“Really, Sidonie,” I said. “I didn’t come to New Orleans just so I could help you keep your kinfolk in order!”

My friend from college days grinned at me, lifting a rake through her big chestnut hair. Gavin, her husband, sat on the bed patiently channel-surfing while she finished getting gussied up for their evening out on the town. She was dressed in a red satin shirt, black leather pants and Doc Martens, and Gavin was equally street- and party-ready, although far less dramatic, in chinos and a polo shirt. He was an inch shorter than his wife but built like a tank. They both looked a little too sexy and dangerous to be a respectable couple with grown kids, which in fact they were.

I was wearing a pair of flowing harem pants and a snug-fitting top with a low, draped cowl neck. A well-designed bra pushed my breasts up to a flattering level, but now I wondered why I’d bothered. I’d assumed that we’d be spending the evening together, and now she had sprung this on me.

“It’s not like I was asking you to baby-sit small children, Esmé. It’s just I promised Drew’s mom that I would spend some time with him and sort make sure he was OK while we were in town. I told Lisa that rock musicians could look after themselves, but you know how mothers are.”

“Yeah.” I did that.

“And I can’t be in two places at once, now can I?”

“No, I don’t suppose you can,” I said.

“Hey, it won’t be so bad,” Sidonie said. “For all I know, we may decide to make it an early night. I swear, the parades in New Orleans are getting to be so damned big and unwieldy, they just aren’t fun anymore. I worry more about getting trampled or caught up in a fight or getting arrested than I enjoy watching the parades. And as for catching anything, forget it! When I fight, I prefer to take on one opponent at a time, and for something important—not some piece of plastic that cost a fraction of a penny to make!”

Sidonie slicked a layer of dark pink lip gloss onto her mouth, strapped on her purse, and she and Gavin left the room. I left with them, and we went down into the lobby of our hotel and out onto Rampart St.

Sidonie handed me a piece of folded paper. “That’s the name of the club where he’s playing at, and how to get to it and all. When his set’s over, get him to back you up at the parade, or bring him back here. We’ll probably be back by then, and then we can figure out what to do next.” I looked at the brochure. The place wasn’t too far away. “Thanks much, Es! We’ll see you in a few hours.”

I had the same opinion of Mardi Gras parades as Sidonie. I felt they had gotten too big and dangerous, and preferred the funky charm of the small town celebrations. We had gone to the Spanish Town parade in Baton Rouge and I had laughed myself helpless. We might not even have gone down to N’Awlins except that Sidonie had promised this kinswoman of hers that she would do so, on account of her wandering musician son, whose band presently had a gig in the Crescent City.

The pounding rhythms of a southern rock band hit me like a wall of sound as soon as I got to the door of the place. I was a little surprised; considering that I’d heard so much jazz and blues and Zydeco since I’d arrived in Louisiana, but then I remembered that the club Drew was playing at was a southern rock type place. It occurred to me that Sidonie had forgotten to give me either Drew’s last name or even a description of him. However, I had been to gatherings of her family and knew more or less what to look for.

I managed to find a table not too far away from the stage and sat down to check out the band. The most likely suspect appeared to be a broad-shouldered, dark-haired, twentysomething kid playing electric bass. His looks followed the format I’d observed in about three-quarters of the people I’d seen in the last reunion of Sidonie’s family that I’d been to—thick black hair, important-looking eyebrows, and killer smiles. He had the first two attributes, but since he was playing something grandiose and turgid and dramatic, I did not expect him to smile.

I ordered a beer and ascertained from the waiter who brought it to me that yes, the bass player was Drew and therefore the guy I was looking for. I nursed it very slowly, ignoring attempts by various men sitting at the bar to send me fresh drinks, and when the band was on a break, I gave the waiter a note to pass to the young man. He opened it briefly, looked at me, gave me a neutral look, and made his way over to my table and sat down.

“Drew, I presume?” I said. I extended a hand, and he gave me a good handshake. His hand was warm, firm, and calloused. “I’m Esmé Trent. Your…ah, cousin Sidonie sent me to look for you.”

“Hey, so she’s in town? That’s nice. You a friend of hers?”

