This Fifty Shades of Earl Grey Encounter Will Get you Hot and Steamy!

2061028172_5eb9a1e266_zBy Hanna Natasha Peel*

I first encountered Grey by accident, succumbing to a moment of weakness in the deep of night. February wind whipped virgin snow against the panes of my dorm window as I struggled to finish an English lit paper and a story for the campus news site. I longed for stimulation to break the weary monotony. My thoughts turned to curling up with my usual companion. If only I could quench my thirst and unwind once again in that warm, dark sweetness.

Impossible!

L., the one I’d brought home for months but always avoided at bedtime, had run out on me two weeks before. All that remained was a torn Red Rose in a box, and a note on my dorm room mirror that said

Buy!!!!

Saucee Suzan

Always

Lays

EZ Mac!

Friendship

Now N’ Later

Liptonn

I padded in my robe and slipper socks toward the common area in search of caffeine and company. Grey had been a fascination of Eva’s—a willowy woman down the hall who everyone knew was dating that rock star visiting professor in the econ department. I had seen her walking with Grey around the dorm once or twice. Eva wore a black silk chemise that showed off the full-sleeve tat she’d gotten in Indonesia. Widely travelled, chic and very cosmopolitan, Eva casually introduced me to Grey while we chatted about exams—and exes—in the kitchen area. “I don’t do romance. My tastes are very singular. You wouldn’t understand,” she purred, summing up her love life.

Was Grey no longer her cup of tea? My floor-mate placed a mug in the microwave. Then she pulled some Grey Goose from the freezer. (I guessed that Grey was her current fascination.) Eva ducked back into her room with the frosted bottle. When she returned, she placed a glossy box on the counter between us. She looked at Grey, then at me. “You’ll need these. Try not to stay up all night,” she said with a knowing smile.

I blushed, glancing at Grey, and bit my lip as I smiled back. Grey answered my gaze with a cool, polished exterior—elegant, understated and opulently packaged. Intimidating. But I sensed that what was inside was earthy, invigorating and possibly addictive. Okay, I liked that. There. I’d admitted it to myself. The microwave beeped. I took the mug in one hand, reached for Grey with the other, and sauntered back to my bedroom.

It was over quickly. The fumbling removal of wraps. A little sugar. Some playful teabag action. Then, Grey was inside me. I winced as a fleeting burning sensation spread from my lips to both cheeks. I gulped in pain and drew away. But soon I relaxed and blew Grey rhythmically until I sensed it was okay to try again. After that, Grey was gentler yet powerful, familiar and unfamiliar all at once. I don’t remember much else, except wanting to spoon for a few moments, to be comforted and warm. But Gray was already gone, leaving only a wet spot behind.

It had been a rebound thing anyway, just something to perk me up, so I could refocus on work. I got an A- on the English paper. And the article, on a billionaire, CEO alumnus, Tet Li, turned out fine. There’s one other thing, though, that I’ll never forget—that deep, exotic and citrusy scent that lingered in the room as I finally slid between the sheets in the predawn hours. What was it? I’d slept with a smile on my lips, my mouth tasting of fruit, flowers and unleashed desires.

To make extra cash, I contracted for odd jobs with area alums from the campus network. I was off to Harbor Drive on a Saturday night to help serve and clean up after a cocktail party. My employers’ home was sprawling, modern, with floor-to-ceiling views of the Sound. Was that a helipad next to the dock? There were five fireplaces and a spanking new high-end kitchen I recognized from a remodeler’s full-page ad. I passed Versace-designed trays of skewered shrimp, and blinis with crème fraîche and caviar. I collected endless empty glasses and liquor bottles until the last guests trickled out and the hosts staggered upstairs. I went to sort out the kitchen, toting a flute of champagne from what had been a nearly-full bottle. Shame to waste it.

I kinda got loaded while loading the dishwasher. I needed those detergent pod thingys, but they weren’t under the sink, or in the drawer under the marble countertop. But what were a riding crop, blindfold, handcuffs and rope doing in there? I felt oddly furtive going through strangers’ cabinets, as if I were being watched. I suddenly looked behind me. There, framed by the pantry doorway, looking elegant, and expensive, was Grey.

Here?

Of course, I thought to myself. I felt my lashes dust my scarlet cheeks as I quickly averted my eyes. Grey appeals to those with sophisticated tastes. Suppressing a bemused smile, I peeked up through my lashes and noticed the box of detergent pods and a tin of smoked oysters just to the left of Grey. My gaze drifted from one label to the next as Grey’s seductive, smoke-tinged words beckoned: “It’s time you took a break. Steal a private moment and indulge in an experience that will awaken your senses.” How could those few words hold such tantalizing promise? “Those oysters may come in handy later,” I said aloud, grinning devilishly.

