On our first date, I asked Jessica if the almost fifteen year gap between us gave her pause, if it made her skeptical of my motives. Her brow furrowed and she said no, it was my question that made her skeptical. It was just that sort of response, that mild irritation with my fortyish idiocy and utter lack of compassion that I found irresistible.

     My attraction wasn’t physical in the sense that I desired her body as an object – Jessica was plain by conventional standards with her brown, neglected hair and clunky eyeglasses framing a pudgy face atop a gangly, bony frame – my attraction was driven by a desire to just get through to her, for her to acknowledge my existence.

     After our fourth date and some awkward groping in my Hyundai, I asked Jessica if she didn’t think we should take things to next level. She said she didn’t know what I meant. I said, “Don’t you think we should have sex?”

     She rolled her eyes.

     “Yeah, I guess so,” she said, “but can you not call it ‘having sex?’ God.”

     I arrived at her apartment the following evening. I foolishly expected dinner or some drinks, something to ease into a romantic situation, but Jessica let me in and walked directly to her bedroom, lit only in orange by the phosphorous streetlamp outside, and sat on the edge of her bed.

     “Okay. I’m here.” She sounded like she had been called in to work on her day off. We fumbled and groped in the dark until our clothes lay scattered about the floor. I was on top of her, aroused and poised, when I noticed a white shape on the chair next to the bed.

     “What’s that?” I asked.

     “Huh? Oh, that’s just Benny, my roommate’s cat,” Jessica said, annoyed that I was asking. I could tell from his posture that Benny was interested in what was going on. He sat on his haunches with his ears forward and his eyes fixed on me.

     “Well, shouldn’t we put him outside or something?” I asked. I felt myself starting to lose my erection.

    “Why? Don’t be weird,” she said, pulling my hips toward her. She felt my limpness. “Really?” she said, even more annoyed. “Just forget about him. Ignore him.”

     I wasn’t sure I could do that. I feared Benny’s presence would make me self-conscious and ultimately sexually incapable. Jessica would then have confirmation of what she had been telling me all along through her flippant tongue clicking, her arm folding and that constant, goddamned eye-rolling – that I wasn’t a man even worthy of her consideration.

     That damned cat would ruin me.

     In an attempt to hide from the situation, I flipped Jessica over and buried my face in her cheeks. I peered over her ass at Benny who now crouched, intently settling in. I looked deep into his eyes. He was measuring me up and I him. At that moment, we connected on some pan-species level. I could feel a mutual enrichment between the two of us as if his instincts were being pleasurably tweaked while I was channeling his primal feline energy.

     And then I got hard, really hard, and huge. I lifted myself to a kneeling position straddling Jessica as she lay on her stomach.

     “I didn’t know you had a roommate,” I said.

     “Her name is Shauna. She’s a bartender at the…” I jerked her hips with violence up toward mine and entered her with purpose and force. Jessica let out a sudden groan that let me know I had finally had her attention.

     Afterward, Jessica remarked that she hadn’t known she could come so many times. She didn’t actually seem to like me any more than she did before, but at least I had something useful to offer. She said I could come over the next night and that her roommate would be working as she did most nights till 2:00 AM. I watched Benny stand and yawn. He stretched his front legs first, then his back, quivering in mild ecstasy before sheepishly curling around the door on his way out of the bedroom.

     I did return the next night, and the next and most nights for the following two weeks. Jessica answered the door a little quicker each time, anticipating the pleasure that awaited her. And each time she pulled me into her room, Benny would be waiting, crouched on the chair by the bed, eyes wide open, also anticipating whatever it was that he derived from bearing witness to Jessica and my encounters.

     Over time my sexual finesse with Jessica only increased. I often brought her to the brink of climax and kept her there as long as I pleased, until she begged for release and I gave it to her. The intensity of her orgasms more than made up for the wait she endured. And all the while, there was Benny, keeping a dutiful eye on the proceedings; as if he were recording it all for some study he was conducting on human sexual behavior. Sometimes, Jessica would writhe from side to side, squeaking and moaning, the perspiration on her neck making veins and tendons visible in the orange light, and I would look at Benny, almost expecting him to have a little clipboard and a little lab coat, taking notes for his report. I felt comforted, dare I say, safe, seeing Benny there.

     One night I arrived at Jessica’s apartment and upon being pulled down onto the bed I noticed something was not right.

     “Where’s Benny?” I asked, barely hiding the alarm in my voice.

     “Oh, my roommate moved out”, Jessica said. “She got a place of her own in one of those dumps they just started leasing down the street. On the third floor.”

     I tried not to panic, but as clothes were shed and flesh was cupped and rubbed, it was clear that things had changed. Jessica tried to will herself into the type of frenzy that had become commonplace over the previous nights, but it was not to be. As her frustration grew, we both became self-conscious and awkward. My prowess had been replaced by utter clumsiness. On the chair where Benny usually sat, I saw nothing but the outline of Jessica’s faded jeans. I wondered if they still had Benny’s white fur on them so I reached over to grab them, lost my balance and elbowed Jessica’s temple. Angry and frustrated, she suggested I leave. Unable to come up with a reason not to, I did.

     I didn’t see Jessica again after that though it took some effort to make sure she didn’t notice me, sitting in my Hyundai with the engine off, parked down the street in front of the crappy apartment building that just recently started accepting leases. Some nights the lights on the third floor apartment would be left on, and I could see Benny’s silhouette as he crouched on the sill. I’d swear that sometimes he was looking back at me as I struggled to remember Jessica’s roommate’s name.

Tom Davies writes and builds custom cat furniture he sells online.


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