I let her lead the way up the stairs and while we were walking she hummed this funny little tune to herself, and every time I tried talking to her, she just kept shimmying up the stairs and humming that little tune.
That was one hell of a show, wasn't it? I didn't think Ol' Bill still had it in him.
She didn't answer, but as she reached the top of her stairs she started to undo the belt that held her dress together. When she crossed the threshold of her room, she let the dress fall to the floor. The dim candle light of her room cast shadows and light over every curve and crevice of her body, which was covered from collarbone to toe with ornate tattoos. When she turned to face me she giggled.
My my my. She sure was right. You certainly are a shy boy.
The protests started to form in my mouth, wanting to know just who the hell she'd talked to about me and what did she mean shy, I weren't afraid of no naked woman no matter how... beautiful she was because my heart belonged to the most beautiful woman of them all and there wasn't nothing she could do to change that.
Bop a Lena smiled and shook her head. She walked back towards me -- I hadn't stepped beyond the threshold yet -- and walked out of her shoes. We don't have time for you to be shy, Georgie Boy. We each have our charge and our responsibilities. I have things I must tell you. But those things come with a price.
When she got close enough she reached out and took hold of my belt and pulled me through the doorway and into her room. Then she pushed herself on me. There wasn't an inch of her I couldn't feel through the thin fabric my clothes seemed to be made of. Bop a Lena kissed my neck and nibbled my right ear. Then she sighed and looked me straight in the eye.
She's put her mark on you, Bop a Lena said. I can smell it. But that doesn't change things. I have things to tell you, Pilgrim George. And I, like the Ferryman and like Ol' Bill himself, require a toll.
I didn't know what she was talking about. Himself didn't say anything about a toll. And no one said anything about owing Bop a Lena anything.
If it's a question of paying for our rooms, I said, trying to back out, I'm sure Bill has taken care of it. And if he hasn't I can find out.
Tsk tsk tsk. This isn't about money, Boy. What I have to tell you, I can only tell hand to hand, foot to foot, and skin to skin. She knew that when she sentyou to me. No money gets exchanged here. That's Madam Bub's realm -- the realm of cash and petty flesh and pretty pats of (what some men take for) wisdom.
This -- she gestured around the room, which contained only a dressing table with washing bowl and pitcher and a full sized bed -- this is the realm of soul and energy, of light and dark, of life and death. And what I have to give you has a price, Pilgrim. She sighed and looked me up and down. But because she left her mark on you, I make you this promise -- the part I take you will be able to get back, if you want it.
She leaned in and kissed me on lips, undoing my belt and shoving me onto her bed. You can have it back... if you want it.
But, she said, climbing on top of me, you may not want it back. Not after tonight.
Lena, I said, trying to get in a word while I still had the ability to speak.
Don't call me Lena, she said. That's just a name I borrowed for here. Call me Leda. And you, Pilgrim George, will be my swan.
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