Six-thirty p.m. in the lounge – the prearranged rendezvous time if things had been normal. Selene was first to arrive. Would Hudson now feel inclined to turn up? Would he be in any state to turn up? She noticed on her way that his key had not been returned to reception. In fact, he arrived at seven, looking incredibly coy, bashful and apologetic – just like Selene felt. He was carrying a gold lacquered gift box. She gave him a nod and a smile, beckoning him to sit down beside her. They kissed tentatively – reticently. “Oh Selene, I really am sorry I got carried away like that. It was dreadful of me.” Selene patted him on the knee. “Darling, I should be apologising for getting all hysterical like that.” He put the box in front of her. “I went diving, wanted to come to my end in the depths; felt I couldn’t live with myself, but I was obviously called to find something. I guess I realised one of my ambitions.” He opened the box. In it was an oyster containing a huge pearl. Selene gave him a hug, tearful in her appreciation of his courage. “I’ve had to reflect an awful lot on my past experiences, you know. I’ve had to study feminism, and I really feel that if both sides – both sexes open up more, accepting more of each other, then life will be so full and enriching.
I know that an awful lot happened between us . . .” he hesitated. “And?” A dreamy glow came over Hudson. “We’ve got so close, taken plunges together; you were so magnetic in that costume.” A lump came to his throat. Selene was now aquiver with suspense. They were at the point of that final something for which she had yearned so desperately for so long. Selene took the words out of his mouth. ” Let’s make everything perfect – the absolute right time, the absolute right place, and in the perfect way. Let’s take the bridal suite together for our last night here!” The final overt proposition synchronised absolutely with Selene’s memory tensions. A split second before her utterance, she had a vision of being at a ceremonial hair shearing before becoming a nun, and then of a mythical white wedding (the reality of which had never come near her). She thought of the flying buttresses of a cathedral, stained glass tinted in the morning sun, angled to the light of daring love, lifting to heaven. Hudson had at last uttered the key word to the elusive combination of the ideal seduction! This just had to have one fragment of impulse and spontaneity in the context of everything else being utterly premeditated. The peak of experience had been rehearsed to the finest detail. True seduction was total theatre. To hell with all those ‘ideals’ of ‘naturalness’! She had seen through them in that turgid forest. The true ideal lay in laced artifice! Here was the final trigger. Ages ago, they had talked away all thought of marriage and domesticity. But Hudson’s superb artistry in taking hold of the last remnant of conventionality for the final act of defiance against it. The flouting, the inversion of all the oppressive concomitants of a straight wedding night, was genius. They went into a torrid clinch nearly upsetting one of the tables in the process. “Oh darling,” said Selene in a half-whisper, “you’ve done everything right;> let’s go!”
* * * *
The suite was, of course, available, and the deposit no problem for Hudson. The labyrinth of corridors in the hotel did not slow them down. Having located the apartment, they rushed back to their separate rooms for their belongings. Selene was the quickest to pack, but had a little delay with the lift.
They arrived at the suite door simultaneously. What a scene of luxury for the denouement. Selene now took firm control. “OK Hudson, you go and take a bath while I get ready, and get fully dressed again when you’ve finished. I’ve got some special things in store for you!” Now all of Selene’s fantasies came flooding in to her. Tonight she was the> greatest actress, singer, ballerina, priestess-demagogue. She would dazzle the universe in the visual sphere, and then go on to the realm of touch. Her mastery of the lovely art of dressing and undressing would now be shown to the full. In a flash, her clothes were off. As she fitted her cap, she got a tingling premonition of what was to come. When one had meditated on the art of love as deeply as she had, one knew that the extra precautions, far from detracting from the experience, could enhance it, by stretching the partner’s anticipation.
The outfit to replace her casuals was all in order in her expanding suitcase. First, her brief white satin underwear, then a pale blue body stocking, easy to confuse in the half light with a bathing costume, over it her diaphanous slip, then three petticoats – crisp, archaic, Latin and lusciously provocative, sheer white stockings, and then the purple ball gown in all its splendour. She stepped into a pair of white, lacquered high-heels. A touch of eye shadow and lipstick completed a breathtaking work of art. Hudson had seen her in her other gown, in a bikini, and a variety of outer garments. Now he would know all the stages in between, and then beyond, as she would of him. The bath water lapped mutely in the background. “Ready now, darling.” The waste pipe gurgled for a few seconds, then Hudson entered. Crisp, white suite approached purple gown, as moon to tropical night sky. They embraced, near-chastely. Then Hudson drew back, a suspicion of anxiety on this face. “Darling, are you . . .?” His question needed no verbal answer, for Selene> had left her packet of pills conspicuously on the dresser. “Shall we?” Come on.” So now for that languorous, full-drawn-out unrobing, decelerating to the depths of frenzy. For a few seconds, they both felt an adolescent shyness – quite naturally, for this was to be an eighteen-year-old’s dream brought to fruition. They tiptoed. For all their obvious freedom, they each had a slight twinge about the hazard of being overheard. Selene’s wardrobe planning had been right; something would have been lost if Hudson had started the encounter in a bathrobe. After Selene’s hips propelled a last, tantalizing, elevated swirl of her gown, the grand undress began.
