How many ages has it been since I’ve posted a story here? This year I took it as a challenge to myself to join the Smut Marathon (smut.rebelsnotes.com), a progressive erotica competition. I did it mostly for myself, to see if I had anything left in me to write, and what that might be. I took a new pseudonym for the competition, but that doesn’t really matter. This story was for round 7, for which the prompt was the picture shown here. There was a strict word limit as well – 700-750 words, which turned out to be a bigger challenge than I’d expected because the story I came up with was more than twice as long, and the effort to cut it to size was quite the exercise. That shortened story did respectably in the round, but I’m posting the full one here, because I think it’s better for the pieces I didn’t have to cut away. I might put a few more of my Marathon entries up here later as well.
The Kiss of Locks
What is the sound of a heart breaking?
Bolt cutters slicing through a lock.
Jean hated his job. Not his whole job – city public works was good, physical, sometimes technical labor; interesting and varied. This part of his job, though, he despised. He regularly cursed Paris and the Pont des Artes for condoning, and then killing the tradition. It didn’t matter that that bridge now had plexiglass barriers instead of fences. In the entire city, any bridge, any prominent fence could become a nucleation point for the lovestruck to declare permanence. And it it had been one of his jobs, for over a year now, to remove the locks before they reached critical mass and the sheer weight of them damaged property, or worse, historic monuments and artifacts.
And it killed him. At two meters height and 90 kilos, cutters in Jean’s hands made easy work of any lock, but every time he removed one, he mourned. He imagined the couple who put the lock there and tossed the key into the Seine (or the storm drain – he had to retrieve those, too), and how he was snapping that link, that claim on forever, exposing it as an ephemeral token.
He had one consolation on lock-clearing days; going to see Esmeé. He’d unburdened on his oldest friend soon after he realized that this particular duty affected him so badly. She’d asked him what he did with the locks after, which surprised him enough to shake his gloom temporarily.
“Recycled, I think? We’ve got a big, heavy-duty bin for them,” Jean had said.
“Do you think I could have them?” she’d asked.
The request surprised Jean again, but he’d seen no reason she couldn’t, though why she would want them baffled him. Esmeé was a social worker and painter. What she wanted with hundreds – even thousands – of kilograms of broken locks mystified Jean, and a smile was the only answer she would give him when he asked.
So, as had become usual on lock days, he texted Esmeé in the morning to let her know he’d have another pile for her. The need of wine and a good talk at the end of this kind of day was an unspoken given. Jean drove his electric truck with the 351 locks he’d removed today – a light day it turned out – to her apartment/studio to find a note on her door with his name on it, directing him to an address off Rue Saint-Dominique, and if he would please bring the locks there this time.
Jean’s puzzlement kept with him the whole winding drive through the streets of Paris, to the designated alley off the Rue, turning at last into a courtyard, where he stopped dead.
Towering above him, from the cobbled ground to the top of the third story of the building, glinting in the lowering sun, was a reproduction of Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss”. As he stumbled out of his truck, staring, Jean realized why the rendering of the famous oil painting appeared… pixellated. It was composed entirely of locks. Thousands, no, tens of thousands of locks.
Sparks trailed down the bodies of the two lovers, and Jean’s gaze followed them upward find Esmeé, in welding gear on a cherrypicker, fusing red locks into place in the woman’s bouquet. The girder and rebar framework supporting the literal tons of metal in place was almost completely hidden, and Jean was awed into stillness almost as much by the feat of engineering as by the work itself. He watched Esmeé she paused, raising her goggles to inspect her work. She looked down to see Jean and beamed, then moved to the controls and lowered her basket.
“Jean! I hope you have some green ones today – nobody seems to like green anymore, and I only need a few-“
“W-what is this, Es?”
“What do you think it is, mon ami?”
“I think… it’s beautiful.”
“It’s for you.”
“It’s for you,” Esmeé smiled, removing a glove and reaching out to wipe a tear from Jean’s cheek. “My romantic friend. Your heart has always been as big as the rest of you.”
Jean stood stunned.
“Last year I sent in a competition proposal to make a piece for the Année Des Arts – for this building’s restoration. And I won! I was going to paint a mural. I was going to tell you about it, too” she smiled, “but that week was the first time you told me about the locks, and why you hated so much having to cut them down. That moment I knew I had to do this instead of just a painting.”
“That’s why you asked me to bring them to you.”
“Oui.” She gestured at the glinting wall. “Et voilà!”
“Et voilà,” Jean echoed. “Esmeé, but.. why?”
“Because you are my friend, silly. My oldest, best friend, and I couldn’t stand how this hurt you. Parce que je t’aime.”
Jean’s eyes went wide. Unprepared for any of this, this last statement, so matter of fact, was almost too much.
