Social Crimes
By Sharon Bowers

You're never going to believe that I got here by accident.

Even though I did, and even though I didn't sorta kinda knew that you would maybe be here but...


Even though you doubt that I can even pronounce Mahler's name correctly. Even though you once sent me his Symphonie No. 2 and told me, "I hear this and think of you."

And so I know there is absolutely no way in hell that you'll believe I got here by accident when this work-- this Mahler—was on the program.

I don't blink when you saunter up to me-- fatale stalk in your legs, maneaters of Tsavo in your eyes-- nothing to do but absorb the pulse of your brows and deceptively low pitch of your voice. "Fancy meeting you here." I see you register the Hugo Boss on my shoulders, around my hips and down my legs; wait the flicker of a breath it takes you to scan your memory and realize I'm not wearing you. "I like you better in Armani," is your only concession.

The second movement is about to start, and I hope my silence signals you've worried your prey enough and sends you stalking off back into you box seats.

Saw you there with everyone who's anyone anything milling about there, my seat so much less than.

I came because of the Mahler.

But I won't have you see what it does to me. It's why I'm in the lobby, the lone devotee of the black-tie clad barstaff. I can hear the music from here. Don't need to see the starched white fronts of the orchestra. The over-emphatic movements of the conductor. The flourish of each bow and finish of each first chair.

I came because of the second movement.

And now you're in front of me and I can't don't want to hear it. Still, I'm saying, "Want to go get a drink?" like it's the natural response to natural impulse of someone like you and something like me crossing eyes glances hips over the marbled floor of a symphony hall.

Like I didn't come because of the Mahler.

"The intermission is..."

"I know," I interrupt. "Bar's two doors down. No need to call the limo."

You don't hesitate when I tilt my eyes towards the door. Sweep of your head, imperious arch of your neck.

It's the kind of place that was mine before I knew any better. No neon and fewer lights. No teevee over the bar. And the music... You taught me things I didn't want to know. Things that you'd rather I forgot in the darkest hours of what we do to one another.

This ain't Mahler, that's for sure.

The 'keep recognizes the roll in both our hips, knows that despite my masquerade and your stink of knowing-better that we belong here in some fundamental way. He smiles approvingly when I instinctively pull out the stool upon which you settle gracefully. You order something that makes even him blanch, and my brows pulse curiously. "And you say I have a fondness for kerosene."

But you're in no mood to talk, or I at least oh-so-subtly discern from the rest of your hand on the inside of my thigh, thisclose to the join of my leg and hip.

"I'm not..." I begin.

"Easy darling..." you murmur, your mouth dangerously close to mine, now scenting roughly of alcohol and things not-of-the-symphony-set. "I'm not on a seek-and-destroy for your accessories." As you take my hand from its clasp of your wrist and slide it gently between the gash in the recklessly elegant crimson dress you're wearing.

I feel your heat as my fingers barely touch the soft curls of your sex. They are damp, and I feel my own body tensing in response, hungry to touch to taste even more. I cannot stop the low growl that escapes my lips or the subtle motion that brings me to a stand between your graceful legs. I hear you hiss in response and pause to work it for long moments, delighting in the way you squirm discreetly on your stool.

I let my lips trail along the angular line of your cheekbone until the rest against the tender flesh of your ear. Knowing this is completely inappropriate. As we were somewhere sometime to hear the Mahler. Still I cannot help myself, though what I came to tear at were my own entrails. Emotions and stabs of feeling that I never admit to having. Certainly not when you're anywhere within the vicinity of a killing blow.

The smile in your eyes tells me that I could be done for in a matter of moments am I not careful. You hiss in pleasure at the deft touch of my fingers between your legs. Writ large in the sense memory of my hands, I hold you softly, and even at your most jaded you cannot fail to feel the reverent tremor in my limbic system.

The predatory expression delineating the exquisite lines of your face never changes, though I fancy I see a burgeoning tenderness in your dark eyes. They flash and spitfire you are smiling at me, satisfied and Cheshire.

I resent even that which I most long for.

"The intermission…" you repeat and I know that stronger forces are calling you home. Separate from that dimension that we manage to carve for ourselves, sometimes miraculously even in the brightest of day. I exist in your fancies. You exist in my blood.

"Cano ad me…"

"Arme et mano?"

I shake my head roughly. You know me too well and my resources are too limited. I want to drag you into an alley and bend you to my will, but doing so will only bind me to you even more. "We should get back," I suddenly agree.

Back and step.

"Sing to me," you invoke instead.

"Buckets, tunes and I do not mix," I reply lightly.

"Was thinking more in the epic line."

"Aren't we more suited to a dirty little couplet?" You wince, and I know I have struck home. I cannot stop the rush of tenderness through my veins. "'Sides which, I don't rap," I add in a half-hearted attempt to soften the blow.

You cup my cheek, rough palm of your hand belying the elegance of your garb, your life. Give lie to me, I think to myself. Give lie to the constantly birthing dying roil of sensations in my lungs and entrails. Make me not know that which I most desire to be truth.

Make me believe the Mahler.

Back and return and the stern marble click click clacking of your heels in reprimand to the hesitant languorous breath of the music. I lag behind at the bar, black tie-clad and starched whitefronts for us once more. You turn on me. And your hand gathers mine. "Come with me."

I shake my head. Always I am your shadow. The breath and heartbeat that stutter-steps behind the one you claim as you own.

I am your second-thought.

"They're waiting." And I want to believe that I can hear a slight tremor in your voice. A plea that you will never utter, no matter what we do to each other in the dead of night. Or day.

"As ever. And as always," I say softly. You know I speak the truth. Just as you know my breath, my heart, the stillness of my life.

You bring my hand to your mouth. I feel the grace of your lips against the knuckles of my fingers, then the center of my palm. You drape my arm around your shoulder, step into an embrace not of my making. I hear the rustle and hum of bodies behind us, them knowing we should know better. Us not so much.

Breath caught hard in my throat, I burying my head in the curve of your neck, instinct and longing bringing you close.

You whisper. Breath in my ear, heart in my throat.

"Just listen to the Mahler."

The End

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