Belinda turned to see the pleasant, broadly smiling face of an old woman. She smiled back.
"You dropped something dear," the woman said quietly.
"Yes, I think it was a postage stamp. Stamps are quite expensive you know, you should look after them."
"No, I don't think I have any stamps," Belinda replied shyly.
"Well you definitely dropped something that looked like one dear."
"I'm sorry; I can't get it now, I'll come back for it.... hands are a little full...as you can see."
Belinda was about to turn around, to check how far back in the line she still was, when the old woman sneezed loudly.
"Ahhhh, the dust, the dust. How long are we going to be? I've got a doctor's appointment at ten and I have to travel all the way to Queens." she whispered impatiently. The woman carried a variety of dusty old clothes; all neatly folded, which she now transferred to her left arm. She then bent down and picked up the object that she had seen fall from Belinda's sizable pile of purchases. Belinda felt a long, bony finger slip whatever it was into the back pocket of her jeans.
"There, I've popped it into your pocket dear."
She turned back just as the woman in front of her moved forward. Belinda was now third from the front of the line. She looked down at the assortment of things she was going to buy; five old books, a bag of old sewing gear, seven 1960's plates - some with chips on the rims, a violin with no strings, a large gaudy West German vase from the 50s, a bag of half finished crochet work, seven bead necklaces and a stack of old magazines.
When Belinda finally got to the counter the old man behind it smiled,
"Wow you certainly have lovely red hair Miss." At which Belinda grinned broadly. "Now what have you bought missy, let's see..er."
He looked at Belinda's collection and rubbed his chin. Then he turned to a young man who was standing nearby, busily texting.
"Nathan, why the hell did we only price the furniture and the white goods?"
"Don't look at me, Father Dorante's orders, and don't swear we're in church."
The old man scowled, then lowered his voice,
"Where did you say all this stuff came from anyway?"
The young man glanced at Belinda's haul, shook his head briefly then returned his attention to his phone. The old woman standing behind Belinda then spoke.
"Oh probably old Mrs.Occiodoro; she died last year. Been in this neighborhood all her life. She was all alone but her place was full of dusty old stuff. These are some of her clothes. I think she had relatives back in Italy or in Eastern Europe; Vienna I think. But she hadn't heard from them in years. We've had most of these things in storage until today. The church can only hold this sale once every two years - once we've collected enough junk."
The old man turned back to Belinda.
"What do you think it's all worth?" He asked, almost jokingly.
"Twenty bucks," replied Belinda hopefully.
"Oh, you're an Australian!"
"Yes, from Adelaide but I live here in Brooklyn now."
"Well, I was in Australia during the war, I was with the 7th Air Force. We were stationed in Brisbane and I still have the shrapnel to prove it," he laughed.
"Ah, that's nice; I've never been to Brisbane or to Queensland, I'm from down south."
"Oh, it's a lovely country. I go back every couple of years, except when the Labor Party is in power."
Belinda was about to reply when the old woman behind her cleared her throat. She looked at the old man wide-eyed and with her head to one side."
"Oh, heck, gimme ten bucks," said the old man.
"No, thank you. All the money we raise goes to keep the church going and to charity - mostly here in the city."
"I'm glad to help."
She paid the man and turned to go. The disparate objects that she clung to were rapidly slipping out of her hands and she paused to gather them up more securely. It was only a few blocks to her apartment building but she doubted she would make it. It was worth a try she decided and so she set off. She left the cool of the old church and stepped out onto the street.
It was 8:30 am on a Saturday and traffic in Brooklyn's Crown Heights district was already heavy. Brooklyn had become Belinda's home six months ago. Once over the initial culture shock, she had grown to love her new neighborhood. She had found a small but cozy apartment in a renovated brown-stone on Lincoln Place. This put her within walking distance of the Brooklyn Museum and the Botanic Gardens with Prospect Park as a green, verdant oasis only a few streets away.
Her reasons for coming to New York were many; to leave home she had saved and worked hard. A change of scene was what she needed after the end of a long and complicated relationship. Complicated was not the word for it, she reflected, failed or disastrous was far more apt. The prospect of leaving everything she was familiar with behind frightened her at first but soon she appreciated it for the liberating, cathartic experience that it had proved to be. She had embraced life in New York wholeheartedly and the city had been kind and welcoming to her. But there was so much of New York that at times she felt like a microorganism swimming in a very big pond. Her little slice of Brooklyn was enough for now and it presented her with much that was fascinating and intriguing.
Most fascinating and intriguing of all was Mr. Crush.
She had first seen him on the day she picked up and brought home the keys to her new apartment. She had just emerged from the elevator into the hallway and there he was; striding towards her. He was black and handsome and wore a dark red-brown three piece suit and shiny black shoes; giving her the fleeting impression of 1940s elegance. He noticed her almost immediately, smiled broadly and said,
"Hi, how you doin.'
She paused and nodded, smiling shyly but saying nothing. He passed her and nodded, then pressed the down button on the elevator. She stood against the wall and stared at his back silently as he waited for the elevator to arrive. Her eyes noted his broad shoulders, slim physique and confident stance.
Belinda did not believe in love at first sight but lust at first sight was a far more acceptable concept. She named him Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½Mr.Crush' and in the coming days she found herself thinking about him more and more. Some evenings, she left her door slightly ajar and would discretely watch him and his friends come and go. She saw a long parade of sophisticated, beautiful people of all types. Amongst the women there were hot, long legged Latinas with cascades of raven hair; tall devastatingly beautiful ebony babes and smoldering dusky goddesses; there were lethal looking glacial blondes and exquisite oriental chicks that seemed to be made of porcelain turned into flesh.
She felt a little guilty that she was spying on him but she couldn't help it; it was her indulgence and the hallway was public space after all. Whenever she saw him or even caught a glimpse of him, her heart beat faster, her knees felt weak and her mouth dried up. He was clean shaven, with a square jaw and a closely shaved head, but what always struck her were his eyes; they were intense and restless; like the eyes of a hunter and might once have been the eyes of a lion - in a prior existence, she mused. She imagined he was an NYPD detective; no doubt packing some sexy, non-department issue hand gun. At times he seemed grave and pensive as though he carried some huge responsibility on his shoulders. But most of the time he radiated an abundant, easy confidence that she found increasingly appealing.
