The Mouth by Rebecca Milton

No matter when she encountered you, she spoke as if you had been engaged in conversation with her for several hours and you were now at the mid-point of said conversation with much left to be spoken of on the downward slope. She made you feel as if there was a test to be taken looming in the very near future, and that you’d slept through ninety percent of the note sessions.
The Mouth
The Mouth by Rebecca Milton
She took you completely off your guard and never had the courtesy to set you right again before she dashed off, bits of conversation hanging in front of you like a curtain. She flustered, flummoxed and completely captivated you like no other woman on the planet. However, she did tip you on your side like a shaker of salt and left you to pour your contents all over the table. The passionate presence of her being left one completely, thoroughly off guard. I had tried, at one point, to explain this to her. “You take me completely off my guard, do you know this?” I had asked her. She stopped short, in mid-sentence, and her eyes misted over quite quickly. Her features dipped slightly giving her a very peculiar look, like a child who has tried her best to be good only to find that she has not been good enough. “Why ever would you want to have a guard up with me?” she asked. This, of course, took me off my guard and having no reasonable answer beyond “Um...” She gave a slight snort, supporting a voiced humph, and walked away. Her head cocked to the left, trying with all her might to figure the situation out. She left me, as usual, tumbling over myself and wishing to be somehow set right again. I had known Molly, or rather, I had been aware of her – for as yet I wasn’t sure it was possible to know someone who was the textbook definition of perpetual motion – for roughly eight months. She had come to us at the University, preceded by glittering gold recommendations from colleagues and professors, seeking a teaching position and a place to finish her doctoral work. Howard Barnes had called me into his office and shown me her resume and the stack of letters he had received. “Well?” Howard asked. One word, and that’s usually all you could get from him. Quite remarkable when you consider that he is the Chair of the Language and Writing departments. “It’s very impressive,” I told him, being completely honest. I had known some of the professors that had written letters in her cause. All of them quite bright and very stingy with a compliment. So, unless she was fabricating every word, she was truly some sort of heaven-sent genius. “Yes,” said Howard. Two words, a banner day and one that marked the entry of Molly Gales into our lives. *** I first met Molly the day I stepped into my office and found her books, coat, handbag and various papers splayed across the floor, and her own person perched on the edge of my couch drinking a cup of tea. She was reading from some unusually thick tome, and when I stepped in she looked up with the air of someone who had been interrupted just as they were about to discover the cure for cancer. I later learned that she always looked that way, an outcome of her mind being in a constant state of somewhere else. A mind that was at first maddening but, as time rolled me in her wake, I found quite stunning and, well, rather sexy. “May I help you?” she asked. “No, and perhaps I should be the one asking you that question.” “And why is that?” she demanded. “Because, you’re in my office,” I told her. With that, she gave a quick look about and discovered that she was, indeed, in my office. “Oh my,” she said. Not with embarrassment but, with the underlying feeling of being put out. Inconvenienced. Now that she had moved in, she would have to move out. “So,” I said, “can I help you?” “No,” she said and without even giving me a second glance she began to gather her things and prepare to depart. “I’m Molly Gales, Criticism and Analysis. Sorry, I dropped in the wrong office. My mistake. Out of here in a flash.” “Oh, well, I’m...” but, before I could finish the sentence she was true to her word and gone in a flash. Leaving me... off kilter. Later, that day, I was sitting in the cafeteria, having my sandwich, when Molly plopped down in a chair opposite mine and indoctrinated me into her unique way of being. “Simple mistake, when you think about it. I was so caught up in this bit I remembered reading in Bloom’s book, and I had to find it right then and there… Well, you know how that is. So, I missed my office by one door, plunked down in yours and started reading—” She rambled on, all the while her hands pulling items – spoon, napkin, cellophane wrapped sandwich, small container of yogurt – from a brown crumpled bag. She continued talking, never once looking at me while she rolled up the bag and stuffed it into her handbag. She ripped the top off the yogurt and plunked in the spoon, unsheathed the sandwich and opened the book she had been reading when I first met her. Her movement never ceased. Fingers gliding over pages plucking out pertinent sentences. Mouth alternately masticating and regurgitating choice bits of literary wisdom and food particles. After about twenty minutes of this incredible show, she cleared away her material with thaumaturgic efficiency and with the words, must teach a class, dropping over her shoulder, she vanished. It was only then I realized that my tomato and cheese sandwich had been