A bead of sweat surfaced on the young man’s temple, traced a path across his cheek and dripped on to his chest, apparently unnoticed so deep was his concentration on maintaining his metronomic penetration of the blonde woman who knelt before him. Each stroke was slow and measured, the full length of his shaft withdrawn and carefully reinserted. His hands on her hips drew her on to him, eased her away, then began the cycle once more. Since he had first placed his mouth on her vagina nearly half-an-hour earlier, they had coupled with silent intensity except for a few brief exchanges.
The man spoke again, a quiet command. He turned on to his back and the woman swiftly mounted him, using her hand to guide his penis inside her again. The change of position was executed with such smooth economy it brought a murmur of approval from the watchers in the shadows. At my side, Alan pressed his hand against my inner thigh. Even though we had both had our turn individually in the circle of light and returned fully satisfied, I widened my legs. Alan’s fingers searched knowingly inside my knickers for my wetness.
The blonde was riding her partner with the same controlled certainty he had shown to her. Every calculated manoeuvre suggested two people in total sexual harmony developed over a long period of mutual exploration. Yet we knew this was not the case. The man and the woman – who called themselves Roland and Martine, although almost certainly those were not their names – had arrived with different partners who were now among the onlookers. As was the custom with La Douzaine, Roland and the woman had been paired by a drawing of lots. Sometimes the result could be disappointing. In this instance, there had a been an instinctive sexual chemistry from the moment she had opened her legs to invite the attention of his tongue.
Now one could sense that both were ready for the culminating moment. The man said something inaudible to the rest of us. The woman slid from him, arranged herself on her back with legs spread wide. He knelt between her thighs, hooked his arms behind her knees and fed his penis into her inner depths.
‘Comme ça?’ he asked.
‘C’est ça. Mais plus fort.’
When he set to work – more forcibly, as she had asked – it was clear that the encounter could not last much longer. The slap of driving flesh on flesh was accompanied each time by a small moan of pleasure from the woman. She gripped his forearms as though to pull him deeper and deeper inside. Every woman in the room understood that Martine had reached the point at which her mind surrendered control of her body, greedily giving way to the rising surge of sexual adrenalin that would allow no further checks until the crest was surmounted. The moment arrived with a heaving pelvic spasm, a long exhalation of breath and then she was clinging to Roland while he, too, savoured every pulsing thrust that brought about his ejaculation. The deep murmur from our fellow watchers, connoisseurs among them, was one of profound approval. It was over and it had been good, not just for Roland and Martine but also for ten pairs of eyes and ten heated minds in the shadows.
While we dressed – I needed to change my knickers – the gathering relocated normality, but not before the evening’s events had been calmly discussed. Alan remarked later that one could easily imagine similar conversations taking place after a private view at a gallery exhibiting a group of new artists.
Back at our rented villa on the edge of Vence, we congratulated ourselves on having had the good fortune to be invited. True, the partner Alan drew had been somewhat passive but she had encouraged him to explore all avenues, while I had been serviced by a grey-haired man of modest endowment but courteous consideration for my pleasure. And in bed later, the memory of Roland and Martine’s virtuoso display spurred us to renewed endeavours of our own.
Although this was the third time we had holidayed at Vence, it was the first time we had been given an August invitation. Because Paris was deserted for the month, the August meeting of La Douzaine was always held in the seclusion of the hills above Nice. In a few weeks we would return to the capital and hope for a summons when the September gathering was held at La Douzaine’s usual venue, a chateau some seventy kilometres south-east of Paris. But one never knew.
Our involvement in the more rarefied circles of French coquinerie came about by a series of happy chances that began with the unexpected success of Alan’s fourth novel. A lengthy tenancy of the best seller charts led to several reprints and, thrillingly, a bidding war for the film rights. It happened, too, that Alan’s contract with his publisher was due for renewal and interest from competitors escalated that deal into figures we had never dreamed of. Within a year, no longer needing to be the breadwinner while Alan wrote, I had resigned from my job as an account manager for an international advertising agency and we had moved to Paris. The franc, and then the Euro, seemed to offer better value than the pound, and we liked French cuisine.
