With my mind and heart nixing bar hopping, Vixen out of control, I compromised and sought trophy quality, so I told myself.
Annually our community held a summer Pacific Northwest Art Fair. It excluded the trinkets found at Saturday Markets and was reserved for artists who made their wares, a good place to find a trophy lover.
To attract one, I displayed my art and wore stressed Levi hot pants, cork wedge, platform pumps and a louse, pink blouse tied at the waist sans bra with exposed navel.
I first checked jewelry exhibits at the fair, thinking, I’ll find a trophy ring paramour. The exhibitors, however, were married with the wife next to them, bearded hippies, too old, unattractive or worse failed to notice my art. Leaving jewelry, I strolled among paintings and bought one with a girl picking flowers in a field by a woman artist. Again, there was no trophy lover potential.
Meandering into the pottery booths, I saw an exhibit with plates, bowls, and cups. Attractive, they also looked utilitarian for everyday use. I spotted him, however, before the dishes. He was alone, slim, tall, young, attractive, clean-shaven with brown shoulder-length hair and looked utilitarian too.
With my painting under an arm, I let him eye me while he served a customer but moved on before he could get to me. At the next booth, I glanced back. He was staring at my hot pants cheeks. He obviously wanted to be of service. I bent over to admire the booth's wares so he could better appreciate mine, then moseyed on.
Spying from afar, I saw he searched for my wandering. I checked the rest of the Art Fair to ensure there were no better prospects, then decided we needed new dishes. I reconnoitered back and observe him afar as he served customers. He appeared the pleasant type.
When he was customer free, I advanced indecisively until he noticed my approach. He looked at me and smiled but I veered to the adjoining booth then drifted to his. He smiled to serve me but I stared down at dishes instead of meeting his smile. I wanted to hear his voice before proceeding.
"See anything you like?"
A nice voice, confident, with a warmth inflection, greeted me. I looked up into his watery blue eyes.
"Yes, your smile."
"I’ve got lots of that. It’s on special.
I like your painting and know the artist. Someday she’ll be recognized. Is there a reason you picked it over others?"
He knew how to carry a pleasing conversation. I accepted his white lie flattery about the artist.
“It reminds me of me."
He looked at the blond girl in the picture but she was too distant in the field of flowers to have distinct features.
"She doesn't look much like you."
"She doesn't remind me how I look. It’s how I live."
"You have a flower garden?"
"Yes. I pick the ones which please me. It’s her picking flowers in life’s field which attracted me."
He looked at the painting again as if seeing it for the first time.
“None of my dishes have flowers. I’m a potter, not an artist.”
“Your dishes are beautiful. What’s a flower or not is in the eye of the beholder. I like your dishes but will they chip and crack in use? Last year I bought glazed mugs but they chipped and couldn’t be put in the dishwasher or microwave.”
“It’s probably because of the glaze. Mine are sturdy for everyday use. They’re dishwasher and microwave friendly. They’re made of special clay, fired in a very hot kiln.”
"Are you of special clay?"
"Ha, no, just ordinary mud."
He dropped a few plates around to show they wouldn’t chip.
“Where’s your kiln?”
“It’s near Shelton, a few miles off US 101.”
"Is it possible to have my own pattern? I'd like a pale blue swirl wave on eggshell white?"
“Not a problem but you need to order a set, not just a plate.”
“How about a place setting for eight with prep bowls and serving platters? You know, cup, saucer, dinner plate, salad plate, dessert plate, full-service set."
He nodded, checked his calculator and with a twenty-five percent discount said he could do it for five-hundred dollars, with half, a two-hundred and fifty-dollar deposit. I didn’t haggle and wrote a check.
“It’ll take about two weeks. Would you like to see my kiln? I’ll show you how I turn clay into pottery.”
“Sure, I can come Tuesday, around noon. I’d love to see what you got.”
“Here’s my card and a little map. I’ll be happy to show you what I can do.”
“I’m looking forward to it. It says Darryl on your card. Is it Darryl, double “r”, Tuesday, at noon?”
