EVE OF DESTRUCTION: Juno & Joy
Etables-sur-Mer, France 1939
Peregrine LeVere was, by any stretch of the imagination, a highly successful gentleman. He had built the LeVere Press from nothing into a major British publishing concern, using little more than a magical elixir of hard graft, business acumen and acute personal judgement. Admittedly, the success of LeVere (the press, as opposed to the person) was dependent upon an unashamedly populist bent, and this in turn dictated an editorial policy that frequently edged towards the sensationalist. But even those who sneered at the firm’s publications could not deny its financial success. LeVere the person was respected, if not exactly liked, both in his chosen field and the wider world - which was very much how he preferred it.
Sadly, one area in which Peregrine had not been so successful (though this was known only to a very select few) was his private life. Consumed by his career until deep into his forties, he had suddenly - and controversially - taken it upon himself to acquire what could best be deemed a trophy wife. Juno Feltham had been a tender seventeen years of age when LeVere successfully wooed her (‘acquired’ might be a more appropriate term), albeit already strikingly attractive and quite notoriously voluptuous. Marriage was quickly followed by pregnancy, resulting in a daughter duly named Joy (with a certain irony, given that Juno’s labour was long, difficult and exhausting, contributing to an aversion to physical congress that would exacerbate later developments).
For a time, Peregrine LeVere played the role of family man with aplomb and genuine enthusiasm. But as the years passed, as Juno made an accelerated jump into mature womanhood (not to mention motherhood), and as Joy progressed from gurgling infant to precocious little girl (with all that entails), his attention and his affections began to wander from his immediate family. A patriarchal divide opened, with wife and daughter relegated to secondary status behind the business, and the benefits of business. There were affairs, both real and imagined, discreet and overt, with secretaries, aspiring authors, the daughters and even the wives of rival publishers. Juno bore all this for the sake of her own daughter, upon whom she lavished all the love that remained within her - and that love was fully requited.
Joy grew up adoring her mother, whom she considered - from her admittedly limited perspective - to be the most beautiful, kindest, most perfect woman on Earth. She also grew up aware of the ever-widening rift between her parents, and of the enduring pain it caused to Juno. And with her loyalties ineluctably welded to her mother, Joy herself became an object of disdain in her father’s eyes, even though she turned out a pretty, intelligent and obedient young girl, as near-perfect as any offspring could hope to be. In her turn, Joy observed her mother’s lingering distress, and longed to save her from it, though she didn’t really know how to go about this.
By the summer of Joy’s sixteenth year the domestic situation had reached crisis point - sweetly ironic, as the year in question was 1939, and a significant portion of the planet was likewise reaching critical mass. Peregrine’s shenanigans, and their associated gossip, were beginning to catch up with him, damaging his reputation in publishing and beyond - there was also the looming threat of war, and the danger it posed to all he had built up (he had participated in the previous War, albeit at the clerical margins, and was not keen to repeat the experience). Under these circumstances, Peregrine decided to make a public performance of repairing his relationship, taking wife and daughter on a holiday to Etables-sur-Mer in Brittany, a place with fond associations, since he and Juno had spent their honeymoon there. Truth be told, LeVere by now had little to no interest in saving his marriage, but he felt obliged to put on a show. Besides, he had an ulterior motive for returning to this part of the world - a long shot that might pay off, provided Europe didn’t burst into flames in the meantime.
The LeVere family checked overtly into a fine seafront hotel, their suite with a balcony overlooking the blue, beach-fringed bay.
“Oh, Darling it’s wonderful,” Juno gushed, throwing wide the balcony doors and stepping out into a sweet breeze. “It’s even more beautiful than I remembered…”
“Yes, well, a view like this doesn’t come cheap,” Peregrine harrumphed. “Just so long as you biddies appreciate what this is costing me.”
