Nowhere City

Nowhere City by Alison Lurie

Book: Nowhere City by Alison Lurie Read Free Book Online
Authors: Alison Lurie
“Yeah, I think you’re right.” He sat up and kissed one of Ceci’s breasts lightly, pulling up the large brown-pink nipple. Then he kissed the other one. But something bothered him. “The trouble is,” he said, “sometimes you want somebody very much and it still doesn’t work out too well when you get them.” He realized that he was talking about Katherine. Whom had Ceci been talking about?
    “Sure, that’s true. Like with us, last time wasn’t so great. I’m never much good the first time; I’m too charged up. Anyhow, your body’s got to get used to somebody else’s body. The better they know each other the better it gets.”
    That wasn’t true of him and Katherine, Paul thought. The longer they knew each other, the worse it seemed to get, at least for her. But he didn’t want to discuss Katherine, or even think about her now. Instead he bent over and kissed Ceci again, this time under the breast where her tan ended. The line was so clear that she looked like a brown girl wearing a pink two-piece bathing suit.
    “I like it the way you have the mattress right on the floor,” he said presently. “It makes me feel safe.”
    “Mm?” Ceci spoke indistinctly against his arm, which she was licking dreamily.
    “When I was a little kid, I used to be frightened all the time that there was a wolf under my bed at night. It was a story I read, the Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing. I mean the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing. I used to hate to go to bed. I had to turn out the light by the door, and then I would take a running jump into my bed, so the wolf couldn’t grab hold of my feet. Sometimes he stayed there under the bed all night long.”
    “Bad.” She moved up towards his shoulder. “Is he still there?”
    “Oh no. Anyway, he’s certainly not here.”
    “Maybe he’s squashed flat under the mattress,” Ceci suggested. She lifted her head. “Hey. How about some lunch?”
    “Lunch?” With surprise, Paul realized that it was daytime, probably still morning, of some definite day. “Is it time for lunch?”
    “Lunch for you, breakfast for me. I have to be at the gig at two.” Ceci stood up. “How about if I blow us some eggs, and you can call it an omelette?”
    Saturday. It was Saturday morning. “Fine,” Paul said. He continued to lie on the bed, gazing at the ceiling. How fine everything was here, how easy. First you make love, then you eat. Everything you wanted and no strings attached. No regrets, no voices wailing about involvement and guilt and jealousy. It was so simple, so restful.
    Cooking sounds came from the kitchen, mixed with jazz. Paul felt hungry. He sat up, gathered his clothes from where they had fallen, and began to dress. Saturday morning. Katherine was at home cleaning the house again, or maybe she had finished that by now and was out shopping. She would never schedule love before lunch. It was all right for him when the light was on, she had once said: he only saw her or the bedclothes usually; but she couldn’t help seeing the furniture and the curtains and whether there were any cobwebs on the ceiling, and it distracted her. What would she think of Ceci’s ceiling?
    Katherine would dislike Ceci even if she never saw the painting on the ceiling and had no idea that Paul knew her. She thought beatniks affected; nobody would act that way, she thought, unless they were acting.
    If she knew—But he didn’t want to imagine that, and she didn’t know. She wouldn’t suspect; she had other things to think about. She had started working at U.C.L.A., and she was fixing up the house, if you could call it that. When he came home yesterday afternoon, he found her trying to move the sofa outside. It was a hell of a job, because the front door was so narrow. They finally managed to get it out, and into the garage, where Katherine covered it with a sheet. She said that Los Angeles was too dirty and gritty; if she didn’t put her good things away they would simply be ruined.
    Though she

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