Irresistible (5 & 6)

Feb 29, 2016 by

Irresistible (5 & 6)

Serialized Novel


The artist took off his belt slowly, and let his pants fall to the floor. Martine sat on the bed and stared at him while he undressed. He was not at all uncomfortable under the gaze of a curious new woman. He had no reason to be. The rose glow of the room made him even more beautiful than he already was.

“Take off the rest of your clothes,” he said.

She did so without embarrassment because the tone of his voice was so commanding that it did not leave room for thought before action.

“Now turn around.”

Just then, his voice became very soft. Very gentle. Almost parental. His voice made his words sound like love.

He pushed firmly on her back until she was on her knees on the bed, and then he went inside of her from behind her.

“Lift your head,” he said gathering up her long dark hair and gently pulling on it, forcing her to look up. “Look at yourself. Look into the looking glass. You look so natural on your knees.”

She could not help looking into the large antique gilt framed mirror in front of her. She peered through the dim light and into her own dark eyes. They seemed to speak to her from behind the glass. They told her with great warmth that she looked beautiful indeed on her knees with the artist behind her. She stared at the two of them together; his hands holding her hair like reins. His honey colored skin on her whiteness. His largeness on her smallness. His beauty on her beauty. They were the most entrancing sight she had ever seen. They looked made up. As if the mirror itself had created the scene for all of their mutual pleasure.


“It would be lovely to have two of you here with me,” he whispered to her ear in the mirror. I would like that very much. Would you?”

“Yes, I would,” she said even though she knew that sharing him was already out of the question for her.

“Stay here, just like this,” he said, moving off of and away from Martine.

The artist walked across the house.

She could hear his footsteps stop and then his voice on the phone. He was gone for a full hour.

Martine lay back and closed her eyes.


She has been caught. She has been lighting matches in the basement. Throwing the little wooden sticks into the bathroom sink.

“Just wait until your father gets home,” says the other child, the mother, “you’ll really be sorry then.”

The mother always let the father punish the child. It was how she took her pleasure. It pleased her to watch the father hate the child. But the child had a weapon. She knew that the body, her body, would quiet the father down, making him speechless and taking his hard words away.

“I’m home,” says the father strolling in through the front door taking his jacket off and handing it to the mother.

The little girl Martine stands at the top of the stairs and listens as the mother tells the father about the matches. Slowly and naturally she begins to strip off her clothing. She removes all of her clothes so that when the father looks up at her at the top of the stairs, she is naked.

“See daddy,” she says.

It is all she needs to say. The impending punishment is warded off. The battle is over and the daughter has won and the older child, mother, has lost. The hatred, deepened.


“My wife,” the artist said when he came back to the bed. “We don’t live together anymore.”

“Are you still married?”

“Yes we are still married, and we always will be.”

She was not angry that he had not told her this sooner. Instead, she was relieved to know that the other name on his answering machine was the name of woman who was not his girlfriend.

Martine was used to people like the artist. People who were gone before they were gone. The people in the middle who played the middle to their advantage. The people who made it obvious that they were not there but who also made it obvious that they were. The ones who never dared to let you know where they stood, afraid that if they let you know then there would be no more movement in their life. Their freedom forever gone. Her mother had been like that. Sitting, drinking her endless gin martinis on the couch in the living room. Gone long before she packed up and left the world of the child and the liar. Gone before she was gone.

The mother before she left had been a woman in shock. Shocked by the words of her husband. Words so painful that she would sit with her hands covering her chest as if her heart hurt. As if the pain were physical. Words about the bigness of her body. The ugliness of it. The embarrassment it caused him, the father.

“You are so fat, no one but me could ever love you. “You are so fat, you still look like you’re pregnant.” Her big blue eyes were always wide open even while she lay down on the black couch in the living room with the black furniture and the black rugs. Even on that couch where the gin was enough to make anyone sleep for days, her blue eyes stayed open. Shocked that way. Glued, thought the child Martine, the lashes to the forehead.

