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A Saint from Texas by Edmund White

A Saint from Texas by Edmund White

Author:Edmund White
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing


CHAPTER 12

Although I had intended to use the dildo on Ercole, I ended up employing it on Helen. I became slightly jealous that each time we all three got together, Ercole devoted himself mainly to Helen and began to treat me as if I were another man and we were both busy (as they say in old-fashioned porn) “pleasuring” her. He would kiss my neck and pat my ass when I bent over her and blocked his access. I wasn’t sure who I was really jealous of—him for ignoring me or her for moaning louder when he penetrated her. Was she such a conventional woman that she had been raised to prefer men, even though I was the one who knew how to stimulate her clitoris with my finger? (I’d cut my nails short and stopped varnishing them.) I held the secret to her orgasms but as she climaxed she wrapped her arms around his neck, not mine.

After a few weeks of that I thought of arranging to see her one-on-one when I discovered that they were already seeing each other privately, and I was livid. I had pickpocketed Ercole’s agenda and found a date and time and Helen’s name. I confronted him and he shrugged and said, “I thought we were all evolved.”

“Evolved? What does that mean? Walking on hind legs?” I asked.

“Sophisticated. Free. After all, you’re a married woman. Your husband could be the indignant one.” I must have looked close to tears; Ercole, who was kind, said, “It was only the one time. I was just curious. And randy.”

“Was she the one who made the date, or was it you?”

He just smiled mysteriously.

“Answer me,” I insisted, though I knew in our world—their world—insistence was a breach of etiquette.

“I honestly don’t remember,” he said in a quiet voice. I had to lean in to hear him. I realized I’d raised my voice and his soft tone was a rebuke.

I started discussing our musical salon. I hated being the jealous one, the angry one, the slighted one. In high school and college I’d always been careful to be pursued, never to pursue, to leave and not be left. Easier to stay in control when you’re self-centered, as I was in school; I was genuinely indifferent to everything back then—rich, beautiful, a debutante, careless about the hearts I broke, about the bad grades I earned, about the friends I neglected and the friendships that lapsed. I could always retreat back into the fiction of childhood, the age that avoids all consequences. At the beginning with Ercole I’d been a mystery, partly because I was a foreigner given to strange gaffes, partly because I’d played the dominatrix, partly because I’d expected nothing of him except to playact at obedience.

I recovered, or at least I convinced him, I think, that all was forgiven and I’d probably forgotten the whole incident. I thought that to be successful in love requires a certain courage, an acting as if one is sane, self-respecting, autonomous, an ability to fake it till you make it.



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