"He's so cool and so hot," she found herself saying over and over, whenever the thought of him entered her mind.
At night she would sometimes pose naked in front of her mirror and look again at the whiteness of her skin and the plume of pure flame that was her hair. Her few freckles and her pale skin had been life-long companions as had her sea-green eyes. At 24, she was slim and athletic, she liked the size and shape of her breasts with soft areolas and rose-bud nipples, her ass too filled her jeans aesthetically enough. The curling orange lock of hair above her pussy hinted broadly at the ripe and luscious fruit below - a fruit that was there for the taking but a fruit that she would not easily give away.
Men had told her many times that she was beautiful and in her heart she knew that they had spoken earnestly. But her natural modesty and her innate shyness prevented her from thinking of herself as beautiful, sexy or desirable.
"What would a hot, tall, black guy like him think of me, would he even notice me," she asked herself silently as she imagined a pair of dark, strong hands tracing the curves of her sides and her hips as she stood nude before the mirror. She had had this fantasy for years and the hands were always disembodied, anonymous hands but now, more and more, they became the hands of her neighbor Mr. Crush.
She saw little of him during the day and at night, if he came home at all; it was usually after 9pm. He lived in the apartment directly opposite hers. When she had found this out, a sense of euphoric elation had come over her; as though she had been drinking on an empty stomach. She was quick to sweep her section of the passageway, dust her door and tidy her first room in case he looked in and saw it. Sometimes she heard strains of his music - rap, soul, blues and hip-hop; she would smile indulgently, imagining that he was playing them for her. At other times she would notice the latent aroma of his aftershave in the elevator; a distinctive blend of cedar and pine. She would close her eyes and breathe it in. The scent would invariably make her mouth water and her skin tingle. But the elevator ride was brief and when the bell rang, her reverie would end and she would be returned to the concrete reality of Lincoln Place and its ceaseless bustle.
Still, the elevator figured large in her fantasies. In her mind it was a warm, intimate place, far outside the space-time continuum. She would imagine herself standing in it nude; facing the burnished metal wall. Sometimes she would wait there for several long minutes flexing each of her leg muscles in turn then flexing her buttocks and abdomen as though she was preparing for a race. She would repeatedly thrust her ass out towards the elevator doors - seemingly inviting any man who might enter to fuck her. But only one man ever entered; silently and stealthily like the predator that he was. Soon she would smell his aroma and her pussy would moisten. Her juices would drip onto the heavy rubber floor and the depths of her would tingle with expectation. She never saw his face but she would look down and see his bare feet and muscular legs standing only inches behind her. Then she would lean against the elevator wall and flick her red hair to one side. Thrusting her ass towards him, she would whisper,
"Fuck me, fuck me hard."
But he would not answer her. Instead she would feel his warm palms rubbing her sides slowly then tracing the curves of her hips. His hands would travel down her snowy thighs and return, his fingers would find their way to her ass cheeks, massage them and knead them; just enough to arouse her further. His fingers would always trace the cleft of her ass and retreat. He would do no more. She would sigh and try to press her ass against him but he would always step back. Finally the elevator doors would open and he would leave just as silently as he had entered. Maddened and frustrated by this fantasy but also deeply aroused, Belinda would rapidly and repeatedly thrust her fingers deep into her dripping pussy. She would rub her juices onto her clit and trap it between two fingers, massaging it into a state of total sensual overload. She would come and clench her teeth or bite her finger as the waves of pleasure washed over her.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
One Monday afternoon, three weeks after she had moved in, she emerged from her door to find a short woman with a cleaning cart in front of Crush's door. The woman turned from the door and smiled, offering a brief Buenos dies. She rearranged some of the items on her cart then tossed a heavy bunch of keys onto it which landed in their designated spot with a loud metallic crunch. Belinda smiled and said Hello then turned towards the elevator. She had not taken two steps when an idea formed in her mind. She stopped and turned back to see that the cleaner had opened another door and was wheeling her cart through it singing to herself in Spanish. Belinda watched her intently for a few minutes then looked at her watch. It was 1:30.
"Mondays at 1:30pm. Hmmmmm..."
D K Abramowitz - Instrument Restorer
"Ah, this looks like the place."
Belinda entered the tiny store. Behind a dark wooden counter sat a tiny old man. His face was tanned and lined, he had a grizzled white beard and a few strands of white hair were tucked behind his large fleshy ears. He looked up from behind gold half-rimmed spectacles but said nothing. His eyes were pale blue and bright despite his obvious age. Belinda wondered if he might be some elderly relative; left to mind the store while the owner was out.
"Are you the owner sir?"
"Daniel Kaspar Abramowitz at your service. Call me Kaspar."
His voice was strange; mellow and warm behind his New York accent. He smiled and Belinda saw a wily twinkle in his eye.
"Nice to meet you Kaspar."
"Now, what can I do for you young lady."
Belinda took the violin out of the plastic bag and placed it on the counter.
"I'd like you to look at this violin and tell me if it's worth restoring?"
He picked the violin up and stared at it; turning it over several times. He then closed one eye and examined all its curves and straight lines and finally tapped its back gently. Soon his face clouded over and he knitted his brows as though he was contemplating some mystery. He was silent for so long that Belinda's eyes began to wander around the store. It was neat and clean; smelling pleasantly of cigar smoke and wood varnish. The orderly rows of instruments; beautiful in their organic curves and noble proportions, stood in silent testament to their conservator's skill and care. She saw violins and a few cellos, violas and a huge old double-bass. There were old shop fittings that looked like they had been made in the 1940s and a couple of pieces of elaborate antique furniture. On one wall was a large old photograph in an ornate gilded frame. It was a family portrait of several distinguished looking men in smart military uniforms along with six women and several children. From the look of the women's clothes Belinda guessed that the photo was taken in the Edwardian era. She could not recognize the uniforms but guessed they may be Eastern European.
"Where did you get this from?" Abramowitz asked at last, peering over his spectacles and startling her a little.
"I bought it at a church charity sale a week ago."
"Oh, which church?"
"St Jude's I think it was, over in Crown Heights."
He seemed unimpressed by this information and a distinct frown settled on his lined features.
"How much did you pay for it?"
"A couple of bucks."
