Sharazade Talks About Her Story, ‘Flaws,’ and the Train Journey that Inspired It
It’s my pleasure to welcome international woman of mystery and Queen of Travel Erotica, Sharazade, to share with us the story behind her moving, sexy train story, Flaws.
It’s always fun to hear from readers which story in a collection was a favorite. You never get the same answers from everybody, of course, but if we go by the majority, the short story “Flaws” from Transported: Erotic Travel Tales is the most popular. It’s a story told in the first person, from the point of view of a young woman traveling across the US by train, who lacks confidence in her attractiveness because of what she views as her body’s “flaws”—the sorts of things that the reader can see a lover probably wouldn’t even notice, let alone care about, but that can drive the owner to distraction—a scar, unusually large nipples, a few hairs out of place, a belly that isn’t flat.
I’m often asked if any of those flaws are mine. Well—that you don’t get to know. But the real “flaw,” of being hyper-critical of myself, that is sometimes mine and it sometimes isn’t. Like the character in the story, I’m quite aware that confidence is sexy; but like that character, I know how hard it is sometimes to pull yourself up when you’re not feeling confident. It takes more to feel good about yourself than just giving yourself a stern talking to. I confess I get a little impatient sometimes with websites (and people) who say that you should never base your feelings of confidence or self-worth on someone else’s perception or evaluation, but only on your own. Of course there’s truth to that, but come on. What if you’re feeling very down about yourself? Or what if you’re feeling very confident, but … no one else seems to agree with you? Hey, it happens.
So in the story, I let the woman gain some confidence from the unexpected (well, to her, anyway!) advances of an attractive man. His obvious attraction to her and her body is the boost she needs to pull herself out of her low spot. Is she going to base her future sense of self-worth on a fleeting encounter with a guy (or… two guys…) on a train? Of course not. But she sure steps off that train feeling good; and then the cycle can work its way up, instead of down. When you feel good, you look good, and when you look good, you feel good, and so on. Enthusiastic appreciation and lust from a partner contribute to one’s self-image—a good reminder that we should express our own appreciation and lust for our partners in very obvious ways.
On a more personal note, I also like “Flaws” because a lot of the plot line is autobiographical—I have taken that train trip, and I was reading “To the Lighthouse,” and I did get a free sleeper car from the conductor for the second half of the trip. And the rest? Well, I’ll leave that to the readers’ imaginations.
His compartment is small, and I accidentally brush against him as I enter the room. (I was right, he is well-muscled.) The bed is actually a bunk, with a lower and upper berth. There’s a full-length mirror on one wall, and a little doorway on the other side that must go to the bathroom area. I notice he has two suitcases, which seems a bit extravagant. Perhaps one needs a wealth of material to describe the deeds of Herbert Hoover, or maybe he’s just a clothes horse. Some men are. Now that I’m in his room, I feel a bit awkward. How exactly am I going to take a shower? Surely he’d have to leave for a while? But he makes no move to go, and I feel to shy to ask him to. To cover my nervousness, I lean over the bottom bunk and look out the window. Of course, it’s dark, so I can’t see a thing, so now I must look like a complete idiot. Maybe he’ll think I can see the stars, or something.
Suddenly I feel his hand on me, on my side. Startled, I jump up and back into him, there being nowhere else in the little room to go, and now both of his arms are around me, turning me around. He looks at me without speaking, and brushes a lock of my hair out of my face with his hand. Oh. My. OK, I didn’t know this was on his mind, I didn’t suspect this at all. I’m so naïve. Or just dumb. I don’t know what to do. I make a sort of a half move to go, but his arms are firm and keep me there.
And then he kisses me. Oh god. It feels so, so good. I haven’t been kissed in so long. His kisses are gentle, but firm, and… confident. Unbelievably sexy. I give in and kiss him back. I can’t believe this. I can’t believe he’d want to kiss me, but he does. Our kisses grow more passionate, and now his hands are traveling around my body, caressing my back, squeezing my ass, pulling me to him. I think again that I have to get out of here before it goes any further… and then I think, well, why not stay? Why not? I’m young, I’m single, I’m on a train, I’m here with an absolute dream of a guy who wants me. Who cares if it’s only because he couldn’t find somebody better? He’s with me now, and it feels amazing. And with some new confidence that surprises me, I slip my hands under his shirt to feel his body.
He takes this as a sign to remove his shirt. I was right—he has an amazing body, smooth and strong. And now his hands are at my shirt too, lifting it over my head. Oh god. Oh no. I’ve just remembered. It’s not a flaw, exactly, because it’s something I can fix, but … I also have just a few hairs that grow on my nipples, at the edges of my areolas. They’re not normally a problem, I just pluck them out, but I haven’t checked in several days, and I don’t know if they’re there now or not. The light in the cabin is certainly strong enough that he’d see them if he looked down. What can I do? I consider breaking away and saying I need to go to the bathroom, and then I can check for hairs and try to pull them out with my fingers if I need to, but won’t it look weird to just leap out of his arms like that?
While I’m trying to decide whether I’d look worse if I bolted into the bathroom or if he noticed some nipple hairs, I’ve lost my chance—he’s got my shirt off and is unhooking my bra and it’s too late. Each hand is caressing a breast now. I don’t dare look down, and just close my eyes. His hands feel heavenly, touching me with firm, sensuous strokes, his fingers pinching my nipples. I feel a rush of warmth between my legs.
He bends down to kiss my breasts. At least I don’t need to worry about sagging nipples now, because they’re taut and erect, aching for his kisses and light bites. And then… he stands back up, just a little away from me. I open my eyes to see what he’s doing. He’s looking at me. He’s looking right at my chest, touching me while he examines me. He traces my scar with his forefinger. I look at his face, to see what he’s thinking, but I can’t really tell. He runs his finger back and forth over my scar, and then bends and kisses it.
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Sharazade is professional writer, editor, and consultant with more than 20 books published under another name. She divides her time among Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the U.S. Not surprisingly, her stories tend to feature some aspect of travel–modes of transportation or exotic locales. She enjoys stories that are realistic enough that they might have happened and fanciful enough that they might not have. She values communication, adventure, exploration, passion, and love. Find her on her blog at http://www.sharazade.