Ever since I was a young girl I preferred older things, older places. Oh I liked the beach (and boys!), and I loved to dance and stay in bed doing nothing sometimes, but unlike most children my heart didn’t sink when an excursion to a castle or an old house was proposed: in fact I would get excited. The moment I set foot in such a place my mind, my imagination, would be let loose. Example: in Blanquefort, near where my parents live, is the Chateau of the Prince Noir, the Black Prince (White Fort, Black Prince—I always thought that was funny). As a child I wandered about the ruins, seeing myself as the young French virgin who humbled this haughty Englishman. I stood where the main hall would have been and imagined the speech I gave that night (when he would have ravished me), the speech that saved my honour and the honour of my country and was written down by the chroniclers, written into history. I was an ardent medievalist when I was 10!
In my early teens I discovered the 18th Century, and Heaven. Maybe I was a throwback to my royalist grandparents? (My parents were never quite forgiven for marrying on the anniversary of Louis XVI’s execution—as though that had crossed their minds!) Whatever—I was taken by my aunt to visit a friend of hers who lived in this totally amazing 1770’s apartment on one of the Quais of Bordeaux. I don’t remember a word that was said throughout the visit—I don’t even remember my aunt’s friend (except as a source of jealousy): all I can remember is the palatial interior of the apartment, with its high ceilings and its view onto the river; the huge doors; the beautiful works of art; the Persian carpets; the—well I could go on forever. I was just in love—with a period of history, with a way of life I had no hope of ever experiencing. Except.....
OK, I should tell you about Bernard and my Mother. He....God, where to start? He was rich, Chairman of some big Franco-American conglomerate, travelled a lot, was married to this impossibly glamourous Romanian Princess (or ex-Princess—I don’t know what you’d call that?), was an old friend of the family, and he was totally in love with my Mother. Please don’t get me wrong: my Mother was a very faithful woman, but she liked to flirt and she loved it if men paid court to her. She was careful though. When we’d had a couple of glasses too much one night she talked about Bernard—“I’ve spent 20 years keeping a table between the two of us”, she told me, laughing, but I did wonder if she was ever tempted.....
Anyway, Bernard would come to dinner a couple of times a year, when he was back in the area, and one of those nights, just after I had started at University in Bordeaux, my Mother began to speak of my love for the antique and my distaste for the modern. Of course I was as embarrassed as hell!
“My poor Béa hates anything modern!”
“Whereas my wife can’t stand anything old!” Bernard rumbled, turning his charming smile my way. “You should see our place on the Riviera—new build, open-plan, white goods everywhere, nothing older than the start of the decade. You’d hate it.”
I smiled back but to be honest I was dying for dinner to be finished so I could get away and back into town—there was a hot boy I had my eye on and the itch between my legs was distracting me, so I zoned out a bit and tried to forget that they were talking about me.
“Béa has a very modern studio at the University,” said my Father as he topped up the glasses. “I think she spends as little time there as possible—don’t you?”
“All the student flats are modern, Dad!”
“OK, OK, I hate it! It’s like a rat-cage!”
“Oh Béa, don’t exaggerate!” My Mother was quite heated. “ It’s perfectly alright—I helped you move there.”
“Yes but you don’t have to live there, Maman! It’s just a box....”
“You’re ungrateful, you have......
“Paulette, excuse me for butting in.”
OK, I was grateful that Bernard had stopped that. I hate being criticised!
“If Béatrice wouldn’t be offended, I would like to suggest she uses my old apartment in rue David Johnson.”
“Bernard, don’t joke!”
“I’m not joking, Paulette. It’s empty. My wife won’t contemplate staying there—it’s too old! And I was going to rent it out, but your daughter sounds like a better tenant than some banker.”
“But we couldn’t afford it, Bernard.....”
“Stop! If Béa likes it and agrees to look after it I won’t charge a sous.”
My Mother went to object again, but Bernard held up his hand and looked straight at me.
“Will you meet me there, Monday 8 a.m.?”
My Father has a dog called Jolie, and he is so exuberant about everyone and everything: I sometimes think that every day is like Christmas to him.
That’s how I felt when I saw Bernard’s apartment.
