Lace

Kiss the lips to find others exploring kink with lace this week

Dressing myself, while I love sheer materials, lace is not a favorite among them.  Lace to me is about a type of femininity I don’t possess, something soft and subtle and tactile. The patterns are small and delicate and on my bigger body I just feel like they don’t seem to balance. I have never been able to wear frills and ruffles in a way I felt suited me or felt comfortable, so many years ago I gave up trying.

When I came to write this piece I had very little to go on. There was a lace dress in my wardrobe, but it is possibly one of the most matronly things I own…

For as long as I can remember, I have been aware that guys in eyeliner were hot. As I grew up, although I am slightly too young for the whole new romantic vibe to be “my” music, that is definitely the start of my appreciation of things that don’t conform to conservative gender presentations.

I read voraciously, more like other people seem to watch tv. And like how we watch tv, some is serious documentary style stuff, but the majority if fluffy (if well written) pleasure. One set of books I have enjoyed over recent months is the Leashes and Lace series by Shaw Montgomery.

I decided this prompt was a good excuse for an experiment. Leashes and Lace are M/M romances that are bubblegum bright, based around a male lingerie company. The idea intrigues me. Not necessarily the old cliché of the businessman wearing his wife’s undies exactly but I do apparently love men in lace lingerie.

The lovely Mr Hunt was patient with me as always, and we decided on a trade off.

Lacy boxers for him and something he wanted to see me in, however I felt it was unlikely I would feel comfortable in, for me.

Him first.

He swaggers in to the living room, with a happy little smile which wasn’t entirely from getting the kids to bed, and starts to unbuckle his belt. Black lace shorts peak through the fly.

They invite touch. To press them against his skin and catch more of a peek at the skin beneath. And they are soft. Much softer than I expected, letting through more of the warmth of his flesh.

I had forgotten how nice it could be to kiss someone through lace. That added texture brought back memories of very different bodies and very different times. Despite the memories, the physicality of exploring the new sensations with him made me very aware of each tiny point of our contact. He loved the feeling of my breath through the fabric, the almost touch of my mouth against the lace.

I loved the visual. I loved the newness.

I loved being able to see everything happening beneath the fabric.

Then it was my turn.

The first thing I learnt was next time I want to wear lace, I need to change out my nipple jewelry for something less likely to snag in the fabric.

It was hard to feel attractive in something I’d told myself didn’t suit me. Hundreds of photos later, I still wasn’t convinced. There was nowhere to hide, no structure to hold me in place.

The answer to this was to not rely on my own perception of my body. I was never going to defeat the feeling that I looked as attractive as a pound of lard in a string bag. I handed the camera over.

He told me he like the tease of knowing what was beneath the fabric. The contrast between the paleness of my skin and the black. The softness adding texture under his fingers and his mouth.

I prefer to see myself through his eyes.

Is lace our new kink? Probably not… but it was very interesting to explore something new that kept us both focused on each other rather than stressed by the world.

And yes… I still like men in lace, including my own lovely Mr Hunt.

A little tied up at the office…

Today has been a very long work day.

As my children had finished their evening activities on Zoom, I took a crafty five minutes to check nsfw twitter and saw a beautiful picture by the beautiful @deviantsuccubus and off I went down the rabbit hole of want.

We’ve not really played around to get photos in a while. It’s been busy and we’ve had no babysitters available, but tonight…

The sound of a fresh coil of rope being unbound. The kinks worked out, so it would be smooth to work. The slight sway of being pulled as the lovely Mr Hunt dragged length after length through each pass.

Fuck me, I needed that.

And then it seemed like a good idea to take it for a spin…

Slowly…

Little by little…

Trusting the rope… and my rigger

God, I love having anchoring points lurking in the garden…masquerading as fixings for the washing line or hanging baskets…

Midnight at the Oasis

Go see who is being Sinful this Sunday

Finding space to relax is hard at the moment, with the children home all the time and very thin walls. Don’t get me wrong, I love being made to be quiet, but being quiet because we have to be just doesn’t have the same appeal.

