Valentine’s Day night. Two double martinis with extra olives. An empty bar. And ghostly saxophone music playing from an empty stage.
Seth Preston figures it’ll be another lonely night, longing for his lost days with Martina. Good thing for the memories, and the music.
But his heart aches for the closure he never got. And for the second chance that never happened.
If you wish for an erotic story about lost love and the need to say goodbye, be sure to read Goodbye, Martina.
Seth Preston locked the doors at two in the morning, not a minute later. The tourists left the bar after hearing the ghostly saxophone show. The college kids were getting laid at best, or sleeping off their stupidity at worst. The West Avenue Bar was empty, though not quiet yet, and Seth didn’t want it any other way.
He made two double martinis with extra olives. One glass was just a plain martini glass. The other had a gold engraved saxophone with the name “Martina” underneath. He set the glasses on paper napkins, in front of the giant mirror behind the bar and directly across from the stage.
The bouncer and waitress had helped flip all the stools and chairs, except for two, where the drinks were now being served. Seth sent his employees home. They understood.
Besides, the saxophone music was a bit creepy after hours, when the place emptied out and the notes seemed to bounce off the walls and ceiling. He didn’t blame the staff for wanting to leave.
The music flowed from nowhere and everywhere at once. Most folks, tourists and locals alike, believed the music stopped shortly after midnight. Seth knew better, and kept that secret well hidden. For the last five years on Valentine’s Day night, ever since Seth bought the bar, the music would start up again after the last drunkard left. It’d start as a slow and steady rhythm, barely noticeable unless you strained and knew what to listen for.
While Seth mopped the floor, the rhythm increased, as if to hurry him along so he’d finally have his drink. Then a slow lull, a siren song from the general direction of the stage.
In his peripheral vision, he swore he could see her. Martina…
Every Valentine’s Day, she wore a yellow dress and blue high heels with peep toes, just like she wore in college. Her wild mane of honey blond hair flowed about her bare shoulders, messed up as if she just rolled out of bed. Or had wild sex. That was how she always appeared on stage—sweaty with messed up hair and a glint in her eyes. She held her saxophone like a lover in her strong arms, and the music she made with it sounded soft and feminine with a rough touch on the edge.
But when Seth looked directly at the stage, she was gone. Only her music remained.
He sat at the bar, and held his glass while staring in the mirror. Not at himself—he knew what he looked like. Almost the same as when he knew Martina, but older, fifteen years older to be exact. His hair was still brown, but cut shorter and the two gray hairs weren’t noticeable yet. Still clean shaved, most days, and still wore t-shirts and jeans.
No, he looked at the stage in the mirror, hoping like hell to see her. Just once. It was all he wanted in life anymore. To see the woman of his dreams one more time. To tell her that he still thought of her. And missed her.
He had a hole in his heart. The saxophone blues filled it once a year, at Valentine’s Day. But that was never enough.
Could never be enough.
He clinked glasses with his ghostly sax player. “To memory,” he said. “Good and bad.”
Then he took a sip.
Fifteen years ago, he’d been in love with Martina. They were kids, in their last semester of college, with the entire world at their fingertips. He’d been a chemistry major, she was a music major. The memory of how they crossed paths was now ragged at the edge for Seth, but he was certain it’d been a birthday party for a mutual friend.
Seth and Martina were inseparable.
And then one day, she disappeared. No word, no trace, just gone. He cried for a month.
And then he moved on. Seth took a lucrative job at a pharmaceutical company. He married. He divorced. He took other jobs.
One day five years ago, he heard a story about a haunting in the old West Avenue Bar, where he’d buy Martina drinks after her weekly saxophone performance. She was a martini girl. She’d wink, and say it was close enough to her name for government work.
Apparently, the ghost of West Avenue played the saxophone late at night every Valentine’s Day.
The day he last saw Martina play her sax. The first, and last, time he ever made love to her.
When he heard the ghostly music, he knew right away what he needed to do. He bought the West Avenue Bar with his savings. Now he joked with his friends that he was still a chemist, just mixing different types of chemicals.
And for five years, he listened to Martina’s music every Valentine’s Day. Over time, she played on other late nights, just for him when nobody else was around. This was his secret, one he never wanted to share with anybody.
