Authors: Oscar Wilde
He moved a hand up her thigh to her ass and squeezed her cheek. Helen felt him raise his hand. In anticipation, she rode him harder, got him in deeper. As she began to climax, he spanked her sharply. In a sexual delirium devoid of self-control, Helen shrieked.
“Yes,” she cried. “Spank me, Dorian. Punish me!”
He slapped her again and again, three times, ten times. She lost count. The pleasure was ruthless. Helen arched her back as her calves flexed and tightened. She was nearly going to explode. She ceased to thrust, but Dorian kept up the rhythm, plunging into her repeatedly. She threw her head back and let out a long cry as he smacked her ass relentlessly. There was no controlling it now. When he thrust into her again, she came long and gloriously, rushing his cock with warm secretions.
She continued to ride him, working to get him to come, too. Her thighs radiated with exhaustion. Then he pushed her off him.
“Get down,” he ordered.
She got onto the floor of the carriage. She placed her hands on his knees and, without further instruction, took his bulging cock into her mouth. When he held her head, she slapped his hands away. She sucked and rolled her tongue along the head. Dorian's breath quickened.
“Ah!” he cried, his cock twitching against the roof of her mouth.
When she felt he was close, she withdrew him from her mouth, letting just her tongue linger, and grasped his cock with her hand. She gave several rapid jerks, and when he lurched the penultimate lurch, she closed her eyes. His sperm burst hotly all over her face.
Dorian fell back into his seat and caught his breath. Helen gathered her underwear, which her desire had moderately soiled, and slid them back on. She sat back beside Dorian and noted an exquisite smarting in her insides, where his cock had plumbed her so thoroughly. Her bottom rang sorely in the bruised aftermath of his beating.
Dorian quietly repaired his own disarray. He pulled and tucked and buttoned himself back into place. Within minutes, it was as if the whole thing hadn't happened. Ah, but there was the detail of his drying seed on her face.
“Dorian,” she said. She bunched up her skirt and held it out to him.
“Yes?” he said, looking at her with confusion.
“No,” said Helen, bringing the skirt closer to his face. “Spit. Now.”
Dorian rolled his eyes, but obliged at last.
“Thank you,” she said, and with the wet part she wiped her face.
She took out her pocket mirror and applied a sheath of powder to her nose and forehead. The looking glass revealed the clouded eyes and rosy complexion of a woman who'd just been properly fucked. She smiled at herself, and thought of Rosemary biting her lower lip. What the dear thing had coming to her! Helen imagined her nude on the floor of her studio, surrendered in submission, while Dorian ravaged her.
Dorian. What a marvelous find he was! Grace was his, and the white purity of boyhood, and beauty such as a Greek god's. There was nothing that one could not do with him. He could be made a Titan or a toy. What a pity it was that such beauty was destined to fade!
“I believe we are nearly there,” said Helen.
Dorian was gazing out the window. A solemnity had draped the carnal mood.
“Something on your mind?” Helen asked. Gentleness did not come easily to her, but she managed to muster a kind voice. Dorian seemed deep in a thought he would never share. At last, he turned to Helen.
“I think I'd like one of those cigarettes, if you don't mind, Lady Wotton.”
Helen managed to conceal any reaction to being called by her married title, and withdrew her cigarette case.
“Consistently one of the great ideas of our time,” she said. “A smoke.”
Just then, the carriage began to slow.
“Ah! We must be here,” Helen said. She was eager to get out into the open air with Dorian, and then to cozy up to a bottle of gin. But noâshe heard Edgar whip the horse.
“No,” she said with a sigh, for the solemnity was infectious. “We actually aren't there yet.”
There was a brief whinny from the horse, then the galloping speed resumed.
t half past twelve a week later, Rosemary Hall turned in the direction of Berkeley Square to call on her father, Edmund Hall, a genial if somewhat rough-mannered old widower whom the outside world called selfish because it derived no particular benefit from him, but who was considered generous by Society as he fed the people who amused him. He was a retired diplomat, and was now dedicated to pursuing the aristocratic art of doing absolutely nothing. He had two large townhouses, but preferred to live in chambers, as it was less trouble, and took most of his meals at the club. He loathed American influences and was convinced that England was going to the dogs. His principles were out of date, but there was a good deal to be said for his prejudices.