He looked at her as though expecting her to say more. When she did not, he asked,
"Do you play?"
"Oh no, it's for my nephew, as a birthday present. He plays in the school band."
"Hmmmm, well, it's certainly a very nice old instrument."
"Can you restore it?"
His eyes widened and, for an instant, he broke into a broad grin,
"It will be a pleasure. I'll give you my card but come by whenever you like, I'm always open."
After taking Kaspar's card and leaving her phone number, Belinda hurried home. Since it was a Saturday she felt she had a greater chance of spotting Mr. Crush as he didn't seem to work weekends. She reprimanded herself for giving him such a silly name but then she reflected that, over the past month, he had become much more than just a crush. She found him on her mind more and more; especially when she was alone. At such times her hand would travel down to stroke her pussy and she would massage her nipples with wet fingers; imagining that it was his lips that were doing the work.
Two days after taking the violin to Abramowitz, Belinda got a phone call from him asking to see her. He was rather evasive as to exactly why but something about his voice, some note of urgency in it, tweaked her interest. An hour later she entered the store to find him standing in the middle of the floor holding the violin. He was a short man and carried himself with considerable dignity but there was something enigmatic about him, some unspoken mystery. He wore a long, dark blue coat with porcelain buttons and loose sleeves which made him look somewhat comical; like a sorcerer from a children's book. He held the violin up and beckoned her to come closer.
"Look through this hole and you'll see a dark area." Belinda looked inside the violin through one of the f-holes and saw a rectangular patch of slightly discoloured wood. "There should be a little rectangular label there. It's come off but you can still see the remains of the glue. You don't happen to have it do you?"
"Is it important?"
"Well, it might just tell us who made the violin, or where it was made, or when, or all three if we're lucky."
"Do you have any idea?"
He looked at her sideways and smiled, "Well, I wouldn't like to guess." He was clearly being evasive but she did not press the matter.
"You said it was old."
"It looks old but it could be a 19th century or early 20th century reproduction. I'd have to show it to some people I know."
"Sorry, my nephew's birthday is in a month. I have to send it to his mother soon."
"Yeah, ok, leave it with me a few days longer and I'll have an answer for you. It's a beautiful instrument the kid should be proud."
* * * * * * * * * * *
After leaving Kaspar's, Belinda slowly wandered home. It was a warm, still afternoon and along the streets that led her home to Lincoln Place she marveled, as she had often done, at the sheer vibrancy of Brooklyn and its cosmopolitan charm. She passed groups of people of every description; she caught strains of music and chatter from a hundred tongues, she saw interesting, alternative people everywhere; beautiful women and men; loving and laughing, resting and wrangling, toiling and talking. This was the heart and soul of the city - its people - E Pluribus Unum - damn right. But above all that she saw, one face loomed large; the face of her Crush, the face of her obsession.
Twenty minutes later Belinda was home. She pushed open her door while casting a discreet eye at the door behind her. It occurred to her to go up to it and knock, just to see what would happen. What harm could there be in that? Crush was not home and it would be a daring, childishly impish thing to do, it would be a little harmless fun. She abruptly dropped her parcels and her shopping and turned. A sly smile crossed her lips and she quickly padded up to the door. There was a spy hole and she looked right into it before rapping hard on the wood with tightly clenched knuckles. She waited for twenty seconds, during which time thrills of anticipation raced up her spine,
"Shit, what if he's home and coming to the door right now? What will I say to him?"
She turned from the door and headed for her own. She nearly slammed it shut and stood against it. Already her pussy tingled and soon her panties would be moist. She could feel her heart beat as it pumped adrenalin to every corner of her body. She stripped off her skirt and took off her shoes and leggings. She then lay back on the couch and pulled her panties aside. She licked her hand several times with a broad tongue as though she was a cat. Wasting no time, she spread her labia and plunged her fingers into her silken slit. She was rapidly becoming wet and enjoyed the sweet sensation of her fingers stimulating her slick and sensitive pussy. Now she moistened her clit and massaged it gently; sending waves of pure pleasure radiating through her body.
"Oh it was good, no it was wonderful!"
Her pleasure centers reacted quickly to the stimuli and she found herself writhing and giggling as her hand caressed every fold of her pussy. All the time, she imagined Crush's tongue plunging into her luscious slit to emerge dripping wet. He would then circle and tickle her clit; lapping at it as though it dripped with nectar. Meanwhile his powerful hands held her legs apart; stretching her open so that his tongue could penetrate ever deeper into her. She felt amazing as she spread her legs across the couch and plunged first two, then three fingers into her ravenous pussy.
It was all deliciously wicked and she relished the pure pleasure that now flowed from her inmost depth through all her limbs. She intensified her efforts and soon came; clenching her teeth and indulging in a string of sweet profanities that she would never otherwise use. As the sound of her voice faded, a new desire formed in her heart. She pulled a box out from under her bed and removed the lid. She smiled as her eyes settled on what lay within. It was a large, curving black dildo. She had ordered it on-line a couple of weeks before. She had bought it on a whim, never having owned one before. It had taken her a little while to become accustomed to the feel of it inside her but now she was addicted.
Her pussy tingled pleasantly once again as the sight and feel of the dildo in her hand made her crave its satisfying dimensions in another place. She quickly applied lube to it and rubbed its tip against the cleft of her ass cheeks. It was not long before she was aroused by the smooth hard head sliding smoothly against her sensitive skin. Soon she was tickling her perky asshole with the dildo; teasing it with the tip and gently stretching its rim. She wondered what Mr. Crush would think of her ass. Would he like it? Maybe she would wear slutty short shorts one day to get his attention. Would he want to knead her butt cheeks, to pull them apart like a bread roll and what would his tongue feel like flicking across her willing rim?
"Mmmmmm, too fucking lovely to contemplate!"
She plunged the dildo deeper into her ass and her inner muscles received it gratefully; clenching around it and relaxing as it awakened lust deep within her that, until recently, she had never even dreamed about. She then grabbed the end of the rubber cock and slowly twisted it. Then she thrust it in and out; rapidly building up rhythm and speed. The sensation that now radiated through her ass made her mouth drool and her skin tingle with exquisite pleasure. Expressions of indescribable desire left her mouth as she gave vent to her need. She craved the feeling of the heavy rubber cock more and more; it filled her insides and made her pussy drip honey. It was bigger and longer than any real cock she had ever experienced and now in the grip of ecstasy she needed it even deeper, even faster and ever harder.