Joy watched her mother bristle faintly, and then shake it off. Juno was making her very best effort, and she adored her for it. But then, how could one not adore such a regal beauty? Joy could not conceive of any woman being more supremely curvaceous than her own mother - her immense bust had been a thing of legend long before Joy had even been born, and motherhood did nothing to diminish the endowment. As a natural corollary, Juno possessed wide, curvaceous hips, but any tendency towards dumpiness was averted by long, graceful legs worthy of a dancer. And even in maturity, Juno remained fresh-faced: high, regal cheekbones; a sculpted, lightly dimpled chin; a long, dignified nose; big brown eyes and a sweetly understated mouth. Juno’s russet hair, whether piled high to expose her long neck, or spilling about her shoulders in loose, voluptuous waves only added to an allure that it seemed only her husband no longer noticed.
“Of course we do, Perry,” Juno said quietly. “We appreciate everything you do for us.”
“We?” he snapped, with a sidelong look at Joy. “I’m not sure this one does. I’m not sure she appreciates anything much - just stands there, simpering. I think maybe it’s about time she was doing her bit, going out looking for a man…”
Joy quailed at the suggestion, flushing violently. As ever, Juno leaped to her daughter’s defence.
“Oh, come now, Darling - she’s only sixteen.”
“Yes, and you were only seventeen when I knocked you up, Old Fruit - it‘s just a shame about the result. But she’d best get in there before war starts up and they’re dropping like flies again - could be a pretty crowded marriage market ere long.”
“I do wish you wouldn’t frighten her with all this war talk,” Juno muttered.
“Why not? I’m just being realistic, after all. And I don’t fancy this one’s chances of snagging a rich hubby against serious competition…”
“You don’t think your daughter is beautiful enough to find a suitable man?” Juno was aghast.
“I don’t want a man,” said Joy evenly, glaring at her father. “And I’m not afraid of war.”
Peregrine regarded his offspring with an arched eyebrow.
“You know,” he said archly, “I do believe she’s crackers - hard to think that you and I conceived her. Well, anyway, I suppose I’d better pop down and book us a decent table for this evening - I trust the pair of you will try not to look too ridiculous when we’re in public.”
He left the suite in a whirl of linen and cologne, leaving mother and daughter stranded, staring at each other. Juno, immune as she was to her husband’s barbs when aimed in her direction, was nonetheless flabbergasted by his attitude towards Joy. Of course their daughter was beautiful - only a fool would imply otherwise. Slender, almost willowy: possessed of long legs and rather small, if shapely high breasts (in marked contrast to her mother); a sharp-chinned, high-browed face dominated by great green eyes and a subtly sinuous mouth. If one insisted on looking for flaws - as it seemed Perry was intent to do - one might say her nose was a trifle shapeless, her teeth verging on crookedness, but really these were mere details. With her honey-blonde hair - be it pinned up or free-falling in abject imitation of her mother’s - Joy was fair as they come, and her mother would brook no demurral.
“I’m sorry,” she said plaintively.
“Don’t apologise for him,” Joy snapped back. “I thought things were supposed to be different on this trip…”
“Perhaps they will be,” her mother replied, though without much conviction. “Maybe he’s just tired and fractious after the journey.”
They began to unpack their things, to sort their intended clothes for this first evening in Etables. Then Joy suddenly spoke again.
“Mamma, is there really going be a war?”
“I’m afraid it looks very like it, Darling. But even if there is, you’ll still have no trouble finding yourself a man…”
“I told you, I don’t want a man,” Joy countered fiercely, fixing her mother with a jade flash. “I only want you - I want to set you free from all this.”
“Free from what?” Juno smiled in bemusement. “Honestly, Darling, you say the strangest things sometimes…”
At that moment Peregrine blustered back into the suite. He glared briefly at his wife and daughter, as if slightly surprised to find them still there.
“I’m going to fix myself a drink,” he scowled, “And go sit on the balcony. Table’s booked for seven, but I’d appreciate it if you didn’t take a full three hours to get ready.”