frozen in time halfway between the table and my mouth for the entire length of her visit. It was as if she moved with such commotion that all time outside of her sphere had stopped to give her as much of it as possible. Only then, after she was gone, did I say, “Good afternoon, Ms. Gales.” Subsequent meets stayed much within the same framework. *** One evening, I was having a pint in my favorite pub, scribbling notes about my next book when she, as usual, appeared unannounced at the other side of my table. “And your last book was so remarkable, so witty and so special, I wondered to myself how will he ever top that? But of course, I’ve felt that way about all of your books so I am sure you’ll be just fine. Can I bum a cigarette?” She once again laid me under a tsunami of verbiage and movement. Before I could tell her I didn’t smoke, she continued on. “Never mind. I really should quit, actually I only smoke when I drink, and I shouldn’t drink because it makes me smoke and—” Her head turning, her arm up, waving for the waitress, the other hand bringing the last of her pint to her mouth, tipping it back as it vanished. I had not noticed this before. But how could I have? This moment, this breath in time was the first instance of stillness that I could recall with her. In that pause, that physical parenthetical, I noticed that she had the roundest, most fascinating lips I had ever seen. Full and soft with a redness that was not cosmetically enhanced. I found my eyes locked on that mouth, those lips, as the last golden stream of ale passed by them. Then her tongue, equally entrancing, slipped out from behind the barricade of teeth and ran a quick course over them, mopping up any remains of the liquid. Leaving behind a moist glisten that made me forget... Well, everything else. Even when she returned to normal motion, mouth pouring forth word waves, hands moving in arcs and slashes, I couldn’t shake the image of that mouth. To me, the mouth had always been a utilitarian orifice, used for the expulsion of words and debris and the ingestion of food and liquid. I had, of course, in my time, used my mouth for kissing but, her mouth seemed mystical. The idea of kissing her mouth filled me with warm desire and sudden fear, all at once. Would I actually be able to survive such a kiss? And, the better question still, would she ever consider kissing one such as me? Eventually, she was up and off, dropping the words, good luck with the book on the table in front of me as she was absorbed into the crowd and gone. Once again, time had stopped. My hand with pen was frozen, hovering over the blank page, a half-thought waiting for its end. Seeking its completion like the mythical hermaphrodite cleaved in twain by a jealous, all-powerful Zeus. When my pen dropped to the page, and my hand moved, the ink beneath it left the words, that mouth scratched horizontally across the page. “That mouth,” I muttered to no one at all. Thankfully. *** Two more such whirlwind encounters occurred, one in the market as I was buying daily necessities, and one in front of my office door as I was heading off to teach my freshman composition class. Both encounters were the usual flurry of words and appendages and thoughts in streams. But on both occasions I found myself straining to look, once again, at her mouth. A difficult task because I had noticed that she never really looked me in the face and often kept her head down and at a slight angle. After each of these quick meetings, I found myself thinking, for several hours after, about her mouth. Particularly, her lips. Wondering how it would feel if I could touch them with my fingertips, with my lips, graze them with my tongue. I began to think about my tongue licking the last bits of ale off those lips or perhaps drops of tea or honey. This is becoming a bit of an obsession, I thought to myself and that thought took me off my guard. *** A third meet left me even more turned about than usual. I had discovered Molly among the stacks in the school library. She was moving among the shelves, running her index finger along the spines of books. I was two aisles over and heard the soft scraping and, what turned out to be, her humming. I walked down the row to investigate, and I saw her, moving along, finger on spines, nose in a book, humming some tuneless drone. She was simply reading and walking back and forth in the row of books. I watched her for quite some time. Her slow walk, her obvious enthrallment with what she was reading. She was just there. Just being. It was so simple, and she was so striking, that I let drop the book I was holding. It plopped to the ground, muffled by the carpet but still making enough sound to disrupt her motion. She didn’t jump or startle. She didn’t gasp or shriek. She simply stopped, looked up and then looked over her shoulder at me. She was in complete control. She smiled and turned fully toward me. I felt an idiot’s smile slip across my face, like some half-wit farm boy who’d been caught watching the livestock copulate while holding his penis in his hand. Her normal jangling motion had been tabled for a more controlled library demeanor. She walked toward me. Her head still slightly down, slightly cocked at an angle. “Are you spying on me, sir?” she asked, in a mock scolding tone. “I... I... No,” I said, stuttering and pointing back towards the way I had come. “I was... I heard... I wasn’t spying at all.” She