I wrote a sex scene today for the novel I’m working on. I’ve never written a sex scene that didn’t make me cringe. I’ve always edited them out of the final draft. This one probably won’t make the cut either, but I’ll leave it here as an example of something you write with the niggling fear (every sentence of the way) that it is going to be embarrassingly bad.
Cue the jazz …
Now the girl, age of his students, addresses him nervously in French in front of everyone. “Are you a student? Which university?”
This is not just friendly conversation. She crossed the room straight to him, thought of something to say. Sweet girl. Young. So young she can’t tell ages. The Steadicam guru and the stylist are watching, not quite holding back incredulous looks. Edward is conflicted. If only the moral chorus were not watching. If only the boss, the boss were not right there, looking the most incredulous of all, frowning. And Edward wondering if it was his fault. Had his desire travelled through his lens and done something to the girl? Touched her, spoke to her?
He said, “Oh I’m not a student,” smiling.
“But which university?” asked the girl, the model, standing before him, still wearing nothing but expensive underwear.
“McGill,” he said, noticing the boss’s eyes darting, lips about to break open. “But it’s been a long time since I was a student.” The boss nodded at this, deeply, and Ed turned to see if the model had seen.
But the girl was just looking through him, confused. “Oh,” she said.
The moment was gone. He couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed, even if nothing would have ever “happened”. Ever since he had started teaching he had stopped flirting with young women.
He wondered if the producer, Lana, wasn’t a bit of a hypocrite. She’d nodded her head with such condemnation when she’d noticed the connection between Ed and the model—because, presumably, of their age difference—and yet, Lana was the one who had recruited the girl and was now going to put pictures and video of her, underwear clad, on the internet. Where was the protective impulse when she’d had that idea? Was having a conversation with 38 year-old Ed really a greater risk to the apparently impressionable young woman than being viewable for life in her underwear on the world wide web? Perhaps, perhaps not. Perhaps neither was a such a horrible happening. Perhaps both were.
Nonetheless, he drove back to the office feeling chastised and a little ashamed. It somewhat paralyzed his thought processes.
Kate was there when he arrived and asked him about the shoot. He grumbled about working for free. And the girl was pretty young, he said. Not that young, but young, a university student, he assumed. “But, yeah, it felt a little weird. I’m not sure I would do it again. I’m not sure.” He sounded sort of tired as he said it. He pretended to be distracted by his gear.
“Do you have the footage still?” she asked.
“We transferred it there,” he said.
He wasn’t quite answering the question. She waited for him to add something. Finally, he met her gaze, but just for a second. He opened his camera bag and started to pull out all the batteries and the charger.
“It was just one girl?” Kate asked.
“Yeah. It was for a lingerie store. She was sort of walking around looking at stuff and trying it on. That was the concept.”
“Yeah, it should look pretty good.”
“I’d like to see the footage,” she said.
He put a battery back in the camera and cued up one of first shots. Kate took the camera from him, not quite grabbing it but almost. When the first clip was finished, she clicked to the next.
“She’s pretty,” she said.
She looked through the rest of the files, watching the best ones, skipping past others. Ed watched over her shoulder.
“That’s a good shot.”
“I want that bra.”
“Put it on your birthday list.”
She held the camera out so he could take it. “You must be horny,” she said.
“Ha,” he said, removing the battery and dropping the camera into the cushioned bag.
“What? Don’t be embarrassed.”
“I’m not embarrassed.”
She left the room without looking at him. “I’m not even looking at you and I can feel you blushing,” she said in a raised voice. She went back to her office, as if there was something she had to do there. There was a clump of grapes on a plate on her desk. She twisted one from the vine and popped it into her mouth. He was horny. She could tell. That restless embarrassment that hung over him. Of course, the girl had stirred it up in him but so what. She knew he found her sexy. She knew, she felt it. She went back down to his office. He was standing in the middle of the room, frowning at the screen on the back of the camera. The battery had been out a minute ago, now it was back in.
“I’m formatting the cards,” he said. “I forgot to.”
She went up and stood in front of him, facing him, really close, and when he looked at her he saw her eyes gazing into his as if they were connected by an invisible stream that flowed out of his right pupil into her left and out of her right into his left, or something like that.
