Senán licked his way up the inside of Trish’s thigh. He paused when his cheek felt the damp heat of her vagina, and ran the tip of his tongue in light tiny circles until he felt her buckle with pleasure. Building on this effect, he delicately bit along the great tendon that originated just under her vagina and which disappeared into the muscle mid-thigh. When he felt she could take no more teasing, he turned his mouth on her clitoris. She moaned after the first few dabs of his tongue, and Senán heard her stuffing a pillow into her face to muffle her cries as the speed and strength of his tongue-flicking increased. After a spell, he opened up her labia with his fingers and boldly explored the interior with nose, lips and tongue. Eyes squeezed shut, he lost himself in rhythmic nosing and licking until he felt a pair of hands tug at his hair and a voice say his name, hissing: “Enough! That’s enough. I can’t take any more!”
The hands pulled his head up to her mouth. He was smothered in kisses, hard and emphatic, until he found himself looking into Trish’s burning blue eyes. He shuffled his pelvis until his penis sat atop her vagina, its glans slipping into the fold of lip that guarded the clitoris.
“You want to try going for a home run?” he whispered. Almost without his consent his penis was moving downwards, searching out the entrance to her vagina. He felt the tightening of muscles that had been ringing with abandon only a minute earlier, and he knew the answer before Trish spoke.
“Sorry, Senán,” she said. “I’m still not ready.”
An animal part of Senán’s brain boiled with rage and whipped up an impulse to lash out with frustration and take what was rightfully his, but he subdued this instinct and made his lips reply “OK”. And then, as part of the pattern into which their lovemaking had fallen, he rolled off her and lay on his back while with hands and mouth and no little skill Trish brought him to climax.
In the early days of their courtship it had struck Senán as odd that Trish was always reluctant or unwilling to go back to his place, a bedsit above an accountancy firm on the Dublin road. It was almost as if she were afraid of what might happen when they were completely alone. For the first few weeks, the extent of their physical intimacy had amounted to kissing on a date and some mild hanky-panky in the darkness of a cinema, and it appeared that Trish was not going to make any overtures to ramp this up. While the smooching had been tantalisingly good, Senán could hardly reconcile Trish’s sexy, sassy image with an apparently staid reality.
It had taken much cajoling to eventually get her over to his place for a romantic night in, and she had behaved as nervously as if she were at an interview. Senán had gone to great lengths to make the night special. He had bought gourmet bread and expensive wine, laid out a selection of cold meats and olives as starters, and cooked the one dish that always turned out well in his hands: lasagne. He had made Trish wait outside so that he could dart in, light the dozen candles he had placed around the kitchenette and bedroom, and turn on some romantic music — a Cocteau Twins’ album that Vincent had loaned him on the promise that it was a “leg opener”.
Trish expressed surprise and delight at the effort, but there was something distant and guarded in her manner and conversation. When she visibly flinched at a gentle kiss on the forehead from across his tiny table, he had had enough.
“What’s wrong, Trish?” he asked. “You’re not yourself tonight at all. It’s like you’re afraid of me. Tell me what’s wrong.”
She looked sadly down at her plate of half-eaten lasagne. “I know why I’m here,” she said. “I know what you want.”
There was no anger or accusation in her words, just a kind of desolate resignation. She seemed so inside herself with misery that Senán didn’t have the will to feel offended or the desire to compose a denial.
“It’s OK,” she continued. “It’s normal. It’s normal that you want more off me than kissing and a bit of necking. But . . .” Fat tears welled in her eyes, and her face lost all its colour in the soft flicker of the candlelight. “I have problems in that department.”
She sniffed and the first big tear rolled down her cheek.
“I had a really bad experience when I was younger and now . . . I . . . I . . . can’t do it. I can’t even think about doing it.”
She exploded into a fit of bitter crying. Senán reached across the table and gripped her hands tightly.
“It’s OK,” he said. “We don’t have to do anything you don’t want. We can take it as slow as you want. No pressure. This isn’t all some plot to get you between the sheets. It would be nice, but . . . I just want to spend time with you. Be in your lovely company. Come on. Relax and be yourself. We’ll talk, drink some wine. Chill. Watch a movie. And — eat your lasagne or you won’t leave here alive!”
Trish laughed, but didn’t speak until she recovered her composure. “You had to pick the one girl on the Island who doesn’t put out,” she said a while later.
Senán wondered what had happened to her but didn’t want to press the issue.
Trish relaxed, finished her lasagne, and after Senán served dessert and they moved into his living-room-cum-bedroom it developed into a very sweet night. Taking a mental note to tell Vincent that the Cocteau Twins were about as far from leg opener as one could find, he turned off the music and allowed Trish to select something from his Netflix account. Soon they were settled watching a bittersweet romcom starring John Cusack. On the tiny two-person sofa there was no option but to squeeze together. A dozen minutes into the film she kicked off her shoes and draped herself about him. The film was forgotten and they kissed and fondled one another until the credits rolled.
Senán was unsure how far he should go, so he let Trish take the initiative. It was soon clear that her problem was not frigidity or libido. She led his hands and mouth to her breasts and then to her vagina, and was adventurous in her own explorations. Naked, they moved to his bed, where they mutually masturbated and lay in a tight embrace enjoying the warm sated feeling that gently flowed through their bodies.
“I was very young,” said Trish, after a candle on the bedside locker guttered out and woke her from her reverie. “In over my depth with some fucking older guy. A scumbag. He had a motorbike and threw plenty of cash around. Of course I wanted to be all cool and grown up. I went to a house party with him. He basically had his way with me. I didn’t want to say no coz I didn’t want to look like a baby. But I didn’t want to say yes either. It was horrible. The fucking sad thing is I pretended I loved it, making all these stupid faces and noises like in the films. A right fucking clown I was. And now . . . just the thought of doing it makes me go all tight inside. He hurt me. It was fucking awful. And now it’s like a phobia.”
“Maybe you need counselling,” said Senán softly. “You might need to talk the whole thing through with a professional. Lift the trauma off your shoulders.”
“I’ve thought of that,” said Trish. “Maybe I should.”
She hugged Senán tightly.
“You’re such a nice, decent fella, you deserve someone who can love you properly. I’m sorry.”
“Listen, it’s not your fault. And don’t worry about me. What we did just there blew my mind. I ain’t complaining. What we can do is take it nice and slow. Maybe it’s an unconscious trust thing. It might take a few sessions to build up trust in the old Senán!”