It was on the first floor (he owned the whole building, and the ground floor was occupied by an opera singer!). He showed me into a pentagonal hallway with doors off every angle. We went left into the bedroom, with a real 18th. Century boat bed set opposite windows that looked out over the courtyard garden. Another door to the right led into the bathroom: it had a swan bath! With gilt taps! And the loo was in its own little turret off the bathroom, with stained glass windows.
Another door and we in were in the enormous kitchen, windowless but with a huge rectangular skylight. Bernard showed me how each side opened with cords. A door led back to the hall and another door opened into the main room.
Oh my God, I had died and gone to heaven!
If the kitchen was enormous, then this room was humungous! It had to be 25 square metres: there were two trees in it! In pots, admittedly, but they looked fully grown. There were four sofas! The dining table with eight places looked small under the huge windows. And the fireplace!....have you ever seen Cocteau’s “Beauty and the Beast”? Fuck, go and find it and see what I saw in that amazing room.
I suddenly realized that my mouth was open and I hadn’t said anything for ages. I caught Bernard’s kind smile.
“I think you like this apartment.”
“Are you seriously offering it to me?”
“Yes. Would you like it?”
“Fu.....Of course! I would love it. But it’s too much!”
“Why so? You like this place; it is empty; I would like you to have it. Voila! And I owe your family for their many kindnesses to me. So. That is the end of the argument. I will not charge you rent, but you will be responsible for the household bills. OK?”
Bernard’s hand stopped me.
“I won’t hear another word. Can you move in on Saturday? Good. I will get my people to clean the place thoroughly and provide you with keys. Now, I have to go to Vladikavkaz, would you believe, and you must have lectures.”
“I don’t know how to say thank you enough.”
“You can thank me by making this place live again, Béa. Now, come.”
We went into the pentagonal hall again. My mind was all over the place.
“Oh there is just one thing.”
“Yes?” I was thinking.....all sorts of stupid, unworthy things.
“The apartment comes with a maid.”
“I.... well I inherited her when I bought the house. I didn’t like to get rid of her, and she has been very useful, keeping this place up while it’s been empty. She won’t get in your way. She comes in once a day...to sort things out....Her name is Madame Fleurie. A nice woman.....”
I don’t remember what else he said. All I could think was that I was an 18 year old student with an outrageous apartment..... and a maid.
“Moving in” sounds so grand, but it felt a bit pathetic to me as I lugged my suitcase and a hold-all into the apartment the following Saturday. I was 18 and what I carried was pretty much my worldly possessions. As if I were in a hotel I went straight to the bedroom and deposited my bags on the bed. There was fresh bedding and a gorgeous rose-embroidered coverlet that hadn’t been there before. I looked about at the ornate dresser and the linen-chest and the drawers and the large closet, and wondered if my things would take up any space at all. I had clothes and toiletries and books and....clothes. Oh and some CD’s. Damn, was there anything to play them on?
OK, I was daunted! It really took an effort to leave the bedroom and venture into the vast space of the living room. There were fresh flowers....everywhere! And gorgeous flowers too, the smells so wonderful I could almost forget it was misty cold February outside. And I realised it was warm—the heating was on, and it was balmy in the apartment. The light through the windows grew as the sun finally overcame the mist, making everything radiant. There were rainbow patterns appearing randomly on the walls. I looked up to see the sunlight catching the crystal teardrops of the chandelier
I suddenly felt a thrill go through me like nothing I had ever felt before. This was my dream and I was living in it! This beautiful historic apartment was mine, for now, and I was bloody well going to love it. I hugged myself. I started to move to imaginary music. I closed my eyes and started to twirl on the Persian carpet. I twirled and twirled and twi....
“I hope Mademoiselle is happy with the arrangements.”
I was dizzy with all that twirling and suddenly stopping. I was red and my heart was pounding and my breath was caught in my throat. As my sight steadied I could see a slender middle-aged woman in a black uniform with a white pinny and a starched white cap. Christ!
“I hope I didn’t startle you Mademoiselle. I am Madame Fleurie and I am at your service.”
And she did a little curtsey. I swear it. Fuck, I was sweating and trying to control my breathing. Fuck. Fuckity-fuck. What did you say to a maid? She was my Mother’s age! I had to say something!
“I...wasn’t expecting you today, Madame.”
She had a little thin smile permanently on her pale lips.
