Wondering, Fearing, Doubting, Dreaming

Slim Pail Girl

Our heads share one thick pillow, your body pressed close to mine – a thin line of person in the middle of a bed an ocean across, together by choice and not just by circumstance. You want to be here. I can feel it in the way your arm drapes over me, gently holding me close with an easy possessiveness.

I am, at long last, ready to let myself be possessed.

I resisted for a long time, fought the part of me that was used to telling me I was better off alone. I was used to the solitude, to the loneliness that I tried to convince myself was good for me. Concentrate on yourself. Concentrate on your work. You’ve got no time for anyone else.

And even if you did, they’d just leave.

It was easy to believe it, easy to let the helplessness creep in – easier still to let it set up camp and make itself at home. Hope was the thing with feathers, long since flown away. One year. Two. Five. Ten, and beyond…

I had never realised quite how lonely I was until you arrived, with that easy charm. The smile that seemed to promise so much. The soft, gracious tilt to your voice when you asked me my name, how I was doing, how I knew the other people at dinner.

And then that first long night, buoyed up by wine and good times. A night I didn’t think I’d ever experience again.

It wasn’t as different as I remembered, although you were new and unfamiliar in all the best ways. Touching you was like rereading a favourite book for the first time in years: a new copy of an old story, the pages crisp and pure but everything right where I remembered it. Every kiss was pinprick of light, building up one by one in the darkness to the image of a galaxy that I didn’t quite understand and wasn’t ready to question.

You shift behind me, just slightly; your breathing skips, and for a second I feel the tight clutch of panic in my chest: This is it. This is where you leave me. And yet you don’t. Of course you don’t, but old habits die hard. You didn’t leave that first night – and when you did, the morning after, you came back. Time and time again, you return to me, always happy and always eager to make me yours again. Always with that same electrifying touch, always surprising me even when I know I shouldn’t be surprised.

I am learning to view you as a rock, a constant. I am learning that it is safe to put down my foundations on you, in you. I am slow, but you are steadfast and patient; I think you might want it as much as I do.

And yet I can’t quite shake the feeling that it’s all too good to be true, the ever-present creeping terror that it’s all just one wrong move away from tumbling down. One day, I’ll say the wrong thing. One day, I’ll be a little too argumentative, a little too docile, a little too distracted, a little too old, and you’ll realise there’s a bright blue ocean out there to sail without this anchor weighed down around your neck. The thought kills me slowly, a papercut every day, bleeding me slowly dry with worry – and still, no matter what you tell me and no matter what you do to put me at ease, I don’t know how to make it stop.

‘Hey,’ you whisper drowsily, and then again: ‘Hey… you awake?’

One day, I’ll say the wrong thing, and you’ll leave for good – so for tonight, I say nothing.

I feel you plant a soft kiss on my shoulder, a kiss I’m not meant to feel except through the haze of my sleep – and for tonight, that’s enough.

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A Present To Myself

Man's naked chest.

I can’t stop myself from playing with them – not, I admit, that I’ve tried very hard.

It was a joke, the first time I suggested it. He had been browsing the internet in bed, choosing pictures of women for me to quietly ogle – I liked to see his tastes, liked to know what got him hard – and I was looking over his shoulder. One of them caught my eye, even before he sent it. I tapped the screen of his laptop gently, playfully, just at the girl’s nipple. ‘One day,’ I said, ‘I’m going to do that to you. And won’t you look pretty when I do?’

He hadn’t said anything after that, but that might have had more to do with the fact that I started gently nibbling at his neck, replacing any answer he might have given with moans and whimpers. He always did have a soft spot for having his neck teased.

But the idea seemed to take hold. The pictures continued, but now almost all the girls seemed to have pierced nipples: some bars, some rings; some simple steel and others more ornate. Just a coincidence, I was sure he’d say if I ever asked him about it – but I didn’t. What would be the point? After two years, I could read him like a book.

I made the appointment for him six weeks before my birthday. The way he blushed when I told him what I wanted from him made it clear to me that it was the right decision – that it wasn’t something forced or coerced, but something he wanted just as much as I did.

Poor boy, so ashamed to admit what he wanted – and why.

I gave him the option to tell me to cancel the appointment, but he never did. Some days I could tell that he came close – when the reality of it crashed up against the fantasy, when the thought of the momentary pain overwhelmed the promise of pleasure – but he kept his resolve. He knew what it meant for me. He knew what it meant for him.

Six weeks to heal, they had told me – not even him. Keep them clean. Use an antiseptic if need be. Keep his hands off them as far as possible.

It wasn’t easy to go without my favourite toy for so long, but I had timed it for a reason. When he was healed, when he was back to where I needed him to be, I’d have him just the way I wanted him. What better way to celebrate my birthday than that?

He got me other gifts, of course, even though I told him not to. Nothing big, nothing flashy – a book I’d been putting off buying, a small bottle of the perfume I had been wearing on our first date (so thoughtful…) – but he knew what my main present was. He had been teasing me without knowing it for weeks now. Every time he had slept in the nude, his firm torso pressed against my naked back as we spooned; every time I had seen him slip on a shirt before work… all of it, promising something that was tantalisingly close and yet just out of reach. I had found my mind drifting away during the day, distracted in the knowledge that he was out there somewhere, dressed in the immaculate suit and clean-pressed shirt that I had seen him wearing when he left – and that under that pristine, businesslike exterior, two small steel bars marked him out as mine. It was our little secret, safe in my imagination and the moans he no doubt had to suppress when the cotton rubbed against them.

Six weeks, I told myself. A birthday surprise. A treat for yourself. You can wait that long, surely?

I had surprised myself by finding that, in fact, I could – but now it was time to collect.

