Lemon House

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Fleur’s breath trembled from the speeding thump of her heart. She spread her fingers on the door to Stephanie’s room and – with wobbling knees – lowered her eye to the keyhole.

The curtains were drawn and a dusty slice of afternoon sunlight illuminated the room. Fleur made out the bed, the dresser, the chaise. Oh… She bit her lip, stifling the urge to blurt out a gasp. Stephanie. Off to one side with her back to the door, standing at the ornate dressing mirror. Fleur grabbed the door handle to brace herself, teetering on her toes in a crouch as if ready to spring away. How could the woman still look so cool and sophisticated? Like that? In a t-shirt and no knickers?

Breath steamed the polished brass of the escutcheon as Fleur peered closer, a smile quivering on her lips. Stephanie had a beautiful bottom. Then she noticed a joggling elbow. No! Is she…? Stephanie’s hands seemed… involved at the front. Fleur’s eyes widened and she pressed her forehead to the wood, murmuring, “Oh, Oui…”

The woman’s knees trembled and her bottom quivered. Fleur watched, the tip of her tongue caught between her teeth and her knuckles brushing the inside of her thigh. Expectant tickles ran up her skirt. Fleur knew she would get to the woman, eventually.


Two days before, the French taxi was taking a broiling age getting to Lemon House. Even when Stephanie thought they had arrived, the car still had to trundle through acres of gnarled old trees, bursting with fragrant blossom and guarding the Art Nouveau mansion like a fairy tale. She felt hot and itchy in her city clothes, and miserable about being alone. Bill was just a sod.

It had promised to be the ideal cheap and cheerful working holiday. Free room and board while she translated its library of rare texts from French to English. Trouble was, from her husband’s point of view, it was to be an ideal place to make babies. Full stop. Stephanie sighed. He had not taken it well, when she asked for a break from the timetables and ovulation charts.

Sodding charts. Who makes love to a timetable anyway? Not Bill that’s for sure, he had performance issues at the best of times. And she never said he couldn’t come at all. So to speak. Just not to his blasted schedule. It was just so typical of him to over-react. Stephanie pulled at the hem of her uncomfortably thick skirt and tried to recall the last time she had enjoyed… It.

And then she arrived.

The owner – a wild-eyed professor – met the cab in a hurried bluster, opening the door for her. Beyond stood a sullen woman, Stephanie’s age. She was barefoot in a terribly dated, but airy looking, dress.

“My dear girl, I’m so sorry, but I will have to leave you.” The professor hauled Stephanie’s bag out of the boot. “No husband either? Oh dear. Not to worry.” He gestured back to the house, climbing into the taxi. “Fleur will look after you. Goodbye girls, have a splendid time!”

As the taxi pulled away, Stephanie felt a twist of intimidation. The woman had a tawny and wild – almost leonine – appearance. Tousled, sun-streaked and tanned. She regarded Stephanie with a frown, biting the inside of an enormous pout. “You have little boy’s hair,” she said in a purr of French, fixing Stephanie with crazy pale-blue eyes.

Stephanie opened her mouth but nothing came out. Her skin prickled. “Stephanie,” she said finally and put out her hand. Fleur stared past it, slowly taking in Stephanie’s clothes and shoes, before awkwardly leaning in to kiss. Her skin was hot and smelt of lemons, not a perfume, a deep infusion.

“I will show you to your room,” she said and stalked off, leaving Stephanie to struggle with her rollie-bag on the gravel.

Fleur had an effortless physicality and such a distracting flip to her hips that, as they walked up the grand staircase, Stephanie had to look away for fear of being mesmerised by the woman’s enviable bottom. The house provided no visual comfort, its disorientating florid décor part grown, part whipped into place. All clefts and swellings and naked figurines disporting themselves. With fruit.

Finally, they arrived in some kind of great hall. Fleur tapped her foot as Stephanie heaved in her luggage.

“Your room,” Fleur said, and then nodded. She seemed unsure what to say next, and made to leave. “Oh,” she added, spinning on her heel. “I’ll be… in the garden…” Her cheeks mottled red, as they caught each other’s eye. Stephanie stretched her mouth into a polite smile and Fleur cleared her throat and fluttered out, leaving only the ghost of deep lemons behind.

Showered and changed, Stephanie felt refreshed but put off meeting Fleur again as long as she could. She stood by the window – the only place she seemed to get any reception – and texted Bill:

“What you up to?”

Within seconds a reply came: “Thinking about you. What you wearing?”

Stephanie frowned. “Seriously?”

“Come on baby.”

“Nothing,” she lied.

“Oh baby.”