had me flustered and jumbled again. This time, she seemed to sense it, see it, and it pleased her. She looked up slightly from her usual tilt and smiled at me. “I’m only teasing,” she said and placed the tips of her fingers lightly against my chest. A brief moment and then, they slipped away. They left a feeling of warmth on me as if I could feel her heat right through my sweater. I nodded and laughed, trying to cover my silliness. She kept her look on me. I bent to pick up the book I dropped and as I was coming up, she stepped a little closer to me. When I had risen to full height, she was standing quite close to me. “I really like this,” she said, almost whispering the words. “You... You do?” “Yes, it’s one of your best. I often pull it down and read a few pages when I should be working on my own things.” She held the up the book, showing me the cover. The Swallow’s Path, my third book, and she was reading it. “For about the four-hundredth time,” she told me. The odd semi-stillness troubled me. She was still moving her hands, still gesturing, but the energy was more controlled. She fit in nicely with the thick silence and the pomp of the library, and I was about to thank her for reading my book, engage her in a discussion of its themes when she exploded into her usual self and flew back up the row to replace the book on the shelf. She then gathered her bags and brushed by me, wafting the words off to teach a class toward me and disappearing down the stairs. Leaving me, as usual, stunned, flustered and this time, a bit more wanting than usual. *** It was a week later, at a faculty gathering. One of those mid-semester how’s it going for you, let’s get drunk and try to forget that we hate our lives affairs. Molly again materialized, this time at the opposite side of my whiskey glass. She appeared with her usual aplomb. Words were flowing but, she was gesticulating in a little more subdued manner this time. Much like she had done in the library. I took that as either an effect of too much alcohol or perhaps she was trying to keep her physical being on par with her rather elegant evening wear. Another discovery about dear Molly: She had a body. I mean, of course, she did. As a human being, she certainly had the requisite arms, legs, head, and neck, but Molly Gales had a body. A very fine, wonderfully curved body. Her choice of attire that night was a simple black dress. One piece, tight about her neck and fitting her form with a snug acceptance of all her feminine assets. The graceful slope of her neck into plump, buoyant breasts, down her taught tummy and stopping just above her knees, showing off smooth, well-toned legs. The front of the dress was solid, no cuts or patterns, just one long, black liquid staircase pulling the viewer endlessly from top to bottom. I was trying my best to not visually devour her and instead concentrate on what she was saying. But when I looked at her face, for the first time given directly to me with only a modicum of movement, I noticed that she had outlined and painted her lips. Not garish as some women do with a thick coating like house paint, but much more subtle. Still, quite enough to enhance their fullness, accentuate their roundness and make my knees wither, and my mouth want to scream out for a sample of their wonder. All of this—her body, her dress, her lips and a delightful scent drifting from her, rising gently above cigar smoke, old sport coats and pretension—combined to again, take me off my guard. I found myself wanting to connect with her in some deeper way. I needed her to know that I had more than noticed her, more than heard her, and that I was on the precipice of desiring her and that is when I made the verbal bungle of, “You take me completely off my guard. Do you know this?” After her pained reaction, her turn for departure, I noticed that the back of her dress was open and low-cut giving an uninterrupted view of her back. The view began at the top of the neck, over shoulder blades and stopping just at the top of that delightful spot on a woman, the small of her back. It was a peerless back. Another surprise provided by Molly Gales and, once again, I was free-falling and tumbling all over myself. For the rest of the evening, I paid witness to her energy from a distance, not daring to try to explain myself for fear of doing even more damage. I rationalized that, later in the week, I would tell her I had had a bit too much to drink and wasn’t thinking all that clearly when I had made that remark. This assuaged my grief somewhat, and I was contented to be a voyeur for the rest of the night. I found myself watching her move around the room. Watching her legs, her silky, slender arms, her beautiful back. Often times I had to be pulled back into conversations with colleagues that I had checked out of due to giving my full attention to Molly, captivated by her as she bent over to retrieve a dropped napkin or deposit a kiss on the cheek an elder colleague who was camped out in an overstuffed chair. I found that most of my conversation that night consisted of me saying, “Beg pardon, what were you saying?” after Molly had moved out of my sight line. I made considerable effort to keep her in my sight lines as long and often as possible. She held me captive just being herself. After a few more drinks and a handful of forgettable conversations, I realized that I had not seen Molly in some time. I assumed