Sorry this has taken me so long – but my recovery is going something like this. Wake up, brush hair from my eyes, practice deep breathing…one deep breath….two…..Wake up, brush hair from my eyes, turn over, practice deep breathing…one deep……Wake up, leave hair in eyes, say “Screw deep breathing” and fall back asleep…
Anyway – I’m up now, showered (you’re welcome!) and ready to face the world. In small doses, of course and only until my eyelids slam shut again.
The top picks of the judges have been tallied. And re-tallied. My anesthesia-soaked brain is struggling with numbers, words, symbols, remote controls, keyboards, four-legged creatures, men whose facial features resemble my husband’s and any and all Olympic events. I just want to be sure – so, yeah, re-tallied. Again.
The finalists – with their entries reprinted here so you won’t have to go searching for them – are:
Lorna – from over at Lorna’s Voice (Visit here to see Lorna’s Lush Lust post) :
I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
The occasional static and crackles caused by obsessive listening was no match for Elvis’ satin voice. She played the record again, swaying her shapely hips to the music and mouthing the words as she watched herself in her full-length mirror. She knew the words as well as she knew her reflection. Both felt as hollow as a grave before the casket was lowered into it.
Hold me close, hold me tight. Make me thrill with delight. Let me know where I stand from the start. I want you, I need you, I love you With all my heart.
How many times had men fantasized about her while listening to this song?
She made a career out of making men want the seductive woman they saw when she put on her mask. And she was the best in the business. Desire is what she sold and men bought it up with reckless abandon—men who never knew her, only her act. Nameless men offered her just about anything she wanted from them in exchange for a chance at devouring her body. All she wanted was their undying love and an unbreakable promise never to leave her alone. But they weren’t able to offer her those things, even in for a chance to fondle her breasts and feel her shapely legs wrapped around their torsos.
Ev’ry time that you’re near All my cares disappear. Darling, you’re all that I’m living for. I want you, I need you, I love you More and more.
“I want you, I need you, I love you.” Elvis crooned. She felt that way about a man once. He was really just a boy and it was so long ago that it hardly counted as this lifetime. But she ached for him with something inside so strong that she knew she would love that man to death…or she would die trying.
I thought I could live without romance Before you came to me. But now I know that I will go on loving you eternally.
But he didn’t give her the chance to give her life to him. He up and left while she was still young and innocent. So she made herself into a woman no other man would ever up and leave. Not and live to tell about it.
Won’t you please be my own? Never leave me alone ‘Cause I die ev’ry time we’re apart. I want you, I need you, I love you With all my heart.
“Yes, Elvis. I know how that feels,” she said to her reflection, which was the most real thing about her anymore. “But no matter how much you beg and plead, they always leave you alone, don’t they? It’s best to leave before you get there, don’t you think?”
She zipped up her dress and adjusted her ample breasts to make sure the cleavage looked just risqué enough for the crowd she wanted, needed, loved to please.
The doorbell rang. She appraised her reflection from glamorous head to spike-heeled toe. Blowing herself a kiss over her shoulder, she grabbed her purse and headed toward the door.
On the dressing table were two empty champagne bottles and one glass smothered in lipstick kisses.
Elvis was silent now. The needle on the stereo was stuck, so she exited to the faint sound of kerrrr…chrrr…kerrrr…chrrr…kerrrr.
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From Marta over at Lost and Forgotten:
“Like this,” she breathes.
Raising her hands above her head grasping at the tips of her dress, she lets the threads slowly rise across her body pushing past her ears and tumbling over her fingers. The white cotton fabric falls to the ground behind her. Her heels push forward as she rises on the tips of her toes and leans towards him. She places her hands at his hips on the bed.
Her lips to his ear, “your turn.”
He looks upon her, his pupils dilated. The warmth of his hazel eyes melts her insides. He has never looked at her this way.
Slowly he begins to unbutton his shirt, fumbling at each one as his hands shake with nerves. Her impatience begins to overtake her, the awkwardness of her standing there watching him. The room suddenly feels empty and too quiet. As the thoughts pour into her head she pushes them out.
She reaches for his hands and presses the clammy palms against her bare back. Places her knees at his side and sits upon him. She sweeps her long blonde hair behind her and it falls against his fingertips. She pushes her body against him until his back is cradled by the mattress. She slides down unbuttoning each button as her mouth circles the bare skin above.
His breath increases against her.
It is so hard for them to not think. To separate the want from the truth. His body on fire, he leans his head back and stares upon the ceiling fan above him. She drags her fingernails down his sides and across his hip bones pulling at his pants. She comes up to his face, her hands grappling at his belt buckle.
His eyes lock on hers. The blue and green irises he fell in love with swallowing him whole, he cups her chin with his hand and pulls her lips towards his. As they brush lightly against hers, her body freezes and her breath stagnates in her throat. A tear begins to slide down her cheek and as he kisses her deeper it touches his fingertips the cool wetness squeezing in between his hand and her face.