‘Hands up,’ I said. ‘Don’t move until I tell you to.’

He nodded, and did as he was told. It wasn’t a position he was unused to; his fingers wrapped around the metal loops and whorls of the headboard, finding that familiar, comfortable spot. He knew instinctively that he’d be there for a while; no need for ropes or cuffs when he was this eager to please.

I leaned down and kissed his neck, tracing a delicate pathway along his collarbone. I felt him shift beneath me, my tiny weight nowhere near enough to hold him down if he decided otherwise – but he never did. He wasn’t fighting against me. He was only fighting against his own desires. When I sat back up, he had his eyes closed, and his lips were trembling as though in some silent prayer.

‘Eyes open,’ I said. ‘I want you to look at me.’

I want your undivided attention – and I know just how to get it.

He kept his gaze on me as I lowered my head to his chest, planting soft little butterfly kisses along his skin. I flicked out a tongue and watched his body shiver with delight.

‘Sensitive?’ I said without stopping, without looking up.

‘Fuck.’ The word came out almost by itself: a long, slow drag on a cigarette. ‘Fuck.’

‘I’ll take that as a yes.’

He nodded. ‘Extremely.’

‘Good.’

He always did love having his chest played with. He had been embarrassed about that too, in the early days – how sensitive the small pink buds of his nipples could be, how easy it was to bring him to full hardness with nothing more than a gentle stroke, a teasing lick, a just-over-the-line-of-painful bite that would make him forget the rest of the world even exists.

I felt his cock stiffen beneath me as I straddled him, suddenly firm against my thigh.

All that, from one little lick…

‘You look beautiful like this, you know,’ I said, tracing a fingernail across the taught muscles of his chest; he worked out, and the work wasn’t in vain. ‘Decorated. All for me.’

The blush that crossed his face just made me want to eat him up.

‘And it is all for me, isn’t it? All because you want to be pretty for me.’

‘Y… yes,’ he stammered.

‘Say it.’

‘I want to be pretty for you.’ I could feel the catch in his breath, but there was no hesitation.

I smiled. ‘Good boy. Such a good boy. And good boys get rewarded.’

I brought my fingers in, achingly close to the bars, and then stopped. He must have known how desperate I was to touch him and feel him writhe beneath me, but it wouldn’t do to let him think that he had any sway – not today, of all days. Sometimes I craved the fight, the back-and-forth of a lovers’ duel, but not now. Now, that was the last thing I wanted.

I watched him lying there, perfectly still, his eyes never leaving mine. I watched him bite his lip as I stroked my finger gently across the top of his nipple, watched it give way into a low, soft whimper as I gripped and pulled – a whole new sensation for him, familiar and yet strange, everything ramped up to eleven.

‘You like that, don’t you?’

‘Y… yes.’

‘Do you want more?’

He nodded, an eager puppy. ‘Please. Always. Please.’

I had denied him long enough, denied myself even longer; the hardness at my thigh was more than I could stand. I lifted myself off his hips just for a moment, and then he was inside me.

‘Don’t move,’ I said. ‘Don’t you dare move. Not an inch, OK? You’re here for me. All mine.’ He nodded, and I gave him a playful tap on the cheek; not quite a slap, not quite a tease. ‘What did I just say? Not. An. Inch.’

He learned.

I enjoyed the sensation of fullness, the thickness of his cock as it twitched inside me. The way I could tell the difference between his reaction to the gentle tease and the painful pinch. I bit my lip as I watched him struggle to keep his calm.

I love you.

The way he whimpered and moaned as I rose him. The way he let me mark him as mine. The way, when we were done, I would rest my head in his chest and state at those fresh adornments and know absolutely that with every beat of his heart there was nowhere he’d rather be.

This beautiful boy.

This beautiful toy.

Marked, and mine.

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Reflecting

Innocent Girl

He held me in place on my knees, not facing towards him as usual but facing away from him, out into the room.

‘Watch,’ he said, directing my gaze forward.

The hands of the girl on her knees in front of me were behind her head, fingers intertwined; her lips were red with lipstick he had already smeared. I could see the look of desire on her face, even as she found it hard to meet my gaze. This is turning you on, I thought. Isn’t it?

Dirty little thing.

I could practically see her cunt dripping with excitement – and why shouldn’t it? He had been teasing her all day. He had been doing everything he could to make sure that when the moment finally came to play, she would be ready. He had promised her the world in soft kisses and stinging slaps, and she had agreed willingly, knowing there was nowhere she would rather be.

The girl’s body was marked for him, by him: a subtle pinkness on her skin that would blossom into a rich purple given the passage of time. A collar around her neck made it clear that she was owned and wanted, but those bruises were what kept my eye. His love for her was written on her body, a love delivered wordlessly and saved for enjoyment later, if she ever any doubt. She could

‘Don’t you think my little slut is pretty?’ he asked, a low growl in my ear.

I nodded, and I felt his fingers digging into my arm. ‘No,’ he said. ‘Say it.’

‘I think your little slut is pretty.’

He knew how hard that was for me to say, how resistant my body was to admitting that I agreed with him. How much time I spent running away from it, no matter how he pushed the issue.

‘Again, pet.’

‘I think your little slut is pretty.’

‘Again.

‘I think your little slut is pretty.’

‘Look up. Say it properly.’

I lifted my head – I hadn’t even realised I was looking at the floor; it was just easier that way – and the girl raised her gaze to greet mine.

‘I think your little slut is pretty.’

‘Again.’

‘I think your little slut is pretty.’

I could see the girl blushing, unfamiliar with the compliment – especially from me. Oh, he had told her a thousand times. He would never let her forget it, but hearing it from my lips, in my voice? That was something different entirely. That was almost more than she could stand, and he knew it.