But he made the bar a tourist attraction for Valentine’s Day, and made a lot of money every year. He paid Martina with a martini after the doors closed.
And without fail, she downed her drink. He never saw her drink, never even saw the glass lifted into the air. But the martini was always gone when he inevitable turned his head. Seth was happy to leave that a mystery. He was glad for her presence, even if she wasn’t physically with him.
Sometimes, he thought he missed her so badly, he was just making this all up.
He downed the rest of his martini, and ate the olives. Seth kept staring at the damned mirror. Nobody appeared, he was alone in his bar. And nothing could bring back Martina.
Suddenly, the music stopped.
For the first time since he bought the bar, Seth didn’t cry when saxophone stopped playing. The hole in his heart felt just as massive. But there were no more tears. He wasn’t sure what that meant, if anything.
A breeze tickled his arm. Strange, given the door was closed. He brushed at his sleeve, thinking it was nothing.
And then in the mirror, Martina’s glass lifted in the air as if some kind of cheap parlor trick. Must be an illusion. Had to be. But Seth dared not move his head to see for sure. He couldn’t. His eyes were transfixed to the mirror, watching the glass tip slightly as if an invisible person were sipping from it. And then the liquid disappeared. Slowly, the glass returned to the napkin.
Chills ran up and down his skin, as if something cold and slithery were crawling up his back.
“Martina…” he said. He wanted it to be some elaborate prank, something the bouncer and waitress would pull on him. Had to be what it was. Martina was gone, and nothing could bring her back. Not even music.
But she came back every year, and played for him.
Somebody stood next to him. He felt the presence, a slight change in temperature, a warmth that wasn’t there before, and then a feminine sigh.
Seth turned his head. Then he turned his entire body, pivoting on the stool. He rubbed his eyes. She was sitting next to him.
Her legs were crossed. She was translucent. All the light in the room seemed filtered through her. The yellow dress hiked up her thighs, revealing smooth and tanned skin. Martina hunched over her now empty glass, playing with the olives on the toothpick the same way she used to do when flirting with him.
Then she smiled.
Seth’s smile was automatic. Involuntary. The words he wanted to say, not so much. It was like his brain froze and was now on an endless loop.
I miss you. Why did you leave me? I love you.
Gave new meaning to the tired phrase—looks like you’ve seen a ghost.
Now, Seth knew what that meant.
He desperately wanted to reach out and touch Martina. Just one last time. To feel the curve of her hips and breasts. To make her smile when he ran his fingers through her hair. To hold her close and kiss her.
But he knew that wasn’t going to happen. Her body shimmered as if it weren’t entirely there. She moved like the old Martina he knew. She had the same twinkle in her eyes, and the same arch in her brow. The problem was, this wasn’t her.
Her physical body was gone. Whatever was in front of Seth, could never truly replace the real Martina.
She bit one of the olives and slowly pulled it off the toothpick. Another strange habit of hers, one Seth had long forgotten about.
“Martina,” he said, trying once again to find the words. “I thought of you every day.”
For fifteen years… Granted, after a few years, she was no longer the first thing he thought of in the morning. But he still thought of her.
She patted him on the leg, and squeezed his thigh.
“I missed you too,” she said.
Speechless did not begin to describe the way he felt. One thing to imagine seeing Martina again after all this time, quite another to actually have her in front of him. Seth had long fantasized about what he’d say to her, if given the chance.
And now, despite the impossibility of it all, he had the chance. He just didn’t have the words.
“Martina…” he said. No other sounds came out of his mouth, no matter how much he moved his lips. He had difficulty breathing right. He wasn’t sure what to do with his hands anymore. His mouth was dry. His skin itched in places he dared not scratch in front of her. Not now.
She smiled, the same cute smile with dimples she’d give him right before a kiss, as if she were keeping the world’s best secret from him and couldn’t keep it in.
Martina ate another olive. As she did so, something remarkable happened.
She became less see-through, more solid. The light about her became softer, and Martina herself became more real, like looking through a lens that was slowly focusing.
“I think of you every day, Seth,” she said. “But days don’t really mean the same thing to me anymore.”