“Yes, It’s Darryl, Tuesday, high noon., I’ll show you what I do.”
“I’m Elizabeth, see you then.”
I left to meet hubby at the kid’s playground.
As we met, he asked.
“Find any art?”
“This painting and some dishes. The dishes are to replace our cheap Corelle wear.”
Home from the Art Fair, I phoned Erica and told her about Darryl. Unsure who he was, I didn’t want to go alone and asked her to come with me. She was excited to see what my trophy prospect looked like.
Monday, her in-cahoots, we went shopping. Cut off stressed Jeans were decided as appropriate for throwing mud on a wheel in a rustic area. I selected farmer type with suspenders, not meant for real work but shaped to show assets, a pair of Ked tennis shoes with white ankle socks, a white blouse, and a white lacy nylon bra.
Erica concluded I looked foxy. She wanted to wear tennis shoes, jeans and one of her see-through blouses sans bra but I nixed that. I didn't need overt competition. She settled on jeans and a flannel shirt without bra. I skipped my bra too.
Darryl's studio was at the end of a long gravel driveway and not visible from the frontage road. I was glad I brought Erica. Even with her, I was nervous as we drove up. He was sitting on the house front porch waiting and surprised to see Erica. After I introduced her and explained she too, wanted to see how dishes were made, he gave a tour and showed the kiln which wasn’t fired up. During the tour, he explained the process of hand turning clay into dishes on a pottery wheel, setting them to dry, firing them in the kiln, setting the pattern once cooled and then re-firing them to set the pattern.
The pottery wheel spun when he turned it on. He centered a glob of clay and turned it into a plate to show how it was done. It looked so easy. Finished he put a smaller glob on and asked me to try. I removed my wedding ring and put it in my purse. He placed me in front of the wheel then stood behind me. With the wheel spinning before me, he reached around, set my hands in water, guided them to the glob and pressed them on the clay to center it on the wheel.
Centered, his hands cupped over mine, he guided my fingers. The clay rose as a phallic symbol before me with his pressure guiding hands. Erica's eyebrows rose too and she was soon snickering. He then guided my thumbs to the top and pushed down. I thought he was making a hole at the end of the phallic symbol but the clay opened and soon turned into a small bowl. My long fingernails got in the way but together, with his entwined fingers moving mine, we tapered the bowl. I leaned forward and pressed my bra-free breasts to the arms enveloping me and positioned my buttocks against his pelvis as we worked the clay.
As we completed the bowl, I tilted my head close to the side of his head behind me. My extended rear felt his penis rise. I pressed my buttocks to his erection. He pressed back, harder. The little bowl completed, he broke our hands apart, disengaging as if we just had sex. In a way, we did. I was wet. Alone, he did the finishing touches of molding and pushing the rim higher to make a little vase.
With muddy hands, he guided me to a washbasin. We washed the clay off as he stood next to me, his pants crotch still bulging. Cleaned and dried, he took our creation and set it on the drying rack but didn't ask Erica to try her hand. I had watched during the tour if his gaze was on her but he acted as if she wasn't there.
Cleaned up, we went to his house where I had tea and them coffee. Erica was smart enough to stay in the background. I asked for blue flowers on eggshell white for our clay joint effort as I put my wedding ring back on.
“The dishes will be ready in about two weeks. I'll call when there're finished and set them up here at the table for your approval. For the flowers on the vase, I'll have an artist friend of mine do those if that's okay."
He spoke in a slow and soft but clear and deliberate manner as someone sure of himself who doesn't need to raise their voice in the din of conversation to be heard. There were no female influences in the house.
“You have artistic hands, beautiful fingernails”
“You have a firm grip."
“To guide your hands but your fingers are those of an artist. Do your hands make art?”
“Thanks, they don't make anything artistic, other than pleasing others.”
“Art’s only purpose is to please, so you’re an artist. Don’t be afraid to let others see your talent.”
With his last innuendo, we walked to the car where he reminded me to bring a check for the unpaid balance putting the relationship back to professional.