that she had grown as tired of the faculty dreariness as I had and made a clean getaway, my comment being enough for her to deem me unworthy of a good-bye. I tossed back one more for the road, gathered my coat, bid my host farewell, and stepped into the crisp and clear night air. I made my way a few blocks down the street, eyeing a taxi stand. Although I didn’t live that far away, I didn’t feel the strength to walk and listen to my head bash me about the stupid way I dealt with Molly. No sooner had her name crossed the screen in my mind when there she was, walking beside me, her coat open, her hands in motion and her luminous mouth talking. Always talking. “I suppose we could share a cab, not much point in both of using all that horrible petrol polluting the environment and all that—” We reached the taxi stand and stopped, but she continued to babble on about nothing at all as far as I could tell. My mind was racing. Images of her mouth and her body were slamming off my mental screen. I wanted her to stop. Stop talking, stop moving, stop rambling and talk to me. Speak to me. She had her back to me, searching down the street for a sign of a cab. I wanted her to— I am not, by nature, an impulsive man. I am a planner. A plotter. Someone who looks at all the angles, figures out all the steps and, after careful consideration, acts. That man had somehow been pressed aside. Somehow—amidst the intoxication of alcohol, her body, her scent, her closeness, her maddening, compelling rambling—the man that I was stepped aside, doffed his hat, and in stepped someone quite unfamiliar to me. A man of action. A man of impulse. A man free to act as his heart and his growing desire prompted him to. I placed my hand on Molly’s shoulder, turned her rather abruptly to face me, placed my other hand on the back of her head and pulled her tight to me. I then stopped her mouth with a kiss. It took only an instant before I felt her lips give way, her teeth part and her tongue slip slowly into my mouth, filling it with a warm, thick, pleasurable wetness. My mind slowed to a crawl, and I fell deeply into this kiss with her. Sadly, with a fearsome suddenness, my old self returned, and I began to panic. What had I done? What will she think of me? I began to retire gracefully away from the kiss, my thoughts a jangle of excuses and apologies. When our mouths had parted, I was just about to set forth one of these impromptu excuses when I looked at her face. Her eyelids had dropped to half mast, and she sighed out slowly and deeply. “Oh, thank heavens,” she moaned softly. Then we were in a cab. After she had given the driver instructions on how to get to her flat, she returned to her usual self. Hands moving, head turning, words pouring out. “So, I’ve wanted you to do that since, what, day one. Never thought it would happen though you seem so—” On she went with her strangely compelling rambling. I found myself in a double state of emotion. On one hand, I was incredibly turned on by the kiss. So much so that I was finding myself shifting a great deal to accommodate a certain amount of swelling in my lower region. On the other side of the coin were deep disappointment and near anger. I was grieved that the stillness of that moment was truly just that – a stillness of the moment and that moment was now, it seemed, past and gone maybe never to be seen again. She rambled on all the way to her flat, out of the cab, up the stairs, into the hall and in her door. She continued this unbroken stream moving nimbly from topic to topic without changing tone or appearing to breath. Once in the door the litany changed from school work smoothly into– “—and yes, this is a mess, but I really haven’t fully settled, and I know I should have because I’ve been here long enough but—” On she went, and I decided to console myself that I at least had experienced that one glorious kiss when, once again, Molly had another surprise. Stopping in the middle of the room with her back to me, she flung her coat off to the right where it grazed the arm of a stuffed chair and then crumpled to the ground. She tossed her keys to the left where they landed expertly in a small pottery bowl that held change, matches and another set of keys. Then her arms dropped to her sides, and she pivoted slowly on the balls of her feet until she was facing me. Her legs shoulder width apart, her gaze holding my face. Once more time and space bowed to her. Only this time, instead of stepping back, moving out of the way and allowing her freedom, the cosmos were suddenly her willing subordinates. She stood stock-still for a good long time and then, slowly, almost imperceptibly, her right hand began to move up the contours of her body toward her face. The hand slid gently up her hip, over her breast, around her neck and disappeared into the flows of her tawny hair. My eyes followed the hand, and when it vanished, I noticed her left hand was repeating the performance on the other side. Hip, breast and neck were gently traversed, and the left hand joined the right behind the graceful neck. She never took her eyes off me. Never moved more than was necessary. The hands unclasped the dress behind her neck and slowly began to peel it off her skin. With each passing second, she exposed a new area of flesh—shoulders, top of round, smooth breasts, black lace bra, taut, smooth tummy, top of matching black lace knickers, hips, thighs—until the