‘Again.’

I felt the words catch in my throat, and watched her look away from me. ‘I…’

‘Say it, pet.’ His grip tightened; firm, not painful, keeping me in place.

‘I think your little slut is pretty.’ That satisfied him, and that satisfied me. He leaned forward and kissed me gently on the forehead. ‘Good girl,’ he said, and for the first time I was able to meet the gaze of my reflection proudly, without shame.

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Lick

A woman has her fingers in her mouth.

He holds up two fingers in front of my face, still glistening with my wetness, and smiles. ‘Clean them,’ he says, and I do.

He knows the effect it has on me, knows all too well the immediate reaction that burns within me whenever I’m allowed to taste myself for him. He knows just how excited I become at the thought of taking his fingers into my mouth after he’s fucked me with them – and not just his fingers, either; I grow weak at the taste of myself on his cock, travelling straight from my cunt to my mouth.

‘Clean them,’ he says, and I do. Every time.

It keeps me down, just for a moment longer. As the first flood of orgasmic bliss begins to subside, as my heartrate begins to slow and my breathing returns to normal, as I feel him climb off my quivering form and settle back into bed next to me, the taste puts me right back into that instant of perfect, gleeful submission. Feeling part of him probe my mouth, his fingers slick with my juices – watching me debase myself all for his approval – starts the ticking clock that pushes me towards Round Two. (Or Round Three, or Four, or…)

Clean them.

Taste yourself.

You beautiful, filthy little slut.

Because isn’t that what he means with those two little words? Isn’t that the subtext riding under the taste of my cunt?

Yes, of course. Because a good girl wouldn’t do that. A good girl wouldn’t find herself salivating at the thought of his fingers probing her, growing wetter and wetter in both mouth and pussy, unconsciously preparing herself to be fucked yet again wherever he might choose. No, a good girl would be demure and pleasing, eager – but not too eager. That would never do.

A good girl would know how to resist. It’s a lesson I’ve never learned… and so what would that make me? What could that make me?

I wonder…

He has told me often enough. He has growled it in my ear a thousand times as he fucks me, slides his length into me, shapes my cunt to his needs. He has made me admit it before he’ll give me an orgasm, before he allows me the release that he knows belongs to him. He has kept that word on my tongue for what feels like an eternity as I wait for his permission, as I wait for him to tell me it’s OK to give in.

To admit that I’m not a good girl, and that I never was.

That I am a slut, his slut, and nothing more or less than that.

‘Clean them,’ he says, but he knows he doesn’t need to ask.

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In the Wild

Woman with corset and black nails.

It was him, definitely; she would have bet the farm on that.

The last time she had seen him he had been shirtless, his torso coated in a thin sheen of sweat both from exertion and the oppressive heat of the club itself; here, he looked neat and respectable – almost bored, in fact – in a business suit that lost some of its composition since leaving the office. His jacket was folded over one arm, his tie was loose at his neck, his sleeves rolled up to just below his elbows.

He carried a basket filled with a few basic staples: a pint of milk, a half-load of bread, a couple of frozen meals-for-one. The last time, he had been holding a fierce-looking cane and the attention of the room.

She caught his eye, trying not to stare, but also eager to check her first instincts. Was it him? Could it be?

He looked back at her. Oh, it was him alright. Without a doubt.

She smiled in the manner of a casual acquaintance, just someone trying to get by with her weekly shop. He smiled back, then went back to deciding between two competing packages of ravioli, trying to figure out if today was a spinach and ricotta day, or if he was in more of a mind to push the boat out and go for the black-packeted prosciutto and goat’s cheese.

He doesn’t have the faintest clue who I am.

Then again, how could he? The theme of the party was Venetian Masquerade – or at least, Venetian Masquerade with a little twist of kink; the great Enrico Dandolo might have gone blind all over again had he seen the outfits (or lack thereof) they had chosen to go along with their masks. At the start of the evening, she had been dressed in a corset over delicate lace panties, but they hadn’t lasted; the corset was new, and a little too restrictive to be entirely fun, but the panties had been sacrificed to a greater goal. She had felt him shimmy them down her legs as he bent her over the leather bench, displaying her ass to everyone assembled. She had watched him take a deep sniff of them – to the playful laughter of the crowd – before wadding them up and stuffing them into his pocket, safe and sound. Her face had burned with embarrassment – but of course, the flush of blood to her cheeks was nothing compared to the feeling of his cane against her flesh.

She still bore the slim, streaked bruises across her buttocks, even four days later.

She wondered if he had kept the panties. She hoped he had. It would have been nice for him to have a souvenir to match her own – something that he would find a day or two after the fact, when the memory of the brief, anonymous connection they had had begun to fade like a dream in the morning. Something he could raise to his nose again in the quiet stillness of the night and use as a way to transport himself back to the club, back to the noise and the sweat and the bustle of it all.

Something to remember her by.

 She had wondered in the past what it would feel like to run into one of her partners outside of the club, out in the real world – whether it would be like seeing a tiger in the wild, as opposed to safely behind glass at the zoo. She had wondered if she’d get the same thrill from seeing one of them in a business suit rather than leather pants, or seeing one of her fellow subs walking around in a summer dress rather than being led by collar and leash into one of the club’s back rooms. Now it had happened, she wished it hadn’t. He wasn’t the tiger in the wild here. This wasn’t his natural environment. It was in the dark, sweaty embrace of the club that he seemed most at home, a predator stalking his prey. She had yielded to him in an instant there, with the trappings of their mutual desire all around them. She couldn’t imagine him doing anything like that here. If he reached across from his basket to take a handful of her hair, pulling her head back to expose her throat to him in a way that had been so hot, so fucking hot at the weekend, it would have been horrific, not sexy; if he had barked that same order that she could call him Sir, that she should thank him properly for the strokes of the cane he planted with expert precision across the meat of her ass, she might very well have laughed in his pretty little face.

