Sex Crimes (Jenefer Shute)

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  I've already told you, I think, that early on -- before everything went bad -- the complainant and I spent a weekend in the Berkshires. If I forgot to mention it before -- well, consider it mentioned now, and let's move on to the morning after: the complainant and the defendant on the porch, in fluffy white bathrobes after their showers, drinking their coffee, slicing their scones, feeling lazy and limp and somewhat stunned from the night before. He looked, I recall, like a big clean baby, his skin a warm pink, his eyes milky blue.

I glanced up from my paper, saw him wholly absorbed in buttering his scone; saw, beyond him, the tender green grass; saw, above us, a sparkling sky. Life may have more to offer, I thought, but at this moment I can't think what it might be. Then, as if to chide me for that lapse, three loud coughing roars ripped through the quiet, followed by the unmistakable whine of an approaching lawn mower.

"Oh man," I said. "You'd think they'd do this on weekdays."

"Maybe it will move away," he said, but instead it came closer until I could see, quite clearly, the lean adolescent boy who was making his arc of effort over it, shirtless and, I noticed, apricot-skinned in the sun.

"Chris?" Scott said, after a while, and I realized he'd been watching me, watching the kid. For, perhaps, some time.

"What?" I said, but he didn't reply. "What?" I repeated, my eyes wandering back.

"I'm here too," he said, clattering his cup onto its saucer. "You know?"

"I know," I said. "But what exactly is it that you're doing?" He had dropped, unexpectedly, to his knees. "Proposing?"

"No," he said, parting my robe near my feet.

"You'll get splinters in your knees," I said.

"No I won't," he said, peeling it all the way to my thighs.

"Scott," I said, "that kid can see."

"So?" he asked, peeling it further apart, tugging the sash so that it fell open, exposing me from the sternum down.

"No," I said. The kid was beginning to pay attention, beginning to turn the mower in deliberate swaths towards us.

"Yes," he said, burying his face in my lap.

"No," I said, "let's go inside."

His tongue was warm on my skin, on the inside of my thighs. The kid looped back and forth, closer each time, creating a high unbroken roaring rhythm. With his elbow Scott pried open my legs and then, with both thumbs, my sex. He found me with his mouth, blood-hot. I gasped, leaned back, closed my eyes, opened them, and then, until a spasm shut them, met the kid's unblinking gaze.

Depose the kid, I tell her.

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Excerpted from Sex Crimes by Jenefer Shute. Copyright © 1996 by Jenefer Shute. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.