He closed the glass door behind him, looming over the view like some massive, suddenly installed landmark. Cowed by his presence, as they so often were, Juno and Joy repaired to their respective bedrooms and set about changing into their evening clothes. When they emerged - Joy in suitably virginal cream, her mother in a stunning floral creation that showcased all her curves - there was a look and a slight laugh that passed between them; all they could do for a moment was bask in each other’s reflected glory. The spell was broken by the balcony door being abruptly yanked open.
“If you fillies fancy seeing something interesting, you might care to get your backsides out here…”
To Joy’s disgust, Juno responded immediately. She herself hung back a little - a stupid, petulant gesture. When she finally stepped onto the balcony, her father and mother were, in a rare moment of unity, staring raptly out to sea.
“There,” LeVere chortled triumphantly, “What d’you make of that?”
Joy peered. Some way out, moving through the bright, calm water, running parallel to the shores, was… something. Something Joy could not put a name to. Clearly an animal of some sort, it had a bizarre, serpentine form, seeming to undulate from side to side as it swam at a rapid pace, leaving a large wake behind it. And it was large - even without a specific reference point, Joy estimated it must be at least twenty feet in length.
“Ha!” Peregrine ejaculated joyfully, clapping his hands together. “What a marvellous thing to see on our first day!”
It didn’t seem quite so marvellous to Joy. True, it was unusual, even somewhat strange - but it was just an animal, after all. Amused by her father’s reaction, she glanced at her mother. And as their eyes met, something passed between them - something neither had known before. Joy felt a jolt, like a static spark arcing through her: she turned back rapidly to watch the creature, now beginning to diminish, to drift into the distance. Her head felt light, her mouth was dry; she was suddenly giddy, even a tad feverish. As the animal finally faded from view she once again caught her mother’s eye, and knew, in an overwhelming rush, what she had to do.
“Darling, are you all right?” Juno asked, her face suddenly concerned. “You’ve gone rather pale.”
“I’m - I’m fine,” Joy managed to croak.
“Never mind that little fool,” her father snapped. “What about what we just saw?”
“It was… most interesting,” Juno responded carefully.
“Interesting? It’s a bloody miracle, is what it is - like a sign from above. God, I knew this trip was a good idea, but I never thought…”
He jumped to his feet, almost crashing back into the suite.
“We need to get going, right now…”
He was halfway to the door before he stopped and turned. Juno and Joy were still the balcony, looking at him strangely.
“Well, are you two coming or not?” he bellowed.
With a mutual shrug, the women stepped inside. LeVere appraised them, as if he had only just noticed they had changed.
“God, what a couple of dog’s dinners the pair of you look. Oh well, never mind - I suppose you’ll do. Now let’s get a bloody move on…”
He all but bolted out the door, Juno following hurriedly if confusedly behind. Joy lingered, just for a moment - she was flushed, perspiring; still dizzied with the ramifications of this notion that had sprung, fully formed and without warning, into her mind. It was beautiful, it was perverse, it was romantic, it was terrifying: but she now knew her mission. She was going to seduce her own mother, in order to set her free…
Dinner was not a soaring success. For reasons he refused to divulge, Peregrine took them to a slightly seedy, run-down brasserie in an unfashionable part of town. Upon entering, Juno felt all male eyes sweep towards her, the heat of their intentions almost tangible. She had never quite become used to the attentions her figure invariably attracted, never learned to use her voluptuous beauty to best advantage: truth be told, the male gaze had always intimidated her; the conversations held exclusively with her cleavage made her feel stupid and uncomfortable. Long ago, she had imagined Perry to be different, and perhaps that was why she had fallen for him - the precise reasons, like her feelings, had grown indistinct with time.
Her dining companions did nothing to ease her agitation. Perry was clearly distracted, his eyes scanning the place constantly as if expecting some further guest to appear and join their table. For a moment Juno convinced herself that he was being territorial, seeking to fend off the naked glances coming in from all around, but she knew this was pure fantasy. Were she to strip naked and fling herself upon the gentleman at the adjacent table, Perry would in all probability turn away and order another cognac.
