"And you were the last thing," she breathed into my ear, her hands clawing gently at my back. "You were the last thing she saw. How good that was for her."

A savage strength rose in me, the realization that I had her completely at my mercy, this precious creature, and that no words from anyone could command me away from her. Only her words would hold sway with me now, and only because I would defer to her.

It was like fruit between her legs, like peaches or plums, it was just wet enough. I brought my fingers to my nostrils.

"I can't hold back, my love," I said.

She parted her legs, and lifted her hips, and this was paradise suddenly, to be inside her, inside this hot throbbing fruit, and to have her mouth at the same time, to have both her mouths, to cover her, with hair and strength. I began the manly rhythm. Alive, alive, alive. I was blinded. Pleasure drenched all my senses.

"Yes, now, yes, do it," she said. She lifted her hips against me. I rose up on my elbows so as not to hurt her with my weight, and looking down at her, I felt the seed explode inside her. My jerking motions surely hurt her. But then I saw the blush I wanted in her face, I felt the throbbing in her throat, and knew she was as happy as I was. The tight little core of fruit squeezed the last drop out of me, and I fell over on my back, whole and alive, staring at the ceiling of this room, or staring into airy dark.

Whatever had been my life, spirit or man, I could not recall a pleasure as delicious as this one, as totally humiliating in the way it took over, in the way that it made me feel the slave and the master simultaneously. I didn't ask myself what men felt.

Her head turned from side to side; she was blood red. "Come to me again, please, now," she said.

Overjoyed, I rolled back on top of her and entered her. I didn't need a rest. The fruity secret part was more luscious, tighter than before, throbbing more fully. Again I came and her face flooded with blood, and then finally she scratched my back hard with both her hands, she beat on me with fists, and when I lifted up to thrust, she came with me just far enough, and then lay back, to make it ecstasy.

"Harder," she said. "Harder. Make this a battlefield, make me a boy you've found, a girl, I don't care."

It was too inviting. I slammed against her, harshly, over and over, feeling the seed spill again, the sight of her red face filling me with an all-too-human sense of power. Yes, to have her, to make her come, to make her come, yes, again, and again.

I filled her up. I was so tight inside her, I dragged her hips up off the bed with me, and then in her wetness she let me slide back and forth, and like a brute soldier, I came down, driving her into the silken pillows, and I saw through my half-closed eyes that she smiled.

"Surrender, that's what I want," I said through my teeth. She could not stop the pleasure coming in her; it came and came as if her heart would break. She was red and tossing, and I wouldn't let her go, slamming again and again against her sweet fruitlike lips, and then she lifted both her arms to cover her face, as if she would hide from me.

This sublime gesture, this maidenly gesture, this sweet gesture stripped me of the very last control I ever possessed in this or any other body, and I shot forth my seed for the third time, groaning aloud.

Now I was spent. I was tired. And she grew pale in the light of the moon and the white billowing clouds, and we lay there together. My c**k was dripping.

She turned over and in the tenderest way, like a little girl almost, she kissed my shoulder. She ran her fingers through the hair on my chest.

"My darling," I said. I spoke to her in old languages, natural to me, Chaldean, Aramaic, I spoke words of love and testaments of fidelity and devotion, and cooed against her ear, and she rippled with delight against me, and tore at my hair again.

Pillows had tumbled to the side. The air swirled around her, full of the scents of the garden. It stirred beneath the low, white ceiling, and suddenly, as if the wind had changed its direction, there came the song of the sea, the full great sea, relentless, the deceptive song of water, water gurgling in the waterfall that seems to be talking to you when it is saying nothing, has no syllables, and water pounding the beach as if to say I am coming, I am coming. But there was no I.

"If I could die now, I would do it," she said. "But there are things you have to know."

I drifted, I dreamed. I felt my fatigue. I shook myself awake. Did I have my body still? I feared sleep. Yet I felt the need of it, the assembled body needed it, as it needed water. I sat up.

"Don't talk of dying," I said. "It's going to happen soon enough." I turned and looked down at her.

She looked composed, intelligent, all mind with angular collected limbs, quite incapable of the passion we'd just shared. I blurted out:

"I have no power to cure, not a disease this far advanced."

"Have I asked you?"

"You must want to know, you must wonder."

"I'll tell you why I didn't ask," she said, reaching up and playfully tugging at the hair on my chest. "I knew if you had the power, you would have helped me the moment you had the chance."

"You're right, you're absolutely right."

She closed her eyes, and tightened her lids. It was pain.

"What can I do?" I said.

"Nothing. I want these drugs to wear off. I want to die on my own."

"I'm ready to bring you anything I can," I said. I was shaken to the bone by the sight of her suffering, but it seemed to melt, and her face was waxen again and perfect.

"You talked about Esther, you said that you wanted to know-"

"Yes, why do you think your husband killed her?"

"I don't know! That's just it. They quarreled but I don't know. I can't believe it was on account of the family. Esther and Gregory fought all the time. It was normal. I don't know."

"Tell me everything you remember about Esther and Gregory and this diamond necklace. You said she discovered his brother Nathan when she bought the necklace."

"She met Nathan in the diamond district. She could see his resemblance to Gregory and when she mentioned it, he confessed he was Gregory's identical twin."

"Ah, identical."

"But what could it all mean? He told her he was Gregory's twin. He told her to give Gregory his love. She was amazed. She liked him. She met the other Hasidim who work in the store with him. She liked good wishes. Gregory began to cry with relief. Gregory can cry on cue, and on camera. He went into how his people had cast him out. The Temple was everything to him, his meaning, his life.

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