He pulls away.
She blinks the escaped tear away and pushes his hand against the bed whispering in his ear, “please.” Her hair catches in her lips and he brushes it away and tucks it behind her ear. She is so beautiful, he thinks as she lights up the room above him. The fan pushing cool air across their bodies in intervals. She pushes the belt buckle through and he raises his hips as she slips his pants under him.
He cradles her neck and kisses her closer, tighter, harder against him. His tongue seeking hers as she lets her body meld against his. He carefully lifts her and places her underneath him and kisses the tip of her nose, the crease of her neck, the crook of her elbow, his fingertips graze her chest as she lets a small squeal escape past her lips. His lift in a smile.
She pulls him up towards her, staring into his eyes, and whispers, “Now” while pressing her lips against his.
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From Joel at The Byronic Man:
Maybe it was that he was moving in two months that freed them from feeling like they needed to hold up the façade of restraint. But the turning point, really, wasn’t the car ride that should have gotten them killed. It wasn’t even the game of pool with the wager that, “For the rest of the night, winner says ‘do,’ and loser does.” It was a kiss goodnight after an episode in an alley. A kiss that turned in to a live wire, burning and snaking dangerously.
“Oh,” she said with a soft laugh. “Oh, this is going to be one of those relationships, isn’t it.”
One of those relationships that they were both old enough to know can’t last. Because the things that fueled that kind of attraction, strangely, don’t fuel for long. So maybe it was that he was leaving that got rid of guilt, or restraint, or propriety. Between the days of minor adventures was “I want” and “now do” and “I’ve always wondered.” It was setting a bottle of wine down and saying, “We’ll drink this. And then we’re going to play a game of ‘what’s the fantasy you’ve never had the nerve to admit even to yourself?’ You know the one.” It was taking and acting instead of hoping and insinuating.
“Remember that drive back from the coast?” she asked one evening, lying on the floor amidst boxes that were already waiting to be packed. “You know.”
He smiled. “Yes. Yes, I vaguely recall.”
“How did we not crash? How did we stay on the road?
“I don’t know. I guess by the grace of—“
“The grace of God. Exactly. That’s the phrase you use for that kind of thing. Only isn’t lust a sin? And that was lust. Why would God protect us during a sin?”
“That’s a very weird question,” he said, biting her toe. “This is a huge scratch mark, by the way. You’ve marked me.”
“Damn right. But, seriously, think about it. Maybe lust isn’t a sin.”
“Maybe this isn’t lust. Maybe sin isn’t a stern man in the clouds shaking a finger at us. Maybe sin is indulgence to the excess of destruction. We aren’t harming our lives or people. We aren’t destroying ourselves, I don’t think.”
“For starters, if we’d crashed that’s exactly what it would have been. Second, if this isn’t lust, I don’t know what is.”
“I think we’re clear.” He made a cross in front of himself. “Te absolvo fornicatium.”
The last night before he left was an explosion of yearning and sorrow. Almost no words were said. None could capture it. And in the months that followed, any beginnings of relationships that followed seem muted, covered in gauze. The restraints were back, the propriety. He thought constantly of her and of their time, and couldn’t accept anything in his present moment as comparable.
Maybe this, he thought, is the sin. Maybe this is the lust. And time passed, and memories faded. And he moved on. Except, he didn’t really. Not really. He was marked.
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And from Jules at gojulesgo.com:
7 Deadly Scenes: Lust
“No! You have to do it like this!”
His laughter is infectious. He grabs the cell phone from my hands and shakes it, showing me how to rearrange the apps on the screen. I grab the phone back and give it an exaggerated wave.
The final weeks in August are dead at the office.
“Is this why these things need protection?” I ask, holding up the phone to reveal its plastic case. “Safe sexting?”
His fit starts anew, and he collapses in his seat, wiping tears away with a single hand.
I can’t take my eyes off his hands.
“You better hold on tight, spider monkey!”
I throw my head back and laugh. My favorite line in the movie. It’s not supposed to be funny, but it gets me every time.
We’re really pushing the ‘hardly working’ part of the old saying, but Friday afternoon before Labor Day seemed like the perfect time to watch a video projected from my lap top onto the largest screen in the office.
I stop laughing abruptly when I realize his eyes are on me.
“What?” I ask, suddenly self-conscious. His gaze is soft, brown and loving.
“Nothing,” he smiles, like he’s seeing me for the first time.
“And that is why they invented therapy.”
I chuckle, delighted by his secret-sharing.
“…So?” he adds, eyebrows raised.
“So?” I echo, butterflies in my stomach.
“What’s wrong with you?”
I laugh again, relieved, frustrated. I take a sip of my beer, staring at the forest green walls of our favorite after work haunt.
“Isn’t it obvious?” I ask, and my smile fades as I force myself to meet his gaze.
“You love your husband?”
My hand halts on the car door handle.