dress had reach the limits of her reach and she released it. Time, working at her disposal, took hold of the dress, and it dropped to the floor slowly, slowly, slowly. Then, right knee bending slightly, stepped out of the dress. Left knee followed, bending slightly, stepping out of the dress. There she stood before me, alabaster flesh offset by black lingerie. She came toward me. She moved so slowly that I kept blinking, trying to adjust to the timeframe. Her hands were on the back of my head, pulling my face to hers. Again, her mouth was on mine, and her tongue was in me, deliciously filling my mouth. Her slow hands had begun to remove my shirt and then discarded it with a flick to the floor. Her hands worked independently of the rest of her. She held my lips with hers. Her tongue in my mouth, kissing me with that sweet passion I had felt at the taxi stand. Her hands were now removing my trousers. Never once did she break the slow, deep, warm kiss. Then I was naked, her sweet flesh pressed against mine. She broke the kiss and moved slowly down from my lips. Kissing as she descended, holding her lips at each spot for a long moment as if trying to memorize the landscape. She brushed a cool cheek along the length of me, and I twitched. She locked onto my eyes and held them. Never taking her eyes off mine she moved her face forward in tiny increments, moving slowly forward. Then she stopped. There was an instant of stillness and then she moved again and the sensation was amazing. My knees gave way, my head dropped back and I hit a plateau of excitement and relaxation that took me off my guard and almost made me collapse. Molly must have sensed this because, before I could fall over, she dug her nails into my back, sending a surge of energy through my body that snapped me awake. She held me there, in the stillness, the only movement being her tongue’s gentle journey. After some glorious minutes or hours—I couldn’t tell, time had lost all meaning to me—she made eye contact and I reached down and lifted her from her knees. I kissed her deeply, my hands flying over her body. Fingers feasting on her cool, soft skin, I picked her up and tossed her onto the bed. She let out a giggling laugh as she flew through the air. She fell back with a smile and propped herself up on her elbows. I dropped to my knees, but she grabbed me by the hair and pulled my face up, looking me directly in the eyes. “What?’ I gasped, not wanting to stop. “What’s your hurry?” she purred at me. Then, she released my hair, and I took my time. My right hand smoothed its way up her body. My left hand slipped behind her, wanting to explore more of her. Her breathing became slower, deeper. She opened to me and again, her breath deepened and warmed. I was hypnotized, lost in the deep rise and fall of her belly, the contraction of her muscles. All of it happening slowly, slowly, slowly. Then she arched her back and flipped me onto my back. She then moved down my body, dragging her lips over my chin, chest, and stomach. As her face moved by me, she whispered gently in my ear. “I’m so close,” she sighed. Then she was straddling me. Repeating her earlier performance, she moved slowly, and never breaking her gaze, lowered herself onto me. Again I gasped and was taken off my guard. I felt as if I would fade away but, dear Molly, she dug her fingers into my thighs, shocking me back to the present moment. Then her hands gripped the sheets beside her, and her fingers inched toward their palms, grasping sheets and curling into fists. Her head dropped back, that amazing mouth fell open, and she gasped, “Now, please.” With these two monosyllables, her body began to shudder. I too began a long, slow climb. As we met in the middle, she released her breath with the familiar sentiment, oh thank heaven. This softly spoken passion sent me off further into pleasure, and our mutual pleasure ride seemed to last for an hour. When finally her shudders stopped, and my body relaxed, she stayed looking down at me. Her face soft and warm, her eyes bright and smiling. Truly, in this stillness, I could see that she was an amazingly beautiful woman. She placed her hands on my chest and sunk her face down close to mine. She kissed me on my lips, she tasted salty with sweat and then she nestled her head on my shoulder and wrapped her arms and legs around me. *** I woke to the sound of a kettle’s whistle and then, there she was in a deep blue bathrobe, holding two mugs of tea and— Talking. It seemed as if the woman who had fallen gently asleep on my chest never existed for here was her double babbling on. She handed me a mug of tea and sat on the edge of the bed, the rambling still going on. I stared at her in wide wonder for a moment and then she said. “Yes, I know I’m rambling, aren’t I?” “Yes,” I said, “but, then again, you always do.” “True,” she admitted. “It’s a defense mechanism. I’m a talker.” “Yes, you are,” I agreed, somewhat sorry that this person was back, and the quiet, gentle, slow moving goddess of last night was gone. She put her tea on the nightstand and knelt on the bed in front of me. She then opened her robe showing me the glories of her body. She smiled and said, “Well, the good news is, at least now, you know how to stop me.” She kissed me deep and slow, her hand moving lower and lower down my body. As usual, she caught me completely off guard.

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