Running round naked in the garden after dark though… very much up my street! The spa is my favourite place to be, naked with Mr Hunt, relaxing under the beautiful bats, stars and satellites.

Lockdown

For much of the last few weeks I have been strangely content. Many of the usual stress factors of my ‘normal’ life are gone and I am great at rationalizing and portioning ‘worries’ into bite sized morsels I barely notice. I am content with my own company, like my family and have sufficient resources for this not to be an uncomfortable period.

This is not why I’m calm. And because of that this strange contentment is…strange.

I have had years of tutorials on dealing with stress, because for a long time it was felt my anxiety and the cyclical burnouts I suffered from were stress related. Well, felt by anyone who was not me. I would carefully journal my life, highlight stressors and rate my feelings and get absolutely nowhere. Would track my monthly hormonal cycle and see that regardless of where stressors fell, my own internal chemistry was far more important to my anxiety levels than anything else. It is only relatively recently I discovered this was not just my imagination, but most likely PME – a condition where normal premenstrual symptoms gang up with other anxiety disorders to create a magnification of anxiety and depression.

I meander… Because of both my reported anxiety and the stressful nature of my life, agencies queued up to give mental health support through sessions on mindfulness, of being aware of your own cyclical thinking and of identifying unhelpful thought processes. I was sent to sessions where we stared at crystals, recited mantras highlighting our self-worth or lay in a dark room on cushions listening to stories to help visualise our strengths. This is cheaper and (less cynically) more effective than letting a parent/carer go to the wall and trying to tidy up the mess.

At the time, this felt pointless as it didn’t lessen my symptoms, but in actual moments of high stress I have a bounty of techniques I can turn to and recommend. But I don’t lean on them completely. When actual real-life stressors need a response, an internal crisis management system takes over and supercharges me.

In normal circumstances, when I am tuned in to my own body, I can be pushed into panic attacks by sensory over-stimulation. Simple things like walking round the supermarket can throw me into proper chemical fight, flight or freeze. Mainly these things are down to my autism and how I receive sensory information. A telephone call that I wasn’t expecting can make me throw up or faint. This is probably a result of cPTSD. Either way, being self-aware and emotionally literate but regularly unable to regulate my reactions is incredibly frustrating.

But in a crisis, if my brain were staring in ‘Inside Out’, a new character would enter the normal fray, kick all the usual gibbering characters into storage and take over. This character is completely steady handed and can defuse a bomb even when all the wires are the same colour. They can cook a meal for 20, while organising them into teams to get on with whatever else this crisis requires. They have a stiff upper lip and a can do attitude. Whether you need instruction or simply someone to get on with something, when this guy is in charge, I’m your person.

It is a type of functional disassociation. In the short term, having no connection to my emotions is really useful. Nothing can touch me. It’s like I become a pre-destined character in a story. Energy levels soar. The things that trouble me on a day to day basis are swept away by the super-solider version of me. I am, in many ways, the perfect team player in a crisis. It’s a pity this isn’t a real and is unsustainable for any real length of time.  This lockdown is not the longest I’ve gone in super-solider mode, but it is longer than I can really cope with.

It was mid-January, this little soldier popped his head onto the bridge, gave a few orders and started a watching brief. The steady hand running the ship, but with an eye to the disaster appearing over the horizon. The epitome of “Keep calm and carry on” insomuch as that seemed to be the correct advice at the time. Nothing to panic about. We locked my parents down and checked the apocalypse freezer was stocked. I am the British middle class equivalent of a prepper, brought up by parents born in world war two and so used to rationing, storing and planning that this was an automatic reaction. While politicians were still prevaricating, my children had been prepared for uncertainty with a number of potential scenarios, food rationing began and notes went into school with contact details for friends to use if schools were closed.

Bear in mind, if my Christmas present shopping is not pretty much complete by late October, panic kicks in.

