All About Eva: Chapter 1: Dark Places

All About Eva

My name is Evadne Cavell and I am a sex addict.

Isn’t this the first step when dealing with addiction? Admitting you have a problem? And I say “addict” because I don’t know what else to call it. I haven’t seen a doctor or been diagnosed with anything, and I’m not in any kind of therapy. But is wanting sex really a problem? Some want chocolate, some want drugs or alcohol, I want sex. Preferably anonymous sex.

I guess that’s where the problem lies.

I attempt to control myself by having rules. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I can look and I can touch, but no talking, no names, no body fluids, and definitely no penetration. As a result, it’s been over three years since I’ve had proper, hard-banging, toe-curling sex and I get what I call my fever. It appears when my sexual frustration is at a point where anything I see arouses me but my fear of losing control has me acting as if I wear a chastity belt.

Like I need one. I’ve placed and answered enough personal ads and been on enough blind dates to realize when I’m being used for practice until someone better comes along. So I’ve stopped trying to find a match and simply seek to satisfy myself.

Yet, I can imagine anybody naked—see them having sex—writhing and grunting. Most of the time, the person I’m watching is the last person I’d want to see naked, but sometimes, I’ll be spying on some gorgeous hunk of man so intently that I get moist between my legs or cramp like I’ve come really hard. It’s gotten to the point where I have to wear sunglasses so people can’t see me observing them. My resting bitch face is really a poker face.

While I’m at it, I should admit to something else. There is a direct link between Denver’s movie theaters and my sex life. For example, at the age of seventeen I saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a “virgin” and was sacrificed on the altar of the Sweet Transvestite.

This carnal, albeit purely symbolic event, led to my first real act of defiance against my parents. I dyed my hair red, and every Friday night during that summer, I played the role of Columbia for the movie audience. I acted shamelessly with those people and lost a few friends when I began dating some of the white boys. Not only was I going against type, I got a reputation as a Black girl “playing in the snow.”

I saw it as expanding my tastes.

At the time my parents let me have my way, figuring it was a phase and I needed to vent the pressure they put on me with regard to school and everything else. But when the fall semester approached, they made me fall back in line real quick, and it’s been that way ever since.

Now, I’m thirty-four, still single and still cautious for fear of parental disapproval, but my love for films continues to provide crucial access to my sexual nature just like it did all those years ago.

Today, on this summer afternoon in early June, I sit in the second-floor lobby of The DeLuxe Theater waiting for the next showing of an animation festival. As usual, part of me is nervous at the thought of getting caught, but this just makes another part of me wet with anticipation.

My outfit is as liberating as it is confining and would scandalize anyone who knew me. Usually I dress plainly for the sake of my job and to cover my Bastet goddess tattoo.

But right now I resemble one of those Parisian Apache dancers. I wear a white linen shell blouse with a red cashmere sweater, black ankle-strap shoes, and a black cotton pencil-skirt is so tight and thin I suspect I’ll be leaving a damp spot on the red vinyl seat.

I don’t wear panties to the theater. A quick rub adds more spice to an Italian film, or makes a French movie saucier.

My soft brown complexion completes my exotic appearance, and although I give off signals as eye candy saying “Eat me” with my full but firm hourglass figure, I’m a size 20 in a size zero world, and apparently that’s too much woman for men around here to handle.

Size isn’t the only reason why I suspect it’s been three years since my last fuck. Family and work make things difficult too.

I’m the youngest child of the Cavell family, with its prominent ties in artistic and civic circles. I’m also an assistant professor hoping for tenure at Bellingham College—and one of the few minorities on staff. But with the college’s increasingly conservative leanings, any hint of “impropriety,” to quote my boss, would not be welcomed, and being a woman of color only adds to the burden of scrutiny society feels entitled to dump on me.

If I had the nerve, I’d move away and become an artist—perhaps a freelance photographer. I would be poor but happy, having shame-free sex whenever and with whomever I liked. But I can’t turn my back on my responsibilities just to enjoy myself and get laid. That’s not how my parents raised me.

Besides, my private life is nobody’s business. I’m just trying to get by, living as a shy exhibitionist. I am passion under ice. Except on my days off when I allow myself to thaw out a little.

