Sudden darkness and abruptly the black window was a paler square behind the Russian’s head. No bang of overstretched circuits this time, just the sudden death of all-electric light. Outside the village was blind and silent, snow-muffled under the blank sky. Beyond the rickety fences and quiet barns, the winter-dumb forest tumbled downhill to the lake, it’s snow covered ice a ghostly ribbon of faint luminescence in the dark of the night. Back up the hill towards the bank, a dog barked, wearily.
Across the frozen water, Banje and everything southward into Kosovo was emptiness, while to the north the few lights of Vitkoviće and the arc lights of the border crossing twinkled merrily, throwing shadows across the ice and climbing through the sawtooth blackness of the trees in a scribble of fire. The Serbs were playing with them again.
Sighing, she stood up from her seat across his thighs and put down his white shirt – a genuine Brookes Brothers from a genuine shop in the genuine United States – and stepped with practised ease to the nearby table and the matchbox and the candles. The match flare and the slow swell of candle-light threw deep glossy shadows into the room and painted her bare flanks and the skin of her belly a rich, warm gold. It was the light of Holbein, of Raphael, of Caravaggio.
Chiaroscuro was where Miranda Allthrop lived, hidden in the hard shade alongside the light of honest living, or as a shadow person moving in plain sight. Here she was not even Miranda. Miranda was a shade, a memory she’d left behind somewhere west of Brno, on the road from Prague. Here she was Albanian again, the anglo surname discarded, her second, (third?), identity a clichéd chambermaid in the Hotel Neženja. Here, she was behind the curtain. It was no longer iron, and officially did not exist at all, but it was there. She was isolated. One small, deniable, disposable piece of Her Majesty’s Government standing in the dark on the knife-edge of this half-forgotten and barely postponed war.
In all her years with Six, she’d never been asked to be, nor ever thought of herself as a honey trap. And yet here he was – an honest-to-goodness FSB colonel – sitting on her sofa without a shirt.
But this wasn’t that. It wasn’t work, it was something else. Escape? No. Sanctuary. A place beyond the knife-edge world, their world of dead-drops and black bags, crypto and cutouts, the world of their many aliases and their missing selves. They’d first properly met when she was hanging out laundry in the Hotel garden in bright summer when the lake and the sky were twin planes of scorching blue, the one flecked with streaks of exhausted cloud, the other awash with sun-twinkles and the sails of boats. The land seemed dark in comparison, the greens were deep and rich and the shadows inky. She remembered the bloom of sweat on her upper lip, the curls of damp hair pasted on his forehead. His voice. A deep tone, but not threatening, more like water over stones under a bridge somewhere, than the voice of the most powerful beast in the valley.
Of course, she knew who he was. She’d been briefed, and so had he. She knew this as soon as the words he spoke filtered through the mask of her assumed self.
“It is pretty, isn’t it? Our bed of nails.” And he looked out over lake Gazivode, its strategic importance, its disputed water and hydroelectric power hidden beneath the surface of that high summer day.
Tonight though she moved through candlelight and darkness, the gold light falling on a thigh here, the smooth curve of a buttock, a creature revealed in sketches among curtains of shadow. A slow flame, turning, presenting each half-lit plane and curve, each hollow, to him, her Russian. Feeling the firm and eager clasp of the lace and silks, she knew the sure effect of them. Agent Provocateur. She chuckled inwardly at the joke.
He sat bare-chested, tight rolls of skin at the waist of his black-belted slacks. She knew that his flat belly would be warm and dry, the hair on it surprisingly soft. That the small of his back was slightly damp, that he would smell faintly of leather and possibly of woodsmoke if he’d been out in the forest, among the separatists. This was far from their first rodeo. That was back in the moss-hung buzzing woods of Autumn, at her lying-up-position overlooking the bridge and the M2, trousers bunched under her knees and the binoculars jammed into her back.
Above and behind him the window was black again, his broad pugilist’s face hidden in shadow. In the black mirror of the glass, she could see only the abstract fragments of herself, and the world was locked back outside.