Same man. Different world. It mattered, somehow.

Then again, had she not benefited from that too? There was a strange thrill to not being recognised. Less than half a week ago, he – anonymous he, nameless he; a perfect stranger in every sense – had had her strung up like a puppet for his amusement. She had watched him lose himself in her, giving himself over to her as she gave herself over to him. Outside of the club, would he have even paid her the slightest attention? She doubted it, somehow; not a man like him. A little too young, a little too handsome, a little too cool. She had sensed it even at the club, but that was a different world; the normal rules didn’t apply, the limitations of the Great Wide Out-There seemed petty and small. She was in her forties now, on an inevitable downhill slalom to the big Five-O, and she had accepted that. In the world, in the wild, she didn’t draw attention. She looked respectable. She looked responsible. She looked mature – and that was she looked like much of anything at all; a first glance was rare on the outside, and a second glance rarer still.

But behind the mask, she could bare herself. In the dark of the club, all eyes were on her. The sag, the wrinkles, the tiger-stripe stretchmarks that covered her thighs and belly (stomach, she chided herself; be kind to yourself, even if it isn’t strictly true)… none of it mattered. All that people cared about was her willingness to present herself freely, unashamed – even temporarily – about the impact of the years on her body. All they cared about were the moans as a finger or a strap-on or a cock slid inside her, or the whimpered moans as she debased herself happily for their entertainment.

Yes, it might not have been much – but it was hers.

And for a little while, for a few brief moments, he had been hers. It had been her body that had driven him to the edge, had made him positively insensible with pleasure as he had thrusted himself to an orgasm inside of her. Still got it, she thought. Maybe it was rarer now, but she could still perform when needed. Maybe she wouldn’t draw a stare in a supermarket aisle (Oh, for another swing at her twenties…), but what did that matter?

The bruises ached behind her, and she smiled as she passed him. He didn’t turn to see, but that was OK.

Perhaps the club was her natural habitat too.

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Heartbeats

Woman touches man's face.

There are twelve months in a year. Thirty days, give or take, in a month. Twenty-four hours in a day, sixty minutes in an hour, sixty seconds in a minute. The human heart beats a little faster than that; just a touch over eighty times every minute, if you’re in decent health and you don’t exert yourself too much. Eighty is a nice, round number. It’s around the average life expectancy of a human being, too. I’ve always found that a neat little coincidence. I couldn’t tell you why. It always just tickled me for some reason.

You get around thirty thousand days on earth, if you’re lucky. About seven hundred thousand hours. A little over three and a half billion heartbeats.

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump.

My God, doesn’t that seem like a big number? Three and a half billion. Almost beyond imagining.

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump.

Nothing small can ever be divided up into billions. The scale of it just doesn’t make sense; the little things add up too quickly. It’s about as many bricks as there are in the Chrysler building. I know, because I looked it up one night when my failure to sleep became too much to bear. If each one of those heartbeats was a grain of sand, the sum total of an average human life would be more than fifteen tonnes. If each one was a single step, one placed after another, it would be enough to walk from the earth to the moon – seven times over. And what’s a brick, eh? What’s a step? What’s a grain of sand?

How are you ever supposed to pick one out of the many?

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump.

I first met him in August of 2012. I knew him for a little over five years. 1,969 days. Almost fifty thousand hours. Almost a quarter of a million heartbeats. Perhaps a little more, based on the fact that I could feel it racing in my chest whenever I saw him for the first time in a while; perhaps a little fewer, based on the way he made it skip a beat every time he kissed me.

Could I pick an individual heartbeat out of all of those? Oh, absolutely. I might even have been able to pick out a favourite, if it came down to it. The way I felt the first time he touched my hand, perhaps, when he curled his fingers around mine as we walked through the park near his apartment and I knew I was going to be spending the night. Or perhaps it came later: the rapid pitter-patter that followed the realisation that he wasn’t just goofing around and was actually proposing to me, in the kitchen of the tiny apartment we now shared, with the snow gently falling outside – that this man, this beautiful man, wanted to make me his.

We didn’t go away; we couldn’t afford to. We spent the whole week in our apartment – mostly in bed, let’s be honest – but he covered the window with a poster of the Eiffel Tower, because I’d always wanted to visit Paris and that was the best he could do. He smiled a goofball smile and promised me we’d get there eventually, but I didn’t care. I didn’t have a care in the world. I had never been more in love with him than I was at that moment. I didn’t even think it was possible to be more in love with him.

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump.

And then, on the other side of the spectrum, there were the hated heartbeats too. The pang of concern as my phone buzzed one afternoon and I knew – I just knew – something was wrong. The tightness in my chest even as his sister tried not to worry me, trying to find the best way to tell me to drop everything and get to the hospital now without making me a nervous wreck. The way every heartbeat that followed seemed to ring in my ears as I raced out into the street to find a cab.

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump.

He was dead by the time I got there. Undiagnosed heart condition. Genetic disorder. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, they said – as though naming it after the fact made any difference. Could have happened to anyone. No rhyme or reason to it whatsoever. It might have blown out then, or fifty years in the future.

Bad luck, they told me. That was all it was. Just bad luck.

I didn’t say anything. What was there to say? All I could think about was the time we might have had together. How many heartbeats he’d been robbed of. How many nights I might have rested beside him after sex, or just cuddled with him on the sofa, my head on his chest – and beyond that, how often I had been so close to him, so unaware of what was to come. How many times I had been soothed to sleep by the sound of those heartbeats, convinced that nothing could possibly be wrong with the world as long as I had him – and yet it was there all along. The thing that would take him from me.

