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Desdmona's Erotic Story Contests
2007 Sixties Erotica Contest
Honorable Mention

The Balance of Power

“In Washington, the only love is the love of power,” Fred pontificated to the room full of lawyers, students, hippies and assorted hangers-on. “So no matter what you see going on around Dupont Circle, we’re in the middle of our own kind of summer of love here.”

“What he means is,” Joe popped in, “you can get down, but we got to get loud and get it done, too.” Laughter and a few “right on”s greeted his words. People pulled in tighter toward him, moving in from the periphery, beginning to listen as they hadn’t to Fred. My husband’s gift, everyone says, is his ability despite his frightening intelligence, to make connections with the “common man” (a gift, incidently, I do not share). Tonight, for instance, we’d gone to dinner with Fred and Barbara and a few other Washington transplants at one of the cheap Cuban restaurants that abounded in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. As usual, Joe had chatted with the waiters in his fluent Spanish, and that grabbed the attention of a troop of student leaders and hippies, an advance guard for an anti-war protest. They’d been wowed at actually meeting the heroic Southern civil rights lawyer and the deep, driven reporter who’d just gotten back from Vietnam. Joe, flattered, invited the whole group back to our place. We weren’t in the fashionable section where the real power lay—Georgetown—but we were making the down-at-heels part of town where we’d camped out the spot to be for the new crop of lawyers and newspapermen determined to change the world. From our living room, Joe had then plotted the student protest, plucked the smartest boys for his party platform project and pulled the girls with the roundest breasts and silkiest hair closest to him.

Joe loved softness, sweetness, innocence, which is why I was so shocked when he had turned his sights on me. At our college, I’d been warned about Joe Richey and Fred Skinner, the Florida boys, who could wrestle alligators and legal research with equal abandon and success. Joe could get anyone to do anything, the legend went, and I saw enough hushed night-sneaking out of sorority house windows and into his ridiculous souped-up car (and enough tears and whispered confidences afterward) to confirm it. But he’d been warned about me, Amanda Vanderhyde, who despite being female was his only real competition for Law Review and would be far too smart to fall for his tricks. I was secretly dating a Columbia boy, a student leader who was (gasp) Jewish, and whose rebellion consisted of giving me oral sex, which I loved. But I didn’t love him.

Joe and Fred were just a couple of yahoos, I thought, and Joe wasn’t even very handsome. But he was smart. And big. The full truth of that I didn’t discover until the night he finally got me, in a Boston hotel room after a young party supporters’ convention. I’ve never touched drugs—I don’t even like to drink—but his talk, his amazing plans and the extraordinary connections he made, the leaps, from histories of ancient wars to oil discoveries in Asia had me in a mesmerized stupor I imagine the Dupont Circle types enjoy. My memory is rarely foggy, but somehow I’ve conflated my first look at his penis—which he taught me to call his cock—with a sort of eclipse of the sun. It seemed so large to me that it blocked out the light. Lulled and half-asleep, I turned my head to lick it as I’d learned to do from the man I’d seen during my year in Paris, not even thinking, for once. It was a far more pleasant experience this time than Paris had been—his cock was silky smooth, and smelled innocently of Ivory soap. A few slow swirls around his balls, and he stopped talking, a first. A long lick along the bulging vein to the head, and he was ready to weep. And I discovered how to change the balance of power for a while.

It wed him to me—literally. And I, who would never be fooled, was lost for a few years in a haze of fascination with his charisma and achievement that I called love. No one could understand his choice. The Nordic ice queen, they called me, with a mind like a steel trap. Don’t think I didn’t understand what organ they might have substituted in less polite company. But even he needed the extra boost my brain could give, when he was exhausted from changing the world for every random human he met. And he needed to know there was someone there to swallow everything he had to give, to contain his largess and rock it into peace.

But times changed fast, and Joe needed more. I wasn’t the only woman around willing to “do that” anymore. Despite our intellect and sophistication, sex reduces us to a silly set of demands and requirements, I thought then. It wasn’t until later that I discovered I was wrong.

I roamed the periphery of the party, picking up abandoned glassware and the random empty wine jug. “Miss Mandy,” Joe called out to me, “do you think you could whip up some kind of food for these folks? These kids are still hungry.”

“And we could use another bottle of wine,” Fred said.

“Sure!” I said brightly, heading for the kitchen with my stack of trash and dirty dishes. I caught a glimpse of Barbara bending down to deftly wipe up a wine spill from the wavery hardwood floor, always gritty despite all my sweeping. Our eyes met briefly and we exchanged the sidelong grin that had come to signal a certain silent acceptance of our lot. I saw her eyes slip toward Fred, who was idly stroking the arm of a plump-lipped young blonde girl as they talked. Or as he talked. She was apparently limiting her side of the interaction to adoring gazes.

She was a Society section writer obviously looking to get next in line for Fred. Joe had told me she had ambitions to write for the editorial pages someday, and laughed about it. No woman had ever penetrated that sanctum. I laughed along, but I couldn’t help admiring her a bit. Imagine what a woman could do with 12 inches of weekly national column in her hands!

Barbara followed me into the kitchen, wringing out the rag she’d used on the floor while I rummaged in the broken-door pantry, pulling out some crackers, a tin of pate. A can of tuna fish—there you go, I thought. One of my tricks was to mix it with horseradish sauce; it made everyone think it was some kind of exotic terrine. We really couldn’t afford to feed all these people all the time. Barbara stood beside me, helping me mix and spread morsels on the slightly soggy crackers. “How are you?” I asked her, quietly.