What was worse, even Joy seemed miles away. Normally Juno could count upon her daughter for moral support and at least some semblance of company, but the girl seemed determined on this evening to conform to her father’s image of a simpering halfwit. She stared at the menu as if it was some arcane, impenetrable text; ordered unsuitable things, then changed her mind; failed to answer simple questions; stared down into her wineglass as if the very secrets of the universe lay at the bottom of it. When her food arrived she pushed it around her plate with only a desultory attempt at eating it: meanwhile Perry wolfed his meal as if anxious to be off somewhere else at a moment’s notice. Only Juno, it seemed, actually took time to enjoy her food, which to her surprise was flavoursome and wholly authentic, their dishevelled surroundings notwithstanding.
Then, in the middle of it all, Peregrine suddenly shot to his feet like an over-excited schoolboy.
“Excuse me, ladies,” he said, “But there is someone over there I simply must have a word with…”
And he scuttled off, weaving crab-like between tables. Juno had half a mind to get up and follow, but there was something in his manner that warned her it would not be politic. As she was watching him a waiter crossed her vision, so she did not see his final destination, nor his mysterious contact.
“What on earth is up with him tonight?” she asked, half rhetorically. And when Joy failed to respond, she added, “For that matter, what’s up with you?”
Joy started, like a sleeper suddenly jolted into wakefulness.
“Wh-what do you mean?” she stammered, flushing.
“I mean, you’ve been staring off into space all evening, and you’ve hardly eaten a thing And you did look positively ill just after we saw that, that…” she hesitated.
“Monster?” Joy broke in. Her mother smiled.
“I wouldn’t put it that strongly. It was an odd-looking beast to be sure, but I don’t think there was anything particularly monstrous about it. But it seemed to get your father all stirred up, and I’m worried it’s affected you, too.”
Joy shook her head vigorously, ruffling her blonde tresses.“I’m fine,” she said quickly, but could not look her mother in the eye. For to do so would bring uncontrollable colour into her cheeks, make her weak and syrupy with desire. She had never felt this way before: so lost, so terrified and exhilarated, so intensely physical. Just looking at Juno, just being in her presence, brought on pangs, a genuine ache of longing. To this point, almost to this moment, her love for her mother had been a pure, girlish thing: now it was tainted, touched with heat and illicit passion; voluptuous and womanly.
“I’m sorry about your father,” Juno continued, seemingly oblivious to her daughter’s radiating discomfort. “I really thought he was going to make an effort on this holiday, but it seems the leopard can’t change his spots…”
“I told you before, don’t apologise for him,” Joy growled, gritting her teeth. “Anyway, what are we supposed to do now?”
Her mother shrugged.“Sit and wait for him, I presume. Maybe I should order dessert, and hope one of these other fellows doesn’t proposition me in the meantime.”
I’d like to proposition you, thought Joy with a thrillingly guilty rush. But it came accompanied with fear and a sense of helplessness - she had no idea how to set about seducing anyone, far less a woman, and even farther less one to whom she had been born.
At that moment Peregrine came bounding back to the table, sparkling with an almost boyish zest.
“All right, you two, the bill is paid,” he barked. There’s a taxi waiting to take you back to the hotel.”
Juno blanched.“But… aren’t you coming with us?”
“Of course not,” he snapped back, as if affronted by the suggestion. “I’ve got important business to attend to, right here.”
Juno’s eyes narrowed accusingly. “This ‘business’ wouldn’t be of the feminine variety, would it?”
He glared at her.“Good God, woman, you don’t let up, do you? I make one or two errors of judgement, and you take it as carte blanche to question everything I do. No: for your information, when I say business I mean business - and to have you two hanging around like a bad smell might jeopardise things. Now, bugger off back to the hotel like a good little wife - I’ll be over later.”
