Most of the people here are as reserved as I want to be. It’s forcing me to do most of the talking. I’m finally vibing with a small group. Yana hasn’t come over to interrupt this one. I’m explaining our journey to three women and the man who let us in. The women are nodding and laughing at the right places. The man, who appears to be the host or organiser of this, is making me feel like I am on trial.
Since I am the centre of attention, I ask him, “Is everything alright? Are we not welcome here?”
“No, everything is fine,” he says, “as long as you don’t leave anything behind.”
One of the women pushes him to break his stare, “He’s not being rude, he just doesn’t smile. I think he likes you.”
“I sympathise with him. He’s here with Yana.” There is silence for a moment. The temperature of women’s faces seem to drop. They look past me and not at me.
“I didn’t know Yana was here,” says one of them. The host jerks his head in the vague direction of where she is. They don’t turn to look.
“How do you know Yana?” asks one of them.
“I don’t really. We met her at a rest stop earlier today and gave her a lift here.”
“How did you meet?” Her eyes narrow.
“Daniel met her first. He said she was sunbathing by the river behind the rest stop.”
“So you didn’t see her first? You don’t know if she was in the river?” she asks.
“Was she naked when Daniel saw her?” another asks.
“I think he would’ve said if she was… but she did take her clothes off in the guesthouse before getting in the shower,” I smile, showing how cool I am with it. She just looks at the host. He shrugs. Everyone is avoiding eye contact for a moment.
“How do you know Yana?” I ask the group.
“She was engaged to someone who lived here.”
“It didn’t work out. She hasn’t been back to town for… a while”
Across the warehouse a movement catches my eye, Yana fake falls into Daniel forcing him to catch her. Such a blatant move, but he’s holding her longer and harder than he has to. She is whispering into his mouth but neither of them moves the final centimeter for the kiss. Both too proud to make the move. Both wanting to be the one in control. They deserve each other.
I don’t want it to bother me but this has a gossomar of spite about it. He knows I like redheads and he was telling me I had a chance with her. This just looks like he’s marking territory, showing he can have anyone.
“Why are there sticks and eggs and garlands everywhere?” I ask, heaving my attention back to the people in front of me.
“It’s Green Week,” they say in chorus.
“Of course, Green Week.” I raise my arms and smile. The women smile back. The host blows air out of his cheeks and walks away.
“You’ve never heard of Green Week,” one of them says.
“I have not.”
“It’s the week where we honour the unclean dead. The dead that died before their time.”
“What about the sticks and eggs and bracelets?”
“Branches from birch trees. Birch trees hold the spirits of the unclean dead. The eggs are just yummy.” The other women laugh.
“Fertility symbols, probably?”
“Exactly. See he’s not a total idiot.” She raises her arm, “The bracelets seal friendships.”
“Friendship bracelets?” she cringes.
“It’s spiritual, it’s a promise.”
“To keep each other safe from the unclean dead.”
The music suddenly stops and I‘m shouting, “That’s why The Master and the Margarita is more of a supernatural farce than a work of modernist literature.” The guy I’m lecturing seems relieved to have a reason to exit the monologue.
The warm kiss of intoxication has me ranting at strangers. I haven’t seen Yana since she brought me that last vodka. She was joking that Benji was messing up his chances with the girls he was talking to and the only way to save his night would be to have a threesome. I laughed it off and said he wouldn’t be up for it. Then she vanished and I finished up talking about Russian literature.
Almost everyone has slipped out of the warehouse already. There’s always an afterparty and we could try to get invited, but I feel like we’ve constantly been the outsiders here. Yana is talking to Benji by the door. Nobody who I’ve spoken to has said goodbye. They just left. Nobody is saying goodby to Yana either. It’s like she barely knows these people. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone talk to Yana all night except for Benji and me.
“Did you have a good time?” Yana asks, as I approach.
“Yes, very cool. Interesting people. Good music, modular synth apparently. What’s happening now?”
“Nothing,” says Yana.
She smiles, “Not unless we arrange one at our room in the guesthouse.”
“There’s no modular synth though,” I say.
“I’ve got a few more drinks for us though,” says Yana. She kicks a fabric bag at her feet and it clinks.
“More drinks?” I look at Benji, he shrugs.
We duck under the half opened roller-shutter-door. Outside a circle of a dozen of the party guests are speaking but when we emerge they stop and look at us silently. I can still feel the vodka weighing down my wit, so all I manage to say is, “Thanks for the afterparty drinks.” I sling the bag over my back and the bottles smash into my spine. They just stare. Benji is already walking away. Yana is suppressing a laugh. She grabs my arm and pulls me away. As we leave the estate I look over my shoulder, they’re still staring.
We walk back to the guest house. The only sound is the uneven percussion of Yana’s heels on the pavement and the bottles rattling. Every window in town is dark. Even the guest house looks abandoned. Not even a lamplight to guide the travellers home.
Back in our room I dump the bottles on the vanity table. Benji starts pouring beer into the small glasses he found in the bathroom. Yana sits on the bed, takes off her heels and stretches out, letting the hem of her skirt ride her thighs a little bit. “My legs are killing me,” she says, “I need a massage.” She goes into the bathroom, locks the door and I hear the toilet seat slam down.
“Yana said you wanted a threesome,” whispers Benji.
“Oh really,” I laugh.
“Don’t use me in one of your games, Daniel.”
“Shut up, Benjji, I’m trying to get us both laid. When she comes out she will flop down on the bed. I’ll offer a four hand massage. We’ll see where it goes.”
“Don’t we have to talk about, you know, who’s going to do what?” I shout-whisper.
