Alicia turns up at my place at seven p.m. She’s wearing a short denim skirt, a white and light-blue striped shirt undone three buttons from the top, a dark-blue jacket with three gold buttons in vertical rows on either side of the front, and a pair of chocolate-brown suede boots splayed into a fray of thin suede fingers at the ankle. She’s holding a cigarette in her right hand, a black leather handbag hooked over her left arm and she’s got dark sunglasses on. I kiss her on both cheeks, put my hand on her behind, bury my nose into the side of her neck and her long brown hair, smelling a mix of summer fruits and cigarette smoke.
“Do you want a glass of wine?” I ask.
She smiles, takes a drag on her cigarette, takes off her sunglasses. She walks in and dumps her handbag on the couch, then sits down next to it, slips off her suede boots and puts her bare feet on the coffee table. I go get her a glass of wine.
“You have such nice things.” she says. I nod as I pull the cork out of the wine bottle. She continues. ‘Really. Look at this place. Nice couch, nice coffee table, nice carpet. It’s very simple. I like it. The city is such a mess, isn’t it? And then I come here, to your little place. The simple place among the mess. Don’t you think?
I carry her a glass of wine. “I suppose so.” I reply. I look around. The white and burgundy striped two seater that she’s sitting on; the natural-finished wood coffee table, light-brown oak; the dark-brown wool carpet. To the right of the lounge space, a thick black curtain is pulled across to shut off the bedroom space. I stand behind the couch, look straight ahead at our reflections in the French doors. Outside it’s dark, the panes of the glass in the doors like small thirty centimeter black canvasses split by wooden beads, our reflections painted in pieces across them. I watch her reflection lift the glass of wine. I can also see her below me, out the bottom of my eyes, lifting the glass, just the same. A duality of vision. I put my hands on her shoulders, lightly massage her, push my fingers inside the jacket, pulling it open. “Take off your jacket.” I tell her.
She takes her jacket off, hands it to me. I take it and hang it over the back of a chair at the kitchen table. I pour myself a glass of wine. The doorbell rings. “Answer that, will you?” I ask.
She gets up, walks over to the door, adjusting her skirt, straightening her shirt. Her cigarette has burned to the filter. As she opens the door I walk over with a glass ashtray for her. Outside, standing in the hallway, Jessica waits. She’s wearing a light-brown patterned dress that goes halfway down her thighs, then silvery-grey knee high socks flow with the curve of her legs to black canvas shoes. A black cardigan just about hangs off her shoulders and her hair is tied back with a pastel-peach hairband. I look at her body under the dress. The fabric is very thin, not see through, but thin enough that I can see her nipples pressing against the underside; she isn’t wearing a bra. I want to put my hand between her legs. “Come in.” I say, smiling.
As we walk back into the lounge space I hold the glass ashtray up and Alicia stubs her cigarette out. “Would you like a glass of wine?” I ask Jessica.
“Please.” she says.
“Take a seat, both of you.” I go back into the kitchen and get a glass of wine. I watch as they sit down on the couch. Because of Alicia’s black leather bag on the seat they have to sit close by each other. I carry the glass of wine and hand it to Jessica, then I stand behind the couch, looking at our reflections in the glass doors. The burgundy curtains are open despite the dark outside. I know that beyond the glass of the doors there is a wide stone balcony about two meters deep. I live on the thirty fourth floor and look out over Central Park. “Are you hungry?” I ask, running my hands through Jessica’s hair, pulling the hairband from her head, her brown hair falling loosely.
Jessica nods, Alicia reaches across and pulls a packet of cigarettes and a red lighter from the her bag, offers one to Jessica, then to me, then takes one for herself, throws the packet on the wooden table. We light our cigarettes and I go into the kitchen.
“I’m going to make you something nice.” I say to them. There is already a pot of potatoes simmering on the stove. They’ve been in for the last forty minutes. I take a bag of plain white flour (all purpose) from the cupboards above the work-top and sage, butter and parmesan cheese from the fridge. I look back into the lounge space. Alicia has turned so her back is against the arm of the couch, her legs laid across Jessica’s legs. Jessica opens her arms out along the top of the cushions. I look to the French doors, the dark glass panes; then to the black curtain. It’s actually two curtains overlapping in the middle. I turn to the potatoes on the stove.
“I don’t need to ask if you’ve had gnocchi before?” I ask them, redundantly.
They don’t answer. While my back was turned, Jessica has moved onto all fours, turned to face Alicia straight on. Alicia kicks her bag off the edge of the couch, slides her body down so she lays flat. They’re kissing. I drain and peel the potatoes while they’re still hot, then walk over and briefly look over the top of the couch. Jessica’s dress is pulled up around her waist, she’s wearing black cotton underwear. I see that she has pushed apart and slid in between Alicia’s legs, her hand up inside the denim mini-skirt. Alicia is wearing a black laced g-string. I smile, look at the door, then the curtain, take a drag on my cigarette and walk back into the kitchen.
I place my cigarette in a white ceramic ashtray, then mash the potatoes on the work-top and add one and half cups of the flour and a pinch of salt. I mix it gently with my hands, making a soft dough. It feels soft like a pair of young breasts. I shape the dough into long rolls and cut short segments with a sharp, stainless steel knife. I take a large pot and fill it with hot water, place it on the stove and wait for it to boil. I pour myself a glass of wine and pick my cigarette up, stand at the end of the bench, looking at the girls. Women, I should really say, I just find calling them girls makes them appear more diminutive. Jessica is now on the floor, on her knees, her mouth between Alicia’s legs, licking. I have to walk over and look. Leaning over the back of my couch, I see a black laced g-string on the dark-brown carpet, Alicia’s denim mini-skirt up around her waist. Jessica has her hand between her own legs, rubbing herself while she licks Alicia. I feel myself getting hard, rub myself against the back of the couch, feel blood pumping around my body, go back into the kitchen.
“What would you say if I told you someone was watching?” I ask.
They don’t reply. I smile. The water is boiling. I add salt and cook the gnocchi. I drop them in and wait for them to rise to the surface. It takes each less than a minute from the time I drop them. Using a slotted ladle, I place them on a warm serving dish from the oven.
I start to hear both Alicia and Jessica moan. I look over and see the top of Alicia’s head, cigarette smoke rising, her arm held up and behind the couch, holding her glass of wine. I fry the sage in butter until golden, then pour over the gnocchi. I grate a small amount of parmesan and sprinkle over the dish. I take three stainless steel forks from the drawer and carry it into the lounge space. Just as I arrive with the dish, both Alicia and Jessica come together. I am happy for them, but at the same time I want to come too. Jessica slumps back up onto the couch. They both look up to me, both raise a hand up to me. I pass them the dish. They hand me back one of the forks, eat the gnocchi themselves. I look at our reflections in the French doors. I don’t think I am going to get to fuck either of them tonight.
“Gnocchi di patate al burro e salvia.” I announce.
“So was there someone watching us?” Alicia asks.
I smile, walk over to the black curtains and open them. The bedroom space. My bed, with fresh white sheets. My natural-finished wood wardrobe with my clothes and shoes inside. Nothing else. No-one else.
“How about out on the balcony?” Jessica asks.
I walk over to the French doors, push them open, walk outside. “You can come out and see, if you like.” I call back inside. They don’t come out. I walk back in, sit down on the couch beside Jessica, pull the dish toward myself. Jessica doesn’t let go, smiles. I taste the gnocchi. It tastes good.
“The gnocchi tastes good.” Alicia says.
I smile, turn to them. I lean across and kiss Jessica on the lips. We all start laughing.