indulges sexually in the fascinating people around her.
Day Two, April 11
Marie slept through breakfast and then had room service bring up coffee and croissants. It was cold and foggy outside, but Marie didn’t mind. She ate her croissant staring out her porthole and felt like she was on a magical adventure. Cal and Mileva were electrifying, magical people.
Mileva wasn’t merely Einstein’s wife. She had been his student and was an independent physicist. Without hesitation, Mileva shared that Albert preferred that she stay home with their steadily growing brood of children.
“I love my children,” she said sadly, in French. Mileva spoke to her in French out of respect and intimacy. In French, they could have a private conversation. “I do. I simply grow incredibly frustrated and bored and restless and the children can be so needy.” As if remembering herself and realizing the intimate details she was revealing, Mileva shook her head and smiled. “Physics is demanding, but it doesn’t dump peanut butter and jelly in the toilet or shave the cat.”
“Peanut butter and jelly?”
“Because the fish were hungry. My children are crazy.” She said it in quite a serious tone. “Do you have children? Oh, I’m sorry, that was indelicate of me.” Mileva took her hand and squeezed it with passion.
Marie laughed. “Radiation is my child and I’m happy it is.”
Mileva kept Marie’s hand and put it in her lap. “Is it really killing you?”
Marie’s face fell.
“That was extremely indelicate. But it’s quite all right–my children are killing me,” Mileva said, forcing her face into a pleasant expression. Marie could tell Mileva was drunk, and she was only hinting at the deeper misery she had. Mileva had wanted to be a physicist as a little girl. Einstein wanted her to be a wife and mother. Mileva could give him valuable feedback and yet couldn’t actively participate in the scientific world. Mileva looked at Marie’s hand in her lap, letting her fingers trace Marie’s knuckles. She looked like she was about to kiss them. “Albert is quite taken with you. He says your glowing green skin is captivating.”
Marie suddenly smiled and looked away. A subtle blush of green flames licked across her cheeks. “You’re too kind and generous.”
“And out of champagne!” Mileva emptied her glass and waved for a waiter. One immediately showed to refill her glass, but she told him to leave the bottle. He did so obediently. Mileva filled both their glasses. Marie giggled and they both drank.
“Albert wanted me to approach you about a threesome,” Mileva said, her eyes flashing as her fingers played with the gleaming white pearls around her neck. She still retained Marie’s hand. “So I have and my job is done.”
Marie blinked several times. “I’m…very flattered of course.”
“But not interested,” Mileva said.
“I’m not opposed to the concept of sexual liberation. God knows my own husband is leading the campaigner for gay men in Paris. But Albert is…”
“Not your type?”
“Not at all. No offense, I assure you.”
Mileva fixed her eyes on Marie: “And me, Professor Curie? Am I your type?”
Marie knew exactly what she wanted to say. But all she could do drink all the champagne in her glass in one gulp.
Mileva laughed and she sounded young and excited. She jumped up. “Come dance with me!”
Marie allowed Mileva to pull her to the dance floor. It was late into the evening and most people had left to walk the deck or continue drinking harder liquor at one of the bars. Cal and Wayne were still in the dining room, deep in conversations with older gray haired men in expensive suits who seemed quite charmed.
Mileva put her arm around Marie’s waist, and Marie’s hand on Mileva’s shoulder. “I don’t normally lead, but you don’t look like you’ve done this before.”
“I have!” Marie responded.
Mileva threw her head back and laughed.
There was a full band still playing, and Ella Fitzgerald was singing “Embraceable You.” Mileva guided Marie slowly to the music, pressing her close. Marie was slightly taller and looked down into Mileva’s dress, seeing her breasts free and moving against the beaded fabric of her dress. Occasionally, she had a glimpse of a hard, pink nipple and Marie felt her body warm dramatically.
Suddenly Mileva let go of Marie and jumped back. The chandelier drops of Marie’s dress reflected her green glow, which was intensifying dramatically. Marie shuddered from the energy pumping through her body, and there was a burst. The glass drops shot out intense beams, scorching the dance floor all around her. It came out like a shotgun blast and then it was over.
Marie was mortified, pressing her hand over her mouth. Mileva, however, was delighted. She threw her arms around Marie and said she’d never been so flattered.
Cal and Wayne stared at Marie, their mouths hanging open.
The next morning, Marie hardly believed that the conversation took place. Her face became hot from the memory and the heat was so intense it made her sweat all over.
Marie opened her porthole and let in the cold sea air. She breathed in deeply and slowly and felt the heat begin to subside. She had a fleeting thought of being twisted in her bed with Mileva, and it started wet heat trickling between her legs. It almost set her nightgown on fire. She smelled the material smoking and just managed to pull it off over her head and pushed it out the porthole.
