He pours lavender and calendula oil into my hot, foaming bath, a deep golden blend enriched with soy and avocado. His manly musk mixes in with the fragrance of well-scrubbed Miss Makeover – on heat but trying my best to look aloof. He rubs my shoulders with his strong hands, nuzzles the nape of my neck, whispers some lewdly poetic praise into my ear.
“Down, boy!” I tell him, although he’s making me purr.
“I missed your scent,” he says. “Your soulful eyes, your smile.”
After that it gets too spicy for print. Besides, it’s intimate, just for him and me. My, it’s hot in here. Steamy, too. He must be wilting in his tux, although his starched wing collar remains stiff. Limpness is not an issue with My Man Max. He’s hard when he wants to be and soft when I need cuddling. When it comes to a good cosseting he’ll cherish you till you’re red in the face, sighing for mercy.
He’s an Alpha Male, yet emotionally literate. Such a combination is not easy to find but you can create one. Although, the Goddess knows, you’ll need patience. And a firm hand.
I get the faintest rasp of beard growth as he whispers some sweet and salty sex talk. My Man Max makes the average razor ad Adonis look like an alcoholic rough sleeper but they have yet to invent a razor that can tame his testosterone-crazed stubble. Still, if you want a real man you have to take the rough with the smooth. His blue eyes sparkle as he leans in for more wicked whispering.
“Stop it!” I tell him. Even if I wasn’t giggling he would know I mean ‘Carry on! And crank it up, big boy.’
He’s just back from a City of London function, hence the Tux. Something painfully boring yet massively lucrative has just happened to his firm of arbitrageurs. Sorry, nearly nodded off just typing ‘arbitrageurs’. I’d sooner listen to a weepy drunkathon from my idiot mother than attempt to explain what he does. My Man Max plays with pretend money, which turns into large amounts of real cash, some of which he spends on me (although far too much of it goes on sports cars.) Rich, rugged, racy; he’s still under thirty and yet he is not an arrogant bastard. How often do you get that combination? I could call him a toyboy, as I am on my fourth twenty-ninth birthday. However, I look up to him in more than just height.
He’s very smart, without being condescending, masterful, without being overbearing, macho, without being brutish and sensitive without being a big girl’s blouse. He’s a bigger-brained Pierce Brosnan, tough as early Sean Connery, suave as Roger Moore, smart as Timothy Dalton – all without the wearisome codswallop that comes with real thespians. Maybe he’s Bond without the balderdash. Men like him and women lurve him. Some would find his good looks boring, perhaps even gay. Until you notice the intriguing scar down the side of one cheek. He changes the explanation for its existence as often as he upgrades his computers so I’m assuming he has a dark secret. And, by the twinkle in his eye, the other guy probably ended up worse.
My Man Max puts a manicured hand into the bath and swirls the water around, wafting up aromatic bath oil over us both. He strokes my belly in slow insistent circles. Drifting downwards, sailing slowly into port. It doesn’t take long before my eyes are closed and he gives me a brief taste of what is to come. So handsome. And hands on. Just where you need them. His busy fingers stroke and soothe, rubbing me softly. After a brief sojourn somewhere private he withdraws his hand and dries it carefully. No Mess Max, the only house-trained male I ever knew.
“I’ve fluffed the duvet, mixed your Pink Lady, prepared a Cole Porter playlist.”
Could he be after something? Well, he may very well be in luck. I can’t give in that easily though. It’s the rules. Men should be wrong-footed as often as possible. Which I’m usually happy to do. And then My Man Max opens his mouth and names three romantic classics in that deep, wicked, manly rasp that always turns me all gooey.
“‘You’d be so nice to come home to’. ‘Easy to love’. ‘I get a kick out of you’.”
Three of my favourites. I was a cocktail pianist once upon a time. Then I was Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End bitch for a while, churning out his synthesized pigswill till drug addiction and various personality disorders terminated any further chance of employment. Pigface often made secret visits to check up on his little darlings and my slapdash keyboard work (a little the worse for lunchtime cocktails) reduced him to tears, the big girl’s blouse. Well, if I achieve nothing else in this life I can still retire happily. I made Andrew Lloyd Webber cry! Which he probably does every time he looks in a mirror come to think of it.
Cole Porter was a genius, as opposed to a fortunate gargoyle. With risible hair. My Man Max once flew me first class to watch a Porter show on Broadway. He’s so considerate. For the moment I stay calm, raising an eyebrow, checking in the many mirrors to see if I look inquiring as opposed to imperious. Max understands my moods. I don’t need to shout. The Pink Lady turns out to have enough lemon to be tangy but not enough to make you blanch.
“I forgot the cherry,” he says, “Sorry.”
“Stuff the cherry,”
“Very well, Ma’am.”
A mock bow, a hint of a smile. I toast his very good health. If only he wasn’t away so often. If only he wasn’t married to fast cars. You think he pampers me? It’s nothing to what those bitches get. He might massage me but they get their bodies rubbed and oiled and buffed and…I’d rather not know what else he does to them.
He leaves on some unspecified errand. I subside back into the water and let it wash away the memory of idiotic clients and the hard ache of missing my son, which is never too far away even during a severe pampering. I picture My Man Max and me on our wedding day. St Paul’s Cathedral or Brixton registry office? And should I have my mother sectioned before the ceremony?
I recall our last lovemaking, the strangled sound of his release, the sigh of his gratitude. For once he wasn’t in control and that’s my fierce pleasure. Unmanning him for a brief moment. He walks past the open door, naked, his tight, taut bum crying out to be nibbled. To be teased and tweaked.
That does it. I was never too good at delayed gratification. I want him. I want him now. I step out, towel off quickly and walk towards my cherishing.
Fill me up. Up to the brim.