The green ink was smudged and faded against the pale skin of her inner arm, with its light dusting of freckles and delicate veins. It was a fat, sinuous vine, wrapped around – well, I couldn’t tell you exactly what it was wrapped around, because just as I leaned in to get a closer look she twisted away and whipped my pint glass out from under the tap.
I took it from her without comment, focused only on directing my gaze somewhere other than her cleavage. Her curly hair was a damp frizz, and a warm flush spread down from her neck, fanning out into the dip of her collarbone. She wore a khaki vest top, cut low; it clung to her, as if the adhesive perspiration pinning ringlets of hair to her forehead also coated her torso.
I dumped a handful of coins onto the counter, my mouth dry. At 10 o’clock on a Tuesday night, the chain pub was cool and quiet; its bright midweek sterility brought to mind a dentist’s waiting room or the lobby of a high street bank. The only source of heat was the barmaid’s skin, where beads of sweat caught the light and glowed in sequence as she moved towards me.
Moved past me.
Moved to the end of the bar, where she lifted a hatch and ducked underneath it.
Her shorts were a light brown to match the khaki. I watched them shift and pull tight across her arse with each step she took across the empty lounge. She had almost reached the cellar door when she looked back over her shoulder.
“Come on,” she said. “We don’t have long.”
I pushed myself up from the bar. Coarse denim pinned my erection to my upper thigh; as if mocking my prudish refusal to stare, she held my eyes with hers, then dragged them slowly down till I felt my cheeks burn. I flexed my fingers, fighting the urge to shield my crotch from her unnerving appraisal.
Spreading my hands apart in front of me, I followed her through the doorway and down a set of wooden steps. The hair on my arms fluttered in the cellar’s damp chill. She turned to face me, her face slashed by the shadow of a single lamp. In one smooth, liquid movement, she peeled the sweat-soaked vest over her head, and leaned back against a tower of crates.
I dropped to my knees in front of her. Before I could slide my hands around to cup her arse, she popped open the button fly of her shorts; we tugged at them together, stopping only when gravity took over and sent them slithering down to the floor. I pressed my fingers flat against her belly. She spread her legs further apart, almost luxuriating in her newfound freedom. I could hear only my own shallow breathing as I brushed her clit with my lips; only my own thumping heart as I parted her cunt into two soft, swollen banks with my tongue.
It was when I sat back on my haunches to look up at her that I finally heard it. One long, shuddering sigh; a percussive wave of energy that seemed to flow out of her overheated body to warm the air around us. I settled back between her legs, and let the scent of her arousal drift through me, bringing with it a calm, clear sense of purpose.
Such a funny thing.
I don’t even like tattoos.