ultimate treatment.
Maria stood beneath the tree house calling up to him. He drew back his big branch. She was a phenomenal-looking woman, gorgeous with straggly, flouncy blonde hair and a shapely figure. She’d worn her floppiest white t-shirt, shorts and running shoes, and ran, raising her body heat high: steam high, sweat high, until she was ready for her intimacy, ready to test herself, on him.
‘Come up,’ he mouthed waving his bare arms wildly at her thru the empty wood frame window.
Despite the treatment, his face was beaming with ruddy good health, radiant red. He spoke with a plum-in-his-mouth: Cambridge mixed with Oxford tinctured with a sublime hint of Suffolk.
Maria loved his voice. How quaint, she reflected, I’ve never loved a man in a tree house before.
‘Use the ladder behind my oak. It’s perfectly safe. Easy to climb. Think you can manage it?’
She vanished behind the tree calling to him as she made her stiff climb, ‘Might just be able to.’
He stared down and reached for her hand from the very top of the ladder, ‘Give me your hand.’
He was peculiar-looking, a beautiful psychoanalyst with an incredibly muscular physique. His roughly cut hair and lean torso were dripping, pouring with sweat. She imagined him stretching, performing planks, press-ups on his rug, the sanded timber floor, in the stultifying heat, for her. Other than his gold linked necklace, the flat metal crucifix adhering to his hairy, sweating chest, and his filthy jockstrap, he wasn’t wearing any clothes. Maria was pleased: clothes could be very restrictive during foreplay, in the clammy heat of the searing summer heatwave, she found.
She had managed to climb halfway up the gnarled wooden ladder when she teased him a little, ‘Not sure I should. I can’t be sure you’re safe. I don’t know if I trust you. Tell me you’re safe.’
‘I’m no danger to women,’ he said, blushing sheepishly.
Inches off, straining for the highest rung, her voice became laced with sympathy, compassion. Maria told him she understood about his treatment, his depression, his reason for choosing her. She apologized for teasing him: she hadn’t meant to hurt his feelings. By now, he was sweating profusely, his well-honed muscular upper torso running thick, sweat gluing his fine body hairs to his cusps of chest, abs, and pecs. The chain around his neck, his crucifix, burnt into his skin seared in blazing sun. Maria gazed up at his sunburnt face, flushed with the effort of telling her the earnest truth: ‘I’m clean. I test myself every day before I start work and as soon as I finish. I take precautions. I promise not to put you at any risk if you make love to me.’
He reached for her grasping her hand. Seconds later, Maria was safely inside his lair, concealed by summer leaves, lying in his shade. She stretched out next to him on the hessian woven rug. Their bare legs touched. She took off her spotless white running shoes, her pink braided anklets. Her perfectly manicured feet had blunt-filed toenails. Her complexion was unblemished. Maria had immaculate tanned skin, a pronounced widow’s peak, a shock of wet, straw-blonde hair, a delightful turned-up nose, lips that whispered, ‘kiss me.’ The arrogant attitude of a woman who knew she was exquisite, beautiful, yet sweaty, sticky. She needed to feel clean before she could make love to him.
‘I’m hot, sweaty and sticky from running hard,’ she said, ‘Do you have a shower I can use?’
‘My tree doesn’t have electricity. There’s no heat, light or gas, only natural energy. I thrive on earth power, spiritual power. I live by the sun, moon, stars. Sleep when it’s dark. Live when it’s light.’
He waffled on and on about internal power resources as shy, ill psychoanalysts are prone to do.
‘I get all that. Do you have a shower that I can take or not?’ She sat up on the woven hessian rug, resting her soft hand on his thigh to steady herself, and crossed her slender legs: slender in an attractive way, but her thighs bore the classic hallmarks of mild lipoedema. Her slimmish thighs were mildly inflamed, enlarged by the fat that accumulated there, which explains why Maria took up running.
He put his patient’s age as early-thirties. Did the accumulation of fat in her thigh’s hurt her? he asked himself, Could she bear a child? There were so many questions he wanted to ask her, if only she would bare her soul to him.
She squatted on her haunches, hands on knees, head craned, enjoying the hot sunshine filtering through the carved hole in his slatted timber roof onto her face, relaxing as if she hadn’t a care in the world. He gently squeezed her forearm. Her flesh felt puffy and soft, warm to the touch. Maria wasn’t wearing a bra under her saturated t-shirt so it was clinging to her stunning natural breasts. She made him feel weak, weaker than he’d felt since the treatment. His mouth was dry when he told her, ‘I only have natural spring water, I’m afraid. Will that do for you, Maria?’
She acted mildly irritated with him, ‘I suppose it’ll have to do.’