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump.

He was thirty-one.

Our daughter was seven months old.

She’s fine, by the way; I should tell you that right off the bat. As soon as I could, I arranged to have the doctors check her out, to see if she had the same abnormality that her dad did, and she came back clean. That was a good sign. As far as they could tell – although they’d need to keep an eye on her, just to be sure – there was no weird screwup lurking in her code, no dam waiting to burst. On balance, she got off lucky: his eyes, his hair, my heart. There’s a case of winning the genetic lottery if ever there was.

But still… I can’t help but wonder. Every time she rushes up to me and gives me a hug and I feel her little heart beating against mine, all I can think is, What if? What if the test was wrong, and she has what he had? What if there’s a little kill-switch lurking inside of her, and one day it’ll put me through all of that again? I don’t think I could bear it. I really don’t.

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump.

I’m still a little younger now than he was when he died; not by much, and not for long, but still… just a little. I can expect to live for another fifty years. Perhaps even longer. Eighteen thousand days. Four hundred thousand hours. Two billion heartbeats that I was supposed to share with him – and what now? A noise without an echo. A tick without a tock. I try my best to carry on – for her, you know; I don’t know where I’d be without her – but it never seems to get any easier. The memory of it all never seems to fade away. He’s there, no matter what I do. No matter how hard remembering is, he’s there – and then, of course, he isn’t.

It’s worst of all when I’m lying in bed at night, in the dark, in the quiet, alone with my thoughts and that noise – that awful, terrible, repetitive noise, following me wherever I go, reminding me of what once was and what I’m missing. I hate it, and yet in a perverse sort of way I’m almost grateful.

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump.

If it weren’t for those heartbeats, I’d swear there was nothing left inside me at all.

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Mornings With Him

Gay Couple in Kitchen

I like the quiet stillness of my mornings with him.

I like the weekends, when we’ll awaken still sweaty from the night before, shower together, relax into two days of idle bliss. I like the way I feel his arms encircle me from behind as I cook breakfast for the both of us in our kitchen (our kitchen; still such a novelty even after six months of marriage). I like the knowledge that our time is ours, and that there is nothing we can’t do with it. A visit to a new gallery exhibit? Sure. A glass of wine on the patio? Of course. An afternoon in bed, of sensuous lovemaking and rough fucking (delete according to preference)? Whyever not?

All of the above? Well, if you’re twisting my arm…

And yet there’s so much more to it than that.

Even in the dim light of a Wednesday, our Saturday ritual so far away, I love my mornings with him. I love rolling over in bed and seeing him still asleep, undisturbed by the harsh beep of my alarm clock an hour before he is due to rise. I love the look of peacefulness on his face, so different from the passionate contortions of the night before.

Fuck me, fuck, me, fuck me…

Hard even to remember whose lips the words came from. Perhaps they came from everywhere at once, circling around us as we pressed our naked bodies against each other again and again and…

The thought makes me smile even as I pull myself towards the bathroom.

I shower, rubbing the sweat and grime of the night before off my body, ready to be presentable to the outside world. It almost feels sacrilegious to washing the scent of him off me – as though our night spent with our bodies pressed against each other is something to be so easily discarded on passing into the world of Corporate Responsibility™ – but needs must. Until the evening comes, I have to pretend to care about anything, anything at all other than him and the feeling of his arms around me. I slip into my suit, fastening my tie tight around my neck, and frown as I watch him sleep. It would be so easy to call in sick, to feign some kind of emergency, to spend the day wrapped up in his arms – and why not the day after? Why not the day after that, to lead us into Saturday and the weekend? Why not forever?

Because that’s not how it works, I chide myself. Because everything you’ve built with him, this little life of yours, requires sacrifice.

And there’s no sacrifice greater than knowing that I could choose to strip down and to curl back up next to him, safe in the warmth of our duvet and his company.

Do it quickly, I think. Do it quickly, or you won’t do it at all.

I don’t even lean down to kiss him before I go, but it doesn’t matter; as I make my move to the bedroom door, he stirs himself out of whatever dream he was having. ‘Hey,’ he says, propping himself unsteadily up on an elbow. ‘What time is it?’

‘Go back to sleep. You’ve still got half an hour.’

He smiles. ‘Love you.’

And that’s all it takes for my resolve to crumble. The pressures of work that were just starting to creep in around the edges of my morning routine are banished in an instant. If I miss the train, I’ll catch the next; if I wrinkle my suit, I’m sure no one will even notice, let alone care – but for now, I need him. I need him, and nothing else can possibly matter.

‘What are you doing?’

I grin up at him as I fall to my knees at the side of the bed. ‘Just trust me, OK?’

He nods, and I throw back the sheets just far enough to reveal his prick; a second or two later, his morning half-hardness is heavy against my tongue. I can taste the sweat and the sweetness, feel his fingers in my hair as he gently strokes behind my ear. There is a time for roughness, a time to be controlling – And oh, what a time it is… – but it’s not now. Either out of instinct or tiredness he knows to let me take control of the situation, to be the one tending to him; he might be groggy, but his trust in my ability to give him what he needs is absolute.

His cock is full now, long and thick enough that it would make me gag if I swallowed it the way I wanted, but as much as I want to take it deep into my throat I think it might blow his sleep-addled mind. Instead I suck gently at it, running my tongue across the tip to savour the precome that is already forming as a result of my ministrations. He lets out a soft, exhausted moan and tightens his grip on the bedsheets. There is no fuck me, fuck me, fuck me now, not here; the same voice that gasped it out in my ear a few brief hours ago is now distant and floaty with pleasure. It’s the voice of a man given over to the comfort and care of someone else, someone trusted and adored.