“Yes,” I reply quietly, not because it’s the right thing to say, but because it’s the truth.
“Okay,” he says, and walks away, my sudden sobs filling the hot summer air.
“We should go,” he whispers.
“Or what?” I whisper back, still only a breath away.
I never should have agreed to stop at his place before the meeting.
I reach out a shaking hand and touch his wavy brown hair. It’s thick and soft. Far softer than it should be.
I bet his lips are, too. These thoughts come unbidden. I am used to them now.
“We’re late,” he says. His eyes darken and I drop my hand. We’re not late.
Though I have no right to be, I’m hurt.
“He’d kill us both,” he breathes, his eyes softening.
“No,” I smile ruefully. “Just me.”
“I don’t know why I’m here.”
He looks helpless, standing in my doorway. He knows my husband is gone for the weekend, on his annual fishing trip.
Something deep inside me explodes.
“Yes you do,” I say, surprised by the raspy wanting in my voice.
He doesn’t respond. At least not in words.
“I found this.”
I blanch, seeing my phone in my husband’s large hand.
In his other hand rests something equally shiny and silver.
“Didn’t I always tell you what I’d do to you?” He takes a step towards me.
I open my eyes and clutch my heart, breathless. It was only a dream.
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From Darla over at She’s A Maineiac:
Sweets for My Sweetie
As far as Violet was concerned, her life began and ended on a hot muggy day in Savannah, Georgia, July 25, 2012.
The Clearview Baptist Church was stifling; even the cicadas normally buzzing about the open doors sought shade. All eyes were on her as Barney Sutter slipped the 2 carat ring on her trembling finger. He clasped her hands in his, perspiration dripping off his meaty paws. God, all he does is sweat, Violet thought. He’s so disgusting! She looked up into his eyes and offered up a sweet as honey smile. His eyes lingered again at her plunging neckline, hungrily devouring her like she was some midnight snack.
“…I know pronounce you, Man and Wife,” the pastor’s voice boomed, cutting through the soggy air. Well whaddya know, that rich bastard Barney Sutter married lil’ ol’ me…just a po’ girl from Atlanta! And if there’s one thing everyone knows about me–I always get what I want.
She sucked in her breath, bracing herself for the kiss, the beaded bodice of her dress squeezing tighter around her breasts. Barney mopped his bald head with his handkerchief and leaned in for the kill.
“Now, where you two lovebirds plannin’ on goin’ for yer honeymoon?” Barney’s mother asked, sneering at Violet over her champagne glass. Violet glared back at the old woman.
“Oh, now Momma, I told ya already, this sweet lil’ pumpkin’ of mine don’t want no fancy honeymoon!” Barney said, wrapping his arm around Violet and pulling her close. Underneath her dress, she felt his chubby hand tracing the inside of her thigh. “We just gonna lay low at Magnolia manor, let the movers do all the work. Once we settled, we can really start to feather up our love nest…ain’t that right, Pookie-Pie? Hell, maybe this time next year, they’ll be some pitter-patterin of little feet! The future president of Sutter Candies, Inc!” He laid his hand on her belly and gazed at her with the lovesick look of a bulldog. Violet felt nauseous. But she had to keep her eye on the prize.
Later that night, as Barney heaved himself on top of her, she closed her eyes to escape. She was seated at a banquet table that stretched for miles, an endless line of waiters delivering silver platters full of decadent confections: thick slices of Black Forest cake, hot fudge sundaes, pecan clusters enrobed in dark chocolate. She could almost taste the velvety sweetness on her tongue.
They had been married one full month when Violet knew she would have to make her big move during the factory tour. Standing next to her husband on the small platform perched above the main vat, she peered down into that day’s batch of Sutter’s White Chocolate. Her spine tingled as she watched the giant steel blades churning in an ivory ocean.
“Oh, sweetie,” she cooed into his ear. “Smell that! God, it’s like heaven to me!” Violet pushed her husband closer to the railing. “Please, just breathe it in…”
Barney obeyed, the frail platform shaking as he stepped closer.
“Unnngh!” Violet grunted as she shoved him toward the edge, the railing breaking apart under his massive frame. In mid-fall he turned, grabbing at her shoulder with one hand while reaching out for the railing with the other. Teetering on the edge with his grip starting to slip, he clutched at her necklace, twisting it until she started to choke.
“Let—–go!” she gurgled. She looked into his wild eyes and almost felt sorry for the fat son-of-a-bitch. Falling backward now, he clawed at her neck with both hands and pulled, plunging them both into the vat below.
Searing hot pain sliced through her body as the blades tossed it around like a rag doll; her screams muffled by the sticky chocolate filling her throat and lungs.
If there was one thing about Violet: she always gets what she wants.
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HONORABLE MENTION: There was a 3 way tie for 6th Place: Peg-o-Leg, Susie Lindau and Isadora. The votes were so close!!!
Voting will be open until Saturday, August 11 at 12:00 Noon. You may vote once per day.