A cold sensation slides down my neck and spine making me shudder. Enticing men in a theater for a bit of slap and tickle is not the way to conduct a happy, healthy sex life. But there’s something thrilling about sitting in a dark room with everyone facing the same direction, our eyes, supposedly, focused on the screen. The darkness allows fingers to fumble with buttons, zippers, and other obstacles that prevent flesh-on-flesh contact. Darkness allows nimble digits to circle around a man’s swollen pride or spread apart the vertical lips of a woman’s secret. Then, the room brightens because of a scene change and, depending on your level of nerve, fingers recoil to their proper, prayer-clasped position on your lap or they probe deeper, squeeze harder. . . get wetter.

I drum my fingers on the tabletop and glance at my watch.

Twenty minutes to go.

I’ve been doing this for the last three years, coming to the matinee at The DeLuxe to encourage these anonymous encounters, and there has been an increase in the number of single men coming to the same showing. Coincidence?

Don’t they have jobs? Where do they come from? Is it the warm weather, because in the winter I can never get a hook up.

The DeLuxe is the sole, surviving business in a failed strip mall. Converted from a warehouse supermarket, it houses three screens, a split-level coffee shop, and a café. The décor is faux movie palace but Denver’s true movie palaces, like The Mayan, have nothing to worry about. For a suburban theater, The DeLuxe has survived with its ersatz vintage style.

I’m too chicken to go to the porno arcade across town but terrified about running into someone I know here. But when I need some sense of closeness to let me know I’m still alive, if only from deep inside, The DeLuxe makes me feel a little less cheap. I want for action, but on my terms.

The following scenario happens almost every week with little variation—like clockwork.

As soon as the room goes dark some man will sit beside me despite the vast number of empty seats.

Mr. X will then put his arm around the back of my seat. I ignore him. His hand will rest on my knee. I keep my eyes forward. His fingers push aside the material of my easy-access skirt and start exploring. Within ten minutes of the movie starting, he knows I’m not going to resist. He tries to kiss me on the lips but I don’t let him. Sometimes he’ll whisper, asking if we can go to a motel—or worse—he tries to mount me in my seat. I’ll shake my head and push him away. So he ends up finger-fucking me. An orgasm builds inside me but it’s over before it starts because that’s when I realize how pathetic I am for doing this. I’ve become skilled at faking orgasms just to get things over with, but then I’ll give the guy a hand job, just to be polite but it’s mostly out of guilt, and he always comes.

When the film ends, I exit as quickly as possible. I have no idea if the man is young, old, handsome, ugly, married or single, and I don’t care. I never look him in the face.

I need to stop this before I get raped or my disguise as an upstanding citizen is blown.

The latter nearly happened a few weeks ago just before the movie started. My “partner” for the day had just sat down beside me—before the lights dimmed–when someone called my name.

“Dr. Cavell?”

Ice water filled my veins when I saw the smiling face of a young woman with red hair, wire-rimmed glasses, and wearing a patchwork halter top that matched her patchwork jeans.

“I thought that was you! It’s me, Meghan Cross. I was in your freshman seminar last semester.”

“Ah, yes, Meghan. How are you?”

“I’m fine. I didn’t know you came to the matinees here.” She looked around the theater. “Great, isn’t it?”

“Yes it is.” I glanced at the man beside me and for the first time, I got a gander of my companion with his three-hair comb over, short-sleeved shirt and polyester never-crease pants. He stared at us with wide, scared eyes. Considering I was dressed in a lightweight summer dress and a bra that boosted my assets, I’m surprised people didn’t mistake us for a hooker with her john. Meghan caught my glance and laughed.

“Oh! I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb you. I’d better go anyway.” She indicated over her shoulder. “My friends are waiting for me down front.”

“Well, it was nice seeing you again, Meghan.”

“You, too, Dr. Cavell. See you on campus.”

I cringed when she said my name again and watched her trot down the aisle; the patches on the back pockets of her threadbare jeans emphasized her youthful, firm bottom.

The whole incident rattled me so much that, instead of it taking ten minutes for the man to get his hands on me, it took thirty. It was also the day I started to think more seriously about the effects of my little compulsions. I resolved to stop. Who needs a man when you have hands and batteries? I can satisfy myself.

And it worked. For two weeks, it worked.

Fast forward to today and here I am, back at the theater.

This place has become part of my life. It lets me enjoy my love for dark places and my need for anonymous fun, because in the dark, no one has to know or has to get hurt.

