Short Story: Exhibition

Pomegranate by Pierre-Joseph Redoute

Word count: 1400
Content: Non-graphic erotica
Setting: Contemporary
Notes: Probably more a scene than a short story. Figured since I had not posted the sentences for a few days now it was time to finish the piece off at least. Thanks to those who’ve been reading! Comments/feedback always appreciated.

He’s up so close to the glass that his breath fogs a tiny patch; a spot of frost on the clear pane. She smiles at the focus of his gaze on the water colour displayed in the case, protected from his intensity and his undoubted desire to touch and feel the brush strokes.

“These are amazing,” he breaths.

She responds in a whisper. “Yes.” She returns to looking at the painted roses and the snow drops, aware as ever of the orbit of heat emanating from his body.

They move to the next case. Each painting is given several minutes. She doesn’t have his concentration or ability to appreciate the artistry, the skill to know how to appreciate them the way he does. When she’s had her fill of carnations and tulips, she watches him instead. Watches his lips, wet and slightly parted, his eyes peering from behind his thick framed glasses. He doesn’t even seem to notice her staring – though she knows he wouldn’t mind if he did.

By the time they have look at all the cases on the walls, at least five people have come and gone from the room, all showing stern interest but not grasping what he does about the paintings. She smiles; they still have the upright cases in the centre to pour over.

When he bends down, grinning at the lid of a tiny oval box – black lacquer, bright with green and soft pink – the collar of his shirt slides back, revealing the nape of his neck. The hairs on the back of her own raise. She catches her breath. It is smooth, pale, and elegantly elongates as he cranes forward even further for a closer look.

The hair at the base of his skull meets in a point at the centre, the line smooth. He had it cut yesterday, and came back home smelling of water and air. Now she looks at the slender tip of the point, so precise and perfect, and cannot stop her hand from reaching out and, with a single finger, tracing a short line down from its apex.

He was scarcely moving before, but now, he stills utterly. She can see the side of his face from where she stands. He blinks, once, then twice, long lashes closing and opening like whispering moths. Then she lifts her finger away, and he exhales. His teeth press into his lower lip, and he drums his fingers quickly against the wooden frame of the case, his impatience hardly concealed. She smiles, and raises her finger once more. Only now she doesn’t quite touch his skin. Instead, she hovers above the line of his hair, marking out the brief arc upwards before coming to the pointed tip. He drum again, and with feather-light touch, the pad of her finger sweeps all the way down his neck.

He gasps, and stumbles forward, only catching himself just in time before his face hits the glass beneath. Out of the corner of her eye she sees his fingers curl up, slowly, insect-like, now gripping the wood of the case below. Once more she grins, and swirls her finger tip up back along his neck. The fine hairs there brush against her skin. She hears him whimper, and only now, she looks around. Has anyone seen them?

The attendant with her glasses on a chain stands next to the door with her arms folded, but her eyes are on the ceiling. A mother and daughter are pointing at a pomegranate painting, near identical matches in their pastel twin-set and pearls. A man in tweed with a long salty beard strokes it thoughtfully as he peruses the lilacs. She knows they aren’t watching them, the young couple in the centre, the man hunched over the glass case whose chest is now rising and falling rapidly as his girlfriend’s finger tip traces his hair line, back and forth, back and forth.

She knows she can proceed anyway she wishes.

She curls her finger around, so the flat of her nail runs smooth across his nape. He exhales, and seems to relax, as if anticipating that she’ll stop.

That makes her smirk.

She turns the nail again, now so the point is pressed down, a tiny furrow forming in his skin as she draws it down to his collar. When she crosses it over the vertebra where his neck bends, the bone hard under her touch. And as she brings it back up again, he’s panting, low enough that only she can hear him.

Now she leans forward, and she looks at the black lacquer box beneath. She sees the leaves and the stem of the roses, almost a neon green against the dark lid. The roses themselves are that beautiful blushing pink – the same colour now as the skin on the back of his neck. What kind of tiny brush would have made those strokes to so perfectly capture that detail? It is not an extract vision of a flower, but it is a rendering of exquisite and tender precision.

Her thumb arcs down, and she pinches his skin, more like a nip made by a tiny, toothless kitten. He judders forward, and makes a sound that’s like purring.

Urging forward a little more, her mouth hovers just above his ear.

“I’m amazed at the work on this one,” she says. Her voice is steady, objective, and doesn’t reflect the inner knot of heat in her chest that’s formed listening, watching, and touching him. “It is just so fine and–” she pinches again. “Delicate.”

“Yes…” he breaths. “Very delicate.”

“All those little leaves, just curling around like…so.” She blindly traces the first of the rose leaves on his skin. “And the folds and creases drawn in them…so tiny. It’s amazing.” With her nail, she flicks at his skin, counting off in her head one, two, three, until each line of the leaf is marked out.

“The artists hand must have been so controlled, so steady.” A press with the pad of her finger as if to colour in the tiny space she has demarcated as the leaf. “And with a real eye for…”

Her finger runs once more down, then back up the length of his neck. This time his head inclines ever so slightly towards her, revealing his cheek, its graceful curve. She can see the beginnings of the tip of his button nose.


A light blush blooms on his cheek, and he ducks his head back down. If touching makes him rigid with arousal, the praise for his looks almost sends him to pieces. This she knows so well. But she doesn’t want him breaking. Not just yet.

Her finger moves away from his nape, and reaches across to the fleshier side of his neck. It is softer there, less exposed, she thinks, to the elements, more protected by his collars and coats. She murmurs as her finger, now joined by a second, glides across the velvety skin, loving how it feels. It is like a skin of a peach; firm, yet tender, and a little fuzzy with small hairs.

Now that her hand is closer to his throat, she can not only hear his growing moan, but feel the vibrations against her palm. The beat of it sends warm shudders from her fingers up the soft inside of her arm, all the way to her ribs. She knows too that she is not far away from the favourite spot on his neck. His favourite, her favourite – there is not distinction between the two.

When she finds it, she swirls both fingers over it, lightly at first, then harder, then lighter again. And now he can’t hold his moan back. It is loud enough that she hears a shuffle near by, and when she looks to it, the lady and daughter with the matching clothes are frowning at her. She smiles sweetly, and bends her head now to his neck, turning from their disapproving looks, and says in his ear;

“Time to go, my sweet.”

He nods, and when he hobbles to his feet his eyes are bleary, and he lets her take his hand, and lead him out of the exhibition room. When they get to the elevator, the doors close on them, alone, and she grasps his neck with both hands, thrusts him against the mirrored wall, and sinks her teeth into that tender place on his neck.

And this time, when he moans, it echoes through her whole body.


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