“Since college,” I said, suddenly wishing I had lied. Now he knew exactly how to classify me—someone as old as his cousin Sidonie was, assuming that he had that info, and therefore as a person of barely human status. Now that I was close to him, I thought he was even more attractive. bursa escort His hair was as thick as a seal’s pelt, short and free of sticky stuff; and his arching dark eyebrows described a sudden angle over the outer third of his eyes, which were a pleasing shape and a warm, light shade of brown,. His nose was a tad too long for technical beauty, but that was as well; beauty is a liability in a profession where they don’t respect you unless you look like Tom Petty. There was something Italianate about his mouth, he had a small dimple in his chin, and his ears were close-set and at certain angles, looked pointed, like a faun’s.

“Um, Ms. Trent, are you all right?” His voice was baritone, with a warm, dark quality. It sounded older than I thought he was.

“Yeah. I was just trying to…place you. Sidonie sent me haring up here with virtually no info about you, expected me to just pick you out of the bunch on the basis of family resemblance, I guess. So, are you one of the Wanzacks or from some other branch?”

“Half,” he said, and then he smiled. He had a great smile. “My name is Scarpetti, Ma’am. Let me think…my great-grandpa, Victor, was Sidonie’s father’s uncle, which makes me—mm—” His eyebrows knit as he thought it over—”her second cousin. I think.”

“I’ll take your word,” I said. “And don’t call me ma’am.”

Before Drew’s break was over, we established that I would meet him after the band was through playing. Then he went back to the stage, and the band started playing again. I continued to sip my beer and look around at the band and the other patrons of the club. Most often, though, my eyes kept coming back to Drew. At one point, the lead guitarist said something to him that nobody could hear, but he did. His face got the same kind of everything-suspended look I had sometimes seen in Sidonie, and one of her kids, and then this thing happened to it when he laughed, some felicitous arrangement of lines and dimples that threw me into confusion. The house lights gleamed on his teeth. I looked down into the golden pool of beer in the bottom of my mug, and then back up at Drew. Come on, laugh again, I thought. I surreptitiously tugged my blouse down so that I had a little more tit showing.

At the end of the band’s performance, I waited for him and the band to take down all their equipment, disconnect the cables from the amplifiers and coil them up, and put their instruments back in their cases. I had wondered if he was going to have to carry a case through the streets of the Quarter, but he had that covered; since he was coming back the next evening, he could keep his equipment at the club. We went out. After the close, smoky air indoors, the damp, funky air from the city seemed as cold and fresh as if it had come from the mountains. Over on Canal Street, we heard a distant roar and made our way to it.

“Jesus!” said Drew. After an hour taking in the Bacchus Parade, we were scraped up and bruised; I had a gash on my ankle from when someone had stomped on it. We had had beer splashed on us. We had been scratched with fingernails. I had one lousy short string of beads and a cup I’d probably leave behind in the hotel to show for the pushing and shoving I’d done. Drew had nothing; a boy with an old-fashioned upbringing, he had spent too much time trying to protect me to collect anything himself. However, it was the sight of a man up on a balcony, sprawled on a chair and luxuriously writhing under the oral ministrations of another man right in front of God and everybody that led him to call it quits for the night.

“Like the old song said, ‘That ain’t no way to have fun, son.’ That’s a little too rich for my blood,” he said.

It seemed to me that it was an excellent way to have fun; if he objected to the gender of the people having it that could not be helped. Some of Drew and Sidonie’s family had the reputation of being kind of wild, but evidently their wildness did not seem to go in that direction.

The first thing he did upon arriving at my room was to disappear into the bathroom to pee, and while he was doing that, I called the desk to see if Sidonie and Gavin had checked in—I knew they weren’t in their room—and I called Room Service to order up a bottle of champagne. I thought Drew might prefer beer, but I did not, and I was buying.

My room was a bed-sitting room; my friends didn’t care what was in a hotel room as long as it had a bed and bath, but I liked my comforts. The sitting area boasted a little padded brocade French provincial settee that probably purported to be a loveseat, but was limited to the love that could be made on it. Nevertheless, it put us closer together than we would be on the average sofa. That was all right; after a glass or two of champagne, we seemed like old friends. We talked about our impressions of New Orleans, other places we’d traveled, and his family. Among other things, Drew volunteered the information that he had been christened Andrea, and the first thing he had done upon reaching his eighteenth birthday was to go down bursa escort bayan to the courthouse and get it changed to Andrew, which was how he’d been signing all his documents since first grade anyway.

“I mean, girls are called Andrea,” he said. “Where’d she get that?”

“Andrea del Sarto, maybe,” I said.

