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Hello, I’m Belinda Rule, and I’m reading today from my novel in progress, When I first met Martin, which is a working title.
His shape was bulky in the dark, labouring quietly over a chopping board. I went to him and laid my hand on his shoulder, then on his head.
I said, “Let me chop. You fry.”
He grumbled, but I shouldered him over a bit and he gave in, giving the chopping board over to me.
“Do those small,” he said.
“I will,” I said. “But if I don’t, you can just deal with it.” I shouldered him again.
“Watch out,” he said, his stirring arm jumping, but not as though he was angry.
There was an elation in thinking that I had him here alone, out here in the bush. He needed me – I was the only other person in the world for our current intents and purposes.
Later we would be in the tent together. Would we fuck?
I wanted to fuck.
I stroked his stout back, tailbone to neck, along the warm furrow of his spine. He hummed, neither approving nor disapproving, before saying, “Are those the carrots?”
Later in the tent we got into our pyjamas, bumping our heads into the sides and elbowing and kicking each other.
He got into his sleeping bag and zipped it up to the neck. “Hey,” I said, and zipped it back down again.
He caught my hand at his chest. “I’m tired,” he said.
“We’re in a tent!” I said. “We can’t not shag if we’re in a tent!” I knew he liked it when I said ‘shag’, like Austin Powers.
“You’re into tents?” Martin snorted. But he let me slide his zip down, and pull his t-shirt up so I could stroke the fur on his belly.
“I guess so,” I said. “I mean, we’re practically naked in public here. But it’s private, and a secret, too.”
He grinned at this, and allowed me to kiss him. Leaning over to get closer to him, I shifted my weight too far off the centre of my lilo, making it flip out from under me, rise spectacularly to the vertical, and fall back against the tent wall. I was deposited half-way across Martin’s chest, sliding around on the cushion of air in my sleeping bag.
He gave a bark of laughter. We wrestled for a minute, buffetted this way and that by the bulk of the puffy sleeping bags, like people in sumo suits.
“Well, you’d better take your clothes off then, hadn’t you,” he said, slyly, at last.
ABOUT BELINDA RULE:
Belinda Rule is studying for a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT. Otherwise she writes software specifications and makes websites. When I first met Martin will be her first novel.
Belinda had a Varuna Residency in Feb-Mar 2012 supported by the Copyright Agency Limited’s Creative Industries Career Fund.
I’ve published short fiction and poetry in Meanjin, Islet, Antipodes, Eureka Street, Hecate, Visible Ink and elsewhere.
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