She shrugged and smiled her small, real smile. That was good. And at least she’d taken off her sunglasses. For a while, after she’d come back from Vietnam, she’d worn then far into the night, long after it was appropriate. But I could see why—every bit of her was young and vibrant, but her eyes had come back old. Everyone applauded Fred’s stories on the war and the young boys fighting, but it had been Barbara’s photographs that had made the case to the world that this had to stop. And so of course, Fred had forbidden her to go back. Too dangerous, all of the sudden. She was as desperate to return as she was to avoid it. But Fred was looking toward a different battlefield, now, one the little Society writer could help him conquer.

I slipped my arm around her waist but quickly let it fall as Roy Johnstone walked into the kitchen. He followed me like a ghost, wretchedly infatuated still. A year ago, I’d decided to give Joe’s method of dealing with our marriage a try and start a dalliance of my own. Dark, hollow-cheeked Roy had come to hand, so to speak. It had taken some delicacy to get him to stop being afraid of me. Then I discovered that fear was exactly what he wanted from me. In his stiflingly hot studio apartment, I finally pushed him back on his bed and shouted at him to shut up. In three heartbeats, his cock went from shriveled to steel, and I bounced over him, my knees on his shoulders, rubbing myself against his face until I’d had all I wanted. I left him lying there, thrumming like a violin string, waiting for one lash from my long, dark curls to give him release. That wasn’t the kind of power that would work for me, either.

I’d since cut my hair as short as Jean Seberg’s. But he still mooned after me, wherever we went. I told him over and over that it was not what I wanted, that I had to remain faithful to Joe. He understood, but he couldn’t lose the obsession. Nearly every day, I lived with the tempting option to use his devotion to shore up my own strength. And behind that, I feared his intensity could ruin us all someday.

He stayed and made some joking small talk about the hippie invasion. He was good at setting aside his madnesses and making everyone confortable when he had to—better than I was, actually. He lived for duplicity and intrigue, really, like a Jacobean courtier. Not me. I feared the deceptions and machinations our lives had driven us to. They were dangerous—worse, they were un-American. It might work with the New England WASP world where I was raised, but it would never fly in the Midwest—nor the South, though Joe thought otherwise. In a way, I understood the country better than he did, and that and my research was what had fueled our success in the South, although no one would ever acknowledge it.

“I’m going outside for a cigarette,” Barbara said, slipping out the back door onto our deck. Fred was a health nut and didn’t want her smoking. And that was what would be his Achilles heel if he should carry out his plans to run for office—it was too far out, and Americans don’t like being preached to. They all used my research but they never really trusted it, I thought, as I passed canapés.

I left the tray on a table, called out “Whoops! Forgot the wine!” and hurried back for another jug. I smiled and poured and sparkled, leaving the bottle and slipping back to the kitchen as soon as I could. And from there, out the back door. Free—liberated, I thought, almost giggling to myself. And I’m not the giggling kind.

I put my hands on Barbara’s waist and felt her shiver. I whispered into her ear: “Here—come this way.” I steered her over to the corner of the deck that couldn’t be seen from inside the house.

I loved kissing her ears and neck. She was so extraordinarily responsive that a mere brush could begin a sort of hum within her, expressed in a ripple of minute pulses down the length of her body, centering in her hips, which would begin to vibrate gently against whatever they could reach. The sad, dark thought crossed my mind—I wonder if she was this wide open before she went to the Jungle—and I pushed it aside. I had told her she could tell me about it someday, any day, when she was ready. I would wait. And that was what had won her—like in the old story, allow a woman choice and she is yours.

But now our need allowed for no choice. I slid my hand between the slight curve of her belly and the low-slung waistband of her jeans, inside her silky nylon panties and into her silkier folds. I waited for the movements of her hips to still, speed up, and still again. “Shhhh,” I whispered. “Let me.” And I began the slow, small circles we’d discovered were her favorite. I had my bluestocking excellence at research to thank, once again. They didn’t have books on female anatomy in the law library, but my privileges extended to the medical school, because of my work on public health law. I’d discovered the secrets men tried to keep from us in those years, and just in time.

She’d gone still, leaning back into me as I buried my face in her long, brown hair. I hitched up my own summer shift dress with one hand—I didn’t want to risk a wet spot – and began to rub my pubic bone against the jean-clad curve of her ass. It was almost enough to take me there right then, and we poised there, hovering like hummingbirds, letting the pleasure build to a new pitch. We rocked back and forth against each other, perfectly matched, shifting the control, passing the need back and forth, until, suddenly, she flung out one hand and reached round to grab my ass and press me harder against her. Then her hand pushed my panties aside and I felt her fingers push into me. It was too much; I nearly called out, but pressed my mouth against her hair, instead. As I felt her closing around my own fingers, I heard her own strange and beautiful cry—a scream of breath alone, no louder than a sigh but with the intensity of a shriek. As our bodies quieted, I breathed a silent thanks for my own summer of love. And knew that it may take years for the world to see it, but I would always know that this was the summer that balance of power in Washington finally shifted.

Maria Padhila is a pseudonym for a Washington, DC, writer. She writes speeches, policy papers and newspaper and magazine articles for money. For fun, she writes erotica and the Capitol Cougar blog (

Desdmona's Erotic Story Contests
2007 Sixties Erotica Contest
Honorable Mention