“Whatever,” Drew said, that all-purpose retort that made people my age want to dope-slap those who uttered it. Scratch art history as a topic of discussion, I thought.

The phone rang. It was Sidonie, calling from some very noisy, steel-girt location, on her cell phone. She kept cutting in and out. I could barely understand her.

“at—O—ien—ine,” was what I heard. I extrapolated that perhaps she and Gavin might be at Pat O’Brien’s in a long line. I thought she was nuts if she was. “—ew?”

“Yeah, he’s here,” I said. “You want to talk to him?”

“No, that’s OK,” she said, understandably for once. I couldn’t catch what she said next. Just more crackles and vowels.

“You’re breaking up, Sid,” I said.

I got more unintelligible crackles. “—orning,” she said, and then I heard an empty rush of air, and then a dial tone.

“Well?” said Drew.

“I think they’re going to be out the rest of the night,” I said.

“Oh, shit, I guess I’d better get going, then. I’ve got a ways to go before I get to the place we’re staying at. I’m gonna have to get on the bus.” He looked a little flushed and glittery-eyed from the champagne, and it occurred to me that whatever Sidonie had said about rock musicians being able to take care of themselves, I didn’t like the idea of this delectable-looking young man making his way alone and slightly drink-taken through the streets of New Orleans on Mardi Gras night. I didn’t think that either his mother or Sidonie would call it looking after him if I let him.

“Um, Drew, you don’t have to do that,” I said. “I’m sure Sidonie wouldn’t mind if you stopped here.”

“Yeah? And I’d sleep where?”

“The room does have two beds in it. You could sleep in one of them,” I pointed out to him. “…Or not,” I suddenly added, looking at him with a slow smile.

He had started to get up, but when I had spoken, he settled back down.

“Mrs. Trent,” he said, squinting at me slightly, “Are you hitting on me?”

“You were calling me Esmé earlier,” I said. “And I’m not hitting on you, yet. If I were, I’d be pointing out to you that you could do a hell of a lot worse.” I began to count the reasons: “Disease-free, non-fertile, I’m right here and think you are hot, I won’t brag to my friends, and I won’t tie you down. At the same time, I will respect you in the morning.”

“Wow!” he said. “Those are reasons to consider, all right. It’s just that you’re—I’ve never been with—I mean, you did say you’d gone to school with Cousin Sidonie, right? And she’s—”

I slid a little closer to him on the loveseat. “Would you shoot down Bonnie Raitt, if she were here hitting on you?”

I envisioned synapses flashing like pinball lights in his young brain as he worked on the question. Finally he shrugged.

“Bonnie Raitt,” I said, “is exactly two years older than me. I rest my case.” And I slid closer yet, close enough to be within reach of his arm if he chose to take it off the back of the settee. I could smell his sweat and cologne and the stale smoke-and booze club fug coming from his skin and clothing. I laid closed lips on his mouth, off-center, and then, with the utmost gentleness, caught his tender lower lip between my teeth.

He took his arm off the back of the loveseat and put it around me; he opened his mouth on mine and slid a warm, champagne-flavored tongue between my lips. With a little groan, I pulled it into my mouth and sucked on it until he backed it out only to slide it in again. Our tongues slipped and danced against each other like aquatic beasts in courtship. With only that contact, I was gone already; conscious only of my supersensitive skin and avid mouth and pussy that felt as puffed and glazed as a Krispy Kreme donut. We kissed for a while longer, licking and nibbling at each other’s mouths. He got one hand in my shirt and played with my nipples, and I did the same thing to him. I opened my eyes and tried to look into his, but that was no good; I had given up three years ago on getting printed material far enough away to read and started wearing bifocal contacts, and he was a lot closer than that. He opened his eyes and tried to look back; we found ourselves both getting cross-eyed, and laughed.

“What happens next?” he said. I sat up and looked at him. He was wearing a shirt in a pattern that accentuated the width of his shoulders and upper torso, and a pair of those stupid trousers young guys are currently wearing, baggy to the point of falling off and pockets everywhere. They concealed a hard-on no better than the tight bellbottoms guys wore when I was about his age, and he was making a nice teepee in them. He believed in being direct. He took my hand and laid it right on the escort bursa tent-pole. It felt like a piece of steel bar, but it was warm. I refrained from giving him Mae West’s line about the gun. Or John Lennon’s, for that matter.