I feel his body tense up, his hips rising as though to greet me, and I know he’s close; I can sense the orgasm building in every ragged gasp, in the tightening of his fingers in my hair, in the way he begins to shiver.

And then, there it is. What I needed from him.

I make sure to swallow every last drop; as the spell is broken and my desire to please him is replaced by the more mundane realisation that I’ll be late for work, I know that it will raise more questions than I’m comfortable with if I managed to spill on my suit without noticing. I suck until I feel him growing soft in my mouth, and I know I’ve taken everything he has to give.

‘Thank you,’ he murmurs, already halfway back to his dream – a dream, I hope, that stars me.

This time, I make a special point of kissing him before I leave for work. This time, I make sure he tastes himself on my lips – a little something to remember me by when I’m gone, especially if the blowjob he received begins to feel a little like just some early-morning imagining.

And then I’m gone.

I have a smile on my face as I head down the stairs and out of the door. I know I shouldn’t have done it, really. I know all I’ve done is set myself up for a day of dreadful teasing, and it’s all my fault; the hardness I can feel growing beneath my suit isn’t going to go away any time soon, and there’s nothing I’ll be able to do about it at the office. The thought of him will sit there, roiling away inside my mind until I’ve worked myself up into a frenzy of expectation.

But that’s OK.

Tonight, he’ll be waiting for me, in our home, in our bedroom, between our sheets.

He will be waiting, and he will be mine.

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A Dawning

Woman looks out over the city.

The remembrance comes in waves.

It starts with her eyes opening on a room unfamiliar even in the darkness: the walls, shrouded by night, feel a little further away than she’s used to; the noises coming through the open window are different, sounds of the city, not of her quiet suburban street; the sheets that have ridden down to rest just below the stubbled hairs of her cunt are thicker, more expensive than the ones at home. As she shifts, they glide smoothly across her legs: a rare luxury.

Sleeping naked. She never sleeps naked.

Why now? Why here?

It continues with a sound at her side; not quite a snore, but an exhalation so deep and sudden that it feels for a moment as though someone is trying to get her attention. She freezes, waits to see if he stirs further, but no. He rests there, the man from the night before – the current night, even; dawn is only just starting to creep through the window off to her right, through the blinds closed in far too much of a hurry in their eagerness. She remembers him, although it takes her a minute; the fog of sleep hasn’t quite lifted, and in the darkness it’s hard to bring his face to mind.

And last but not least, there is the ache: a different sort of ache than she left the house with last night, but an ache nonetheless. She winces as she sits up in bed, feeling the fresh tenderness of her cunt with every movement. How long had it been since she was fucked like that? How long since she was fucked at all?

Too long. Far, far too long.

That had been the plan, of course – not hers, but that of her friends from out of town. Go on, they said. Live a little. Let your hair down. She had gone along with it, more out of politeness than anything else. A few drinks and an early taxi back home. No harm done. They had teased her gently for sitting on the sidelines as they danced and chatted, flirting with every man who caught their eye, always the centre of attention.

But not her. Not her style – and if it had been once (and it must have been once, she was sure of it), she was long since out of practice. It didn’t seem to have hurt.

They left. She stayed. The last time she had seen them, they had been winking at her from across the bar – lewdly, knowingly – as she urged them over his shoulder to leave the two of them alone. He kissed her shortly afterwards. She found that she enjoyed it.

And that was that.

She stands, stretches. The room is lighter now, or her eyes have adjusted, and she can make out the shape of him. The sheets are coiled down around at his feet, manoeuvred off in sleep to expose himself to as much of the summer air as possible, cooling him down after his early-morning exertion. Uncovered, he stretches out in the bed like the silhouette of a marble Adonis; his cock is half-hard, long and thick, heavy against his thigh. She wonders idly if there are still traces of her lipstick at the base, and smiles. She hopes so. It’s only fair he have something to remember her by.

She shifts uncomfortably, regretting her sudden urge to be upright. His cock was bigger than she was used to, the fuck rougher and more raw. He fucked like it was hunt: wild and animalistic, with survival on the line. She had found herself swept along by his intensity, by his need for her. The wine had helped, but there was more to it than that. There was a charm about him, a certain way that he had of putting her at ease. (The wine had helped with that too.) He had told her she was beautiful, and she had believed him. When he asked her up to his room, he had looked so earnest and sincere that the desire in his eyes had seemed complimentary rather than predatory.

Well, he had caught her, well and truly. Her swollen lips and the continued throbbing in her abdomen stand as a testament to that.

She heads over to the window and tilts the blinds to one side slightly, suddenly profoundly aware of her nakedness. The city below her is asleep, the lights blinking in the darkness but the roads empty. She must be, what, ten storeys up? Fifteen? It’s hard to judge. One-night stands in expensive hotels aren’t something she’s used to. Perhaps she has been missing out.

She takes a seat by the immense glass panel and looks out over the view of the city. A room like this must have cost a fortune – or had it? She thinks for a second, willing herself to remember through the haze of wine and lust. Had he mentioned something about that? A business trip? Out of town? Expenses? It sounded familiar, but only in the fleeting recollection way that an old Facebook acquaintance might – someone once known, and barely missed. A lot of the last night feels like that. She remembers parts, of course.

And in the bathroom, beforehand – staring at herself in the mirror, asking herself if she was really going to do this?

Why?

Why the hesitation? Drunkenness? No – well, a little – but more than that. Something nagging at her. Something she can’t quite place.

