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In which we learn a new German word, and Lynn administers a sensual massage.


Botanical illustrations from the Voynich Manuscript. Source: Voynich Gallery


The Voynich Affair: Chapter 13

Lynn felt slightly melancholy as they lay in the warm summer air, listening to the muted sounds of insects and birds, but she also felt a rising tide of desire. She turned around in his arms and began to pull his shirt from the waistband of his jeans. “I dare you to take it all off,” she said playfully.

He raised an eyebrow. “Certainly. Will you be joining me?”

“I’ll stay half-dressed for now. Let’s concentrate on you. I want to touch you.” She helped him remove his clothes, envious at how little embarassment he seemed to feel at the idea of being completely naked outdoors. “I read about sensual massage in a sex manual I bought for my step-daughters. It said that men only focus on… on the penis, and this is a way for them to learn how a woman experiences sex, with her whole body.”

The eyebrow quirked again as she pushed him to roll over so that he lay face down. “Sounds great. But don’t be surprised if I fall asleep.” She straddled his back and began with his neck and shoulders, trailing her hands lightly over the muscles, then grasping and pressing much more firmly. She ran her fingers through his hair to massage his scalp, and the skin behind his ears. She palpated his biceps, his elbows, his forearms, his wrists, his palms, each finger of each hand. Next she moved to his back, noting where there were a few moles, and a small scar or two where others had been removed. He had a red birthmark on his right cheek. Whereas his back was mostly hairless, his buttocks bore some dark hairs, and his muscular thighs even more. Lynn was an admirer of a good, shapely male leg, and she spent extra time touching and examining the backs of his knees, his achilles tendons, his feet and toes.

“That tickles,” he complained. “And here I was just dropping off.”

“Time to roll over.” Now she faced away from him and sat on his knees, starting the process over with his toes, but using more pressure this time so as not to tickle him. Funny. I don’t think I ever examined Richard’s body this closely. Reversing position, she worked her way up his legs. The manual said that stroking a man’s thigh caused his testicles to retract toward the body, but she didn’t observe this reflex in West. When she reached his pelvis, she attended to his flanks and hips, ignoring his genitals, even though they were beginning to react.

“I’m starting to wake up,” he said, looking down at himself.

“I read that this is a sign of relaxation, not necessarily arousal. Men often get erections even with a masseur they’re not attracted to, because total relaxation enhances blood flow,” she said

“Thank you for the information, Professor, but I think I know a little more about the subject than you do.”

“If you insist,” she shrugged, pretending not to notice his penis, which was doing its best to get itself noticed. She lifted herself past it and straddled his lower belly, continuing her explorations, and leaning over him so that he had a good view of her breasts from below. When he reached up to caress her, she grabbed his hand and laid it down beside him. “No. I’m the one doing the touching.”

“But I’m starting to feel tantalized. In a few minutes I’ll be begging you for mercy.”

“Maybe you deserve a little punishment,” she said, reaching deftly behind her and making him jump slightly. “Your exchanges with me on the listserv over the last few years haven’t been what I would call collegial.”

He crossed his arms over his chest. “Am I supposed to apologize?”

“Well, I do have you by the balls,” she pointed out.

“True. Is there any… er, particular post that still induces an urge to unman me?”

“Oh yes. How about Let us admit for the sake of argument that you have an argument. Or, Professor Melton tends to explain the unknowable in terms of the not-worth-knowing.”

“By Voynich standards those are mere love bites,” he said, waving a hand dismissively.

“What about this? Try to reveal the truth, not create it. Or, If the aim of a good argument is progress, Professor Melton has just set us back five years. And my personal favorite: They say alcohol gives you infinite patience for stupidity. Since I read Professor Melton’s last post, I’ve had three martinis. It isn’t working.

“You deserved every one of those,” he said implacably. “Besides, you’re forgetting that you can give as good as you get. What a shame that intelligence, unlike idiocy, has its limits. And don’t think I miss it when you quote the Bard, with your sly little I wonder you will still be talking, Mr. West. Nobody marks you.”

“We’re completely and utterly incompatible, aren’t we?” She laughed, letting go of him and shaking her head.

“Oh, I wouldn’t say that.” Suddenly he sat up, grabbing her by the hips and lifting her directly onto him, so that she could feel the hardness and heat of him through the fabric of her capris. “In fact, I’d say we’re an unusually good fit.”

She was breathing harder as they embraced chest to chest, with her straddling his lap. “Now I’m the one who’s tantalized.” A thought occurred to her. “West, did you bring any condoms?”

His face fell rather comically, and then as she groaned in disappointment, he said, “Don’t worry. Have you ever heard the term Fingerspitzengefühl?”

“Fingertip feel? What does that mean?”

He smiled. “It’s a principle shared by rare book hunters, safe-crackers, jazz pianists… and lovers. Take those pants off, and I’ll define it for you.”

Copyright 2015 by Linnet Moss

Notes: I first learned the word Fingerspitzengefühl in a book by Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine B. Stern. The title says it all: Old Books, Rare Friends: Two Literary Sleuths and Their Shared Passion. They devote a chapter to the word, saying “As far as we know, the word Fingerspitzengefühl never made it to the dictionary… A tingling of the fingertips becomes an electrical current of suspense, excitement, recognition.”