But only almost. Of course he loved Esmeé – best friend and confidante since childhood. There was nothing they couldn’t or didn’t talk about, including love and lovers. But it had always been in the context of advising, encouraging, and commiserating – never looking at each other. Until now.
Like the turn of a long-missing key in a lock, something in Jean clicked. Without another thought, he pulled Esmeé to him and kissed her. Not on the cheeks or on the forehead like so often before, but he tilted her head up to him and kissed her full on the lips. Like it was something he’d been waiting to do all his life.
Esmeé froze for a second that lasted an hour. Of course she’d done it for her dear friend. Because she hated to see him in pain, and of course she loved her friend. But, as his lips pressed against hers, and the his hands kindled fire where they held her, she saw, their friendship about to ignite into something else – something that had been unable to see, much less break, through the armor of their familiarity until now.
She kissed Jean back fiercely, wrapping her arms around him, and they held on, until that wasn’t enough. Esmeé pulled away for a moment, enough to whisper-
She pointed to a Défense D’entrer sign on the side of the courtyard, and Jean scooped her off her feet, eliciting a yelp and laugh. Through the door and inside. He would ask about the rows of neat bins of colored locks, the blueprint quality renderings and drawings on the wall – later.
There was a mostly-clear work table along one wall, upon which he sat Esmeé, and proceeded to free her from her heavy, scorch-marked coveralls. The athletic bra under them was attractive but snug. Without ceremony, Jean grabbed a pair of cutters and, with the skill of one who has cut wires and rods for a living, turned the bra into scrap in seconds.
“I’ll buy you another. Another three. Another five.” Jean murmured, ending with his mouth enveloping one of her nipples and half the breast around it. He was fast, bold, his tongue so hot. Esmeé sighed instead of protesting. When he switched breasts, her hands raked his hair, then pulled him up urgently so they could kiss as she again, and so she could unbutton his shirt.
In another minute, bare-chested Jean knelt between Esmeé’s parted legs, kissing, tongue teasing, exploring as she squirmed. Pleasure and need bloomed inside her, as it had with previous new lovers, but this felt different in some fundamental way. Jean’s lips and tongue had skill, certainly, but they also had history. She had watched them for years, talking to her, smiling, expressing, making her laugh with words and expressions. And now they were making her react in ways they never had before, and it made her giddy.
She wanted him to continue for a year, but before he could bring her too close to the edge, she pulled him away, hopped off the table, and turned him around. She chuckled at being naked save for work boots in this room of metal and machinery, with this man who, she realized, she wanted desperately – who she’d wanted for a long, long time and had never let herself know.
Jean raised an eyebrow at her laugh, but was quickly distracted by Esmeé’s hands working on his buckle. His pants and boxers were off a moment later and then it was his turn to sigh at the heat of the mouth around his cock. The shocks of revelation had done the opposite of numb him. Every nerve on his body had switched on. Every graze of her fingertips, every exhalation of her breath on his skin imprinted itself on him. Her lips around him, her tongue sliding along his shaft was a near-overload that would carry him away quickly. But after only a few exquisite moments, he almost regretfully pulled her from him. There would be time for more; more decadence, more languid exploration, later. Now, there was only one fitting way to mark the end of their friendship and the beginning of something else.
The table was too narrow, the floor rough and littered with filings. But Jean was strong, and Esmeé petite, and so he lifted her easily, pressing her against the poster and drawing-covered wall, kissing her as she parted her legs around him. Blindly, unerringly, he guided his hardness into her, and they moaned into their kiss as he filled her that first time. For a brief forever, they lost sense of anything but each other.
Some time later, they lay on a padded tarp, hands and legs intertwined.
“You’re not going to need more locks,” he said.
“Not unless I do another project like this,” she replied, “I’m sorry.”
“No, don’t be. I… think I might be cured of sorrow forever. This sorrow at least.”
“I’m glad, mon… mon amour.”
What is the sound of two hearts locking together?
Categories: Erotic Fiction, Raziel, Romance
Welcome back! It certainly has been a while, but I think we’re all happy to see your return.
This is a far more romance-based piece than I’m used to seeing from you, but its great to see you haven’t gotten rusty.
Thanks, Mic. It is indeed more romance than typical for me. Part of it was the atmosphere and specific challenge of the Smut Marathon competition, but it was pretty fun to write.
Oh Raz, what a beautiful return. A simply gorgeous story. Thank you. 💜 I don’t suppose anyone actually created such an artwork. That would be amazing.
Hi Cille, and thanks! No, I don’t believe any such has been created. Though, given the history of lovers locks in these cities, I think it would be appropriate!
Nice story, a tear trickled down my eye.
Thanks so much! And sorry for the delay.