In honor of Thanksgiving, I post an excerpt from my recently completed novel, “Something about a Ghost.” I’m thankful the novel is done; I’m also thankful to already be working on another. Happy reading, and HAPPY TURKEY DAY!!
“Something about a Ghost” – Excerpt by Sara Dobie Bauer
My feet are bare, and the floor feels cold. I move only to pull an orange and brown afghan off the back of the couch. I wrap my legs in the scratchy material and use my fingertips to check the melted makeup beneath my eyes, but there’s no hope. I don’t have enough fingers to clean all the black from my face, my face that still feels puffy and is probably still red.
The man returns, with two steaming mugs in his hands. Despite the makeup ghost on the front of his chest, his dress-shirt is still tucked into his gray slacks. His clothes are tailored so tightly, I’m surprised he can breathe—but of course he can. Only skinny, tall men can dress like this, and if he is anything, he is skinny and tall. He’s also just brought me chamomile tea with milk and honey. I’m so accustomed to English Breakfast, I can smell every note of this sleepy time stuff. And just as my feet are cold, so are my hands, so I wrap them around the mug and say, “Thank you.”
“You’re very welcome.” He sits on the floor next to me but first has to kick the coffee table away to have space. “How are you feeling?”
“No reason to.” He takes a loud sip of tea.
“I don’t cry.”
“I do,” he says.
“I’m not saying it’s a weakness; I’m just saying it’s not my thing.”
“Keep it that way. You look horrible when you do it.”
I set my tea cup on the table to the right of the couch: the one with the lamp made entirely of antlers. I have to pull up the bottom of my dress to be able to straddle him and run my nails down the front of his shirt. “You’re going to have to get this dry-cleaned,” I say.
I trace the black circles where my eyes were, right between his pecs. There are smudges of brown and orange from my concealer and bronzer. There is even a tint of red at his sternum, where my open mouth sobbed against him.
I work free the first button and the second. I lean forward and kiss the skin I reveal—pale, pristine, with just a smattering of hair. His body is so warm beneath my chill, and I get even warmer when he reaches beneath the tulle of my dress and pulls my ass closer with the palms of his hands. Even sitting like this, me on top, his torso is so long, he can reach my lips without me having to bend forward at all. With his tongue in my mouth, on my father’s living room floor, I feel like a high school girl just home from prom.
He leans forward and tilts me away until he can find purchase on his knees. He lifts me enough to shift our positions so that I’m on my back in the center of the living room, and he’s next to me, his hand on my bare arm and his hot mouth on my neck. I reach up and hold onto his hair. I do love that hair—the soft, thickness of it—but tonight, there’s styling gel in the way, and I laugh a little when my fingers stick. I latch onto the back of his neck instead, and I pull his mouth up to mine. He tastes like honey.
He has to fight through layers of tulle, and I have to wrestle with a built-in slacks belt—which, in the end, he unfastens—before we can finally make love, fully clothed, on the rough tile floor. The chill of the tile against my back battles the heat of his body on top of me, and the sensation is more pleasant than painful. I might have scrapes on my back tomorrow; he will surely have bruised knees. But at the moment, all I can do is drown in the scent of him. I can lose myself in his movements between my legs, the weight of him, and oh, God, the taste of his lips, like clover in the fields near Flagstaff.