“I never stopped thinking of you,” he said at last.
“I know.” Martina patted him on the knee and scooted a bit closer. She was warm, her body heat—or whatever the ghost equivalent of a body was—seeped across the space between them. “It’s why you bought this old dump.”
“Actually, I saw a great business opportunity. You should see the ledger every year at Valentine’s.”
“Liar.” She winked and ate the last olive before tossing the stick into her glass. Her skin became darker, olive tan, like it was in life. She tossed her blond hair over one shoulder, the locks rustled and glistened in the dim bar light. He wanted to reach out, and touch her hair.
“I never got over you,” Seth said. “I moved on, yes. But no matter who I was with, or what I did in life, I never truly let you go.”
“And maybe that’s why I appeared tonight,” she said.
“I hope you’re lying now.” He pushed his glass aside, not wanting the olives. He wanted coffee, or something dry to eat. The double martini did enough damage for one night.
“Only as much as you were.” Martina tapped her fingers on the bar. She wiped away imaginary crumbs from the laminated top. “What does a girl need to do to get a dance around here?”
Seth laughed for what felt like the first time in too long. She laughed with him. Memories flooded back for Seth. The picnic when it rained, and Martina squealed in laughter and danced in the rain. The Halloween she dressed up as a jester and told horribly bad jokes all night. Valentine’s Day, beginning with afternoon coffee and ending with them tangled up and sweaty on a hotel room bed.
He stood up and extended his hand out for her. She took it. Again, he was surprised at how warm she was. Weren’t ghosts cold? Not like they had blood.
Martina hopped down off the barstool. Slow, sexy saxophone music started playing while he led her to the dance floor.
“Can you play while dancing?” he said. His cheeks blushed at the question, and he wasn’t sure why. Seemed a silly question. But then he was talking to a long dead woman. All questions he could think of were a bit silly.
She let out a throaty laugh. The music didn’t stop.
“Baby,” she said. “I’m a ghost. I can do many wondrous things.”
He brought her close to his body, feeling and memorizing every curve. Her breasts poked at him about stomach height, exactly the way he remembered. She gazed up at him through her long lashes. Seth pressed the small of her back. They slow danced to her music.
“Wondrous things?” Seth said. He felt the mischievous smirk on his face, and did nothing to stop it.
Martina returned the smirk with her cute dimples. “I take it you’ve never done it with a ghost?”
“First time for everything, I suppose.”
She rested her head on his shoulder. “I think you’ll enjoy this.” Then she snapped her head away. “If you’re interested, that is.”
Seth kissed her on the lips. The kiss lingered longer than he planned, just the way every kiss with her went. A quick peck on the cheek, with Martina, could turn into a make-out session.
“I would never pass you up,” he whispered.
“Good,” she whispered back.
She leaned against him with her head resting on his shoulder, one hand still holding his, her other arm draped across his shoulder. The emptiness inside—something he’d forgotten was there—eased a bit, filling with her presence. It was enough. More than he ever dreamed of having again. And it would have to do.
Seth could’ve dance all night, until dawn, if that’s what she wanted. He could afford to close the bar for a day tomorrow, while he rested off the wonderful night.
The scent of her perfume drove him wild. The same perfume she wore so long ago. He honestly didn’t even know what it was called, if it was even still made. It smelled like fresh strawberries on a warm summer day.
He wanted to cry, and to laugh at the same time. The tears rolled out anyway. He couldn’t fight them. But this wasn’t a sob, more like a cathartic cry, and one that felt really good. He massaged the small of her back.
The dancing became more of a three-beat shuffle. He was just glad not to step on her toes. She never let him go. At the end of the song, Martina kissed his earlobe and continued shuffling with him for a few bittersweet moments. When she pulled away, her eyes were red-rimmed and puffy.
He kissed at her tears, tasting the saltiness. “Don’t cry,” he said.
She smiled with her dimples again. “Only if you don’t either,” she said.
“I’d ask your place or mine,” he said. Seth held her at arm’s length. “But your place doesn’t work at all.”
“Maybe some other time,” she winked. “I’d love to see your place.”
He nodded. “I’ll get my keys and jacket.”
“Perhaps we can walk there?”
