The Sexual Language Of Strangers: A Novel By Ben Arogundade
Four men are paid to seduce and abandon...but then one of them breaks the rules. 'The Sexual Language Of Strangers' is a novel with 18 sex scenes, 16 lonely women, 5 commitment-phobic men and 1 big secret. Read a sample below.
THEY WENT BACK TO HER APARTMENT overlooking the River Thames at Hammersmith. She was reluctant at first. She would have preferred sex at his place, so she could control her exit afterwards. But she was tired from the gig that night and she had a bag of clothes with her, and so she’d relented. When they arrived Erskine stepped into the lounge and scanned the room. He focused on the jacket covers of classic jazz albums that lay the floor, propped against the wall like art. On the table there was a framed picture of her as a child, smiling with an arm wrapped around her father’s neck.
CD’s nestled in angular piles around the room, some of them left out of their covers. On the floor lay a large mound of pistachio shells. Four full-length black dresses were draped around the room on doors and hooks, shimmering under the light. But dominating the centre of the space was a harp, ornately decorated in gold and silver-coloured panels. Erskine gasped as he saw it. “You play?”
She nodded. “Since I was twelve.”
She could see that Erskine was impressed, and this embarrassed her. She did not want to give him cause to like her any more than he did already. She fiddled with her hair, then buried her hands in the back pockets of her jeans.
There were things she wanted to say to him. The sentences revolved in satellite within her head — a carousel of options waiting to be selected. But she was confused by the choices, not knowing which capsule of dialogue to download into her mouth. She was afraid that the words might tumble out venomously, when really what she wanted was to sound calm and measured. She didn’t trust herself with what she might say, and this frightened her.
When the silence became unbearable she walked over to the CD player. A Love Supreme by John Coltrane (1964) kicked in, the shrill sweetness of its saxophone intro filling the room.
She turned the volume down, then stepped to the kitchen to prepare drinks. She soon returned and handed him a glass. As he reached for it he accidentally brushed his hand against her fingers, and in a reflex she retracted, almost like she would from a hot stove. Erskine pretended not to see. He had touched her again; another prelude to things.
“Where do you live?” she asked.
“I’ve got a one-bedroomed flat on the moon,” he quipped, trying to lighten things. “That zero gravity thing’s tricky. I keep hitting my head on the ceiling.”
She let out a controlled laugh, short and reserved. He asked her if she lived alone. She said she did. “Don’t you get lonely?” he enquired.
“Nothing wrong with loneliness,” she replied. “There are worse things.”
He walked around her apartment, complimenting her on its decor. She moved in his wake, watching him like an animal wary of attack. When they reached the kitchen she stopped and busied herself, preparing a snack. He followed and watched her. A salad was still in the colander in the sink. She turned on the taps and flushed the leaves again.
As they talked he focused the movement of her mouth. He picked a moment and tried to kiss her, but she turned away — like a baby being offered food it does not want. Erskine sighed with embarrassment. What did you get me round here for if you don’t want to fuck?
She walked to the window. He followed and stood behind her, and they both watched the dark, undulating flow of the river outside. She felt his face at her shoulder, like a kind of heat. She half-turned and they exchanged a transparent kiss — a hollow delight, full of space, like an empty Easter egg.
What are you doing here? she thought. Intruder.
Erskine turned her by her shoulders and kissed her again, testing her mouth. Her eyes were open, watching him, and so were his. As his lips met hers once more he thought of all the women he’d ever kissed in his life, and all the emotions he’d left behind with them, like jettisoned cargo.
They pulled away from each other and tried to talk again, but things were corrupted now. Erskine kissed her again, harder this time, trying to arouse something, to press out a sign. She met his energy, as if it was a contest. He ran his hand audaciously across her breasts and then down, breaching her underwear, his fingers against the groove of her. He would steal a sample of her smell as a memento for when he walked away later, and also to see if she smelt like his Genevieve. Natascha let him touch her, challenging him to arouse her, ready to sneer secretly at any lack of skills in the press of his eager fingers.
Erskine thought about Dennison’s proposition — that he had to video her to get the money — but he felt that he could not stop for that now. It was too late — and he already felt too guilty.
As they undressed she thought of her other lovers. She considered that she’d never promised to be faithful to them. Them. As if she was married to them all equally, and therefore owed them fidelity. She realised that she was becoming like her father, and this made her feel sick. She wanted to stop, but she felt she couldn’t now.
His hands explored her form — the curve of her back, the nobbled track of her spine, the circularity of her breasts, the concave pools in the sides of her hips, the pepper of freckles behind her left ear. He focused on her hair, the way it fell across her face like a nest of cables, each settlement a fresh configuration never to be repeated.
He entered her, and the connection taut and smooth. Somehow he could not believe that he was inside her, after all her resistance. As she gripped his flesh the air eased from her lungs in a mellow gust, and she offered it gently into his mouth, like a present. He gazed at her, wondering what that meant, but she offered nothing, and so he kissed her hard, hoping his reciprocity would satisfy something within her. The sexual language of the strangers was a silent connection — two noiseless engines in a synchronised see-saw. He had not earned the right to enjoy her private sounds — the whispers, the moans of pleasure she might make if she loved him. No man had.
She recorded this new intruder — the details. The heft of his muscles, the texture of his skin, the weight of his touch, the proportions of his penis, comparing him with her other fucks, placing him within a secret top ten in her mind. As she lay upon the bed beneath him she extended her neck sideways, as if she was looking out of the window of a train, and studied the line of his naked body as he moved against her, assessing his thrust and rhythm with a cool detachment, as if the body receiving it was not hers; as if she was there to judge, not enjoy. She had lost her sense of pleasure. She could not extricate herself from her own caution. She wondered what she was doing it for, sexing him, if she could not even surrender to it. She turned and pressed her backside against him and let him enter her from there, where he could not read her, where he could not see her eyes or sample her mouth.
She had already decided that she would have an orgasm — that she would allow it, authorise it like a formal directive — but it would be a reluctant pleasure.
But then, against her will, she began to feel an intensity in their connection. As if to verify it she turned to face him, and quickly he slid over her, pushing himself deeper inside her, unable to stop. His eyes met hers, the pace quickened and they both felt themselves losing their caution. She felt a maddening friction as he rubbed against her, and the contact sparked her pelvis, bucking to meet his.
Their orgasm burned intensely, beyond what either of them had ever experienced. They stared at each other, madly, fearfully, as if they’d both been punched suddenly in the face. In their confused pleasure they wondered how they, strangers, could bond so perfectly, so without rehearsal. And in that moment it occurred to them that they were strangers to themselves, as well as to each other.
The energy subsided, and they lay heaving and glistening under the low light and the stillness of the night. As their bodies crackled in the electric air she slowly rotated herself away from him, lifelessly, like a coroner turning a corpse.
She wanted him to leave, but he lay waiting for either of them to speak, to offer some kind of exposition. Eventually she turned to him, suddenly impatient. “You have to leave now.”
Erskine, stunned by her coldness, stumbled up, backing into a bedside lamp, which fell to the floor and smashed, plunging them into semi-darkness.
Natascha looked away painfully. “Leave it,” she said. “Just leave it and go.”
The Sexual Language Of Strangers (novel)
An eccentric millionaire invents a bizarre game in which he pays a team of handpicked men to seduce women he selects at random. Things begin to unravel when one of the men develops feelings for a women he seduces. As they both battle against their aversion to intimacy neither is prepared for the shocking conclusion that awaits.