"Fuck me. Fuck me with your cock. Fuck my brains out, fuck me, fuck me!
She repeated these words several more times until she thought she heard noises coming from out in the hallway. She slid the dildo from her ass and imagined her hole gaping wide after Mr. Crush had eased his cock from her. She stood up and pictured his sweet, hot seed dripping from her ass and running down her inner thighs. Finally she saw herself rubbing it into the skin of her ass cheeks and licking the remainder from her fingers.
"If only...If only...I had you."
* * * * * * * * *
The next morning, just after seven thirty, Belinda walked to the Aroma CafÃ© on the corner of Lincoln Place and Washington Avenue. It was a beautiful clear morning and she had decided to spend the day being as idle as possible. She had found the cafÃ© weeks ago and had been immediately impressed by its 1970s interior and retro fittings. The owners were a young and friendly couple; Rita and Jon, who always made excellent coffee. On this particular morning the cafÃ© seemed busier than usual and she had to sit by the door.
She walked up to the counter and was greeted by Rita,
"Hi, what would you like?"
"A cappuccino and one of your almond flake cookies."
Belinda pulled a handful of change from her back pocket where it had a tendency to accumulate along with paperclips, rubber bands, beads, bread tags and buttons.
"Where are you sitting today?"
Belinda turned and was about to point to her table when she froze. Sitting not five feet away from where she stood was Mr. Crush. He was alone; sipping coffee and reading a newspaper. As usual he was impeccably dressed and immaculately groomed. She wanted to step up to him and breathe in his aftershave; she wanted to say "Hi" and she wanted him to notice her. Instead she started to tremble; causing the pile of change and other objects in her hand to lose its precarious stability. Inevitably one coin worked its way loose and fell to the floor rolling towards him and coming to rest by his foot. She dropped another soon after and then three more.
The falling change made Crush look up from his newspaper then he noticed a shiny new quarter by his shoe. He picked the coin up, looked at her and grinned.
"Did you drop this?"
She nodded and forced herself to smile then accepted it back from him with a croaked Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½thank you'. He didn't seem to remember her and this caused her some regret. After retrieving the rest of the coins, she turned back to Rita and smiled although her face was rapidly turning red.
"That'll be four-fifty honey."
She looked down at the mound of change and other things in her rapidly moistening palm and struggled to put together the right combination of coins to pay Rita. Finally she did so and was about to return to her table when she noticed something totally unfamiliar amongst the nickels, dimes, pennies and quarters.
It was a rectangular piece of white cardboard about the size of an average postage stamp. She picked it out and returned to her table with as much dignity as she could muster. She dumped the change and all the other small items back into her pocked and sat down. She then placed the cardboard rectangle on the table and peered at it. One side of it was discoloured and a little rough; upon the other side there were two concentric circles with a cross in the centre around which the capital letters A.S.C. had been arranged. To the left of the circles were the numerals 1 6 9 0.
Her first impression was that it was a religious symbol of some sort or that it had some astrological significance. Then again, she thought, it might be a token from a board game. At length she glanced up from it just in time to see Mr. Crush stand to leave. He walked by her and smiled but she pretended not to notice. She felt disappointed that he was gone but also relieved; as she was sure that had he stayed, she would have further embarrassed herself in front of him.
"Oh you're such a klutz Belinda."
With that she refocused her attention on the little mystery before her.
"You dropped something dear..." The voice of the old woman from St Jude's echoed in her mind. "There should be a little rectangular label here..." Kaspar's voice chimed in.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
An hour later she stepped into Kaspar's store and found him behind the counter reading a book. As he looked up she took the label out of her shirt pocket and set it down on the counter in front of him.
"Is this what you were asking me about?" She said with a note of triumph.
As she expected, he said nothing, producing instead a large magnifying glass and a long pair of tweezers from behind the counter. He examined the label carefully for several minutes then slipped it into a clear polythene bag. Belinda prepared herself for a lengthy wait so she looked again at the old photograph on his wall, hoping to find some resemblance to Kaspar in the faces. Long minutes passed in silence then he surprised her by saying,
"They are wearing the uniforms of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. That photo was taken in 1912 at Teplitz, in what used to be called Bohemia - one hundred years ago."
"Who are they?"
"My uncles, my aunts, my cousins, my sister...and my father."
She looked back at him hoping that he would tell her more but he was now looking for a book on the extensive bookshelf behind the counter. He found it but consulted it only briefly before resuming his scrutiny of the label. He then asked her to flip the Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½open' sign on the door. When she returned he took a small wine decanter and two crystal glasses out from under the counter.
"Would you care for a glass of Tokay?"
"Um, ok, thanks."
He carefully poured two glasses and Belinda noted the perfect steadiness of his hand as he did so. He handed one to her but left the other untouched on the counter. Belinda had never heard of Tokay but she still took a generous sip and found it delicious. She soon drained the glass. Once she had done so, Kaspar beckoned her to come closer.
"Do you realize what you may have here my girl?" Before she could shake her head he added, "I say may because we will have to get this and the violin authenticated."
He held up the polythene bag and shook it.
Now a mischievous twinkle shone in his eyes and he gave her one of his rare smiles.
"1690 is not just a number; it's the year the violin was made. It's over three hundred years old. A.S.C. Belinda, A.S.C stands for Antonio Stradivari di Cremona or Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis, to be more precise. This might just be the label of a Stradivarius violin! As I said, I can't be one hundred percent sure, there are many clever fakes out there and many good honest reproductions that have been tampered with, but my gut tells me that you have something magical here, something truly rare."
Belinda was stunned and stared into Kaspar's face seeking some indication that he was joking or leading her on. But the old man's face stood in earnest testament to his words.
* * * * * * * *
Later that night, around ten, Kaspar called her,
"Hi Belinda, I apologize for calling you so late."
"That's ok, is everything all right?"
"Things couldn't be better my child."
"After you left this afternoon I contacted some people I know at Christies - the auction house. I've arranged for some of their experts to take a look at your violin and I've made some technical notes for them to look at. I've just finished this very minute."
"Wow, ok - well done. This is getting exciting."
