Through the thick morning light, the feathery shadows of the green ash fell onto his top sheet in dappled patterns, as he blinked himself into wakefulness. Instinctively he reached for her, but this morning, emptiness was all he found. His arm slumped to the mattress. He remembered. She had needed to sleep at her place last night. The finality in her voice had signaled no explanation would follow. He had simply nodded his acquiescence.

Seven-eleven glowed on the digital clock. His fingertips lingered along the stiff folds and creases of the newly unpackaged bed linens which, for once, they hadn't shared.

Touch. That was her thing. Her "best" sense. That's what she had made a case for—without any objection from him. There was no point. It was obvious.

She shrieked with delight when he floored his Miata, making the wind roughly tousle her long, blond hair. Her face bore a perpetual smile with the caress of a silk thong along her gluteal cleft as she squatted and bounced during her workout. And, when apple picking together, as her shirt and shorts parted company for a moment, and he'd approached from behind to wrap his cool forearms around her soft, warm belly, she gasped, then gyrated her buttocks into his groin.

Their little argument, silly, he had thought, at its inception, grew more serious with him—or rather, about him. He had proposed that, like her, his most sensitive sense was touch. She had countered that it was taste. And for almost the year that they'd dated, she went round and round, like a bloodhound on a scent, finding the examples to make her case.

She once had preyed upon the fact that he enjoyed rolling a Pinot Noir around his mouth, but, then, admitted that so did she. Sure, he could concoct a bouillabaisse like the best of them, and follow that with a crème brulee, but did that get his heart to throb or his breath to quicken? By kissing her deeply, he could tell if she had just had a Columbian or an Ethiopian blend, but that was, he countered, because he particularly loved coffee. Initially, her points had been unconvincing.

Seven twenty. If he were to get his run in, he would have to expedite. After putting on a pair of jogging shorts and a plain gray tee, and tying his shoes, he slipped his key into a pocket and headed down two flights to the front door. Sidestepping Mrs. Mulberry, who swept away all the invisible dirt coating their stoop, he made long strides for the cinder-like track around the reservoir.

The turning point had come, last spring, on "The Evening" as they came to refer to it, when she had spent the night in his apartment. Before they were to retire, she had emptied her distended bladder. As luck would have it, he had run out of toilet paper earlier in the day and had forgotten to replace it. When she reached for the roll and found the cardboard tube bare, she hollared. Laying in bed waiting for her, he immediately felt a twinge of guilt.

"Come here," he had said half-jokingly, "I'll clean you off."

She had seized on his offer as the words "Just kidding," caught in his throat.

With her sitting on his face, the little droplets of ammoniated dew, clinging to the tufts of her pubic hairs, smelled particularly pungent. It stung his nose like the smelling salts must do to the bowery bums, roused by the cops on Houston Street.

But his tongue had complied. Although having winced on first lap, and puckered on two, he soon began to develop a taste for this taste, especially with her moaning at every stroke. In the ensuing minutes, when her trotting accelerated to a canter, he knew the time had come for penetration. Sharing her own flavor with her as they had kissed, and roughly running his fingers through her gilded locks, as she liked him to do, they had galloped off, together, into the proverbial sunset.

It was in their afterglow that she had languidly made her case for taste. And, in the ensuing weeks, as much as he had subsequently tried to rebut her, he began to crave the essence of urea on her underwear, on her clitoris during oral sex, and even in the flow of her womanly ejaculate.

He deftly maneuvered around an overweight woman in her twenties who was puffing, perfumedly sweating, and spilling sound from her ear buds. His pace was faster this morning, perhaps in anticipation. They hadn't often spent nights apart since that special evening. It wasn't insecurity. He felt loved. And desired. In fact, he had become her clean-up guy, performing what she later termed his "va-janatorial duties."

Special requests had begun to follow. One morning, when she had awakened at his place with her period coming unexpectedly, and having no tampons, he had been asked to clean the blood from her nether lips. It was steak tartar, he had remarked. Sushi. He was discovering delectables that he would never have had, had he just confined himself to the kitchen or to the neighborhood restaurants.

Variations on vaginal tastes had continued for a long time. Then one evening, she had announced, as she prepared for bed, that she had another clean-up project for him, which was enough to get his hormonal cauldron bubbling, as that meant they would make love. When he had asked for the details, to salivate awhile beforehand, she said her ass needed some good lingual attention.

Panic had hit. The initial thought of menstrual blood had been a little hard to get past, but after the first few licks, it, too, had grown on him—and provided a much-anticipated monthly delicacy. Urine was still a Pavlovian turn-on. But never, never, he insisted, was he going to eat shit.

Her fingers, squeezing his nipple like it were a burgeoning pimple, silenced his protests. Although in a fight, he could have undoubtedly pinned her, he didn't have the propensity to become physically violent with anyone. Moreover, even though her request had crossed the line, and her crush of his tit was a gauntlet of sorts, they were, strangely enough, arousing. So when she laid her supple form back on the bed, then turned herself prone, on hands and knees, head on the pillow, and hoisted her heavenly ass high into the air, he couldn't plug the hole in the dike of blood flooding his groin.

With her cheeks splayed, he saw the smudge of brown coating her bud, and gagged. Holding his breath and extending his tongue, he had tentatively approached. The thought was so nauseating, he forced himself to image Grandma's hot fudge, as he descended onto her hole. Hesitantly, he tongued it.

That's strange, he thought, is my imagination that good?

"I wiped a Hershey's Kiss on my rosetta before coming to bed—did I get you?"