On the driveway leaving Erica exclaimed.
"Oh God, I thought you two were going to do it making that bowl! I saw you nestle your butt up to his crotch. I'm jealous. I would do him in a handshake. He's a fox, you’re a lucky duck!”
We laughed but I didn’t appreciate the duck comment, lucky or not, which brought back sibling ridicule of youth. Hubby got an unexpected hand-job that night as I closed my eyes and envisioned the potter's wheel spinning and the clay rising up in my hands.
Once he mounted me, I put my hands on his buttocks and imagined Vixen as if a bowl.
It was a long wait until he called and said the dishes were completed, but in actuality, a little less than the two weeks he said it would take. Anticipation slows the clock, no?
Despite eagerness, I told him I’d pick them up two days later at ten AM. To rush over would reveal fervor and diminish my value. I also needed time to shop for packaging.
A ten AM arrival allowed seeing the kids off to school, dressing up, driving over, un-wrapping, consummating, loading dishes, driving back, unloading dishes and greeting the kids when they got home. A tight schedule but I’d ensure it wasn’t a rushed wham bang. If there was a snag, I’d delay unloading the dishes.
Erica shopped with me. She advised staying with the bait he’d already hooked on, cheek showing hot pants. I ruled out hot pants. Clothes can complicate a disrobe rush. I reasoned.
Wear a mini skirt. If things are slow, bend over to speed it up, if things are fast lift the hem.
For underwear, I selected a light blue sheer bra with matching panty, a color that matched the dish pattern.
My outerwear consisted of a flared mini skirt for speed, Erica's borrowed, ruffled silk see-through blouse for declaration and pumps worn at the Art Fair for emphasis.
After packing the kids off to school, showering, putting on my outfit and makeup, I called Erica.
“Hi, I’m ready to rock and roll. Wish me luck.”
“You excited? I’m envious. He’s a fox; wish he’d sniff my hole.”
“Well, I’m more nervous than excited. Can you call at three to check up and see I’m back okay?”
“Only if you give me the nasty details and wear my blouse while you do it.”
” Well, I’m a bit scared. I’ll see what happens. It’s okay if nothing does. I’ll call at three. I’m off, bye.”
In the prior two weeks, I’d learned a bit about ceramics and purchased a French Limoges, heart-shaped, porcelain pillbox with red and gold hand-painted detail. I squeezed in the two leftover condoms from my county bar hop-flop and placed a check for the unpaid balance atop. Worried about looking too forward I donned a light nylon jacket cover. I could zip up or down to reveal as much of the blouse as the situation needed.
As before, he was before waiting on the porch. He walked to my car to greet me but I was out before he reached it with the jacket zipped up, nervous. We walked to his house where he had the dishes set up on the dining room table so I could examine them as a place setting. We stood at opposite sides of the table to admire the dishes.
In the center was the bowl we made. Unlike the other pieces, it had blue, stylized flowers designed by a friend of his. I was pleased they looked as if designed by him.
I slowly unzipped my jacket exposing the see-through blouse, picked up the bowl and cupped it in my hands, my thumbs on the inside as if again turning it on the potter's wheel.
“It feels sensuous. I remember our embrace making it.”
He walked around the table and stood behind me. Slowly he reached around and intertwined our fingers on the bowl. I leaned back and turned the nape of my neck against his chin. He smelled my perfume as he kissed the nape of my neck.
I set the bowl on the table, turned around brushing my breast against him and inched back as if uncertain. Unsure of possibly moving too quickly he stepped back too. I took the porcelain pillbox from my purse and set it on the table next to the bowl.
"Your payment's inside."
He reached down, picked it up and examined it closely. As a potter, he appreciated its quality.
He shook it but it made no sound, placed his thumb at the clasp and looked at me questioningly. I nodded approval.
He put his thumb under the clasp, snapped it open, pulled out his folded check and saw the condoms underneath. He gave a broad smile, closed it, handed it back to me but kept my hand in his. He pulled me to him, kissed me and I darted my tongue into his mouth.
