A Reasonable Precaution
Her home was smaller at night. Rumbling music drifted from a neighbor’s apartment, bringing the sweet flavor of incense. Farah sat at the far end of the sofa but leaned towards him, waiting for his eyes, and earning his gaze, she said, “Hello.”
“Hello,” Quentin repeated.
She smiled nervously. Two vodkas and a tall glass of baneh wine left her in control but with no margins for error. Straightening her back, she pushed out her chest before offering the opaque words, “I think, yes.”
Quentin assumed that Farah was tired or bored, and now she wished he would leave.
“It’s late,” he offered.
“But before you go, I want to remind you how much I want to remain in your country.”
“I love Queensland.” She put her hands in front of her face, as if hunting new details in the wiggling fingers. Then the hands dropped, and she said, “The rules have changed.”
“Concerning married people.” Leaning against the armrest, she said, “I don’t know why this happened, but I hear that immigration officials are becoming more careful.”
Quentin tried to swallow and tried again, but it wasn’t until the third attempt that he could eat the lump in his throat.
“Of course Persian men have a much harder time staying in this country. Being female in your world has advantages.”
“What are we talking about?”
Farah stood, abruptly and without explanation. After a moment of studying the top of his head, she walked into the tiny bathroom, leaving the door open while calling out, “This is not fair to you. I know.”
He agreed but said nothing.
“You shouldn’t have to put yourself at risk. Certainly not for me.”
Fabric moved, twin thumps marking the shoes hitting the tiled floor.
“But we must be ready,” she said. “For questions.”
Snaps unfastened, a zipper purred.
“Close your eyes, please.”
He closed them to where he could see motion but no details. On bare feet, Farah drifted back into the room and settled on the sofa—an olive-colored shape aiming for silence, but nervous enough to breathe deeply before saying, “Open your eyes, please.”
She was nude, sitting awkwardly five feet away.
“They might ask about my body,” she explained. “I considered taking photographs and giving them you. But no, this is better. Best.”
She was a few pounds heavier than he had imagined, the extra weight gathered around the waist. An abundance of black pubic hair grew between smooth, pale legs. Bending forward, her belly wore a crease that hid her navel. Her breasts were substantial and a little soft, tipped with massive black nipples stiffened by fear and the chilled air.
Nestled between her breasts was a scar, vertical and wicked.
“What happened?” he wondered aloud.
She knew what he meant. With a disinterested voice, she said, “I had some trouble once. That’s all.”
He imagined surgeons wielding swords.
“I should know your body too. As a precaution. Government people have been known to ask, and we need enough details to be believed.”
The setting, the circumstances…the utter surprise…made him self-conscious. But his tentativeness passed. There was enthusiasm in the voice when he said, “All right.”
She stared at his knees as he stood, and as soon as the shirt came off, she averted her eyes, studying the dark plastic-pine paneling.
Naked, Quentin’s anxiety and arousal were in rough balance.
She did nothing. For three breaths, she acted like a woman alone. And then with her gaze still averted, she put her right hand into her pubic hair, the middle finger plunging, vanishing and then coming out again with a faintly wet sound.
Now she looked at him.
At his face first, then the penis.
“We need something more. For each other, a performance.” She sat back slightly and pulled a folded bath towel from behind her back. Then she rubbed her pussy again. Harder, but slowly. “Although I don’t think we should touch,” she said with a sigh. “Touching would be too much. I’m sorry.”