Friday, August 8, 2014

First Undressing Blog Hop: Now You See Me

Several writer pals are taking part in Audra North's First Undressing Blog Hop from August 5-9. After reading a few of the fabulous bits of flash fiction by authors like Julia Kelly and Shelley Ann Clark, I was inspired to take a crack at the prompt myself. Strangers undressing one another for the camera — I can do that, right?

So, without further ado, I give you Now You See Me.




His hands skim her back, fingertips trailing across the ties of her choli like a man balancing on a high wire. The pallu of her sari beckons, and Ishika knows it’s coming but she still shivers when he tugs at the cloth and it spills loose from her shoulder and flows down over her arm.

Blue silk. Like water. They are selling the clothes and the illusion.   

The camera shutter clicks on repeat. She closes her eyes against the flash. Behind her, against her, Akash breathes in and breathes out, ruffling the fine hairs at the nape of her neck. They’ve only just met and are suddenly intimates.

Ishika turns halfway, as choreographed, and begins with the top button of his high-necked shirt. Perfectly at level with her eyes, but still her fingers fumble. The material is slippery and feels almost wet. He’s been matched to her, another swell of the same ocean, and the lens keeps record as she strips back the blue and reveals his brown skin.  

Sell the dream, she tells herself, simply sell the dream.

He traces a line down her spine with his knuckles. Down and back up. Soothing her even as she renders him bare from the waist up. Not part of the breakdown for the shoot, but he isn’t called to stop, isn’t chastised. No one tells Akash Mehra what he cannot do. He’s released a thousand doves in a five-star hotel, flown on invisible wings from the top of the Qutb Minar, come unchained and come undone. He could touch her all over and the world would simply watch.

Ishika’s dressed and undressed in front of countless strangers. In crowded rooms just off the runway, in the middle of railway platforms converted into studios, in trailers and loos and showers and gardens and fields. She’s never stripped with a magician. And, still, it surprises her when the strings binding her choli come unknotted…when he spreads his palm across her naked back and the blouse gapes in front, revealing the tops of her breasts. Only to him. The camera sees silk, sees fantasies, but not this. The way his head tilts. The secret curves at the corners of his mouth. It’s okay, he seems to tell her. This is for us.

The lights are hot. The room is stifling. Danny’s been photographing them for forty minutes. And, somehow, Akash makes it all disappear.

The camera clicks. She doesn’t even offer it a teasing look. Not when there is so much to explore before her. A light trail of hair dusts Akash’s lower belly, leading her south. His breath hitches as she tugs his belt through the loops of his fashionable jeans. She wants to pull down his zipper, push the fall of his jeans wide. She’s tempted to expose him. Only to her. This is for me, Ishika could tell him. It’s okay.

She doubts he even knew her name one hour ago. Perhaps he’s seen her face— everyone’s seen her face—but he would not know it without all the paint and promise. And now he’s learning how their bodies look together, how they fit. He’s learning…and teaching, too.

His free hand closes over hers, between them, pressing her thumb against the button of his fly. The moment stretches into two, into three. Into Danny shouting, “Okay, friends, that’s a wrap!”

They exhale as one, relief sinking their shoulders, bending their limbs. They do not step apart. No…they each tilt forward, waves crashing together, the tide rolling in. It only takes a few quick movements for Akash to fix her sari and blouse. It takes even less motion to press her lips to his throat. She tastes the ripple of his low laughter, and chases it with her own as they set his jeans and shirt to rights. Their photo shoot in reverse: two not-quite strangers dressing.  

“Hey.” There is a twinkle in his dark brown eyes when she finally looks up to meet them. “Want to get a coffee?”

Ishika smiles. Not for the camera. Just for him. Just for herself. And she reaches for his hand, squeezing it tight. “Sure.”

They are selling an illusion…but, at least tonight, he’s buying. 


3 comments:

  1. "Sell the dream..." I love that tie-in with the last line. This is gorgeous! (I'm not surprised.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! :) Such an intriguing concept...how could I resist?

    ReplyDelete