He led me upstairs holding my hand to his bedroom, my free hand clutched the pillbox. His room obviously had been recently cleaned but he was not the tidy type. Clutter still peeked through. The important thing was the bed had clean covers and sheets. I let him kiss me again but then pushed him away and told him to undress.
Like Edward, he was unhurried as he disrobed. Unlike Edward or Enrico, he let his clothes fall to the floor as he removed them. Naked, I told him to pull the covers back and lay face-up on the bed. His penis stood bolt upright as he stared at me, still dressed. I placed my purse on his cluttered nightstand, stood before him, took off my jacket, slowly unzipped my mini skirt and pulled it down.
There had been no need to bend over for action or up for speed. I searched for a place to lay my skirt and finally opened a drawer of his dresser to lay it on Slowly I took off the blouse one button at a time, ignoring Erica's request to wear it while lovemaking. She was such a pervert.
I paraded about in the pumps while he stared at me in sheer blue bra and panty then walked to the base of the bed, slid out of my pumps, climbed on the bed and stood over him. Looking down at his erect penis, pointed straight up to greet Vixen, I observed it was a tad short of 7 inches, uncircumcised, his pubic hair trimmed and he had taken a shower.
He was passive and unlike Enrico or hubby didn’t try to hurry the action. While unhurried like Edward he also didn’t assume control. Instead, he was docile but not submissive. He was a free spirit who allowed things to progress as they occurred. He was ready to drift to any direction the situation might change without resistance. He didn’t question what was happening and acted as if it was all expected. In a way, he was right.
It felt good to have an artist inside, my Michelangelo.
My hair hung down and brushed across his face.
We rolled over together, our ankles entwined. His long hair replicated in reverse the tent made when I held my head above his. It was the first time I lay below a hair tent when lovemaking.
Again, he was unhurried. He then pinioned my arms above my head and finished in a spasm of movement.
I could only think of Thumper from the old Disney movie Bambi.
He rolled off and we stared at the ceiling and said nothing.
The sheets were rumpled. He had not tucked them in to keep them in place. Where we lay, they were damp with our perspiration.
The window was wide open with birds in the big tree next to his house. For the first time since entering his bedroom, I listened to their chirping and imagined they were our plaudits applause. After resting, I got up and stood naked before him, no longer feeling embarrassed naked before a man only slightly known.
We took a cool shower together, soaping each other's backs. Dried and dressed, we descended to the dining room table, packed the dishes in boxes, my check on the table, the pillbox back in my purse.
We carried the dishes to my car and stacked them in the trunk and the back seat. He wanted to know if I would come again as we kissed goodbye. I assured him I wanted to pick more of his flowers, drove home and baked cookies while unpacking dishes between oven loads before the kids arrived
Humming to myself as I started dinner while the kids played in the backyard munching cookies, I noticed my check in the bowl we made together. Despite giving it back to him later it was never cashed.
At three I called Erica. She listened raptly, enjoying the details, laughed at the name Thumper and told me how lucky I was. She referred to him as my honey bunny and rushed over to pick up her blouse and have me relate it all again while I finished making meatloaf and potatoes before hubby's arrival.
Hubby only noticed my good mood and my seduction at bedtime wearing the blue bra and panties which turned him on. When he ejaculated, I thought of Thumper and his bunny spasms. Vixen slept well, satisfied again with two men but before sleep, guilt swept me awake.
I’m disrespecting my husband. Why am I wearing what I bought for Thumper?
I got up and changed into a teddy hubby loved.
Milking two men, I was in love again, with myself. I liked Darryl but it wasn't love which drove my car to his studio. It was addiction, my addiction, not to love, not to sex but something else. I risked the love of those loved, because of addiction excitement? No, it was attention addiction, self-attention. Every trip to Shelton risked losing all I loved. Yet, I didn’t stop. I had to have my self-attention fix.
Paranoid, I went into super stealth mode to protect my family home. No, it was to protect me, the closet adulterer. In the kitchen, living room and bedroom I was a super mom and faithful wife.