Surely not a lack of attraction; he is, even sprawled out in sleep, one of the most beautiful men she has ever seen in her life. She remembers the surprise that he seemed interested in her, the way it had race onward through to their first kiss, the stripping off of clothes and…

She shifts uncomfortably in her chair, a raw flare lighting up between her legs. It will be a long time before she can forget that. Not that she minds, of course; if anything, the reminder is welcome. So daring. So unlike her.

Except maybe not.

Maybe this is who she is now. Maybe this is what she is now: the kind of girl who will follow a man up to his hotel room, drop to her knees in front of him, bend over on rented sheets that he can split her wetness with a cock larger than any she has any she has seen before.

A slu…

She stops herself, then stops her stopping. Why should she? What’s so wrong with a little sluttishness once in a while? What’s so wrong with giving in to your base desires, enjoying the feeling of fullness and liberation as an almost-perfect almost-stranger takes you, fucks you, uses you? What could be so wrong with that?

Yes, a slut – and what of it? She smiles to herself, seeing herself in the glass, superimposed over the city. It’s a brand new day. It’s a brand new her. The world, such as it is, looks different new. Richer. Deeper. If she’d only known, she might have done this years ago.

Maybe. Except for that nagging doubt.

He shifts in his sleep, and she sees it. She wishes she hadn’t, wishes she could take it back and retain the memory just for a moment longer, but it’s there when she turns to him: visible, garish, incontrovertible.

The flash of gold on the ring finger of his left hand reflects the first streaks of light through the blinds.

Oh, she thinks. That’s why.

Just in town for one night.

Are you really going to do this?

But it was so easy. Being with him was so fucking easy. That charm. Those eyes. The attention he offered her, after so very, very long… The fucking had just been the icing on the cake; the ache in her cunt a hangover for a night she hadn’t regretted, not at all, even though she knew he should.

Are you really going to do this?

Well, the question is answered. She chooses not to think of what that might mean.

She dresses hurriedly, silently, afraid to wake him until she can close the door gently behind her, feeling the one-way lock click irrevocably closed on an evening she barely remembers.

And that is that.

She beats the dawn down to the street, and has hailed a taxi before he has even had time to forget her name.

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First Taste

Two glasses of champagne.

The bubbles tickled at her nose as she tipped the thin flute upwards, the crystal so delicate that she thought for a moment that even the simple act of raising it the glass to her lips would be enough to shatter it into a million tiny, piercing shards. She snorted a little at the sensation – so embarrassing – then somehow managed to compose herself.

He was sitting across the table, smiling at her, watching for her reaction. His glass remained untouched. ‘First time?’ he asked.

For a lot of things, she thought. Instead she just nodded.

‘What did you think?’

‘It’s nice. I like it.’ In truth, she found it a little too dry, a little too sharp to be entirely pleasurable. She would have been happier with the taste of her usual bottle of wine, whatever was sweet and light and on sale at the local corner shop on a Friday night – but of course, the company was much better here. She wondered if, perhaps, champagne was a drink that people only pretended to like when they were trying to impress someone important to them, when they were trying to appear worldly, sophisticated, and utterly grown up.

Three dates in, and she hadn’t quite shaken that feeling. Twenty-five years old, and he made her feel like a teenager again. He was older, yes, but not that much older; twelve years, if you rounded down. So how was it that she made her feel like a dumb kid crushing on her teacher? Was it the slight peppering grey in his hair? The cut of his suit: stylish, confident? The way people seemed to listen when he talked, as if by instinct?

‘Well, that’s more than I could say the first time I tried it,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t stand it.’

‘How old were you, your first time?’

‘Eighteen.’

‘And when you tried champagne?’

He laughed at that, and she felt a thrill of pride; it felt good to know she could surprise him still. ‘Also eighteen,’ he said. ‘The same night, in fact. Apparently the two things go together a little better than I thought.’

He knew, of course. He hadn’t pushed her, hadn’t pressured her at all. He had wanted it to be special – hence the dinner in his apartment, the champagne chilled to perfection, the music playing lightly in the background – and it was. She couldn’t have pictured a more perfect moment.

He had joked once about her not wearing panties on a date with him, and she was shocked at how she had considered it. She had always wondered if she would be the kind of girl who’d lean into that if the opportunity ever arose; if, given a man with whom she felt safe enough, she’d sit through dinner or a movie, knowing that there was nothing but air between her pussy and her lover…

When the taxi arrived to pick her up, she had shimmied them down her legs and thrown them into the laundry basket, smoothing down her skirt. She felt daring, free. It would be a surprise for him later, she had thought. Well, later was here now.

Tonight’s the night. Twenty-five years of waiting, and here it was. Worth every second.

He could read her excitement at a distance; it was a different kind of nervousness than he was used to with her. She had started to grow used to him over the past few weeks, to settle into herself in his company, to sound out the first glorious syllables of what the future might hold. She had become… comfortable, and he felt pride in that. He liked that he could put her at ease.

He knelt in front of her, and she felt the touch of his fingers at her ankle – a tap, a gesture, an indication to uncross her legs. She did so.

He was looking up at her, imploringly. Say the word, he seemed to be saying. Say the word and this all stops. We can go back to chatting, to the champagne, to dessert. We can be as we were, for as long as it takes you to be comfortable. A day, a week, a lifetime if necessary. There’s no rush.

There was never a rush; not with him. Everything seemed to happen at just the right pace.

She said nothing. There was nothing to be said.

She parted her knees and, like a groom reveal his bride’s face from beneath a bridal gown, he lifted the hem of her dress.

It’s time.