Juno all but jumped to her feet.“Come along, Joy,” she said, with ferocious dignity. “It seems you and I are no longer fit company for your father…”
This little contretemps had drawn attention from the tables immediately around, so it was a slightly sheepish mother and daughter who exited the brasserie and climbed into the waiting cab. They did not look behind them, therefore did not see Peregrine’s complete lack of self-consciousness as he made his way back to a darkened, private corner where an aging gentleman had become accustomed to dining alone. LeVere settled opposite the man, who had an aura of faded sophistication in his rumpled, slightly out-of-fashion suit.
“Now then,” said Perry pleasantly, “Where were we, Monsieur Heuvel?”
It was a brief, silent taxi ride back to the hotel, each of them seething for very different reasons. Once deposited, Juno collected a key and headed straight for the stairs.
“Perhaps we could go for a drink in the bar,” Joy suggested, greatly daring. Her mother’s face darkened.
“God, no - I’ve had enough of being on public display for one evening. Anyway, I’m exhausted - I’m going to try and get some sleep before His Nibs gets back. Maybe things will be different in the morning…”
“They won’t,” said Joy baldly. “You know they won’t.”
“You could be right,” Juno sighed. “But I’ve got to try - that’s what we came here for. Are you coming, or not?”
Meekly, Joy followed her mother up the steps to their suite. She was both terrified and thrilled by the
prospect of their being alone, even if only for a while: thrilled at the possibilities spinning round in her head; terrified at the thought of putting them into motion, and of her own inhibitions setting this opportunity to waste.
No sooner were they inside than Juno yawned theatrically, said“Goodnight, Darling”, and gave her daughter a fleeting peck on the cheek. She strolled into the main bedroom, switched on the light, closed the door. Or rather, almost closed it. Though she pushed it to firmly, the door’s latch was faulty, and it slipped open a tiny crack. For a moment Joy stood rooted, her head throbbing and her pulse pounding, her eyes fixated upon that minute portal into her mother’s private world. Then, stealthy as a cat, she began to step towards it.
M. Heuvel’s eyes narrowed suspiciously towards Peregrine.
“I did not appreciate you had dining companions, Monsieur LeVere,” he said, a tad tartly.
“Nobody important, let me assure you,” Perry replied with a smile. “We may talk freely - you are, after all, the primary reason I am here in Etables….”
“So you said. You seem to have gone to a great deal of trouble to track me down.”
“Not really,” Perry shrugged. “The literary world is an intimate circle, and I have a small team of researchers tasked with keeping tabs on authors of interest.”
“You consider me an author, Monsieur?”
“Well, you did publish a book, did you not? Upon the subject of sea monsters, if I recall correctly, and the sea-serpent in particular. And I also believe there was a follow-up, concerning mysterious creatures on land. Pretty stirring stuff.”
Heuvel gave a dismissive wave.
“I merely wrote up the information I had gathered for my files, with minimal commentary. I would hardly call such efforts ‘literature’.”
“And perhaps that’s why they didn’t sell so well, hm? Certainly not well enough to keep up your lifestyle in Paris.”
Heuvel bristled.“My reasons for leaving Paris were varied, Monsieur - lack of royalties were but one factor. I am quite happy with my quiet life here in Etables, and I would appreciate your telling me why you have chosen to disturb that happiness now.”
Perry leaned in conspiratorially, keeping his voice low.
“Because I’ve heard rumours about you, Monsieur Heuvel, and about your files. Word is, your work on the sea-serpent didn’t tell even half the story. Word is, you left out a whole host of eyewitness reports, because of something you’d uncovered - something that could be deemed highly salacious.”
Heuvel’s face coloured. “Your spies are very thorough, Monsieur LeVere. Yes, it is true, there was a certain trend I uncovered during my researches upon the so-called ‘sea-serpent’ - which, for the record, I do not believe to be a serpent at all. I did not choose to make such information public, because I felt the wider world was not ready for these revelations. Frankly, I believe it is still not ready, and possibly never will be.”
“Not even for an extremely generous advance, and a 25% royalty?” Perry countered. “Enough for you to live like a king here, or perhaps even go back to Paris?”
Heuvel glared at him.“Why would you make such an offer?”