We were also keen to discover what sex à la français could offer us. We had dabbled occasionally in the English scene but had found it overpopulated with tattooed lorry drivers. I enjoy being taken firmly occasionally but enough is enough. In Paris we had a few tentative, and mostly enjoyable, encounters arranged through the internet but found the business of e-mails and text messages tedious. We also tried the clubs – Au 10 bis, Les Chandelles, Le Bouche à L’Oreille among others – but that was a hit-and-miss process. There were good nights and bad nights and no way of predicting what might transpire.
Then La Douzaine found us. We never discovered how but we surmised that we had been recommended by one of the couples we had swung with, or more probably that La Douzaine had scouts at the clubs. However it came about, one day Alan took a phone call asking if he knew of La Douzaine. When he said he didn’t, the rules were outlined and he was asked if we would participate. Alan asked for time to consult me but that was refused. An instant response was required or the invitation would be withdrawn. His writer’s curiosity as well as his sexual urge led him to accept. To be honest, i was as intrigued as he was, so we went. And have been going ever since, when invited. Which is not often.
The Dozen does not, as might be inferred from its name, consist of twelve members. It meets monthly – that is, twelve times a year – on the twelfth day of the month. Each meeting is limited to twelve people: the founders, who call themselves Pierre and Pierrette, and five invited couples, chosen from what we have come to believe is a large pool of members.
On arrival the couples announce the names they have chosen for the evening. They are written on slips of paper, the men’s slips are placed in one bowl, the women’s in another, and the draw is made. At the same time, a number is drawn from a third bowl to determine the order in which each couple will perform. It is an occasion for voyeurs as well as hedonists. If an arriving couple are drawn together, they must accept that outcome. There is a strict rule that after performing, a couple shall return to the shadows. There is no group activity except at the December meeting when an interesting variation prevails. After the first couple have performed, they are joined by the second. In time, the quartet is augmented by another couple, and so on until La Douzaine are entangled in any and every combination desirable. The demands on the stamina of the early participants can be imagined. Or so we believed. A December invitation had never come our way.
After the session near Nice, we waited in vain through September, October and November. There were consolations: visits to Le Bouche á l’Oreille and similar unbridled establishments, and there was a visit by Fritz and Sophie. Fritz is Alan’s publisher, Sophie was his PA and now is his live-in partner.
Although writing is a solitary occupation there are many literary lunches, cocktail parties, university seminars and the like where gossip transmits freely. On this grapevine it was common knowledge that Fritz and Sophie were not averse to enjoying the pleasure of like-minded couples. Fearing that business and pleasure might not mix, we had carefully avoided their circle – until they turned up in Paris en route for some publishers’ get-together in Budapest.
Our invitation for them to stay with us was politely declined: Fritz was quite open about wanting to stay in Paris because they both wanted to be, as he put it, ‘nearer the action.’ Instead we met for lunch at Taillevent (Fritz insisted on three Michelin rosettes and, as he was paying, we didn’t object). The wine matched the food and, as the afternoon wore on, the conversation became more uninhibited. Fritz was in Paris to negotiate the English translation rights to the current sensation of the French bookshops, Nue dans la Rue: La Vie Exhib. Needless to say, its literary content was second to its subject matter.
It emerged that exhibitionism had no more enthusiastic advocate than Sophie, as she proceeded to demonstrate. After ensuring that she had her back to the other diners – few remained, in any case – she eased her chair back, pushed her skirt up to the top of her thighs and opened her legs, moving her knickers to one side to display shaved labia. Fritz smiled approvingly. I looked at Alan and could tell that he was aroused. For a woman I guessed to be in her mid-thirties Sophie was in the kind of shape that makes other women self-conscious. Moreover, the knickers were black and Alan’s relationship with black underwear borders on the obsessive so his response was predictable. A little more surprisingly, I found that I, too, felt a tingle of desire. An aura of sexual availability, indefinable but unmistakable, emanated from Sophie, and I was succumbing to its influence.
Fritz gestured for Sophie to make herself more respectable while he called for the bill. Having signed the chit, he said, ‘Well, you two – you didn’t seem offended. Are you up for more?’