Some of this is down to how I manage a condition that is part of my autism, called pathological demand avoidance (PDA) of which I have a relatively mild version. I might disparage the myriad of courses I was sent on, but learning to understand how autism affects me has been really important in letting me emerge from the complete mess I was at 21 years old and turn into a relatively functional person. To avoid the demands which trigger, I plan ahead, constantly and without fail. “To fail to plan is to plan to fail”, could have written for a PDA affected person. I cannot handle deadlines, so I plan around them by moving them forward so much that there is no demand for them to be completed. That is a very calm and adult way of saying if I don’t structure things so I am in control, I would just sit in a chair and scream and nothing would get done. Ever.

So, for most of this period, I have been content. I am living out the planning and preparation made weeks ago and forecasting this situation to go on until September at least. I don’t miss other people and whilst the telephone is a nightmare, I can join video calls much more successfully, as seeing people gives me more communication cues and therefor less panic. The children follow our lead, are calm and in a new timetable, but one that is less demanding in many ways than normal life, so they are happy. Our family life is stable and productive. The lovely Mr Hunt is just as busy as ever saving the world from a computer desk in our home office, from which he has worked for seven years. I am however working a very different pattern, 30 hours a week of direct special needs teaching to a class of five students, but this is very fulfilling on a professional level.

This, though, is a brittle situation.

Even with everything as calm and as planned as it can be, in effect, my perfect world situation, I can feel the build of something. The tiny brain characters my own sweet inbuilt martinet forced into the cupboard in my brain, are staging an escape. They know I can’t keep this up. I can’t do my sort of normal and manage 30 hours of teaching a week. It pushes me to breakdown. In normal circumstances I top out at 25 hours one week a month.

Lurking, I can feel a desperate sense of exhaustion. A sort of rational panic without the physical reactions. The warning signs that tanks are coming closer to empty than is wise. I just need some emotional recharging, but the super solider doesn’t acknowledge emotions. I desperately want to cry, and I can’t remember how. Watch the concerns of others across my social media and want to feel something. Anything. A ghost of the real me is sick and tired of being cool and in control. I don’t want to be stuck here where nothing feels connected to humanity.

This is when I long to submit, the safest way of vanquishing the tyrant energy vampire in my head. But there is no time or place.  

The children are home all the time we are. There is no Thursday morning rope play session on our calendar anytime soon. No spanking, where the only sounds in the otherwise silent house are the crisp slap of palm on my skin and the hitching breaths I try to control. There is no crying. No kneeling. No relief from being in fucking control.

To submit is like drowning and breathing at the same time. Like having a dislocated joint reset. The moments where I am not in control are the moments that give me the power to be in control. The pressure release valves that keep the engines moving steadily or provide regulation when I am struggling. When I fly, I can recharge.

I need space to be set free before I crash and burn.

I need to find my exit strategy.

No opportunities to be wicked this week? You can always be wicked in your head!

My family and other differently gendered animals

While a storm has been raging on twitter, I have been wondering if I can say anything that has any value. I haven’t been around for a while because life got in the way, so I’m not sure exactly what has happened, but with the whole “If you say nothing, you’re part of the problem,” vibe going on, I have taken a good few days to work out what my experience brings to the party. I didn’t want to write something that turned out to be about me.

Everything in here has been shared with and approved by the people referenced. You might need to be aware this post glances past losing a child, and references child sexual abuse and a whole host of people not being kind to people who don’t fit a certain idea of normal.

I try to be very careful in what I say, because as a person with autism I am aware just how limited communication in words can be. Anything that isn’t a conversation can transmute into a lecture. And regardless of how correct you may be about something, no-one responds well to being lectured. Equally, when something is based on personal experience, there is a need to acknowledge everyone’s experience is different.