As she moved, taking slow steps like a cat, the bows like butterflies on her hips, the thin straps biting into her thighs, as she moved she felt her inner music build. The slow strings and solemn drumbeat swelled behind her hip bones, and she turned her back to him, kicked away the pooled silk of her discarded kimono, settled herself across his lap and began her dance.
Once astride him, she could feel again the strength in his thighs, their rigid length along her own. She crouched, grinding, felt the heat of his naked skin along her back, the powerful ridge of intimate muscle pulsing against her thong-bared haunch. He reached around and stroked her belly, running his fingers across her bunching muscles, bumping over the dark mole above her navel, reaching, reaching down. She pushed his hands away.
She spread herself wider, ground her naked skin into the bunched cloth, his cock a bar of heat between her spread buttocks, rising, twitching along her hip. The taut twill of his slacks ran slippery along her stockings, but roughly along the skin above, the inward skin, the soft sweep into her lace-cupped self. She loved it. The scratch and burn, the slight catch of skin on seam. Now slowly falling into herself she licenced his roving hands, and let them go, above, before, behind, below. Hard hands. A hard man’s hands, her hard man’s hands, their callouses rasping on her belly and catching lightly at the lace of her bra, her breasts abruptly, suddenly, full of weight and heat and the little pulse drumming, drumming, tingling out from belly and navel, and blooming, pressing her full against her warming knickers.
She was suddenly completely wet and loose and gasped at it, this flow. Both her hands made eager circles on her tits, squeezing, tugging, pulling, the thick cord of him rigid between her buttocks, and his hands plunging down and inward, hungry, hungry for her. Behind her eyes, deep within the curtained recesses of her memory, she remembered the first time he’d put those broad, strong fingers on her. Just a touch, just above her hip, nothing really, but he’d slid his hand beneath her spring raincoat to do it, and she’d flinched. But not away, oh no, flinched into him, like a cat eager to be stroked. Eager there between the aisles of the store, among the canned soup and tinned fish. He’d kissed her not long after that. Behind an umbrella on the rain-swept shore.
In the snow-bound house, it’s timber A-frame clad in feet of snow, and it’s windows a mere flickering of fire and candlelight, fleeting reminiscence passes and she – this woman who once was Miranda Allthorp – is back, in the moment and of it alone, all senses opened wide.
Wide as she is his questing hands pull her wider yet, pull her apart and tug and pull at her underwear, this strange armour that exposes rather more than it conceals. She holds his hands, half guiding their strong fingers, half stopping him from finding her so wet.
And then he is inside the thong, the lace taut across the back of his hand, the string tight against her bum, a sudden wet slipperiness, and her fingers stroke her own thighs as the gusset splits her lips. His fingers are hard bright circles and his quick lips nibble and kiss her back and arm. She stretches wider, a dancers stretch, hot, delicious pulling in her inner thighs, leans back, arching reaching up to the bra. She clumsily frees a single breast before finding herself finger-fucked relentlessly. Trembling she begins to make those bright little circles of her own.
She is all rising voice now, her knickers pulled aside, his flattened fingers fast on her spread lips, her hands and his mingle in her juices, clutching, rubbing, spreading. Twitching suddenly she slows his hands, feels a short hot ripple of orgasm, small, a hint of greater things.
She licks her own wetness from his blunt fingers, and he begins again, her hand in his hair, slow, slow, quick, quick, slow, bunching, spreading, circling. And she is a-dance again, her wide hips describing wider circles, frantic squeezes of stomach and bitten lip and she leans forward. Her hands on the table, shaking. He leans into her backside, kissing hungrily and pulls aside the thong, it is tight on her left cheek, his thumb digging in, she feels the bruise build as he first licks and then nibbles, bites, chews at her spread and desperate crux.