“Don’t call me that. So you’re really going to sit at home, canlı bahis tossing over me when you could be here. Tossing over me?”

“That all you want? That’s the problem right there.”

“I’m just trying to be sexy for you.”

“I’m just trying to be the father of your child.”

“From their?” Stephanie shut down her phone.

By the time she ventured into the gardens, the sun was low, pouring honey across the manicured lawn, and following them in to the library through tall windows.

Fleur had brushed and tied up her hair, put on some earrings and trussed her feet in elaborate, strappy evening shoes. Stephanie grimaced at the outfit behind her back, only to implode with embarrassment as Fleur turned round – a light hearted smile on her lips – and caught the mocking expression. The woman swallowed her smile and slumped instead, unlocking the glass doors of a bookcase with a fearsomely large key. She spoke to the floor.

“Umm… This is the section you will umm…” The doors creaked open and Fleur waved her hand at the shelves.

The books were wrapped simply in red leather and embossed with roman numerals, with no titles or any clue as to the contents. Stephanie took one off the shelf, and opened it to a random page. She took in a paragraph, and her ears heated.

Fleur looked at her apologetically and bit her lip. “Les… Encyclopaedia… Erotique,” she whispered.

“Well.” Stephanie closed the book and blinked at Fleur. Who blinked back.

“You can start in the morning,” Fleur said to the room. “There is food in the kitchen.” She clip- clopped off.


As Stephanie lay in the stuffy heat of her room that night, she felt daunted and embarrassed – even bullied – by her cheap-and-cheerful working holiday. She could not believe that instead of a week spent with Bill in the lemony sun she was stuck here with the pout-that-ate-Paris and a room full of antique porn. She toyed with texting him, but she was still too angry, and anyway it was his turn.

She gave up trying to sleep and opened her curtains and windows. Moonlight, lemon blossom and the sound of rippling water flooded her senses. She peered out, and – with an illicit thrill at being naked in the warm, fresh air – stepped out onto the balcony.

The moon was almost full in a clear sky and lit the tops of the lemon trees into silver explosions all around the house. Below, a pool rippled and sparkled as— Stephanie quickly ducked into the shadows. Fleur appeared, flipping effortlessly through the water. Her stroke so efficient and streamlined the water hardly moved, slow waves looking viscous in the glinting light.

Highlights glimmered on her golden, naked skin.

Stephanie’s lips parted. Out of her ridiculous clothes, Fleur’s body was softly athletic and fluidly curved, as if the water’s undulating surface had moulded her to its own image. Minimal movements sent her sliding through it, propelling her tirelessly back and forth, toward Stephanie, then away again. She flipped a turn each end that made a flashing love-heart of her bottom and exposed a shockingly florid flower beneath. Stephanie peered, her mouth dry and ears burning.

She imagined the thick flow of water across Fleur’s bare intimate skin, and a gust of wind echoed the thought, raising goosebumps on hers. Her nipples pinched and she swung her knee aside, letting it caress her secret clefts like a hot sigh. Her pulse quickened and with trembling, tentative fingertips Stephanie traced its path over her breast and stomach, tickling the front of her hips, then between her thighs, and underneath. The wind seemed to whisper over her, “Oui…”

Stephanie followed Fleur up and down, while – head spinning and sighing as quietly as she could – her fingers mirrored the woman’s strong, gentle strokes. A slow swell of pleasure rippled through the pool of her body. Her eyelids drooped. This wasn’t going to take long, just one more lap, one more…

“Stephanie?” Fleur had stopped swimming, and looked straight up at her. Stephanie blinked as if waking from a spell and darted back to her bed, scrabbling under the covers.

The next morning, she woke alone with the windows still open, smiling at the warm wind’s ghost of a kiss on her cheek. She stretched out in the perfumed, sunny room.

Then she remembered the night before, what she had done, and Fleur’s voice. Had the woman seen her? Had she seen everything? Stephanie shoved her head under a pillow. This was awful. What was she thinking? Why – after months of being uninterested – did she do that, there? Of all places. Then she remembered her job, all those rude books, and groaned. She would stay in bed. Call a cab and wait right there until it came. She’d go home and try and to forget all about it.

The wind seemed to have different ideas; it wafted across her skin like an eager lover. Wind, water and Fleur seemed all part of the same element now. The woman’s image came to mind, along with a secret, but irrepressible trickle of excitement. Stephanie decided to have bahis siteleri a coffee, first.

On the terrace, a simple breakfast was waiting at a monumental stone table under the shade of a tree, but Fleur was no-where to be found. Stephanie helped herself to a coffee and a baguette, feeling ravenous, when Fleur appeared from around the corner, towelling her hair dry.