Marie needed distraction. She took a very cold shower and dressed in a thick, lead lined dress. It was quite heavy, but necessary. Especially if she was going to be so physically excitable today. She was not usually so excitable. She almost never caused fires or burned holes in dancefloors. It was annoying, but it was also intriguing. It offered up the possibility that things could be different on the Titanic. That she could relax and do things Pierre wouldn’t allow.
Usually Marie wore her hair up in a practical bun. Normally, her work could not accommodate her attention straying to her hair. It must be completely out of her way. She couldn’t sacrifice even a moment to push an unruly lock behind her ear.
But today she wanted to wear her hair down, pinned back at her neck to keep it mildly under control. It was comfortable and, she knew, much more attractive. As she brushed it, smiling and enjoying this small act of rebellion, there was a knock at the door. It was a porter bearing an envelope sealed with wax. He explained he was instructed to wait for an answer.
It was an invitation from Cal, requesting her presence at tea and a walk around the deck. Marie wrote on the card, I would love to, and the heat from her hand left a burnt imprint on the paper. Her first reaction was to keep it and simply give the porter a verbal confirmation.
But, no: let Cal see her fire.
I worked for almost ten years in coffee (Starbucks, Barnes & Noble cafes) when I quit and turned to writing erotica full time.
That’s a little misleading. Let me back up about twenty years. I decided I wanted to write professionally when I was in high school (not erotica, but my work definitely skirted the issue in an obvious way, but it eventually manifested itself in plays. They were the only thing I could finish. I did write poetry, but it was riddled with teen angst and pocked with imagery involving bleeding walls of flesh and a knight chess piece. And I kept a diary which, at the time, I wrote at an astonishing rate of half to one blank book a day.
While at UCLA, I wrote plays on the side. Sometimes during class. Sometimes inspired by my classes. While I took archaeology, queer literature and vampire fiction I wrote a radio play about a cross dressing archaeologist in Mexico who unknowingly unearthed a vampire.
After UCLA I had no idea what to do with myself and missed college a week after I graduated. I had my first full length play produced by a small theater in Illinois, and the director told me I’d learn much if I got my MFA in playwriting. So I went to Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and got my MFA.
I wasn’t the best graduate student. I was willful, stubborn, contrary, fiesty, combative. My work started to enter the realm of erotica and, being life stage plays, this became problematic. Especially in a university theater. I had written a one act play about pony play, which the department found too objectionable and unstagable to produce. Another one act was about a lesbian astronomer who falls in love with a star, and has a kind of “sex” scene with the star involving a nude scene.
My thesis play was about a woman who pretends to be a man online, and has cybersex with another woman. I didn’t want this to be my thesis. For my thesis, I wrote a full length version of Dying in Pleasure. But that was immediately found to be objectionable: too violent and misogynistic for undergraduates actors.
But I got out of there, and spent a couple years working on a novel version of Dying in Pleasure. I couldn’t let it go. During this time I went to Pompeii and it was harrowing. The condition of the town and seeing the bodies on display was extremely disturbing. No matter what professors had said about my play, I wasn’t going to abandon the story.
I eventually landed in Texas to work on my Phd. While there I began my own theater company to produce my works almost exclusively. This is when erotica and playwriting truly merged, and I became quite the controversy.
The theater lived almost two years before bankrupting, and I suppose I slid underground. I wrote very little and focused on coffee. Many personal issues and complications and life changes later, I find myself in Southampton, England and writing erotica full time. I work on novels and write short stories on commission. I’ve been building a significant online presence and have worked hard to be successful.
Publishing Dying in Pleasure has been more than a professional hurdle and accomplishment. It’s the culmination of years of work, my development as a writer, my obsession with Pompeii and my stubbornness.
Presently, I’m working on a mermaid erotica novel which I hope to be the first book in a series.
PS. A question suddenly occurred to me–why erotica? I’ve been fascinated with sex and sexuality for years. At this point, nothing really shocks me (although every once in a while, something new pops up that does), and it all fascinates me. I don’t judge anyone. I don’t write about everything (such as child molestation), but I don’t look down on furries and golden showers and any form of BDSM.
I think what intrigues me the most is the power sex has over us. How sex can turn an intelligent, well balanced, logical and emotionally stable person into a panting beast. I’ve experienced it myself. One of my best friends said of me, “How could someone so intelligent do something so stupid?” What I had done was stupid, but how it happened in simple: sex. I didn’t know how to wield the power of sex. It was a sword I was too weak to carry and it cut me in a thousand places. It had nothing to do with intelligence. Sex never does.
Intelligence is realizing that sex is powerful. And sometimes it’s okay to give in to it, and other times it’s not.