A kiss occurred, a first, exploratory touch. As their lips came apart he put his hand on her breast and she pushed her hips against him. They kissed again, longer. He moved his hand and lightly touched her temple and then ran his fingers through her hair. She pulled back and tugged at his buckle.
They went over to her sofa and undressed. She sat down and put his penis in her mouth and ran her lips along it once. She licked the end of it and then looked up at him and pulled downward on his hips. He kissed her lips, her breasts and, kneeling on the floor, ran his tongue along the fold of her vulva and slid his tongue in deeper in search of her clitoris.
They had been attracted to one another for so long that neither of them wanted to take their time–not now. She cupped her hands under his jaw and gently pulled him upward. Soon he was crouched over her, sliding into her. They both smiled with relief. Kate even chuckled as her eyelids closed and she turned her head to the side.
The first wave of pleasure passed. Edward lifted his head and took a breath. He moved slowly inside of Kate. “That’s too good,” he said. The words had just come out of his throat when he realized that his penis was bare and that an orgasm might sneak up on him any second. Preemptively he pulled his penis from her vagina. She looked at him, confused.
“I’m so used to not wearing a condom,” he said. “I completely forgot.”
“I’m on the pill,” she told him, as if it were a fact for him to do with as he pleased.
Lowering his hips, he slid the wet tip of his penis through her labium to the edge of her opening. Pleasure flowed up his erection, through his testicles, into his stomach, his flesh, his thoughts. “Is it okay?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she said, inhaling. And then he entered her fully and they started to bring their hips together in unison like vigorous dancers.
He cried out when he came. It was the first time he’d ever done that. They embraced, limply and he rolled to the side, as far as he could on the narrow couch, so that he was half atop her, half beside. He rested his head on her heart and held her right breast with his left hand. He was not crying, but he almost felt as if he was and she felt it too. She stroked his hair and he fell asleep.
After that she loved him, or she could have, if she’d let herself, but she didn’t want to harm his family. She had a feeling that the complications were insurmountable. She did not want to have to deal with the guilt, not that much. She had yet to weigh the guilt she had already earned. And she could only guess how much guilt he would feel and how he would cope with it.
##and then, the next day, the follow-up##
If they had used a condom, he might not have confessed–that’s what he told himself–but under the circumstances he had to. There would be no good time until that night, but he could still start to behave responsibly and fix the situation immediately.
He went to the clinic. While in the waiting room, he hardly moved. He was focused on his meeting with the doctor. If there was anything in the world the he should do right now it was get tested. As embarrassing as it might be, he had to do it.
His number appeared and he walked down the hall to Salle 3 and took a seat on the “bed”. What seemed like five minutes later, but was only two, a woman came in and introduced herself. For two seconds he hoped that she was the nurse and that he would not have to tell her anything, but she said her name was Dr. Charboneau. She was about his age, rather attractive and rather stern. She spoke to him in French and asked him what the problem was. How would he say this, breaking it down into manageable sentences with intermediate vocabulary?
“I have a wife?”
The doctor squinted at him.
“But I had sexual relations with another woman.”
The doctor’s gaze remained fixed. Her lips were as still as stone.
“We did not use a ‘condom’.” He did not know the word in French.
Without comment, or explicit judgment, she sent him off with a form for a blood test. He asked if she would only contact him if one of the tests was positive. “No,” she had said. “I imagine you would like to know either way.” He said, “Yes,” in a way that was supposed to be humorously self-deprecating. She smiled ever, ever, ever so slightly, and wished him a good day.
He went upstairs to the lab, where the waiting room was the worst part. The nurses were quick once he was in their hands. After, he had to hurry on his bicycle to the daycare. It did not close for a couple of hours, but he usually picked the girls up at four and he didn’t want to keep them waiting. Even more than usual, he was worried about falling short on the performance of his fatherly duties. Indeed, Katherine noticed that he was later than usual.
“I thought you weren’t coming,” she said, as he helped her on with her coat. “You’re always here before Marianne leaves.” And Marianne had already left.
He took them to the park and tried to play with them more lovingly and pedagogically than usual. And then they went to the grocery store, and then they walked slowly home, and the girls played in front of the TV as he made supper, chopping and stirring, and waiting for the sound of the front door.