It is a rare parent who doesn’t hold their new born child and map certain expectations and aspirations onto their life. When I went to a scan for child number three, having already given birth to two boys, I was briefly, irrationally upset that the baby had waved their male gentalia at me clearly in the scan. Cartoon bubbles of dresses and hairbands literally popped in my mind as I thought that future was gone.

But then child three was gone and child four was on the way. Suddenly gender was completely irrelevant and what I ached for was a healthy child in my arms, crying and wiggling.

Or course, if T had been born healthy, I would have loved him as I love my other children. Fully. Completely. And baby four is just as well loved and came with dresses and ribbons and rainbow sprinkles.

It turns out, so do my older children. Both my children born boys now identify as non-binary.

Roll back the clock a little to when Mr Hunt and I were getting married, we thought working out how to facilitate a trans-parent/parent-in-law at a wedding seemed like a huge mountain. Things had to be said to avoid accidental misunderstandings or more directly hurtful things happening at the wedding, but what and how to say it was incredibly tricky. The relationship between my husband-to-be and their parent, Felicity, was also rocky, so we couldn’t really ask for a lead. Leaving the family home to pursue gender reassignment was not handled with perfect grace. As she said in conversation today, there is something inherently selfish about making such a large change in your life, even if you strongly believe you need to do it. I’m pretty sure I felt smugly satisfied at how the event went off, without a punch being thrown or a deadname used. We even negotiated the legal issues of how she could be identified on the wedding certificate. After all, I was brought up to be liberal and understanding of everyone with differences.

If you’d asked me when I held my first child in my arms how I would react if they one day told me they were gay, I would have responded that love is love and as long as they were happy, it would be ok, and I would have felt proud of myself for that answer. I thought that would be the most difficult stumbling block they might face.

Having a family hasn’t worked out quite like I might have expected.

My children are survivors of sexual abuse. To say that wasn’t in the plan is the understatement of understatements. They are disabled by autism, or more in fact by the lack of adaptions available to them. In case you haven’t read previous posts of mine on the subject, they were abused by a carer brought in to support their autism. And now, two of them identify as non-binary, which brings a whole new world of mountains for them to climb, in an already mountainous world.

Before they were identifying as non-binary they were shunned at school for being different. Ask any parent of autistic children how many birthday parties they are invited to and they will probably burst into tears. Then, as children who had been abused and not understood that what had happened to them was abuse, they spent years with 1-2-1 shadows making sure they didn’t become abusers and they were not allowed to mix with other children in any natural way.

Talking to Felicity, their grandparent, she has confirmed that her first knowledge that she was different came from feeling she had more in common with the children attending the girl’s school in her town, than her peers at the boy’s school. Just something ill defined about not fitting in, which could be quieted temporarily by dressing up in her sister’s clothes in the privacy of her bedroom. As a person with autism, I can sympathise entirely with more than a little dose of dysphoria, and trying to change my appearance to alleviate it. After all, I started to wear my hair blue to show I’m not quite as middle class, middle aged “normal” as I first seem, and now it is so much part of my identity I feel wrong when the dye fades.

40 years ago, Felicity experienced transitioning as a black and white process. You were trans and had a full surgical reassignment, or you weren’t. Today, we have chatted about the situation in my twittersphere and it has become apparent just how much the fluid presentation available today is a world away from a “1980s sex change”. The whole middle ground of non-binary, the language for body parts and the intersection of gender and sexualities across a whole rainbow of possibility is a very modern opportunity for expression. That is by no means insinuating that people didn’t feel all the colours of the rainbow before, but showing them at all was a very different proposition. It is very easy to forget just how much has changed, even if that change is not as fast and complete as those living on the front line would like. I am glad the full rainbow playground is available for my children.

The children were diagnosed with autism below the age of five. They have never felt like they’ve fitted in. Between autism and the sexual abuse, parenting has looked very different in our home than elsewhere. Our normal is different than most. But F’s pronouns and hair and high heels are a source of joy to them. D feels most secure when people don’t assume they’re a boy or a girl. They are creating their own niche where they fit in perfectly. Their confidence is attractive and this year they both received multiple Valentines from peers completely aware and unfazed by their gender.