He gave her a sly smile, ‘I have solar panels fitted to the roof of this shed. They’ll soak up the hot sun and heat the water for your shower. You’ll find there’s plenty of hot water for you to achieve the body heat you need for when you make love. The cubicle acts as a steam room – that’s if you fancy a steamy sauna?’
‘Why, I’d love a steamy sauna.’
‘Let’s get you a bottle of water then, shall we? Before you take your shower?’
She plucked at the wet shirt sticking to her breasts and back and felt her sweat: her body heat felt good.
‘What will it be? Still or sparkling?’
‘Why, still, I think, don’t you?’
He reached across the rug for a bottle of still and gave it to her. She took the bottle off him, twisted the light blue cap, and gulped a healthy swig.
‘Ah, thanks,’ she gasped, ‘I really needed that.’
‘Don’t mention it.’
He reached for his half-empty bottle of flat sparkling water and swallowed it all. She lay closer to him, her wet blonde head, her smooth face, resting on his hairy chest, sharing all her wildest dreams.
‘Think you should take that shower now, don’t you?’ he said, ‘Before you get me all excited?’
‘Think I should,’ she smiled at him: a kindly, knowing, loving smile that broke his ailing heart.
He watched her pad across the bare wooden floorboards and enter the sauna and shower room. He hung his head and cried.
He didn’t have much time left. Maria’s sympathy for the wilting man grew into a kind of love. She’d found a love, a need, for him, that stretched her heartstrings taut, far beyond the affection and desires she first felt when she made that stiff climb up the ladder and he held his hand out for her. She wondered how she would cope with their anti-climax, when their lovemaking came to an end and she was left kissing his lips, cradling his head against her stunning natural breasts. She would give herself fully to him, she decided: he’d bathe in her body heat as if she were his sun, cherishing her love, her warmth, her body scent, her taste, until he closed his eyes to sleep.
Maria closed the cabin door, hiding herself from him, retaining her mystique as she peeled off her sodden shirt, shorts, and satin g-string. The cubicle was lit by a slanted open skylight casting dancing sunrays over her naked body, drying all her stickiness and sweat, cleansing her skin of oily secretions: her sebum. There was a slatted wooden bench. Maria spread her bits out to dry, opened the cubicle door, and turned the shower knob to palest red blood warmth, her body heat. She touch-tested the water temperature with her foot, then stepped inside, relishing the cascades of steaming liquid streaming thru her hair, onto her face, down her front. She soaped her cleft, washed under her armpits, around her buttocks, rinsed her breasts and tummy, soaked her hair. Satisfied, her body was at its best heat, Maria climbed out of the shower, wrapped a fresh towel round her midriff and leaned back on the warm wooden seat loving the hot sauna steam etching her nostrils. She waited till her hair was drenched in sweat, her body oozing perspiration, then she tied the towel tightly at the waist, closed her eyes and imagined herself making love to him.
He was lying naked still, flat on his back, squinting at a sun-hole over his head when she entered the room. He’d been crying: the warming rays of the sun had dried streams of tears on his cheeks. Maria felt a depth of love, an intense heartfelt need to love him without inhibition, freely, wildly, giving herself, her heart, body and mind to him with a sublime passion she’d never felt before.
‘You took your filthy jockstrap off,’ she observed, wryly.
He gave her a wan feeble smile that said, I did, for you, hope I’m manly, hope you’ll love me.
‘Just as well, I guess,’ she giggled childishly, ‘I wasn’t going to make love to you with it on.’
‘I guess not.’
Maria went and stood at the man’s feet and said, ‘Look at me.’
Sapped of all his energy, he craned his neck, appraising her wet hair hanging loose, her radiant shining face, her stunning, natural sweating breasts, and waited for her to make the next move.
‘Would you like me to take my towel off?’
Maria untied the damp towel, and let it fall to the floor. Her intimate reveal left him lost, silent.
At first he still had sexual urges. Over time he’d lost much of his libido or sexual desire. Studies undertaken during treatment showed that with increased stimulation he could still get erections, still have sex and still orgasm although his tiny squirts of ejaculate wouldn’t contain any sperm.
Her beauty had had the desired effect on him. He felt her lips part for him as she squatted over him and impaled herself on him, taking his rigid shaft deep inside her, sinking, sagging, till he felt her fleshy buttocks resting firmly on his thighs. Maria clasped his soft hands to her fulsome breasts, threw her head back as if to roar, and went into orgasmic rapture, coming, all over him.
After she had made love to him, she let him kiss her. She cradled his tired head to her breasts. For a few precious moments he could be her love child. Her voice choked with woe, grief, love and concern for him, she asked her final question, ‘When did you finish your treatment?’
Fading, shattered by her flagrant sexual denouement of his weak body, he couldn’t answer her.
Maria whispered the simple, beautiful words he had always longed to hear, ‘I love you, Simon.’
The lethal poison reached his heart, and he died, in her loving arms.