I stepped into the softly-lit pantry and slowly reached for the dishwasher soap, brushing against Grey as I retrieved it. Suddenly, I was gripped by a sensory memory, embraced by the warm, familiar yet exotic scents of bergamot, tea and citrus, like freshly laundered tea towels and some sort of expensive body wash. Oooohhhh, Earl Grey! My breathing deepened and my pulse quickened. I felt lightheaded, intoxicated—adventurous. The fingers of my free hand reached for Grey’s irresistible package, thirsty for its contents.

Grey remained cool and contained, heightening my anticipation. I wanted everything to be perfect, for Grey to mellow out. I intended to savor Grey slowly. I struggled to think straight as I readied the necessities, finally discovering where the homeowners kept the pot stashed.

It was finally time to turn on the heat. The trick would be to bring things to just below the boiling point. Once I let things get hot and steamy, I expected Grey to go down slow, soft and easy like hot honey on a hoecake. Before you could say, “Polly put the kettle on,” Grey was stripped of all distinguished coverings and laid bare under the floodlights of the gourmet kitchen.

I was in for a shock. Grey was loose, large, long and magnificently uncut—completely free to offer as much or as little as I wanted. I was clearly in uncharted territory here. No strings. No labels. No filter. No rules????

How naïve I had been and how quickly I would learn. I’d misread the situation, and turned searchingly to Grey for answers. Enlighten me. Grey spelled out for me in black and white a very exacting set of instructions. If I followed them, I would be rewarded with sensual delight. If I failed, I’d be dealing with nothing but hot water. The thing with Grey, it became clear, was to exercise control in all things.

It would be a steep learning curve. Under Grey’s tutelage, I embarked on a journey of exotic discovery. In the darkest recesses of the home lay a specially-designed stainless-steel chamber; fashioned for screwing when coupled. Strategically placed openings facilitated maximum penetration. A hook attached to a length of metal chain enabled suspension from above in a variety of circumstances. Once engaged in this apparatus, I knew Grey would swell to impressive size. As I watched Grey plunge into my waiting vessel, I bit my lip and counted each agonizing second in anticipation of Grey’s release of natural essences.

Grey appeared stronger and deepened in color as the moments passed. After three or four minutes, I could wait no more and would quench my liquid desire. How could this delicious moment get any more satisfying? “Blueberry scone” is a safe word. As the tool was pulled out, dripping, energy rippled in waves from the center of my brimming cup to the inner walls. MMmmmmmmmm.

I let out a small moan of pleasure and drank in the torrid realization that Grey was everything I’d been thirsting for.

There was still work to be done. I pressed “light wash” on the dishwasher, wiped down the counters and turned on the gas stove. Grey would be ready for another round soon. A blue flame tickled and licked the underside of the retro-styled whistling kettle. I searched the pantry for honey, then drizzled a golden stream toward Grey’s tawny bottom, splashing a drop on the rim. I slowly licked my sticky fingers, and headed to the living room to relax. Of course, Grey accompanied me. I melted into the cool leather couch and watched the marina lights twinkle in the distance. Tangled up in the sweetness, the heat, Grey’s tannic bite and the mellow, grassy aftertaste at the back of my throat, I forgot to stay in control.

Uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, no, no, no, no

The fire had burned too long! A low, vibrating hum became a rumbling, undulating frenzy and then a piercing, extended shriek of hot and steamy release. The boiling point! They’ll hear this screaming upstairs! Breathless, I rushed into the kitchen to silence it, sweat beading on my temples, under my heaving bosom and behind my knees. Major buzz-kill. By some miracle, the white noise from the dishwasher, and perhaps the after-effects of all that booze, kept the rest of the house’s occupants at peace.

Several years have passed, and I’ve loved many others since Grey. Blacks, whites, mixed ones with strange names that I picked up in town. They came from India, China, Kenya, Sri Lanka. I had a Mate from Argentina that could last for hours and hours with nothing but water in between, and was customarily passed among friends. On weekend mornings, I’d often make the Irish Breakfast before heading out the door. At night, of course, I relax with herbs. I always have the munchies afterward.

But no matter what,

I’m incapable of staying away from Grey—or is it the other way around?

We’ve shared stolen moments at posh hotels and white-tablecloth restaurants. I’ve had encounters with Grey on a tropical beach, on the conference room table at the office after hours, in a public park on a gorgeous spring day. In fact, I’m spooning Grey right now after binge-watching Downton Abbey.

That sort of thing is just my cup of tea.

—As told to Claire McIntosh

*Who ain’t for real!