Lots of people look in on our life and have an opinion. We have social workers, solicitors, a psychologist, and other professionals all weighing in on our ability to raise these beautiful, different children. After the sexual abuse, we agreed to go into child protection because it was the only way to access the funds to access the specialist support we needed. It turned out that meant everyone and their brother could have a say in how the children should be raised.

It is never easy to be out of step with what society thinks is normal, and when the scrutiny is so fierce and your child exhibits as different it is hard to stand up for their rights or your own. When the children told the social worker about their grandparent and explained they knew gender could be a more fluid concept than male or female, questions were asked. Had we groomed the children into thinking they were not boys? Do they know their own mind or have our liberal ways given them choices of which they don’t understand the implications? Are they non-binary because they were assaulted? How do you answer those questions, when even the asking of them makes you burn with offence?

Turns out, supporting Felicity at our wedding was a gentle stroll in the park when we needed to train to climb the three peaks.

Nothing is simple. Asking professionals to use the pronouns the children have chosen in their reports is an ongoing process. The children patiently explain themselves in a million places as they are consistently misgendered as female which I find strangely superficial because in my opinion don’t lean towards femme, beyond their long hair. And children is a loose term as they are 11 and 13, and both would pass for older, D being over 6ft tall and their voice having broken. I had to ask twitter for the correct term for F’s girlfriend to call them. They settled on ‘datemate’. Their sister had to ask her French teacher for the word for Enby in French as she didn’t have brothers or sisters but wasn’t an only child. The confused French teacher had to ask us about the English term before they could research the French. Don’t get me started on how confusing it is to be using the singular ‘their’ when there are two of them and the audience doesn’t realise it can be a singular pronoun.

It is people peripheral to their lives that are difficult. All the people who know and love them,- their school friends at their specialist school, their teachers, grandparents and friends through church, all accept them as they are. One step distant though and their scout leaders have no idea what to make of them and have refused to take them on camp, as it is too difficult to sort out the sleeping and washing facilities. We have taken this up with Central Scouting, as it is contrary to their policies. Take them for an eye exam and find that a major high street opticians doesn’t have the mechanism to enter their preferred title of Mx and insists they are Mr (despite having HRH and Rear Admiral on the drop down menu choices). Their doctor’s surgery forms insist they can only be male or female and have no place to record their pronoun choice of ‘they’.

This strongly mirrors what I see in the online community at the moment. People who have direct knowledge of others based on person to person relationship, irrespective of their gender identity, make that leap to make them comfortable. To use the language that makes them happy and make sure they are aware they are loved and supported. For those further away, they are still where I was when I was arranging my wedding, trying to make sure Felicity’s trans-identity didn’t spoil my wedding day, without realising it was all about my own comfort and not of hers. Back then, even though I did everything by the book, as I saw it, my behaviour was not as it would be if I were doing it again.

Luckily, Felicity has not held it against me. Her take on it is that she didn’t at any point expect anyone to simply understand it when she said she was going to change gender. At work, she expected it and didn’t worry when people struggled with pronouns. They’d known her as Philip for 10 years or more before she came to work as Felicity. What she wanted to see was people who put in the effort to meet her where she was now. I can see this might be seen as problematic, but she’s lived her life for over 70 years, and if that is how she sees things I want to respect it. I have benefitted from after all.

It is easier to develop understanding of what is really hurtful, and what matters on both sides, when you are in a conversation with a three dimensional person rather than having that conversation with yourself or the void of the internet. Part of that is understanding each person’s experience is different. The more people you get to know, the more informed your opinion.

