Then Andrew called with the news that at the office they were about to make him the new partner, looking for someone fresh from university to fill his old position.
All around her people had successes, got what they wanted, Hanna sadly thought. Andrew, sensing her sadness despite her joyful congratulation, was pained. It was impossible for him to visit her at the moment. And there was nothing else he could do for her.
But maybe …
"Are you comfortable," he asked, his voice growing deeper suddenly. "Tell me where you are." "I'm sitting in my favourite chair," she explained, "cross-legged. And yes, I feel quite comfortable, talking to you." "Spread your legs, make yourself just a bit more comfortable," he ordered. "And then rest against the back of the chair. Lie your head against it, too. Close your eyes, breathe easily. Just listen to my voice, forget everything else."
A bit embarrassed, she did as he wanted. To concentrate on his voice wasn't difficult, though; its vibrations, especially when it got tender, sometimes seemed to fill her whole body, and it wasn't just in her ears - from there it slowly sneaked up into the top of her head and down to her toes.
"Now imagine me being there," Andrew continued. "I am kneeling in front of the chair, admiring you uninhibitedly while you can't watch me. No, don't open your eyes yet; I want to look at you a bit longer. Do I notice your breathing getting a bit faster? No tension please in your limbs, just relax. Now I trail my fingers along your feet, along your calfes and shins. Slowly, slowly, totally without pressure. It's just a light touch, barely noticeable."
He paused, feeling himself getting aroused. "Are you still with me?" "Yes," she whispered. Andrew took a deep breath. He wanted her so much it hurt. "I take out a short rope. Nothing complicated today - I just tie it around your left foot, then wind it around your calfes crosswise. Little crosses all over your legs, each one of them tied to the last one, so that there's a little line of rope running along the outside of your leg. I have arrived at the knees in the meantime, and before I bind them, too, I have to kiss them, of course, softly stroking the hollow of your knees with my fingers in the meantime."
He heard a sound like light moaning, and it shot through his body, concentrating at last at a place in his stomach, radiating excitement. He touched his hardness, but it was frustrating to do it himself, and so he took his hand away again. "I am wet all over," she murmured, and Andrew bit his lip to keep his senses with him.
"Well then," he went on, "two or three more crosses along your upper legs, and then I stop, securing the loose end of the rope. I fetch another rope, put it around your neck so that the ends run all over your breasts and stomach. Do you trust me with this?"
There was a fierce commitment in her voice, a bit husky with excitement. "Of course I do, of course." It touched a place in him he hadn't even known existed. "You have to lean forward for a while, Hanna. I lead the rope to your back, through your armpits, then to the front, above your breasts, back again, and I finish with it below your breasts. Tying a knot and attaching the ends at the rope around your legs. Just a minute - it needs some time to do it carefully. Finished. You can lean back now once more." "I can't fully," she objected. "The rope is keeping me just a wee bit upright."
He smiled, admiring her imagination, so in tune with his own. Although he strongly doubted he would be able to concentrate on the ropes if he were indeed with her at the moment. Much rather he'd want to touch her skin pure, without the slightest obstacle, even if it came from his beloved ropes. He thought for a moment. "I can see your hands are still free. Naturally, they can't stay that way." She laughed, an enchanting, low laugh. "But one of them I need for the phone."
"Right," he agreed. "But only one. I take your other hand, keeping it in mine for a while. Then I wind the next rope around your arm above the wrist, lay your hand across your breasts, securing it safely at the second rope leading to your back." "Now I can't touch you anymore," she protested feebly. "There's enough time and opportunity for this later," he reassured her. "First, I will have to kiss you to stop you talking."
He heard a sharp intake of breath. She was totally under his spell. But he was under hers just as much; and he didn't even mind one bit. And yet, they had to stop now soon. It was getting late, and this mindplay wasn't make it easier to accept the geographical distance between them.
She came to his help. "I can't bear much more of this, Andrew," she said in a choked voice. "I know, my love, I know," he replied soothingly, the endearment slipping out quite naturally. "Sometimes it's so hard to be separated I could cry out."