To Be Devoured
We met at a dance club. His wore a t-shirt for a band I’d never heard of, and his jeans hung low around his hips. I danced alone, running my hands over my skin, rocking to the music. I wanted him to come near me. I wanted to lick that place above his hips, watch him squirm under my tongue. So I held his gaze and smiled.
He licked his lips and moved towards me. It made me feel delicious, like a treat.
He wanted to drink me up. I didn’t know it until that moment, but I was dying to be devoured.
The first thing he stole was my smallest toe. When we took our bodies apart, stripping down after our first night together, I put all my pieces on a plaid chair in the corner. I stacked my body neatly, biggest pieces to smallest, like every night. But in the morning, the toe was gone.
I didn’t care much. Who needs a smallest toe, really. I’d checked in the cushions and under the futon he used as a bed, but it was nowhere to be found.
I blamed myself. I was good at that.
We went back to the club every weekend. It was a ritual. I craved it.
He traced his hands down my shoulder blades and I grew hot under his touch. We danced to a song that vibrated the floor, the beat low in our chests. He stood behind me and the button of his jeans pressed into me. I was sticky with sweat, and it made me feel free and sexy and dirty and wonderful and terrible.
His voice in my ear was a growl, a promise. It melted and scared me. “You’re all mine.”
I didn’t answer, but I rocked my hips back. I didn’t want to leave yet, but I was burning. On fire. One more song, and I was pulling him towards the door.
After the toe, it was a finger, my eyelashes, an ear. Each time I searched. Each time I blamed myself.
I must have dropped it, or it fell, or I was drinking too much and didn’t remember where I left it.
He pulled his legs on, his arms, his fingers. His head rolled to look at me. He winked, and I knew.
But the way his jeans hung on his hips made me crawl towards him on the futon, missing ear and all. “Drink me up,” I whispered.
I stopped recognizing the songs at the club, but I didn’t mind. I just needed the pulse of the bass thumping through my chest like a heartbeat.
He was growing bored. His attention skipped from face to face, stroking women’s bodies with his eyes.
I pulled his face back to me. I pressed my body to his, the sweat from my chest soaking into his t-shirt.
He leaned forward and the scruff on his chin scratched my neck. It burned, and he growled.
It hurt. It would leave red marks across my neck in the morning. But I let him do it. I didn’t know how else to keep him here, next to me, his hands roaming my body, making me feel like fire.
I woke up early, before he stirred. I waited until I heard the futon creak, heard his shape descending to the edge, towards my body.
We are built like magnets, drawn to ourselves. We connect with a snap, edges connecting like puzzle pieces. He put himself together. Head to neck, neck to body, body to legs, legs to arms. Toes, fingers, ears.
He loomed over my body, staring at the pieces I’d stacked the night before. I’d left my thumb on top as an offering.
I watched with half-open eyes as he picked up the thumb, and held it in his mouth. He didn’t suck it or lick it, he just held it there. Then, in one stride, he crossed to where his coat hung at the door, and slipped the thumb into the coat pocket.
Next to the futon, he took himself apart and the futon creaked again.
I wanted to feel mad. I wanted to feel betrayed. I knew I should. I should feel disgusted.
But I’d known it all along. All I felt was guilt.
He said he wanted to go to the club. I wanted it to be because of me.
I held his hand while we danced, pressing it against my hips, my stomach. I needed to feel his skin, his pulse, his heat.
But I was losing him.
I knew I should say something. I should start a fight. I should say I know what you’re doing. I know you’re taking pieces of me.
But then he was behind me and I felt him lean forward. His breath was in my ear and I couldn’t speak. It was just me and his hips and his hands and the way his breath felt warm and silky over my ears. It was the music and the sweat and the way my heart couldn’t catch up. It was his jeans and his t-shirt, wet with our sweat.
I knew I should feel a lot of things. I knew I should say so many things.
But then he whispered in my ear, “I want to eat you up.”
So I said nothing. I was dying to be devoured.
Madeline Anthes is an ex-Clevelander living in Bucks County, PA with her husband and two funny-looking dachshunds. She is the acquisitions editor for Hypertrophic Literary, and you can find her work in journals like WhiskeyPaper, Third Point Press, and Maudlin House. Find more of her work at madelineanthes.com, or follow her on Twitter @maddieanthes.
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Image: Henry Moore/Andrew Duggan