The toilet flushes.
Yana emerges, stretches and flops down face first onto the bed, just as Daniel said she would. “My muscles are stiff,” she mumbles into the pillow.
“Do you want a four hand massage?”
“Finally, how many hints do I have to drop to get a rub? Do my legs first.”
She pulls up the hem of her wool skirt to the lip of her buttocks revealing red French knickers. The paleness of her sour cream thighs is shocking juxtaposed to her lightly burned calves that look like they’ve been dusted with paprika. Daniel sees me staring at her and rolls his eyes. “Sorry we don’t have any oil,” says Daniel, “but hopefully four hands will make up for that.”
“I’m sure it will.”
Daniel starts with two hands around her ankles. I follow his lead. He moves to her calf with both hands, moving them in opposite directions. Then moves to the back of her thighs, working the outside and then the inside, letting his fingers brush her underwear. I copy and notice a damp heat as Yana opens her legs almost imperceptibly. She draws in and releases a long breath.
“We need to get to your back,” says Daniel.
She unbuttons the front of the jacket, we slip it off awkwardly, then resume from the bottom of her back just above the top of her skirt.
“You guys have done this before,” Yana says,
“The customer should just relax and try to enjoy the experience,” says Daniel. He moves his hands up her back and around her shoulder blades. I stay in sync.
“Customer?” she says. “How am I going to pay you for the massage?”
“We’ll find a way,” says Daniel.
We spend a lot of time on her shoulders. Daniel says that she’s holding a lot of tension there. I have no idea if it’s making it up, he seems serious. We push harder into her shoulders. Yana lets out deep husky moans into the pillow that I feel through the bed rather than hear.
When we finish her back Daniel tells her it’s time to massage her front. She turns over, settles her head into the pillows and closes her eyes. Her moonrise coloured skin is freckled on her face and sternum where the sun has touched, but her breasts and stomach are flawless white. She has the wide, burnt umber areolas. Her breasts are so large that four hands may not be enough.
Daniel has shuffled back down to her ankles and is watching me stare at Yana’s chest. “Double Ds,” I mouth to him. He looks at her chest, scrunches his face and shakes his head.
Daniel starts massaging her feet, moving up her calves and then doing the same move on the front of her thighs, starting on the outside and moving in. My fingers brush her red underwear, now almost totally on show as her skirt folded up into a belt.
We move up to her torso. They just look too big to massage. This is going to be comic. But as I reposition further up the bed, she puts her hand between my legs, slides it up my thigh and starts massaging my crotch through my jeans. I see she is doing the same to Daniel. This is really going to happen. I can feel myself straining against my jeans, hard in her hand. I can’t look up at Daniel. It will put me off. I wonder who is bigger. Yana still has her eyes closed and looks serene.
“I’m almost naked,” she says, “that’s not fair.”
Yana is laying across the bed on her back, skirt hitched up into a thin band of fabric above her hips, her head facing me. She grabs my buttocks and pulls me closer, taking me into her mouth. Benji has her ankles in his hands and is sliding in and out of her. Her legs are up, making her thighs appear even thicker and pushing her stomach into a cute little hump.
Benji’s eyes are shut and his brow is furrowed in concentration. He is breathing fast, maybe hyperventilating. I reach over and touch him on the shoulder. He opens his eyes, “Hey man, calm down, where the hell did you go?” His eyes race around the room and then over Yana’s body. His hips keep moving, rhythmically and smoothly in contrast to his shallow, paranoid breathing.
Yana moves, sliding me out of her mouth, “He just needs some more attention,” she says. She takes him by the shoulders, lays him down flat on the bed. His eyes are still chasing shadows on the ceiling until she kneels between his legs and wraps her lips around him. She angles her body, presenting her behind to me.
I place my hands on her hips, firmly angling her to the right height, then slide them up her back and she arches in response. Her short, black, pubic hair is soaked and flat against her labia. The folds swallow me as I steer myself in with my hips, my hands holding her back in place.
Benji has opened his eyes and they are calmer now. He is smiling and looking through the ceiling. I look at the ceiling, leaning back, which adjusts the angle of penetration making me moan out loud. Yana responds by rotating her hips in little circles.
The retro, textured, spiral patterns on the ceiling seem to be moving in the low light of the room. I start laughing. Benji starts laughing too. Yana slips off us, faces me on her knees, puts her forehead against mine. “What’s wrong?” asks Yana. Benji is spasming with laughter.
“The ceiling,” I say, “it’s dancing.”
“Shh, stay with me a little longer,” she says, holding my face, forcing me to meet her eyes. Her pupils are big drops of tar. They are spinning too.
She puts her head against my shoulder tenderly, wrapping her arms around my neck. Benji is chuckling quietly now, still fixated on the ceiling. On the floor around the bed there is roughly half-an-inch of water. Branches of birch float around us.
“Something is leaking,” I say, but my words sound like they’re coming from underwater.
“Shh,” she says and kisses my neck.
“Benji, can you see the water?”
“Yes,” but I hear his voice and his giddy laughter from the other side of a wall between us that I can’t see.
“Come here,” says Yana. She turns back to Benji, holding my hand, and mounts him gently. She keeps pulling me closer until I understand what she wants. When we’re both inside her she reaches behind me to hold me still. She rocks her hips in a tiny movement but the sensation shivers into my belly and makes me draw a short breath. The water is rising around the bed. The walls crack as roots of a tree push through the plaster. Yana’s movements become more ambitious and violent. She yelps in a moment of pain but bites her lip and flicks her hips harder. I want to speak to Benji, but I can’t hear my own voice.