‘In what way?’ asked Alan.
‘Sophie has a particular fantasy that I’ve promised to fulfil, it needs two observers.’
‘Come to the opera with us tomorrow night.’
A new production of Berlioz’ ‘Les Troyens’ had recently opened at the Opéra to huge critical and public acclaim. Alan looked at me and raised an eyebrow. Already hooked, there was no way I could have refused. I said, ‘I thought all the performances were sold out.’
Fritz smiled. ‘It helps to have contacts.’
So it was agreed.
Driving home, we speculated about the possible nature of Sophie’s fantasy without coming to any real conclusion. I asked Alan what he thought of her.
‘Sexy. Very sexy.’
‘Do they work for you on any woman?’
‘Possibly not. But they certainly did on Sophie.’
‘Would you have sex with her? If the situation arose?’
‘I guess so. But it doesn’t seem likely, does it?’
‘Who knows what Fritz has in mind after the opera.’
‘True. But it’s very long opera.’
This didn’t seem to be leading anywhere so I changed the subject. ‘You know what I’m wearing?’
He almost hit the car in front when I gave him a quick flash. I knew it wouldn’t be enough. We didn’t get as far as the bedroom. Alan steered me to the drawing room couch, sat on the floor in front of me and said, ‘Let me see.’
It was a familiar ritual which I happily indulged, knowing that it always brought Alan to the hardest of erections and the fiercest of needs. I stood, shed my skirt and resumed my place, legs now wide apart. I was wearing black knickers, suspender belt and stockings. Alan already had his penis in his hand when I slid my fingers inside the waist band of my knickers and down to my groin to find the wetness I knew would be there.
For a while we masturbated in silence, Alan massaging his shaft with long slow movements, eyes fastened on my own careful stroking of a distended, slippery clitoris. I know how easily I can take myself over the edge and though I am multi-orgasmic, Alan gets special pleasure from participating in the first one.
Finally, Alan stood and began to undress. He asked, ‘How will it be today?’
The slow burn since Sophie’s brazen display had been building in intensity throughout our drive home followed by the calculated eroticism of our mutual self-pleasuring. I was at a pitch that had no need of subtlety. Alan can deploy masterly control when we are in languorous mood, but that was not what i needed now. I said, ‘Hard. Hard as you like. Fuck me.’
He took me from behind at the start. If I kneel with my legs fairly wide apart, Alan can grip my labia and hold them apart enabling him to drive into me with the minimum of friction and virtually no danger of a quick ejaculation. I wasn’t counting, but there must have been thirty or more vigorous thrusts, pressing his length deep inside me, grunting with each contact. It was good for me and I asked him to keep going as long as he was saving more for later.
Eventually, he withdrew but remained kneeling behind me. ‘Nice arse,’ he said. ‘If that was Sophie’s arse I suspect she would be begging to have it smacked.’
‘Go on, then.’
This was a recent addition to our sexual repertoire. Unable to resist after a lively session pistoning me from behind, Alan had slapped me lightly on my right buttock and, to my surprise, I found it stimulating and asked for more. As I did now.
After half-a-dozen firm slaps (I could have taken more), Alan’s impatience overcame him. Pulling me to the floor, he turned me on to my back, hurriedly placed cushions under my head (for my comfort) and under my bottom (for his benefit), he turned his attention to servicing me once more.
‘Hard again?’ he asked.
He didn’t disappoint me. There are times when I like to take his penis into me and hold it there, stroking his hair, murmuring in his ear before encouraging him to start slow small movements that I can reciprocate until eventually we increase the speed and reach for the stars, lovingly joined, two people in perfect sexual harmony, each dedicated to giving pleasure to the other. But this was different: sex to satisfy a ferocious hunger in us both, almost brutal thrusting accompanied by animal-like sounds, moans and grunts, as we worked out our lust.
Finally, Alan gasped, ‘I’m nearly there.’