When Rosemary entered the room, she found her father sitting in a rough shooting coat, smoking a pipe, and grumbling over a newspaper.
“Rosemary!” he cried, and stood with outstretched arms.
“Father!” Rosemary ran to him and fell into his bearish embrace.
“What brings you out so early? I thought you artist types never got up until noon and weren't visible until two.”
Rosemary laughed and held him tightly. “Father, I just stopped by to show you something. And then I have to go deliver it elsewhere. And I may never see it again!”
She flew out of his grasp and ran to the door where she'd propped the painting. She was behaving erratically, this she knewâtalking fast, unable to stay focused, in a frenzied toss-up between laughter and tears. It had been days since she had any sleep, ever since Dorian vanished with Helen. She hadn't heard from either of them.
Last night had been the worst of all, though. Not even the sordid dream had come to whisk her into oblivion. Exhaustion wracked her body, and she felt feverish. She had prayedâreciting not just her nightly prayers but new ones altogether. She prayed to be cleansed of her desire so that she could be returned to a mind of purity. She apologized to God for lusting. Yet a part of her didn't feel sorry. A part of her was lying to her Lord. An horrific thought struck her:
Is Dorian Gray now my Lord?
No, of course not, she told herself. She was just acting hysterical and needed to calm down. She took a long bath and drank an herbal tea laced with laudanum that Helen had given her. The tea put her in a stupor that reduced her anxieties. The volume of her thoughts decreased. Consciousness lazed in a dull, sprawling babble. But every time she nodded off, the memory of Helen's cackling broke through and the image of Dorian looking at Helen with such intrigue, such inspiration, lightning-bolted through her mind, shedding a cruel light on all her loneliness therein.
Questions swarmed her. What had happened after they left? What was happening at that moment? Were they still together? Was he in love with Helen? Helen always talked about her husband's indiscretions, but Rosemary knew that Helen entertained many of her own. Would she use and discard Dorian the way she did her other lovers? Or would she fall in love with him, too?
By the time dawn seeped in and the chirping of birds livened the trees, Rosemary was still wide awake with dread. She tried to pass the time with painting, returning to an old landscape piece she'd abandoned when she met Dorian. Nothing had ever felt so hideously boring, and in a nervous fit she splattered a half-bucket of red paint on itâthe bloodiest shade in her collection. The only painting she'd ever connected with, she was now tragically convinced, was the painting of Dorian. He was her love, her life. Now that Helen had taken him away from her, she could no longer hide from the truth. So she set to framing the painting, using her favorite silver frame that had been a gift from her father. She would then wrap it up and deliver it to Dorian and be done with it and, oh, possibly him, forever.
But she needed her father to see the gorgeous work she created. She needed just another moment in its fantasy, and a final approval.
When she unveiled it for her father, he was visibly moved, his eyes wide with wonder.
“Rosemary, my dear!” he cried. “This is magnificent!”
“Yes, yes, I know. Isn't he? He's so wonderful, father. But I won't see him again. No, I can't. Do you like the way the light is caught in his eyes? Have you ever seen eyes so mysterious? They're gray, but so many shades of gray. Like stone. The way the light does thatâit took hours for me to make it right, but that's just how he looks. Oh, father! I'm getting rid of it forever, and I just wanted you to see it before it is gone.”
Her father nodded as she spoke, trying to follow her, his furry white eyebrows knitted in confusion. She went on and on until she was breathless, then collapsed into the nearest chair.
“Darling,” said her father. He came over to her and put a hand on her shoulder. “You're very fatigued. Why don't you take a nap?”
“I can't sleep,” she said, clutching his hand. She peered up at him, her cried-out eyes brimming once again.
“And I hear Georges Petit wants to feature you in a show this fall,” said her father.
, thought Rosemary.
. Once that meant something to her.
“This painting of yours will be the crowning glory of the collection!” said her father. He patted her shoulder, then, sensing her pain, tilted her chin up in his palm, his expression radiating the fatherly love she so trusted.