“It’s just so naughty,” as my friend Ernie would say—if he knew. But I like hiding in plain sight. I’ve become addicted to this, and right now, I need a hit.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear like I picked the best day to get it. The lobby is empty, there’s no one hanging around downstairs, and I didn’t see any stray men hanging about like I usually do. My finger drumming increases and I take in my surroundings to distract myself.

The space around me is dark save for the table where I sit under a skylight. Despite the annoying sunbeam, I can see the concession stand glowing under the neon lights and from the constant wiping of an attendant. Watching him wipe a circular groove into the counter top, I sigh, mesmerized. Round and round his arm goes and his movements reflect my life. From work to theater and back again, this pattern composes the two halves of my world, and although they’re part of the same design, they never intersect. I glance at my watch again.

Fifteen minutes left. Will I actually end up watching the film alone?

I continue to nurse my cup of cappuccino. The theater is dead. I wonder if I have batteries at home. Unfortunately not even hard vibrating plastic can compensate when you’re in the mood for flesh, but it looks like I’m going to have settle for a date with “The Bruiser” and take him out of his box when I get home.

“Excuse me, ma’am?”

My arm jolts and upsets my coffee. A tall man approaches from out of the shadows. He starts to mop up my drink.

“I’m sorry I frightened you. Let me buy you another.”

“What? Another skirt?” I frown as I wipe myself. “No, that’s quite all right.”

He chuckles. “While I would love to buy you your heart’s desire, I think I should start with another coffee.”

I allow a tiny smirk at his comeback. Squinting my eyes against the sun, I shake my head. “There’s plenty left.”

“Yeah, but the thrill leaves once the foam’s gone.”

Turning aside to toss several used napkins onto a vacant table, when I turn back, he’s sitting across from me.

“Did you want something?” I ask through clenched teeth accompanied by an insincere smile. The sun slicing through the small skylight gives me a better chance to study him and I try to figure out if I’ve seen him on campus.

He wears jeans and a blue Oxford shirt with the sleeves rolled up. His body is athletic but not muscle-bound, and his face is what I would call boyish. He has a sharp, angular jaw line, full, sensuous—dare I say “feminine”—lips, a straight nose, and a long neck that, despite my annoyance, begs me to bite into it. He’s no alpha, but still a man nonetheless. A pretty boy. I sigh. He’s probably gay. Or bi. Just what I friggin need.

But what takes my breath away are his eyes—two incandescent sapphires fringed with long dark lashes. Something beneath those irises burn making me drown into them. I want him to bend me in all sorts of bizarre positions. My skin gets hot.I think I’m blushing.

A disarming smile creates twin dimples by the corners of his mouth and he leans closer. His auburn hair, violet eyes, and the direct sunlight intensify the contrasts of his appearance with startling effect.

“Please don’t take this the wrong way,” he begins, “but I’ve been watching you for the last fifteen minutes.”

I frown. This is not part of the plan. Erotic thoughts or not, I level a gaze on him like a government employee made to work without pay. But his confident manner has an edge that his smooth, easygoing voice belies, and I think I detect a Southern accent in his voice.

“No, please, don’t be angry. I want to show you something.” He places a sketchpad before me.

I crane my neck to see the sketch and my guard eases. I must’ve been stareing in his direction without realizing it because of this blinding sunbeam.

He’s caught me from the front at a slight angle. It definitely looks like me. He even put a sparkle in the pupils of my half-closed eyes and colored the brown of my skin and the blush of my mouth. The composition is divided diagonally as a result of the sunbeam making one side dark, with just a hint of my face, whereas the other side is light and contains most of the drawing. I appear mysterious and coy as if poking my face out of the shadows to drink my coffee. My lips make a sensuous “O” to blow the steam rising from my cup. Considering the atmosphere of the theatre and the main attraction, it’s very appropriate. And he did all of this in fifteen minutes. The only other drawing I’ve seen of myself was a caricature done when I was seven years old. I’ve come a long way, baby. I glance up at him and his smile broadens. But when I laugh, he frowns.

“Have I done you an injustice, ma’am?” His tone is icy and formal. Not that I blame him. If I found fault with his talent, all of my taste is in my mouth.

“No, I’m just surprised, that’s all.” I glance up at him. “Is that how I look?”