I knew what to do because we both liked to finish a frenzied fuck in a special way. It’s true that mutual orgasms in penetrative sex can happen but it is mainly a matter of luck, we have never been able to contrive a situation where we can be sure we will both come while Alan is inside me. Instead, I moved for Alan to withdraw and kneel beside my head, he was masturbating slowly, biting his lip to hold back the moment. Simultaneously, I began to massage my clitoris with firm, swift pressure. Our eyes locked, each of us reading the imminence of the climax in the other. My own orgasm began to build at once. Just before the unstoppable flood, I opened my mouth and Alan needed only a few jerks with his closed hand to send a stream of semen into my throat.
Soon we were in each other’s arms, kissing and caressing while I savoured the salty after-taste of the most precious gift Alan could give me. With others we always insisted on condoms, which only made our own special closeness so complete and fulfilling.
Fritz’s contacts had provided him with a box for four at the Opéra. Champagne was in an ice bucket with four glasses on a small side table. The occasion was strictly tuxedo for the men and long dress for the women. I wore my most expensive gown for fear of being outdressed by Sophie. She wafted in on a cloud of subtle perfume entirely in black (rousing Alan’s hopes). During the small talk which preceded the performance Fritz offered no clues to what was ultimately in store. Which was perhaps understandable in view of what transpired.
No sooner had the lights dimmed and the performance begun than Sophie silently rose from her chair, retreated to the back of the box and removed her skirt to reveal black knickers, stockings and suspenders and a few inches of white thigh. Having checked that the dividing partition prevented our neighbours from observing, I nudged Alan to draw his attention to the apparition behind him. It wasn’t necessary. Sophie was on all fours crawling towards him. That was when I noticed that Fritz had extracted from his trousers a penis of impressive proportions and was in the process of stimulating an erection.
Alan needed no encouragement to do what was expected when Sophie turned her rear towards him and raised herself on to her hands and feet. Reaching down, my husband drew the black knickers down Sophie’s legs and steadied her while she stepped out of them. Smiling at me, he raised them to his face. This fantasy of Sophie’s was something to behold.
The next move was Fritz’s, easing his chair back a few feet from the front of the box and sliding his trousers down round his ankles. His penis stood proudly out from his groin. Alan, I realised, was leaning down with one hand to finger Sophie, who was now on her back, legs apart, knees raised. (He told me later that she was already oozing juices before he even touched her.)
At a point where Berlioz’s orchestration demanded a sonorous contribution from the full orchestra, Sophie pushed Alan’s hand away, carefully rose to her feet and climbed on to Fritz’s lap. She remained there for most of the first act, almost imperceptibly rising and falling on the phallus that Fritz had fed into her welcoming wet folds. Shortly before the end of the act, she put her hand between her legs and brought herself to an unmistakable orgasm. How she managed to achieve this in complete silence is beyond me. Nor do I know whether Fritz came, although some careful mopping up with tissues Sophie produced from her evening bag suggested that he may have done so at some point in the proceedings.
Miraculously, by the time the house lights came up they were both fully dressed and Sophie was sitting demurely in her chair as though she had been totally absorbed in the spectacle on the stage. Which was more than could be said for Alan who had a large tell-tale bulge at the front of his trousers. I was happy that my own arousal, incredibly real though it was, was betrayed by no more than a slight flush in my cheeks.
When the audience applause had ended, Fritz spoke. ‘Thank you both. I hope you enjoyed witnessing Sophie’s fantasy come true as much as we did fulfilling it. And now, if you will excuse us, we have a dinner date that I hope will firm up the deal for ‘Nue dans la Rue.’ But please stay for the rest of the performance – I have ordered more champagne for you.’
And before we could respond, they were gone. We might have wondered if we had imagined it all – but Alan was still clutching a pair of black knickers.
The call came during the first week in December. Pierre and Pierrette would be pleased if we could attend the end-of-year meeting of La Douzaine. There was less than forty-eight hours notice but nothing could have prevented us from attending. We drove the seventy kilometres to the rendezvous in a state of high anticipation.
There were already four other couples – together with our host and hostess – when we arrived. One couple, somewhat older than ourselves, we recognised from a previous gathering: Alan had been paired then with the woman and been very pleasantly surprised at her energetic contribution to their encounter. Now, of course, in the December free-for-all, he would have the chance to sample her again.