This father, husband, who lied about where he came from, this father who lied, his lies were not the worst of the pain he caused. His truth telling was a weapon far more potent then his lying, and with it he had murdered the mother of Martine. And she, the child Martine, had watched the liar murder the mother with truth.

“I’ll bet you get really horny sometimes, don’t you? What do you like to do about that”, he asked stroking the soft inside of her thighs. “Do you like to touch yourself like this,” he asked as his fingers went inside of her.


“How often do you like to touch yourself? Everyday?”

“Yes, everyday.”

“Like clockwork, I bet.”


Playfully, carefully, and in the middle of a sentence, he slapped her across the face.

She raised her arms in protection and jumped back, away from him.

Surprisingly and immediately she wished he would do it again so that she could register how it felt.

He smiled. He knew that she liked it even though she tried not to show it.

“No one has ever done that to you before?”


“Good. What are you doing tonight? Would you like to spend the night here with me?”

They had sex three more times during that night. He slapped her face twice more during sex. Each slap brought her closer to herself. Made her feel smaller and less powerful, and more sexual. Made her feel as though she were floating. Made her feel the way she had always thought a man and a woman should feel. It was strange to her how something so sharp and direct could make her feel like she was dreaming.


Martine dreams: I am walking in water up to my chest, cloudy water. It is a natural pond I am in.

Underneath me are large undulating fish. Some are sharks and some are dolphins, or whales.

I cannot see into the water so I use my intuition to tell me which fish are sharks and which are dolphins.

I come close to being eaten by the sharks, but I am not eaten. I am lucky.

I move very slowly across the pond until I make it to the other side. To get there, I have to bypass my normal thought processes and feelings and enter a zone of pure instinct. A place where I can sense what is around me without seeing it or knowing what it is.


Toward the morning and half asleep she put her arms around the artist. It was the only thing she could do to make the night okay.

She woke up under the angels, to the sun coming in through the blue stained glass. The big gold cross on the velvet bedspread fell right on top of her like a reverse crucifixion.

She thought that maybe she could love this man. At the same time she thought that in the light of the morning his room with all of its old wood and cold marble looked somehow dead. She thought about loving him to cover up the thought that he might be dead inside. She had never been so excited by anyone.

Martine sat up in bed. “I have a headache,” she said. “Do you have any aspirins?”

This was the first time she had asked him for anything.

The artist propped himself up on his elbows and looked at her hesitantly. For a moment he said nothing. He seemed to be deciding what to do.

“I’ll be right back,” he said.

He got up off of the bed and walked into the kitchen. When he came back, he handed her a packet of powdered aspirins and a brass bowl filled with water. Martine was slightly wary of the powder as she sprinkled it into the bowl. As she brought the water up to her face she could see that the bowl was dirty. It smelled of soup. Martine realized that he had taken a dirty dish from the sink. That had been his solution to the dilemma of being asked to serve her. He would bring her the aspirins, serve her, but only out of a dirty bowl.

She said nothing. She was not sure if he knew that she knew or not. But he did know. He had carefully chosen the dirtiest bowl in the sink so that she could not possibly mistake it for a clean one.

On her way home from the Artist’s home, Martine began to think about a little girl she had seen on the street some weeks before. The girl had been wearing a ballerina costume. A pale pink satin bodysuit with a tutu made of pink tulle. She had long straight brown hair down to her waist. She was on her toes, turning around and around, her long hair following her as she turned.

At first she had felt envious of the little girl. Of her freedom to turn round and round in the street, and of her unselfconsciousness too. But then, very suddenly, her envy had turned into fear. It would be so easy to take advantage of her she had thought. So very, very easy as she turns around in the little pink wonderland of her mind. Martine wished that the little girl’s mother would cover up her daughter’s little girl body from the eyes of strangers too interested.


Margot Berwin is the author of Hothouse Flower and the Nine Plants of Desire and Scent of Darkness.

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