He nods and his gaze on me intensifies, pinning me to my seat.

“You are a very attractive woman. Your features are symmetrical. Balanced. More people than you can imagine have something out of proportion or off-center.”

I blink. I’ve never heard myself described as “symmetrical” before. And that is a Southern accent. A slight twang with a drawl making his voice smoother than top-shelf bourbon. The stranger makes a sound too guttural for a sigh and my PC muscles clench.

“Your skin glows. It reminds me of a chamois. . . all pale brown and soft. And your eyes. . . .”

He doesn’t finish but his lips curve up in a way that’s almost too smug for my tastes. Yeah, this man knows he’s got it going on. He may call me symmetrical but his features are easy on the eyes too.

“Well. That’s very nice. The sketch.” Geez, why can I talk like a human? I push the notebook back across the table.

“Joshua Delaney.” He extends his hand.

I regard it with suspicion. I don’t want conversation, just a hand up my skirt. His fingers are not too thick and not too thin. Three or four would fill me nicely. I offer my hand.

“Evadne Cavell.” Accepting the gesture and, ignoring the charcoal smudges on his fingers, his hand encircles mine like a warm glove.

“Are you here for the show or have you been?” he asks.

“Both. This is my second time.”

“You an animation buff?”

“Yes.” I say, slightly embarrassed. “Animation is art.”

“I agree. It’s what I do, actually.”

“Really?” I grin. “Any of your. . . work. . . ?”

Laughing, he shakes his head. His rich, velvety laugh has a slight huskiness to it suggesting a history of smoking—recent or past—and the sound has me curling my toes in my shoes in reaction to something I haven’t felt in a long time. Desire.

“I haven’t attempted film on my own, yet. You know a bit about art, then?” He leans back in his seat to make himself comfortable. When he crosses his legs I see cowboy boots coming from beneath the faded blue jeans. Not the flashy kind of footwear you may expect an urban cowboy or country singer to wear, but boots worn down from use.

“I love cartoons and animation. I still have my childhood comic book collection.”

“Do you really?” he drawls, and I can’t tell if he’s impressed, amoused, or just humoring me.

“I-I was an art history major—briefly—until I decided that the best way for me to keep my appreciation is from an amateur’s view.” Dear God, why am I babbling? Smiling, in an attempt to look poised, I reach for the sugar dispenser but his eyes watching my every move. “I teach at Bellingham College.”

“Ahh, the land of the Bellingham Bucks.”

“Yes.” I sigh dramatically as I pour sugar in my coffee.

Bellingham is a private college of about 2,800 students where the financial aid office is only there for students to get money out of their trust funds, or from their parents, or in amounts too big for an ATM. Our mascot is the mule deer.

“Listen, Evadne, I can’t sit and watch you try and drink that coffee anymore. I’ll be back.”

He’s heading for the concession stand before I can put down the sugar, leaving me to enjoy the presentation his ass makes in his jeans as he walks. He moves with a fluidity that reminds me of something.

A cat. Not the domestic kind, but one of the big cats walking in long strides. He returns and shifts his chair closer to mine to get out of the sun. Smiling, he presents me with my drink. He’s bought one for himself too. I’m about to blow the steam away and he’s watching me again. It’s unnerving. I have to close my eyes to drink.

When I open them, he’s still studying at me. Using a tactic I haven’t been compelled to use in years, I lick my lips slowly while maintaining his gaze. His eyes follow every movement as the tip of my tongue slides from right to left over my upper lip. My breathing quickens. His vibes are far from subtle, but from the way he sits straight in his chair, he is holding back. Slowly, his eyes meet mine.

“I’ve seen you here before, you know.”

I freeze for a moment but soon recover and put down my cup. “I beg your pardon?”

“I’ve seen you—here—before. Several times.”

He takes a sip of his coffee not caring that he’s just exposed my greatest fear, the fear of discovery.

“Frankly, I’m surprised you’re alone.”

I look at him again, hard, my brain cycling through all the faculty, departmental, and staff meetings to try and place his face. I can’t. Maybe he’s an alumni.

“Who are you?”

He laughs but not in a derisive way and turns in his seat to face me, his mouth once again making me wonder how soft his lips are. His knee brushes against my thigh sending a spark of electricity up my spine.

“Don’t worry, Evadne. Your secret is safe with me.”

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