Martina’s expression was serious. A bit dour. Of course she didn’t want to be in a car, after dying in one. He didn’t blame her.
“I’ll get my jacket then,” he said. He led her to the back office, and got his leather jacket down off the peg on the door. He wrapped it across her shoulders. Then he took her by the hand and locked up behind them.
The streets were quiet. All the lovers and drunkards had gone home for the night, to sleep off their adventures and get ready for another work day. Only the night owls were still up, and there were few of them driving by along the road. A chill wind blew. Loud music played from the college apartment building across the street.
They walked hand in hand, silent the entire way.
He brought her to the front door of his townhouse. His fingers shook as he unlocked the door. A deep breath calmed him a bit.
“It’s okay,” Martina slid her fingers across his shoulder. “If you don’t want to do this…”
“I want this more than anything,” he said. “Wanted it for more years than I care to admit to.”
“I’m sorry,” she said.
“Not your fault,” he pushed the door open and invited her in.
He closed and locked up behind them. She looked sweet and innocent, standing in his entry with her hands clasped in front of her and head slightly down. That was how he remembered her on that Valentine’s night in the hotel room, so very long ago.
Back then, he’d started with a quick and inexperienced peck on the lips.
Seth had learned a few more tricks since then.
He gripped her firmly by the elbows and pushed her up against the nearest wall. He held her there by the waist and, with one quick ravishing glance at her heaving bosom, kissed her violently on the mouth. Martina gasped. But she played along, her tongue dancing with his. She seemed less experienced than he wanted…
But she’d been dead for a long time. How could she have had any other experience beyond that one night?
He broke the kiss. She was panting and red in the face. They locked eyes.
And then he lifted her into his arms. She squealed in delight, the way a young woman would do who had never been lifted in this way.
Seth was quite okay with that. This was going to be fun…
The bedroom was dark, except for the nightlight in the corner behind the reading lamp. Barely enough for him to see by. He badly wanted to see Martina naked, especially if this were a one time deal.
He tossed her on the queen sized bed. She bounced a few times, and spread her arms out wide, giggling.
“Is it okay if I turn on the lamp,” he said. “I’d like to see you.”
She crinkled her brow and glanced away. She shrugged, non-committing.
This was something he never fully understood about Martina. She was completely uninhibited on the stage with the dresses she wore and how much skin she revealed to a bar full of drunk men. But in private, without the saxophone as a shield, she was a delicate flower.
“Look,” Seth said. “You still look twenty-two. I’m the one who should be worried.” He did a drum roll on his stomach with both hands. “I’ve become an old man.”
Martina gave him a lop-sided smile. “You’re not old. And seems to me, you’ve been going to the gym.”
“When I’m motivated, let’s put it that way.”
Her crooked smile loosened up a bit. “Fine then, take off your shirt first.”
He did as she asked, and tossed his shirt to the floor. She sat upright on the bed, legs crossed in front of her, and played with her hair while admiring him. Seth hadn’t felt this sexy in a very long time.
Much too long.
“You’re right,” Martina said at last. “Let’s have some light.”
He turned on the reading lamp. And then he crawled onto the bed with her. He held her in his arms, towering over her. Martina scratched her fingers gently down his chest. She tentatively kissed one nipple. Only a gentle brushing of lips, no more, as if she were testing the waters before diving in.
Seth cupped her face with both hands and brought her mouth to his. He felt himself growing beneath his jeans, the angle completely awkward. He wanted to free himself, or at least adjust himself in his jeans. But it seemed too soon.
Martina made a fumbled attempt at his belt. That was all the permission he needed. He helped her unbuckle the belt, and then zip his jeans down. Then she became bolder too, and tugged at the waistband of his boxer briefs. The entire time, Seth massaged her shoulders, then down her chest.
When he fondled her breasts, she sat up straighter and gasped.
But he didn’t linger on her breasts. He held her by the upper arms and pushed her down on the bed. Martina went down obediently, and when he tapped her on the thigh she opened her legs for him.
Seth settled between her legs, kissing the insides of her thighs all the way to her black panties. He tugged at the lacy fabric, and she wiggled her butt to help him pull them down. She was just as he remembered—neatly trimmed patch of blond hair with thick lips. That first time, he’d been afraid and too inexperienced to give her much oral.