“I will be here every day, Mademoiselle, just for an hour or so, to make sure you have everything you need and to clean. M. Bernard was very insistent that I should ensure your comfort here.”
“M.Bernard is very kind. Thank you, Madame.”
“I will do my best not to discommode you.” Was there a little change of expression? “Please feel free to make this your home, Mademoiselle.”
“Thank you, Madame.”
“May I show you what preparations have been made for your arrival, Mademoiselle?”
“Yes. Yes, please do, Madame.”
Madame Fleurie briskly showed me the basic provisions that had been purchased on my behalf (coffee, bread, milk, eggs, cheese); how to light the oven and the grill; how to work the heating and the hot water; where to find oodles of towels; where the TV and the sound system was artfully hidden (Yes!); where to dispose of my rubbish and where and how I could wash my clothes—“Though Mademoiselle must leave anything troublesome to me. It is my job.”
She pulled on a black astrakhan coat with a collar that buttoned across her neck, hiding the uniform. The cap seemed to live here, though I didn’t know where.
“I will see you tomorrow, Mademoiselle. Enjoy.”
As the door closed, I realised I had been holding my breath.
There were shops nearby. I felt giddy again as I shopped for myself for the first time. I bought a thick steak and lettuce and gaudy tomatoes, a bottle of good wine, a baba au rhum, smelly candles, incense sticks, a packet of cigarettes: shit it felt good to be bad!
I unpacked and quickly forgot about my lack of belongings. There was so much to explore about the apartment. I could hear my neighbour practicing her scales and singing some opera numbers. I waited until she had finished before I tested the sound system with one of my burnt CD’s: I didn’t want to piss her off straight away! I also found a dock for my iPhone, so I needn’t have bothered with the CD’s, sigh.
I danced around that huge space as I put my things away, my mind wandering around the potential histories of the house. Did Girondins meet here, planning the next push of the Revolution? Was Napoleon praised or criticised within these walls? Were Wellington’s troops saluted from the windows, or were they firmly shut? On and on I thought---and got hungry!
And once my stomach was full I got horny. I was a bit tipsy from the wine, cigarette smoke wafted, my music played and I wanted to dance again. But it was Saturday night and I wanted to dance with boys.
Even in my strappy heels it was only a short walk to where the best dance-clubs were, on the riverside. They were all heaving, but that’s when they are best. I loved the closeness of the bodies, the sweatiness, the constant interchange of partners, the loudness of the music. I was intoxicated and sober at the same time. I felt more than one stiff cock rub against my ass or my belly (or my hand, lol), but one guy, just a bit taller than me, seemed to fit nicely against me.
I love kissing, and kissing him in a dark corner of the club seemed so right. Kisses that seemed to go on and on in a turmoil of tongues, arms grabbing, hands exploring back and ass (he had a nice tight one!), his stiffness rubbing against me, drowning in sound—I loved it! I wanted so much to......
Wait, stop, shit. There’s something really important I’ve forgotten to tell you. I’m glad you can’t see me blushing—I’m a virgin. Honest to God. Am I the only 18 year old virgin in Bordeaux? Quite possibly. Does that make me feel weird? Well....yes and no. So why, I hear you ask? Am I prude? Hell no—I know I have a good body (I’m only 5’ 3” but it’s all in the right places!) and I like showing it off. I’ve been to nude beaches and love being naked in public. Am I moralistic about it? No—in fact I approve of sex before marriage: how else do you decide what is good for you sexually? Am I religious? Hell no—I’m French! What did we have a Revolution for?
So why am I still a virgin? OK here is my big dirty secret. I’m ageist. You’ve heard me talk about boys here, and they do get me wet and horny (like this guy tickling my tonsils with his tongue), but do I want to give it up to them? No way! I want my first to be experienced: older, mature, refined—a bit like the buildings I like. And if he has the money to treat me like a lady and buy me a good dinner at a proper restaurant (rather than McDo’s and a beer), then so much the better. Am I wrong to want the finer things in life?
So you are probably thinking I’m an awful cocktease, snogging this guy in the club. I’m not at all. I know that, one way or another, I will release that terribly erect tension I can feel against my belly. I just won’t fuck him. But I was thinking of a million ways to make him happy.
Then he took his tongue out of my mouth long enough to shout words in my ear which changed everything: he wanted to go back to my place.