She wore another disastrous summer dress. This one was so ill-fitting her plump breasts threatened to pop out, and its knee-length skirt did nothing for her sturdy thighs. When Fleur smiled at her, though, Stephanie felt giddy. “Have you been swimming all night?” she said, and then felt a crush of embarrassment. She was so stupid. No denying she watched Fleur now.

Fleur laughed. “So Stephanie.” She flumped onto a bench. “I saw big black eyes shining from the shadows last night. Maybe a slinky pussycat was watching me, hmm? ” She picked up Stephanie’s baguette and tore a massive lump out of it with her teeth, chewing with a stuffed mouth, and then gulping coffee with it. She wiped her hand across her lips, regarding Stephanie coolly with those impossible eyes. “And today you are dressed as a cat burglar, no? “

In black-silk pedal-pushers, cashmere tee and thick black eyeliner, Stephanie was dressed as always, in the height of city fashion. Fleur’s bullying tone grated and she felt her fingernails digging into her palms, making fists. The cow hadn’t even noticed Stephanie’s fringe, either, which she had fixed back with a girly pin. No ‘boy’s hairstyle’, today. Stephanie decided she had better keep her mouth shut this morning.

The fresh scented air refreshed them rather more effectively than the coffee, which soon had them fidgeting. Fleur twisted on the wide marble bench and lay out along it, sunning herself, her feet next to Stephanie’s lap.

Stephanie stood. “Oh I better get on.” She said.

Fleur roused, sliding the shin of one up leg up the length of the other. Stephanie recalled the water sliding over that skin, and the powerful flip of those legs. Fleur caught her looking, again, and pulled the hem of her skirt down where it had ridden up. This time Stephanie refused to care. She let her eyes wander up and down Fleur’s bare legs. Why not? Give the bitch some of her own judgemental medicine, and anyway Stephanie found them… interesting.

The moment of bravado had a magical effect on Fleur, who squirmed and sucked the corners of a meek smile, her cheeks pink. “I will help.” She announced. “Come.”

Stephanie felt she had won a small victory and was secretly glad to have company for her overwhelming task. They headed over to the library where Fleur picked the first two volumes from the shelf, dropping them onto a large desk while Stephanie set up a laptop. They sat beside each other, facing the garden like a reward for later, creaked open the books and started work.

Stephanie broke the passages down coldly and translated word-by-word. She tried to keep a distance from the meaning, treating it the same way she did the nude models, back in art school. Fleur was worse than no help at all. She insisted on reading out the fruitier parts and guffawing, or sitting quietly scowling, hands trapped between her knees and squirming in her seat.

After an hour or two, Stephanie couldn’t bear the palpable heat radiating off her partner.

“How are you getting on, Fleur?” she asked. “Or are you just getting off?”

Fleur shot both barrels of blue at her. “Stephanie, I like you, but I think you have no soul,” she said. Stephanie swallowed a lump of pride, and couldn’t concentrate for a moment. Fleur liked her?

As the morning progressed, Fleur grew more restless, flipping backwards and forward through pages, clearing her throat, moving her book this way and that. When she let out another plaintive sigh, sat on her hands and whispered “Oh, Oui…” Stephanie banged the table.

“Oh Fleur, come on…”

She smirked and shrugged. “You are right. I think I need a break.” She stretched flamboyantly in her chair. “Look at that picture though, and tell me it is not sexy. I am only human, Stephanie.”

Stephanie twisted Fleur’s book round. Across two pages was a line drawing in the style of Aubrey Beardsley, titled ‘The Golden Triangle.’ A naked man lay on his back and a naked woman knelt astride his hips. Another woman knelt astride his head. The women faced each other, leaning into a kiss, their eyes shut in bliss. Fleur had her hands up as if to say. “See what I mean?” Stephanie nodded.

“So now I am…” Fleur snapped the book shut. “Bothered.” She picked it up and put it away. “This job is not for me I think.”

Fleur proceeded to prowl the room, coquettishly swinging her hips in a dance to some imaginary tune and sighing theatrically. Stephanie sucked her cheeks, turned a page, typed. Fleur wandered over to the window and sighed again, the hint of a growl in it. “I need air,” she announced and swung open two huge windows.

Stephanie tapped gobbledegook into the laptop, bahis şirketleri unsure what was going to happen next. She tingled as if trapped in lion’s cage, waiting for the inevitable bite.