This time, he gave her the gentle attention she deserved. He slowly kissed and fondled her labia. Then he opened her. He licked her clit. Pressed a finger inside. A little of both, some experimenting to find out what turned her on. When he curled his fingers inside her, Martina went wild with an orgasm.
After a few more experiments, his bedroom thoroughly smelled of her.
And then she asked him to lie on his back, and she tore off his underwear. Martina returned the favor as best she could. She clearly was no more experienced than she was at the tender age of twenty-two, but Seth didn’t mind.
She had fewer inhibitions about sucking his cock, that was for sure.
Seth played her hair and told her how beautiful she was. Just like when he was younger, he had a hard time believing the angel with the saxophone was using those same lips she used to play music to suck him off. He put an arm under his head, and enjoyed the sensations of her wet tongue and teeth scraping gently down his shaft. Her soft moans made his all the hotter.
She took a breath, gasping. Seth took the moment to push her away. Martina stared at him, confused for a moment until he unzipped her dress for her. She started to take off her high heels, and he told her to leave them on. He unclasped her bra with two fingers, a trick that made her laugh in amusement.
And then she got onto her back.
Seth shook his head, and then took one of the pillows and laid it at her hip level.
“Roll over,” he said. “I’ve thought about this for a long time.”
Another confused expression, but this time mixed with curiosity. Martina rolled over onto her stomach. He helped her settle with the pillow under her hips, so her lovely ass stuck up in the air.
He smacked her once on the cheek, just a gentle love tap. Then he slid inside her, an inch at a time, and then closed her legs with his own. Seth rotated his hips, feeling the warm tightness of her tunnel with his cock. As he teased her like that, Martina became wet again.
And then he lay down on top of her, trapping her under his body. He held her wrists to the bed, above her head. His mouth was next to her ear.
“You like this?” he whispered.
“Yes,” Martina said.
He bucked his hips, pushing balls deep into her. Her body heat warmed his chest unbearably. He could smell her sweat in her hair.
“You always were a dirty little whore,” he said.
Her voice was little more than a dry whimper, barely audible. Seth rocked her harder. The headboard rattled.
“And I always loved you…” he whispered.
“Oh… baby… God, yes!”
She squirmed under him, as if trying to break away. He held her tighter for it. Every muscle in his body strained. Her pussy contracted around him, almost spitting him out. She screamed in pleasure, and then begged for more. He slowed his pace, only to quicken it again.
He felt his orgasm long before it hit. A build up of tension in his groin. A warmth that spread throughout his body.
And then he came inside her.
He rolled off her, a sweaty mess, and tried to catch his breath. She rolled into his arms. Seth held her close, playing her hair and kissing her forehead.
That was the best sex he’d ever had. But there was something on his mind.
“What took you so long?” he said. “You know, to appear like this.”
Martina lifted her head. “This haunting business isn’t easy,” she said. “Took me that long to figure out I could do this.”
“Gotcha.” Seth closed his eyes for a bit. He didn’t want to ask the next question, but needed the answer anyway. “Is this a one time thing?”
Martina slid upright and sat on his stomach, her hands planted on his chest. Her expression was serious.
“Do you want this to be a regular thing?” she said.
“Yes, baby. But…”
She smiled sadly. “But you’re alive. And I’m not.”
“I don’t know if I can let you go,” he said.
She kissed him the forehead.
“You can,” she said. “And I think you should.”
“For you, anything.”
“For yourself, mister.” Martina cupped his face in both hands. “But I’ll make a deal. I’ll continue playing the saxophone every Valentine’s Day. You pay me with the martini. And then we’ll see where the night goes from there.”
“For as long as you want,” she said.
“Deal,” said Seth. He smiled. “Goodbye, Martina.”
“Goodbye, Seth,” she said.
She smiled again, this time her cheeks rosy. Martina collapsed in his arms, and he held her for the rest of the night.
In the morning, she was gone. But the bedsheets were rumpled and warm. The room smelled of wet pussy.
And for the first morning in a very long time, the hole in Seth’s heart felt healed.
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