My room at the Uni dorm was hardly palatial but at least it was carpeted, for which I was grateful as I spent quite a lot of time on my knees there sucking boys cocks, and I swallowed a lot of sperm there. If the boy was particularly cute and desperate I would let him come on my face, and if some of it got on the carpet, well it was a shit carpet. Now, I had a Persian rug, a stupendous flat full of antiques and a maid with a nose made for looking down. Cumstains were suddenly out of the question. Hell, boys were out of the question!
My sisters, I have read some of your stories about blowjobs in carparks and after my first I felt I had a lot to learn. My knees hurt like hell, feeling every bit of gravel under them biting into my flesh and laddering my tights. I couldn’t stop worrying about CCTV and whether my performance was being enjoyed elsewhere, recorded and rebroadcast to the world. To say nothing of potential passers-by! But I had got this boy hard and I meant to leave him soft and satisfied and when he held my head and soughed his seed into my mouth I swallowed with a sense of a job well done. Of course he wouldn’t kiss me after, just hoped he would see me again. Well, maybe.
I walked home contentedly, happy to have the taste of him in my mouth still but glad that I had dodged that particular bullet. My flat seemed warm and cosy. I slept well and alone, again.
Brewing coffee on a Sunday morning is an unremembered act: you realize you’ve done it when you taste the delicious result, but how you got there is a bit hazy, don’t you think? Lol. I was dunking yesterday’s bread in it when I just knew I wasn’t alone.
“Good morning Mademoiselle. I trust you slept well?”
I was so glad I had slipped my big t-shirt over my nudity when I woke: nevertheless I was conscious of how thin it was, and how my breasts swung as I turned to look at her.
“I slept very well, thank you, Madame.”
She gave that funny little crimped smile.
“Good. I will make the bed.”
“Madame!” I jumped up and followed her through the door. “ It’s not necessary, really.”
But she already had the folded down sheet in her hands. She seemed to pull it back, looking at the sheet, before she pulled it up and began settling it. God, she was looking to see if I’d been fucking there, if there were any stains, any odd pubic hair, I swear it. I blushed, even though there was nothing there.
“Please Mademoiselle,” she said, looking over her shoulder as she tucked the sheet in, “it’s my job. Enjoy your breakfast.”
The next day I got up early and made the bed myself, but it didn’t matter.
“Mademoiselle should always sleep in clean linen. I will wash it.”
And the bed was stripped and examined and I blushed again. I got my bag, said goodbye and went to University.
And so the week went on. I’m a good student and I want to do well, so I was buried in my course all week. Madame Fleurie’s visits often coincided with my leaving, so I can’t say I was “discommoded”. I just knew, though, that she was checking for signs that I was sexually active, and I hated that because—well I wasn’t. I had too much to do. I only played at weekends during term time. And anyway, what was it to her? I hated her snooping on my bedsheets!
But hey, she was only there an hour or so a day, and most of the time when I wasn’t there anyway. I told myself to chill and I did, because the rest of the time the apartment was my heaven. As the days got longer and warmer I grew to appreciate just how beautiful it was and how lucky I was to have it. The space, the proportions, the layout—everything was just perfect.
And I met my neighbour! And she is gorgeous!
“Please, I’m Alienor,” she beamed as I tried to ‘Madame’ her. We met in the hall one morning. I was just going out to class and she came in, looking rumpled but amazing. She’s much taller than me, maybe nearly 6ft. in her heels, blonde hair in a scruffy chignon, fabulous bones, slender....anyway.
“I’m exhausted. Rehearsals went on all through the night. We open next Thursday, and it’s always a mad dash. You should come and see it!”
“Oh I’d love to, but I’m only a student, I don’t know whether I could afford it.”
“You are my neighbour, I think I could put you on the guestlist. Please come.”
“Mada...Alienor, that’s too kind, really!”
“But not opening night, OK? That’s already full, but later the following week?”
“Yes...yes. Thank you, really....”
“Nonsense, nonsense. When the performances are done, I hope we will get to know each other better. Now I must sleep. Ciao!”
And she leant in and kissed my cheeks and was gone. There was a faint familiar scent as she kissed me. I kept trying to place it, mentally going though my mother’s extensive perfume collection, but I couldn’t quite work out what it was.