Another growl. “Oh, Petit-chat, I need to cum!” She stood on the window seat, starfished, clung onto the window frame and leaning her body outside. Her dance grew wilder, writhing her hips, “Filled up by a lovely big cock!” Grinding lower, “or rubbing down on some greedy mouth… oui! oui! OUI!” She screamed a mock climax out into the sky, laughing as the wind picked up, fluttering her hair and skirt as if she had summoned it.

Stephanie became mesmerised by this elemental woman, dancing in the wind. She took a long, intoxicating gulp of Fleur’s wake, the air that had rifled through her, over her skin. Deep lemon. Fleur hopped off the seat, and sat down, blowing strands of dishevelled hair from her face, glowing at Stephanie.

“I wondered how you achieved that look.” Stephanie remarked, her stomach flipping as Fleur smiled – for the first time – at one of her jokes. Fleur swung her leg up onto the seat beside her. Jesus, Stephanie thought, noticing the skirt hanging between the woman’s thighs, she wears girl-clothes like a man.

Fleur made a “come here” finger.

Stephanie gripped the desk, blinked at her computer. Here was safety, her job, everything she was supposed to do. The bridge of her – and Bill’s – personal starship enterprise, badly going where everyone has been before. If she just stayed put, all would be fine. All would stay… the same.

Stephanie closed the laptop, and stretched. “I think I need a little break too.” She said, and joined Fleur on the window seat. Of course the woman didn’t move her foot to make room. Stephanie squeezed into the opposite corner, on top of Fleur’s toes and between the spread of her thighs. She had the unnerving impression of being in the firing line of some concealed weapon.

They sat quietly, steeping in the blossomy air and a leafy patch of sunlight, looking out over the lawns and forest of lemon trees.

“So what would you like, naughty-cat, hmm?” Fleur said eventually, wriggling her toes against Stephanie’s thigh and biting the fat pillow of her bottom lip. The bite said it all. Stephanie’s heart pummelled at her ribcage. She crossed her legs and fiddled with her wedding ring. Her head was utterly empty of any response. “Fleur.” She said, hoping her tone would do the talking. For both of them.

Fleur sighed and lost her cheeky smile out over the trees, the sullen pout of earlier returning. She swivelled her eyes sideways at Stephanie.

“You watch me all the time.” Her voice had dropped an octave.

Stephanie’s eyes fluttered to the gardens now too. Her head whirling. Grass played in eddies of wind, wafting another intoxicating lungful from the lemon groves. Was it her imagination or was each breath more dizzying than the last?

“I love it, your eyes on me.” Fleur said, leaning toward her, nudging her with her foot. “It makes me feel… desired.” Stephanie gazed but saw nothing; Fleur leant to her ear, whispering with hot breath. “You are very beautiful… And very, very sexy. “

The words seemed to go straight to the middle of Stephanie’s body. She felt liquid with them. She swallowed. She had felt unattractive for so long.

She dared not move. Do it, she thought, do me.

“You know,” Fleur took a breath, swinging her feet up and wrapping her arms around her knees, matching Stephanie as they bookended the window seat. “It is not your fault Bill won’t come.”

Stephanie blinked at the apparent, brutal frankness. “He does cum!” she blurted, “Just not…” Then realised, that wasn’t what Fleur meant. She shut her eyes and let the darkness swallow her up.

“Oh. Petit-chat.” Fleur said, “I mean to say. Bill, he chooses not to be here. But you are here. You could still… have some fun.”

It was too much, Stephanie felt a tear chilling on her cheek, “With you?” She croaked. Fleur’s eyes flickered over her face. She cupped Stephanie’s hot cheek in a cool hand and brushed the tear up on her thumb, then sucked it. Stephanie bit down hard on the urge to kiss her, there and then. Bill did not know how lucky he was right now.

Stephanie’s downcast gaze found them sitting toe-to-toe, in identical positions. She noticed how their feet matched in size and shape, but Fleur’s were sun-kissed brown, where hers were pale. And their hands, but for the colour, could be the same. Except for the metal bands around Stephanie’s wedding finger.

“You’re my wild mirror.” Stephanie said. Her voice seemed odd, not hers.

As she watched, Fleur twisted one foot at the ankle. A tiny gesture but Stephanie felt her body lurch at what it revealed at the join of her thighs. A bulge of white cotton. Damp white cotton.

“Is that for me?” Stephanie said, glowering.

“Oui.” Fleur swung her knee a little, then reached around, grabbed her gusset and pulled it aside. Stephanie moaned.

“You like it.” Fleur said,” Your eyes are little greedy mouths.”

Fleur butterflied her knees flat, blooming like a time-lapse flower. Stephanie’s tongue traced a line across her top lip, her fingers twitched in her palms…

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