"They are rather busy of course and when they are done they will contact us in writing with their opinion...and maybe a valuation."
"Ok, right, when shall we take it in?"
"I have an appointment for tomorrow at ten. Belinda, I also have a favour to ask of you."
"Yes, what is it?"
"I am going to the shul; the synagogue, early tomorrow morning to offer up some prayers. I would very much like you to be there. Would you come?"
"Kaspar, I'd be delighted, thank you."
"1066 Washington Avenue."
"Got it. What time?"
When Belinda arrived at the Synagogue, the light of dawn was barely perceptible through the stained glass windows but the atmosphere in the old building was cool and fresh and she found the single lamp that burned over on the far wall strangely comforting. She loved the dawn and felt a sense of calm tranquility as she sat alone in the congregation. She looked up at Kaspar on the reader's platform as he chanted from the Torah. She could not understand the words but his voice resonated through the empty building with an eerie beauty. He wore a Hebrew tasseled shawl and his yarmulke. She had arrived half an hour earlier and he had silently indicated where she should sit. Below the podium was a chair upon which he had placed the old photograph of his family from the shop. As she listened to his rich voice, Belinda looked deep into the photograph. There she saw his father and his uncles; resplendent in their uniforms, and she saw his brothers, his aunts and his baby sister. She imagined that they all sat beside her; listening to him pray for them. She imagined them smiling.
As the last notes of his voice died away, he stepped down solemnly and stood beside the photograph. Behind where it stood, in a case, she now saw the violin. He has finished it - was her initial reaction and she was glad but the solemnity of the occasion caused her to remain silent and still. The violin glowed under a perfect polish, its rich, reddish-brown tint reminded her of a giant seed incased in a black, velvet lined pod. He now took a deep breath and looked at her,
"With your permission my dear, I will play."
She smiled at him and nodded. He picked up the bow and rested the violin against his shoulder then he looked at her with great emotion in his eyes,
"I play for the lost, I play for those who have no voice, for those taken from me by time and circumstance and by the evils that plague mankind and I play for those who once played for me until their limbs were broken and their spirits were crushed and they could play no longer."
And he played with such feeling, such grace and such energy that she was astounded. The instrument that had been silent for so long came miraculously to life. He had resurrected it and now in his hands, it was like a living thing; producing music of such power and pathos that Belinda cried.
When Kaspar had finished, he sat down gently next to her and offered her a tissue. Belinda apologized and thanked him.
"I should apologize to you; I didn't mean to make you cry."
"Oh, it's all right; I'm a very sentimental person. I guess you can understand, even after all these years...you still miss your family."
"For me it all happened just yesterday, not sixty-eight years ago. I was just five at the time. My mother and I were in Switzerland visiting her dying aunt - we escaped, we escaped when millions didn't..."
"It's ok. I can't tell you how happy you've made me my child. This instrument would not be out of place in a national museum or a royal collection; all of the top orchestras in the world would love to own it. There is something almost magical about it. I feel privileged to simply be in its presence, but to play it....to play it is truly an honour. And you have allowed me to honour my family by playing it here in their presence.....thank you."
She wiped away the last of her tears and kissed him on the cheek.
"Let's go get some coffee and a bagel."
At exactly 9:30am later that day they arrived at West 49th Street and walked a short distance to 20 Rockefeller Plaza; the imposing offices of Christie's New York. At ten they were greeted by a smiling, red faced employee who introduced himself as Joel and took them to a beautiful office where they signed many forms. The formalities over, Joel rang for one of his associates who arrived in the company of two huge security guards and took the violin away. After brief smiles and handshakes they emerged back into the glare of the sun.
"Taxi?" offered Belinda.
"Oh, heck no, let's take the subway."
A week passed and on Sunday night Belinda treated herself to her favourite pasta - spaghetti marinara and accompanied it with a good bottle of red that she had been saving for a special occasion. As nothing particularly special had presented itself, she decided to open it. It was a fine meal and after eating she settled on the couch with the remainder of the bottle where she poured herself another glass; her third. She thought about Kaspar and the violin,
"My God, what if it's worth a small fortune, I'll just die! But knowing my luck, it's probably a fake; worth nothing. Oh well, I'll send it to Australia and Brandon can play it in his school band. It won't go to waste."
She lay back feeling replete and tranquil and, inevitably, her mind gave itself over to thoughts of her neighbour. She had not heard him come home but it was still early. Tomorrow of course, was Monday and at 1:30pm a window of opportunity would present itself, an opportunity that she found hard to resist. It was indeed an opportunity but what exactly she was to do with it, that she could not decide.
An hour later she lay in bed and imagined all the possible scenarios that last week's chance meeting with the cleaner had suggested. She could wait for the cleaner to open Crush's door then she could sneak in and hide....somewhere. But no, that wouldn't work; the cleaner might find her and call the police. She could sneak in and make herself right at home, pretending that she had been in the apartment the whole time. Yes! This would give her a chance to find more out about Crush once the cleaner had gone. She would then let herself out and no one would know. But this plan also contained a flaw: if his door was like hers, she still needed the keys to lock it once she had exited. He would come home, find the door unlocked and probably fire the cleaner. She rolled over and sighed. Best to forget all about it, there was no way it could work...unless...unless...
That night she slept very little; her hands traveled to her pussy and she lay back to stroke each and every one of its sensitive folds. She imagined herself at a tiny, crowded club in Harlem with an intense steamy atmosphere and techno music laying down its deep, throbbing bass beat throughout. The music entered her very heart and soul, energizing her body and making her crave cock. She imagined herself wearing long black satin gloves and a tiny black skirt, sheer black stockings, a black top that left her midriff bare and nothing else. Out on the dance floor she rocked, moving her body in perfect time to the beat. Her hips and ass swayed while her arms weaved a magic spell; an irresistible enchantment to all the men around her. She looked at them all; enticingly, with her eyes of sea green but there was one man that her body craved the most, one man for whom she danced, one cock for which her pussy lusted most. As the intensity of the music grew in her mind, she imagined herself now alone on the dance floor. Her breasts and hips, her ass and her legs, her arms and her pussy flowed with the white-hot energy of the music. Adrenalin fed her limbs and drove them to greater and greater feats of exertion.