“This I gotta see,” I said. I found the buckle of the woven belt that kept his trousers from going south, and tugged at it.

“I hope I’m not gonna be the only one naked around here,” he said.

“No! Of course not.” I hit the dimmer switch on the lights. I had always looked young for my age, but I knew what my limitations were. I had taken care of my body and was pretty fit, nevertheless, in my own house, I had taken to employing such ruses as candlelight and pink bulbs.

In a few seconds I was down to French-cut panties and bra, and he was down to far less. I realized that I must have been wondering what he looked like naked from the first time I laid eyes on him. He was gorgeous, with a wedge-shaped body, muscular arms and legs, skin marble-like where the sun had not hit it. He had less hair than I had expected on one with his Mediterranean coloring, just little rosettes under his arms, and a sleek scatter of it on his chest, tufting around his darling little pointy nipples. Fur zipper on his belly. Thick dark hair half-concealing his package like the husk of some exotic fruit.

If you think I’m going to say that he had a twelve-inch dick or anything like that, you’re wrong. For one thing, I had never seen one, haven’t seen one, and don’t believe they exist; and if they do exist, they are of no more use than a volleyball serve that goes slamming against the opposite wall of the court and leaves your team with a side out. It was rosy, beautifully lathed and sturdy, smooth, and I knew that underneath its satiny covering, it would feel as hard as a rock. I had forgotten about how incredible it seemed that anything could be that hard and still be flesh. I had a sudden hankering to taste it.

I slid down onto the floor between his parted legs and looked up at him. I ran my hands over the delicious planes and angles of his body as if it were a piece of sculpture I had just acquired. He was slightly flushed, trembling a little; I could not tell if he were enjoying my touch or enduring it.

“That, um, sight we saw on the balcony earlier this evening,” I said, lifting Drew’s cock from where it lay twitching impatiently on his belly, “what about it specifically grossed you out?”

“A man doing it to him. God, Esmé! We never had anything like that go on in our family.”

He wasn’t 100% right, but enough right that you couldn’t blame him for his assumption. It wasn’t my place to tell him that the reason Sidonie had gone off with Gavin tonight and left me to honor the obligations of family was that one of the people they were possibly going to meet was Jeremy Gable, a guy both of them had known since they were kids; Gavin and Jeremy had been in the Army together. They’d had a brief thing in ‘Nam—one of those wartime things that shouldn’t happen but they do. It was long over, but while Sidonie trusted Gavin, she didn’t trust Jeremy any further than she could spit a rat.

“But it wasn’t the act itself?”

He looked down at me with an asymmetrical smile. “No. Sure wasn’t.”

I licked the crystalline tear from its single eye and used the broad smooth head to spread it all over my lips like gloss; then I began spiraling my tongue all around the beveled edge, drawing his cock a little bit more in my mouth with every turn. I sucked the head into my mouth and licked at the flat place below the slit.

Drew nudged up further into my mouth. His voice deepened into a velvety growl. “Mrs. T, are you going to suck my dick already or not?”

I had the nails of my other hand pressing infinitesimally into his scrotum, and the head of his cock resting on my tongue. I grinned ferally around it. “Call me Mrs. again and I’ll bite you.”

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, and wound his fingers in my hair. Enough with show and subtlety; it was time to get into some serious stroking. I worked on him and he met me; we came to something between me doing all the work and him fucking me in the mouth, at first anyway. Over all the suckings and slurpings, I could hear his little gasps and murmurs and groans, as he shifted and surged into my mouth and beneath my hands. And then, as his pleasure began to run him, the words he used to feed into it: Mm yes that’s good suck it harder go a little deeper further down on it oh I love it when you grab it with your throat like that do it again do it some more oh yeah like that just like that don’t stop

–and then I couldn’t stop because he couldn’t stop; he was helplessly thrusting up into my mouth, and I was caught inexorably between his strong hands wrapped in my hair and his pistoning cock—

“Oh, yeah, honey, that’s good, oh take it, take all of it, just keep doing that, I’m about to—oh I can’t help it, I’m—aah! Yes!”

With one final thrust he was over the top, his body pronated in ecstasy, his pungent life fluid fountaining into my mouth. I gulped it down as best I could. Spicy, wiry hair tickled my nose with no way for me to scratch. I could hear and feel the fast, heavy thudding of his heart, his accelerated, jagged breathing.

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