“Such blue eyes,” he said, his tone pensive and somewhat forlorn. “Such an angelic face. So much like your mother's when I met her, when she held you in her arms. Oh! I am sorry you couldn't have known her the way I didâthough, well, one can't really say I knew her that well.”
“Oh, father, it is not at all your fault,” said Rosemary, beginning to tear up. She felt deeply for her father. How did one go on after losing their soul mate? Ah, to experience a love like theirs! Even if it must end too soon.
Her father took a deep, restorative breath and blinked away his tears. It was an overwhelming joy to see her father behave so humanly, and Rosemary's suffering seemed to lose all importance. She found renewed purpose in comforting him.
“God took her and made her an angel, father,” she said. “He took her when she was too young, yes, but now she will always be young. Who wants to grow old and decay? We do it because we must. But no matter what, her love for you will go on, just as it goes on for me. It is a great tragedy that she had to leave us, but she didn't want to. I feel her presence always. You must feel it, too.” She waved a hand toward the garden. “Especially now with the poppies in bloom! Just like her favorite flower, she was beautiful, but short-lived.”
Her father drew a strand of chestnut hair from her cheek. The long night's tossing and turning had left her disheveled. Hairpins stuck out of her bun at random, and the bun itself was a mess. She'd been too manic that morning to be bothered with adjusting it.
“Rosemary, my sweet child,” said her father, petting her cheek and looking into her eyes. Tears swelled to the brink of his eyelids but did not cross over. “I have waited so long to tell you something.”
Rosemary's heart leapt in fear. “Father,” she stood to face him closely. “Father, what is it? Your stomach? The bloat?!” she cried, bringing a hand to his sizable belly. “Have your symptoms returned? That look on your face! Father, you must tell me these things at once. No more secrets!”
Defeat shadowed his face, followed by a sad smile.
“No, Rosemary, no more secrets. Please sit down again.”
Rosemary hesitated but obeyed and waited. Her frenzy was now past the point of thoughts. She was hanging onto sanity now, clawing at it with her soul, about to slip. . . .
“Tell me,” she said.
Her father turned away and began to pace around her. Rosemary clutched her hands, ready for prayer.
“Your mother didn't die when you were a child,” he said.
“What?” asked Rosemary. The sanity she was digging into for support quaked with earthly disregard.
“Well,” he debated with himself. “Technically, she did die when you were a child. But not in that house. Not in that so-called deathbed you sleep in so that you may feel closer to her spirit. In truth, she quite detested that bedâ at least she did in the nighttime, given that I was always in it then.”
“Father, what are you saying?!”
“I'm saying your mother left meâshe left you, Rosemaryâshe ran off with a destitute degenerate, an American! She paid his way with her Shelby property. Your Uncle Kelso turned the other cheek.” He shook his bald, shining head. “Rosemary, your mother abandoned us.”
Rosemary was too stunned to respond immediately. Rage, hurt, resentment, and shame seared through her. And the questionsâso many questionsâone sprouting off the other, all piling up in her heart like dead leaves, for what was the use in answering them now? The damage was done.
“You lied to me,” she said, her voice strange and otherworldly, as though she was her own ghost.
“Rosemary, I only wanted to protect you.”
“You lied to me!” Rosemary repeated. She stood up and shouted in her father's face. “You lied to me, lied to me! Every-thing I've ever known was a lie!”
“Please,” he begged, beginning to weep. “I love you. Your mother loved you. For a while. I mean, I'm sure she never stopped loving you, she just found someone that she loved more than me. They had a son, Rosemary. You have a half-brother.”
“Ah!” Rosemary cried, her hands were balled up in fists at her side. She needed something to hit. Her father would be an ideal target, but she couldn't stand being in the same room with him any longer. She had to get out.
The painting. The painting and Dorian. That was all she had left in this world, and by God, they must save her. She ran to the painting and sloppily wrapped it back up, then started for an exit. As she was turning the latch, she turned back to look at her father. He had dropped into the chair she'd been seated in, head in his hands. He was weeping softly and muttering incoherently to himself.