Suddenly she saw him out of the corner of her eye; he was waiting in the shadows, watching her and biding his time. He didn't move or speak but over and above the music, she could feel his energy in the room and his mind was filled with one thought - his need to fuck her. The music reached an unparalleled climax and stopped, the club's glaring lights died with it; being replaced with a pale green neon glow. He emerged from where he stood. He was shirtless and glistening with sweat. The neon light caught the contours of his muscles; transforming him into a sculpture of black marble. As he came nearer she saw his eyes and they were filled with desire - so much desire for her that numbers could not gauge its intensity nor words define its limits.
He reached out for her and she surrendered to him totally; falling into his powerful arms to be carried away to a table nearby. There he laid her down on the hard surface. Without uttering a word he unbuttoned her tiny black skirt and cast it aside. She wore no panties and the next thing she imagined were his onyx eyes; silently bidding her to spread her legs. She did so readily and he plunged his tongue into her folds with relish. She could feel his hot breath on her skin as his lips and tongue savored the delicate flesh of her slit and her sensitive nub. He alternated between the two with lightning intensity and soon the pleasure was unbearable. She pushed him away and had barely caught her breath when she felt the pressure of his cock pushing aside the lips of her labia.
She smiled and arched her back; feeling like a total slut splayed on the hard table in the now deserted club. She felt the curve of his cock luxuriously filling her pussy and his arms pinning her shoulders in place. Like a snake, she wrapped her coils around him, tightening her legs around his hips and clasping his chest to hers. Now he fucked her with such force that the table rattled against the bare floor. Her back and shoulders pressing against the unyielding surface caused her pain but it was a piquant sensation; adding to the sweet assault on her body. Now his mouth crushed her lips and his tongue drank deep at the cool oasis that was her mouth. She felt his hot breath on her neck as he kissed and licked her skin. She clasped his ass cheeks and dug her nails into them; feeling the power of his thrusts increase as she gasped for breath. With one last thrust deep into her innermost being, he came. Filling her with warm seed and calling her name as though he was invoking a goddess. Her name echoed around the empty room but even before the echoes had died she felt his cool lips and fiery tongue upon her pussy, now she came and bucked against his face holding his head against her tingling clit. She let him go reluctantly and he stood up. The look in his eyes told her what she must do - come willingly and openly into his world, for she was already surrounded by it, to resist it or to deny her passions was foolish.
The next morning she awoke at 10am ate a light breakfast and had a long shower. Afterwards, she didn't even bother to dress; it was warm and strutting around the apartment nude made her feel great - like a porn star - a creature born to fuck and totally lacking inhibition. She selected a DVD that featured anal sex and wild scenes of double penetration. Mesmerized by these scenes she slowly lubed her vibrator and crouched on the floor in front of the TV. She slid the tip of the vibrator into her ass and grasped its shaft; the feel of the hard heavy rubber alone was enough to make her mouth water but as the action in the film stepped up with every scene, Belinda thrust the lubricated rubber cock deeper and deeper into her ass. After a few such scenes and one in particular where the star was fucked and double penetrated in turn by four guys, Belinda's ass craved cock. She plunged the thick black shaft into her ass harder and harder; lubricating it time and again so that it slid in and out of her like a well oiled piston. Her other hand found her clit and soaked it in sweet saliva from her drooling mouth. After only a few minutes she came; invoking all that is sacred and naming all that is profane.
In the hours that remained she tried to relax but with an eye never far from the clock. As the hours passed her tension and anxiety increased; she tried watching TV, listening to music, cooking and finally watching more porn but nothing could calm or distract her.
Finally at 1:20pm she stood at her door and through the smallest possible opening she scanned the hallway. She heard the cleaner approaching almost immediately; singing what sounded to her like a bitter-sweet love song. She knew little Spanish but still caught the words Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½los amantes perdidos' and the woman certainly had a good voice. About ten minutes later she stood before Crush's door and produced her large set of keys. Belinda's heart beat faster. As the door opened Belinda noticed that it was just like her own; after having been locked it could then be opened from the inside. Knowing this made her bolder and she took deep breaths as she waited for the cleaner to push her cart in. Once the woman was out of sight Belinda realized that she might only have seconds before the woman returned to lock the door. She crept out into the hallway and ducked into Crush's bedroom. She quickly realized that his apartment had exactly the same layout as hers and she guessed that the cleaner would probably start with the bathroom. Once inside she rolled under his bed and prepared herself for an anxious wait. The sheer folly of what she was doing both terrified and exited her; so far so good.
Half an hour later, with her heart pounding in her chest, she watched as the cleaner entered the bedroom, she vacuumed, she dusted and she changed the bed linen. If she had lifted the mattress she would easily have seen Belinda through the slats but luckily she didn't. Also fortunate was the fact that Crush's bedroom was sparsely furnished so the woman soon finished her job. However a good hour passed until Belinda finally heard her lock the door and fade away down the hallway, singing the same bitter-sweet tune. She breathed an immense sigh of relief.
The bedroom was light and airy and tastefully decorated. The bed was king sized with pale purple satin sheets. Belinda rested her head on her shoulder and gazed at it for a long time; imagining the possibilities. She then looked at her watch. It was 3:30pm.
"Ah, what the fuck."
She stripped off her clothes and rolled onto the bed. The cool luxuriousness of the satin sheets immediately delighted her. She spread her limbs and ran her hands up her hips and thighs then raised her legs in the air and let them flop down. She laughed. It had been quite a week; she had never been inside a synagogue before, nor seen Rockefeller Plaza, she had never visited Christie's Auction House. For that matter she had never snuck into someone's apartment nor heard the sound of a Stradivarius violin. Yes, quite a week.
She shut her eyes and lines from a poem that she had heard somewhere drifted into her mind,
I am weary of days and hours,
Blown buds of barren flowers,
Desires and dreams and powers
And everything but sleep....
"Yes sleep, I am weary of everything but sleep...sleep...sleep."
"Hey, wake up!"
Belinda opened her eyes to see an unfamiliar light fitting; next she became vaguely aware of a lovely spicy aroma; like cedar and pine...
She looked down and there saw that someone was pointing a gun at her. She gasped and sat bolt upright. The man was totally nude and behind the menacing glare on his face she recognized the handsome features of her neighbour.
"Please, don't shoot me, I can explain."