And the fear other writers have expressed as part of a trans persons life is constantly in our minds as parents. Felicity took being beaten up in the early days of her translife as par for the course. After the children’s abuse, we have had to develop sex positive parenting and be very explicit about the behaviours of others and consent to try to keep all three of them safe from those who might try to groom them again and help them recover as much as we can, but, with their very fluid gender presentation, there are hundreds of risks out there we had never considered. They have been assaulted in the male changing rooms at the gym by someone who misgendered them as female and then became sexually aggressive towards them, despite them identifying as penis owners and most importantly children. Their sister has been bullied for her ‘brothers’ being different.

Looking older, and having confidence in their own identities is a constant risk factor. After a show where my eldest performed in drag at the local arts centre, we had to leave and walk back to the car without them changing. I’m never normally scared, but I could feel the predatory attention they were gathering, as they sashayed across the car park in heels and dance leggings and I wanted to wrap them up and take them home, while they wanted to celebrate the euphoria of a great performance. Wanted to strut and preen and appreciate the whistles they didn’t really understand and which weren’t half as kind as the applause on stage.

It is natural to need to protect the people we love. Especially when they want to be loud and proud. Doing it without stifling them is going to be a challenge.

My children, my glorious, wonderful children, have a whole mountain range in front of them. As parents we can walk with them, try to equip them for the journey. Stumbling and falling will happen on the way, but tempting as it is to try, we can’t carry them up the mountain. In the end, they will carry us.

Words and flowers

I’m going to blame the maudlin tone of the opening of this piece on Easter and Picard. That and another person who crept into my life somewhere around seven years ago and in fact, was one of the key reasons my blog petered out last year. My thoughts are all framed in words, whether in this blog or just in life and it is hard to write when the thing at the front of your mind isn’t something easily put into words. Isn’t a polished idea with shape and form.

The absolute reality of living and dying consume the media at the moment. The things we might want to do or have as opposed to what we need. The bare minimum rather than optimal. The stories behind the daily death toll that can be ignored as long as the curve is flattening.

Living with the reality that you will die is something we try hard to ignore, but in some circumstances, some places, some time periods much more readily than now, it was or is the reality of everyday. Heroes are framed as staring death in the eye and carrying on, whether they be Federation, Ironman, Jesus or an NHS doctor. For some people on the front line or living with failing and frail bodies, that “hits you in the face” reality is everyday life.

Both my parents are still alive. Very frail. Locked down. There is a recognised potential of them dying in this period of lockdown without the virus ever touching their life. So, this morning, with their groceries, I bought mum flowers. Something my family never usually bothers with, an overt attempt at conveying love outside of our comfort love languages (mine being acts of service, my parents being almost words, if words can be framed as their worries for us). We’ve tackled the certainty of their upcoming death in as many ways as we can. Power of attorney, distribution of assets and most importantly their wishes on how and when they die have all been dealt with in conversations over the past few years, when they are well and these things can be tackled as a “one day” scenario. This is framed as a type of best practice. A planned for scenario. I still want to make sure they know I love them, and using a behavior outside my normal pattern is the best way I have of conveying this right now.

I won’t spoil the end to Picard’s first season if you haven’t seen it and want to. Luke chapter 22 verse 42 is there every Maundy Thursday. And I still don’t have a polished shape and form for the things I’m experiencing. I am left with snapshots. Each one a precious moment, where I try to go beyond my comfort zones and my habitual demonstrations of love, to make sure I demonstrate how much I love them, as much and as often as possible.

Not everything can be said with flowers.

Who else has overthought being wicked this week?

“What have you been reading?”

My cheeks burn. No closed doors, we’d agreed, but I have undisclosed boundaries others have instinctively avoided. Or perhaps they were more interested in the physical than the mess I keep in my head.

“It was relatively crap.” That at least is easy to be honest about. “Maybe I’ve trawled the complete depths of e-publishing?”

She laughs, the corners of her eyes crinkling as the sound tinkles around my bedroom.

“Not a friend’s blog then. Het? Men or Women?” The love/hate relationship with her teasing confuses me. It’s gentle, but she’s letting me know we’re going to have this conversation, however much it’s going to make me squirm and that’s surprisingly ok. Or not surprising at all. Just a firm reminder, she is in charge.

