Today's excerpt is a bit special, as it's a first draft from my work-in-progress, The Valleys of the Earth, and I'd be genuinely interested to hear if anyone has feedback about the morality of this short but pivotal sex-scene.
I get a lot of posts across my social network from progressive people who characterise any sexual encounter that falls short of enthusiastic, fully-informed, legally-constituted, consent as rape, and all rape as equally heinous.
I do think this scene is all sorts of nonconsensual murky grey ethical mess, though maybe not in the ways the protagonists see it. I'd be interested to know, if anyone else has an opinion, which - if either - of my characters do you think guilty of rape?
|Satan, Sin and Death by William Blake|
- Egan is running a high fever from a wounded and infected arm and is not in full possession of his mental or physical capacities. The scene opens with Milja trying to cool him down with ice-water.
- They both are immensely attracted to each other, and care for each other deeply.
- They both have really good reasons not to have sex with the other, and so haven't done it.
I could feel the heat in my cheeks, too. Egan was massively guarded and private in his self. Touching him felt like being admitted to a mystery, and treading on holy ground. I owed him respect and humility in my care for him. Gentle, unhurried strokes, tender over the black blooms of his bruises. Concentration, seeking out the feverish heat to sooth it. Patience, taking my time, returning again and again in my attempts to comfort him and sooth the fire in his flesh.
While the slow burn kindled in mine.
"I love you, Milja," he said, shocking me out of my reverie.
"That's the fever talking," I said with a hoarse little laugh. "Shush."
"No. I see you being put through ten types of shite, pushed places no one should have to go, and in the middle of it all you shine. A rose in a storm. That's what I thought when I met you ... a rose in a storm, whipped around by wind and rain. Strong and beautiful, and loyal. Too loyal. Does he even know how hard this is, what he's asking of you? Does he care?"
"Don't." My cheeks were burning now. "Don't talk about him, please."
"Okay. I don't want to talk about him. Let me talk about you. You don't have to do this, Milja. You don't have to carry this burden. The end of the world is not your responsibility, one way or the other. Walk away. Be happy."
Oh, he would break my heart.
"Egan ... please ..."
"I want you to be happy. I want things I've no right to want. When I hold you, oh Christ. The temptation. I can't ... it's so hard not to want those things."
He lifted his good hand and grabbed mine, his grip shockingly strong. I'd presumed him weak. Startled, I met his gaze. It was wider than natural, almost glassy. My heart was banging against my breastbone. I tried to form words but couldn't bring them to life.
"Your lips now. I think of your lips under mine. I think of your body under my lips. I want to fuck you Milja, that's the truth, because I'm a piece-of-shit sinner and that's how my love feels, all wrapped up my lust and what I need - and I'm sorry, I can't stop thinking about you. About how much I want you."
"Do you think about me?"
I'd never realised before that blue is the colour of pain. I thought I might be trapped by those terrible blue eyes forever, drowning in his anguish and mine. "Yes," I breathed, the admission nearly breaking me.
"This?" He pulled my hand down lower, over the sheet, pressed it down firmly against the cotton. Every muscle in my arm contracted in shock - but he did not let me pull away. He held me there, and so I looked. The thin sheet was soaked and plastered against his body, hiding nothing. Not the thick ridge of his erection trapped between my hand and his hard stomach, not even the subtle twin plum-shaped swells of his balls.
Oh. Oh oh oh.
He burned against my palm, a feverish wedge of need trying to push open the doors of possibility. "Please," he groaned, tightening his fingers around mine to squeeze his shaft and rub up and down.
"Please Milja." His hips twisted. "Oh God please." Sweat speckled his upper lip anew. The ache in my core rose like a heat plume to meet the ache in my heart.
He's beautiful, I thought, and simultaneously; This is so wrong. I dropped the towel and reached in with my left hand, grabbing his little finger and pushing it back to break his grip and peel it away from me. I pushed his good hand back up onto the pillow, leaning in to pin it with my weight. He didn't have any leverage to resist me.
My breath caught in my throat.
Poor poor Egan. Aching and desperate and helpless. Pinned on his back while his swollen cock raged and wept for release. Just like Azazel had been before I freed him.
After all these years, the darkness beneath the mountain was still there inside me. I had him at my mercy, and that mercy ran slick and hot through me until it escaped down the inside of my thighs.
My hand hadn't moved from his cock. I squeezed him again.
"Ah Jesus, yes," he cried. Egan never blasphemed.
You need this? You need this? I wanted to bite his parted lips until they broke again and bled, and if I'd had the reach I might have. I can make no excuses for what I felt, or what I did. There was a dark tide of lust rising in me - and even though yes, I could explain, it makes no difference to my guilt. I felt bad for him, yes. He was handsome and sweet and he loved me, yes. No difference.
I loved him, in a way I couldn't even bring myself to think about.
The fact is, he was hurt and he was helpless and that made me want to fuck him right now.
And that's why I didn't let go of his thick cock. I kept hold of it through the cotton and I rubbed it even harder and thicker, until his heels dug into the mattress and his hips danced. I worked him slow and hard and pitilessly, until, his head was thrown back and his throat distended with strain and the blood ran down his chin from his split lip, until he was gasping and rigid and begging incoherently.
Until he came, under the sheet, calling on his saints and his God.
I drank in every cry, every detail. I kissed his bloody lips and lay beside him, cradling his head to my pounding heart.
And only then did I come out of my trance.