‘Going down now, going down now, going down now’, Led Zeppelin had wailed in John’s ears as he’d been showering prior to the date.

The second steak had been better than the first one. Thicker, juicier. She had loved it. He’d been surprised she could eat so well. She had a tiny waist, her arms were a bit bigger, but in a cute way, she was a total knock-out.

Just like during the first steak date three days earlier, she complained about neck pain.

This time the restaurant wasn’t so close to her apartment that they could walk there. John walked O to the tram stop, and since the conversation kept going -something about baby names in Slovakia- he got in the tram with her, back to her place, in the opposite direction of his place.

After a 15 minute ride, they got out, and he walked her home. She kept touching her neck or rolling her head in an effort to find some relief.

He knew from a long list of questions he’d sent her, months ago, that she wasn’t into giving massages, but perhaps she would accept a massage. They could be a match in that area, he didn’t like to get massages – he was ticklish -, but liked to give them. At least to females.

John couldn’t imagine she would ask him up.

And she didn’t.

When they arrived at her building, John just noticed that the conversation was still flowing. Not completely naturally, because with O he felt every word he said went into a meticulously kept mental archive, ready to be used, some day, as a reason not to be together.

Would a woman ever commit to someone just because the guy happened to be committed to her?

He’d had a therapy client like that. A woman on the rebound who had married a guy who’d kept insisting. Now she was having sex with her boss. Every single day.

He thought about previous relationships, where no insistence whatsoever had been required. Things had just happened.

Things were seemingly just happening right now as well.

John couldn’t quite believe it, but he was taking off his shoes in O’s apartment. It couldn’t be the wine that had helped him past the threshold. She hadn’t drunk any more, less actually, than the previous times they had gone out.

Now that he was here, in the sanctuary, he didn’t move past the mat.

‘Well, don’t just stand there, silly. Go and take a seat. I don’t keep all that much alcohol in the house. I do have that Belgian beer you gave me’

The morning after their first steak testing he’d had his most mature student deliver Belgian beer to her classroom.

‘But you don’t like beer’, he said.

‘No, but I suppose Belgian beer is something we must try, at least once’

‘Do you try everything at least once?’

She dissapeared into the kitchen.

‘Why do you say such cheesy things?’

She came back with the beer and said: ‘I don’t have the right glasses for this kind of beer’

‘It doesn’t matter’.

‘It matters to me. I want to be a good hostess. It’s important.’

‘You weren’t lying when you wrote you keep your apartment very clean’

‘I never lie. Only white lies. To keep the peace’

‘What’s the last lie you’ve told?’

‘It was so small I can’t remember it’

‘You’re lying’.

She poured the beer in one of those big glasses for big Slovak half a liter beers. A lot more foam formed than with the local beer and it almost overflowed.

‘I’m not lying. You on the other hand, must be lying a lot. To your wife’

‘She knows a lot. She knows what’s going on. And she would know without me telling her’

‘Does she know where you are?’

‘No, she does not’

‘Where is she?’

‘With her family’

She touched her neck again and rubbed it.

He couldn’t stand it anymore and jumped up, went behind her and put his hands on her shoulders.

She felt like marble and didn’t move.

‘You’re going to try and have your fun with me now?’

He put her hair aside, to get a better look at her shoulders, but stopped touching her then.

She didn’t move around.

‘So massages… Is that your trick?’

She had a way of making him feel unoriginal.

When he went to sit back down she put the glass of beer in his hand.

He was drawn to her dominance and at the same he felt useless not being in charge.

‘I probably can’t come up with anything you didn’t do with Paul, unless it got very deviant, but I’ve got a thing in my head, it’s very simple’

‘Tell me, silly’

‘I lick you for the entire duration of Imany’s album ‘songs for a broken heart’ and you’re not allowed to come until the last note of the last song’

‘And what do you expect me to do in return?’

‘Nothing’

‘Why am I not allowed to come? Sounds more like torture for both of us. You could sprain your tongue. That album takes over 45 minutes.’

‘I have it on my phone. I’m going to start playing it and then am going to move closer’

‘I don’t do this with colleagues’

He put the music on.

‘Wait’, she said. ‘This is more of a bedroom thing, but it sounds like torture.’

She made herself comfortable in the bed, but with her clothes on. A loose fitting blouse and a skirt just down below her knees.

Her legs were tight together and she was looking up at the ceiling.

‘See if you get there’

He leaned forward and kissed her knees. Then he moved slowly up her thighs. They were full and round, and very soft, very smooth, unblemished skin.

He thought she’d break his nose with one of her knees at the last moment, or that she’d try choking him with her shins clammed round his neck, but she didn’t, though he could feel her body was tense.

Only when he tried to pull down her black underwear, she pushed his hands away.

Instead he lifted her blouse and kissed her belly all the way along the rim of her knickers.

He could smell her now and it made his balls hurt, he wanted to sink in and taste her.

His hands went up and cupped her breasts.

With his teeth he pulled her underwear down just a bit.

When he tried to pull it down with one hand, she stopped him again.

Then he figured her underwear was so flimsy, he could just lick her across it.

He kept fondling her breasts, and she made the vaguest of sounds.

With one finger he pulled the part of the underwear that was blocking him to the side and slipped in his tongue. This way he could reach the wet lane below her clitoris, but not her clitoris itself. He slid his tongue across it, up and down, until he tried again, and the underwear finally came down.

Then he went in circles round and round her clitoris, he sucked her labia, went up and down, slipped his tongue into her vagina, as deep as he could, and licked it from the inside, eventually he licked in fast rounds on her clitoris itself, lifted the hood of it with his fingers, and each time he felt her body tensing up, nearing a climax, he slowed down or moved somewhere else.

When the album reached its final song, he slipped in one finger, and then two, and made a fast come here movement inside her, while keeping his tongue at her clit.

When she came she squeezed his head between her two knees, and then gently pushed him away with her hand.

The album played for about half a minute more and then stopped.

‘You have to go home now’ she said, now lying on her belly.

John caught the last tram home.

When he fell on his pillow, her smell was still on him.