With relief or humor or love, he didn't know which, he attacked her anus with the gusto of an anteater on a newly found hill. Once the chocolate was consumed from the outside, he plunged his tongue into her, again and again, deeper and more voraciously, until she was writhing in pleasure, and he was harder than he'd ever been. When she gasped, "Take me," he ceased his tongue-action and guided his rigidity into her waiting vagina. He made love with the joy of having a woman who can surprise him, tease him, taunt him, fool him, and condition him all at the same time. And although it was not on bended knee, with ring in hand, at a lavish candle-lit dinner in the Berkshires, he had proposed to her that night after they lay in each other's arms, drifting with the jubilation of oneness.

An approaching wiry redhead made him grab at his gut. But it was, it turned out, not her. His one sin. For although they were planning on moving in permanently in the early fall, and he was convinced that she was his "one and only," the finality of fidelity, that she being the only one he'd ever have for the next fifty or sixty or more years, was enough to turn even the most ardent believer into a doleful doubter. And, acting out his angst, he had had an affair in July with a foxy redhead, a one-night stand, which no one, he was sure, besides his best friend, would ever know about. Paradoxically, it had convinced him that he was marrying his true love, but unconsciously, it had conditioned a sickening reactive guilt whenever he met attractive, tawny-haired women. A small price to pay, he acknowledged, and one that would keep him honest.

His run completed, he cooled off by walking through the park, south along Columbus, and down his block. He leapt the front stairs, ascended the two flights, and unlocked his door. Eight-fifty-seven. Time for a shower, then the train to his fiancée's. He was right on schedule.

It's a steamy late morning in mid August, one and a half months before their wedding. He emerges from the subway station and hurries to her apartment to review, as planned, the caterer's menu of offerings. As he approaches her lobby door, out comes his best friend and best-man-to-be. After a hug hello, they sling some puns at each other, and when he inquires, "What's up?" his friend replies that he had just helped his fiancee with some matters that she needed to deal with before the upcoming ceremony.

As he waves him goodbye, and turns to take the three flights, two stairs at a time, his mind goes to her greeting him at the door; he, surrounding her with his arms; and she, hugging back; and they, pirouetting together onto the couch, lips locked in a kiss of entwining tongues.

Panting slightly, he finds her door ajar and his call is answered from an adjacent room, to come on in. He enters, closing the door behind him, and hears her again, beckoning from her boudoir, "Dear, I'm in desperate need of a clean up."

As always, that plaintive request sends a river of arousal into his groin.

"I'm having one of those lazy days, and just don't feel like taking a shower or even giving myself a douche, for that matter. Would you mind terribly, taking off your sweaty clothes and performing one of your valiant va-janitorials?"

He can hardly wait. Over his head, he rips off his shirt, glued to his back with perspiration, then pulls off shoes, socks, shorts, and boxers to reveal, to his love, a scarlet hard-on with plenty of amplitude. Maroon sateen sheets, rippling with the passing of each fan oscillation, accentuate her form beneath. Checking his desire to dive under them and go immediately to work, he, instead, crawls onto her double bed to kiss her first, and recognizes, but can't identify, the faint fragrance evaporating from her neck.

Her eyes on him seductively, she removes the sheet from her upper torso in one smooth motion. The reflection of the sateen makes her breasts appear flushed, and the little intermittent breezes from the fan harden her nipples. That does it. He pulls the remaining covering off the object of his desire and maneuvers his lips in little hops over her chest and abdomen on his way down to her waiting vagina. Through the familiar sweaty smells mingling with those of her womanhood now whetting with arousal, he again registers an aroma that is vaguely familiar, but one that can't quite be placed.

Her thighs part in willing anticipation, and he begins by kissing the soft hairs that ring her labia. Nuzzling like a stallion the hand that holds the sugar cube, he buries his lips into her velvety folds in search of her clit and the globule of mucous that she always gives as pre-payment for his cleaning. He's so hot that he can't keep his tongue from racing ahead, riding the moisture of her slot into her waiting pool of this morning's mixture of juices and fluids. And that's when he takes it in.

A glob, bigger than what she has ever given to him—an oyster within her pearly cunt—is what he has just sucked into and holds in his mouth. He knows now what he is tasting, and what it was he had sensed twice earlier.

She feels his hesitation, and in a matter of seconds she has his hair clenched in her fists, and in a move that would have outmaneuvered a Ninja, she is sitting on top of his face, vulva spread over his mouth and nose. In a voice impassioned, she commands him to eat it all. "Every cursed drop. Because I want so badly for us to be cleansed of these acts which are soiling our conscience."

And he sees her hock and spit into her palm and then feels her reach back to coat his cock, which had sagged at his epiphany. "And keep yourself fucking-hard, my love, because now, more than ever, I need you in me."

His mind's off-kilter as he sorts out the pangs of guilt, betrayal, and outrage; the bitter, new taste in his mouth; her hand lovingly stroking his manhood back to life; and her pelvis grinding into his face with obvious wanting.

He finishes his oyster rock-a-fella and rolls her off, climbs atop, and they fuck the living daylights out of each other, until their love-shrieks saturate the already muggy air, and are blown out the window onto the world.

As they lay in each other's arms once again, betrothed in rapture, she whispers in his ear, "You're my good man who's got taste as his best sense."

"And I've got the sense to keep a woman with such good taste."

"You do. So as soon as you are recovered, my epicure, I have another clean-up waiting for you." & uid=23585

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