– she rocks, grinding back, hot and trembling –
– leans away and turns –
– kneels –
– a deep kiss –
His cock is huge under her hand, damp through the fabric. She leans down into his hot woodland scent, wool and grass and smoke. The smells of a satyr, of Pan himself. She loosens his belt, the tail of it slapping against her hand, the clank of the buckle bringing her breath into her throat. And his cock springs free, lithe, meaty, dangerous in the dark. A dark fantasy grips her, a snapshot of his quick hands upon her, the belt looped around her throat like a collar, and she engulfs his cock. It is a beautiful cock, neat and straight on his lightly furred belly, hot and hard under her hand, her seeking lips. She lets it go. It twitches. He twitches.
She kisses his balls while he strokes and then it’s her turn. Mouth and hands. At first, she can only kiss and lick around it, take the head in her mouth. It is daunting, powerful, fully two hands long from her nestling fist to the glossy tip so hard so hot inside its warm velvet sleeve, so salt so sweet under her tongue. Delirious, she bobs her head, takes him in, ridge hard against the roof of her mouth, deeper. Halfway and its blunt bullet head is pressing at the back of her tongue. Dear god, how to fit it all in. Butterflies, little licks at the head while she cups him.
– he is curved now, so full –
She stands, watches him stroke with practised ease as she slips off her thong. She moves to straddle him, but he is so beautiful to watch, his hands so deft she changes angle, lies across his lap, and brings her trembling wet slot alongside his straining tip, feels his fingers, knuckles, cock, nudge at her crux, feels her slick self-opening eager, hot.
Right hand stroking long and hard, his left finds her arse. A single stinging slap which swirls through her from tingling hip to clit to nipple and a shaking indrawn breath. Then his fingers find her. As he fucks her, so does he rub his cockhead along her wide open slit.
She is full of heat and light, loose and liquid. At their nexus, both are wet, slick, salty, needful.
– stretched suspenders bite –
– she stands –
– shaking legs of a colt, clumsy –
She takes his cock in her neat, strong fist. Long circular strokes, concentrated on the head, then turns and straddles him. His hard cock is a hot bar, a pillar pressing against her pubis. She settles, finds the spot and rising pulls him back under her, crudely, roughly crushing him against her swollen clit and sinks down onto him, their groans mingling.
– fast squatted rises through burning quads,
– cock fat, tight, stretching
She leans back and takes some weight on her hands. She is nothing but the burn in her quads and triceps, the indescribable fullness, the stretch and swell.
– fast fast fast –
– sink and grind –
She reprises her lap dance, rotates her hips around his spindle, feels the burgeoning, the heat and rides for her life, breath thick and fast.
– wet slick noises spilling dripping –
– faster faster now a gallop –
– voices raised in ragged harmony –
She rides and pauses, rides and pauses, her one bared breast spilled free bouncing, wholly forgotten in this squall of need. Breathes deeply and then gallops again, faster, faster, tearing from her shadowed lover the sounds of some woodland animal. Two, three small ripples of orgasm, the twitch of him too, silenced by her abruptly still hips, little spurts as they get wetter.
– abandonment –
Then slow, long, all the way up and all the way down, teasing, teasing, perched right there on his tip, only half of him, still stretching, her hooded clit slipping and tripping over the ridge of him, in and out.
– taut burning thighs –
– the growing spiral of pleasure heat discomfort longing –
Trembling, slick with her sweat and his, with their arousal, almost blown, she digs in for the last, fast, ride, mingled juices filling the tiny gaps between them.
– faster faster thigh slap wet slap groan gasp
– clumsy, shaking weakening legs –
– yes, yes, oh fuck –
She comes tightly, rigid pulses driving her down onto him and he rises up driving deep inside her. She feels him swell again and this time lets him fly, fly through the deep grind and circle of her hips, and she feels the long fountainhead burst, the heat rushing up inside her, as her own orgasm ripples on.
Exhausted, she climbs off his gently wilting hardness and slumps across him. Hot and aching and bathed in trembling candlelight, she strokes and pets herself, gentling her twitching slit through the ripple of aftershocks, feeling his still impressive length hot against her weary thigh. Tomorrow they will once again adopt their roles, players on this forgotten stage, but tonight is freedom, freedom to be merely lovers, stranded in the snow.