June1The garden party was hosted by the Dutch Consulate, to celebrate Queen Maxima of the Netherland’s birthday. I didn’t know Holland still had a monarchy, and Beatrix? Really? Sure enough, the huge, lush garden was dotted around with kitschy plastic standees featuring a hefty woman in an orange dress doing that regal wave thing.  We were only there for the free booze.

It was getting dark, which promised to bring down the heat but also to ring the dinner bell for the evening mosquitoes, so I was thinking of leaving when I saw her come striding across the ridiculously manicured lawn. All I could think of was: how could I have been living in the humid hell-hole of Saigon and not have noticed this woman before? Not possible. Not possible.

She was at least six feet tall, lean and lithe as bamboo, with close-cropped hair bleached a dazzling white.  A cap of neat frost that gleamed against her dark, dark skin. Her face, her neck, her shoulders were carved from some secret, precious wood. The way her tendons stretched her skin, the way the lines formed at the corners of her wide mouth when she smiled. Her lips wet with plum lipstick the exact colour of her fluttering, oversized silk shirt. She was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen.

“Who is that?” I asked Nicolas. When he didn’t answer, I elbowed him. “Who the fuck is that?”

“I don’t know,” he said. He clucked his tongue and dabbed at the beer I’d jostled onto his evening jacket.

“Bullshit. You know everyone.” And it was true. Nicolas knew everyone. He was the Spanish economic attache and the biggest slut in the tiny expat community in Saigon.  That was saying something because, as diplomatic backwaters go, Saigon was the back of beyond. There was literally nothing to do but drink, play golf and fuck.

“I can’t remember her name. She’s the girlfriend of that English lady lawyer.” That explained much; Nicolas would never remember the name of a woman he didn’t think he could bed. “Es lesbiana.”

“Pues, mejor. Introduce me,” I demanded, dragging him by the arm across the grounds, close to where she stood, holding court and a flute of something in her hand.

“I didn’t know you liked girls,” he said, quietly. “We could have a threesome. I know this French chick who’d be up for that.”

“I’m never going to fuck you. You know that, right?”  I whispered.

He sighed theatrically. “You’re a user and a tease.”

“Exactly. Now introduce me.”

“How can I make an introduction when I don’t know her name?”

I stopped, feeling my kitten heels sink into the sodden grass. “You’re a bloody diplomat. Think of something.”

I smoked a cigarette and waited in the evening gloom while he traipsed off to ask around. Someone switched the hanging lanterns on and I watched her talk and laugh and sip her drink and use her broad, long-fingered hands to envelope her listeners in whatever spell she was weaving. I couldn’t stop watching her. I wanted to be in that circle, within reach of those hands, and the perfume I was so sure she wore.

Nicolas returned with another glass of beer. “Jude. Her name is Jude.”

“Alright, come on then,” I said, tugging his arm.

“Fuck that. I’m bored. I’m leaving with the Columbians. Come with us. It’ll be fun.”

The ‘Columbians’ were not a drug cartel.  The Restrepo family, a brother and two identical twin sisters, owned a vast coffee estate up in the highlands above Daklak.  They were rumoured to be unnaturally close, to put it politely. Having sat across a table from them for a whole evening at some over-priced Australian gala, I was fairly certain the rumours were true.

“You prick. Introduce me first.”

“Introduce yourself.”  And he was off.

I stood there in the dark garden, with the winking lantern lights, having my ankles ravaged by mosquitoes, watching her, listening to her talk and laugh. She had a laugh like spun sugar. Pulling off into sweet threads and then breaking abruptly when it got too thin.

The crush was paralyzing. I couldn’t find the courage to enter circle of light she gave off.

Not then.

(continued here)

  16 comments for “Jude

  1. TFP
    May 11, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    The appetizer has been consumed…~Smiles~
    I was there at the party as soon as I stated reading.
    How is The Good Shepherd part 4 coming along?

  2. Kit
    May 11, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    “Tune in next week for the next exciting episode”?!! I hope so! You’re a delightful tease, RG. 😉 Delicious word pictures. I’m right there in the crowd, swatting at mozzies and trying to balance canapés.

  3. SixSix
    May 13, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Your work is like a beautiful necklace…one pearl after another!

  4. Maxima
    May 14, 2014 at 2:17 am

    Dear RG, I love reading your stories, but fact is that Dutch don’t celebrate M’s birthday… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_M%C3%A1xima_of_the_Netherlands… Also Holland is a region 😉 Had to leave this comment since there is no other option to contact you 🙁 Your stories are awesome! x

    • May 14, 2014 at 8:23 am

      Well, your consulate in HCMC was celebrating SOME queen’s birthday or anniversary in 2003, because I went to the event. And everyone was wearing orange, and there were cut-out standees of this woman waving. So… what was that? It DID happen because I actually lived through it, and I’d stopped dropping acid by 2003.

      • Maxima
        May 15, 2014 at 10:10 pm

        It must have been queen Beatrix. Maxima is married to the current king. Dutch used to celebrate Queen’s day on the 30th of April, many wear orange (traditional colour of the royal family) big event in the Netherlands mostly to those from abroad coming down to celebrate and get pissed (large-scale celebrations, concerts, etc. check Wiki if you like). No offense meant, I avoid these events and orange is definitely not my fav colour! 😉

        • May 15, 2014 at 10:16 pm

          Ah… that could be it. But they used a picture of a fairly young woman waving. Maybe it was an old picture?

          • Maxima
            May 16, 2014 at 7:24 pm

            Could be, it’s easy tho to recognise Beatrix because of the silly hairdo 😉 She’s had it for donkey’s years. It’s a short bob, sprayed like a stiff helmet. Pretty sure you would remember this 😉 If it was a blond it could’ve been Maxima’s marriage celebration but this was in 2002… 🙂 Either way, I’m sure you’ll find the perfect rewording!

  5. adrienne
    May 15, 2014 at 4:04 am

    That’d be the Queen’s Day Celebration 🙂 (Koninginnedag) then .

    Wonderful piece RG. I’m there with you. Mossies, heat, heels sinking into the grass, the faint smell of night flowering plants and cigars, and I have an instant ‘mental picture of Jude. Thank you for delighting my senses.

    • May 15, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      Yes, Maxima also said that. I’ll have to reword when I take a second run at it. Thank you both.

  6. libby
    June 7, 2014 at 10:05 am

    it’s good i loveed it 🙂 😉

  7. Stary
    June 8, 2014 at 3:28 am

    I’ve been there, and I’ve not had the balls to walk into the light! I’ve only just discovered your work and I like that its so real.

  8. June 12, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    They were rumoured to be unnaturally close…

    side note: Coulter liked to have all sorts of “unnatural” relationships in her writing.

    Good story. Nice tease. Def want to know waht happens next. I haven’t been on the site in awhile, gotta make sure to bookmark it ’cause goodness knows I appreciate a good bit of erotic fiction.

  9. Katie Corus
    March 18, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    Oh, You! To feel in the mood for only me and erotic fiction, to google “online erotic fiction” and to have you present brazen at the top of the page, to feel ashamed that I have not read you much at all beyond Twitter, and to become intent on remedy. I trilled at the sight of you tonight knowing already you shall thrill for the rest of this evening. Don’t you dare stop writing!

  10. May 6, 2016 at 12:19 am

    I had no need to even read past the first few sentences to know your a natural storyteller.Just wish you had the same kind of confidence about it.Keep writing if you ask me

    • May 6, 2016 at 9:11 am

      Thank you. I’ve been doing it for about 14 years, so I’m unlikely to stop now.

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