Orfeo’s Ascent: A Modern Opera – Part 2
Peter edged closer. “Anwen? Where did he go? Are you all right? What’s —?” The softness of fingertips hushed his lips, tugged him closer to the shadows.
“I paid him. He’s gone now.” Her fingers slid down, tracing Peter’s lapels. “The thing is… I’m feeling very much like our poor heroine.”
His heart clenched, his voice weak. “I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.”
She stood before him, her dress illuminating her figure in the most angelic and mesmerizing way. His breath caught.
The stage lights flickered behind them through the wall seams, prevailed upon the audience in the distance. Peter’s eyes adjusted to the darkness, glimpsed beyond his wife for a moment, recognizing the place as an unused, side-slated trap door beneath the main stage.
She grasped his shoulders and pushed him against the near wall.
“My lady, I’m not sure I understand your will,” he whispered, shame creeping into his countenance.
“If you don’t understand me by now, my lord, then I don’t think there’s much hope in continuing our courtship.” The delicate brow of hers cocked.
The viscount held himself perfectly still, assessing the lady’s intent. “You’re my wife.”
“Show me that is true, my lord. Please. Come for me.” She leaned toward him, standing on tip-toe to press her lips to his freshly-shaven cheek. Her mouth lingered, her hot exhalation at his ear.
The double-meaning of her phrase, the allusion to the scenes performed above, was not lost on him. His initial fears returned, his eyes closing to keep her out, to reject and protect her — even now.
“Mmm. Show me, darling.”
The sound of satisfaction evoked a shiver from him as her hands drifted lower, reaching beneath his coat to his trousers, the back and then the front.
His reaction left her without doubt, the answer of his affection evident. Her eyes flickered up to his, still closed.
“Peter?” Her voice broke.
The blue of his eyes finally shone down on her into the shadows, his breaths halting, frightened now at the revelation. “I don’t want you to see me. I’m not that man anymore, not the one you loved.”
Anwen’s eyes glistened. In reply, she left one hand to stroke his trousers and the other to deftly touch his cheek, trace his lips, before she kissed him. Gentle, pressing until he finally surrendered his lips to her, parting them eagerly, thirsting for depths of her, their tongues fervently tasting.
Peter paused, groaned, stepped back for a moment, his breathing erratic and alive. Paralyzed now by the notion of her so close, alarmed at the way her breasts pushed so beautifully from the cut of her dress — so wanton and ladylike at the same time and so very much in need of him. Could she?
She closed the distance between them swiftly, tenderly undoing his tie, his waistcoat, his shirt, as he continued to witness this miraculous act. All the while, she whispered, commanded, doted on his insecurities as his flesh revealed the wounds of war. In the darkness of the remote space of theatre, she undid him: one touch at a time across the map of his chest, the ridges and puckers of scars, and kissed him at each intersection of marred and smooth skin he thought too ugly for her to witness.
After she cleansed his shame, she gazed into his eyes and, silently, kissed him again. The breath of life restored, he fully returned her kisses, moaned in return with each rush of taste and tongue. His hands explored, traced her neck and jaw, the line of her throat where the dress dipped low to her breasts. She ached for him, hesitated for mere seconds to work free of the garment. Standing before him, his own body bare from his waist up, she now slipped off her shoes, gown, chemise, and revealed the most tantalizing detail: no knickers. He gasped. She grinned. She placed his hand on her breast, moving it gently as if reminding him of how she felt, how she moved in rhythm with her hips encouraging him with the press of her bare body against his wool trousers.
“You didn’t wear knickers,” he stammered.
“I’m quite well aware, my lord.” The innocent, coquettish nature thrilled him. “Touch me?”
The swell of music above. The hitch in his breathing as he reached, her legs parted for him and he cupped her with his palm, slipped one finger and then two between her legs, her hot center so wet he groaned. The moisture on his fingers he used to rub her, to remember what it was to arouse her to this state — her hair falling loosely from the tightness of the clips, her head tilted, her cheeks flushed.
“Mmm. Yes, Pet — darling — ” Her legs weakened with the stroking, the combined rub of his finger and then the come hither deep within, bringing her closer to bury her head in his shoulder, her fingers clutching his hair as she cried out against him.
The softness of the beckoning strings gave way to the tender plea of Act 3. Peter knelt before his nude wife, urged her to part for him once more, held her hips, felt her fingers in his hair again, pulling him to her for more, for supplication and need at once as his tongue and lips sucked and swirled, left her hips moving against him to chase the pleasure again. Her wetness only making him harder. Unable to stand the climb alone, she pushed at him, forced him to stand and relinquish his trousers. A quick glance into the surrounding darkness, Anwen took his face in her hands again, focusing his concentration fully on her with a powerful kiss and moan. The two knelt again, her hands grasping for his hips now, wanting him inside of her so badly that her own hips rubbed against him incessantly.
“Please — ” she said, reaching for him, gripping his shoulders, pulling him down to her.
He couldn’t keep up and nearly lost his balance. She spread her legs wide for him, still urging her hips upward toward him, the throbbing between her legs causing her to whimper for him.
The burst of tympani and soaring strings reverberated as triumph reigned on the stage above and Peter entered her, filling her so deeply that both cried out at the relief of the solitary ache so long uneased. He moved inside of her, slowly, savoring her at first, pausing to allow his fingers to elicit that exquisite sound of her moan once more as he sensitively circled her clit. Unable to stand the delay in completion, longing to reach the precipice, she pushed at him until he shifted, allowed her on top and merely watched her fingers trace and knead his chest as she rushed to the exquisite heights, her cries drowned out by the climactic victory of love aloft. His pleasure in seeing her come seared, brought tears to his eyes and a hot rush of his own surrender to her.
As the final sweep of the orchestra quieted, the heroine retrieved from the underworld, and the hero forgiven his passionate mistake — the couple came together below in a raw and desperate reunion. The crowd’s applause above thundered around them. The bows taken on the stage, the viscount and his wife finally parted in satiated bliss, more than five years in the making.
Peter swallowed, still trying to catch his breath after his performance. Anwen’s eyes floated over him, lingering as he fought with pulling his trousers up again. She lazily reached for his shirttail, tucked it in slowly, pulling him to her inadvertently as she went, and tidying the clasp. She finished and looked up at him. There was a difference in his demeanor now, a slight smile threatened at his lips. No words came. Somehow, each knew, as in their past life long ago, their love endured. He watched as she donned and smoothed her dress, hid the sweet indiscretion of their actions with her attention to detail, and then he took her hand to lead her out of the blissful underworld. Peter held his lover’s hand, his wife curious to see if he might lose the eternal battle for her soul, as the hero overhead had, as they wound their way out of the darkness and into the light of the theatre’s exiting attendees. Fingers interlocked with hers, the gentleman didn’t dare glance back towards her. Instead, Peter gave a gentle squeeze to her hand, made certain she remained with him, and, in his mind, imagined the possibilities of the reclaimed life that lay ahead.