“Because in my book, ‘salacious’ equals ‘saleable’. Smut always sells, and particularly in times of uncertainty. I think your ‘material’, whatever it is, if handled correctly, could ship by the ton…”
Heuvel got angrily to his feet.
“The answer, Monsieur, is non.”
Perry grinned.“That’s a common response among the writers I deal with. So many of them think they’re artists, or intellectuals, but basically they’re all pornographers at heart, and sooner or later they come around.” He proffered a card. “I will be at this hotel for the next few days should you change your mind. By the way, if it helps things any, I have seen one myself.”
Heuvel stared.“Seen what, Monsieur?”
“Why, a sea-serpent, of course - right here in fact, this very day. Should I be worried?”
Heuvel took out a handkerchief, pressing it to his brow.
“Non, Monsieur - as you are a man, you have nothing to fear. It is the fairer sex that suffers when the beast appears.”
“Really?” LeVere cocked an eyebrow. “Sounds most intriguing, I must say.”
A strange look came over Heuvel’s face. He made as if to leave, then hesitated. After a moment he leaned close over Perry, almost looming.
“Meet me here tomorrow,” he whispered, “Early. Perhaps there is more for us to discuss.” Then, at last, he departed.
“Oh, indeed there is,” Perry murmured towards the Frenchman’s retreating back. “Lots more…”
Smiling to himself, he signalled a passing waiter for a tot of something strong.
As Joy neared, the gap in the door seemed to widen before her. By careful manoeuvring, she could see clearly into the bedroom, suffused by soft lamplight. She held her breath, but still feared the relentless pounding of her heart might somehow give her away. Her stomach gave a giddy lurch as she watched her mother undressing with utterly unconscious eroticism, pulling her dress up and over her head. Juno flung the garment carelessly onto the bed, and then unpinned her hair, letting it spill free in a splash of auburn. Gracefully she leaned over, unhooked her suspenders and rolled her stockings down to her toes - Joy tried to swallow, found she could not. Straightening, Juno eased the straps of her ivory brassiere from her shoulders, reached behind her back to release its fastenings. Joy felt dizzy, weak at the knees, as her mother’s immense breasts were quickly, insouciantly revealed: voluptuous, pale sacs of arcing, trembling beauty; each crowned with a tensile ovoid of dusky peach.
Juno reached for the waistband of her panties, and Joy all but fainted with voyeuristic excitement. But then her mother hesitated, lost in a private moment. To Joy’s delighted shock, one hand crept up to alight upon the hanging curve of a breast, lightly stroking. Juno seemed to shimmer a little, her eyelids fluttering - momentarily insubstantial as a nymph. Juno turned, sat down before her dresser and gazed into its mirror, her expression slightly disbelieving as if she had only just discovered - or perhaps rediscovered - her own splendour. Her fingers crept delicately across her own breast, cupping and caressing with furtive but pleasurable intent. Head reeling, pulse electric, seemingly propelled by unknown forces, Joy decided it was now or never. Silently she pushed open the door and began to approach the dresser.
Rapt as her mother was in self-absorption, it took a few moments for her presence to register. Juno glanced up, a little dreamily, then suddenly started. She jumped to her feet, shameful and alluring in just her panties - she clapped her palms over her breasts in a charming, hopeless attempt to cover their munificence.
“Joy,” she gasped, “I didn’t know you were there. What do you mean, sneaking up on me like that?”
Joy said nothing, but continued to approach her mother - she was molten with adoration and desire, and hoped it showed in her face, for surely there were no words could express what she was feeling. Juno’s eyes widened in a curious kind of fear as she backed away from her own daughter, finally bumping up against the dresser’s edge. Joy stepped close, slowly reaching out and placing her own hands over her mother’s. She tried to smile in reassurance, but her mouth felt strange, slightly disconnected. Gently but implacably, she pulled her mother’s hands free from her bust - Juno’s mouth opened in consternation, but it seemed to Joy there was a flicker of understanding in those wide eyes; even a glimmer of acceptance. Guiding Juno’s hands down to her sides, Joy released them, then raised her own and, with soft decisiveness, placed her trembling fingertips upon her mother’s breasts. She felt as much as heard the sharp, gasping intake of breath, resonating through warm, pliant flesh.