“Those the only options?”

“You know they’re not, but fill me in. Considering it enriching my education.”

Sunlight warms her skin, sleep worn pillow creases softened by its golden tone, the darkness lingering under her eyes something I desperately want to ignore.  She watches me with sympathetic grey eyes, gentle with compassion, lit with mischief.

“You have access to…”  E-books. I want to say. It’s so fucking easy to forget her eye sight is failing. Like the rest of her.

“Yes, but I don’t want Andrew hearing them through the door. It might give him ideas for when lockdown is over.” She rolls onto her back and I follow suit, the rustling bedding not quite covering her struggling gasps. I wait until her breathing evens out at little.

“Still rattling?” I ask, fighting to keep my tone even. God knows I’ve had enough practice over the last 7 years.  I’d ask what meds she’s on now, but it’s pointless. Working or not working, they are all that is left.

“Only when I breathe.”

Jesus.

“So why was this current offering not up to your usual high standards?”

“Two guys. It was a couple of years old, real fifty shades bandwagon. If you’d replaced one with a woman, it would have made it so obvious the whole set up was abusive, but I guess with two guys some of the physical inequality was ignored. It was still an abuse of trust though. I don’t know how it got past an editor.”

“Back reading spanky porn then?”

Fuck my life. Spanky porn? Although in this case, a pretty accurate descriptor of what the writer was aiming for. No depth or character development. A bossy one with money and power who spanks and a stammering one who kneels flawlessly and sucks cock with no gag reflex, the first time they do it.

“I guess so.” We fall quiet. My hand slips under the waistband of my pyjamas. Silently. Surreptitiously. Tracing patterns over the shot silk stretch marks of my belly. She has them too, and I can visualise their pale tracks, ley lines mapping her life.  Imagine tracing them. Imagining her tracing mine.

“Does it turn you on?”

I still my hand and turn to face her. That’s like asking if I want her because she’s beautiful, and I nearly say that, stopping the words as they nearly spill from my mouth. She’s beautiful because she’s who she is, but that’s not nearly as simple or as flattering as just answering yes. The writing doesn’t turn me on because of how it’s written, but because I know what is underneath, what it’s trying to convey. I don’t get turned on by the characters, but by what they feel. Like reading a translation of my life.

“Not this book, no.” I wince. Saying nothing is still lying and I am bound by rules she only sort of understands.

“Generally?”

Oh God. Are we nearly there yet? I hover, hemmed in by discomfort and arousal, not comfortable with either showing outright in her company in case that is the moment she baulks.

“You promised honesty.” She gently chides me, but it stings that I can’t do this.

I did promise and I do want to explain but the words are raindrops tumbling in my head. Rain, becoming a trickle, becoming a river, becoming a waterfall and in it is the power, but the individual drops are lost. Just a wall of things I want to say and can’t put into blocks of meaning. All the things she is, she is without being labelled. How I feel. Why can’t she just accept I love her, without trying to work out which box this needs to fit into?

“You identify with the more submissive character,”

I nod superfluously as she carries on.

“and I would be… who was in this story? What did they do that is like me?”

“It wasn’t the…” I still can’t use the words I really need. Words like dominant and submissive squirm in my head, refusing to be caught and used. “It wasn’t the character’s behaviour in this book, because…” I take a deep breath. “You’re more a care taker style person than a ‘spanky’ person.”

My pride at explaining without the problematic words is interrupted by her laugh, tinkling like a bell, shivering down my spine, followed by the chill as gasps punctuate the laughter. “I don’t know. I feel like spanking you quite a lot of the time.”

Flipping to face her, I lose the phone into the pillows and scramble to dig her out. Not too quickly. What the fuck do I say to that?

She’s stopped laughing when I finally prop the phone back up. Reclining against a stack of pillows, her blankets pushed down and more golden lit skin framing an ivory camisole, she asks “Does that turn you on?”