His gaze was fixed on the smooth skin of her thighs as he pulled the fabric up, up, up, giving her every chance to stop him; he wanted it to be perfect. He paused only when he realised that there was nothing stopping him, no panties in the way to slow his inexorable progress, and she felt him take a deep breath of appreciation.

It was nice, to be looked at that way. To be admired. To be wanted.

He kissed her thigh, parting her legs gently with his hand, and she could feel a cool breeze at her cunt, her wetness impossible to ignore. She wanted nothing more than to be touched there, to be teased

to be fucked

– but he steadfastly took his time; she was his, brand new, and he was going to savour these first moments.

His kisses drew near, his breath warm against her skin – and then, unexpected, the electric first-touch of his tongue. She gripped at the table, worried for an instant that in her ecstasy her nails might carve deep grooves into the varnish, and then steadied herself. She gave a long, slow exhalation, willing her body back under control. Not now, she thought. Fuck, so close… but not now. Not yet. Not so soon. That comes later.

The champagne glass sat just inches from her hand. She watched a thin stream of bubbles rising from the edge, hurtling to the surface and disappearing forever. It felt apt: a momentary lifting, and then nothing.

She hoped there would be more than nothing waiting for her.

He kissed her, down there, and every kiss promised a thousand more; he alternated his kisses with soft, gentle licks that pushed her towards a sensation she had never shared with anyone. He was familiar with her, as experienced as she was innocent. What she suspected, he knew; his reverence was new and strange, but no less comforting for it. She was safe in the hands of an expert.

Fuck…

Her body tightened, and he looked up, concerned.

‘No… please,’ she said, surprised at how weak her voice sounded. ‘Don’t stop.’ Don’t ever stop.

And there was that smile again. ‘Relax,’ he said. ‘Have a drink. Enjoy it. It’s OK.’

Enjoy it. As if she were capable of anything but. And why shouldn’t she?

She let him guide her, his tongue carving out fresh, new pathways of pleasure that she had never considered before, had never been able to reach herself. She felt it rise up out of her, spreading out from his kisses up through her body, separate quanta of joy and lust and longing made just for her, teased out of her one by one…

When it came, it came in waves: no crashing tsunami but a steady, glorious lapping of pleasure that she felt could go on forever. She let out a moan – no embarrassment, not now – and felt her body shiver and shake; her hand reached down, not to pull him close or grasp at his hair but just to touch him, to feel his presence, to remind herself that this man – this beautiful, wonderful man – was the one making her feel this way.

He looked up at her, his brow dappled with exertive sweat, his perfect hair mussed. She leaned down to kiss him and detected the faintest trace of herself on his lips; another unfamiliar taste, but not unpleasant for it. ‘The bedroom?’ he asked.

‘The bedroom,’ she replied.

The drinks could wait.

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The Balcony

Couple embracing.

‘Shh,’ he whispered, his lips close to her ear. ‘Eyes forward.’

She hadn’t heard him come in, hadn’t heard the swipe of the hotel keycard she had left for him at the lobby or the click of the door as it latched closed behind him. She hadn’t heard his soft footsteps on the hardwood as his approached her, predator stalking prey. She hadn’t been aware of his presence until he slipped his hands around her, his fingers entwining with hers, holding her grip against the steel balcony railing. She began to turn quickly – in surprise at the interruption, in need for home – but he stopped her with just a touch.

‘Shh,’ he whispered, his breath warm against her skin. ‘Eyes forward.’

She stared out over the city. The sea of lights had been mesmerising just moments earlier, but now all she wanted was to turn her back to them, to trade the gleam of Paris at night for the kiss of her lover.

Six months. Too long.

Six minutes. Too long.

He tightened his grip, holding her hands in place. You’re here now, his touch seemed to say. Back with me, where you belong. And this time, you’re not going anywhere.

She smiled at that. As if there was anywhere she’d rather be.

She felt the scratch of his stubble at the back of her neck, just below her hairline, just above the fabric of the dress he had asked her to wear for him on their first meeting in what felt like forever. It was his favourite dress; she knew that well enough. She couldn’t count the number of times she had caught him staring at her lasciviously from across the room when she wore it, nor the times he had taken her back home afterwards, away from prying eyes in cities all over the globe. The dress had been left on countless hotel room floors, tossed over chairs, left scrunched up and neglected even as she was stretched out on the bed next to it.

Next to him.

‘Shh,’ he whispered, planting butterfly kisses at the nape of her neck. ‘Eyes forward.’

She felt him stand tall behind her, pressing her body against the balcony railing – a brief moment of panic as she imagined tumbling forward and down, down, down to the street below, losing herself in freefall as she did every time she felt his touch… but then the safety of knowing that he was there with her, that no harm could come to her. His grip on her was absolute. She was safe.

He loosed his fingers from hers, tracing a path gently up her bare arms. She shivered, despite the summer evening; his fingertips were warm, but the faint hairs on her arms rose up in a frisson of need, calling for him. They ran to her shoulders and he pulled her gently backwards, kissing that sacred dimple at her neck. She wondered if he could smell the perfume she had picked out – the light jasmine scent she had been wearing the first time they had made love, when he kissed her in that exact spot and she felt her world catch fire.

‘Shh,’ he whispered, feeling her tense up beneath his touch. ‘Eyes forward.’

She let her eyes fall closed and smiled in the darkness. She could hear the city beneath her, busy even in the small hours of the morning; the steady rumble of traffic was dwarfed by the sound of his breath quickening next to her. She knew that sound: the ragged desperation that made it clear that she wasn’t alone in her desire.

She turned to face him, eyes still pressed firmly shut, and this time he made no move to stop her. She felt his hand on her neck, drawing her near; the stubble of his cheek against the smoothness of her own – and the slow exhalation of six months’ wait finally, finally at a close.

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