“Joy, what…?” Juno started to say, but her daughter pressed forward, trying to still her words with a snatched kiss. She botched it, her lips failing to fully connect, almost banging heads. Juno recoiled, but her room for manoeuvre was limited. Her hands flashed back up, clamping Joy’s wrists, but through they were perfectly capable they made no effort to peel the probing fingers away.
“I love you,” Joy blurted, emboldened and desperate. Darting forward, her lips this time found their mark: her mother’s mouth was soft and sweet, as she knew it must be. Juno tensed, her heart abruptly palpitating - Joy could feel her mother’s struggle through her breasts, her hands, her mouth. She kept her mouth pressed firm, not daring to move, not daring to breathe. Miracle of miracles, her mother slowly softened, becoming supple, almost buttery: she gave a small sigh deep in her throat, that might have been surrender. Joy pulled back, taking what felt like her first breath in ages - she was both stunned and deeply moved to see her mother’s eyes alight with incipient tears.
“I…” Juno whispered, “I don’t…”
Again Joy stilled her voice with the press of lips, now ever so slightly moistened. Her mother’s body rose to her, shocking her with raw delight, a fleeting rush of triumph. Juno’s mouth was no longer passive - it pulsed and morphed, warm wet silkiness drawing her daughter on, inviting her in, beckoning her to drown in sensation. Lips parted in a foaming wash; their tongues met in a quivering flicker. Joy’s pulse was white hot - she didn’t know you could kiss like this, never dreamed her own mother might know how. Juno’s hands still clamped her wrists, but did not, could not stop her fingers gently stroking and exploring, from satiny skin, to taut areolae, to tumescent nipples. Juno shivered to her touch, while she herself trembled uncontrollably - a leaf in a hurricane.
The kiss broke - both of them were flushed, panting like runners, like swimmers. Joy stared deep into her mother’s eyes, imploring - reflected back in shifting umber shades were fear and horror, love and desire. Juno’s sumptuous bosom heaved with exertion, while Joy herself could scarce hear anything above the frantic tympani of her own heart: she felt that she was melting with anticipation; become near literally liquid with need. Their joined hands moved as one, neither sure who was leading, who following: perhaps, as in a séance, other forces propelled them. Four hands gathered at the waistband of Juno’s panties, began to ease and pull - Juno stiffened, closed her eyes.
“No,” she whispered, a brittle syllable, fleeting and crystalline as the tears seeping from her eyelids, spangling like frosted cobwebs in her lashes. “Please, no…”
Joy kissed her again, found her mother’s mouth still sweet but passive, its passion burned out, replaced by a wearily torrid acceptance. Their hands conspired, slipping Juno’s panties down, over her generous hips, the subtle swell of her belly. Taut fabric suddenly loosened, softened, slid unheeded down long, strong thighs to hang limply about Juno’s knees. Mother and daughter’s fingers interlaced, probed tentatively amid brushing black, mysterious curls: encountered sudden slickness, hot and moist, making them both gasp.
Shy dancers, their fingers together played along the wetted seam, the blossoming lips ripe with scented nectar yielding and flexing to familial touch. Juno moaned, a discordance of pleasure and despair; Joy too moaned, her excitement beyond reckoning, beyond hope. Precious flesh oozed and opened to her - she tried to commit each contact, each tactile moment to memory, lest it never occur again.
“Joy,” her mother groaned, voice distant and distorted like a speaking sleeper, “Oh, Joy, it’s happening… I can’t help myself, I’m going to… oh, God…”
With her free hand she clung to her daughter, tried clumsily, sloppily, to kiss her - began to tremble violently as one wracked with fever chills. Joy knew inordinate, incalculable pride: dashed at once into immeasurable despair as there came the unmistakable sound of the suite door being opened…