"Explain, you're damn right! I've never come home before and found a naked white chick in my bed. I headed straight for the shower as soon as I got in then walked in here to find you fast asleep like Snow White. How the fuck did you get in here anyway?"
"I'm sorry, I've wanted to talk to you for weeks, but I just couldn't do it."
She started to cry and he lowered the gun. He stood over her and even through her tears she couldn't help gazing at his muscles, his legs and his sculpted abdominals. His long heavy cock hung aesthetically; completing a perfect picture in her mind; the sum total of all that she had imagined. She now looked up at him as the tears rolled down her cheeks. His expression had changed but he was still wary of her. She reached up and clasped his hand.
"I've been ....thinking, about you and I wanted to get your attention...somehow. I guess I've been lonely. I'm from Australia."
He smiled at last and sat down on the bed next to her. She had not let go of his hand and he bent down casually and tucked the gun under the bed.
"Well you've certainly got my attention now. I've seen you around sure but I didn't think you were that interested in me. I'm used to more of a, let's say, conventional approach."
She turned to him and put her hand on the side of his face then ran it down his shoulder. She smiled; having touched him at last,
"I'm sorry but I've wanted you for so long."
"Well Miss Australia, why didn't you just come up to me and say Ã¢ï¿½ï¿½Hi'. I'm not that intimidating. Damn girl, if you wanted to fuck you should have just said so - damn."
Belinda laughed. She moved closer and nestled against him, running her fingers across his chest muscles. The contrast of his skin against hers aroused her greatly.
"I'm sorry, I'm shy and I become a little obsessive I guess."
She kissed him on the chin, trying hard to look sad and apologetic. He smiled at her reassuringly,
"You're sweet, so petite, such a treat, can't be beat!"
She giggled and he dazzled her again with his smile. She looked deep into his restless eyes where his fire and passion were plain to see.
She kissed him again and this time their bodies met; greeting each other with entwined limbs and passionate hands. Belinda felt herself carried away from the mundane world; everything she knew she was glad to leave behind if only to be here, now, in his arms. She could finally make the delicious fantasies that had filled her every idle moment come true.
She made him lie on his back while she got on top; relishing the sensation of his muscles against her skin. She looked often at the contrast between their bodies and her pussy reacted like it had never before. She kissed his neck and slowly worked her way down his chest. He massaged her back and gently kneaded her breasts. Soon his hands found their way to her ass and caressed it; making her pussy wetter and wetter in the process. Now at last she turned her attention to his cock. It sat half erect on his abdominals where she wasted no time in wrapping her palm around it. Now was the time to put all she had learned from watching hour after hour of porn into use. She plunged his cock into her mouth and entwined it with her tongue. Her hand meanwhile settled at the base of his shaft and began to work it and work it hard. Soon she was running her clenched palm up and down his shaft, twisting and squeezing it until she began to feel him hardening. It did not take long.
Crush meanwhile held Belinda's hair and rubbed it against his skin. The mere thought of her flame red hair against his dark skin made her work on his cock with delicious abandon and renewed vigor. After a short while she could hear and feel the affect that her mouth and hands were having on him; he breathed hard and sighed, his muscles flexed and relaxed and she could feel his cock twitch in her mouth. He was getting close. Now she spread his legs and crouched between them. With both hands she fed his cock into her mouth and rubbed its tip against the inside of her cheeks. Her hair fell down around his balls and tickled them while her saliva dripped down his shaft collecting in a puddle by his ass.
Her head bobbed up and down with as much speed and force as she could muster. His hips tensed for one last time and she clamped her mouth firmly over his cock. She didn't have to wait long as spurt after spurt of warm come flooded into her mouth. She milked his shaft hard as he came; pumping more and more of his thick man-juice into her mouth. She swallowed it all and finally licked his cock clean before sitting back.
One look at his face told her that he was impressed with the feat she had just performed. Now it was her turn. She raised her legs and stretched her pussy open with both hands. Crush cast a glance at her momentarily; surprised at this overtly sexy gesture. His tongue and lips worked her every secret fold and added to her already considerable wetness. He missed no opportunity to nibble and lap at her clit as though it were a sweet and rare fruit. Belinda cupped his smooth head with both her hands; pressing his face deeper and deeper into her pussy. When his tongue entered her slit again and he licked her hard she came; shuddering and letting fly words that surprised him. He eased off slowly as the intense waves of sensation gradually subsided. Now he was hers, she mused, now she could give him the treat that she had dreamt about.
He sat up and grinned; his chin still glistening from her juices.
"Do you have to ask?"
"I always aim to please."
"And please you do."
She then slipped her index finger into her pussy; it felt impossibly wet and loose; tingling as soon as her finger touched its delicate folds. There was only one course of action.
I under thirty seconds Crush's cock sprang back into life; no sooner had she touched his shaft than she was guiding its full length into her. She wrapped her legs around his lower back just as she had imagined. He started slowly; getting a feel for her pussy for the first time. It excited him and he filled her snugly. Before long, he was fucking her hard and with ever increasing intensity. His strong arms pinned her down and with every thrust of his cock she bounced back into position ready for the next. She feasted her hands on his body; exploring its every taught and sculpted inch. Then she settled on his ass cheeks; compact and steely hard, they excited her immensely as she gripped them and pulled him forward to increase the impact he was bringing to bear upon her pussy.
They changed positions and with her in top he reciprocated; stretching and kneading her ass and holding her tight while she rode his cock,
"Yeah, I'm riding your cock into the wild blue yonder."
"You go cowgirl!"
He laughed and brought her closer so that he could play with her nipples. They were hard, ripe rose buds and complemented her pale breasts perfectly. Belinda now lifted herself up on her knees. Her face filled with lust as she brought almost her entire weight down on his groin. She felt her ass squeezing his balls and her mound slamming against his abdominals. She had never been penetrated this deeply by a man, nor had her pussy ever felt so gluttonously hungry for cock. Harder and harder she rode him until she felt his cock twitch and tense. She ground her clit against him; reveling in the electric sensations that streamed from it to fill her body and penetrate her every fiber. She pressed down on his chest and dug her nails into his dark flesh as she came - tossing her head back again and again and uttering such wildly inventive profanities that she surprised him. Now she reached behind her and took hold of his balls she bucked up and down several times until he clenched his teeth, rolled back his eyes and unleashed a torrent of come far into her starving slit. Belinda loved the sensation of hot come shooting deep inside her and she relished every pump and savored every drop.