I met Thumper twice a week, a four-hour tryst, actually, three less drive time. It was, leave at ten AM, pull into Darryl’s driveway a half-hour later, hop in the sack for sex and shower together afterward. He went to his studio, I made lunch and we ate at the table where my dishes were once displayed. I tidied up, left at two and met the kids at the school bus stop. We walked home together, I started dinner, my super mom/wife role intact. The driveway to driveway lapse time could be covered as shopping but an excuse was never needed.
Thumper didn’t have a strong sex drive, never went for seconds even if I tried and accepted our limited interaction relationship, no, preferred it. I loved his angular firm fingers and taught him how to stimulate me with them. He didn’t drink alcohol but attempted to get me to try marijuana. I refused and didn’t permit his using it when with me but knew he lit up as soon as I left and probably stubbed a joint out just before I arrived, the peripheral smell of smoke, the flaw in the relationship. Pottery was his addiction. Its art siphoned off his excess sexual energy.
He socialized with his artistic friends, pot smokers. I met a few when they stopped by but didn’t interact with them. I was uneasy when they were around and glad when they left. We had different tastes in music and art, him being too metaphysical.
He inquired about my trophy rings and gave me an orange/yellow Tiger Eye ring, my June birthstone, in a gold setting a jeweler friend made. I confess I wore it around hubby as it was inexpensive enough to be in my household budget.
Hubby was suspicious when I talked about art but not about the ring or the dishes. He thought I might be seeing the artist of my art show painting, grilled me about it, tracked down the artist and was sheepishly relieved over his misplaced suspicions when found the artist was a married woman.
In contrast, I was paranoid he would hire a private investigator to follow me when I drove to see Darryl. At the edge of town, I zig-zagged a few residential streets to ensure none did. Out in the country, I pulled over just past an intersection, waited a minute to let any car following pass and then U-turned and took another direction. My stealth wasn't tested but I needed the assurance. Exposure of my hidden puppet shadow haunted me.
Hubby actually met Darryl when our family went to the State Fair where Darryl had an exhibit. Calculating openness is the better subterfuge, I led the family to Darryl’s booth to show them who made our dishes. Darryl knew enough to treat me as just another customer.
While Thumper in his way loved me, we both knew our relationship wouldn't last. He would meet another and have sex with them. This, I couldn’t accept. In hypocrisy, I expected my husband and lovers to be faithful. There was another issue. His pot-smoking divided us and eventually rendered apart our relationship. Until the end, however, we loved as free spirits with no recriminations. Once the relationship course changed to a path I didn’t want, it was adieu, without tears.
It lasted until the next Art Fair. It was a girl who made beaded jewelry. She had her own booth but was spending time at Darryl’s. Darryl acted innocent but I could tell she was upset seeing me. The next Monday it was evident another female had been at his house. I accused him of it. Never feeling guilty, he didn’t refute my allegation and was surprised I cared, considering I was married. His rationale was since I didn't like marijuana, I should be pleased there was someone to fill the void. I didn’t yell or cry, just said it was my last visit. We put our best efforts into it but it fell flat We skipped lunch and parted without recriminations or kisses. Driving home, I realized my thirty-third birthday was soon. It was time to move on.
The next year at the Art Fair she had combined her booth with his and the next year there was also a baby. I don’t know if they officially married but over time there were two children. I always visited, admired the children and brought a few dishes. He was friendly, cashed my check but she never responded to my smile. I kept the bowl we made in a special place as a memento.
Unfortunately, a neighbor kid, climbing the counter to munch cookies, pushed it off its self and transformed it into memory shards. I attempted to glue them together but realized it was as hopeless as the affair.
The broken bowl said it all. He was history, neither good nor bad, a free spirit whose specter drifted in then out, to be accepted without judgment or remorse, a life experience in the infinity of alternatives. I filed him in a memory bank, a pleasant but not important one.
Author Notes: Once she returns to being unfaithful she deliberately seeks out another lover.