Knowing their beauty and proud of it, they matched each other’s motions with caresses of sight. Shoes, stockings and socks peeled gracefully off to open the gambit. Hudson’s jacket broadened his shoulders as it left his body. The buckle of his belt harmonised with the front clasp of Selene’s gown as they were both undone, then the zip of his trousers with the back zip of the gown. Hudson’s fine, tapered legs were now revealed. His torso was bared in two stages: shirt and vest thrust back, and pulled over his head without a> struggle, revealing gleaming white briefs – or were they bathing trunks? Selene loved those half way garments. She lit up. Great minds had thought alike about foundation garments for this occasion! Hudson had led in one stage of revelation. Selene was transported by his wonderful body control, with ballet assurance – this smooth, eased, arched shedding of reticence. The dream had come to roost. Who rules love, if anybody? The one who strips first, or the one with more finery to shed? But what did rules matter now anyway? The loose gown was ready. Gentle touches on the shoulder straps lowered it, shimmering, to rest. After that departure from simultaneity, action embroidered the first dream. Selene stepped out of the gown, cast it in the corner, and moved towards Hudson, holding him tightly in her beaming, commanding gaze – him with legs astride, deep chest out, briefs gleaming in the light from the open window. At his deft touch, petticoats flowered, rose and fell, floating to make a crest upon the gown. With a ripple of biceps, and lissom forward thrust of legs and hips, the cloudy slip came up head high, and was suspended for a second in the suspicion of a breeze, then, too, wafted to rest. Now they faced each other, almost as if for a first swim. Selene thrust her breasts forward, and tossed her head, making her hair cascade. Hudson took her hips and swung her round. With an almost imperceptible stroke, the zip of the one-piece parted. Hudson swirled her round to face him again, and slid the garment down the front. “Bikini belle,” said Hudson, with a giggle. He sensed the precise moment when his briefs were redundant, enhanced his looks no more for her, or for himself. They dropped, with a thrust of thighs and swing of hips. By being> deferred, prepared so well, Hudson’s nudity, for Selene, now became suffused with total beauty. “Undo me,” she half-sang, raising her arms. Hudson’s unerring hand tended the clip of her bra, which tumbled asunder and fell on the chair. A breeze kissed Selene’s rising breasts as they were bared. Her own hands removed her briefs, finalising her own nakedness. The execution of those actions had been faultless on both sides. “What a fantastic sense of timing!” cried Selene. Each, to the other, became universe god and goddess. After so many times in their pasts when the brakes had been applied, when both had been frozen by reticence, or had their yearnings derided, the soul’s – the universe’s currents now galvanised their bodies. Now words could be uttered in acceptance of total immersion. With their slow speed they generated maelstroms, their every part revealed with deep exuberance, two bodies showing themselves as two complete presences. Now there was a full, tight-clinched embrace – thigh to thigh, torso to breasts, groin to groin. Hudson, a bit taller, took Selene round the shoulder with his right arm; his left beneath her buttocks, as he swung her on to the bed. “Now for the real backstroke” cried Selene. She pulled Hudson on top of her, thrusting her breasts alternately in his armpits. Gradually, Hudson hardened, as if with muscle and bone. He entered Selene delicately. When he had penetrated to full depth, he made a clockwise rotation. Fully erected, fully aroused, Selene responded to him anticlockwise. Slowly the two built up, using all their bodies, legs and groins, repeating the motions of their past swims. Bodies were kneaded, relishing their stately, relentless build-up, making love total in its depth, undulating, higher and lower alternately. Then full and strong it reared! There were two sighs, a lunge, slow whirlpools, swimmers’ wakes. Hudson paused, then put all his weight on his torso. Then, recharged by Selene’s breasts, now fully swollen, build up his speed and depth of thrust, had a body-absorbing struggle through some moments of near-exhaustion. Then the knowledge of certainty shone, flooded on them both, hips in friction – dams’ swinging sluicegates, volcanoes’ glows and thunder’s shudders, glands pumping to fire’s, water’s synthesis, all metaphors blown by that endocrine cataract! At the end of the flow, Selene held Hudson in, turning him again on his back. Sleep claimed them, breathless, riding over their peak.
* * * *
Sweating and still clinched, they arose as a maroon dawn unveiled the night skies, lending a mellowed rosiness to their tanned bodies. With restored light, passion revived. Being two, they had to enact their fulfilment’s wholeness twice. Tempered by one satiation’s level, they went smoothly and took their time – finally to outbrim the first flow. After this, the bed could afford no further comfort. Selene got up. “We need to freshen up a bit.”She took two bathrobes from the wardrobe, pulled one on, jerked Hudson up by the shoulders and draped the other one around him. “Come on.” The bathroom curtains had not been drawn. Water now gurgled into the> capacious bath from both burnished antique brass caps. They held each other, half-draped, until it filled up. Hudson had almost begged Selene not to cover herself, but saw that, as a last delight, that extra robing and> unrobing would complete the idyll – cap the euphoria. Selene thrust the robe from his shoulders; it sank down his arms to collapse on the floor. “You may assist me,” said Selene, holding her arms apart. Hudson’s hands ran down her back as he pushed off the robe. Once more they matched each other in nakedness. The bath (designed for a bridal suite after all) was ample for them both, to soap each other over, put legs to hips, massage, and laugh amidst the bubbles. What an element! With seawater they had started; with bath water they ended.