Drinks were being served and Pierrette was circulating with her customary charm, but the conversation was tentative, barely concealing the erotic expectation that had drawn us all together. There was an almost audible murmur of relief when the doorbell sounded to announce the arrival of the final couple to complete the dozen. But nothing could have prepared us for the moment when Fritz entered with Sophie on his arm.
Pseudonyms are required and we had already announced ourselves as Polly and Mike so we waited to see how the newcomers would react to our presence. Needless to say, Fritz – masquerading now as Josef – carried it off with aplomb. Only as he shook hands with Alan did he say with a quiet smile, ‘It helps to have contacts.’
The evening’s sex was memorable. Sophie – alias Sandra – was drawn to get us under way in company with a dark-eyed younger man, Roman. Alan’s name had come out of the draw fourth but I knew he could hardly wait to get into Sophie.
Roman was clever, fucking Sophie with calculated control almost as soon as he had prepared her to receive him. After a while, he withdrew and concentrated on her nipples with his tongue while fingering her cunt, alternately fondling the clitoris and dipping two firm fingers inside. For all her wiles and suggestive manoeuvring, she could not persuade him back into her. At last she was brought to a pitch where she had to have her orgasm, and that was when Roman went down on her and used his tongue to elicit a response in complete contrast to the silent climax at the Opéra.
Then it was my turn with the partner of the elderly lady Alan remembered from that earlier meeting. The man was grey-haired, maybe fifty-five or even sixty, but he was lean and well-toned. We sixty-nined, then he pressed me to my knees for a prolonged examination with his fingers before mounting me from behind. I sensed that he was nearing ejaculation while I was still some way from the peak – but unworried knowing how the session was planned – when he slipped a finger into my anus and began to explore me, as it were, from both sides. It certainly raised the temperature for me but I was still not ready to come when I felt the muscles of his penis throb and, with a gasp, he fell against me.
When Alan was called forward (joining six of us already on the huge bed but enjoying a lull during which there was some pleasurable caressing and licking but no actual penetration, I had been given my first orgasm by Sophie wearing a strap-on dildo working in partnership with a tongue I couldn’t identify), he was required to play the stallion to Roman’s young lady. I have to say I admired the thoroughness with which he dealt with her in a variety of positions, but as soon as she came he handed her on to Fritz, who clearly had the hots for young flesh, and made for Sophie, at the same time signalling for me to join them.
I have no recollection of the number of orgasms I enjoyed before satiety overtook us all, but none was more thrilling than the one that was the culmination of the threesome with Alan and Sophie. Fingers and tongues invaded every orifice. It was as though Sophie has been fired up as much as we had by the events at the Opéra, as though she wanted us and wanted to be had by us just as much as we wanted her.
The finale seemed as though it would be fairly conventional as threesomes go: I was on my back, Sophie was sucking my clit and Alan was fucking her from behind. For a few moments he withdrew and began slapping her buttocks – and that was when I became aware that all the others had finished and had retired to the shadows to watch this last coupling. I recalled Alan’s remarks about his fantasy of spanking Sophie and wondered how she would respond. It was like an electric charge. She lifted her face from my groin, looked over her shoulder at Alan and cried, ‘In my arse. Fuck my arse.’
Fortunately, Alan’s penis is no more than average in girth and he apparently had no difficulty in answering her demand. There was a loud murmur of approval from the onlookers as he began thrusting into that narrow opening with all the finesse he could muster. I have no idea how long this lasted for Sophie was demoniacally forcing her fingers into my cunt while she lapped at my clitoris. I know that I was urging my pelvis into her face, lifting my bottom off the bed to meet her ever-faster probing until at last there was an explosion inside me. Understanding that I was through, Sophie reached down beneath her body and frigged herself to a massive climax. I had recovered enough to see that when Alan withdrew his penis was limp and semen was dribbling from the pink ring that was closing its secret doors between Sophie’s buttocks.
Twelve months will elapse before La Douzaine’s next December meeting. We may not be invited again – then or ever. But we are agreed, Alan and I, that we should be grateful that Fritz had his contacts