In the hour that followed they kissed, chatted and fooled around; becoming better acquainted with each other. He told her a little about himself but she was much more forthcoming. Finally in her demure way she said,
"I want you to fuck me in the ass, if you like."
"I never turn down a lady."
She got up on all fours and pointed her ass towards him then wiggled it.
"You like my butt?"
"Mmmm, looks mighty fine to me!"
She shuffled closer and he ran his fingers down the inside of her cleft. Her skin here was particularly sensitive and she immediately felt the sweet tingling traveling into her ass. He pulled her cheeks apart and ran his tongue up the entire length of her; from the threshold of her pussy to her rim. He licked and teased her little hole with his tongue; tracing wet circles over it as Belinda sighed and moaned contentedly. Now she wanted him to stretch and pull it open; to discover what delight lay within. She licked one of her fingers and slid it in, plunging it in and out rapidly while looking up at him with a glint in her eyes. She could tell that this excited him and as soon as he was hard again she said,
"My ass needs your cock."
He grinned and positioned himself behind her while she pulled one of her cheeks aside. He fed his shaft into her with his entire hand while she thrust back against him. Belinda had trained her ass long ago for just this and as soon as he started thrusting into her she pushed back with equal force, eventually taking his entire length. She felt his cock invading her deepest recesses; filling her ass until with his every thrust she wanted it deeper, harder and faster. She bit her lips and her mouth drooled as his cock plunged into her very soul. She felt so deliciously wicked and with it came a feeling of profound freedom and of release from the shackles of the humdrum world.
After a few minutes of the most exquisite anal that either of them had ever had, he pulled out of her; stretching her ass as he did so to make it gape. He licked it all over once again. The sensation of his saliva cooling her tingling flesh was superb. Again he plunged his cock into her deepest nether zone, holding onto her hips and thrusting his shaft in as far as it could go. Belinda felt delirious with joy but retained the presence of mind to allow her new lover every chance to please himself. He almost pulled out of her again; rubbing the head of his cock against her ring. Belinda's ass reacted by clenching him tightly. A couple of minutes more of this and he thrust back into her hard; his balls making contact with her labia as they swung freely below. Finally she felt his cock reach the apex of its hardness. He came; pumping his seed into her ass and staying there until all the waves of pleasure had passed. As he pulled a spent and content cock out of her, Belinda clasped its head and felt its warmth; it was the warmth of her own body and his combined.
"Mmmm baby, that was sweet."
They lay in each others arms and talked quietly; giggling at some inane joke and kissing when the laughter was done. Suddenly he said,
"How do you know my name?"
"All your clothes are tagged see, even your panties. Is this what you use for I.D. in Australia?"
He held up Belinda's pink and black panties which were still so wet they hung limply from his fingers.
"Oh, yeah, I thought I'd probably be sharing and apartment when I first came to New York, so I...kinda...tagged...everything." She hesitated, "I don't know your name."
He smiled, leaned forward and whispered in her ear. As he did so, she self-indulgently ran her hand across his shoulder.
"Wow, that's quite a name."
"Call me Nature Boy, everyone does."
"Yeah," he smiled again but it was a smile that told her that bad news was to follow. "I'm flying to Puerto Rico in the morning on Bureau business. I might be gone a while."
"Yeah, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, I'm an FBI agent."
She said nothing, listening instead to the din of the late afternoon traffic. She was sated and content and she had made another friend in the city that she might one day call her own.
"Come back soon... agent Nature Boy."
She ran down the street tearing the end of the envelope off as she ran. She pushed open the door of Kaspar's shop with enough force to ring the bell several times. Kaspar stood by the window, duster in hand and looked slightly annoyed until he noticed what she was carrying. His expression quickly changed and his usual grave serenity returned. Belinda pulled a single piece of paper from the envelope and read it to him in a quavering voice.
"Dear Ms De La Reynie, thank you for allowing us to take a look at your violin and for all the detailed notes provided by Mr. Abramowitz. A team of experts from our rare instruments department have examined your violin and its label. After conducting rigorous tests and comparing your instrument to well known examples...Oh Kaspar, I can't read the rest!"
She tossed him the letter and he picked up where she had left off.
"...we are very pleased to inform you..."
He looked up at her and grinned, raising his brows in triumph.
"...we are very pleased to inform you that as far as we can ascertain, your violin is indeed a late 17th century product of the shop of Antonio Stradivari of Cremona; the maker universally known as Stradivarius.
He looked up to see Belinda jumping for joy. She twirled around, giggling and laughing then lost all her reserve and hugged him. He broke away from her gently; telling her to calm down and he read on,
"...as such, we must stress that it is a very valuable instrument and must be handled with the greatest of care. We have placed the violin in our vault where it awaits your collection. If we may be of any further service to you, please do not hesitate to ask. With kindest regards,
Gerard Winstanley, Christies, New York."
"Ok, so what exactly do they mean by very valuable?"
He shook his head casually then took off his glasses to blow a speck of dust from them.
"Well, based on recent auction results, both here and in Europe, I would say that you Miss Belinda are now a multimillionaire."
"Your Royal Highnesses, your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, this year the De La Reynie Quintet celebrates its first anniversary. We would like to dedicate tonight's charity performance to our founder and patron. We are honoured and delighted to have her here tonight; I give you Belinda De La Reynie!"
The audience swelled with applause. From the seat on her right Kaspar tapped her knee. She looked at him and smiled. Although he looked rather comical in his suit and had given the staff at Armani quite a bit of trouble before agreeing to be fitted; she was pleased that she had coaxed him from his Brooklyn store and brought him all the way to Denmark and one of the finest concert halls in Europe.
"Stand up," he hissed at her.
She stood and struggled to look as dignified as possible. She turned as the audience continued to applaud and made eye contact briefly with the crown princess and the crown prince. It was only then that it started to sink in, although she had had a year to get used to the fact that her life had profoundly changed. These distinguished people; diplomats, a prime minister and his first lady and their royal highnesses, were all applauding her and all because she had bought some old junk for ten dollars at a church sale in Crown Heights, New York.